As Kingsbury puts it: “Instead of saying, ‘I can’t, I can’t, I can’t,’ it’s more about saying, ‘This is what I’m going to do.’” As you reflect on financial priorities, consider creating a budget to match them, says New York- based financial therapist Aja Evans.
A budget is a plan for your incoming and outgoing money — though you can call it something else if the B-word wigs you out. (Evans calls her family budget their “killing-it plan.”)
The key word is “plan.” No need to resort to a shrug or stress-fest when you’re invited to a destination wedding or pricey brunch. With a budget, you already have an idea of how much you can (or can’t) spend on those activities. If you can’t swing the event, trust that your friends will understand. “I would imagine that, after COVID, people really understand financial stress no matter their level of income or assets,” Kingsbury says.
IF YOU'RE THE FRIEND WITH MORE MONEY
If you can afford the dinners and concerts, then live it up, Evans says. But try to understand that your friends can’t always join you. Be “empathetic and compassionate and — here’s the hard part — not judgmental,” Kingsbury says. You may not know your friend’s circumstances. Many people don’t share when they’re financially stressed, Kingsbury says, “because there’s that judgment and shame.” So give your friend the benefit of the doubt when she declines an invite. And give your friend something else: time. As soon as you plan an outing or learn about a pricey event, tell them so they can try to plan for it, Evans says. Even with that time, “be prepared that some people might not be able to make it work,” Evans says. Allow friends to opt out or even participate in an alternative plan. So if you invite friends to a destination wedding, for example, explain that you know it’s an expensive request and understand if they can’t join. Maybe you and your friends who can’t make the trip go out to dinner locally to celebrate instead. HOW TO TALK ABOUT MONEY WITH FRIENDS These spending situations become easier when you and your friends can talk openly about money. If your buddy already knows you’re saving for a down payment or supporting your parents, for example, she’s more likely to understand when you pass on a winery trip. And if you discuss finances with friends, you may be able to motivate and help each other. Maybe your friend knows of a first-time homebuyer program that could help you with that down payment.
Powered by FlippingBook