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.