How Good Relationships Can Save You Lots Of Money

Now that I’m on a quest to save money and improve my cash flow, I’ve stumbled upon some new ways to save that I hadn’t really considered before. Let me share with you my latest realization about how good relationships can help you save money.

One of my expenses is a $180/month private sports club membership, which I find highly valuable for my well-being and happiness. Being able to play tennis and pickleball indoors, especially when it’s raining, feels like great value.

Before moving to San Francisco in 2001, I lived in Manhattan where it cost $60/hour back then to play on an indoor court. Today, accessing such indoor courts easily costs $100/hour.

Despite feeling like I’m getting great value for $180/month, I recently realized that I could still enjoy indoor tennis and pickleball while paying less. The strategy? Simply be a guest of a member.

Befriending A Club Member To Save Money

Since I joined sports clubs in 2002, I’ve always been the one inviting guests to my club to play. I’d always pay the guest fee and provide balls, so it never really occurred to me to not be a member and just be a guest.

I’m the guy who always tries to pay for a meal when there is a party of four or less. It’s the way I was taught growing up in Taiwan and Malaysia, watching my parents always fight for the bill. As a result, having someone pay for me feels off, like my Provider’s Clock suddenly broke.

Furthermore, relying on a member to play is inconvenient. I want the autonomy to go whenever I want, similar to how I want financial independence to do what I want.

Having to rely on a member to play is like having a spouse relying on their partner for money. Financial dependence is suboptimal as a grown adult, which is why I think it’s best for each couple to have joint and separate bank accounts.

The Better Way To Save Money Thanks To Good Relationships

I’m assuming most of you would feel uncomfortable being permanent moochers as well. Therefore, the easiest solution is to befriend a member of a club you’d like to play in and insist on paying the guest fee.

At my club, a guest pass costs $30 for a day. Not cheap, especially if you have more than one guest to pay for. As a result, most members simply play with other members to avoid incurring a guest fee.

Considering I pay $180/month to be a member of this club, I’d have to go six times a month every month for 12 months just to break even. I didn’t think about this math until a fellow pickleballer told me he’s dropping his membership after his baby is born.

But here’s the thing: I only go to my club once a week on average, which comes out to $120/month if I was a guest who paid for four guest passes. One of the main reasons why I go so infrequently is because I play at public parks nearby with other players.

Just Be A Friendly Guest

Since I’ve been a member for a while now, I know dozens of other members at the club.

I’m also part of large WhatsApp chat groups full of members always asking to arrange a foursome or more. I could just join as a guest and insist on paying the $30 guest fee to minimize any friction for the member. If so, I’ll end up saving $60 a month if I keep up my regular cadence.

If I wanted to save more, I could just play two times a month as a guest, save $120 a month, and simply play outdoors at the public parks more often. $120 goes a long way for someone in a tight cash flow situation.

Unfortunately, to get the $180/month membership deal, I had to prepay for 12 months. So this strategy is something to think about in the future.

If You Don’t Have A Good Relationship, The Strategy Can Be Weird

For this money-saving strategy to work, you need to have a good relationship with other members. Such a relationship can be developed after hitting for at least four sessions or mingling online over a three-month time period. Any less, and it gets a little awkward and the money-saving strategy might not work.

Let me illustrate with an example. A guy joined our WhatsApp group chat consisting of 100% club members after hitting with three other members as a guest. He knows the group administrator and the idea was he might one day join the club. Cool. He’s a nice guy and an OK player.

However, since joining the group chat, he’s asked multiple times if anybody would be up to hit with him at a specific time at our club, and he’d pay the guest fee. However, nobody responds because only 10% of the group knows who he is. In addition, the times he’s suggested may not have been convenient for others.

So, even if you’re willing to pay the guest fee, members need to know and like you to invite you. Take your time to build good relationships because you’ll always be dependent on others to gain access if you want to save money.

Other Ways Good Relationships Can Help Save You Money

In general, we often want to make our friends happy, and if you’re wealthier, you might be inclined to provide your less wealthy friends with hookups. Here are some common ways good relationships can help you save money:

  • Shoes and Apparel: It’s common for friends to give each other shoes and clothing, especially if the items don’t fit them or if they have extras or lightly used items they no longer wear.
  • Furniture: When moving houses, having extra furniture can be a hassle to deal with. Giving it away to friends who need it is a win-win situation, saving you the trouble of selling it and helping your friends furnish their homes for free.
  • Vacations: As you grow older and wealthier, you might have friends with vacation properties. These properties can often sit vacant for long periods, so offering free nights to friends when they’re not in use is a generous gesture. Your friends would usually just cover any cleaning expenses to return the property to its original condition.
  • Car Pooling: Sharing rides to work or social events not only saves on fuel costs but also reduces carbon footprint. Many families I know take turns picking up and dropping off their neighbors’ kids at school as a way to help each other out.
  • Friends and Family Plans: While streaming services like Netflix are becoming stricter about sharing accounts, there are still friends and family plans available that offer cost-effective options compared to individual plans.
  • Entertainment and Sporting Events: If you have friends with access to corporate boxes at events like NBA games, they may have extra seats available. These seats are sometimes unused, so why not fill them up by inviting a friend than letting them go to waste.

It Pays To Be Nice And Helpful To Others

If you’re looking to save money, try nurturing closer friendships. Strong relationships not only bring joy but also pave the way for helpful recommendations and referrals. Just be sure to reciprocate the kindness to your friends from time to time.

Even if your friend is extremely wealthy and seemingly has everything, it’s still important to reciprocate in some way. While you may not be able to match their lavish gifts, you can always offer something thoughtful in return. Something as small as buying your friend a drink or bringing an energy bar for them on the court goes a long way.

Wealthy friends may not need or want your freebies, as they often have access to nicer things and experiences. However, they will appreciate your positive gestures.

If you’re aiming to save money, alleviate loneliness, and enhance your enjoyment, consider developing your emotional intelligence. Surprisingly, one of the most effective methods to attain these objectives is by offering more of your time, money, and wisdom to others. By prioritizing giving, you’ll probably receive an abundance of support in return.

Reader Questions And Suggestions

How have strong relationships contributed to your money-saving efforts? What are some activities you enjoy doing for your friends that also help them save money and have a good time? And how do you ensure you’re not overstepping boundaries or taking advantage of your friends’ generosity? Do you think there’s a correlation with angry commenters on the internet and their happiness and ability to save money?

For superior cash flow management, explore Empower, a remarkable wealth management tool I’ve trusted since 2012. Empower goes beyond basic budgeting, offering insights into investment fees and retirement planning. Best of all, it’s completely free.

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