Author Topic: How to have friends/family as a mustachian.  (Read 4450 times)

milofilo

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How to have friends/family as a mustachian.
« on: March 27, 2016, 12:31:45 PM »
I am new here so sorry if this has been asked somewhere already.

I recently started down the mustache road and am struggling to know how to say no to friends and family inviting me to things that cost a lot of money while maintaining relationships. This has always been somewhat of an issue for me since I am naturally frugal and buying things is usually a little painful, but this year for the first time I have a job that pays 60k instead of $12/hr and most of my friends make about 15 an hour (and know what I make) so it's tough for me to use an excuse like "I am trying to save money" when they know that I make so much and they have so little. I am a really easygoing person and don't like feeling like I am making things difficult for other people or being anal about money. I want to come off as kind and generous, not stingy, but I also want to retire early and think I am on track to do it!

In the past I have dealt with this just by shutting up and spending the minimum money required. With my sister (who is the complete opposite of me and will spend hundreds on designer clothes despite making nothing) I have especially learned to just give up and know that it is going to be expensive when I see her (a few times a year) because she rolls her eyes and gets very annoyed with my penny pinching and it makes me feel awful.

I have another friend who is great to spend time with but bad at reimbursing...and it seems like i am always the one spending. It feels very uptight to be asking for 5 to 10 reimbursed, especially when they make less, but it does add up.

The good news (I guess?) is I have only lived in the city for a year and only really have 2-3 friends. I would love to have more friends but it's hard to make friends as a grown up and it turns out friends are expensive! Luckily my boyfriend is very frugal and on board with MMM so that part is easy.

Does anyone have any tactics/ideas for polite ways to explain why you don't want to spend money to people who make less than you without sounding crazy? Or for diverting activities to things that don't cost a lot of money? I live in a tiny studio so it's pretty awkward to have guests over.

Any advice appreciated!



Nederstash

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Re: How to have friends/family as a mustachian.
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2016, 01:14:20 PM »
Best thing is to beat them to the punch. Be the first to suggest something and make sure it's not going to cost you much! Summer is coming, just go chill in the park with a bottle of wine and some home made sandwiches. As for making friends, maybe there's a book club? Look for it on facebook.

pbkmaine

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Re: How to have friends/family as a mustachian.
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2016, 01:36:13 PM »
Friends are NOT expensive! There's picnics, hikes, tailgating at a high school baseball game, potluck suppers, progressive dinners (one course at each house), karaoke, card games, board games, backyard barbecues, cocktail parties, watching baseball on TV, trivia night at a local bar for the cost of a drink. If people like shopping, go to thrift and consignment shops. Pack lunch in a cooler. Use your imagination!

ambimammular

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Re: How to have friends/family as a mustachian.
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2016, 01:39:32 PM »
Just because they know how much you're earning doesn't mean they know how much you may or may not owe. You could always say you're paying extra on student loans or trying to pay off your car, credit card, whatever you've got. It's the sort of thing that spendy friends are bound to sympathize with, and it might remind them of financial obligations they have.

"Grrr, big student loan payment due this week. Sorry. (not sorry) Let's just picnic instead!" It evens the playing field in their minds.

But, ultimately, you'll be better off if you just roll your eyes back at their spendy ways.

CindyBS

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Re: How to have friends/family as a mustachian.
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2016, 05:17:03 PM »
I'm not sure where your interests are - but a good place for free/low costs things you could invite them too are at civic type places like museums, nature centers, state/city/national parks, libraries.  In summer there is frequently things like movies in the park, free concerts, outdoor education things like guided hikes or even things like kayaking tours with equipment included.  A concert in the park with $10 or so spent on a food from a food truck is a nice inexpensive night out. 

A lot of cities have calendars online with events coming up that will list these. 

Also, if you are reader, a book club may be a way to go.  They are typically very inexpensive way to meet new people and spend an evening.  In my book club we rotate who hosts, the food and drink are potluck, and most of us get our books from the library. 

Kris

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Re: How to have friends/family as a mustachian.
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2016, 05:22:03 PM »
What I say to anyone who wants me to spend more money is not, "I don't have it" or "I can't afford it"(because they know that isn't true) but rather, "It's not in my budget." That's a little harder to argue with.

As far as outings are concerned, take advantage of nice weather and plan potluck picnics at parks, frisbee dates, walks or hikes... Stuff like that.

Nickels Dimes Quarters

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Re: How to have friends/family as a mustachian.
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2016, 06:56:14 PM »
Great ideas here. There's a lot to be said for being honest. When you tell someone, hey I'd love to spend time with you, but I am really working hard at getting my spending under control so I can get out of debt faster. It may open up a great conversation between you that they realize they too should be working on that same goal. BUT...not all friends or family members want to see themselves in this. So, with my family, it hasn't been too tough. Several family members are on fixed incomes or an older generation that is very frugal even when they do have the money.

The downside with a few family members is that they spend more than what they make, so I am really careful not to talk about the oodles of money I have stashed. I don't want anyone hitting me up for a loan, or thinking "NDQ can pay, they have loads of cash!"

