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  1. #1

    Friends or Money?

    When I was in $30,000 of debt everyday decisions about spending and saving were difficult. I wanted to pay off my debt as quickly as possible and I didn’t want to add to my debt with frivolous spending or unnecessary purchases.

    Unfortunately, my friends didn’t always understand my decision to stop spending. Don’t get me wrong, some of them were very supportive and encouraging throughout my journey to debt freedom. But others were judgmental when I told them that I didn’t want to spend money because I was focusing on paying off debt. They said things like, “you only live once” “you work so hard” and “why not treat yourself?”

    Ironically, those friends are now kicking themselves for not following my lead and paying off their debt when I did. I might have seemed frugal or even cheap in the moment, but now that I’m debt free I can purchase whatever I want (within reason) without without feeling guilty or worrying about how I’m going to pay for it.

    Here’s how I handled potentially “spendy” situations:
    The Problem: Everyone’s chipping in for gift.
    Several times when I was paying off my debt I was approached by friends who wanted me to, “chip in” for a gift for mutual friend. A few baby showers here, a few weddings showers there, and before you know it you’ve way overspent your budget.

    The Solution: Buy your own gift.
    Just because everyone else was buying a joint gift didn’t mean I had to do the same. Most of the time I let my friends know that I’d already purchased or made something in advance and planned to give that gift instead. Often my homemade baby gifts were more appreciated and better received than the store bought gift my friends purchased together.

    The Problem: Everyone’s going out for drinks.
    It’s hard to say, “no” when everyone is going out for drinks after work. When I said no I sometimes worried that I’d be missing out on networking, special announcements, and career advancement opportunities.

    The Solution: Go somewhere that offers inexpensive drinks or a half price happy hour. No one said you have to buy multiple drinks or put a round of drinks on your tab. Order a glass of water or soda instead of expensive alcoholic beverages.

    The Problem: Everyone’s going out to dinner.
    It’s a special occasion or life event that you don’t want to miss out on. Once in a while I relaxed my budget a little bit and let myself go out with friends for dinner.

    The Solution: Chose the place yourself. There are plenty of restaurants that offer affordable dinner options. Opt for a quick service restaurant instead of a fancy sit down place. Order an appetizer or split an entrée with a friend. If your city allows you to bring your own beverage, do so. If you’re going to a chain, search for a coupon first. Many of the big chains have special savings clubs that you can sign up for on their websites.

    The good news is, you don’t have to sacrifice spending time with your friends to save money. If you’re careful and find a good balance between spending and saving, you can have your fund and pay your debt off too.

  2. Friends or Money?
  3. #2
    Great list!
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  4. #3
    Registered User Enthusiast
    These are great suggestions. I've always found it hard to balance still having a social life with trying to pay off my debt. Going out with friends gets expensive fast.

  5. #4
    Registered User Enthusiast
    Dinner is always the worst for me. I always tell myself before going out that I'll just get an app or a little salad or something, but it always turns into a full meal with a few drinks and it gets pricey.

  6. #5
    Good point. The drinks can really add up quick (even if you're not an alochol drinker). If you end up somewhere that doesn't have free refills, a couple of soft drinks can set you back at least $5.00.

  7. #6
    Registered User Enthusiast
    Quote Originally Posted by DebtSurvivor View Post
    Good point. The drinks can really add up quick (even if you're not an alochol drinker). If you end up somewhere that doesn't have free refills, a couple of soft drinks can set you back at least $5.00.
    I'm an alcohol drinker, that's the problem. I don't even get the cheap drinks, I'll get the fancy fruity drinks that are up to $10 some places.

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