My friends are penny pinching & proud! Do I keep quiet?

This week's question from my portal “The Neagle Code: Directions for Life” comes from someone who wishes to remain anonymous.


I was visiting with some dear friends who are very much in the Lack mentality. For instance my friend prides herself on how she only buys her clothes at Salvation Army because it saves her so much money or constantly is telling me how much she paid for something. I find myself either biting my tongue to share my new insights with her or judging her or thirdly slipping back into the same thought patterns. She is a dear friend and I don't get to see her often but how do you respond to people who are on a different path than you. Is it best just to keep quiet?


Thanks for the great question!

I know first hand that this is a question that many people struggle with.

The first rule of thumb is that you should always surround yourself with people who are of like mind and goals. There is some truth to the old saying; “You are a product of the 5 closest people in your life”.

The second thing I'd like to point out is that if you're not verbally disagreeing with your friend, her lack beliefs are seeping into your subconscious.

Have you ever spent time with them, and then suddenly found yourself slipping back into lack thoughts and decisions, not even realizing it until you caught yourself days later?

And the third point here is that your friends aren't asking you to help them change, therefore, it's not your place to “set them straight”. They have the right to believe whatever they want, and if it bothers you, it's your responsibility to make the choice to accept them, or to limit your time with them.

Usually when I get this question, I ask, “How is the relationship serving you“, and I think it's something you may want to take a look at.

You've probably heard the saying, “A relationship is for a reason, season or a lifetime.”

It may be time for you to spend less time with these dear friends, and focus on making new friendships that support your ideals and growth.

“Just Believe”,®

PS: The Neagle Code: DIRECTIONS for LIFE is a weekly no-cost program that is open to everyone! Each week, I'll select and personally respond to one question received via the above “The Neagle Code” page that I feel in my heart will help the most people. (You may choose to remain anonymous if you wish, with our full support.) It is my deep, heartfelt intention that ~ in answering your questions ~ I may provide you with the Universal Truths that in committed application, will set you free. Simply submit YOUR burning question at: to participate.

PPS: May I ask you to help me spread the word about this program? Is there someone you care for who is stuck, or struggling, or lost, or unhappy? Because if so, I would very much like to help. No matter their question, no matter their predicament, no matter if they've never heard of me before … if they would like to ask for help via, my Team and I will do our very best to provide that help.


  1. Being thrifty does not necessarily indicate a mentality of lack. Some people choose to live simply and not spend a lot of money on material “bells and whistles” simply because their lives are not oriented to materialism or external definitions of “success.” These people may be highly abundant in spirit and may have an enormous positive influence on the people around them. They may feel that meeting their basic physical needs in a simple uncomplicated way is part of their path and preference. If a person has chosen a simple thrifty lifestyle and feels fulfilled by this, then he/she will have no need to pursue a high income, but rather an income that is adequate to his/her own comfort level.

    I agree with you that many people do “buy thrifty” because of a lack mentality and/or a fear of success. In those cases, taking a risk to become more materially abundant is a path of personal growth, not to stay stuck in lack. I simply wished to make the point, however, that not all thrifty people are in a lack mentality. And thus I would be careful about advising people to consider dropping their thrifty, expense-conscious friends, without first discerning what motivation is behind the person’s thriftiness.

    • Thanks for the comment Sharon, I appreciate it. My question is what do you mean by external definitions of success?

      Your assumption here is that the people in question are “highly abundant in spirit and may have an enormous positive influence on the people around them.” Only the person who asked the question knows that for sure. You have a choice to be with those who bring you joy, and because the situation is turning (because we are always changing and growing) I merely see this relationship as possibly running its course.

      We all go through seasons, and the friends we had in elementary school are not always the ones we have in high school, college, early adulthood etc. People change, and paths diverge all the time. I say, if you want prosperity consciousness, surround yourself with prosperous people. If you are comfortable with being thrifty, then surround yourself with individuals who embody that. From where I sit, I’ve made my decision to surround myself with those who have similar tastes and interests that I do. It wasn’t always like that until I made the decision that lack would not be a part of my life. Since that moment I have never looked back.

