How To Be A Frugal Friend

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how to be a frugal friend picToday’s post is by the always lovely, WIFE (not pictured above)! She also has a name. It is Michelle. Give her a round of applause, then take your seats and read her appeal to everyone out there who has friends. For those that don’t….I’m sorry. I feel you. I don’t have any either. 🙁

When was the list time you hung out with friends? What did you do? Was it fun? I love hanging out with close friends, enjoying each other’s company, chattin’ up a storm and celebrating life together. It was actually one of the driving factors when we were buying a home, so we knew we needed a big backyard and a place to hang out. And since we’ve now got a 2 year old and another on the way, we don’t find ourselves going out too much with friends, but back when we were DINKS, it was more the norm. Something I noticed back then was that there were varying degrees of expectation when it came to hanging out, and a majority of the time it would involve spending some cash. Totally fine, but it really got me thinking about whether or not we were being frugal friends.

How To Spot A Non-Frugal Friend

When we had much more income than expenses, we saved a bunch of it, but also blew a bunch of it as well. I would venture to say that we were non-frugal friends. We weren’t ALWAYS terrible, but definitely displayed a few of the symptoms of a non-frugal friend.

Not Sure If Poor

A non-frugal friend is someone who always seems to have a NEED to spend money to be entertained or have fun. Hanging out with them always involves YOU buying something you don’t need, eating out and generally feeling like spending is expected. This means they are ordering a drink instead of just having water, or picking up a pastry with their coffee, or saying “what the heck, this shirt is only $10, might as well buy it too.”

When friends spend like this, it can often be that devil on the shoulder of someone who is trying to save money, especially one who is a natural spender. It’s that tipping point between “no, I really shouldn’t” and “sure, what the heck.” I know that if I am with someone who spends a little extra like this, I am much more prone to do the same.

What Is A Frugal Friend?

A frugal friend is a person who is financially considerate of others when coming up with hangout ideas. They are someone who says “come over for a cup of coffee”, or, “can I stop by?” instead of “Hey, want to go to happy hour?”, or “want to meet at Starbucks?”

A frugal friend doesn’t even suggest going to the mall. And if you happen to already be at the mall with a frugal friend, they say things like “don’t you already have a sweater just like that?”, or “can you believe the price of this crap?! I mean, come on, this is like .1224 of a yard of fabric, no way that’s worth $76!!  What does Dolce even mean anyway? And what the heck is a Gabana??”

When you’re with your frugal friend who orders water with dinner or even offers to split a meal, you’re much less likely to order the cutesiest cocktail on the menu ($15 later…ugh) or get that appetizer, even though you know an entre will be enough food. It’s really peer pressure at its finest, so subtle you barely even notice it, but your wallet does. Go on a few outings with a non-frugal friend and compare how much you end up spending to how much you spent with your frugal friend….it’s cray cray.

What Should You Do?

BE THE BIGGER PERSON, MAN! Basically, BE the frugal friend. Here’s how you can kick the devil off your shoulder without kicking your friend in their sensitive little spending heart.

Here are three little ways you can practice being a frugal friend and in turn, help your friends save a little dough as well:

  1. Suggest outing ideas. Instead of them coming up with things to do, you invite them over or suggest going out after you have lunch at home. Create situations in which eating out doesn’t become “necessary”
  2. Say “no”, say it over and over. Practice before you go out. Maybe even go out with a list. If all you need is a brown pair of boots, you can practice saying no to those gorg gold glitter UGGS (EVEN if they are “on sale”)
  3. Inexpensive gift giving. Since this is the season of giving, talk with your friend about doing a small gift exchange with home-made items, or maybe even just writing a heartfelt card to one another instead of giving a gift.  Or, host a baking day with your friend and split the goodies as the end of the day. (Baked goods plus time with a friend…..not sure a store-bought gift could compare to this. Priceless.)

Jake’s Take

I’m totes with you on this one, wifey. We have definitely been on both sides of this dilemma, and are trying to be much more conscious of others when planning get-togethers. Instead of “hey homies, let’s meet at John Howie steak, order a few rounds and get a $100 cut o’ meat”, it’s more of a “Greetings, fellow frugal folk, please bring your favorite homemade dish and let’s kick it old school” ~ throws on some Will Smith and cranks up the bass ~.  If we DO go out, we always split a meal and keep it to one glass of delicious wine. I think it helps us savor and enjoy things a bit more, and our wallet thanks us. Being a frugal friend means no guilt and more fun for everyone.

