Should You Tell Your Friends You're Too Broke to Hang Out?
Have you ever been in a position where you're invited to go do something, but you can't afford it? So you make up an excuse that you're sick or tired or can't find a sitter. While your friends may buy the reason you can't go, it really doesn't help anything. Because the next time you can't afford to do something, you'll probably have to make up an excuse again.
But it doesn't have to be that way. While you don't need to tell everyone your entire financial situation, it doesn't hurt to be honest with those closest to you. And you can keep it high level with friends that you aren't super close with. Here are some tips to avoid that perpetual excuse-making situation:
Be Honest With ThemLet your friends know that you would love to go, but that it's just not the right timing for your budget right now. Depending on how much you are comfortable sharing, you could tell them that you have a financial goal you're trying to achieve. If you can, do it because moving forward no more lame excuses will be necessary. They'll know if you can't go it's because you have other financial priorities and it has nothing to do with not wanting to go. Chances are you're not the only one that wants to cut back on some spending. Plus, you might even motivate a friend to work on a goal...and maybe you can even support each other in your efforts!
Plan in Advance and Save UpOnce your friends know about your goal, ask them to give you advance notice - especially for the important events (birthday parties, concerts, trips, or other celebrations) you don't want to miss. Then, work on saving up a little bit each paycheck. If it's always seems to be one of those last minute situations, start saving whether or not you know about an upcoming event. That way, you'll have money set aside...for instance in case Fall 2018 concert tickets go on sale a year beforehand. (That example is from personal experience. :) )
Suggest Cheaper AlternativesGoing out can be insanely expensive...from dinner and drinks to transportation you could end up spending $50-75 (or more depending on where you live) for just one night. So instead, suggest other ideas instead of hitting the town every time. Have a [insert your favorite at-home activity here] night. You could have a game night, watch movies, have a spa night, etc. Make it a BYOB/potluck style night or make dinner or appetizers together. This is a great way to save money and still have a great time. Bonus Tip: make it a cell-phone free evening so you actually hang out with each other.
Don't Forget Your Goal(s)Yes, you may miss out on some fun, but keep your goal and the big picture in mind. If you're working on paying off debt, think how amazing it will feel to be debt-free and to be able to save and have more financial freedom. If you're working on building emergency savings, envision a future where you don't have to rely on credit if your car breaks down or another unexpected expense pops up. As they say, keep your eyes on the prize.
Remember: achieving your financial goals will allow you to have stress-free fun in the near future!
Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling.