Grab a Friend! Social Strategies to Help You Save
There is strength in numbers! This is especially true when you’re trying to reach your goals and change behaviors. Weight Watchers uses this principle to support healthy eating, and Alcoholics Anonymous uses it to encourage sober living. Emerging research shows that peer support can increase your confidence and sense of control. Social support also makes you more likely to succeed in changing your habits. By participating in social savings strategies, you can capture these same benefits with your financial goals and savings habits.
Socializing your financial goals and savings strategies is when you get together with people to support each other and fulfill your aspirations. These peer support groups can be loose and informal with your friends to help each other save. They can also be formal and structured with agreed-upon savings amounts. Social strategies can include technology, but they don’t need to.
Let’s explore some options for getting social with your financial goals and savings strategies. These strategies can help you save more by providing mutual accountability, shared support, and peer learning.
Vision board party
A vision board is a collage of visual images or words that represent your financial goals or dreams. You can make one by hand using magazine cutouts, photos, or stickers on a poster board. You can make one digitally through a website like Pinterest. Creating a financial vision board with your friends can be fun. But it’s also a tangible way to see and support each others’ goals and plan how to achieve them.
Social savings clubs are small groups of people with similar savings goals who commit to gathering together and regularly saving a specific amount for a period of time.
For example, if members of your group are saving $600 for an emergency savings fund over six months, each individual commits to save $100 by each monthly meeting. Alternatively, your group could commit to doing something like the 52-week money challenge where you gradually increase your savings by a dollar a week over a whole year.
Lending circles are when a small group of friends or family saves together and lends each other money. The group agrees on a monthly amount that each member contributes. Each month, a new member of the lending circle receives the “loan” until everyone in the group gets paid.
If a lending circle has 10 members who contribute $100 each month, each member receives $1,000 over 10 months.
Financial Support Group
In a financial support group, members provide each other with emotional support. They share information and personal experiences related to financial goals, saving habits, and relationships with money. Peer-led financial circles are collaborative and creative experiences that can increase self-awareness and self-confidence, and in turn your financial health.
Socially-Networked Savings Account
Online savings accounts like SmartyPig allow you to announce your financial goals to the world, network with other savers, and ask for help from friends and family.
The idea behind social saving is that the more support you get, the more successful you will be in reaching your financial goals. You can mix and match these options or get creative with other possibilities. Many studies (as well as my own personal experiences) show that you’re more likely to complete a goal if someone is holding you accountable for it and providing you with emotional and practical support. Saving can be more fun and meaningful when you involve your friends and family on your financial journey!
Christi Baker is a nationally recognized financial educator and coach who has 25 years of experience building financial health with individuals and through community-based organizations. She believes in allowing personal values and vision to the lead the journey to financial health alongside the right tools, support, and resources.