In a recent experiment, nonprofit Commonwealth and fintech company Esusu found that when saving money in a group, members sock away more: 66% of participants saved more per month on average at the end of the experiment than they had prior to the experiment. They also felt better about where they were financially and about their financial future.
Whether you’re trying to save for a purchase, build your bank account or pay off debt, hitting your financial goals is hard enough without having to set limits with friends who are on a different financial path. The temptation to give into your friends who invite you to dinner or to go on a cruise can be frustrating. When you add to that your desire to prepare and achieve self-reliance it can seem overwhelming.
To avoid frustration and to gain much needed support, it is time to surround yourself with those who have similar goals and who don’t think you’re crazy for being frugal and planning for the future. It is time to create a self-reliance posse. What is a posse? It is simply a group of people who have a common characteristic, occupation, purpose or goal.
Why a posse?
- You will be able to trade skills. Your posse will more than likely be thrilled to barter skills and talents saving them not only money but time. Someone may cut hair, bake bread, sew, repair cars, have excess from their garden, have extra eggs from their flock of chickens, or be amazing at home repairs.
- You will be able to teach each other new skills and even money-saving tricks that have worked. Your group have will teach you new money-saving skills and techniques you would have never thought of or tried on your own. Pretty much every frugal idea I know of is something I’ve learned from another frugal friend.
- It’s hard to remain consistent and inspired. A support group can help when you have low times, and you can help pull them out of a slump. It’s hard to stick to a budget. It’s hard to seek out bargains consistently. It’s hard to think of what to bring to a dinner party or barbecue when you don’t want to dip into your grocery budget or preparedness fund. It’s hard to buy food storage or mylar blankets when you really just want to buy something for yourself or to go to a movie and out to dinner.
- You’ll have a second set of eyes. When a member of your posse is at a garage sale and finds a great deal on canning jars or storage shelves you have been needing, you’ll get a call. When you find a deal on closeouts at the grocery store you can text your posse so they can take advantage of the bargains as well. You know shopping for Christmas gifts year-round is wise and can be a huge savings. The same is true of emergency prep items. Alternative methods for cooking when there is no power may include fire pits, grills, and camp stove all of which go on sale not during the summer months but in the fall. Share lists of items you are looking to buy and let your group be on the lookout for you.
- You’ll have fun and strengthen your relationships. It’s a lot less fun to prepare when you have no one to share your successes with. It’s fun to share the conversations you have with a clerk who asks you what you are painting, and you explain you are buying the empty paint can to make a heater.
Plan road trips together and go hit up the thrift store or produce market to find items needed. Years ago, our ward relief society traveled to the outlets in San Francisco, they were real outlets with really inexpensive prices. One of the best parts of the trip was when we returned to the bus after each stop and shared the treasures we had found.
- Teamwork is more efficient. Why reinvent the wheel? When working together each member can be assigned a task or an area to research. Many more problems can be solved by sharing what you learn individually rather than the tedious process of solving one problem and then researching the next and so on.
- Accountability. Have you ever noticed in your family, a club you belong to or in a church calling that when there is no expectation to return and report that little is accomplished? It is the expectation others have that you will report on your task that motivates us to press forward.
Having mutual respect, common and aligned goals, open communication, and patience can all help make for a successful posse.
How do you beginning building your self-reliance posse?
- Consider your friends. Who among your friends are living frugally and simply? Who is excited about thrift store shopping? Who has asked you for tips on where to store food storage or how to build a kit? Who panicked and/or froze during the last power outage? Ask them to join you.
- Ask facilitators of the church self-reliance classes for names of those who have taken their class, especially the Financial Self-Reliance and Starting and Growing Your Business classes. They are great classes, but it can be difficult when the class ends to stay motivated. If you are in such a class or have been, invite the class you were in to be in your posse. They will probably be very grateful for the support to stay on the self-reliance path.
- Consider home schooling families. These families are often focused not only on “reading, writing and arithmetic”, but also on building skills such as budgeting and self-reliance related activities.
- Volunteer to teach a class. Post a note on your Facebook page or announce at church, a parent club meeting or other club meeting, that you are going to teach a class on an aspect of preparedness you feel confident to teach. See if anyone expresses an interest in the class. You are now building a posse.
- Social Media contacts. Your entire posse does not need to live nearby. There are many living in rural areas with little support. Some have no support at home. Some may be new to the idea of emergency preparedness and self-reliance. There are many online communities for self-reliance and budgeting but personally knowing someone you can trust and call for advise while standing in the aisle at the store is so much more valuable.
Invite your distant friends to join the Totallyready facebook page or the Totally Ready blog. Each Monday we post a food storage challenge for the week based on storing from all food groups. On Wednesdays we post tips for saving money and budgeting. When your posse is all following the same posts you can share what you are doing to meet the challenges that week and to ask for help where you need advice and support. It will give you a place to begin your journey together as a group.
Make preparing fun. Set group goals. Create friendly competitions. Who can find the most creative places to store food? Who can find the best deal on a camp stove? Who can find the best deal at the dollar store? The reward, maybe a bag of pasta or can of green beans or a mylar blanket from each group member. Have fun.
Working with others enables you to pool your ideas and see problems from different perspectives. In a group situation, you can attempt tasks that could not be accomplished by an individual. By combining a variety of skills and expertise you will have the confidence to tackle complex and larger scale challenges.
President Ezra Taft Benson taught, ”When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power.” Create a posse, make preparing and self-reliance a quest and the power to accomplish your tasks will come.