6 Comments You Hear from Your Financial Frenemies

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A frenemy, as well all know, is an enemy pretending to be a friend, or a friend who is also a rival. While it's unlikely that most of your friends are intentionally being your frenemies, they may be unintentionally wrecking havoc on your spending and your money. Read on for six statements to be wary of when coming from a friend -- or a frenemy:

"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.

6 Financial Issues to Tackle in the Fall
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6 Comments You Hear from Your Financial Frenemies
For many employers, open enrollment season for some benefits happens in October. This usually sneaks up on some people, who scramble to decipher benefits and make elections last minute. Although you won't be able to see the options until the enrollment period opens, take time now to review your benefits. Are you taking advantage of any 401(k) matches? Are your fully funding your Flexible Spending Account? What about employer offered life and disability insurance? (A fun infographic from the Council for Disability Awareness shows your risks). Maximize your benefits and don't leave any money on the table.
Back-to-school time can be expensive if you're not prepared. Money is spent on clothes, books, supplies and technology -- and that's before the doors to the classroom have even opened. Before hitting the stores, do these two things:
  • Conduct an online search for "coupon code" along with the name of any store you'll be shopping at. Typically you can find some great online deals.
  • Get a list from you class or teacher of specific type of notebook, calculator, etc. required. If you can't get child's "must haves" from ahead of time, buy just the bare minimums until school starts and the list is available.
It's hard to think about the holidays when we're just making it through summer, but now is the time to build up a financial cushion. Set yourself up with an automatic transfer to a separate savings account and participate in the Holiday Fund Money Challenge to build up a savings of $450. How much do you need for the gifts, travel, parties, entertaining, food and other holiday activities you anticipate? Planning will help to ease the stress that comes around the holidays.
In lieu of scrambling at the end of the year to make contributions to retirement accounts by Dec. 31, double-check your contributions now and determine if there's room in your cash flow to allow for an increase to possibly max out by year end.
Summer is a typically a time of transitions. There are weddings, moves to new homes, possibly a new family addition and more. If summer is the time when these events take place, fall should be the time to take stock of how they're panning out. If you're recently married and haven't already, now is the time to have the money talk with your spouse and make decisions about spending plans, merging (or not merging) accounts, beneficiary updates and more. If you've moved, check out how the new location has affected your cost of living spending in terms of activities, gas costs, groceries and more. Ultimately with any transition, you need to review your spending plan and determine what areas (if any) need to be adjusted.
If you're lucky enough to live in one of the states that actually experiences seasons, fall is the time to prep for energy savings by caulking and weatherstripping doors and windows, turning your thermostat back for a fixed period each day and insulating your attic, basement or outside walls.

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