Finding Frugal Friends

by Ryan

I’ve only lived here in Honolulu for about two months now and I’ve made a few casual acquaintances, but no true buddies, pals, or best friends. This isn’t meant to be a post to gain your sympathy… far from it, but I am wondering how you’ve dealt with this situation.

You’re obviously reading a personal finance blog in which I, Ryan, am living frugal and below my means. Believe it not, this is not average behavior for a young twenty something – surprising, right? The trouble is there are lots of people who I could be friends with my own age around town, but who wouldn’t agree with my lifestyle choices. So what’s a frugal guy who’d prefer a book to a beer and free to flashy supposed to do?

How People Normally Make Friends
People make friends in a ton of different ways, but it’s usually through other friends or a shared interest of some kind. Most of my best friends back home are either members of a previous fraternity in college (please hold the comments) or from playing sports in high school.

My best friends are ones I have a common interest with, such as hobbies. I couldn’t handle a friend who constantly wants to go shopping, talk about the latest celebrity gossip, and their sweet new car… it’s just not my style… if I had style of course.

With that said, my lifestyle mostly entails career, fitness, outdoor activities, this blog, and frugal living. I simply haven’t met people who are similar in interests and have a frugal mentality. It’s been a tad frustrating and I’m sure Fabulously Broke can relate.

An Example from Yesterday
Yesterday I met a guy at the gym (sounds a bit risky, but it’s not) and we ended up going to the beach after the morning workout. We met up with some of his friends and hung out all day. After throwing the fribee around, enjoying the sun, and doing some swimming we headed over to one of his buddies apartments.

His buddy is in the coast guard and gets a housing allowance of $1,600 a month. As a result, he had an apartment that costs, you guessed it, $1,600 a month. He had an amazing 1 bedroom on the 15th floor of a tower in the heart of Waikiki. He also had surround sound, a brand new plasma, leather couches, and surf boards galore, not to mention the brand new Toyota Tundra he picked us up in. Reminding myself that this was a normal bachelor pad and I lived in the equivalent of a modern museum, I grabbed a beer and hung out with them for the rest of the evening without a hitch.

As I shot the breeze with the guys though, I knew that they wouldn’t understand how I chose to live my life. They were simply thinking about the next girl they wanted to bang or who’d win the next MMA pay per view. Honestly, I wished I could be those guys, but I was not and never will be able to do so. I’d rather read an article in the Economist, go for a walk, have a meaningful conversation, or go for a scuba dive. So I began to wonder… are frugalists weird? Am I a stranger in a strange land?

How do you find frugal friends?
What do frugal people do? You’re probably not going to find a frugal person at a nightclub, paying $10 for a drink. You’ll also probably not see them at a book store since library is a much cheaper alternative. Unless you’ve got a Freement mindset in which you like new things and test them out for a while. I’m guilty of this and spend hours at Barnes and Noble without actually buying anything.

Anyways, this is something I have yet to do well… that is find frugal friends. If they’re like me they’re probably at work, the gym, doing outdoor activities, or writing in their apartment. If that’s the case, maybe I’ll just have to meet more guys at the gym! Otherwise I’m not sure the best route would be to find someone in my city who has a similar mindset.

I’m interested to hear your stories about being frugal and meeting like minded people.

How did you meet your fellow frugal friends and what advice do you have for someone also looking to meet fellow frugalists?

Related Posts with Thumbnails
If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Financial Samurai January 4, 2010 at 1:06 am

Hey Ryan, that’s interesting the guy gets a $1600/month housing allowance as part of his compensation! It’s not like Honolulu is a hardship post or anything,, so what is he getting a housing allowance?

Sounds like he’s living the high life. How old is he?

thriftygal January 4, 2010 at 6:43 am

I’m in the same boat as you, although my reasons for being (almost) friendless in a (almost) new city are not all similar to yours. I’d try to find frugal bloggers from your area, communicate with them for a while and then arrange a meetup with the ones you click with. And in a perfect world, I’d follow my own advice !

Mo January 4, 2010 at 7:09 am

I find that the most productive way to make friends is to be involved in something that happens on a regular schedule– like working, or taking a class, or being involved in a regularly scheduled activity (karate class, sailing group, soccer team). By being repeatedly exposed to the same group of people, friendships form (or they don’t, and you move on to the next class, activity, etc).

Ryan January 4, 2010 at 8:47 am

@ Samurai – I have no idea why he’s getting so much for housing allowance. The guy is 22 and from New Jersey originally.

@ Thriftygal – maybe we should start a friend website for frugal people based on geographic location? http://www.frugalfriends.com perhaps?

@ Mo – I agree – I’ve tried the canoe club, and a few other groups, but only big spenders as friends thus far. Last weekend I went for a group hike and got picked up by a guy in a new BMW, so that didn’t work either. Maybe I’ll hang out at the college up the street since my spending behavior is still the same as a broke college student!

