How to Help Your Friends With Their Money Troubles

Helping friends with a budget

Right off the bat, I want to throw out a disclaimer: you can’t help the unwilling, folks. You also don’t want to annoy friends and family by pushing your views on budgeting, spending, saving and all things finance on them. Doing so will likely backfire and create animosity or resentment between you and the ones you love. So, this post only really applies to those friends who have asked you for help with their money troubles, who want to make a positive change, and who want to learn your snazzy frugal ways.

This isn’t for the friends who you know would benefit greatly from a little financial kick-in-the-pants but who won’t listen. This is for the soon to be rockstars of financial independence:

1. Invite Them Over for Cheap Activities

One of the big issues with trying to become financially fit is that you have to say no to people a lot, and sometimes saying no is really lame. For example, your friends might invite you to the movies or out to eat at a nice restaurant, and you know it’s not in your budget.

So, in order to help your friends who are trying to overcome money troubles by pinching their pennies, try some of these ideas for saving money on entertainment: invite them over for game night. Order a pizza. Better yet, make a pizza. Hang out, drink cheap beer, and enjoy each other’s company. You don’t need to have a $100 dinner to do that! Plus, they’ll really appreciate the fact that they weren’t put in an awkward position of having to say no.

2. Check in On Them and Their Money Troubles

One of the hardest things to do when it comes to remaining financially fit is staying on track. I think we could all benefit from a little accountability, so if you know someone who is trying to do better with their finances, check in on them. Let them know you’re rooting for them. Ask them how their debt repayment is going.

Make sure to keep your tone light and non-judgmental. You want them to trust you so that they admit when things aren’t so great. Money is such a sensitive subject for the vast majority of the population that there is often shame or anxiety involved when it comes to overspending or other general money troubles. Be sensitive to that and be encouraging.

3. Offer to Look Over Their Budget

You’ve been budgeting for a while, but your friend hasn’t. As any die hard budgeting nerd knows, budgets really do take some time to tweak and get just right. It could take several months of tracking, spending, and changing categories to find one that really works best for you. Plus, there are so many different kinds of budgets. There are budgets using a pen and paper, budgets using excel, and budgets using online software.

I like a combination of excel and online software, but some other people kick it old school by balancing a checkbook. Whatever works for your friend, help them and encourage them, especially if they get frustrated or need a little guidance on how to organize things.

Ultimately, it’s a great feeling to help someone who really does want to make a positive change in terms of their financial goals.


Have you ever helped a friend who asked you for money advice? Who helped you overcome your own money troubles? Do you feel like you’re ready to return the favor for someone else in your life who’s ready for help?



Photo courtesy of: Chris Potter

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Catherine Alford is a personal finance freelance writer and blogger. She received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. When she is not writing for other websites on all topics frugal and fabulous, she enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog,

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