Author Topic: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders  (Read 34567 times)

choppingwood

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #50 on: July 24, 2015, 11:33:58 AM »
I told them that I never realized how different our values were. I feel so strongly that being FI means you can choose how to spend your money, but I was not at all in alignment with contributing less than I received from friends and did not think I could continue to be friends with them. The wife cried. I wished them the best and said I hoped they could find some happiness and left.

Quality of life. however you define it you can't beat it.

So, where do forgiveness and second chances have a place for you?

Eric

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #51 on: July 24, 2015, 11:38:28 AM »
I agree with lbmustache. You've also got to consider that this is someone who I assume is themselves already mustachian, commenting on these people.
So if relative to a mustachian you seem cheap then its probably going to be pretty bad.

Hahahaha!  It's good to keep things in perspective.  Totally agree.  If a Mustachian is complaining you're cheap, then HOLY SHIT ARE YOU CHEAP!!

JustGettingStarted1980

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #52 on: July 24, 2015, 11:40:53 AM »
I did go to their house and have a talk with them. The husband is still furious at the wife.  The wife was sheepish and apologetic.

I told them that I never realized how different our values were. I feel so strongly that being FI means you can choose how to spend your money, but I was not at all in alignment with contributing less than I received from friends and did not think I could continue to be friends with them. The wife cried. I wished them the best and said I hoped they could find some happiness and left.

I truly pity them. I have no problem telling someone I don't like to go out to eat because I am a better cook than almost every restaurant I have been in. I have no problem saying we have one old car because walking and biking are good for us. But on the other hand we are extremely generous. We do a lot of charity work, have friends over for delicious dinners and so on. I pity them for not being able to free themselves up to enjoy their money. Isn't that what we are doing this for?  Things like being able to enjoy life to the fullest, be charitable when appropriate, spend time with friends and family, and be good stewards of the environment, and not support the  sweat shop produced junk out there? 

Quality of life. however you define it you can't beat it.

I love the face to face approach. That was difficult to do, and was brave. I think most people would just ignore them forever, but I always opt for the more honorable direct conversation. I also think they'll appreciate you more for that ....eventually. By the way, this applies to ALL breakups, not just moocher friends.

Also, once things cool down, and if they have seen the error in their ways....maybe give them a second chance.  There must be some reason they became your friends to begin with, am I right?

marcela

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #53 on: July 24, 2015, 11:42:51 AM »
So I'm hearing lots of different variations of "That's not how I choose to spend my money."  While that might be more honest than "I can't afford it", you now have the new problem of implicitly communicating, You spend your money in dumb ways.  Now it's not a financial matter, it's an indictment of their own values which are different than mine. 

I can totally see why it's so much easier to say, "We can't afford it."  So much easier.

I second this.  I'll try and find another solid reason to back out of family vacations and spending sprees, like a schedule conflict of some kind.  Still honest, but leaves out the money part and the values comparisons.

Yeah....I'm not so sure that saying the whole "right now I'm trying to avoid being up to my eyeballs in debt like the average American. I need to invest that money now so I can retire comfortably/buy a house/pay for college someday/whatever. I really want to see you, but I'm going to have to pass on this particular trip/dinner/whatever as it is going to disrupt my carefully thought out savings plan." would go over very well with most people. It read a little harsh to me, which is fine on this forum, but could you honestly imagine yourself saying that in real life to a friend? It feels super judgey and condescending. We try to find schedule conflicts or use my rheumatoid arthritis as an excuse. In fact I'm about to do that in a few hours to get out of an optional "teambuilding activity" which has morphed to into drinks and dinner beyond the little painting class it was when I agreed. Telling them I just don't want to spend all the money this will entail wouldn't go over as well.

AlwaysLearningToSave

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #54 on: July 24, 2015, 12:14:50 PM »
So here is my question: if you find yourself in a situation where you do not want to continue spending money, but your friend wants the good times to keep on rolling and offers to pay (I'm picturing a trip to a bar for "a drink" that turns into a few drinks), how do you appropriately respond while staying true to mustachian principles? Refuse the generosity? You can only do that so much before it becomes socially unacceptable. Accept their generosity but later find yourself resented much like the couple in the OP? How am I to know whether the generosity is from the friend's pity over my perceived poorness or genuine no-strings-attached generosity? Should you accept with subsequent thankful gestures short of one to one reciprocity? Accepting with one to one reciprocity just involves spending more money than you are comfortable with sooner or later.

Clearly the best choice is to not find yourself in the situation in the first place, but it will happen sooner or later. What then?  It seems to me there is no good answer and you are bound piss someone off no matter what you do unless the giver is offering a truly no strings attached gift.


Bracken_Joy

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #55 on: July 24, 2015, 12:23:59 PM »
Following this, because it gets down to the major failings of my adherence to mustachianism: when family or friends want to do things. I'm very bad at saying no, and in fact, often pay for others.

Kaspian

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #56 on: July 24, 2015, 12:39:42 PM »
I've had a sibling call me "cheap" because I don't own a car or house.  ...And sometimes I do feel like a moocher when friends/family/coworkers offer to give me a ride somewhere because I don't have a car.  (Often I enjoy the walk, but if you turn down a lift and then the person sees you at the party and knows you walked, that really makes you a jerk, right?)  So how do you pay back a ride?  People who do it often, I'll buy them a drink occasionally or whatever, but I'm certainly not buying a drink every time I get a lift.  Most people know I'm working on FIRE and they don't criticize much. 

All that said, I would never, ever accept charity by letting someone else pay for me when I have the means. 

