I Feel Like Such a Loser - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 08-13-2008, 07:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are REALLY struggling right now. We've done everything to make sure that we are using every penny in a responsible way to pay the bills and feed ourselves. We are on a super tight budget. With two little ones and not being able to afford child care I'm working part time but it is as many hours as I can right now.

So I called my friend and asked if she wanted to get together and she said that she wanted to go out for lunch. I politely declined and stated that I just can't afford it right now. She offered to treat and insisted because she wanted the company- I finally gave in. So we had a nice time and at the end of lunch we were wrapping things up and I said that I am trying really hard to not stress too much about our financial situation, that things always work out. She told me that I can't think like that and that I need to get another job!

I just feel like such a loser because here I am too broke to pay for my family to eat so she pays and then tells me that I need to get a second job to be able to have more $. I understand that she couldn't live on tight budget like I am but I'm doing the best I can. I'm ok with not being able to eat out or have expensive things and vacations, I wish it weren't the case but it is what it is.

For those of you on so-spend budgets how do you deal with awkward social financial situations? I'm definitely not letting anyone treat again- it feels too weird.
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#2 of 20 Old 08-13-2008, 07:48 PM
 
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Yes situations like these can be really ackward. I remember right out of college DH and were friends with people who made waaay more money than we did. They would invite us to go on weekend trips to Taos, NM because we were only 4-5 hrs away. They really liked us and wanted to spend time with us but we had absolutely no money to do anything like that. It was embarrasing trying to explain we just couldn't do it but they didn't get it.

Now that we're a little better off I don't care how much people make, if it's way more or less. But I try to be sensitive to other people's situation. I understand treating if you just want to spend time with that person. It's tough.

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#3 of 20 Old 08-13-2008, 07:56 PM
 
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Hugs to you and you should not feel like a loser!! I would have treated you as well but only because you were my friend and needed to be treated (meaning you were stressing, not your $ situation). But that would have been the end of it. I have paid for lunches etc for people before because that person may have helped me with something or was a good friend who needed to be treated. I would just say to them, happy birthday, or I wanted to do something special because you helped me with x y and z.

As far as social awkardness, we will see this happen more and more with everyone putting their extra spending money to filling up their gas tank or their money to fill up the gas tank. Or as people loose their jobs, etc.

I have made playdates, or times to get together either early like 9 or 10am or later after lunch to avoid this. I have also told people we are cutting back on eating out. Which is really funny because we dont eat out that much anyhow! I have also been loosing weight and use that as an excuse- the lunch out is too temping at that place- I might want to order their awesome fries etc. Most people respond they understand because its obvious I have lost weight and say, I am this far and almost at my goal so I will sit out lunch. I also use this as an excuse for driving. I walk everywhere to not use the car and say- hey my weight loss is from the exercise so I stick to places nearby to bike or walk.

Other than that, use a goal situation as an excuse:

We are trying to stay out debt now that we are out of it
We are saving for a down payment and almost there
I am avoiding eating out because of my weight loss plan
We are challenging ourselves to not eat out, drive long distances etc to see if we really can do it. So if we can get together doing this instead it would be great. A real friend would understand and not take it further.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#4 of 20 Old 08-13-2008, 07:56 PM
 
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UHHGGG

I hear you.

My best friends all have so much more money than us. (like millions)

Here is what I do.... I make lots of treats and bring them with us when we all meet at the winter ski house. (can you say second home that I could fit my primary residence in twice?) My husband does minor jobs for them (keeping their boat running) and refuses payment of cash... instead they take us to dinner at the mountain when we all go up in the winter.

This is what I have found it comes down to... they like us, they want our company. We like them, we like their company, so we all just make due.


When one of the couples goes out of town for major trips... we take care of their estate... feed and love on the horses and the like.

