6 Comments You Hear from Your Financial Frenemies
"Can You Spot Me? I'll Get You Next Time"
It occasionally happens that our friends leave their wallet at home or don't have the cash on hand to cover a bill. Once in a while is OK. Once a month is not. If your friend is in the habit of mooching off of you, it may be time to sit down and set some boundaries on spending. Of course you want to have a good time with your friends, but that doesn't mean you need to foot the bill. Create a strategy to curb loans in the future, suggest that your friend get financially organized and don't be afraid to say "no."
"You Should Buy That -- You Deserve It"
I admit that I've told my friends that they deserve things. Like a raise, a better boyfriend and from an occasional splurge. However, who am I to tell them it's OK to splurge when I have no idea what their finances look like? If you're being told this, it doesn't translate into you having the funds to cover the purchase. Step back and evaluate or give yourself a 24-hour cooling off period before making the buy. If you don't have the money on hand, what are you willing to give up for the next few months to cover the expense?
"You Got a $50 Gift Card From Your Boss? I Got a $3,000 Bonus!?"
Just when you're feeling appreciated by others, a friend comes along to one-up you. It's hard not to feel bad or compare when in these situations, but your best bet may be to ignore the comments. You recognize that you have worked hard and you deserve the opportunity to feel good about it. If it is truly a bad and consistent habit from a good friend, having a conversation about how the money comments are making you feel may be a good place to start.
"How Big Was Your Raise? How Much Did You Pay for That?:
While talking finances is OK, people asking prying questions like this may be playing a comparison game with themselves. If you disclose that information, be aware that it may be shared with others. You can deflect the questions with general answers, such as "My raise? They met what I was asking for, which makes me feel like a recognized and valued team member."
"Must Be Nice That You Can Afford That"
There's a little green-eyed monster in all of us, but if you find that you're feeling guilty for certain purchases that are well within your budget or find yourself playing down some of your possessions to make others feel better, that's defeating the purpose of allowing you to enjoy your money and use it to live a life you value. While there's a balance with showing off, feeling guilty and playing down expenses won't help you or your friend. The best way to neutralize the situation is to simply address the comment by saying something like "Thanks. I'm really enjoying it."
"It's Just One (Dinner, Drink, Etc.)"
Even though your friends know you're trying to save money, they still encourage you to come out "just this once." It's hard to say no, especially if you're the type who doesn't want to miss out. So you can afford to say yes, budget some money for impulse spending. Or suggest cheaper alternatives such as game or movie nights, potlucks or lunch dates to get in quality time with friends.
Mary Beth Storjohann is a certified financial planner for Gen Y. She created Nine Steps to Workable Wealth to help you make smart choices with your money.