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #57 on: July 24, 2015, 12:53:28 PM »
I try to have one goal at a time that I can use as an excuse.  Right now it's "I'm trying to see if I can pay off my student loans by x year so I'm putting most of my extra money to that."  In the future it might be "I'm challenging myself to max out my 401k this year so my spending money is lighter than usual."  Or "I'm trying to save up to replace my car without a car loan."  The goal would be something that is generally true and that people can relate to.  I then am not judging their choice of spending but look like I'm trying to do a trendy challenge.  It also doesn't look like I don't have money, it just looks like I'm being fussy where I put it.

If someone knows my plan and says "well, it won't be the same without you there, let me buy your ticket" then I might let them depending on who it is and what it is.

Other things I do spend money on to preserve friendships and family relations.  We choose to live in a low COL place that is far from my husband's family.  We recognize that decision comes with the obligation to visit husband's family.  Luckily they pay for pretty much everything once we are there but it still costs gas or plane tickets to get there.

I will also pay to do something that I know is very important to someone I care about - a wedding, a charity event, etc.  I expect the same in return.  We went to a dinner at a fancy restaurant for friend A's birthday and friend B attended.  When it was friend B's birthday, and she wanted her dinner at the same place, friend A declined for money reasons.  That's not cool.  Don't expect people to spend a lot to celebrate your birthday but then fail to reciprocate. I also spent a lot of time and money for friend A's charity event and then she bailed at the last minute on mine.  That stuff gets noticed.

Potterquilter

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #58 on: July 24, 2015, 01:31:07 PM »
I told them that I never realized how different our values were. I feel so strongly that being FI means you can choose how to spend your money, but I was not at all in alignment with contributing less than I received from friends and did not think I could continue to be friends with them. The wife cried. I wished them the best and said I hoped they could find some happiness and left.

Quality of life. however you define it you can't beat it.

So, where do forgiveness and second chances have a place for you?

In this case I am not sure. Perhaps time will give me better perspective.

Potterquilter

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #59 on: July 24, 2015, 01:35:38 PM »


All that said, I would never, ever accept charity by letting someone else pay for me when I have the means.

I think this is it.  If you have more means than everybody else and constantly accept charity, actually guilt others into charity, that is what I found awful.

We have had many friends through the years that have gone through rough spots. So they come over to dinner empty handed and we are happy they accepted some help. Or giving a car less coworker a ride because it is on the way. No brainier. This was totally different.

okits

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #60 on: July 24, 2015, 01:48:35 PM »
I told them that I never realized how different our values were. I feel so strongly that being FI means you can choose how to spend your money, but I was not at all in alignment with contributing less than I received from friends and did not think I could continue to be friends with them. The wife cried. I wished them the best and said I hoped they could find some happiness and left.

Quality of life. however you define it you can't beat it.

So, where do forgiveness and second chances have a place for you?

In this situation I'm not sure it's time (yet) for second chances. Sounds like the husband is more angry at his wife for ruining the deception than contrite or realizing the error of their behaviour.  Why be friends with someone who wants your friendship on the basis of dishonesty and one-sided monetary benefit?

OP, you're a mensch for telling them in person.  When the other friends treat them like they're dead they'll know why.

Cassie

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #61 on: July 24, 2015, 02:08:18 PM »
Our group of friends are all in 50's-60's. We help one another with things like packing to move, decluttering, rides, pet sitting, etc but everyone reciprocates.  Actually one couple did not & it grew thin so bye-bye.  1 couple is very ill so we do lots of things for them since they have no family but in return they will pay for dinner, sometimes etc.  Actually they are so appreciative & generous that we have to be careful not to take advantage of them. We do these things because we love them & would hope that someone would help us if we were in that bad a situation. They can't afford to take taxi' to all their medical appointments, etc. What that couple did was unforgivable & even though I am usually pretty forgiving I wouldn't be able to get past the long term deception.

crispy

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #62 on: July 24, 2015, 04:50:56 PM »
This is a character issue, not a money issue.  They basically lied, stole, and mooched off their friends in order to save a few bucks.  The put possessions before people. 

LiveLean

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #63 on: July 24, 2015, 04:55:57 PM »
Some of the stuff does not sound that bad. Driving to the airport? Watching their dog? Aren' t those things friends normally do. As far as eating/drinking goes, if that is a habit, then yeah, OK, that is not good. The rest does not sound so bad.

Driving to the airport is annoying. If you're traveling one way (driving back) or will be gone for a long time, fine. But my sister and her family, who live near us, asks this of me all the time. We live a half hour from the airport. Long-term parking is just $8 a day. They usually ask even when they're gone just 3-4 days.

choppingwood

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #64 on: July 24, 2015, 06:07:21 PM »


All that said, I would never, ever accept charity by letting someone else pay for me when I have the means.

I think this is it.  If you have more means than everybody else and constantly accept charity, actually guilt others into charity, that is what I found awful.

We have had many friends through the years that have gone through rough spots. So they come over to dinner empty handed and we are happy they accepted some help. Or giving a car less coworker a ride because it is on the way. No brainier. This was totally different.

This is much harder, I grant you. I just remember an interview with a food bank director at a major food bank. He was asked what he thought about people using food banks who had blown all their money or who weren't fixing their problems. His answer was that he hoped that we could be kind to people who have made mistakes.

