Friends with money

I have a friend from work who is about 10 years older than me. She’s is brilliant and a great engineer. As such, she makes a lot of money. She also spends a lot of money.

In March I pushed myself to do a “no spending” month, which basically meant I didn’t buy anything personal (clothes, etc.). I made it, actually, although I guess I cheated because Chad took me out to dinner a couple of times. When I told Shelly that I was doing this (she always has grand weekend plans, but even without a no-spend month going on, I can’t afford to do all that), she actually mocked me.

I am an introvert, so if I spend a lot of time socializing, I need time to recharge by myself. There are a few people who don’t trigger this reaction, namely my sisters and Chad, but in general I need at least two hours to myself for every hour I spend socializing. This has never been a problem before.

Shelly is extremely extroverted, so she needs to be around others like I need to be alone. She is very talkative (she can go on for hours with nothing more than a few nods and laughter from me), which is very nice when I want to be social but sort of irritating if I see her too often.

And this girl spends money like no one I’ve ever seen! Every night she has plans: happy hour, movies, concerts, dinners out, etc. While I envy her energy, I wondered for a long time how she managed to do all that. One night while we were drunk, she confessed that her financial planner was having her set aside $1000 per month for savings, but that she was going to stop because she really needed the money. This was the same night she confessed that she’s making over $100K. The reason she needed the money? She kept running out before the end of the month!

I try to get her to hang out with Chad and me. We have had Wiitar Hero nights, or “let’s dress up and get drunk on wine” parties, or barbeques. During football season we’ll gorge on chips and junk food and scream at the TV. We don’t spend a lot of money, but no one has ever complained about it. We make it fun. She seems to enjoy having a captive audience, since Chad and I are not big talkers (unless you get Chad started on sports trivia), but since he and I are both introverted, we can handle her for maybe one night per weekend.

Another thing she will do that makes me uncomfortable is if I decline an invitation citing not being able to afford it, she’ll immediately offer to pay. Does anyone else know someone who does this? It’s not what I’m after. I don’t say “I can’t afford that” meaning “pay for me!” Usually it’s a “I don’t think that’s something I want to spend my money on” or “I could buy a skirt at Anthropologie – full price! – for that much money!” or “I’m feeling kind of tired and I don’t want to go anywhere with you right now and money is a convenient excuse.”

Does anyone out there know those kinds of people- ones who are disdainful of frugality and sort of hinder your plans? What do you do about those people?

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5 Responses

  1. None of my friends that I see regularly are anti-frugal, but most of my friends that live further away spend a lot more than me.

    I do have a friend (who I’m meeting in Vegas) who constantly splurges and has told me she’s living paycheck to paycheck. She seems a little embarrassed of her excess and impressed by my frugality… but not enough to actually follow it, so I’m not sure if it is sincere embarrassment or just politeness when I choose the cheaper route.

    I only let my parents pull the “oh, I’ll pay” trick and even then… You are right, it isn’t (usually) that I literally don’t have the money, it just isn’t something that I think I’d like to spend my money on.

  2. I actually haven’t encountered many people who seem anti-frugal, which is probably why I find our friendship so frustrating. Most people don’t even notice!

    My younger sister lives in Pennsylvania, and because her cost of living is so low, she’s able to go on cruises and vacations every few months. She was also able to live with our parents for nearly a year and she got the car we had all shared, so i think she was the smart one!

    It’s funny, I never have a problem when my parents offer to pay. Anyone else – grandparents, my sisters, aunts & uncles – we usually fight over the bill until one person caves (and slips a $20 into the other’s purse afterwards).

  3. I have a friend like that – but I act the same way as her to treat her right back – we alternate dinners like that.

    But she isn’t soooo generous to pay every time even for events I can’t attend. Maybe she feels that being generous is her way of being a good friends – but that $1k a month savings is something she shouldn’t neglect

  4. I have friends with whom I have to be careful to make different excuses to because they will volunteer to pay, as well, I just feel like I’m taking advantage of them. It’s a little problematic when I know that it’s just not in my budget, but I want to spend time with them and they’ve invited me out activity and then selected an activity out of my range.

    Another girlfriend simply throws caution/care to the winds when she’s got good money coming in, and is less than conscious of others’ budgets. I’ve managed to respect my own budget when spending time with her, but I’ll admit that it can be a struggle.

  5. […] 17, 2009 in General I’ve written before about my friend Shelly, who makes probably about twice what I do and spends probably about 3 times […]

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