Being close to broke sucks when you can't justify buying a new spring dress or splurging on a babysitter a night or two a week, but it sucks even more when it gets in the way of your friendships -- so normally, we don't let it. It's way easier to go out with our friends and regret the $50 dinner later than bail before we even get to the restaurant, but obviously, that's bad for our wallets (and bad for our mental health).
Even though we know this, it's still way too easy to get sucked into our friends' social lives -- especially when they're able to spend way more than we are. So how do you save money and save your friendships?
"Be open and honest with your friends about your budget," recommends Leslie Tayne, financial attorney and debt attorney at Tayne Law Group, P.C., author of Life & Debt, and single mom of three. "Having this conversation will prevent friends from unknowingly tempting or persuading you to purchase something that might be beyond your budget."
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Your real friends won't care. That might sound like something your mother once told you, but it was probably as true then as it is now. Moms just know these things, you know?
Still, that convo is probably going to be hard. And even after you have it, Tayne says, you may need to make more moves to keep your budget safe.
"Take a limited amount of cash with you when you go shopping with your friends, and leave the credit card at home so you avoid the risk of overspending or making impulse purchases," she advises.
Tayne also recommends taking advantage or any gift cards or coupons you have piling up if you're going to go shopping anyway. Plus, it's easy to plan trips around special sale events or promotions.
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She says that in some situations, you might be able to turn your small paychecks into savings for both you and your friend -- splitting an entrée, for example, will cost you both half as much without sacrificing time together.
"At wholesale shopping clubs like BJ's or Costco, you can buy bulk items and split the bill with your friends," Tayne says. Then, split the bounty. Who needs 102 rolls of toilet paper anyway?
Most importantly, though, don't let the fear of missing out rule your life. "Don't be afraid to say no and opt to stay home instead at any given time," Tayne says. That'll save you the money and the buildup of resentment against your friends who have more resources than you.
Saving money is important, and so is saving your friendships. But with the right friends and the right game plan, you won't have to sacrifice either.
Image via iStock.com/Leonardo Patrizi