Can you afford to have friends?
A new survey shows that 1 in 5 of us feels money pressure from pals. Must companionship be costly?
- 19% pay an average of $500 or more per year on gifts for friends.
- 20% cited money as the reason for "friend breakups."
- 21% have been pressured to spend as much as their pals.
For example, you might say "That's more than I can afford and still meet my financial goals." It gives a specific reason, sets a boundary and might even start a conversation. We don't talk about finances often enough, or at least in ways that matter.
Someone raised in a well-to-do family might have no idea how hard it is for you to make student loan payments on an entry-level salary. A buddy who never learned money management skills might not understand why you want to avoid credit card debt.
Keeping up appearances
Spend differently than others do and you run the risk of looking "cheap" or, worse, "poor." Ever spent more than you should have because you were afraid of what others might think?
That's understandable. It's also a really bad idea. (Post continues after video.)
"It's not fair to ourselves to try to keep up with the Joneses…to be more invested in our appearance than in our financial reality," says Kate Levinson, a psychotherapist and author of "Emotional Currency: A Woman's Guide to Building a Healthy Relationship With Money."
Are the Joneses in your life going to help you once you've busted your budget? No. Only you can do that -- by not busting it in the first place.
Don't get defensive. Don't try to make your friends feel bad about their own choices. And don't be surprised if somebody says, "Come on, live a little!"
You'll need to be ready with your own version of "I can't afford that." Maybe it's "My dollars have other places to go right now," or "That kind of spending would derail my plan to have a home of my own within three years."
And if your pals still give you a hard time? Maybe it's time for one of those breakups. Hanging out with people who pressure you to spend more than you can afford is not good for the bottom line. Friends don't let friends go bankrupt.
Readers: Do you feel pressured to spend? Has a friendship ever gone sour because of it?
More on MSN Money:
why is being poor worse than being cheap? I know alot of poor people who live content lives and are more generous than those with a surplus. seems to me that they tend to be more decent humanbeings and to me that's not worse. I prefer such associates.
Being too weak to say no is an issue that many have allowed to sink their financial ship. It's sad that many of the young adults today are pressured into spending more than they can afford.
Are you serious MSN I can't complain about spammers yet they have free reign?
Unfortunately money does have an effect on friendships. Its up to the more financially responsible/fortunate to monitor how it affects their friendships. I make three times what most of my friends make if not more and I am very aware of my spending around them. I dont flaunt but it doesnt take flaunting to make a less fortunate and otherwise good friend jealous and/or resentful because of thier situation.
I dont go shopping with any of my friends (even though I shop at target..LOL). They will always count your money..its natural. I dont go out to expensive restaurants with my less fortunate friends and I dont talk about vacations unless they ask and even then I minimalize the conversation.
I buy modest and save a lot. I keep my finances to myself and never discuss with any of them. I keep my friendships pure of financial talks. I only talk money with my friends that are on the same playing field (if you will) this way I get genuine and honest feedback without biased and hurt feelings.
Do not ever get a credit card unless you like the convenience of the receipt for records and then get just ONE not two and then tell them you only want $500 limit and no more. These things were created by the kosher boys to screw you and they will. WHen you got 10 cards loaded and paying minimum on them you have just screwed yourself. YOu're probably better off at that point to just move to another country and forget the cards.
Credit cards are created so you'll buy stuff you don't need and can't afford. You see that lawnmower for $2,500 you don[t need but it's on sale. YOu don't pay interest for a year and all you have to do is pull out the plastic and then you are screwed. BUy stuff with cash and you'll think a lot more. Who carrries $2 .500 cash on them Things have gotten so expensive you just don't carry that much cash.
Europeans get money orders and pay with cash. They don't use cards like Americans. My happpiest times when I was poor with no debt. WHen I maxed my cards out and filed bankruptcy I was screwed.
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Donna Freedman's Frugal Nation blog is for readers who want to live cheaply -- whether due to necessity or a lifestyle choice. It explores living sustainably and making life more meaningful at the same time.
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Donna Freedman, a writer based in Anchorage, Alaska, writes the Frugal Nation blog for MSN Money. She won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. Donna also writes about the frugal life for her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
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