Pretend It’s Your Best Friend

Have you ever heard a friend or coworker talking about something they’re doing with their money, and wished it were appropriate to say something?

Sometimes it seems so obvious that there’s a better way of doing things, or that the person is digging a hole that’s going to be hard to get out of. You don’t understand how they can avoid seeing the problem and the solution.

But, it’s easy to see things and be objective when thinking about someone else. Seeing financial issues in yourself (and then objectively analyzing them and finding solutions) is another matter. Chances are we all have something we could improve in our financial lives. (I know I do.)

One way to do so is to pretend that your best friend has come to you for help. What would you do in that situation?

You’d start by listening to them, so start by listening to yourself — literally listening to yourself.

What kinds of things do you say out loud? You might be surprised at the things you say without even realizing it, so make a list.

Your list might go something like this:

  • Ugh, it seems like I just got paid but there’s never any money in the account.
  • What the heck did I buy anyway?
  • No honey, we can’t afford that.

What if your best friend said those things to you? Where would you start?

Chances are you’d start by asking them where the money does go. (Or whatever question would apply to what they’ve said to you.) So ask yourself that question.

Next, think about the kind of advice you might offer your best friend if they’d come to you for help and really wanted to make a change. What do they want to accomplish? How could they best get there? Go ahead and brainstorm, like you would with a friend. Picture yourself actually discussing ideas with a friend, and write them down.

Finally, put the things you’ve come up with into action — whether they include learning more about money, learning to create a budget, planning out goals, or meal planning. Choose the one that seems likely to have the biggest impact, and focus on that. This is where it really pays to be your own best friend.