  2. Forgive me for being contrary here. But I believe it’s quite possible that this dear friend adds much to the life of the questioner. She says she finds herself judging her friend, and I think that’s a wonderful place from which to do some inner inquiry. Why judge? I’m not saying I wouldn’t do the same thing, just that when we do judge, we have a chance to learn a lot about ourselves. The friend is doing nothing wrong, she is just making other choices and holding different views.

    I believe that it’s fine to shop at Salvation Army and save money, and that you can do that while still having an abundance consciousness.

    Here’s the way I would want to respond to a friend like this if I didn’t hold that belief, although I admit I’d need to do some inner work before I could get to a place that would allow me to do this.

    I’d want to first be coming from a place that’s fully accepting of my friend’s behavior. And then I’d want to say something like “I’m totally different. I love going to Ann Taylor Loft and buying the newest stuff there.” I wouldn’t say it as though I was disagreeing, but rather as though I was telling her something about myself.

    I do agree that it would be great for the questioner to spend more time with people who have more of an abundance consciousness, I just don’t think she necessarily has to go out of her way to limit her time with a dear friend.


    • Never apologize Janet, these are your views and should be celebrated. You are correct that this person is brought into awareness for some sort of lesson, usually to provide a powerful mirror of our own thoughts and beliefs. That being said, it inevitably comes back to what you want and who you want to see yourself. If you want genuinely something from the Salvation Army then go for it. But if you are going there because you won’t spend the extra money on something you really want based solely on price, than that will always affect your income.

      My question is how does shopping second hand serve you?

  3. My grandparents were of the World War 2 mentality that thrift was a virtue as well, and ceaselessly pushed it upon me and my mother, and it took me a while to break free.

    It can look hard-hearted to ask whether relationships with people like this are serving you – yet, in my experience, many people holding that mindset wouldn’t hesitate to distance themselves from someone who spends freely, appreciates good quality and style, and comes from a mindset of abundance – in fact I believe if they were anything like my family, they would have many deprecating words and a whole pre-existing set of beliefs that someone like that is less moral and less sensible than themselves!

    I can hear to this day my grandparents pouring disdain upon anyone who habitually bought things new, and top of the range – even daily groceries had to be discounted, close to their expiry date, or cut-rate in some other way, before they could really enjoy them.

    You could try describing someone you know who spends freely to your friend, someone who appreciates quality and lives with abundance as a fact, to discover how open minded they seem to a different worldview, and whether envy or resentment begin to creep in – I have no idea what they will say, but that might give you some useful insights.

    • Thanks for the insight Miss C. What you say is good in that all you can do is have the conversation with them, mainly because you have already had it somewhat in your subconscious mind. Avoiding it or ignoring it will bring nothing more that the current feelings, which are detrimental to what you desire.

    • That sounds like such a really good idea, Miss C! My PARENTS were from WWII (that’s how old I am hehe! but my parents were almost 50 years old when I was born) and they also considered thriftiness a virtue. I now live in a poor country and people here look down on and despise rich people, they think that they are spoilt, pampered and corrupt. (Apparently in poor countries people often think that the only way to get money is to be corrupt and dishonest, the “American Dream” doesn’t exist here………) Anyways, however, what I meant to say here was that I agree that it would be nice to see how reciprocal your friend’s feelings are towards YOU. You are very kind and sensitive and you don’t want to hurt your friend’s feelings, but would she do the same for you? If you express your new abundance beliefs to her and she is tolerant and respectful towards them, then she is a good friend. If not, then she might not be a person that you would be interested in keeping as a friend. Good friends accept their friends through thick and thin, ups and downs. Good luck!

      • Just wanted to add that sometimes you don’t even need to say or do anything, and you can still CARE ABOUT and LOVE your friend, just spend less time with her. I used to have a good friend who spent all her time and energy blaming the government for all her problems, and complaining about how she couldn’t do any of the things that she wanted to do. I gave her many good suggestions, but she ALWAYS had an excuse for every single suggestion that I gave her. in the end I just got so bored with her that I stopped calling her up. i suppose she also got bored with me, because I never accepted her invitations to go out boozing every night. I don’t have anything against going out drinking every night if you want, I just find it a boring activity.

