05/21/2012 02:05 pm ET Updated May 22, 2012

Financial Buddies Help Friends Stay On Track With Their Spending

Need to get into financial shape?

Some turn to gym buddies to hold them accountable for exercising regularly. Now a growing number of Americans are relying on "financial buddies" to hold them accountable for their personal finances, the Dallas Morning-News reports.

It worked for Adam and Jackie Tarnow, according to the Dallas Morning-News. After enlisting friends as financial buddies and listening to their advice, they paid off $120,000 in student loans in three and a half years.

Financial buddies listen to you talk about your personal finances, and they help you set specific goals and give advice on how to meet them. Then they check in and hold you accountable for making progress toward your goals.

The Tarnows' financial buddies, for example, advised Adam to leave graduate school and become an accountant again and advised Jackie to get a new job, according to the Dallas Morning-News. The Tarnows listened, and it worked.

According to the AARP, three-quarters of Americans said they were saving more and spending less in 2011. Some Americans are turning to automatic savings as a way to avoid having to decide whether to spend or save money, such as having an employer automatically file part of a paycheck in to an employee's savings account. Others have stopped buying a morning cup of coffee, started to bring their lunch to work, canceled newspaper and magazine subscriptions, and cut back on cable TV to save money, according to Harris Interactive. And other Americans are saving money by seeing the doctor less often and using more coupons, according to SymphonyIRI data cited by LiveScience.

As more Americans sink into debt or earn less money, it is becoming hard for many of them to stick to a budget. Half of all Americans are spending more than they earn, but only 10 percent said they are living beyond their means, according to a recent survey by Rasmussen Reports for Country Financial. Half of Americans also do not set monthly savings goals for themselves, according to the survey.