You’ve decided to fix your finances! You’re going to scrimp and save, pay off your debt, and take back your freedom. You know this means changing your lifestyle and you are prepared for this. But how do you tell your friends that you’re on a tight budget?
How to Talk to your Friends About Money
You are doing something wonderful for yourself. You have decided to spend less so you can live more. This is awesome! Be proud of yourself. I am proud of you!
However, changing your life is going to change how you socialize. When you’re not spending money on things you don’t need, that means going out and spending money with your friends. Spending money is still spending money when you’re not alone! This doesn’t mean that you can’t see your friends anymore, you just need to know how to handle these situations as they arise.
First, What You Shouldn’t Do
You need to know that just because you’ve decided to change your lifestyle, that doesn’t mean anyone else has. You can only control your own life. Your friends control theirs. They may already be in a great financial situation. Good for them! (Don’t compare yourself to them, that won’t get you anywhere.)
On the other hand, they may not be in a great financial situation. This is tougher. If you know that your friends could benefit from improving their lives in the same way you are, shouldn’t you push them to do the same? Wouldn’t you be a bad friend if you didn’t? No.
Money is personal. It is impossible for you to know their whole financial story, just like they probably don’t know all of yours. And truthfully, it’s not your business. I am sure that you want to help them, but pushing them into something they may not be ready for yet isn’t going to help. They need to face their finances on their own.
The best way to help is to inspire them. You do that by conquering your own problems and telling them about it afterwards.
What You Should Do
Now that we’ve talked about what not to do… how should you handle it when your friends want to spend an afternoon shopping, or have dinner at an expensive restaurant, or even go to a $10 movie.
First, ask your friend to help you! This may seem silly since you might be wanting to help them. You may feel like you don’t need their help. That’s fine. Whether you need it or not, ask for it!
Tell your friends your why. Share with them what you are working for. If they know why you are doing this, they are much more likely to want to help you along the way.
Then, explain that you’re trying your best to not spend any money right now. Ask them to steer you in another direction if they see you being tempted to spend. You may feel that you won’t be tempted but it is still important to ask this. It will make your friends less likely to tempt you!
And most importantly…. Suggest some affordable (or free) ideas for things you can still do. It’s a great idea to invite friends over to your house because then you control the situation. Chances are they will bring something, but if they don’t you can make sure you have affordable (read: cheap) options available.
Invite your friends to your house for:
- Wine (Sangria Saturday, perhaps?)
- Do a craft or DIY project together
- Watch a movie on Netflix
- Go for a walk or hike
- Dinner (pasta night can be done for $5)
- Or just sit and talk. Isn’t this what we really want to do anyway?
You could really take anything that you would normally do and spin it into something you can do at home. Just avoid shopping!
If you do need to go out, do your research!
You could suggest a place with great deals to counter the offer of an expensive restaurant. Many restaurants have happy hour deals or specials where you can get a lot for a super low price.
There was a happy hour restaurant near my old job where you could get a small pizza and two glasses of wine (buy one, get one) for $8. So, a friend and I would split it and come away with a $4 bill (plus tip, of course). And that’s in Connecticut where things are beyond expensive. Do some research, I bet you can find something!
If you do have friends that are interested in saving money, definitely embrace this. Let them come to you. They may ask for advice or want to share their struggles. If they ask for help, tell them what has worked for you. Offer to be a support system.
You may have heard that when people who are trying to lose weight have a buddy to exercise with they are more likely to be successful. This is also true when it comes to money. It just has to be someone who really wants it.
You’re very lucky if you are able to find that friend who is in the same boat as you and rowing in the same direction. Use this to your advantage and team up with this buddy to share your money spending successes and struggles. This is sure to keep you motivated.
If you haven’t found that person yet, don’t worry. Just continue to make progress towards controlling your money instead of letting it control you. Your friends are eventually going to be inspired. It may even be someone you wouldn’t expect to reach out to you!
The last thing I want to tell you is…
Do Not Get Discouraged!
It’s hard to see your friends shopping, or going out and spending money freely when you are on a tight budget. Just know that you are doing what is best for you and your future. You need to be your priority. In the long run, this is what will matter most. It gets easier every day!
Have you talked to your friends about money? Let us know how it went. Leave a comment below.