  4. Hi David,
    I have an entirely different take on this kind of behaviour! I entirely get off on ‘bargain shopping’ – and I LOVE getting (buying or being given) quality items second hand. Best of all, I learned second-hand shopping from a wealthy friend who also enjoyed going to auctions and second-hand stores. It doesn’t have to stem from a “Lack mentality.” I love knowing that the things I get second-hand will be lovingly enjoyed and not be just more stuff going into our dumps, which already are over-full from all the excess ‘stuff’ we purchase that we don’t need. It also means that there is less energy and fewer new raw materials being harvested to produce more stuff – and therefore less pollution from fossil fuels, which power most production. I often get better quality items as well, because of the poor quality of many new products. Just think antique wood furniture, vs. IKEA. And sometimes I find exactly what I want, which I couldn’t find ‘at retail.’ A recent example is the exact sofa/loveseat I’d been wanting for years. I’d never seen one anywhere, but I had in my head what I wanted. So I never bought anything. I walked up to a Salvation Army store and there sitting outside was exactly the sofa I’d wanted, in exactly the colour and type of fabric! And it was in excellent condition. The price? $45. And because I am over 55, that day I got the Seniors’ discount of an additional 25% off. The sofa I’d longed for cost me $33.75. And astoundingly, even though it’s a hefty piece of furniture, 6 feet long, it fit in the back of my Toyota Matrix (hatchback), with the door completely closed. Bonus! And mymoney went towards a charity that is known for helping people who are in challenging circumstances. Is that a lack mentality? I don’t think so.

    We all have our own way of living, and there is nothing wrong with penny pinching. Maybe this client should read “The Millionaire Next Door” if she wants to know what penny pinchers grow up to be. Many people who are big spenders don’t own what they buy. Often that big house, fancy car, and Rolex are owned by the bank. Me? I’m mortgage-free, own my car free and clear, and am a happy penny-pincher, spending my money where it makes a difference.

    • I understand what you are trying to explain here Janina and many people have turned antiquing and bargain shopping into a hobby and even very profitable businesses. I think we all need to understand that first and foremost none of us actually own anything; the very moment that we die everything we claim to own instantly belongs to somebody else. Most people are living lives where their lack of awareness owns them and their whole life is nothing more than a series of reactionary events based on what others tell them that is true rather than becoming the greatness they were destined to be. We all play a role of either building up or tearing down and money doesn’t define either one.

      Just because a person has a lot of money doesn’t mean they are wealthy. I have known many millionaires who live in a virtual mental prison because they are so afraid to lose what they have managed to accumulate monetarily. They have no actual understanding of where money comes from and many have traded their whole lives for what they have and if it were to disappear they would be destitute because the only way they ever learned to make money was to trade time for it and now there is no time left.

      People who never learn money are forced to live a life managed by it while people who master money are free to contribute to much great things.

    • I agree here too. But I think that the important thing is the REASON why a person goes thrift-shopping or bargain hunting. If they do it because they ENJOY it and find it fun, then I think it’s a great reason. I think the problem comes when you think you HAVE TO buy cheap or second-hand, even though you don’t want to, because you are affirming to yourself that you’re too poor to buy what you REALLY want.

  5. Thanks David for providing such a broad perspective on the issue. Might I add, let go of judgment of others goals as an option? Perhaps it’s not a Lack issue at all. Abundance is in the eye of the beholder. These individuals sound like they actually have created what they perceive as Abundance as they define it. If they are not depriving themselves of anything and are living happy lives, be happy for them for that is a rich life.

    • Thanks for the post Camille. The people being featured here may have created this reality which in their minds comes from an abundant place, but the individual who is asking the question sees it as being detrimental to his/her mode of thinking. That is where the danger lies. If it is something that is being triggered, like in this case, then most likely it is something that needs to be addressed. You can’t ignore the feeling.

