It can be discouraging to be surrounded by people who are not budget conscious. You can feel weird, crazy, and little “on the outside.”
I well remember the days when Jesse was in law school and it seemed like we couldn’t go to so many different social outings because we didn’t have any money to spend. It was discouraging — and sometimes embarrassing!
We wanted to be able to make friends and hang out with people, but it felt like every invite was to some place that cost money. And in those days, we literally had to use every single dollar to put food on the table and to pay our bills.
The balance in our entertainment category of our budget was a big fat zero almost all of the time!
Occasionally, we’d save up all our extra pennies, nickels, dimes, and would cash in the few extra dollars we’d saved over six months for a $0.50 movie from Family Video + a few items off of the dollar menu! Seriously, that was about the extent of our very rare splurging in those early years of marriage.
Over time, I learned to get really creative and to think outside the box. For instance, when Jesse was in law school and some of his friends were having a party, the host asked if everyone could pay $4 each to cover the costs of the party.
We didn’t have $8 extra in our budget for both of us to attend, so I emailed the host to ask if I could bring snacks and drinks (that I’d gotten for free or almost-free with coupons using money from our grocery budget) instead. She was so gracious to say “yes” to my offer — and we had a fantastic time at the party!
You are Influenced By What You Surround Yourself With
You often are very influenced by the people you surround yourself with. If everyone you associate with is spending money pretty extravagantly and telling you that you “deserve” this, that, and the other — even if you can’t afford it — it’s going to be hard to stick with your resolve to live frugally.
On the other hand, if many of your friends are living frugally and simply, if they are content and totally “get” you when talk about buying something secondhand or saving up to pay cash for things, it will be a lot easier to keep on your slow and steady journey toward debt-freedom or achieving your other financial goals.
This is why I can’t encourage you enough to make the effort to surround yourself with friends who don’t think you’re crazy for being so frugal. And not just friends who don’t think you’re crazy, but friends who are just as frugal — or more frugal! — than you are!
The Benefits of Having Frugal Friends
It’s much more fun when you don’t go it alone. Here’s how having frugal friends will benefit your life:
1. You’ll Be Able to Swap Skills
Your frugal friends will more than likely be glad to barter skills and talents. It saves everyone money — and it saves you all a lot of frustration, too.
Your frugal friends might also be interested in having regular swap parties where you swap clothes or toys your kids no longer need or even items you got for free with coupons.
2. You’ll Learn New Skills and Money-Saving Tactics
Your frugal friends will teach you new money-saving skills and techniques you would have never thought of or tried on your own. Pretty much every frugal idea I know of is something I’ve learned from another frugal friend.
In addition, my frugal friends have challenged me to try things I probably wouldn’t have tried on my own — like making homemade soap!
3. You’ll Stay Inspired
Whenever you’re feeling burnt out on sticking with a budget, just call or email one of your frugal friends and she’ll be sure to listen and then remind you of why you’re doing what you’re doing — and that it will be worth it.
4. You’ll Have Fun
It’s a lot more fun to save money when you’re among friends who are also committed to living frugally. Plus, they’ll laugh at your crazy thrift store experiences or used car adventures.
Where To Find Frugal Friends: My #1 Tip
If you want to find frugal friends, go hang out where frugal people would hang out. Here are some ideas of where frugal people hang out:
- Yard Sales
- Consignment Sales
- Your Local Library
- Thrift Stores
- Used Book Sales
- Swap Meets
- Frugal Websites/Message Boards
- Local Facebook Yard Sale Groups
- Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University Classes
Start looking around in your area for opportunities, events, and classes that would attract frugal people and then:
Show Up — This is the most important step! Get brave and just show up! If you don’t ever take the first step, no one is likely going to just randomly show up on your doorstep wanting to be your new frugal friend!
Meet People — Talk to people at these events. Ask questions. Find out their stories. See if there is camaraderie. Don’t be discouraged if not everyone you meet becomes your fast friend. But keep putting yourself out there and showing up and asking questions and building relationships.
Volunteer — One of the best ways to really develop deeper relationships is to volunteer your time. Many consignment sales offer the opportunity to help at the sale in exchange for first dibs on the items in the sale or extra discounts. This would be a great way to get to know people better and maybe find a new frugal friend or two!
Teach a Class — Do you have a frugal skill such as cutting your grocery bill with coupons? Consider offering to teach a class at your local library or community center. This one-time class might turn into some lifelong friendships!
Invite People to Join a Frugal Friends Club — Once you start to discover some frugal people in your area, you could invite them to join a frugal friends club. Not only would this be a lot of fun, but it would be a great way to really be inspired by others and to learn new money-saving skills! For more information on starting a frugal friends club, read this post.
You just never know where you’ll find an amazing frugal friend, but if you keep your eyes open, I can almost guarantee that you’ll find some other frugal folks who live in your area!
Where would YOU go to find frugal friends? Tell us your ideas in the comments!
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