Friends – Help or Hurt?

A recent post at Talk Thrifty To Me touched on an issue that I’ve been thinking about a bit the past view days. Especially now that I’m venturing to visit one of my good friends, Okturn DelMoniq.

When I was in graduate school I had 4 really good friends, Okturn, TMcImmy, Contact Solution and Erino. Of the five of us you would DEFINITELY say that TMcImmy was the most frugal of us all (he in fact reads this blog occasionally, HI TMcImmy!). He lived in an affordable apartment, and cooked for himself, and wouldn’t do some things with us if his finances didn’t allow him. And you know what? I HATED THAT. I would roll my eyes, and think that TMcImmy was such a stick in the mud.

I mean, I could take my good friend Okturn to Target and he’d convince me to buy giant footy pajamas that were utterly ridiculous. And Contact Solution would tell me if something was wrong in my life, I should just throw money at the problem and watch it disappear. And Erino would make us go to expensive dinner that we couldn’t afford because the food was just so delicious that we just HAD to eat it. And OF COURSE, it is A LOT MORE FUN TO SPEND MONEY! So I did. I’m not saying that I didn’t have a part in my poor spending habits, oh surely I did, but the people I surrounded myself with also had quite an influence on what I did and what I spent my money on.

And I realize, especially as I’m back in the dating market, that I need to chose people to surround my life with that ENCOURAGE good spending habits – rather than bring out the spending demons. Had I spent more time hanging out with my dear friend TMcImmy, I would have probably made some better financial decisions. But, when the time came for me to get my financial house in order, I knew the first person I wanted to talk to about it. =)

So how about you? Do your friends encourage good spending habits? Or do they encourage you to buy things you shouldn’t? Do your friends hurt your finances or help them? =D

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7 Responses to Friends – Help or Hurt?

  1. Jessie says:

    That’s a great question – do our friends help or hinder or financial progress?

    When good friends come to visit I probably spend more then I intend to…day-to-day, I don’t think that has a huge impact on me. If people want to spend money, and I don’t have it – I don’t spend it (well, at least I hope I do this, but I probably spend mroe then I think I do).

    The biggest pressure I find is actually from my partner, and my relationship. If he wants something and can’t afford it I often feel like I should buy it because I can, because I make more money then him, because I have a bigger credit limit… ect. ect.

    I’m working hard on this, and actually today – he did something that was awesome.

    His family called (mother, brother) and invited us to play laser tag tonight. However, yesterday I bought beer for this weekends’entertainment’, so, there was no ‘entertainment jar’ money left.

    Instead of just agreeing and then trying to figure out how to pay for it, he said ‘Mom, I’d really love to come but Jess and I are trying this new budget thing I don’t think we can come, maybe

    So – there’s hope! I think now that I’ve made it really clear what I’m trying to accomplish, he’s totally on bored. I figure the friends I have, would understand too if I made it clear what my goals were and what was important.

    … wow, so I typed a lot. Big reply – sorry about that.

  2. Leigh says:

    I’m really divided on this subject. I have lots of friends, but I can count my CLOSE friends with one hand. I have frugal friends and friends who blow through money like it’s water. I have noticed that since I started trying to monitor my finances, there are some friends that I have a lot less interaction with.

    I do have a friend that rolls her eyes everytime I broach the subject of finances, but she’s also asked some questions that makes me think she’s reconsidering her financial state too.

    Oh, and my CLOSE friends – well, they tend to be supportive of my frugalness. Even if they aren’t frugal themselves, they know the reason and logic behind my change in attitude and are supportive.

    One thing that I’ve found that helps is suggesting an alternative to the expensive things we used to do. Instead of going shopping, we can do a game night or got to a minor league baseball game on $1 night.

  3. TMcImmy says:

    Hi SS4BC!

    To be fair, sometimes I *was* a bit of a stick in the mud. But as you noted, Contact Solution and Erino tended to be much more free with money. It’s amusing that both are actually more frugal now, post-grad school and making more money, than they were at the time.

    Having a social life generally means spending money, be it on dinners, drinks, or special events. There are ways to minimize the cost of each, but at some point your friends will always influence how you spend your money.

    Dating is a slightly different animal than friends. In my experience dating is a lot more expensive than being in a relationship. Inviting someone over to your apartment on a first date for dinner is kind of weird. Even when you’re well established in a relationship, at some point you always want to go out and “do things” rather than stay in every night.

    End of the day, it’s always cheaper to stay in and do nothing. A creative penny-pincher can potentially plan some fun nights in for friends or dates. DVD rentals (or streaming stuff online), board games/wii, and cooking at home are obviously all ways to spend a night without burning a lot of cash.

    • SS4BC says:

      Ha! As a matter of fact my first date with Mr. Cousin WAS us cooking at my house. But then I found out that I ran out of eggs, so we ended up ordering pizza. =(

      But then the second date WAS us cooking dinner together.

      I think that part of Erino’s frugality has been lack of job more than making money. 😉

  4. Debt Ninja says:

    I just try not to have friends, that makes things way easier to be frugal 😉

  5. I have a few friends that know my weaknesses and can always tempt me into spending things… and then I have other friends that are on the money conscious track and we can find frugal ways to have fun. Either way, most of my friends know that I am conscious of my spending just by the way I decline or limit myself when going out, but I don’t make a big messy deal about being too stingy or cheap.

    A note on significant others: I cannot tell you how important it is to be on the same page!! In the end you want to find someone who’s going to put their money where their values are. That’s not to say that you can’t change someone or that I think you should interrogate someone on the first date for their bank account information… but it is something that as you get serious is an important topic. I may have to blog about this one sometime! 😉

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