  6. I stopped arguing with people. Or even trying to convince people. I offer my point of view and if they cant listen for some reason– I let them be and move on. I’m looking for teachers and partners.

    I see where I stop myself from growing faster. I’m working to accept myself as I am, as totally worthy, so I can face people who are much more accomplished than I without feeling that I have something to hide or feel ashamed of myself.

    • Very good Nitsan, that is great progress. Your awareness is showing you those to yourself with; and reminding you that we are not here to change people but to surround ourselves with those who bring us great joy. Thanks for the post.

  7. This would have been an issue back in the days where I had almost no social life and where I was carrying the few friends I knew from school as my identity and only social life.

    And today, I see many people whose only friends are those they met from school 20, 30 or 40 years ago. The other day my mom did a gathering/party with a bunch of people with who she founded the music arts center 30 years ago. I was SHOCKED… it’s first time my mom EVER invited people other than family for a gathering! In my entire life, I’ve NEVER seen my parents hanging out with friends.

    Meeting new people is a difficult concept in this culture… and that may be why people hold so much onto the relationships they have.

    For me, because I lived in so many different countries and I’m always rebuilding my social life, I don’t really have that issue because I’m not carrying the old relationships. I just keep connecting with those who resonate with me.

    But then… it might be a good idea to look more closely at who I am really resonating with, that says about what I am projecting.

    • Thanks for the comment Etienne. Relationships come into your life for a reason, and they are all part of the journey. When those relationships start to impact your thoughts and a sense of lack ensues, it is definitely time to take a closer look at who you surround yourself with.

  8. Hi David, I have a similar problem. I’m a college student who recently moved in with his Grandma. I’m still struggling with the concept of abundance, because I don’t have a steady income, and only work odd hours in the summer. My Grandma lived in Soviet Russia for most of her life, and she is currently living off of pension, so she is very thrifty. She constantly talks about how much money she saved by going to Costco or how she only buys the berries that are on sale. I don’t want to distance myself from her, because I love her, live with her, and don’t want to leave her by herself. I’m still trying to figure out my own perspective on abundance, so it makes sense that she is a reflection of what is within me. Any advice David?

    • No one is asking you to distance yourself from your Grandma Dmitry, merely offering those who visit here to always be mindful about how relationships serve you. Again, you must decide which people to have in your life. No one else can do that but you. We are creating every moment of every day, so the relationships you have are for some specific reason. Get to the root of that and see what grows from there. I appreciate the post.

        • “She constantly talks about how much money she saved by going to Costco or how she only buys the berries that are on sale.”

          Dmitry, there are people who will only buy goods that have a designer label, and most of us wouldn’t be too bothered by that even if we felt differently, so could you try thinking of this as her preferred label, the “stamp of approval” she likes things to have before they’re good enough for her?

          It doesn’t address all the questions you have about this, but it might be a fun way to remember that she is making a choice, and that it’s not somehow inherantly more (or less) correct than your own choices.

  9. I think “dumping friends, relatives and the like because their size of purse doesn’t fit the larger purse of a freshly baked millionaire any more” might be one reason why money has a bad reputation. I am biased. My father dumped me and the rest of the family when he embarked on his journey to wealth (he never got there, despite of this). I got the clear message in my early teens that I wasn’t deserving of his precious attention anymore and for some reason “defective” all of a sudden. I am sure it’s one reason for my long struggles with low self esteem, lack of self worth and success. It might be the reason why I probably am in “Money country” and hesitate at the same time to embark on the journey. I really liked the approach of Perry Marshall, ad sense Guru. He says there is friends, and there is peers. You absolutely need like-minded peers and people ahead of you for becoming successful in business, but friends are friends and there is no need to dump them. If you feel the need for that, you might just use money as an excuse for not dealing with some stuff of your own around people. For me, the only purpose for getting wealthy would be to share my wealth with friends and make us all happier. I don’t think people oppose wealth when it is based on true caring and love.

