Budgeting with your BFF
They always say that it’s far easier to adopt any sort of major habitual change when a friend does it with you. Sticking to a budget is about implementing behavioural change, and benefits from gathering support from those closest to you. Having moral support right at the base of your change can help you take some really solid steps towards success.
Communication to Avoid Temptation and Alienation
One major source of spending that often has to be cut out or scaled back when trying to stick to a budget is visiting, dining and outings with friends. Have your friends understand that you are working within a budget and that you are going to ask their support to help you reach your goal. Support can take many forms, from friends being sensitive and aware when scheduling social time together, to finding a friend with similar budget goals that will work alongside you.
Cancelling frequently on social engagements, simply because of cost issues without communicating the motivation can lead to hurt feelings and misunderstandings as well. By communicating your goals, you avoid alienating yourself.
Take the lead on scheduling time together, with focus on time spent, rather than money spent. If you frequently go to the movies together, consider renting one at home. Visit the library to browse for books rather than your bookstore. Instead of dining out, eat dinner at home and then head out for dessert or drinks afterwards.
No one said that sticking to a budget was easy. One of the greatest challenges is that a successful balancing of your household books takes long-term commitment and that you have to recommit several times a day with all of the small choices that you make. Each one of these choices either pushes you towards your goal or pulls you off track, even though the movement is incremental. Having someone in your corner to encourage you to stick to your budget at every turn can be an enormous resource.
Strength in Numbers
Usually, buying in bulk offers cost savings. However, buying in bulk also increases the likelihood of waste, which effectively wipes out any savings. If you team up with another person, pool grocery lists and resources, you stand a much better chance of coming out ahead of the game. Not just that, you can save gas by carpooling and running errands together.
Depending on what you are shopping for, you may even be able to negotiate for merchandise if there are multiple purchasers with you.
What kind of help do your friends need managing their households? Chances are your list is similar. Offer to help and share time resources for tasks and items that sometimes get outsourced at a cost, like yard work, small home repairs, snow removal or babysitting, and then your friends can reciprocate.
Share a Sense of Accomplishment
It’s hard, and kind of pointless to give yourself a high five or a hug for a job well done. A friend, however, can participate with you in celebrating your budget successes, which should be noted at milestones along the way.