Ty January 4, 2010 at 8:53 am

Wow, I just got back from visiting my parents in Hawaii and I saw your post on ERE. I lived in Honolulu for 20 years and I can’t think of a good way to meet frugal friends because I was quite the spendthrift when I was in high school and community college. As for meeting interesting people, ride The Bus or go to Longs. No, seriously…there’s a play and book called Folds You Meet at Longs. But remember to take your CVS card because although the stores still say Longs and offer the same service and products that the locals love, they’re really CVS. The Bus is a great travel option; I went around the island for $2.25. Have you been up Diamond Head yet? It’s only $1 if you take the bus or park your bike at KCC and walk up to the visitor entrance.

What do I do when I go home? I spend time with my family and do my gift shopping for the year.

Pwag January 4, 2010 at 3:39 pm

I had a simillar problem when I was younger. I had a family of four at 22, so frugality was par for the course. My “problem” came to the surface when the shrink, for a job I had applied for, said something about “my limited social network.”

“Ma’am,” I said, “I’m 22 and have a wife and two kids. While all my friends are out chasing tail and getting drunk on fridays, I’m home with my wife and kids.”

I’m thirty now and it’s not so bad. You can cultivate cheap hobbies and find some “grown up” friends. Maybe fishing? I have a feeling you are just lost among your age/peer group.

Nancy January 4, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Hmmm….tough prob….how about setting up a budget for activites to meet friends…for example…find out where the happy hours are in your area…usually, budget minded people go to those….maybe make friends with the bartender ( he may give you free beers!)….instead of paying 10.00 for a beer would you be willing to spend $3.00 to meet some friends at a bar? Once you have made the friends…you can persuade them to do “free activities” and you won’t have to have a budget for meeting friends…does that make sense? You may have to spend a little to make them…..since the economy is bad right now..i have a lot of friends willing to do less expensive activities….maybe organize a movie night at your place and have everyone bring something to eat/drink…there is a site called http://www.meetup.com Have you heard of it? you can organize your own group….maybe people who like to invest? scuba diving? book club? frugal friends meet up group? etc….hope that helps!

Ryan January 4, 2010 at 10:01 pm

@ Ty – wow that book looks old, but it’s peaked my interest… Yes, I have gone up to Diamond Head – what a great view! I am also in love with the bus, I’m going to write a post about it soon in fact…

@ Pwag – I have a feeling your feeling is correct. It’s probably not as bad as I make it out to be, and I haven’t settled down with fishing yet… rather enjoy things with more of a rush… haha… a cheap rush, like diving or bodyboarding. Maybe fishing will come in the next decade…

@ Nancy – Thank you for your thoughtful list of ideas! I have tried meetup here and it’s worked thus far, but the two fairly good friends I’ve made from it so far have been in their early 40’s!!! I’m also attempting to find another bartending job like I had in Wisconsin because I found I met a lot of great people socializing while also making money.

Tracy January 5, 2010 at 5:49 am

Hey Ryan,
I’m sure age does have something to do with it. I am from an earlier generation and the amazing thing about all of this is the fact that my friends who are fabulously well to do started like you and Samarai and J. Money…either living below their means and slowly building wealth or in the case of one couple I know, the wife worked while her husband developed his skill as a Venture Capitalist. They lived very simply and when their ship came in, the whole world changed. And yet they are still efficient in how they spend. I think you are looking for the exceptions in the crowd. As for the coast guard guy, the living allowance has to do with median costs for housing in the area more than anything else. My brother is career Coast Guard and the perks are pretty sweet. Then again, his job helps keep us all safer.

Jesse January 8, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Ryan,

A little tired over here, but an idea just popped into my head. I didn’t read through the previous posts, so this may have already been suggested.

You are going about it backwards. Instead of spinning your wheels seeking frugal friends, become the Pied Piper and let the frugal friends come to you.

You’d have to tailor this to your regional culture, but the main idea would be to set up some loosely based club with a focus on frugal living (or whatever financial topic) specifically for Hawaii and your area.

Doesn’t have to be very focused or specific, but it clearly defines your intentions along with whoever is interested before even meeting each other. You’ll establish the baseline interests early on (relating back to your common ground among your hometown buddies) then the relationships can grow from there.

Linda Lambert March 17, 2010 at 6:58 am

You joined a gym!? Wow- even that is pricey…
Here on the “Gold Coast” of Fairfield County CT. its all in percpective, I seek out people that don’t want to talk about their designer houses but their families, their recipes- current crises in their lives. I somehow just go silent and get really really bored when I listen to someone talk about shoes (unless they found them at goodwill or found another amazing thrift store) The best place I have found friends is at the dog park, mostly people with mixed breeds are as a rule nicer, I have one of each to even things out- so I am not completely prejudiced, only towards people who buy their chi chi designer dogs from puppy stores and thus support the cruel puppy mill business. The people that have shelter dogs are as a rule kind and empathetic and is there nothing more wonderful than a walk in the woods (and free too) if you don’t make a friend you always have one running by your side!
The people that want their dogs to make friends and socialize are usually those that also want to socialize!

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: