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It's easy to be frugal when you don't have friends...

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
It seems like all my friends just have so much more disposable income than we do. Or maybe they are just willing to wrack up cc's and go into debt, IDK, though I suspect this isn't the case. It's not a big deal that we don't have a nice house and expensive toddler gear and all organic everything... but it's hard when friends ask us out & we have to turn them down for financial reasons. We simply can't be spending $10, $20, $30+ on outings and stuff. We can't afford to eat out or even just stop for ice cream. Maybe we'll have a bit more breathing room if DH ever finds a job but right now, we just need to save any extra we have.

I'm embarrassed to say this to my friends, and feel ashamed every time we turn down an invite. Also, it's vitally important to my mental health that I see my friends often, so turning them down ends up meaning I feel more depressed & miserable & lonely. My friends know I'm very frugal, and they also know DH was laid off & all, and they would never, ever judge us... it's just so hard to actually say it to them, that we can't afford to go out with them. greensad.gif
post #2 of 20

I know what you mean and big hugs to you. hug2.gifHow about instead of turning their invites down, turn them into something different?  If they ask you to go out for ice-cream say you would love too but due to the lay-off you can't right now but you would love to meet them at the park and hang with them, etc.  True friends would definitely understand.

 

 

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Oh absolutely, sometimes I do that & they are very accommodating, but I don't want to do that every time, especially when they seem to be really looking forward to whatever event they've suggested, you know? I don't want to bring everyone down. I know they sort of get that we are struggling but maybe because they are somewhat comfortable that sometimes they forget that some things are a hardship for us. I've never had real friends until the last year or two, so this isn't something I've ever really had to deal with!
post #4 of 20

I can empathize-we joined a homeschooling co-op and we are SO excited to have met this group of people, but I am feeling like nearly every activity is turning into an expensive outing.  I tried to plan something simpler and it has slowly morphed into yet another expensive (in terms of admission/gas because it is a distance away) outing that I am stressed out about.  I don't want to miss out on everything, but realistically we cannot afford to do these things all the time :(  I feel shy about saying anything though because everyone else seems so gung ho about everything and it doesn't seem fair to ask them to miss out on fun things just because I cannot afford it.  We did just participate in one nearly free event and that was great, so hopefully more things like this will be upcoming. 

 

If they are your good friends, maybe just drop them a line to say that you don't want them to think you don't want to hang out, it is just finances preventing you and hopefully you can join them for xzy activity that is free/lower cost on whatever date? 

post #5 of 20

 

Quote:
I can empathize-we joined a homeschooling co-op and we are SO excited to have met this group of people, but I am feeling like nearly every activity is turning into an expensive outing.  I tried to plan something simpler and it has slowly morphed into yet another expensive (in terms of admission/gas because it is a distance away) outing that I am stressed out about.  I don't want to miss out on everything, but realistically we cannot afford to do these things all the time :(  I feel shy about saying anything though because everyone else seems so gung ho about everything and it doesn't seem fair to ask them to miss out on fun things just because I cannot afford it.  We did just participate in one nearly free event and that was great, so hopefully more things like this will be upcoming

 I know this feeling.  We are very lucky to live in an area with LOTS of homeschoolers and there are several active groups in the area. We ended up joining all of them (so a bit more up front..but not much..each one is between $6-$25/year), but this way we have access to all the free (or very inexpensive) field trips/activities so we can just avoid the ones that cost money and still get plenty of opportunity to see friends/socialize with the free field trips or activities.

post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yeah I'm in a meetup group & another HS-type group (for toddlers) and I organize lots of free activities but a lot of the activities the others plan cost money and even if it's just $5 here, $10 there, it just isn't in our budget. And yeah, gas factors in too, I don't mind driving a bit if we need to & we have a pretty fuel-efficient car but I can't drive an hour to spend more money for admission and I can't do toll roads and I can't stop for a meal out on the way home...

It just really stinks that I am sitting home alone with my family on a beautiful Saturday while our best friends are out having fun. And to make matters worse, we just got a letter a few minutes ago saying our insurance claim was denied (from Hurricane Irene) so that just adds insult to injury. I feel like we will never get to a good place.
post #7 of 20

I feel your pain!

 

Heck my BFF lives an hour away from me now so when she comes over her and her DD spend the night and I feel like we can't even feed the extra mouths....it happens like once a month and they are both picky eaters so it can be a challenge.

 

We don't have any real mom groups I feel comfortable in besides LLL (but it's just meetings) and out Holistic Moms group just started up and meets once a month or so (hopefully I will connect with some people through that!) I feel like anything we do has to cost money....

 

The Children's museum by me is great but costs $80 for the year to join (for 2 people not the family) or it's $16 per person (and yes my 2 y/o counts!) so that is fun but pricey. I asked for money and a membership for the museum for DD's birthday so we can DO things, not have things (we don't need...)

post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
sosurreal, I think you live only an hour or two from me, I wish you were closer, we could do lots of fun FREE stuff together!!!
post #9 of 20

LOL we so could! Darn!

 

What part are you in?

post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by sosurreal09 View Post

The Children's museum by me is great but costs $80 for the year to join (for 2 people not the family) or it's $16 per person (and yes my 2 y/o counts!) so that is fun but pricey. I asked for money and a membership for the museum for DD's birthday so we can DO things, not have things (we don't need...)



We do this, I love it.  Right now we have a zoo membership and a local museum with a great children's exhibit, the girls each got one for their birthday from grandparents.  It really helps.

post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
See no one we know is willing to buy memberships. They want to give lots and lots of presents (which they KNOW I end up donating, I don't get it????)

Sosurreal -- I'm a little south of Providence.

