Being A Good Friend…When You’re On A Budget

February 13, 2018

Being A Good Friend…When You’re On A Budget

This post is part of the 14 Days of Love series and was originally published on Bad as a Mother.

Friends and money. Money and friends. That mix can be…um…complicated.

According to a recent survey, the pressure to spend money and “keep up” financially, affects one in five friendships, sometimes leading to “friend breakups.”

Maybe you can relate. Perhaps you’re in a season where you can’t spend much money. Maybe you and your friends are in different stages of your career and life, and nothing reminds you of that more than deciding where to eat. Maybe rather than admitting you can’t afford that girls’ trip to Cabo, you max out your credit cards and regret it later.

Yeah, mixing friends and money can be complicated. But it doesn’t have to be.

If you’re working your way through paying off debt or another financial goal, make sure your friendships don’t fall by the wayside.

Here are three tips to help you navigate your friendships when you’re on a budget.

1. Prioritize Your Relationships, Not Money

Yes, being financially responsible is important, but your friendships are important too! If you’re not intentional about prioritizing your relationships, you may end up neglecting them — all in the name of money.

At the risk of sounding cliche (or somber), we are not promised tomorrow. So, keeping that in mind, what’s more important — how you spend your time together with your friends or that you’re spending time together? I’d say the latter!

If you’re tempted to delay or avoid getting together with friends because of money, fight that urge! Your bestie would rather come over with the kids and just hang, than not see you at all.

2. Speak Up

If you feel pressure to spend money you don’t have — and you give in to that pressure — speak up! Your friend(s) may be completely oblivious to the fact that eating at expensive restaurants or taking that girls’ trip is a challenge for you.

Is speaking up hard? Sure, the first time is, but you’ll feel a sense of relief once you do. And you may be surprised…you’re likely not the only one in your group of friends that’s feeling pressure. I can (almost) guarantee that if you speak up and express the need to watch your spending, you’ll be met with “Me too. I’m so glad you said something.”

3. Get Creative

Being mindful of your spending doesn’t have to mean you miss out on having fun. There are tons of things you can do with your friends that are budget-friendly but enjoyable. You’ve just got to be creative.

Sometimes you may need to say, “No,” to an invitation you cannot afford, but instead of just leaving it at the no, you can say, “How about this instead?”

Here are some ideas:

  • Go to a wine tasting event at your local wine or cheese shop
  • Find a movie theater with a $5 day
  • Host Game Night
  • Alternate hosting monthly dinners or a weekend brunch
  • Browse Groupon, LivingSocial, and Yipit for deals on restaurants and activities
  • Grab a bottle of wine (or two) and some snacks and head to the beach
  • Find free concerts or art exhibits in your area
  • Visit museums or zoos on their free or reduced admission day
  • Go on a hike, bike ride, or picnic
  • Have dinner at a BYOB restaurant
  • Visit a brewery that allows you to bring food
  • Volunteer together
  • Go tag sale hopping
  • Start a book club
  • Join a community group together
  • Have a baking competition
  • Take a day trip to a new town or city and explore the city’s free activities

See? There are lots of things you can do. Be creative, and find what appeals to you and your besties.

Related Reading
•   Should You Lend Money To Friends and Relatives?
•   What You SHOULDN’T Sacrifice When Paying Off Debt
•   Do You Have a Financial Bully in Your Life?

Keeping these three tips in mind will help ensure that money doesn’t get in the way of your relationships. After all, your bank account balance will go up and down, but your friends — at least the real ones — are here to stay.

Do you struggle with navigating your relationships while on a budget? What’s your biggest challenge?

Do you make less money than your friends? That difference shouldn't matter but at times it seems like it does -- like when you're deciding where to eat out! Here's how to deal with your friends...when you're on a budget. #budgeting #moneytips #money #personalfinance