Stand Up for Your Financial Self
Standing up for your financial self. This is really the hard part of this whole conversation. Because it all sounds great in theory until we're actually facing the situation where we are at somebody's birthday dinner at a very overpriced Mexican restaurant and you know no one else other than the birthday girl and the check comes around to you and you're making $23,000 a year and it's telling you that you have to pay $ when all you had was a quesadilla and no apps and no alcohol. Maybe or not that's related to a true story of my life experience. But we've all been in these kinds of situations and then you're felling like, "Well if I push back and say I don't want to pay this, "they're going to judge me, they're gonna think I'm cheap, "they're gonna think that I didn't wanna be here. "they're gonna..." whatever version that you concoct in your head. But one of the things you can do is straight up be forthright. This is preemptively, this is not end of the dinner trying to talk about spli...
tting the bill evenly, but talk about what you value, why you do or don't want to spend in certain areas. Another thing I recommend doing here, especially for situations like birthday dinners or anything like that where you could kind of come in and out of the situation, a great way to offer and alternative solution is to say: "I will meet you before for drinks, "I'll come grab a drink with everyone, "I'm gonna head out for the actual dinner." Or on the flip side, "After you guys wrap up let me know "I'd love to come grab dessert or a drink with you." So you're still engaging, you're still investing, but financially not on the same level as perhaps everybody else. You kind of start to come up with your own creative solutions to these problems. The other thing to remember is your money should work as a tool for you, and get you what you want. It's so easy to let other people spend our money, especially our friends and people that we love. Do try to make sure that you are keeping that in mind and you express your values to your friends, but make sure you're expressing it in a way that's not condemning their choices. It's not that you think that they're wrong, it's just that you value different things. And hopefully if you have a healthy friendship dynamic, they're gonna understand that and they're gonna respect that boundary that you're setting as well. Anybody have questions on how to talk about money with friends? Yes.
How much of this do you also think is a responsibility for example you mentioned weddings, and I was your maid of honor, so I know how good you were about being aware of everybody's different financial situation. But when you're talking about things like birthdays and events and you're the one planning it, do you think there's a responsibility as the planner to give caveats and permission for people to behave differently.
I would like to say yes, but I'm also realistic about how people tend to behave. You should be thinking that through if you are organizing an event where a bunch of different people that are earning different incomes, working different jobs are coming to, yes you absolutely should think about that. Do people? No, a lot of times they don't. And that's why I'm saying the burden is really more on you than on the other person to stand up for yourself and to set boundaries because people will happily spend your money for you by making decision for you, and that's why the burden is on you. You should never assume that someone else is gonna keep that in mind, and the other person might just not know your situation. Especially when it's a group event of a bunch of different type of people coming together for one person like a bachelorette, like a wedding, like a birthday, where you don't all know each other. The person who's in charge might be making $200,000 a year with no debt and an inheritance, an therefore thinks that everyone else can spend like that because that's their life experience. You have to just set boundaries for that person early on. On the flip side, it could be a scenario where maybe everyone else has a much tighter budget and you want something different because you value it, but you're gonna underwrite that then and you're gonna help pay for it. You also have to make sure that everyone's comfortable with that. There's just no right answer, it's always shades of gray, but it comes back to that very first point of being open and honest with one another. And again I think it can get very easy for this to turn into fights because it comes off sounding like you're making a judgment about how the other person chooses to spend his or her money and that's why it's very important to be careful about your language. You know your friend, you know what the triggers are so just be gentle when you're having this conversation. Try not to get defensive yourself as well.
When you're talking with your friends, should you let them know that you are saving up for something in particular when you decline, you can't meet them or you can't go out?
If you're comfortable with that, it's great to put that out there as an option saying, "We're saving up for a down payment on our apartment, "so we've decided for the next month "we're not going out to eat. However, back to the compliments then which offer a solution. "I still want to spend time with you, "here's something we can do." You cannot begrudge people though who decide that they're still gonna go out and do the fun thing without you, that's another key part of this, is if your group of friends want to go do something fun, and you don't want to pay to go, it's okay if they still go, you're the one that opted out. I do think that that is very helpful, it's also people reach different stages of life at different paces. If you've got a friend who's going through having a child, and you are not in that phase, you might not have any idea how much that costs. You might assume your friend just understands that, maybe they don't, and you can say, "Hey, this is a very huge life change for us, "therefore we're making these choices with our money." Talking about that, I love that idea, I think it's a great one. In terms of a friend always thinking that you're gonna pick up the tab, that sounds like a parasitical relationship to me, and you need to have a very open honest conversation with your friend about how that's making you feel. It could be that a friendship dynamic got set early on, where they were picking up the tab because it was out of kindness, thinking that someday it was going to come back around, and it didn't end up happening and now the other friend feels like, "When we go our you always pick up the tab, "that's what happens." So you definitely need to have an open honest conversation about how that's making you feel and also importantly why you think it's important to go back and forth and maybe just adjust down, say, "It's okay if you can't pick up the tab "for going to this place, "but let's do something that's free or frugal "or what have you, that we can both do together "and it doesn't always require me always paying for it."