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Reader wants advice about helping friends

Last post Wed, Sep 18 2013 5:54 AM by oddfox1. 11 replies.
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  • Sun, Apr 18 2010 10:18 PM

    • Pat
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Tue, Mar 6 2007
    • Colorado
    • Posts 14,463

    Reader wants advice about helping friends

    I think we've discussed something like this before but I couldn't find it. 

      I'd like to have some suggestions on how to help friends who are having a hard time financially without making it seem like charity or condescension. The two of us don't have financial issues (although we don't have cash to give away) but some of our friends - who aren't spendthrifts - have lost jobs or had sudden financial emergencies. I pass along things I get with two-for-one specials (the second bag of potatoes etc.) and when I bake a make a double batch but I'd like to be able to do something more other than give emotional support.

    Do you have any advice for her? 

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  • Sun, Apr 18 2010 11:42 PM In reply to

    Re: Reader wants advice about helping friends

    Invite them for a meal from time to time. Share your most frugal recipes and other ideas. Help them find free, but delightful entertainment. AM
  • Mon, Apr 19 2010 12:23 AM In reply to

    Re: Reader wants advice about helping friends

    who aren't spendthrifts - have lost jobs or had sudden financial emergencies

    Your friends needs to be convinced of their need to seek out help that will last long term --> Their need to have a plan for when these things happen.  And a plan for how to get them back on track now.

     Simply be there for them, pray for them, and look for ways to give a hand up not necessarily a hand out.  Maybe you know a good financial coach or planner who does not sell anything but simply helps to set up a plan.  They are all over this country.  Maybe you can be that person to help them set up a budget and ways to cut back without going crazy.

     However, do not give them the name of the person until they ask.  If someone calls me for help because their friend or family member "suggested" it, then the chances of their actually doing the hard stuff to get on track are slim to none.  However if they take the time to seek out someone themselves (even ask you for a referral), then there is an incredible chance at success.

    I am a Personal Financial Coach helping individuals across the country save money, get out of debt, and live financially free without selling insurance, investments, or fancy software. Just plain 'ole common sense principles that work.
  • Mon, Apr 19 2010 1:44 AM In reply to

    Re: Reader wants advice about helping friends

    Anna Marie:
    Invite them for a meal from time to time. Share your most frugal recipes and other ideas. Help them find free, but delightful entertainment.

    Great ideas!  I would add sharing garden produce, & possibly visiting local farmer's markets together- which would help them with the gas costs. 

    Let them know of any outstanding "loss leaders", or freebies you run across & while you are at the store, sign up to have the grocery ads delivered to you by mail - it's free, & those who are cutting back financially usually cut the newpaper in the first or second round of cuts.  Knowing what is on sale where is really helpful, & the fliers have coupons in them.

    If there is an active freecycle group in your area, invite them to join. Check out craigslist.

  • Mon, Apr 19 2010 5:09 AM In reply to

    • my.kids
    • Top 200 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Nov 9 2009
    • Auckland,New Zealand
    • Posts 194

    Re: Reader wants advice about helping friends

    As someone who is in one of those slumps, who doesn't want people to give me money its the little things that help when your financially struggling. Bringing homemade baking when popping in for a visit, discount vouchers for goods that you use that they don't, excess fruit/vege from someones garden, someone running an errand for you on their way home. I have also been blessed with childrens clothes from friends/family whose children have outgrown them, and another friend is giving me chicks when her chickens breed. All these have helped me financially but cost little or no money to the giver which hasn't dented my pride.

    http://overamillionorbust.blogspot.com/ our journey from over $1million worth of debt.
  • Mon, Apr 19 2010 9:38 AM In reply to

    Re: Reader wants advice about helping friends

    My best friend was out of work for a long time, and I just made a habit of doing little things for him in an unobtrusive way.  For example, my husband and I would frequently have this friend over for dinner, and if we all went somewhere together we'd always offer to drive (so our friend wouldn't have to pay for gas).  If I had anything to give away (from home-grown produce to books), I would always offer it to him first.  Just little things like that--the sort of gestures that are part of the normal give-and-take of a friendship, except there was this unspoken understanding that we would be doing most of the giving until he had a job again.  

    My Ecofrugal Living blog: ecofrugality.blogspot.com
  • Thu, Apr 22 2010 10:43 AM In reply to

    Re: Reader wants advice about helping friends

    Any networking assistance you can give them would be useful--introductions to other friends or professional acquaintances, etc.  Rides to volunteer work where they can meet potential employers or referers might help them.  Hope you've e-mailed them the Dollar Stretcher's URL, as well as Simple Dollar and other frugality sites. If you know someone who's "getting rid of" personal articles which could be sold via Craigslist, eBay, or Amazon, that would help them for sure.  

  • Mon, Apr 26 2010 11:22 PM In reply to

    Re: Reader wants advice about helping friends

    Suggest your friend visit daveramsey.com or google Financial Peace University.  Classes are being taught all over the country that help people learn how to dig out of financial holes that are present and prevent future ones from appearing.  It is a wonderful resource.
  • Wed, May 19 2010 9:58 PM In reply to

    Re: Reader wants advice about helping friends

    When I was out of work and then under-employed, the most wonderful thing friends did for me was to simply give encouragement. Telling your friend things like "This is only temporary -- you'll find a good job before long" and "You have a lot of skills and I know an employer will really value what you have to offer" will bolster her spirits like nothing else can. Sometimes, when you're in the middle of problems, you can't see there's a light at the end of your dark tunnel, but a friend's encouragement will give you hope.

    Inviting your pal  to a dinner or movie, play or other entertrainment event  is also a "stealth" way to help -- you can claim you won two tickets to the event at work, or were given a gift certificate or two for one coupon, would your friend like to accompany you?  If she had to disconnect her cable, bring her to your home for an evening of good TV shows or movies on TV. If you're going to the beach, lake or mountains some weekend, invite her to get away -- sometimes it's a help to get out of the house when you're down. You can also invite her to church if she has no church home, especially if you go to a casual service where dressing up is not required. If your garden produces a bumper crop of some vegetable or fruit, it's not too obvious if you give her a basket full of that food. Could you have a girl's night in, and do a beauty makeover?  If she's your size, what about a clothing swap? You could exchange garments you're tired of, and what you both get in return will be like brand "new" to you. That may be especially helpful if you have any job interview clothes she could wear.

    When my grandmother was living on a fixed income, I found that practical help was the most needed kind. Sometimes I would give her a roll of stamps to pay bills with, or warm clothing. My mom always drove her to the grocery store and let her use the family washing machine and dryer. Once, Grandma had lost a lot of weight and then had problems with her decades-old dentures -- so my mom and I gave her a trip to the dentist for Christmas. That sounds weird, but Medicare didn't cover dental visits; Grandma later told us that she could eat her food without pain after having her dentures adjusted to fit her mouth. We paid the dentist, and Grandma said our "gift" was something she enjoyed every time she ate. 


  • Wed, May 19 2010 11:22 PM In reply to

    • gayla50
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Sep 24 2007
    • Western North Carolina
    • Posts 8,491

    Re: Reader wants advice about helping friends

    so many of our friends and church members of out work we make it  an efford to speak to them often and inviting them to things that are free or at our church and we keep them close in prayer .



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