At the beginning of every week in 2013, I’ll be sharing a different way you can save $100 this year. If you do all of these things, you’ll be able to save over $5,000 this year alone! Many of these things will likely be things you’re already doing, but hopefully all of you will pick up at least a few new ideas or some inspiration from this series.
I was being interviewed for a magazine article this afternoon and one of the questions the interviewer asked was, “What are some of your top tips for families who want to cut their budget?”
After going through the usual suggestions I give (things like setting financial goals, getting on a budget, etc.), I said, “I think it’s also important that you surround yourself with frugal friends.” While this isn’t necessarily the usual financial advice you receive, more and more, I’m beginning to believe that it’s a key factor in helping people stay motivated and on track financially.
Why You Need Frugal Friends
Think about it: if everyone you associate with it 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.
In addition, when you hang out with frugal friends, you are inspired with new money-saving ideas, you are motivated to not give up, and you can laugh at all the crazy things you do in order to stay on budget.
It’s much more fun when you don’t go it alone. That’s why I encourage everyone who wants to live frugally to start an official Frugal Club  or at least find a great gang of frugal friends that you can brown-bag your lunches with.
Some of the ways you can save money by having frugal friends:
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 .
Don’t Have Any Frugal Friends? Don’t Despair!
If you don’t know a single frugal friend, don’t despair. Start looking for them at your local library, mom’s groups, church, thrift store, used book sale, or gardening club. You just never know where you’ll find an amazing frugal friend, but if you keep your eyes open, I promise there are some other frugal folks who live in your area!
In the mean time, read money-saving books and blogs  to help you stay motivated and inspired. They aren’t the same as real-life friends, but they will still help you stay motivated. And if you have trouble finding local friends, see if you can find some good accountability partners online — maybe even people that you meet in the comments section here on MoneySavingMom.com.
Do you have frugal friends? Tell us what you’ve learned from your frugal friendships and your best tips for finding frugal friends.