When we get together as a group when not skiing or out on the lake... we do pot luck dinners. That way it is less uncomfortable.
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#5 of 20 Old 08-13-2008, 08:14 PM
 
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Well frankly, I think your friend was rude. I don't think it's her place to tell you what to do. And there's no evidence that working a job would be better financially than staying at home as much as you can (unless you can snag an awesome job/have a good degree, which wouldn't apply to me) because the extra travel costs, child care costs, costs of not having as much time to cook, etc. outweigh the benefits.

Don't feel bad. You've done nothing wrong.

Good manners is all about making other people feel comfortable. It would seem your friend needs to brush up on hers.
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#6 of 20 Old 08-13-2008, 09:08 PM
 
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I too think that your friend was out of line! Never once has any of my true friends made me feel bad for being poor and staying home! We make ends meet every month and thats about all, whats left gos to family fun. My GF have treated me to lunch and never once made me feel bad about it! They know my kids mean everything to me and that staying home is for them and they think its great! Maybe your friend doesn't see the value in staying home as much as you can for your kids!
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#7 of 20 Old 08-13-2008, 10:20 PM
 
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Way out of line and inconsiderate. I was working FT, and by the time I factored in childcare, I was making less than I am now that I'm working just 2 days a week with my mom watching DS and providing home care a couple days too, less time, slightly more money. Working more doesn't always equal more money.

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#8 of 20 Old 08-13-2008, 10:52 PM
 
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I can see why you would feel a little uncomfortable. Was it possible your friend was just trying to help by offering up a solution and does not understand the issues of childcare? Does your friend have kids? I find that sometimes people without kids just don't understand that you cannot just put your kids in daycare and grab a job.

I've been declining lunches, girls nights out, etc lately too and I just say "we're on a mission to get out of debt completely so we're trying not to spend any money right now". For the most part people understand. When we go to playdates we bring drinks and snacks. We head home for lunch. We take advantage of the free things. Most of our friends are also SAHMs so they get it. My WOHM sister and mom are the two who always try to yank me off the wagon.

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#9 of 20 Old 08-13-2008, 10:59 PM
 
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I agree that your friend was rude to tell you to get another job.

Re: social situations and money- I'm usually up front with my friends and tell them that we're trying to cut back on eating out. When someone suggests eating out for lunch I often suggest a picnic lunch. This summer I've been going out for lunch with friends about twice a week- but I almost always bring my lunch with me.

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#10 of 20 Old 08-14-2008, 05:12 AM
 
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Can I just add another voice to the chorus of "your friend was rude and unsupportive"?

Mama to Munchkin  and Chickadee ...and co-parent to 3 additional bundles of energy!
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#11 of 20 Old 08-14-2008, 05:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by hollyvangogh View Post
Well frankly, I think your friend was rude. I don't think it's her place to tell you what to do. .

Depends on how close you are to someone. I would expect that a close friend of mine would certainly tell me that I need to get another job if I was always struggling.

Unassisted birthing, atheist, poly, bi WOHM to 4 wonderful, smart homeschooling kids Wes (14) Seth (7) Pandora Moonlilly (2) and Nevermore Stargazer (11/2012)  Married to awesome SAH DH.

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#12 of 20 Old 08-14-2008, 06:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Sharlla View Post
Depends on how close you are to someone. I would expect that a close friend of mine would certainly tell me that I need to get another job if I was always struggling.
Maybe if you were close enough it might be acceptable to say "have you considered getting a second job?" But if someone is close enough to you to be able to get away with that they should know why you haven't gotten a second job. But still, I think 9 times out of 10 it's rude even if you are close friends. To me that'd be right up there with telling someone they need to not have any more kids.
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#13 of 20 Old 08-14-2008, 07:09 AM
 
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I can understand how ackward it is.. Before coming to Japan, I use to live in a beach area because I was stationed there. A lot of the people I knew outside of the military make 6-7 times my monthly salary, however, they knew we didn't have much so they were always very considerate about not suggesting going out or doing other things. Instead we always met at someones home (or even my apartment) and had dinner or watched a movie. I never felt bad about not having as much as they did because they were very supportive and caring. They were super excited for us when I got out and was able to be home with DD, even though it was a huge pay cut (we lost half our income)..

