Balancing Budgets and Bonds in Friendship

A recent study by Bread Financial Room claims money ruins 1 in 5 friendships
The Love Central - 3 friends together The Love Central - 3 friends together
3 friends laughing together. Photo: Keira Burton/Pexels
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We often hear stories about birthday meals and friends falling out, where balancing budgets and bonds becomes difficult. Bonds made in friendship are so important, but sometimes money can come between friends.

Think about how much you earn compared to your friends and consider if money has ever been an issue. What if you want to visit a restaurant they can’t afford or go on holiday with your group and not everyone can pay? It can be a slippery slope.

A recent study by Bread Financial Room claims money ruins 1 in 5 friendships, with the study finding that many friendships are altered when balancing budgets and bonds.

Many people feel defeated trying to avoid money misunderstandings with friends, but it has to be done. To do this, there are ways that you can work on balancing budgets and bonds to ensure money has a minimal impact on your friendship.

1. Compromise on outings with friends

When making plans with friends, balancing budgets and bonds is difficult. To work within your different budgets, compromise where you want to go. Work out your friends’ spending budgets and find an average cost.

Many useful free budget apps can be used between friends to calculate how costs are split. So this means that before hanging out, all the friends know what they will pay, making it easy to budget.

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Photo UnsplashAndra C Taylor JR

Additionally, to compromise on location-based hangouts, find places you can go that have a middle-of-the-market feel. For example, pick restaurants that have cheap and more expensive options so everyone in the friend group can eat there.

Apply this to booking trips too; instead of getting expensive rooms, try to compromise for a suite or an upgraded standard room. This way, everyone in the friendship group will feel included and there will be no issues of tension around money.

2. Respect financial boundaries

Respect is a key element for a long-lasting friendship, and balancing budgets and bonds shouldn’t negate that. Therefore, it is important to respect each other’s financial boundaries and not pressure each other in social situations.

If a friend declines an invitation to an expensive meal or birthday party, let them. Sometimes people have other priorities and things to pay for, such as rent, bills, and children. Understand that everyone’s financial situations and priorities are different, but the friendship is still present.

In balancing budgets and bonds, you should also suggest cheaper alternatives. There are many free fun activities you can do, especially if you live in the city. Long walks, visiting the park, or having a movie night at each other’s house. You only have to buy the snacks!

This shows in your friendship, that you care more about quality time with each other than what you do. It also shows you can accommodate your friend’s needs. This demonstrates a sensitivity that is necessary for nurturing deep friendships.

3. Be open about your finances with friends

When we say be open with your finances, we don’t mean tell your friends everything; we mean be transparent about your overall situation. Let your friends know if you’re trying to budget this month. You don’t need to give a reason, but be honest.

In friendships, this establishes trust and sets your expectations with friends before hanging out. In this way, you can minimize discomfort and awkwardness by remaining transparent about your finances with each other.

Make it a habit also to discuss your financial comfort zones with your closest friends. Discuss your income thresholds and if you have a lot of plans for a specific month together, make sure you can account for them.

In doing so, you will both be able to have an idea about the other’s financial situation without getting too personal or invasive, which enables you to easily work at balancing budgets and bonds.

4. Establish non-material friendship focuses

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Photo Pexels<strong>Ketut Subiyanto<strong>

While hanging out and spending money are inevitable in most friendships, you don’t need lots of money to get good at balancing budgets and bonds. Establishing non-material focuses in your friendship; focusing more on sentimental things and achievements helps to deepen your friendship and stop lifestyle creep.

You can also do this when you hang out with your friend by complimenting them on their milestones. Saying things like, “Oh, congratulations on your new job,” can help boost their confidence and encourage your friends to tell you things.

This also takes away from the tricky subject of money and finances and helps to strengthen your friendship. Highlighting accomplishments and discussing things outside of money allows you to reinforce the value of friendship with that person and remind them that it is not based on money or material value.

Money and friendship: The takeaways

At the end of the day, money and friendship are synonymous with each other, but they don’t have to be the focal point of your friendship. Balancing budgets and bonds is easy with the right friend and good communication.

The right friends will not care about the monetary value of a friendship or what gifts you can give them. Instead, they will value openness, honesty, and other positive traits a friend should have.

Just remember to watch out for and recognize superficial people; otherwise, you may find yourself friends with the wrong kinds of people.

P.S.: Are You Jealous of Your Friend’s Success?

Read this article to discover how to use it as motivation for your own!

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