When I first took the plunge into trying to get my life right and finances together, I did it drastically. Being this drastic is not something I recommend to anyone, but I had to do it to prove to myself that I could do it. Here’s a quick backstory, I’ve tried to get out of debt NUMEROUS times before, only to fall off the wagon and just give up. Spending the money and having stuff just felt too good. Fast forward to March 2015, we were one emergency away from the possibility of having to file bankruptcy, and I knew I had to get my life together. So I stopped everything. I stopped eating out. I stopped shopping. I stopped going out with friends. The first two were easy for me, but the last thing, going out with friends, came with some not so nice consequences.
Once I stopped spending money with people who I thought were my friends I lost them. My friends knew exactly what I was doing. They knew that I was living at the time what I playfully called “Broke on Purpose”. Since I could never afford/ wanted to spend the money to go, they stopped inviting me out. I’ll be honest that hurt! It also helped me recognize that our friendship was forged solely on spending money. Even when I tried to stay in contact with those people, via phone conversations, I realized that they weren’t interested in what was going on in my life unless I was driving in their predefined lanes of conversation. I’d share a huge accomplishment like paying off my car, and it was met with a lukewarm response. I’d bring up something that like gossip or a sale and they’d be all for it. This happened continuously until I decided that with this particular group I was sowing into a season that had come to an end.
The other day I posted a picture that I’ve shared a few times on the various Broke on Purpose social media outlets. This image is always met with a positive response, but this time after reading through the comments I noticed varying levels of apprehension from posters. Some people were all in while others were trying to figure out how to take a stance with their friends/family and let them know that if it didn’t align with their monthly budget, then they couldn’t participate.
This got me thinking back to my situation. I asked myself what would I have liked for my “friends” response to be to me changing my lifestyle so that I could get my financial house straight.
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Tell your friends how they can support you.
Understandably, my decision to change up my entire life was drastic. However, it wasn’t a secret. One of the biggest things I would have wanted from some of my friends would have been the support. This isn’t an easy request as we as humans are all functioning at different stages of our lives. My flaw was that I expected them to understand what I needed instead of verbalizing it to them. Many of us are apprehensive about cutting back on our spending or telling others we can’t participate because we’re afraid of how they’ll view us. If you were the fashionista shopping grabbing deals at all the high-end stores and now you’re only shopping once every six months people might give you the side eye or think you’ve fallen off. Same goes for the foodie, that knew of all the best places to eat that’s all of a sudden staying in to cook. Listen, if you’re broke, you’re broke. Spending money you don’t have to impress people is going to put you in a worse situation then you’re already in. Trust me, I’ve been there. At some point, you are going to have to sacrifice a little to gain more. It’s not fun and may not seem easy at first, but down the line, you’ll look back and realize it’s worth it.
Don’t be afraid to be that friend that suggest alternatives to an outing that doesn’t align with your budget so that you can participate. One of my best friends is always going somewhere or doing some activity because of an amazing deal she found on Groupon. There are tons of free events to take advantage of in cities, especially during the summers. When it comes to food if you only have $50 to spend on dining out every month suggest restaurants that have deals, hello BOGO, or host a girls night/movie night. Put together a bomb yet inexpensive charcuterie board for you guys to munch on while you catch up on the latest episode of LAHH(insert whatever series) or watch a documentary.
Find an Accountability Partner
As I mentioned earlier we’re all at different places in our lives and finances are still a taboo topic that most don’t like to discuss. Some people just aren’t ready to admit that they’re struggling with money. Others may not want to see you doing well for fear that they’ll get left behind.
If you find that your usual group of friends isn’t feeling your change in lifestyle, search out an accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone who may be on the same journey as you, and they understand how you feel and whats going on in your life. You also want an accountability partner that’s going to keep it real with you and tell you things you need to hear even when you don’t want to listen to it.
Share your success
There is nothing wrong with patting yourself on the back or tooting your own horn. I love to share the success of my friends just as much as I love sharing my success. Talk about how this lifestyle change has benefited you. If you and your friends could commiserate over living paycheck to paycheck share with them how you’re now living paycheck to every other paycheck, or how you finally got caught up on a student loan that had been hounding you. Talk about your goals and where you see yourself in the next six months or year. Make your goals contagious. Even if they don’t jump on board immediately or share with you their changes you’d be surprised to know how this jump starts a different way of thinking in people.
How have you juggled living on a budget or a stricter budget and dealing with friends? Have you found it to be difficult or easy? How has it made you feel? Please share your thoughts with me in the comments below.