Maybe it’s the end of a long workday when your friend texts you and wants to grab dinner. Or, maybe some friends are planning a getaway weekend to go see a concert, or head to a ritzy wedding. But you have a sinking feeling, because your friends are thinking about all the fun you’ll have, but you just see the dollar signs.
Whether you’re trying to save or pay off debt, hitting your financial goals is already hard enough without having to set limits with friends who are on a different financial track. The temptation to give into your friends and not speak up about your financial goals can be significant, but with these six tips you’ll set yourself up for success!
Communication is key! You cannot expect others to understand if you have not been honest about what is going on. If they are your true friends, they will not hold it against you in any way. Explain that you are on a tight budget or that you can only afford to eat out on a limited basis (once a week, for example).
True friends will accept and support you regardless of differences in lifestyles. If they know your boundaries, they will stop tempting you daily with expensive outings. Be upfront and you will avoid uncomfortable situations. Rather than thinking that you keep blowing them off, friends will understand that you are simply trying to save.
Suggest Other Activities
Come up with alternative ways to hang out that are a little easier on the wallet. You can invite your pals to go for a hike, have a movie night at home (complete with Netflix, wine and plenty of popcorn), start up a game of Ultimate Frisbee or Flag Football, or cook dinner at home together.
It is your responsibility to come up with inexpensive ways to hang.
Time with friends is vital and should not be pushed to the side. However, there are so many cheap ways to have fun!
If you know far enough in advance, you can save up for more expensive ventures you would like to be a part of. If you know that your friends are dying to see T-Swift in concert this May, save a little each week to put towards your ticket. You do not have to miss out on every event that costs money. Instead, just be careful not to attend everything. Pick and choose, and then save ahead of time for whatever expenses you foresee.
Create a weekly or monthly budget for time with friends. Come up with monetary amounts you are able to spend, and basic rules to stick to. For example, maybe you can afford $50 a week towards hanging with your pals. Stick to this each week and let your friends know that you have a budget in place. Remember, budgets only work when you stick to them! Be strong. Here are a couple easy rules (low-hanging fruit) you could also put into place:
- I will only eat out with friends once a week.
- When I go out, I will only drink water with my meals and I won’t order dessert.
- I will put aside enough money for every monthly bill before I dish out any cash with friends.
Don’t Fall to Peer Pressure
If your friends pressure you to spend more, then they aren’t true friends. Do not succumb to peer pressure. Stay strong in your finances and in your lifestyle choices. It can be difficult to be the only one in your peer group not going out, but you will be proud of your smart choices after the fact.
If your friends can afford to do more, be understanding that they may get together without you. True friends will be willing to do those inexpensive alternative activities with you, but they may also want to do things that cost money without you. Do not take this personally; if they are going to be supportive of your boundaries, you must be supportive of theirs as well.