We don’t like to talk about money! We put on our best faces and pretend everything is okay! But inside just below the surface we are hurting, our finances are a mess, but how do you say ‘no’ when you have a budget to stick to?
How do you say ‘No’ to the morning coffee run, how do you say ‘No’ to nights out with friends, how do you say ‘No’ when you are asked to go in on an expensive gift for a friend who is getting married? How do you say know when that same friends ‘hens’ or ‘bucks’ night turns into a $500 weekend away? Or worse they are planning a destination wedding!
How do you say, “I am sorry I just can’t afford it” or “it’s not in my budget” when everyone else seems to be managing okay?
Well here is what you need to hear… Looks are deceptive!
The Elephant in the Room
In the same way you are hiding your struggle with money, so are many (perhaps most) of your friends and colleagues. They don’t know how to say ‘no’ either. The same stress and embarrassment you are experiencing right now is also weighing heavily on them.
What a stupid mixed up culture we live in!
I read an article a couple of months ago that reported that 1 in 3 young Australians aged 18-34 are living pay cheque to pay cheque and struggling with credit card debt. Yes you read that right, 1 in 3.
We have built these unsustainable lifestyles that are running our finances into the ground and robbing us of life’s joys and no one is willing to stand up and say – “I can’t afford it”.
So what about you? Would you consider being the first in your friendship group to address the rather large elephant in the room? Would you be the first to share that money is tight and that you need to take back control of your spending and your financial future?
In recent month’s I have challenged a number of my clients to do this and the stories coming back have been awesome.
Single Mom Kaye, Who Cut Out The Morning Coffee Run
Just last night I met with Kaye, she is a single Mum with an incredibly tight budget, after our previous month’s meeting she shared with some of her colleagues that things were tight and that she simply could not afford to participate in the morning coffee runs! To her surprise there was a collective sigh of relief from her colleagues.
Now instead of going for coffees each morning they all pitch in and buy coffee pods from ALDI which works out to be $6/ week instead of $22.50.
Joanna on Managing ‘Nights Out’
Another client of mine is Joanna, she is a single lady in her mid 20’s whose second biggest expense (after her rent) was her Friday and Saturday nights out with friends. She loves spending time with her friends but her finances were a mess and her lifestyle simply wasn’t sustainable.
After confiding in her friends they have now taken to hosting dinner at each other’s houses. There is still good food, good company, good fun and a ‘bit’ of alcohol involved but the money spent on nights out has dropped to a third of what it previously was.
We live in a messed-up culture where we are consistently spending more than we want or can afford. We incorrectly assume everyone else can afford the daily coffees, the brunches, the big nights out and extravagant gifts, when in reality they are struggling just like us.
So instead of allowing yourself to get swept along in an unsustainable lifestyle can I encourage you to come clean with your closest friends, share your struggles and think up some fun yet cost-effective ways to spend time together. And even if your friends aren’t struggling you can be certain they will appreciate the opportunity to save more!