I think that I appreciate that you went to talk to these people face to face. But "I don't think I can be your friend anymore"? There is a line where your generosity stops. People who make big mistakes are on their own, apparently.

iris lily

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #65 on: July 24, 2015, 06:09:15 PM »
I told them that I never realized how different our values were. I feel so strongly that being FI means you can choose how to spend your money, but I was not at all in alignment with contributing less than I received from friends and did not think I could continue to be friends with them. The wife cried. I wished them the best and said I hoped they could find some happiness and left.

Quality of life. however you define it you can't beat it.

So, where do forgiveness and second chances have a place for you?


Hey op, it wasn't apparent to me that your friends expressed a wish to keep in  your group and they will be more generous with their resources. Giving them a second chance  requires that they change their behavior. I'm sure you would welcome them back if they stop being such damned mooches.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 12:54:18 AM by iris lily »

iris lily

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #66 on: July 24, 2015, 06:12:05 PM »
So here is my question: if you find yourself in a situation where you do not want to continue spending money, but your friend wants the good times to keep on rolling and offers to pay (I'm picturing a trip to a bar for "a drink" that turns into a few drinks), how do you appropriately respond while staying true to mustachian principles? Refuse the generosity? You can only do that so much before it becomes socially unacceptable. Accept their generosity but later find yourself resented much like the couple in the OP? How am I to know whether the generosity is from the friend's pity over my perceived poorness or genuine no-strings-attached generosity? Should you accept with subsequent thankful gestures short of one to one reciprocity? Accepting with one to one reciprocity just involves spending more money than you are comfortable with sooner or later.

Clearly the best choice is to not find yourself in the situation in the first place, but it will happen sooner or later. What then?  It seems to me there is no good answer and you are bound piss someone off no matter what you do unless the giver is offering a truly no strings attached gift.

It's easy to go to a bar, buy one drink, and nurse it for two hours. Another approach is to host similar activity at your house. Alcohol is not cheap if you really don't drink and drinking is important to your friends it might be timemtomfind new friends.


3okirb

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #67 on: July 24, 2015, 06:29:30 PM »
I told them that I never realized how different our values were. I feel so strongly that being FI means you can choose how to spend your money, but I was not at all in alignment with contributing less than I received from friends and did not think I could continue to be friends with them. The wife cried. I wished them the best and said I hoped they could find some happiness and left.

Quality of life. however you define it you can't beat it.

So, where do forgiveness and second chances have a place for you?

That's what I was thinking.  If they're really a long time friend, you'll find a way to get past it.  To throw away a friendship like that seems odd to me.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 06:34:21 PM by 3okirb »

iris lily

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #68 on: July 24, 2015, 06:46:41 PM »
Some of the stuff does not sound that bad. Driving to the airport? Watching their dog? Aren' t those things friends normally do. As far as eating/drinking goes, if that is a habit, then yeah, OK, that is not good. The rest does not sound so bad.

Driving to the airport is annoying. If you're traveling one way (driving back) or will be gone for a long time, fine. But my sister and her family, who live near us, asks this of me all the time. We live a half hour from the airport. Long-term parking is just $8 a day. They usually ask even when they're gone just 3-4 days.

Oh you would be surprised at the number of people in our social circle who cannot conceive of taking metro link train straight to the airport. When I was working I didn't want to take time out of my workday to take DH to the airport, but I offered to drop,him at metro link, 3 minutes from our house and on my direct drive to work. He was ok with that. But Dear
God you would think I was asking him to turn into a Poor Person. Not one but two friends absolutely insisted that he could NOT do that. Each of them provided transportation to and from the airport.

Last year I took a little retreat vacation to a small historic town on Amtrack. I can easily walk to Amtrak in 10 minutes. I was looking forward to a European style vacation taking the train. The same group and then 2 more, were puzzled and then disbelieving of my protests turning down their offers to drive me to the Amtrak station.

Americans and their damned cars.
T
« Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 06:48:31 PM by iris lily »

Potterquilter

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #69 on: July 24, 2015, 08:32:20 PM »
Thanks for all the thoughtful responses.
I think what it comes down to is the age old question.  What is cheap and what is frugal. 

Certainly making the best of your available money is frugal. Most mustacian have figured out learning to cook, limiting automobile use and not buying things you don't really really need are the path to FI.  Many Here don't have cable, fancy phones, fancy cars or eat out much.

However, asking someone else to subsidize your life so you can sit on a pile of money, not so much. Especially when our circle does tons for charity. These were deceivers for sure.

Again, I really feel bad for them. To have so much wealth (by the way, when you look at stastistics and realize they are in the top few percentages in the world) and not be able to enjoy and share it...tragic.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 08:37:49 PM by Potterquilter »

YoungMoney

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #70 on: July 24, 2015, 09:20:24 PM »
Potterquilter, it was nice of you to go speak to them in person. I'm curious as to their response. Did they offer any explanations? Did they make any promises to change?

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #71 on: July 24, 2015, 09:51:59 PM »
I did go to their house and have a talk with them. The husband is still furious at the wife.  The wife was sheepish and apologetic.

I told them that I never realized how different our values were. I feel so strongly that being FI means you can choose how to spend your money, but I was not at all in alignment with contributing less than I received from friends and did not think I could continue to be friends with them. The wife cried. I wished them the best and said I hoped they could find some happiness and left.

I truly pity them. I have no problem telling someone I don't like to go out to eat because I am a better cook than almost every restaurant I have been in. I have no problem saying we have one old car because walking and biking are good for us. But on the other hand we are extremely generous. We do a lot of charity work, have friends over for delicious dinners and so on. I pity them for not being able to free themselves up to enjoy their money. Isn't that what we are doing this for?  Things like being able to enjoy life to the fullest, be charitable when appropriate, spend time with friends and family, and be good stewards of the environment, and not support the  sweat shop produced junk out there? 

