The scenario is all too familiar. Your friends want to go out on the town for a fancy dinner and drinks at a high-end restaurant and you begrudgingly tag along, secretly worrying about how you’re going to pay the bill. Then come the weekend shopping marathons. Your best friend’s destination wedding. And a string of other costly expeditions that weigh on your budget and hinder you from saving money.
Saying no to friends or having candid conversations about money when you make significantly less can be embarrassing, which is one of the reasons you may continue to spend and rack up credit card debt. However, at some point, you have to look at the reality of the situation and protect yourself from financial ruin.
This doesn’t mean you have to tell your friends “no” all the time but it does mean being more selective about the things you do.
The cost of long lunches and weekend dinners can take a heavier toll on your pocketbook than you realize. Instead of cutting out your quality dining with friends altogether, just pare back on how often you meet up. Treat yourself to a nice lunch and dinner with friends twice a month, instead of every couple of days. This will be a relief to your wallet, and it makes it so your outings are a nice treat and something to look forward to rather than a common occurrence.
Outings, Shopping Trips
It’s always fun and exciting to try new things, such as a Bikram yoga course or visiting a vineyard for the weekend and while you shouldn’t deprive yourself of these experiences altogether, shelling out a couple hundred dollars every weekend to try something new can leave you feeling stressed, regretful and guilty. Seek out more cost-friendly events around your city to enjoy with friends and put off the more expensive adventures until you have saved up enough to pay for them out-of-pocket.
There are some events that you just may not be able to swing in your budget, and if that’s the case, it’s important to be upfront with your friends about it rather than going into debt. Sure, a Caribbean cruise sounds fun and you deserve a vacation. But is it worth derailing your budget? Tell your friends that with enough notice, you can plan for these excursions in your budget. Otherwise, you are going to have to sit this one out. It may sting initially, but you will feel better knowing you made the right decision for your future financial health.