It Takes a Community: How a ‘Money Buddy’ Helps You Reach Financial Goals

Sha'Kreshia Terrell and Sau-Sha Hil walk through a suburban neighborhood in Tyler, Texas.
Sha'Kreshia Terrell and Sau-Sha Hill decided to become accountability partners in 2014 to encourage each other to pay off their debt. Chelsea Purgahn for The Penny Hoarder

The temptation of chocolate cake is real, but having a pal to cheer you on makes resistance and sticking to your weight-loss goal easier. 

The same goes for your financial plans, which is why we love the idea of a “money buddy.”

That’s the person you can share financial goals with, like paying off credit card debt or saving for a house. You can check in together regularly and encourage each other along the way.

Wondering where you could find such a person? Look no further than The Penny Hoarder Community.

Launched in December 2018, the Community shares in each other’s challenges, successes and everything along the way. Here are just some of the topics the Community has covered:

  • One Community member told the group about his experience selling items on eBay, posting photos of the items he sold and his profit margins for each product. Members discussed where to find underpriced products, shipping hassles and alternatives to eBay.
  • Members compared the avalanche vs. snowball method for paying off debt. One member posted a spreadsheet she used, along with her modifications. Another member asked the group about making balance transfers part of the paydown strategy.
  • When one community member asked for effective ways to boost a credit score, members stepped up to help. A former employee of a credit card company offered seven specific ways to improve a credit score. Other members listed credit-boosting tips they learned over the years of their own financial journeys.

Such accountability can actually improve your performance, according to a study published in the Society of Behavioral Medicine. It found that participants who paired up with a virtual partner biked an average of nearly 87% longer than those who rode solo.

And regardless of your goal, simply having someone acknowledge your progress offers psychological benefits, according to Holly Donaldson, founder of Holly Donaldson Financial Planning in St. Petersburg, Florida. 

“The gym is a good analogy for it,” she said. “If you have somebody at the gym who counts for you, like your pushups… you’re more likely to do two or three more.

“It reinforces that positive behavior.”

Being part of the Community also makes it all right to falter without giving up on the bigger goal.

“You have to have someone who’s going to be encouraging even if you don’t make a goal in a specific time frame,” Donaldson said. “You want someone that’s going to say, ‘It’s OK, you’re human.’”

So if you broke your no-spend promise with an afternoon latte, The Penny Hoarder Community is there to encourage you not to throw away your budget — you’ll just start that no-spend plan again tomorrow.

Even if you’ve created a system on your own, regularly checking in with a money buddy allows you to celebrate the wins and recover from the defeats a little more easily. For example, these two friends held each other accountable to pay off a combined $70,000 in debt.

The Penny Hoarder Community features more than 4,650 responses to member questions and experiences.

In The Penny Hoarder Community, you can pair up with another member, share goals with each other and then check in on each other’s progress. 

There’s even a Budgeting Bootcamp for new Penny Hoarder email subscribers. Participants can join in conversations about creating and maintaining a budget with other members who are completing the bootcamp at the same time. 

You’ll be able to boost each other up on the tough days and celebrate your victories together as a team.

It’s part of our goal to make this the year of Less Money Stress for everyone. 

If you haven’t already joined our Community, be sure to check it out. You don’t need to go it alone. And you don’t need to give up chocolate cake.

Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer/editor at The Penny Hoarder. Read her bio and other work here, then catch her on Twitter @TiffanyWendeln.