Talking Money with Your Friends
So now we're gonna get into the other tricky part of this process and talking money with friends. We have all had those moments in our lives where we have gone to a dinner or gone out with friends, and people wanna split either the dinner bill evenly or they want to pay more than you do for some sort of life experience. Wedding season especially for people in roughly their mid-twenties to mid-thirties definitely have gone through this experience. You know, being a bridesmaid or a groomsmen being asked to spend a lot of money on another person. You may love that person dearly but you can not throw down 3000 dollars to go on a destination bachelorette party somewhere out of the country. So, that is something to keep in mind. And here are ways that we can be starting to set boundaries with our friends, without alienating our friends. First you have to be honest. And this doesn't mean that I'm saying you have to disclose your salary to your friend or disclose your debt situation to your fr...
iend. But I am saying you need to have an honest coversation about why you are feeling the way that you're feeling, or kind of setting your own financial boundaries. And just telling them something like, I don't wanna do that or I don't value that, or I can't afford to do it. Language is very important in this conversation, and you know your friend better than I do so be sure to be using words where it never sounds accusatory. It doesn't sound like you're begrudging what they're doing, or you're not belittling their choices, but that maybe that's just not the right choice for you. Setting a budget ahead of time is great for anytime that you're either going to go out with your friends, go on a trip with your friends, participating in a large event together. To make sure that everybody knows how much either individuals are willing to put in the pot or how much you as a group are going to spend. So if you're going on a you know, reunion trip with your friends, all of your buddies from college, you're all gonna get together and spend some time together, have an open conversation with each other about how much money you are going to spend together as a group. And that's going to impact the kinda places that you go to, the kind of places that you stay, and you have to recognize if you're all making different incomes, if the people who are making more want a different financial-- You know, maybe they want a more comfortable hotel than the people who aren't making as much then they might have to subsidize that, because otherwise-- I hate to use the word anchor, but you do have an anchor port here in your budget and you need to be aware of it and kind to those people. So being open and honest about things early, as opposed to getting to the point where everyone has already spent the money and then you're saying nope not spending it, that's really when you're gonna get into a blowout. Wedding season is also a really important time to be doing this, so if you first of all if you agree to be in somebody's bridal party, man or woman make sure that you have a brief understanding upfront about what the financial expectations are going to be. But maybe you say something early on like would love to be in it, but because the bachelorette party's destination and the wedding is a destination for me, and I really wanna be there for you on your big day, I can't afford to go to the bridal or the bachelorette party I can only afford to go to the wedding and buy the dress and get the hair done and the makeup and the shoes and all of that. So be open early on and especially so it's not a surprise midway through. I really like this idea of using the compliment sandwich when you are having this conversation, especially if it's something like they wanna go to brunch. I know this is low-hanging fruit as an example, but I think it's very common if we're trying to catch up with a friend you might say hey I wanna go out to brunch, let's go to this restaurant and instead you might respond, I love spending time with you, you're important to me. However, I don't want to or I can't depending on what word you wanna use, spend 50 dollars on a bottomless mimosa brunch. Instead, can we go get bagels and go for a walk in the park? Yes, I live in New York City as evidenced by this example, but tailor it to whatever makes sense for you. Tell them you wanna come over, I'll cook dinner, we can open a bottle of wine. Whatever it is that's a cheaper alternative. The other reason I love the compliment sandwich method is because you are not only essentially causing a problem by not going, but you also offer a solution on the backend. So you don't just say no I don't wanna do that, and leave it hanging, you say no I don't wanna do that but, let's do this instead. You also need to learn just straight up when to say no. Cause there are going to be times in your life that your friends wanna do something that is either outside of your budget, or it's just not something that you value. And maybe you could afford to do it, but you know if you spend your money on that particular thing, it means you don't get to do something else that you want to actually do over here. So you need to learn how to say no. Again, going back to that compliment sandwich idea, it's always helpful if you provide a solution. But I do also wanna talk about this idea of saying no too often. And the reason I say that is because I went through a phase in my life very early on in my 20s, where I was saying no constantly. Because, going back to your mindset I was so team dreaming about retirement and I was so focused on saving money and building my nest egg, that I just declined every invitation to things that would require me to actually spend some money. And let me tell you, wether it's romantic relationships or platonic relationships if you keep saying no, people will stop asking. So sometimes in these conversations, you also have to recognize that while you might not actually value the event that your friends are going to or the way your wanna spend money, you also need to think about investing in your relationships. And if this is an important friendship to you and it's something that you want to make sure that you keep cultivating in your life, and you have said no three or four times already, well maybe this isn't your favorite thing to do but heck, you're gonna say yes this time because wanna keep this friend in your life, and invest in your relationships. So do actually have a little bit of balance here. While I do want you to learn how to say no, at the same time I want you to always make sure that you're not saying it constantly. And maybe you have a little savings fund that you set aside money that's for investing in your friendships and relationships. So it's a little cushion that you have so that when your friends wanna do something fun, you've got some money to spend to got do that. So I just do want you to have that balance in your life as well before you just go out and tell people no all the time everyday and just save your money. (chuckles) Another key thing is knowing your financial friendship dynamics. I think a great example of this is here friends all have they're own money baggage and relate to money in different ways. They also have their own love languages, and sometimes how people wanna express that is doing things like picking up tabs. The other part is some friends are going to nickel and dime everything; that's just who they are. Every single time you go out with this friend they wanna pay for only exactly what they ordered. Or they wanna pay only exactly their price of admission to this one particular thing. If you guys wanna do everything else, great, but they're not gonna pay for it. That's okay, don't force that friend to change their dynamic for you. But just recognize that sometimes when you go out with friends they might wanna always split evenly, sometimes they always wanna pay for exactly what they wanna do. Sometimes it might be a back and forth I pick up the tab this time, you get it next time. We just trust in the system that over the course of our friendship this is all gonna come out evenly. And I want to acknowledge these different financial friendship dynamics because, I don't want you to go and try to change how different people interact with their money. So, there are certainly people that I have in my life that we just alternate picking up the bill, and others that I never even offered to do that because I know they want to down to the penny just pay for what they spent. And it's not them being cheap, it's not even them being hyper frugal it's just what makes them comfortable, it's how they relate to money themselves. So do keep that in mind as well when you're thinking about the different ways you guys interact together.