Meeting other students is all part of the university experience, but going for a meal, catching up over drinks or even just traveling to see a friend will all cost money. Unfortunately, some friends seem to drain our wallets; perhaps without even realising. Here are four friendships that may be costing more than you realise and tips on how to avoid being left broke.
The Borrower (who forgets to pay back)
Perhaps you’ve been friends for years, or perhaps you just don’t like saying no. Whatever the reason, you always find yourself giving in to their pleas to ‘borrow’ money. Lending money is fine; never seeing that money again isn’t. And the fact it’s only ever small amounts does matter – you may not mind losing the odd £5 every month, but how about giving away £60 every year? It all adds up.
· Before going anywhere, make the costs clear.
· Ask if they have their purse/wallet before you leave – because you know they forgot it last time and you can’t afford to pay today.
· If put in a difficult situation, gently explain that you’re saving and need the money yourself.
They pass on dinner plans because they can’t afford it and when they do agree to come along they only have a starter. You always feel bad that they can’t afford things and end up paying for them, even when you’re struggling for cash yourself.
· Give options of what to do/where to go so they can choose something to match their budget without feeling cheap.
· Only take enough cash to pay for yourself so that you’re not tempted to bail them out.
· Try suggesting the challenge of a £10 meal/£20 shop/£5 night out and take it in turns to find somewhere for your chosen budget. Not only will it save you feeling guilty or uncomfortable, it might save you money too!
The Big Spender
One night out for them is the equivalent of a whole month’s worth of nights out for you. Deciding where to go can be a tricky business when a friend has expensive tastes, but a real friend will value your friendship over an expensive club or restaurant.
· When it comes to choosing where to go, be the first to make a suggestion.
· Find vouchers and coupons for places that are slightly out of your budget.
· Get other friends involved – chances are, you’re not the only one who struggles to keep with your friend’s budget and hopefully they will realise this
Whether conscious of their effect or not, this friend always seems to have you spending more than planned.
· Only take out the amount you’re willing to spend so that when you hit your budget you have to stop
· Be honest and tell your friend you’re on a budget so you won’t be encouraged or pressurised into spending more than you can
· Remember: dinner may be expensive but friendship shouldn’t be. There are plenty of things you can do for free – be creative