Pay off student loans. Save for a down payment. Have enough money in the bank to sleep comfortably at night. Buy a franchise. While these goals may differ from one another in terms of the steps/process required to succeed, they share a common ingredient: for each, you’ll need to spend less than you earn. Easy peasy, right?
But, add to that the fact that you happen to be a baller/are super popular (queue Nada Surf)/prefer not to have a non-existent social life, and you can see how relationships—and, well, LIFE—have/has the potential to unhinge the effort. Fortunately, friends and finances can co-exist; you’ve just got to be real with yourself and others.
Learn to say “no”
We’re each bombarded daily with countless opportunities to spend, spend, spend—even by well-meaning friends. After all, there will always be happy hours to go to, concerts to check out, trips to take, and stores to peruse. However, when you’ve made a personal decision to not spend [as much] money, learning to say “no” is perhaps the most powerful tool you’ll have at your disposal.
As they say, “no” is a complete sentence. There’s no justification required, no excuses, no promises for next time…simply no. The word is powerful; it allows for you to state your needs and limitations, and for the other person to respect them. It’ll probably be uncomfortable the first few (or hundred) times, but in the end, you’ll be honoring yourself, your goals, and your friendships.
Tell the truth
It’s difficult to quit any habit, and we’d argue that spending money is just about up there with smoking and Bachelor in Paradise in terms of difficulty. However, your chances of succeeding are greater if you bring other people along on your journey. If mounting debt is the issue, admitting to friends that you’ve been spending more than you earn may be a hit to the ego—but we promise it won’t feel any worse than the shame that comes along with that monthly credit card statement. Telling the truth, even one that can be tough to admit out loud, will go a long way in stopping the cycle of financial self-destruction; and, by being honest about your situation with the people that matter, you’ll foster accountability and support. The best part? You may even find that you form deeper relationships as a result. We’d say that’s a win-win.
In our society, being successful can sometimes be seen as a bad thing—that you were selfish with your time and energy, that you wanted more than you had. There will inevitably be nay-sayers asking, “Why can’t you be happy where you are?” or admonishing that “I already tried XYZ—it didn't work. Don’t even bother.”
If your goal is to save money for a new home or business, or even take off a year to travel through Asia (in which case…TAKE US WITH YOU), share that with your friends. The people who care about you and want for you to succeed will rise to the occasion. Suggestions to host a potluck at your place instead of going out to eat will be met with excitement, not pushback. Coffee dates will around kitchen tables, not in coffee shops. Movie nights will be on couches and pillow forts (we prefer the latter), not in the theater.
When you ultimately meet your goal, it’ll be because you stepped up and followed through—but also because you had your tribe behind you. What’s more, you all will have fulfilled your roles in the relationship: you will have shared your ambitions without fear or compromise, and they will have shown up to help you get there. Now, if that’s not #friendshipgoals, we don’t know what is.