Your Frugal Success Team

by Lisa Reid


Nobody becomes a success all alone. When stars stand up to receive their Academy Awards, they always bring their lists of people to acknowledge. Academy Award-winning actors get a lot of help before they make it to the top.

This is true for all successful people. In order to succeed, these folks have teams of helpers who propel them on their way. And they often intentionally set up their teams with this goal in mind. We can use this idea to help us successfully lead rich, full lives on small amounts of money. Your family is your primary success unit. Families must pull together - if we don't, the house falls apart and we don't eat! There's a basic survival motive there. And then, love for our family members is a good motive, too! The Osmond family, which produced Donny and Marie Osmond, is a truly supportive one. As the kids were growing up, they had family council meetings with each member having one vote and able to give an opinion in decision-making discussions. They were not paid allowances, but were taught that the family's money was a shared resource and was to be given out according to needs. Any family member could take a purchase request to the family council. Family support and affection was made manifest through the moneys that each member received to support his or her desired goal.

Of course, a family success team may look totally different from the Osmonds. The point is that members can talk about their goals and expect to receive encouragement from their "team". This is where a dad may say, "I want to start a new business." Or a mom may say, "I want to stop worrying about having enough money," and the family can look at what kind of money-saving support each member can give. Another important part of the frugal success team is friends. Friends provide what Amy Dacyczyn calls a "mutual mooching relationship." Cohorts who recognize and value each other's desire to live frugally can help each other tremendously. You definitely need someone (or a few someone's) on your team that you can call and ask, "Can we borrow your tent to take camping this weekend?" And to whom you won't mind lending your 5 gallon coffee maker when the occasion arises.

Also, use your team members to connect you with others. Barbara Sher, the author of Wishcraft, relates an experience where a psychologist demonstrated that if you put twenty people together and ask them who they know, together they can build a bridge of personal contacts to anyone in the U.S. This concept of putting the word out works especially well when you are trying to find someone who wants to sell something you want to buy. A friend of mine recently heard about someone at the edge of her network of friends that was trying to buy a piano cheap. So she just gave this person her piano. She was done with it, knew it was going to someone who would appreciate it and didn't want the hassle of selling it. Do you know someone who always seems to get great deals like this? I'm willing to bet he or she has a great network of friends, a support team.

Begin with an intention to be successful at frugality and become part of one or several groups that will help you do that while you help others to their own success. Not only will it get you where you want to be, it just plain feels good!


Lisa was formerly the head of Family Finances for Compuserve. She homeschools her 7 and 12 year olds and is working on a number of frugal living and publishing projects.

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