As you know I’m all about being sensible with our money, and encourage others to do the same. Still, I reckon there’s a difference between being financially prudent and being a bit of a cheapskate.
It’s not a good look.
Shirking your round at the bar is one example of a savings strategy that wanders into cheapskate territory. Once you pull a few moves like that… well, you’ll quickly develop a reputation as a tight arse among your friends and family.
And if your friends are anything like mine, they’ll let you know about it! And you won’t ever live it down.
Still, with a bit of common sense, it’s possible to have it both ways. Here are five ways to save money and achieve your financial goals without everyone thinking you’re a cheapskate.
1. Always pay your debts
If you’re familiar with Game of Thrones you’ll know that the Lannister family are a pretty dodgy bunch, all things considered.
But while you can call them many things – incestuous, power hungry and violent spring to mind – one thing you can’t accuse them of is being cheap.
“A Lannister always pays his debts” goes the family motto, and if you want to keep your mates and avoid the dreaded cheapskate label, it’s best you do the same.
How does this help you save money? Well, I’d argue that if you’re trying to save, racking up debts with your friends or family isn’t a great way to go about it! And if you do owe them, it’s best to pay up first, and save later.
2. Speak up, don’t hide
Can’t afford to do something? Speak up, and don’t hide.
A simple, “Sorry guys, I’m saving for a house deposit and can’t afford to come on holiday with you this year”, is much better than succumbing to peer pressure, suffering in silence or dropping out with some vague excuse.
As adults, we need to be comfortable making our own decisions about what we can and can’t afford, rather than letting other people do it for us.
Australians are famous for not being classist or judging these kinds of things. So I’m confident that your friends will understand.
But if someone still gives you a hard time even though you’ve been open and honest with them, they’re probably not worth your time, let alone your money, anyway.
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3. Don’t judge other people
If you’re expecting people to be understanding of your financial decisions, then you also need to be accepting of theirs.
While you may be counting your pennies and going without in order to achieve financial goals faster, it doesn’t mean everyone else has to as well.
So don’t judge your friend who splashes cash around like it grows on trees. Or your parents when they book a lavish holiday overseas. It’s their money after all (and in your parents’ case you know they’ve earned it!).
4. Do the right thing
What is the ‘right thing’, you ask? It’s simple… just apply some common sense.
The right thing is to buy a round of drinks when it’s your round at the bar. Or bring a gift to a friend’s birthday or wedding (it doesn’t have to be something expensive or flash).
Remember, no one expects you to shower gifts or money on them, it’s the thought that counts. Don’t forget to be a thoughtful person, just because you’re trying to save money.
5. Don’t whinge
Finally, if you’ve agreed to do something, live with it.
No one appreciates someone who comes along to an event and spends the entire time whinging about how much it’s costing. Or who brings up money at every available opportunity.
And besides, it’s important to let your hair down once in a while and have a little fun, don’t you think?