Why you need a financial battle buddy

Coin Jar

Thinking of dipping into savings, or not saving? A battle buddy can help you make those decisions. Image: Flickr / leonardsampson / CC-BY-SA

Money is very tightly woven in with emotion, and for good reason. Money decisions represent a variety of emotional and social decisions, and choosing a financial battle buddy can help you make better financial decisions.

The emotional implications of money

Money represents resources. The things we do to earn money take time and emotion, and the way we spend that money has emotional implications as well. Study after study has found that spending money is associated with dopamine release in the brain. As the pleasure chemical in the brain, dopamine is incredibly powerful and incredibly addictive chemical. When we spend money on ourselves, our body rewards us. For items that do not have an immediate impact, it is tougher to spend because we do not get an immediate reward.

How a battle buddy can help

When we set out goals that are contrary to the habits we have developed, it can be tough. Some research says that changing money habits can be as difficult as quitting any other addiction. A money battle buddy can help you stick to your goals and spend less money by reminding you of the goals that you have for your money. Like an exercise buddy or addiction sponsor, a monetary battle buddy is removed a bit from your situation and can help you take a step back before you spend money or break your promises to yourself.

Being accountable

Research has shown time and time again that being accountable for our actions makes us much more likely to choose the action that is the most beneficial. Accountability helps us focus, helps us think about how and why we are making a particular decision, and creates immediate consequences for decisions that may or may not have an immediate impact. In essence, being accountable to a battle buddy can replace the dopamine hit of spending with the dopamine hit of being told you have made a good decision.

[A cash advance can be less expensive than overdraft fees, if you need last-minute cash.]

Choosing your battle buddy

A financial battle buddy does not necessarily need to hold your hand through every single financial transaction. Choose a friend with whom you are comfortable sharing intimate knowledge of your spending habits. Ask your battle buddy to do something  specific, and explain what your goals are. When you do something good, ask them to tell you good job. When you’re tempted to do something that is contrary to your financial goals, call your battle buddy and ask for their advice.


Bowman’s Money College
MIT Spectrum
Telluride Inside

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