Quality of life. however you define it you can't beat it.

I think it was very brave of you to be so direct and honest. Way to draw functional boundaries like a boss.

tj

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #72 on: July 24, 2015, 10:22:18 PM »
Some of the stuff does not sound that bad. Driving to the airport? Watching their dog? Aren' t those things friends normally do. As far as eating/drinking goes, if that is a habit, then yeah, OK, that is not good. The rest does not sound so bad.

Seriously, mooching food and drink isn't nice- but these other things. These are the things friends do!

What is really considered mooching? I've so often been to events where the host complains that there is too much food, that i don't even think about eating if it's out for all to partake in....

Credaholic

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #73 on: July 25, 2015, 12:54:50 AM »
Not that this is relevant, but I'm incredibly curious how the tipsy wife ended up divulging this information. What was her wording or the prompt that led her to drop this info on you all? Incredibly cheap mooch or not, it's such a weird thing to state your net worth at a dinner party. Please tell me how this happened!

Potterquilter

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #74 on: July 25, 2015, 04:49:12 AM »
Credaholic, it came up because one couple were saying they thought they were going to downsize their house.  The kids had left the nest, they were planning to retire at the end of the year (mid fifties) and if they could downsize they thought they would be able to free up some more travel money once everything was said and done. Someone else said something about those goofy  articles saying you need five million to retire when she piped up with her relevation.

And TJ, it isn't mooching when long time friends sometimes borrow stuff or at a friends house and have beer when they did not bring any. When there is a long time pattern of always showing up empty handed, borrowing a truck and not filling it back up with gas, when everyone is raising kids, trying to save for retirement and in one case supporting a parent.  All the while they said how poor they were while sitting on a big pile of cash.

And through the years many of us have had help from family or friends, maybe not totally being able to reciprocate. That is the way life goes. Give and take as you are able, not take and hoard selfishly.

charis

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #75 on: July 25, 2015, 06:58:21 AM »

And TJ, it isn't mooching when long time friends sometimes borrow stuff or at a friends house and have beer when they did not bring any. When there is a long time pattern of always showing up empty handed, borrowing a truck and not filling it back up with gas, when everyone is raising kids, trying to save for retirement and in one case supporting a parent.  All the while they said how poor they were while sitting on a big pile of cash.
Maybe it is the age group you are in, but my friends are raising kids and trying to save for retirement (mid-30s) and  I would think nothing of someone borrowing something or having a beer when they come over.  I wouldn't think twice of someone coming over empty handed if I invited them to my house.  Borrowing a vehicle on a not infrequent basis would be different and adding gas to the tank would be expected probably. 

My issue would be if they actually stated to me that they were "poor" if they were not.  It's dishonest and offensive to the actual poor.  But don't waste your time pitying them for not enjoying their money the way that you think they should be because that's really none of your business.


justajane

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #76 on: July 25, 2015, 07:21:22 AM »
And TJ, it isn't mooching when long time friends sometimes borrow stuff or at a friends house and have beer when they did not bring any. When there is a long time pattern of always showing up empty handed, borrowing a truck and not filling it back up with gas, when everyone is raising kids, trying to save for retirement and in one case supporting a parent.  All the while they said how poor they were while sitting on a big pile of cash.

Are these the only two infractions? Because you've mentioned them twice already. I guess I just had this image that you all were spotting them money for dinner out or other actions. Did they show up empty handed to a pot luck or to dinner at someone else's house? These are two different things. The former is worse than the latter. I don't bring something every time I am invited to someone's house for dinner. How often did this occur? Every week? Every month? Every year? I'm sorry if it sounds like we are putting you under a microscope unfairly. I'm just trying to understand, because cutting someone off after that long of a friendship is a big deal. i just assumed it was over some pretty big infractions.

I still think they were wrong for saying they were poor when clearly they weren't, but I wouldn't cut someone off for not filling my car back up with gas after using it. I would probably have just stopped lending them my car at some point, even if I thought they were poor. Having said that, I understand distancing yourself from friends who mooch even in subtle ways. Sometimes it's the accumulation of small annoyances that leads to it. I had some friends who always paid too little when we went out. For instance, one time one of them ordered a meal, an appetizer, and a drink. She left early and later we found out she had only left $10 for her share! We all had to pay the difference. We would caravan places all the time, and she never drove, because her car was full of shit or some other stupid reason. It just got to be too much, so I eventually distanced myself. I imagine for you it was always annoying over the years, and then the last straw was finding out their net worth.

PMG

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #77 on: July 25, 2015, 07:46:15 AM »
The couples response of sheepishness and embarrassment sounds most incriminating.  If they were oblivious to taking advantage of the friendships they would not have responding so guiltily!

I have worried about being that friend! I try hard not to talk about money, but it seems like commiserating about being broke is an expectation in friendship.

I've made it a point to (almost always) bring food to share.  We usually gather at houses.  Other people bring booze.  I bring homemade food.  Many of the others don't cook, So they seem to enjoy it.  While they all know I'm a tightwad I think I've avoided mooching.  When this all started I lived in a dry town, they lived in a wet town, we met at a friend's half way in between.  The set up worked to my advantage.

   

Zamboni

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #78 on: July 25, 2015, 09:10:37 AM »
The blue blood half of my family taught me that it is rude to show up at a social event with food or wine; it implies somehow that the host can't adequately provide. I belonged to two bridge groups for years who followed this protocol and made a point of informing new players who didn't know this up front that no one was to ever bring anything but their good cheer; the host provides everything else. A thank you and possibly future invite for the host to another event that you organize are the most expected. Therefore my dad usually shows up empty handed unless the invitation clearly indicates that it is a pot luck or BYOB; it's just the way he was raised. You might think he is wrong or being a cheapskate, but his grandmother (RIP) would sternly correct you.

OTOH, The poor half of my family wouldn't be caught dead showing up to an event at someone else's house without food or drink. This seems to now be the norm for lower, middle, and upper middle-class America. My mom complains about it because she doesn't want to bring booze so she feels she can't go anywhere without making something, and she grows weary of it. Every invitation accepted actually means more work in the kitchen for her.

Also "bring something to every event" is not the norm in some cultures. For example, I clearly offended my ex's boss's wife (they were from India) by showing up with wine at a dinner they were hosting. She tried to hide it, but I caught the glimpse of distaste on her face when she saw that I was holding a bottle. She had plenty of her own wine to serve and mine was taken as a sign that she didn't have enough for us.

Different upbringings, different cultures, different expectations.

I guarantee you that some people are going to be pissed at me when I retire early no matter how generous I am right now with my time, beer, and baked goods. Because if one is sitting on a "big pile of money," one should have chipped in more all along, right? Particularly when someone has asked for your money and you have declined (which I have done twice now with the worst of spendthrift family members), the revelation that you had money all along is going to spark ire.

spokey doke

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #79 on: July 25, 2015, 09:22:03 AM »
Lots of great points about the nuances involved in social outings and friendship, along with how frugality and cheapness get interpreted by others.

In the case presented by the OP, it seems to me like greed is driving the bus for these two.  The judgment (if only implicit) being that my interests in accumulating wealth and an easier life trump norms of friendship, fairness, honesty, and social etiquette (and thus your interests).  And I agree that the guilty and angry response to being outed is a pretty good piece of evidence that they have done wrong.

I have run into such people and they really amaze me, even when sympathetically assessing all the complexities others have pointed out.  While such self-interested double standards are pretty common in adolescence and even early adult-hood, many get past that stage of moral development.  Unfortunately, many also do not.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 09:28:26 AM by spokey doke »

AlwaysLearningToSave

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #80 on: July 25, 2015, 11:38:53 AM »
I agree with Zamboni and have observed the same dichotomy of expectations. It is challenging to navigate as a young adult when you associate with people from each upbringing-- some places the host provides, in others everyone is expected to contribute.

I find the best way to navigate it is to clearly communicate. If you are hosting, tell your guests what, if anything to bring. A simple "BYOB" in the invitation communication (whether formal or informal) can prevent miscommunication and confusion. Conversely, when you are invited and the host does not specify what, if anything, to bring, simply asking "what can I bring?" Signals a desire to contribute your fair share and gives the host an opportunity to decline if the host is providing everything.

I also see generational differences. Friends our age are more likely to take they BYOB or bring a side/dessert approach, whereas when we visit friends who are my parents' age, they are more likely to insist we bring only ourselves. When we host, we take different approaches depending on the formality of the get together. If the party is more formal, then we are more likely to provide everything. In that instance it seems more a reflection of different stations in life than different social norms. If I'm hosting a get together with closer friends, I might say "I'll provide crappy beer. You can bring whatever you want if you want something else."

Just communicating rather than trying to read unspoken expectations seems to avoid big issues. Perhaps some people see it as a faux pas to ask, but I'd rather commit that faux pas than unwittingly fail to contribute where expected.

I find it easier to navigate events hosted at someone's home than events held at a restaurant. Anybody have insights on how to handle restaurant get togethers (other than avoiding them altogether)?
« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 11:46:58 AM by AlwaysLearningToSave »

AlwaysLearningToSave

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #81 on: July 25, 2015, 11:54:40 AM »
I also find that if I miss the mark on my expected contribution, a little self deprication goes a long way. Saying something like, "Oh, I guess I'm that guy that brought Two Buck Chuck for himself when everyone else brought good wine to share. Missed that memo." will show that you are are aware you missed the mark and didn't intend to do so. I've never had anyone respond to such a gesture with anything other than graciousness.

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #82 on: July 25, 2015, 12:15:28 PM »
Calling them out really won't make any difference and certainly won't change whats already been done. The hidden truths and the numerous occasions where your 'poor me' friends took advantage of you.  IMO let it go because they sound like fair weather friends. Could be wrong, but based on your description they care a great deal about what you can do for them, more than your shared friendship and time together. To me, their behavior is the exact opposite of what I consider a genuine friend.

As such, cut them out of your life like a surgeon removes cancer, then move on. Life is too short to involve yourself with toxic people. Good luck!

« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 12:25:23 PM by sobezen »

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #83 on: July 25, 2015, 12:49:11 PM »
I did go to their house and have a talk with them. The husband is still furious at the wife.  The wife was sheepish and apologetic.

I told them that I never realized how different our values were. I feel so strongly that being FI means you can choose how to spend your money, but I was not at all in alignment with contributing less than I received from friends and did not think I could continue to be friends with them. The wife cried. I wished them the best and said I hoped they could find some happiness and left.

I truly pity them. I have no problem telling someone I don't like to go out to eat because I am a better cook than almost every restaurant I have been in. I have no problem saying we have one old car because walking and biking are good for us. But on the other hand we are extremely generous. We do a lot of charity work, have friends over for delicious dinners and so on. I pity them for not being able to free themselves up to enjoy their money. Isn't that what we are doing this for?  Things like being able to enjoy life to the fullest, be charitable when appropriate, spend time with friends and family, and be good stewards of the environment, and not support the  sweat shop produced junk out there?

Quality of life. however you define it you can't beat it.


You handled this very well.  Its hard to do this face to face.  True friends both give and take.  Not always mooch mooch mooch mooch.  I help here, you help there.  Give them a chance in the future if they do change, but for your sake stay away for a while and let them cool down and see what shakes out.

Exhale

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #84 on: July 26, 2015, 10:25:54 AM »
What a timely thread...

My sibling and I just found out that our other sibling has plenty of resources but for years has been telling a "I don't have the money" story to us and our parents. As a generous and close (we thought!) family, we had all pitched in to be sure that the "poor" sibling could join family vacations (money for airfare, meals/hotels as needed, etc.). Now we find out (through our sibling's slip of the tongue) that there has always been plenty of money for vacations, shiny new toys, etc. All attempts to address (one on one, in various formats) the lack of honesty and taking money have been meet with refusal to discuss.

The lying and, now, the refusal to take responsibility is what hurts most. The good news is that the money hasn't been going to feed an addiction to alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc. From what we can tell, it's about not being able to be honest about a preference to spend resources on travel/toys rather than family visits. If it wasn't my sibling, I'd be very likely to cut the connection. Lying and refusal to take responsibility for one's actions are hard issues to resolve. I'm fine with people making their choices - just be honest that it's a choice (vs. saying that you're too poor when it's really a matter of you preferring to use your money in a different way).


Much more difficult and more painful than my situation. Hang in there.

Thank you Potterquilter. Like you, it's painful to discover you've been lied to, but also freeing since now I can make better choices about where I put my hard-earned money. I appreciate you starting this thread because it occurs to me that people may think once someone is FIRE (I don't plan tell everyone, but some may know) then we must be rich can serve as their personal bank.

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #85 on: July 26, 2015, 10:43:57 AM »
I did go to their house and have a talk with them. The husband is still furious at the wife.  The wife was sheepish and apologetic.

I told them that I never realized how different our values were. I feel so strongly that being FI means you can choose how to spend your money, but I was not at all in alignment with contributing less than I received from friends and did not think I could continue to be friends with them. The wife cried. I wished them the best and said I hoped they could find some happiness and left.

I truly pity them. I have no problem telling someone I don't like to go out to eat because I am a better cook than almost every restaurant I have been in. I have no problem saying we have one old car because walking and biking are good for us. But on the other hand we are extremely generous. We do a lot of charity work, have friends over for delicious dinners and so on. I pity them for not being able to free themselves up to enjoy their money. Isn't that what we are doing this for?  Things like being able to enjoy life to the fullest, be charitable when appropriate, spend time with friends and family, and be good stewards of the environment, and not support the  sweat shop produced junk out there? 

Quality of life. however you define it you can't beat it.


I think it was very brave of you to be so direct and honest. Way to draw functional boundaries like a boss.

+1!

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #86 on: July 26, 2015, 07:07:45 PM »
My plan going forward is to just overwhelm my family and friends with invitations to low-cost activities, like food/drink at my house, or a day at the park/beach with food/drink.  That way, at least they'll see that I WANT to spend time with them.  And when I go their place, I'm going to make it a point to always bring a bottle of my Two Buck Chuck.  That way they will always see that I'm bringing something, and not mooching.

This doesn't come naturally to me because I'm not much of an event organizer... but if it means being able to keep my friends post-FI, I think it's worth it.

This is kind of how we operate most of the time. It helps that right now a lot of our friends (like us) have small kids and aren't inclined to go out much anyway. "It's a pain to take the kids to a restaurant, let's eat at home! We'll cook/bring food and cook it at your place" is an offer that doesn't get refused much.

As for the doing favors for friends, I think friends do each other favors and there's some expectation of reciprocity. We do little things for friends and they do little things for us. We have certainly asked friends to help with bigger things (moving, large yard projects) and in exchange we feed them. We have told them that on another occasion we would help them. I'm happy to do favors for friends but if they are really bad at reciprocating typically I stop... we were "trading" babysitting with a friend for a while and I had not expected a 50-50 trade of hours but I did want *some* kind of reciprocity. After we had watched her kids a bunch of times and yet she kept declining every time we asked her to watch ours without suggesting alternate dates and giving excuses about how busy, stressed, etc. she is, we backed out of the arrangement.

mpg350

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #87 on: July 26, 2015, 07:09:07 PM »
Just curious how they got $2 mill and nobody noticed…did one of them have a really good paying job if so then it would seem obvious they were lying when they said they were poor…unless they lied about what one of them was doing ha

Sound like terrible friends.

CommonCents

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #88 on: July 26, 2015, 08:02:53 PM »
The blue blood half of my family taught me that it is rude to show up at a social event with food or wine; it implies somehow that the host can't adequately provide. I belonged to two bridge groups for years who followed this protocol and made a point of informing new players who didn't know this up front that no one was to ever bring anything but their good cheer; the host provides everything else. A thank you and possibly future invite for the host to another event that you organize are the most expected. Therefore my dad usually shows up empty handed unless the invitation clearly indicates that it is a pot luck or BYOB; it's just the way he was raised. You might think he is wrong or being a cheapskate, but his grandmother (RIP) would sternly correct you.