Oh and I agree too about trying to feed other people... I'm happy to do it but it is a financial strain, especially since I don't feel OK giving them stuff from the bag-your-own store, so have to spend extra for special items & brand names & organics.
post #12 of 20

I think that your friends should not ask you to do so many things that cost money when they know your DH is not working.  I don't know, is it just me who thinks this way?  I have a friend who I know money is super tight for, so I make a point to only ask her to do things that are free.  I think to continue to ask her to do paid activities would be rude of me. 

 

When I first got divorced money was super tight and I had to turn down all social offers, so I know how it is.  Even now I have limited funds to spend on entertainment, so I turn down things a lot, or I suggest alternate things.

post #13 of 20

Instead of going out suggest getting together at each others homes.Much cheaper and the food is better.

 

My kids often comment on getting a cone.Our local place charges $2.I say why get 1 cone when we can buy a package enough for 6 servings!

 

Last time I got the kids a fast food kids meal it cost me $12 for 3 kids. $12 would have bought a lot more food that was better. I have taught them that they don't NEED that cone or *happy* meal.That NEED was programmed into them that the experience will be joyful and not getting it means being left out of something we all deserve to have. I think they deserve better,

 

Do you think you will have better memories of that restaurant outing with friends,or say a cookout at your home? I think the home memories will be better.If outings are a must just save for them.

post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Well um bag.gif my house is very very small... my friends just don't seem comfortable here. greensad.gif
post #15 of 20

I hear you on the small house issue.  We three (me, DH, and LO) live in 800 sq. ft. (plus DH1, age 16) has an attic bedroom.  We've had playdates here, but we seem to just trip over each other.

 

And, too, we are the least financially advantaged of my "mommy friends" by what seems to me to be a longshot.  But we don't have any credit card debt or a car payment, and that helps me feel better.  We do WIC but didn't qualify for SNAP because I have some savings and was honest about it.

 

I have a couple friends with houses that are so cute I don't like to go there.  I know that is shallow, but it is the truth.  I hang out with friends like that at places like libraries, parks, and LLL.

 

DH works hard but also really values his free time with us.  I know that's the truly important thing, but I also know that we all compare our home, circumstances, etc.  It is unavoidable (for me, anyway).  I guess he might be able to pick up more work, but I would rather he be able to be with us on weekends and the occasional morning.

 

Can you ebay sell presents you get for a little income?  I keep meaning to do this myself...

 

I am very new to the "friends" world also...I had to learn to make friends quickly for this new mommy life...I left a career to be a SAHM for a couple of years and had to crash-course my way out of PPD into having buddies and playdates.  It was uncomfortable but DH was so encouraging and supportive that I did it.

 

Insurance companies suck suck suck.  Hang in there, crunchy_mommy.  And thumbs up to your for avoiding credit cards.  thumbsup.gif


Edited by McGucks - 9/18/11 at 8:06am
post #16 of 20

My DP and I are the most financially strapped of all his friends in the grad program, so I definitely feel your frustration. It probably makes it a bit easier that they're all in college, when it's okay to be poor and frugal. When his friends invite him to an expensive outing, he usually says he can stay for a drink or two, but not dinner. Or else, he turns it down entirely, citing money issues.

 

I think it's harder in general if you hang out with people whose idea of entertainment usually involves money. I couldn't tell from your posts if this was the case for you or not. But we're still able to do a lot with his friends because we like to do things like camping, have cookouts, etc, which don't involve a lot of money. Bigger get togethers are always potlucks.

 

Being financially strapped requires a bit more creativity when it comes to activities that you can do together. Maybe that's something your friends might appreciate about you, if you can come up with different activities and experiences than they're used to (that coincidentally also cost little, too). I'm not sure what that could be. For us, it's things like having a canning "party" with our crop of tomatoes, going foraging for wild berries/mushrooms, going fishing. Stuff like that.

post #17 of 20

If this is a short-term scenario, focus on what you CAN do....you can stay out of debt, you can save, you can be thankful for what you do have, you can do x,y, and z that are free, etc.

 

Also weigh your pros and cons. If not being able to do this stuff is really and truly eating at you is there a way to come up with a few extra bucks so that you can do maybe one thing a month? Can you sacrifice $5 in order to host an even that would otherwise cost you $20 to go out and do (e.g. ice cream, pic nic, movies, etc.)?

 

If you're damned if you do (go out and spend) and you're damned if you don't- the only thing you can control is your outlook on the situation. Take solace in the fact that you're keeping your and your family's priorities in check by living within your means.

post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

Well um bag.gif my house is very very small... my friends just don't seem comfortable here. greensad.gif



Do you have yard space you can entertain in?

Can you host just one family at a time at your place?

Do you have community events that are free (festivals, outdoor concerts etc?) that you could  get together at?

Do you connect with any of your neighbours?

It is hard when there is an income disparity between friends - but you also shouldn't stay at home on a beautiful day if you don't want to- there are lots of things you could choose to do with your family.

good luck!

Karen

post #19 of 20

If you are near a grocery store when the  ice-cream  idea hits maybe you can suggest getting a box of bars and going to the park with them....    I think it is hard to have to say no

post #20 of 20

Do you allow them to treat, if they offer? I would, always, if I had a friend the tight finances. I would much rather see my friend and their kids and give their kids a little treat. I have a friend who always turns we down for certain activities and I suspect it is finances but she never admits it. And I never wanted to ask. And then finally once I thought to treat and that was fine. Now sometimes I suggest low cost things or I offer to treat.

 

I understand you don't want to be in the position of always be the one being treated or people thinking that you "expect it." But really, what is a little ice cream between friends?

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