Friday, September 7, 2007

Tracy over at My Money Story has a great question: How do you say no when your friends invite you out for money-draining activites like going out for dinner?

Well, some friends are close enough to be honest with. Others get bogus excuses. Often, though, I try to compromise. I'd invite the friends over to my house for a home-cooked meal ("You have to try this great casserole I just learned to make!"), suggest a more reasonable place in the area ("You've got to try this new place we found that has Great food (and is So reasonable)!"), or tell them that you already ate and offer to meet for dessert, coffee or drinks.

I don't tell my friends how far in debt I am, or how much of it is high-interest credit cards, but I drop hints like "Can't hang out tomorrow, I'm working at the second job to pay off those student loans!". I work almost every single day, so they know that I'm concerned about money (and also think I'm a workaholic). They don't seem to mind hanging around my house or getting ice cream instead of a four-course meal. I also have pot lucks and craft nights. If my friends insist on going somewhere expensive, I'll try to get someone to split an entree and just get water to drink, or just order a side dish (easy to get away with because I'm a vegetarian).

The road out of debt is a long one, and the friends you keep through the process are the ones who appreciate your company, not the money-draining activities you can do together. Remember that after the debt is gone, you'll probably want to put all that money that was going to debt towards saving that you haven't been able to do earlier. I just remind myself that being financially stable is a life-long goal. And the good friends in life would rather see you getting to a better place financially than out playing putt-putt golf.


Tracy said...

Thanks for the comment, and the link. You are totally right, and my husband and I just need to start saying No when we can't afford to go do things with our friends/family. In fact, I am making the commitment right now! We'll see how it goes...

Bouncing Back said...

It's hard to say no when all your freinds are going out for meals and drinks and can afford the pricier resteraunts. And it's uncomfortable sharing your personal debt with everyone.

I've been telling friends I'm saving for a new car (which is true) and that eating out is not a weekly habit I can do anymore. I try to meet friends for coffee (even drinks get expensive) or as you have done, look for the new inexpensive resteraunts or meet on the weekends for breakfast at a local diner (even during the work week, it's a treat to have pancakes before work!)

My favorite local resteraunt is really expensive and I just can't afford it right now. I try to save the expensive eating out for special occassions, milestone birthdays, etc.