    • Peers vs. friends is an interesting angle Joseann, but I find them to be two totally separate entities entirely. I appreciate you offering it up here.

      It sounds like this conversation is getting down to a place that is uncomfortable for you, based on the language you use when setting the stage. No one is asking you to ‘dump’ anyone, especially based on the amount of money in their bank account. Far from it. What we are getting at is that every person in your life is there for a reason, or a lesson. What are you learning from those closest to you?

      We all have free will to decide whom to keep in your life. If they happen to be a detriment to your income through their lack and limited beliefs, then so be it. However, taking a look at those relationships will shed light on what is perhaps a bigger issue.

  10. It will be interesting to see how this will impact my relationships in Thailand. The cost of life is extremely low, but many people aren’t living in lack. When I lived there before, I used to hold more tightly onto my money than the locals! I’ll definitely be able to afford more luxury, and get used to luxury.

    • It sure will be Etienne. Just remember that you will always be able to afford exactly what you desire when you make decisions and take action towards those desires. This is one of the many things that makes life breathtaking. Thanks for the comment.

  11. Great Topic, David!

    I grew up in this mentality, and most everyone else in my family still seems to be in this place.

    I’m curious about what you said “if you’re not verbally disagreeing with your friend, her lack beliefs are seeping into your subconscious.”

    What do you suggest? I just smile and let them say their thing without contradicting (or agreeing) or saying I believe something else.

    What are some specific things we can verbally say when people are bragging about their thrift to keep those lack beliefs from seeping in?


    • This can be tricky Katherine, because not saying anything can often times be a way of agreement. We all seem to want to avoid any sort of conflict with those who we hold close, but when you say what is on your mind and it ruffles a few feathers always remember that is on the person who is reacting, not on you.

      This is what Don Miguel Ruiz meant when he talked about being impeccable with your word. Begin to embody this agreement in your life and you will start to live a more full and rich existence for sure. I appreciate the post.

      • Yes, I see what you are saying, and I’ve wondered about this a lot because it comes up all the time when I interact with my family. It hasn’t felt totally true to myself to sit silently and smile when many of the comments are made.

        How do I put this into action, what, for instance, would be a good response to someone who says, “I don’t buy grapes because they cost too much.” or “that restaurant is too expensive” or “where you live is too expensive” or “I don’t see any reason to ever pay more than $____ for a ____.”

        They are not asking for my opinion, but my opinion is quite different.

        Thanks! Katherine.

      • In the mid-90s, just after I first learned these principles myself, I explained to a penny-pinching pal why I now felt that thrifty mindset was harmful to me, and he evidently thought it over carefully, because he completely changed his own views permanently afterwards, so it isn’t impossible – after all, most of us were new to these ideas at one time!

        Some of the concepts I brought up were how buying discounted goods made me feel like I wasn’t of the top-brand quality of person yet, and that each choice I made was a reminder to me of how I saw myself in relation to the world’s opportunities.

        I felt he was open-minded enough to hear me, and this was long before the Law of Attraction and similar concepts became widely known, so I knew this was an idea he’d just not come across yet: this may or may not describe your own friends, Katherine, but in his case he did the main part of the work himself, I only showed him the broad strokes, and left him to fill the detail as he chose – and, happily, he did!

