You love your friends, and your friends love to spend money. They spend money on new clothes that put yours to shame, on expensive presents for your birthday, on fancy bottles of wine for your dinner party, on drinks for the table at the bar. The pressure to reciprocate — and keep up — can be intense. But don’t fear: just because you have high-rolling friends doesn’t mean your bank account is in jeopardy. Big spenders and little spenders can indeed be friends, but it requires some finesse so you aren’t always feeling poor and they aren’t always feeling bad because you’re poor. We’ve got ten way to keep your spend-happy friends close and your wallet closed.
1. Tell yourself: Own it
Do not covet your neighbor’s phone (or his car, or his fancy MacBook). Instead, embrace your old-school flip phone, your car-less lifestyle, your two-inch-thick Dell laptop. Having new things sure would be nice, but you don’t need them; don’t let your gear-toting friends make you think you do. Your things aren’t old and crusty — they’re old and trusty. Own your own stuff.
2. Tell yourself: A bottle of wine is a bottle of wine
Just because your friend brings a $20 bottle of wine to your dinner party doesn’t mean you have to stray from your $3 Trader Joe’s standard when he’s hosting. Get the cheap stuff. It’s okay.
3. Tell yourself: It really is the thought that counts
If your friend buys you a massage for your birthday, do you have to reciprocate in kind come hers? You do not. Sweetness need not have a price tag. Flowers from your garden, a homemade cake, a thoughtful book: these are all fine presents.
4. Tell your friends: You’re coming down with something
The price of dinner doubles when you add booze, and ordering just one drink is a dangerous move: it’s too easy to order another one. Nip that temptation in the bud by not drinking with dinner, and nip your friends’ pressure on you to drink with dinner by saying you’re sick. And no, friends, margaritas do not kill germs.
5. Tell your friends: You’ve only got cash
At the bar, it’s so easy to tell the table, “I’ve got this.” You don’t have this, because you don’t have your card. All you have is cash, and you only have enough for your own drink. We’ve all left our debit card at home on accident before. You should leave yours there on purpose.