Let’s Start Sharing Money Wins

“I just bought a new car!” “Congratulations!”
“Oh my gosh, that sweater is so cute! Is it new?”
“I decided to fly first class, because I deserve it.”

Spending money is pretty natural to share with people. We congratulate each other on big purchases, and sometimes even ask people why they haven’t bought a house yet, or replaced their car, or gotten a couch that’s not from Craigslist.

We don’t tend to share our salaries, debt levels, or saving successes. Which is a bummer, because that’s what I want to congratulate my friends on.

Luckily for me, over the course of the last year or so, my friends have come to recognize that I am obsessed with budgeting. I’ve recently had some awesome conversations:

“I just paid off one of my student loans!”
“I reset my 401(k) contribution to 20 percent!”
“My net worth is officially zero!”

Those are the kinds of things I want to congratulate people on. It takes planning and effort and attention to cut expenses and make headway on your financial goals. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to sign on the dotted line for a new car loan (or – yikes – lease).

Plus, sharing these successes normalizes them, and normalizes savings. For some weird reason, we live in a culture where purchases are something to be celebrated, but talking about your savings rate is bragging.

Telling people who have extensive student loans that you actually have money in the bank might even make them think that you should always pick up the bill.

In almost every other area of our lives, we’re comfortable sharing our wins with our friends. A great date, a promotion, a new personal best if you’re a runner, cooking a fancy meal. With money, though, you’re not supposed to say “I can’t afford it” – and if you do, you better actually not be able to afford it. The idea of saying “I’m not going to go out to dinner this weekend because I want to hit my 50% savings goal, want to come over instead?” is insane.

In my little circle, I’m working on changing that. I always look for cheap/free things to do, and I try to share a little bit about steps I take to save more without seeming judgmental. And when my friends share their wins, I give them a double-high-five and then blog about it.

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4 thoughts on “Let’s Start Sharing Money Wins

  1. c90ftw says:

    I agree with you that this is a very taboo topic. Telling a friend about your net worth (or lack of one) can be comparable to discussing politics, religion, etc. I personally know which of my friends enjoy talking about money and savings goals, and which friends have no desire to discuss it. The way I see it though, if they are ok with assuming risk through debt to finance a car, second car, motorcycle, or house, then more power to them. This however, is very dependent on whether their debt to income level would support their decisions. With those friends who have jumped off the deep end though and financed more than they can chew, I tend to drop some hints slowly at first letting them know that those around them can help. I find in any situation, it helps to never talk from a definitive position of knowledge, but instead, offer some office that seamed to work for yourself. Like you, I hope to continue meeting new friends who are as focus on financial independence as myself. Good read!

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    • Stacking Twenties says:

      The funny thing is, my friend group has always been very comfortable talking about even such touchy issues as abortion rights or the existence of God without repercussions to the friendship – yet finances are still so taboo! I try not to venture too far into “this is what you ought to do” territory and just focus on myself and not be afraid to speak up when something isn’t in the budget. I love that these conversations are happening more often in my life though 🙂

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  2. rockerpult says:

    What is your opinion on sharing what your wage is with your coworkers? I think that if I’m at the same hierarchy as them, I’d rather not know or share what I’m making; that way we remain on equal standing, rather than treating those who make less poorly, those who make more better, etc.

    What do you think?

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    • Stacking Twenties says:

      All my coworkers are about twenty years older than me, so everyone knows they make more than me although I don’t know the actual number.

      I know some companies have started making salary data completely open in an effort to combat racism/sexism/other biases, which I think is a fairly good idea. I don’t think it’s something I would individually go share, but I think more transparency with pay would be helpful in a lot of situations.

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