Keep Your Friends Out of Debt

Local Brick
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If you’re like me, you get a bit evangelical about getting out of debt.  I try to convert spendthrifts and irritate my fellow debtors.   I’m probably pretty annoying at times.   What I’ve learned–or at least pretend to have learned–is the direct approach rarely works.   Hitting someone over the head with a brick won’t convince them of anything, even if it’s a very frugal brick.  Try it sometime.  You may convince them to buy a bigger brick to return the favor, but you won’t convince them to save money.

What can you do?  Your friends want to spend money they don’t have and worse, they want you to come with to spend money you either don’t have or don’t want to spend on bad music and overpriced beer.  Suggest less expensive activities.

If your friends want to catch a movie, suggest a matinee or hitting redbox for a night in.   It may even be worth investing in a projector and screen if movie night becomes a habit.   My couch is certainly more comfortable than the theater seats and my soda is cheaper.

When you are invited to dinner, suggest a potluck or have a barbecue. It’s almost always cheaper to eat in, and cooking together can be a wonderful social activity.   If that’s not practical, use coupons.  Restaurant.com has some amazing deals, but don’t use them without an coupon.  Their default price is a $25 gift certificate for $10.  With a coupon (currently DAD), you can get that same certificate for $3.   That usually means a minimum tab of $35 and mandatory tip of 18%, but it’s still a good savings.  Your $35 meal will cost $19.30 when all is said and done.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="196" caption=" "] [/caption]Don’t compete for the coolest gadgets. “I just got an iPod for $300″ should be countered with a receipt for a $20 mp3 player, not an ad for an iPad.   Race to zero, not zeros.

Don’t be ashamed of your frugality.   “I they are laughing you don’t need ’em, cuz they’re not good friends.”   My habits aren’t secret. If I say something isn’t in the budget, my friends know I won’t be doing it.  It’s not up for debate.

Above all, I try to be proactive. I try to suggest cheaper alternatives before the expensive options are on the table.   Having a beer on my deck and watching a movie in my living room is so much cheaper than drinks at a club before a concert.

Update:  This post has been included in the Carnival of Personal Finance.

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Saturday Roundup

A wreath Kolsch Beer - LA Times of Kölsch.
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This week has been terribly busy.  I can’t tell you how happy I am for a 3 day weekend.  Right now, the 2 week queue of posts I had before I went on vacation is gone.  Have a good weekend!

The Best Posts of the Week:

200 year-old, chilled beer found.   That’s a party.

Follow your dreams and eff the haters.  There’s a life lesson there.

Affiliate marketing basics by Chris Brogan.  There’s definitely more than one way to skin the “make money online“(affiliate link) cat.

One of the first things we’re going to save for after we get out of debt is Lasik.  Is it worth it?

Finally, a list of the carnivals I’ve participated in:

Crystal included me in the Carnival of Personal Finance with Bonding Relationships.

8 painless ways to save money was included in the Yakezie Carnival.

Work at Home Scams was included in the Festival of Frugality.

If I missed a carnival, please let me know.  Thanks to those who have included me!

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