How many of you have had to tally up the potential expenses of a night out with friends or an afternoon shopping trip? Do you know when a particular friend calls that you’ll need to count on spending $20-30 more than you normally would? A friend that seems to ALWAYS get you a good deal when you aren’t looking for one?
We all have friends who have a tendency to push us to our budget’s limit and occasionally past it. Here are a few to look out for.
The ‘Finer Things’ Friend
You know this friend, we all have one, the friend with ‘finer things’ tendencies. They love scotch and cigars, they love nice name brand clothing from Reddit fashion blogs. They enjoy fine dining and are major beer snobs. Although they would never force or expect it sometimes when you’re with them you feel compelled to go to nicer places, spend a bit more or push the budget a little further. There’s nothing at all wrong with it, as long as you’re willing to budget in advance or simply let them know how much you’re willing to spend when you hang out.
When you’re close with a finer things person you’ll need to be a little more aware of where you’re going and how often. If you ARE a finer things person, a cash envelope budget system may be your best friend, no matter how gauche it may seem.
With finer things friends the most important way you can maintain a healthy friendship and still keep your budget is by being honest about how much money you’re willing to spend. Sharing your reasons for financial sacrifices may be the most fruitful way of communicating your limitations. You’ll also have to master the art of saying no.
The Bargain Shopping Friend
A bargain shopper is someone who lives for the discounts, knows all the major sales and cuts coupons like a mad person. The wait-in-line-at-12-for-the-6-am-opening-on-black-Friday friends can often be found in this category. Especially if they wear matching group t-shirts, come with store floor plans and throw a few elbows to get to the door busting deals.
You would think this person would be an ally to your budget, and more often than not you’re correct. What starts as a good influence can quickly turn south as the demand for a good deal outweighs the common sense of your purchases. If you’re buying things because they’re a good deal even if you don’t need it OR it’s something you need but the deal is not a high quality product (like many deeply discounted items) you’ve stumbled into the danger zone.
Whether you’re a bargain shopper or shopping with a friend who is one, be sure to determine before you spend time together if there are any items you need, any items you’d want if you found a good deal and the quality you’re willing to settle for.
It’s ALWAYS appropriate to say no to an item, even if it’s the deal of the century and they’re ‘giving it away.’ If you don’t need it and/or it’s going to fall apart in a year or so, it’s not worth it. No matter how astonished your friend may be.
The Mooching Friend
Bring out captain obvious, but this is the biggest money draining friend you might have. They always seem to want to borrow something, an outfit, a few dollars or the second half of your sandwich all with the promise that they’ll ‘get the next one’ or ‘just really needed it.’ Your money conversations with them usually go something like this:
You aren’t supposed to keep score in friendships but when things go like this it’s hard not to.
This all circles back to our firm belief that you need to set boundaries and within those boundaries include generosity. There are people out there who use this tactic because they really can’t afford things and don’t want to miss out. However at times there are natural consequences and sometimes you need to let your friends feel those.
We encourage each of you to spend money on your friends. Wisely.
Take people out to coffee, pick up the tab at dinner once and a while and it’s definitely OK to hand out clothing you don’t wear anymore to friends who may admire your tastes. Just be sure you don’t get sucked into a cycle where you’re always picking up tabs, lending out things you actually use and picking up the slack for someone else’s irresponsibility, no matter how fun they are to be around.
Do you have a ‘friend type’ that drains your budget? How do you spot them? How do you stop them?