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Can An Accountability Buddy Make You Rich?

Annie 20th May 2024 No Comments

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Finding ways to be held accountable for your financial choices can be a strong route to making sure you’re on your way to financial stability. Accountability buddies have been around in different guises for many years – friends who make sure the other turns up to the gym each week, or family members who go on a diet with you for moral support are two common examples. But have you ever thought about an accountability buddy for your money? Here’s how finding friends with similar financial goals could help you achieve yours.

Why Do You Need an Accountability Buddy?

How to Find An Accountability Buddy

Setting Goals Together

Saving Money Together: Sharing Deals and Group Buys

Stop Impulsive Spending

Reward Yourselves for Success


Why Do You Need a Financial Accountability Buddy?

If you know you’re bad with money, there is an obvious reason to find moral support with someone who understands your difficulties. However, even if you think you’re quite financially responsible, you could find that there are ways you could be making or saving more money if you look at your financial life through someone else’s eyes.

No matter where you are in life with your savings, investments, spending and debts, a fresh pair of eyes on your situation could help you spot so many more ways you could improve your finances. An accountability buddy is NOT a replacement for independent financial advice – they are more for moral support, to help you through the difficult times of adjusting to living with a new budget or finding new ways to save money, for example. They’re there for emotional support as much as they are to find deals you can split to save money together!

How to Find an Accountability Buddy

This isn’t a formal arrangement, but you do need to have someone you trust. A partner, family member, or close friend is often better – unless money is a frequent arguing point between you. Some people prefer to have a total stranger to discuss things with – obviously, never ever EVER share your bank details or specific financial details with strangers or, in fact, anyone. However, if you want to keep your goals quiet from your friends and family, turn to social media. There are plenty of forums out there on which you can create an anonymous account and find accountability groups or individuals.

When it comes to sharing information, you can be specific about your overall goals but vague about what you share for accountability. For example, you could say “I want to pay off £3,000 on my credit card and save £5,000 by 2025”. What you share in terms of how you achieve that can be vague: “I made a credit card payment over the minimum today.” This helps you stay accountable without opening you up to risk of being scammed.

It’s important to find a buddy who has similar circumstances to you. It makes you more relatable to each other which means you can give each other authentic support. It can be hard for a stock market pro wanting to invest a spare £25,000 to relate to someone who wants to save their first £500 after graduating university. Life circumstances matter, too. Parents will understand the unique costs that come with having children, while new graduates will understand what it’s like trying to save money while in their first low income job.

The most important two rules are:

  1. You must trust each other, and
  2. You must be honest with each other.

There is no point having an accountability buddy that you can’t tell the truth to. If you haven’t saved your goal this month, or if you bought that fancy shampoo instead of the pound shop one, you need to be able to talk about it openly and without judgement.

Setting Goals Together

The first step of working with your financial accountability buddy is to decide what your goals are. You each might have different goals and that’s OK – but it’s important you share them with each other. This will help you keep each other on track.

Make your goals specific with milestones to achieve. For example: “I want to save more money” is vague. You could save £1 more than last year and technically have achieved your goal! Instead, try goals such as:

  • “I want to reduce my debt by £5,000 this year”
  • “I need to save £10,000 in my house deposit account by January 2026”
  • “I want to cut my non essential spending by £200 a month”
  • “I need to stick to a budget of £500 a month (after paying rent/mortgage)”
  • “I will do a no-spend year/six months/month”
  • “I will learn about ETFs and invest £250 every eight weeks”

Then break down these goals further. If you need to reduce your debt by £5,000, for example, that’s paying off £417 a month. Some months that might not be possible and other months you will have more spare cash to pay off debts. So, “I will pay at least £400 a month towards my debts” is a goal that is measurable by both time and amount. This makes it easier to track your successes and also to see where you could still improve.

Saving Money Together

The great thing about accountability buddies or groups is that you can all take advantage of money saving opportunities together. Couponing is huge in the United States, for example. People will let others know where to find the best coupons and how to stack deals to save the most money.

Another way is making the most of group discounts. If you and your accountability buddy need the same thing, buy in bulk and share it. This might mean going to a wholesaler together like Costco and saving on the wholesale discounts there, or joining group-buying sites to take advantage of online group discounts.

Stop Impulse Spending

Many of us have things we can’t help spending our money on, even when our budget is tight. You can’t resist that Friday night takeaway each week. You’ve seen a hat to add to your collection. The latest Xbox game is out. You definitely need another candle. Things like this – when we find reasons for spending on unnecessary things – are where an accountability buddy can help.

If you feel like you might make an impulsive purchase, stop. Reach out to your buddy and tell them what you want to buy. Tell them why – and if there is no good reason, tell them that, too. Spending impulsively is just as much an emotional act as a practical one. Do not make that purchase until your buddy replies.

Sometimes, you still might go ahead when you have talked it over with them. This doesn’t mean you have failed. It means you have truly considered whether you actually need this item or just want it. That is the first step to working towards financial stability. Learning how to overcome impulse spending is a lot like following a diet: it’s tempting to say ‘oh well I’ve had a piece of cake, I might as well eat another”. In reality, you should say: “that slice of cake was delicious, and now I am back to my healthy eating meal plans.” Your buddy can help you change the way you think about impulse spending.

Reward Yourselves for Success

The reward is achieving your goals. You’ll end your year with debts paid off and spare money in the bank! However, it can feel like a real slog if all you’re doing is saving every penny and not enjoying life in the meantime.

When you set your goals with your accountability buddy, make sure you include milestones that are important. When you have paid off 50% of your debt goal, for example, go out for dinner together. Or, if you want to be money saving in your reward, check out free things to do together!

Setting rewards as well as the final goal will make a huge difference to staying motivated when things get hard. Celebrating together with your buddy will help you stay motivated together, and cheer each other on when it’s a tougher time of year (hello, Christmas, we’re looking at you).

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Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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