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Can't Afford My Friend

April 9th, 2007 at 08:17 pm

Can You Help This Reader? This is what she writes:

My "Can't Afford" Friend

I have a friend who works full time (I work part time and make half the income that she does) who just doesn't seem to understand that I can't do the things that she does. She is having a holiday from her job soon for two weeks, and when I went to see her a few days ago, she asked me what "we" are doing for her holiday.

I have to work and told her so, but she knows that I work mornings and she wants to do things in the afternoon. Everything that she wants to do involves money, which I simply don't have. I have some bills to pay at the moment, and I am trying very hard to keep on top of my bills and pay off the debts that I have.

I simply don't have the money to travel around and visit places with her. She won't pay for me and I wouldn't ask her to anyway. She wants me to take her places and go on trips with her, but I simply don't have those resources. She lives with family as do I, but she doesn't pay board or have a car. My car is acting up too and I need to save money to get it fixed.

How do I explain to her that I simply can't keep up with her social life and let her know that my expenses are more important than running her around without her getting offended?

Has anyone had a problem with someone like this?

She told me that she doesn't want to sit at home on her holidays and I know that she expects me to run around after her as I have stupidly done in the past. If you or any of your readers have some advice, I would be grateful.

8 Responses to “Can't Afford My Friend”

  1. Carolina Bound Says:

    Actually, I can only commiserate. It seems like people have a very hard time imagining a life with less money. There is a tendency to assume everyone else, friends especially, are on an equal playing field. She'll just have to keep nicely reminding her that she has other things to do with her money.

  2. yummy64 Says:

    I would be busy. Previous plans can be anything from vegging on the couch to going out with another friend. Best though not to get into explanations and just be "busy" but "wish you could but you can't maybe we can make plans to do that one day and you'll have then put the money aside so you can properly enjoy it"

  3. tinapbeana Says:

    while it's not fair for her to expect you to entertain her, it might be a good opportunity to stretch your creative, frugal muscles and think of some things that you could do together and the cheap. picnics, hiking, joining a book club, volunteering, starting an exercise program. when i was in college, we had a blast going into versace and marveling at how ugly their clothes were....

  4. Broken Arrow Says:

    If it was me, I would've just told her that I don't make as much as she does and can't afford it.

    ...but I'm simple like that.

  5. monkeymama Says:

    Me too BA.

    I have actually been on both sides though. I have a friend who does really well financially but scrimps every penny. She would rive me nuts never wanting to shell out a dime. LOL. But then in college I was putting myself through and the roles were reversed so it was kind of funny. Today she would tend to spend more than me because she doesn't have a family to support. But we are the best of friends and respect each other all the same. Thought here were times she drove me nuts (I think she was way too excessive in her savings) and maybe now she is annoyed today that I don't have the financial freedom I used to.

    It has been really hard for me to make new friends here though because of this reason. I am all for taking the kids to the park and hanging out in homes (free) whereas playdates always seem to end up at over-priced places and dinner out for $20+ becomes the norm. I simply don't participate but find it a lot harder to find like-minded friends. The weird thing is these are all people with no money in the bank. So I know I annoy them. Knowing how well we have done financially they roll their eyes at me when say I don't have $20 for dinner. But frankly I don't have $20 for dinner. I choose a nice house and a spouse who doesn't have to work, instead - they haven't figure that part out.

  6. Fern Says:

    Just be straightforward and tell her you can't afford it, just like you've told us. Honesty is the best policy, so there are no misunderstandings.

  7. Aleta Says:

    I find this even more difficult when it's family members that are like that.

  8. HouseHopeful Says:

    Its definately hard to be in that situation. I would try to be as direct as possible with her. I have a friend who is like that too. We've been in the same pattern for a long time, with me going her way on things. But recently I've let her know that I have certain goals and to achieve them, I've had to change a few things. Luckily, she's been ok about it, although she'll make some comments from time to time. I just ignore them.

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