OTOH, The poor half of my family wouldn't be caught dead showing up to an event at someone else's house without food or drink. This seems to now be the norm for lower, middle, and upper middle-class America. My mom complains about it because she doesn't want to bring booze so she feels she can't go anywhere without making something, and she grows weary of it. Every invitation accepted actually means more work in the kitchen for her.

Also "bring something to every event" is not the norm in some cultures. For example, I clearly offended my ex's boss's wife (they were from India) by showing up with wine at a dinner they were hosting. She tried to hide it, but I caught the glimpse of distaste on her face when she saw that I was holding a bottle. She had plenty of her own wine to serve and mine was taken as a sign that she didn't have enough for us.

Different upbringings, different cultures, different expectations.

I guarantee you that some people are going to be pissed at me when I retire early no matter how generous I am right now with my time, beer, and baked goods. Because if one is sitting on a "big pile of money," one should have chipped in more all along, right? Particularly when someone has asked for your money and you have declined (which I have done twice now with the worst of spendthrift family members), the revelation that you had money all along is going to spark ire.

This is actually why something such as flowers is technically the appropriate gift, which avoids giving the impression you are suggesting the host isn't appropriately providing.  (And I read for a true etiquette guru, you actually send it in advance the day of the event, so the host does not need to arrange it while greeting guests.)  Other non-event food/drink items are also acceptable too.

My plan going forward is to just overwhelm my family and friends with invitations to low-cost activities, like food/drink at my house, or a day at the park/beach with food/drink.  That way, at least they'll see that I WANT to spend time with them.  And when I go their place, I'm going to make it a point to always bring a bottle of my Two Buck Chuck.  That way they will always see that I'm bringing something, and not mooching.

This doesn't come naturally to me because I'm not much of an event organizer... but if it means being able to keep my friends post-FI, I think it's worth it.

This is kind of how we operate most of the time. It helps that right now a lot of our friends (like us) have small kids and aren't inclined to go out much anyway. "It's a pain to take the kids to a restaurant, let's eat at home! We'll cook/bring food and cook it at your place" is an offer that doesn't get refused much.

As for the doing favors for friends, I think friends do each other favors and there's some expectation of reciprocity. We do little things for friends and they do little things for us. We have certainly asked friends to help with bigger things (moving, large yard projects) and in exchange we feed them. We have told them that on another occasion we would help them. I'm happy to do favors for friends but if they are really bad at reciprocating typically I stop... we were "trading" babysitting with a friend for a while and I had not expected a 50-50 trade of hours but I did want *some* kind of reciprocity. After we had watched her kids a bunch of times and yet she kept declining every time we asked her to watch ours without suggesting alternate dates and giving excuses about how busy, stressed, etc. she is, we backed out of the arrangement.
My plan going forward is to just overwhelm my family and friends with invitations to low-cost activities, like food/drink at my house, or a day at the park/beach with food/drink.  That way, at least they'll see that I WANT to spend time with them.  And when I go their place, I'm going to make it a point to always bring a bottle of my Two Buck Chuck.  That way they will always see that I'm bringing something, and not mooching.

This doesn't come naturally to me because I'm not much of an event organizer... but if it means being able to keep my friends post-FI, I think it's worth it.

This is kind of how we operate most of the time. It helps that right now a lot of our friends (like us) have small kids and aren't inclined to go out much anyway. "It's a pain to take the kids to a restaurant, let's eat at home! We'll cook/bring food and cook it at your place" is an offer that doesn't get refused much.

As for the doing favors for friends, I think friends do each other favors and there's some expectation of reciprocity. We do little things for friends and they do little things for us. We have certainly asked friends to help with bigger things (moving, large yard projects) and in exchange we feed them. We have told them that on another occasion we would help them. I'm happy to do favors for friends but if they are really bad at reciprocating typically I stop... we were "trading" babysitting with a friend for a while and I had not expected a 50-50 trade of hours but I did want *some* kind of reciprocity. After we had watched her kids a bunch of times and yet she kept declining every time we asked her to watch ours without suggesting alternate dates and giving excuses about how busy, stressed, etc. she is, we backed out of the arrangement.

Yep, I had a couple keep asking me to babysit.  I got tired of doing it (plus for free - and I have no kids for them to reciprocate) that I just decided I would always be "busy".

Potterquilter

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #89 on: July 27, 2015, 04:25:26 AM »
Just curious how they got $2 mill and nobody noticed…did one of them have a really good paying job if so then it would seem obvious they were lying when they said they were poor…unless they lied about what one of them was doing ha

Sound like terrible friends.

He worked normally but she worked under the table as a babysitter for teachers kids, but you really don't know exactly how much people make unless it is a job like a teacher where salary scales are posted. He was an only child so an inheritance could have kicked in.

This whole discussion has been fascinating. I am going to start a thread on cheap vs. frugal in general.

By the way, she called and we had a nice talk. Time will tell. I am back home now so won't be seeing them in person, so we will see
« Last Edit: July 27, 2015, 04:28:54 AM by Potterquilter »

Case

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #90 on: July 27, 2015, 04:51:56 AM »
OP here. I loved all the responses. I did not make some things really clear. These are the type of people who borrow a truck to run to pick something up and return it with a quarter tank of gas missing. They ask for a ride to and from the airport but always seem to be busy when they are asked.  Constantly talk about how poor they are.

There is a huge difference between frugal and cheap. Frugal people make concious decisions about how much money they spend and the value of what they are spending it on. They have reciprocal relationships. You lend me your great mulch carrying wheelbarrow and pitchfork, I help you out when you need someone to walk the dog when you will be home really late.  If I need a ride to the airport, I give you gas money. It is not about making things equal, but being reciprocal.

