How to Handle Mixed-Income Friendships
BY LAURA MCMULLEN
Finally, as the country reopens, you’re likely seeing more of your friends. Out with the video chatting and in with the high-fiving, hugging and, well, spending. For every dinner, there’s a check to pay; for every wedding, a gift to buy; and for every concert, a ticket to score. You may notice that you and your reunited friends handle these kinds of expenses differently. Maybe one of you sees an $80 night out as chump change, while the other feels like a chump for desperately needing that cash for rent. Here’s how to reenter the world of socializing and spending while keeping friendships and finances intact.
IF YOU'RE THE FRIEND WITH LESS MONEY
Reflect on your finances and priorities, as well as how they may have changed during the pandemic. “This is an opportunity for everyone to be more mindful about where they want to spend their time, money and resources,” says Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, a Waitsfield, Vermont-based wealth psychology expert and host of the “Breaking Money Silence” podcast. Consider what’s important to you, she says, as well as the experiences you want to invest in and those you’d rather skip to save money. “Then you can decline invitations a little easier because you feel more solid in your decision,” she says. Say you realize that during quarantine you didn’t mind PB&J for most meals, but you craved live music. Skip the fancy dinner plans and, if your finances allow, buy the concert ticket. Or make your own plans if you’re simply longing to catch up with friends. Host a potluck, movie night, bike ride or another more affordable hangout. With this kind of intention, you’re empowering yourself to make strategic financial decisions. Doesn’t that sound better than bailing because money is tight?
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