Ill agree that your freind was rude in telling you to get a second job. No matter how close I was to someone I wouldn't say anything like that unless they asked my opinion.. Even then I might try to help them brainstorm ways to get income without a second job (like when I was back in Florida visiting inlaws one of the family friends was having money problems so I helped her think of ways to do things at home to bring in money).

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#14 of 20 Old 08-14-2008, 09:57 AM
 
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We have friends over for dinner instead of going out to eat. (I don't know if this would fit into your budget or not) We serve frugal meals with little meat like a stir fry, soup, etc.

This way we get to socialize, but don't have the expense of going out to eat.

We will also host bigger potluck parties about twice a year. We supply a main dish and soda/water and everyone else brings a dish to pass. This allows us to invite all of our friends over for a big gathering without breaking the budget.

I know I'd be uncomfortable going out to eat and having a friend pay and then having to listen to a lecture about how I need to earn more money. I'm so sorry you had to go through that!
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#15 of 20 Old 08-14-2008, 10:37 AM
 
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I just wanted to say that I would think a true friend would be more respectful of your choices and would try harder to understand why you made/make those choices.

You and your DH just need to figure out what works for you and ignore everyone else. Trust your instincts! I've been in similar situations and I don't regret not getting a full-time or second job and maximizing my time at home. They're only young for a short time.

As for me, when I'm invited to do things I just can't afford, I lie. I make up excuses for why I can't go and just make sure I offer them with authority so they aren't questioned. I also offer alternatives ... "I can't make lunch but do you want to come over for tea? I'll make homemade cookies ...." Then we can still spend time together but with a financial outlay I can handle. DH and I also made the agreement that if all else fails, he and I are free to blame the other when we make excuses to our friends.
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#16 of 20 Old 08-14-2008, 11:57 PM
 
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I just feel like such a loser because here I am too broke to pay for my family to eat so she pays and then tells me that I need to get a second job to be able to have more $.
I'm sure if you wanted to, you could have found the money to pay for yourself. That's not the point. You prioritized and made a choice. Then you stood by it. This does not make you a loser, quite the opposite. It will make you successful.

So your friend bought, and you realized you don't like that feeling. Lesson learned. I agree that your friend was rude about it, but moreso, I think she was just plain wrong about the point of it. Being financially strapped has taught me more about life than anything else could have. My priorities stand out. My values are put to the test. Things become clear. Ok, yeah, it sucks too sometimes. But I don't take much for granted either.

You're not a loser.
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#17 of 20 Old 08-15-2008, 09:08 AM
 
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You're not a loser, and I don't think your friend meant it that way. She probably wasn't thinking when she said that to you. Just think positively.
If that happened to me, I wouldn't stress too much about it. She only said it at the end of your conversation, so it's not like she's there to ruin your day.

I am so poor that I am used to that comment. I've heard worse ones...
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#18 of 20 Old 08-15-2008, 11:24 AM
 
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Your friend was rude. In college I had way more money than my best friend. My folks footed my entire bill and gave me an allowance for eating out/clothes/other non-essentials. She got a little bit of money from her dad for school, but she always had a part-time job and graduated about $15K in debt. I would often buy her lunch, because I wanted her company. We had an understanding. I would never hold it against her or make her feel bad about it. I just wanted to hang out with her. We're still best friends 11 years later.
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#19 of 20 Old 08-15-2008, 12:05 PM
 
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I would often buy her lunch, because I wanted her company. We had an understanding. I would never hold it against her or make her feel bad about it. I just wanted to hang out with her.
And *that* is as it should be ... the OP should never feel like a loser over this!!
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#20 of 20 Old 08-15-2008, 06:32 PM
 
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And *that* is as it should be ... the OP should never feel like a loser over this!!
Amen!
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