By Kevin Sun
Do you have family or friends who have trouble saving money? Maybe they often complain about not being able to afford something or ask you to spot them a few dollars here and there on outings. It doesn’t look like they’re in serious financial trouble, but you can tell that they’re stressed about spending. Here are 3 ways to help them save money without opening your own wallet:
1. Give Them Your Time, Not Your Cash
It’s hard to find the best way to save money when you’re tired, and exhaustion often leads to poor spending choices. For example, we all remember a night after work when we didn’t have the energy to cook and just ordered out instead. Everyone has these kinds of days, but many people spend week after week like this. No amount of smart saving tips will help if you don’t have the time or energy to use them.
Help friends or family in this situation by sharing some of your own energy with them. When it comes to food, you could shop for groceries together, exchange simple and fast recipes, or even share cooking duties. This can bring costs down and also help them eat a healthier diet. For transportation, you could set up a carpool where they share the costs of driving but get the chance for extra sleep in the passenger’s seat. If they have young children, offer to babysit once in a while so that they can get out but save the cost of a sitter.
Offering your time and energy with acts of service can help give them the breathing room they need to get their spending back on track or explore options to deal with any financial trouble in other ways. Just make sure you’re not exhausting yourself in the process so that you can keep lending your support!
2. Make Comparison Shopping a Group Activity
Many things in life are more fun when you do them with others, and that includes comparison shopping. Looking for the best deals will feel like less of a chore for your friend or family member if you do it with them, whether that means going to stores together, sharing links to different online deals, or even just chatting about stuff they’re planning to buy. If they tend to make impulsive purchases, then this can help them kick that habit without needing to confront them about it. It could also help you with your own bargain hunting!
One of the biggest expenses that people can reduce is subscriptions, especially phone and internet plans. Switching to cheaper plans can save hundreds a year with little to no consequences, so it’s worth doing a comparison shop at least once a year (if you’re not on a contract) and looking for special incentives like sign-up bonuses. It can even save a lot if you switch from a contract to a pre-paid plan. However, keep in mind that your needs might not be the same as your friend or family member’s. For example, if they need more phone data than you, then signing onto your cheaper low-cap plan could end up costing them a lot more in expensive overage fees. Make sure that they get what’s right for them, not what’s right for you.
3. Encourage Smart Group Spending Choices
Comparison shopping can be fun, but it probably isn’t your favourite thing to do with friends and family. When it comes to activities like eating out, spending a day or night in town, going to events, and taking group trips, you can help everyone save money by suggesting more cost-effective options. For example, instead of going to the theatres, how about a Netflix party? If you’re exchanging gifts for Christmas, could you suggest setting a reasonable limit on what they should cost?
Smart group spending is especially important because if your friend or family member is having money troubles, they may feel too embarrassed or even ashamed to suggest something cheaper. Let them follow your lead, even if it’s for something as simple as ordering water instead of a drink at a restaurant. By taking the initiative, you’ll pull the weight off their shoulders and they won’t feel peer pressured to spend more than they can afford. Help them enjoy the time together without having to worry as much about the costs; this will in turn help the whole group have a happier experience.
What to Do When Your Family or Friends Need More Help With Saving Money
While there are many ways you can help your friends and family save money, if it seems like they need some extra support, then getting them expert help can make a big difference. You can do this by encouraging them to contact a professional credit counsellor at a non-profit credit counselling organization. An experienced credit counsellor would be happy to review their financial situation with them and guide them towards the solutions they need.