20 August 2012

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The three ways friends make you poor

A few months ago we wrote about keeping stress about money problems out of your relationships in the post Don't Let Finances Ruin Your Relationship. This applies to relationships with friends as well as romantic relationships. In this post we explore the other side of this coin: people who we care about ruining our financial well-being. It's nice to spoil our loved ones once in a while, but it's the more subtle ways in which they might be sabotaging your saving resolutions that really make a difference in your spending habits.

Two blonde girls come to a crossroads in their friendship.

Jess couldn't believe she missed the sale.
Carla couldn't believe those prices were the sale.
This is not about blaming those we love for our financial difficulties, but realizing how their presence in your life affects your spending so you can find a practical solution that doesn't end in a disagreement. Only by assuming full responsibility for your spending is it possible to make better choices. So let us look at common ways in which the people closest to us affect our spending and how you can avoid over-spending because of this.

By impressing
By trying to impress someone by buying them gifts, taking them to expensive restaurants and the like, you can really sabotage your monthly budget. While it is nice to treat someone, don't make this the basis of your relationship. If someone really cares about you and there's a connection, it doesn't matter if you're eating home made sandwiches in the park or drinking French champagne on a yacht: you will enjoy each others' company and the time you spend together.

The real trick here is to keep things interesting without looking to "romantic date" scenarios. For some reason romance is associated with spending mega bucks. This is silly. Romance is being thoughtful and sweet, not trying to be a Richard Gere to your Pretty Woman. (I'm pretty sure he gave her his credit card to go shopping at one point...avoid this.) Get to know the person so you know what they will find thoughtful and sweet!

By mirroring
This is when you start to spend like your friends when you can't afford to. Remember, your worth does not depend on anything you can buy and if you feel left out among your friends because of having less, either they are snobs who belittle people with less money, so ridiculously rich that you can't help but feel left out or you have insecurities. It's not the end of the world: there must be a reason why they are your friends. Focus on that and avoid tagging along with them to super-expensive places. Introduce them to fun places that aren't over the top and maybe they even enjoy the change of scenery.

By compromising
When you want to change your spending habits and your friends don't want to, you will probably end up compromising and losing sight of your saving goal. To avoid this, avoid doing expensive things with your friends for a while. It seems harsh, but seeing them less might help you in two ways: figure out why they won't make an effort to see you outside of that activity and save you money. Heck, you can even learn a new skill in your new-found free time and make money!

If you want to apply for debt counselling, but your spouse doesn't want to be blacklisted until the debt review is finished, you will probably try some other alternative. Unfortunately, the alternatives aren't always as effective as plan A and you don't want to end up resenting your partner or friends for being instrumental to your financial troubles. If you need to get debt help, do your best to convince your partner that it is the best solution for you in the long run and keep reminding them that the quicker you take serious steps to getting back control, the quicker you will be able to live without the burden of being over indebted.


  1. This is a great and informative post! I was online reading about debt help and what different options are out there when I came across your blog. Thank you for sharing this, it was so interesting and helpful.

  2. It's really a informative post. Thanks...

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