Comments: Ok, admit it. Are you a non-frugal friend? Have you ever even thought about how your actions might cause others to spend unnecessary money? For my frugal friends out there, how to do you rock getting together with friends on the cheap? How do you also make sure you still have one helluva good time? I’d love to hear your tips!

photo credit: Flооd via photopin cc

Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade has been a nationally-recognized personal finance expert for the past decade. He has written professionally for The Balance, The Spruce, LendingTree, Investing Answers, and other widely-followed sites. 
He’s also been a featured expert on CBS News, MSN Money, Forbes, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, Go Banking Rates, and AOL Finance.

In 2018, Jacob quit his job and his family decided to sell everything (including their home) to take off on an adventure. They traveled the country in an RV for nearly 3 years, visiting over 38 states, 20+ national parks and eventually settling in the sunshine state!

29 thoughts on “How To Be A Frugal Friend”

  1. Just a note on hanging out with friends with a two year old- we have found that brunch works really well. We do Saturday morning potluck brunches with friends pretty often. It’s great for our friends with kids, because brunch happens before naptime. And it is perfect for our single friends who were out partying all night Friday because they can usually haul themselves out of bed by 10am and swing by the drive-thru for donuts. Also, breakfast foods are cheap. So I guess we are frugal friends, and we achieve this by hosting lots of potluck brunches.

  2. I’m a frugal friend, because I’m trying to walk the walk myself. Most of my friends are frugal too, and one friend (who doesn’t have any children), even comes to my place when my son is sleeping and my husband is out, because she knows I can’t go out! Needless to say, those friends quickly become closer friends; because we spend more time together 🙂

  3. Interestingly enough, I’ve been both. But it just depends on the situation and the friend. There are a few friends who will always want to go out and I’ll suggest going during happy hour instead or doing it at my place. They usually say, oh, there is the frugal you coming out, but agree with it. But for other friends, I forget to realize that for them $5 is more than they should really be spending, and I’ll go and say, oh but it’s only just $5… I’m definitely going to try and do more things at our places and make it frugal fun and all inclusive!

    • Amanda, I definitely realized a few things about myself writing this post. I would like to think that I am a frugal friend but I realized that I am probably not the majority of the time….I even sent this post to a friend and said “we suck!” lol! Your friends are lucky to be friends with someone who so conscientious.

  4. We’re pretty moderately frugal friends. We invite people over to hang at our place, go out to modestly priced restaurants, and if a friend starts impulse shopping on a shopping trip and asks me if she should buy something, I’ll usually respond, “Do you want me to talk you into this or out of this?” That usually gives them the answer they’re looking for.
    We’re all in different places financially, but I don’t think that should be a barrier to friendship if we’re reasonable and meet each other in the middle. =)

  5. This describes us to a T, if they are asking somewhere to go out together we can quickly offer 5-7 places where entrees are less than $10. You’ll need to give us a compelling reason why we need to hit up nice places when we’re just going out to spend time together.

  6. Great points all around. I’ve found that friends are often thinking the same thing I am when it comes to certain kinds of outings being too expensive; so important to communicate

  7. We have people over for dessert. Or friends to go on walks since we back up to a hiking trail. Or free movies in the park.

    Also, if we find a coupon or deal, we’ll find an extra for friends or email them about the deal and plan to go out with them for that specific even.

  8. I am very much a frugal friend, though my friends can be non-frugal at times. They’re kind of in the middle, where if they go out, they’ll try and do it cheaply. Other times, hang outs at a house are the norm, which doesn’t really require spending unless pizza is purchased. It helps that we’re all paying back student loans right now, and not many of us have amazing jobs.

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  11. I am a frugal friend, where it is appropriate. Some of our friends do not want to be frugal particularly. Every once in awhile it is nice to go out and have a coffee at Starbucks with a friend, but not every day, so I will try to be more of a frugal friend!

  12. I’d have to say that I’m that frugal friend. I’d much rather hang out at our house or a friend’s and have a pot-luck, drink beer at home, or go for a walk and chat it up (though that may mean getting a Starbucks drink to go. 🙂 )


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