If you want to go out to dinner, you still can. Water with lemon, an appetizer and/or a dinner salad. Find the a la carte section of the menu (last page, or on back). Order a few things, see if you're hungry before you order more. Mexican restaurants are great. Free chips and salsa, then order a la carte. Cheap and filling!

NDQ

coolistdude

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Re: How to have friends/family as a mustachian.
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2016, 07:19:07 PM »
Great ideas here. There's a lot to be said for being honest. When you tell someone, hey I'd love to spend time with you, but I am really working hard at getting my spending under control so I can get out of debt faster. It may open up a great conversation between you that they realize they too should be working on that same goal. BUT...not all friends or family members want to see themselves in this. So, with my family, it hasn't been too tough. Several family members are on fixed incomes or an older generation that is very frugal even when they do have the money.

The downside with a few family members is that they spend more than what they make, so I am really careful not to talk about the oodles of money I have stashed. I don't want anyone hitting me up for a loan, or thinking "NDQ can pay, they have loads of cash!"

If you want to go out to dinner, you still can. Water with lemon, an appetizer and/or a dinner salad. Find the a la carte section of the menu (last page, or on back). Order a few things, see if you're hungry before you order more. Mexican restaurants are great. Free chips and salsa, then order a la carte. Cheap and filling!

NDQ

This works. You will become a salsa snob if you like spicy. Unfortunately, it isn't fully possible to not be noticed for spending less than average to make you happy. With the right friends, it doesn't matter what you do. One of my best bro friends will eat Little Caesar's with me and watch Youtube (Yugioh Abridged or whatever we feel like). Then we beach about work etc. It's really the beaching that fills me up.

Nederstash

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Re: How to have friends/family as a mustachian.
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2016, 06:03:42 AM »
I enjoy bemoaning my mortgage or car repairs when my friends want to get spendy. Once I made the mistake of being too nonchalant about my financial situation to a friend. The next week, I meet this friend's mother's nail stylist (who I'd never met before) by chance and when I introduced myself she said: "oh right, the one with the money!"

So that was cringeworthy. Even more so because these ladies in their 50s considered a (then) 28 year old with 10k to my name 'the one with the money'. Stayed well away from them since!

So bemoan or overplay your debt. That's something they'll understand.

Ellabean

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Re: How to have friends/family as a mustachian.
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2016, 07:50:52 AM »
I've told my friends that I'm turning my finances around and that I'm not going out to eat or for drinks anymore. That way, it isn't about them or the relationship. Then I invite them to go for a nice walk or over to our house for dinner. We hosted the neighborhood for an egg-hunt and had a potluck brunch-- it was awesome! We served coffee and made deviled eggs and white-bean-pesto dip with carrots, celery, and pita (yum!). Our neighbors brought banana fritters, guacamole, fresh fruit, and bagels and lox. Yum! Once a month, my college alumnae club has a potluck brunch at a different host's house. Lots of social activities without the high price. But it sounds like my situation is different since I have kids, and so do many of my friends. 

rothwem

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Re: How to have friends/family as a mustachian.
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2016, 09:42:12 AM »
Your first mistake was telling people how much you make. 

Your second mistake is letting your friends dictate how YOU spend YOUR money.  If they're really your friends, they'll respect you when you say that you don't think an activity is worth the money.

WSUCoug1994

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Re: How to have friends/family as a mustachian.
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2016, 10:58:28 AM »
I am in a unique situation as I am the most frugal yet likely the highest earning within my family/friend group.  My job is fairly public so it is easy for them to assume some things about my situation.  I struggled in the beginning being the "cheap" one but I found it does get easier over time. 

It also got a lot easier when I started sharing my high level early retirement goals with my group.  I have this "big goal" in their minds and although most of them think I am crazy - my default answer is that I am saving for my "end game".  I am not sure if that will help you but over the years the social pressure has declined significantly.

My wife and I do struggle with what I call the "reciprocity syndrome" - where she likes to gift at the same level as our friends/family have gifted to us (this is a big problem right now as we are having our first child and I am drowning in consumerism by no fault of my own lol).  I can tell you that we haven't found a good solution to that problem yet. 
« Last Edit: March 28, 2016, 11:00:01 AM by WSUCoug1994 »

SeanMC

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Re: How to have friends/family as a mustachian.
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2016, 12:18:09 PM »
There is a difference between friends and family you already have and making new friends/social circle.

When it comes to how to make new friends or expand your social circle, sometimes, you do have to spend some $ trying out new things and activities where you might meet people. Even if the activity itself is free, you may have to spend time and money getting there.

However, you also can seek out people who share the same frugal values or are likely to enjoy the same cheap/free things that you do. Finding people who like to hike or go bird watching or to book club or knit - whatever you like - will get you started on a path to making friends that you can do these things with in the future. If you start making friends with people who connect by going out to eat at restaurants, going shopping/to the mall, going out for movies, and so on, then you will mostly find people who do not share the same frugality values and habits. Then you'll be frustrated trying to convince them to go for a picnic or hike.