  12. Yes, of course, peers and friends are different entities. I think that this discussion shows what happens when these spheres get mixed up. It looked to me that you encourage people to “use their free will” to sort through their social life based on a paradigm shift in their economic life, demanding that from now on, every social interaction has to be measured against the question whether “they happen to be a detriment to your income through their lack and limited beliefs…” or not. If we start like that, all children would end up on the streets by themselves. At least I don’t know how else to interpret your answer?
    It sounded to me as if any other contribution from people apart from “income” doesn’t exist anymore, they are either an economic asset or a detrimental burden. But what I see this question to be about is an attempt to shift a “good old friend” from friend status to peer status without prior notification or consent, i.e. creating a new purpose for a relationship in a tone like “either you get it or that’s it”. I think people do not oppose the new belief system so much as the sudden placement into a new category of relationship, that of a peer. Of course, a friendship that has never been about “creating wealth” together will not meet the new role of a sparring partner for wealth at once, may be it never will. All of a sudden I am supposed to contribute to new income ideals of a friend who didn’t even ask me if I want to play peer in this issue with him or her? May be we have free will, but does it make sense to execute it in such a way?
    As to your question what I learnt from those close to me: striving for wealth seems to initiate for many a separating force, sorting people into different, incompatible boxes depending on their “ability to generate income”. This discussion reinforces this impression, yes. You say that money comes from God through people, so I am not sure if this separative force is inherent in money or added through people. I want money to be an integrative force. Why can’t we ask: how can I follow my new ideals and remain friends with this person anyway? There is this one book of a nurse from Australia who asked dying people about their 5 main regrets. One of those was that they didn’t keep up friendships. Just saying. Not saying to hold onto anybody forever, but, bashing good old friends for performing “lousy” as peers, a role they were neither clearly asked to play nor did they consciously agree to play it, felt a little rude to me.

    • I am not saying to leave a friendship based on a persons income. However, if their lack beliefs seep into your consciousness so that you start making decisions based out of a limiting place, then you need to evaluate what that relationship is doing to serve you in your goals. If you are pretending that your abundance shield will protect you from their lack kryptonite you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

      Again, you can remain friends with whomever you choose, whether they embody lack or not, but if they are not in alignment with where you see yourself going, then there is a disconnect. Perhaps you will not be as close as you once were; this happens all the time as we grow from one level to the next.

      The bigger concern here is that you continue to use words like ‘dump’, ‘bashing’, and ‘lousy’ in your responses. You cannot ignore that this topic has triggered you, and getting to that place of understanding it should be the first step. That is where the breakthrough lies.

      • “If we start like that, all children would end up on the streets by themselves.”

        I’ve never EVER met a young child with a lack mentality – in fact, “More!” and “Again!” are usually their favourite words for anything they enjoy!

        Lack-based thinking is, arguably, the primary idea instilled in children by parents and schools, who introduce the idea that rewards and other desired things may only be had conditionally, and then usually not as much or as often as the child would like. This has its good sides in teaching self-control and personal responsibility, but it potentially has quite a dark side as well.

  13. Thinking about why I resonate with Thailand and its people… Others hear about it and only see poverty, corruption and prostitution.

    It is one of the most culturally-rich and spiritually-rich countries in the world. They master the art of massages, they master the art of food and they master the art of happiness. Contrary to most 3rd-world countries, they didn’t sell 90% of their resources to foreign countries and they can actually enjoy their natural resources and its treasures. They have lots of resources and service is unbeatable. With airlines, you can’t get anywhere near the service of Thai Airways in the states… unless maybe if you fly with Virgin Atlantics. Thailand’s service is at least 10 times better. I can’t find any real saunas in Quebec; in Thailand, I can go to a nice hotel and they imported a real sauna from Finland, with roof-top swimming pool, gym and jacuzzi, for which I can get a cheap monthly membership.

    Visiting a family living far outside the city, they may not have hot water but they have so much papaya that they feed chickens with it… and they had 10 000 kilos of corn growing in their backyard which they wanted to sell to Japan. If they really want a hot bath, they just have to go to the hot spring nearby.

    That’s something I resonate with. Especially the culture. Whether or not there’s a shower in the house, I don’t see poverty.

  14. I find it challenging to think expansively when my spouse prides himself on being frugal (he’s also a retired accountant). I’m not about to walk away from the marriage and I try to look at what I can learn from him w/o feeling that I’m not worthy of having nice things, but that is sometimes easier said than done.

    • It sure is easier said than done Monica, but it has to be in line with what you want from this life. What do you do currently to combat the frugality? No one is asking you to walk away from anything; every relationship has its difficulties. That being said, you have to have an open line of communication with your husband about what you are feeling and thinking. If you delay that or even choose to not have the conversation completely, resentment is sure to follow and your paths will continue to diverge.