Updated on 03.28.10

Twelve Ways a Money Buddy Can Really Help

Trent Hamm

I’ve long been an advocate of a “money buddy” – someone close to you who is going through a similar financial experience as you who can support you through the (sometimes) difficult challenges ahead while you also support them. Usually, a good money buddy can already be found in your social network – a sibling, a cousin, or a close friend who seems to be going through fairly similar financial troubles as you are.

There are a lot of benefits for finding a money buddy, both directly financial and psychological. Here are twelve potential benefits of a money buddy. Remember, you don’t have to use all of these – just select the ones that fit and work well for you and your buddy.

Relieve each other of a secret burden. Sometimes, financial problems can be a very secret burden, something you’re ashamed to tell others. When you have a money buddy, you have someone that you can tell about it, relieving all of that tension and built-up angst. That person is a willing ear and a shoulder to cry on.

Provide positive reinforcement of each other’s progress. A money buddy can serve as a cheerleader for every good move you make. It can be hard to make big changes in our spending, but when someone’s there motivating us and encouraging us to make the hard choices, those hard choices become a bit easier.

Share membership at a warehouse shopping club. You can split the cost of a warehouse shopping club with your money buddy, reducing the annual cost of a Sam’s Club, BJ’s, or Costco membership by half. You can also use your money buddy to split some of the multi-packs or jumbo packs sold at such stores.

“Eat out” at home together. A big part of the appeal of eating out is the social interaction. Replace a regular “eating out” night with a meal at home with your money buddy. You can either prepare the meal together as a team or alternate meal prep work.

Engage in new inexpensive hobbies together. It’s a lot easier to get involved with a new hobby if you’re doing it with someone else. Explore a new hobby with your money buddy, taking the time you spend on that hobby from something expensive that you used to do.

Search for enormous bargains in concert with each other. When you need a new freezer or a hot water heater or a car or any other significant purchase, shop together for it. Four eyes have a lot better chance of spying a big bargain than two eyes do.

Share larger items and possessions. Share a lawnmower. Share a snowblower. Share a trailer. These items can easily be used by both of you, particularly if you live fairly close together.

Give advice from fresh eyes. When you’ve reached a point of financial indecision (“Which debt do I pay off first?” “What bank should I use?”), a money buddy is a great source of a second set of eyeballs to look at the situation and make a great decision.

Carpool. If you work at the same place (or near each other), carpooling can save you both quite a bit of money. Even if you can only do it “sometimes,” each time you manage to do it, one of you is saving gas, maintenance costs, and wear on your vehicle.

Share frugality tips with someone who wants to hear them. Quite often, frugality tips can be a lot of fun when you discover them, but it can be even more fun to share them with someone who’s also figuring out new ways to live and save money.

Hold each other accountable for goals set. If you set a goal for yourself, share it with your buddy and remind each other of your goals regularly. Simply knowing that your buddy knows of your goal and is watching your progress towards it can be a great motivator.

Celebrate victories together. If you achieve one of those goals, you have someone already there that knows what hard choices you’ve made to achieve it and is ready to celebrate with you. There’s no one better to celebrate with at the top of thte mountain than someone who’s been there all the way through the journey.

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  1. I’d also toss in the idea that a “money buddy” can come from an online community with a shared interest in money, frugality or whatever else. Finding blogs with people who share your desire to build financial stability can also be a motivating force to get you on your own path.

    I think sites like this one, and those of your readers, are a good beginning. It is important to find one that fits your ambitions and goals. That way you are more likely to stick with it.

    Doing this can help you find support when you might not be able to find any in your “real” life.

  2. Michele says:

    Trent- isn’t your spouse your ‘money buddy’? Mine is…I’d feel wierd if someone else were involved in helping me to work on such an intimate part of my married life such as finances.

  3. Courtney says:

    My spouse doesn’t really care, but my mom does, and she lives with us. Handy both ways!

  4. Steffie says:

    My money buddy was a woman at work that I knew both at work and outside of work. After 25 years I knew that I could trust her and her judgement. She understood all that ‘stock market’ junk as well as having a good 401k. I got a headache whenever I thought about the future, money for college ? for retirement ? etc. Unfortunately she died two weeks ago. A note aside here, please if you do not feel well and are scared to go to the doctor, please let someone go with you. Do not tell people who are concerned about you to ‘Go to h**l’ when they ask to help. Letting things go until there is no possibility of cure is not fair to you or the people who love you who are left behind. Many things can be fixed at an early stage.

  5. I hope spouses count! It’s nice because we both contribute to the budget. So for example, we want to pay off old credit card debt and together we’re cutting out the daily trip to the coffee shop and eating out until it’s done.

  6. sm4k says:

    While obviously you want your spouse to be involved with your finances (if for no other reason, so they can handle them if you bite the big one), if you’re married I’d heavily encourage you to find another couple to do some of the ‘buddying’ with.

    Sharing large purchases or memberships with your spouse doesn’t really save you anything, assuming your finances are joint. Plus, as awesome as I’m sure all of our spouses are, “eating out” at home loses its glitz after a while if it’s just the two of you.

    If your married, include your spouse in everything of course, but having another couple to do this stuff with makes it so much easier.

  7. Lisa says:

    Trent, I have a couple friends that I talk to pretty much daily that like me love the challenge of getting their grocery bill as low as it can get. I can not overestimate how conversing with them helps to keep me motivated to save money. There is power in numbers(no pun intended) especially when women are involved!

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