The best things in life are supposedly free, so why does your friendship end up costing so much money? Shopping sprees, lavish vacations, fancy dinners — sometimes you have to choose between hanging out with the girls and paying rent.
It can be hard to maintain a relationship among friends with more money than you, whether it’s because their expensive tastes are sending you to the poorhouse or you just can’t help but feel jealous when you’re together.
So how do you keep your rich friends without going broke in the process? Here are four tips for saving money — and frustration — while hanging with your wealthy gal pals.
1: Be Honest
Nothing ruins a friendship faster than lying.
If you can’t afford a trip to Neiman Marcus, say so. Don’t make up a story about how you’re too sick to go shopping, then get busted when your friend sees a picture on Facebook of you and your mom out to lunch that same day. It might not seem like a big deal, but all relationships are built on trust — even slight dishonesty will wear away at that bond.
Your friends should be understanding and supportive of you, regardless of how much money you have. If they respond negatively to your budget-consciousness, they’re probably not worth having in your life anyway.
2. Hang Out for Free
If you enjoy getting together with your wealthier friends, but find that bonding usually involves some sort of expensive activity, find ways to get together that don’t involve spending money.
Plop on the couch with a good movie and popcorn. If you enjoy the outdoors, go for a hike. You might even find that avoiding the mall allows the two of you to spend more quality time together.
3. Know How to Say “Thanks” to Friends with Money
You might have a hard time being the “poor” friend, but it’s not always so easy to be the friend with money, either. She might be very sensitive to the income gap and struggle not to appear as though she’s flaunting her money.
If your girlfriend decides to show her affection and gratitude by treating you to the movies or dinner once in a while, graciously accept without feeling obligated to buy next time.
4. Give Rich Friends the Gift of a Good Time
When it comes to birthdays and holidays, things can get especially tense. There’s no way you can compete with the pricey gifts your friend is known to give, but you don’t want to appear unappreciative.
It’s hard to give someone who can afford anything she wants a good present anyway, so give her something only you can: great memories.
Does your friend have a hobby or passion you can share? Drive up to her favorite surf spot and spend the day in the water. Maybe you’re an excellent chef — cook an unforgettable meal and share laughs around the dinner table.
Friendship should center around shared interests and affection, not competition. Don’t let money get in the way of a special bond — if you find it still does, even with the above tips in mind, it might be time to find a new friend.