In most circles of friends it’s common for people to have varying occupations or situations which come with varying levels of disposable income. So, when your friends suggest a long weekend in Bali next month, it’s with good intentions but if it’s outside your financial scope, what do you do?
We’ve put together tips for some common spending scenarios which can catch you off guard and how to cope with your budget in tact.
We’ve all been to a group dinner with a set menu but a select few decide to order the most expensive bottle of wine on the menu or a round of espresso martinis on a whim, then the bill’s split and it’s $180 a head. In this case should you battle over the bill?
Mozo’s Tip: You probably know your friends well enough to determine if a group dinner will be a $60 or $160 affair, so if it’s the latter just say no. Explain that it’s not in the budget right now but that you’d love to meet them for a drink before/afterward or arrange a separate catch up at a more budget-friendly restaurant.
You’ve booked a group holiday to Koh Samui but your taste in resorts varies hugely between each of you. Do you save harder to live in the lap of luxury or stick it out in a hostel to prove a point?
Mozo’s tip: This is where it might make sense for you to mix up your locations by spending half your holiday at the resort and the other half living like a local in budget accommodation. Or can you share rooms to cut down on cost? It’s more important to be together and have shared memories, so work to find a compromise.
Your friend suggests a trip to Gold Class at the movies or hitting the boutique shops for your weekend catch up. So, how do you spend time together without spending a fortune?
Mozo’s tip: Most friends will be very open to a different suggestion if you’re straight with them about your budget and offer an alternative, suggesting a walk in the park or a DVD night instead. If shopping is on the agenda, simply play the role of their stylist and offer advice and feedback on their prospective purchases. Change your headspace and you’ll reduce your temptation to spend too.
Group gifts can often catch you out as amounts can change depending on the buyer or the receiver.
Mozo’s tip: This is where you either need to be upfront about your budget limit from the start or simply choose to go it alone with a DIY gift or a small thoughtful present.
If you have a boozy group of friends that like to hit the town and shout each other drinks, spending at the bar can soon spiral out of control.
Mozo’s tip: Be firm with the shouter and explain that you simply can’t keep up or that you’re drinking something else and don’t want to muck up the shout. If you’re with one or two friends and they insist on shouting you a drink, let them. Sometimes your friends just want you to feel included and share an experience with you.
- Don’t downplay each other’s money woes or victories, if your friend has bought a flash new car, share their excitement even if you’re still hailing the big blue Mercedes.
- Talk to each other and ask for advice – if you know your friend is on top of their debt, ask them how they did it and vice versa, ask your spendthrift friend for their top budgeting tips.
- Be honest. If you can’t afford something, be upfront and ask for their understanding rather than making up excuses. At the end of the day, if your friends want to spend time with you, they should happily compromise.