I am super frugal, but also super generous. If someone brings me a basket of tomatoes from their garden, I make extra soup and drop it off in thanks. We have one car, if I got stuck somewhere I would call a taxi, or if I called a friend would reciprocate by doing something nice in return. 

I think we all gave them a lot of leeway through the years because they played the poor card.

I think I am going to sit back and watch how it plays out. Actually I feel bad for them. Multi millionaires bitching about how poor they are. Think of the good use they could make of that money while still having a fabulous life.

If you and your (other) friends cut them out without doing saying anything to them, then they wont learn anything.  This is fine if you really don't want to be friends with them anymore.  However, if you have any interest in being friends with them, or even giving them the chance to change, then the entire group needs to confront them. 

I'm in the camp of confronting them.  Make sure it is explicit, otherwise they'll try to turn it around on you guys, accuse you of leeching money off of them or somethign ridiculous.  If it's easier, send a group email rather than in person.  A little passive aggressive, but gives more time for people to think out their responses rather than responding with spontaneous rage.

Case

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #91 on: July 27, 2015, 05:22:49 AM »
I did go to their house and have a talk with them. The husband is still furious at the wife.  The wife was sheepish and apologetic.

I told them that I never realized how different our values were. I feel so strongly that being FI means you can choose how to spend your money, but I was not at all in alignment with contributing less than I received from friends and did not think I could continue to be friends with them. The wife cried. I wished them the best and said I hoped they could find some happiness and left.

I truly pity them. I have no problem telling someone I don't like to go out to eat because I am a better cook than almost every restaurant I have been in. I have no problem saying we have one old car because walking and biking are good for us. But on the other hand we are extremely generous. We do a lot of charity work, have friends over for delicious dinners and so on. I pity them for not being able to free themselves up to enjoy their money. Isn't that what we are doing this for?  Things like being able to enjoy life to the fullest, be charitable when appropriate, spend time with friends and family, and be good stewards of the environment, and not support the  sweat shop produced junk out there? 

Quality of life. however you define it you can't beat it.

Awesome that you confronted them.
$2mil is a sooo much money; on the interest for that they could EASILY be paying their own way on things.

asiljoy

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #92 on: July 27, 2015, 06:16:53 AM »
I try to have one goal at a time that I can use as an excuse.  Right now it's "I'm trying to see if I can pay off my student loans by x year so I'm putting most of my extra money to that."  In the future it might be "I'm challenging myself to max out my 401k this year so my spending money is lighter than usual."  Or "I'm trying to save up to replace my car without a car loan."  The goal would be something that is generally true and that people can relate to.  I then am not judging their choice of spending but look like I'm trying to do a trendy challenge.  It also doesn't look like I don't have money, it just looks like I'm being fussy where I put it.

That's brilliant and I'm totally going to use that idea going forward!

chasesfish

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #93 on: July 27, 2015, 06:32:04 AM »
You don't have to directly confront them, but you can have this discussion:

"You're at the point where you are guaranteed to not die broke - take care of the people around you"

Tell him that you'll be their friend no matter what and its cool to be frugal, but think about how actions impact the people around you. 

charis

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #94 on: July 27, 2015, 08:05:53 AM »

"You're at the point where you are guaranteed to not die broke - take care of the people around you"


What does this mean?  Unless you are going to die broke, you have to take care of people in your life?  That's insane.

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #95 on: July 27, 2015, 11:33:37 AM »
A few months ago, one of my friends got a cab from the airport and complications that were mostly outside of his control turned a $20 cab ride into a $100 expense. Frankly, I was slightly offended that he took a cab in the first place: as a friend who hadn't seen him in a month, I would have been delighted to pick him up!

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #96 on: July 27, 2015, 01:06:54 PM »
I would never ask a friend, I would feel like that is a burden, and I would also never expect to be asked.

I always book shared shuttles unless a family member specifically offers before i have the chance to book it.

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #97 on: July 27, 2015, 01:47:18 PM »
I've noticed certain people just don't have what I call "generosity of spirit." I avoid being friends with those people.

"Generosity of spirit" isn't a dollar amount or a tit-for-tat accounting; it's an attitude.

AlwaysLearningToSave

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #98 on: July 27, 2015, 07:52:50 PM »
Again, to me it comes down to communication. I would happily give a ride to a friend if I am able and doing so would not be a great imposition. Conversely, I will politely decline the request if it would be too inconvenient. Whenever I ask someone else for a favor, I try to empower them to refuse my request if it is inconvenient. Just because someone asks doesn't mean the person asked is obligated to comply. You can always decline, whether or not you have an "excuse."

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Re: "Poor friends" are really mooching money hoarders
« Reply #99 on: July 27, 2015, 08:36:25 PM »
The thought that keeps running through my head reading this thread is that you really are not obligated to provide any reason when declining an invitation. I can see perhaps this would waiver when dealing with family, but as I said in another post here, an invitation is not a summons: you are free to decline for your own reasons and leave it at that.

I'd recommend something along the lines of "Thank you so much for the invitation. We can't make it this time but look forward to spending time with you soon." Full stop. End of story. Stop talking and fight the urge to justify yourself. You are an adult, you are in control of your money, you do not need to provide any more explanation. If they press, you can add in something like "Thank you but we will not be available".

I like the idea someone else mentioned of turning around and inviting them to something else cheaper in the near future so you really do seem like you want to spend time with the invitee (unless that is not true!). They are in turn, free to accept or decline as they see fit. No need for anyone to get judge-y about others' values.