I’m currently on a strict budget and have stripped my life of buying things I don’t need or really want.
What’s interesting is that at the moment most of my friends are heading in the opposite financial direction to me.
Many are getting higher paying jobs, bigger houses, more expensive cars (one of my friends was even talking about getting a Porsche the other day but I’m not sure if she was serious or it was more a case of wishful thinking).
There are be a variety of reasons why your income can dramatically change.
Being fired or made redundant, springs to mind. Changes in lifestyle such as having a baby and perhaps moving from two incomes to one can alter your financial situation.
Getting divorced can put a large hole in your savings (not to mention your heart). You might be going back to study full time, changing careers, saving for a major holiday, staring your own business: the list goes on.
There are many situations that may suddenly see you in a different financial position.
So what happens when you find yourself on the opposite financial path to your friends?
Here are some tips on what to do when your friends have more money than you.
Explain your situation
This relates to close friends and family only.
You hardly need to tell everyone your financial situation. Some people may actually feel very uncomfortable talking about money, so tread wisely if you think there may be an issue.
If people don’t know about an important change in your lifestyle and suddenly you are declining invitations all over the place, they might start to wonder why.
They will be a lot more supportive and understanding if they know why you are scaling back and being more careful with your money.
Related post – What Are Your Money Priorities?
Don’t feel pressured into doing or buying things you can’t afford
Christmas is a classic example.
Many people feel pressured into buying lots of expensive presents they can’t afford. Don’t be sucked in by this. By January all you will have is a huge credit card bill, a shattered budget and most likely a higher stress level.
I do up a list of people I’m going to buy for and an overall budget to cover my whole list, then I allocate a budget amount for each gift. Then I go shopping and I stick to my list and to my budget.
Related post – How to Not Go Broke Over Christmas
Don’t feel pressured to pay for things
I hate going in shouts at bars. As nicely as possible I let people know I will buy my own drinks. When I go out I know how much I have to spend and it doesn’t stretch to buying drinks for the entire group.
The other reason I’m not a fan of shouting drinks is that I am not a big drinker. I love wine but it doesn’t love me back! Some of my friends can consume a lot more alcohol than I can in one sitting, which can get very expensive indeed.
I do have one friend that I meet regularly for drinks. My friend is extremely generous, which is very sweet of her and she has paid for me on several occasions. However, I always try to make sure I pay her back. It might take a little longer than I would like but eventually, it all works out in the wash.
Related post – Are You Spending Money to Fill a Void in Your Life?
Don’t expect people to pay for you
If there is one thing that will make you unpopular is if you expect people to pay for you all the time.
If you do this over an extended period, your friends may even start avoiding you, concerned that they will have to pick up your tab.
Related post – Do You Need More Money?
Don’t let people pay for you unless you both feel comfortable with it.
People have some very set opinions on money.
While some are happy to take free meals, free drinks, free you name it – other people feel deeply uncomfortable with this concept.
Just because your friend makes 5 times more than you, doesn’t mean they should pay for you.
If your friend who makes 5 times more than you wants to buy you a meal or drink occasionally and you are both comfortable with this, then thank them for their generosity and enjoy a lovely dinner together.
Related post – How to Have a Big Life When Your Life Feels Small
Don’t be afraid to say ‘I can’t afford that’
You may feel uncomfortable saying this, particularly at first. More so if you have been fired or made redundant against your will.
Your pride under some circumstances can take a bit of a hit.
Ultimately what will feel more uncomfortable is not being able to pay important bills later on because you were not upfront at the time.
Related post – The Real Cost of Buying Stuff
Look at more frugal ways of spending time with your friends
There are a lot of great ways to spend time with your friends without spending a lot of money.
Look for different and creative ways to spend quality time together without breaking the bank. Remember it’s about the people, not the money.
Related post – How to Reward Yourself the Right Way
Remember there is a difference between frugal and cheap
Being on a budget does not mean that you do or buy the cheapest of everything.
It doesn’t mean that you don’t spend money with your friends at all.
It means that you know what your money priorities are and live within your means instead of outside of them.
Related post – Don’t Confuse Your Shopping List with Your Bucket List
If you do make a lot of money try not to brag too much
Everyone has the right to be proud of their achievements.
People who make large salaries generally work incredibly hard. They most likely made a lot of sacrifices to get to that point in their careers.
Being proud of yourself is one thing. Bragging about how much money you make (even more so in the company of people who make a lot less than you) can get a little grating. There is a fine line, so try not to step over it.
Ultimately it’s about enjoying your money and your friends, no matter how many or how much you have of each.
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