Friends and My Money

I realized the other day when I was cooking that I really am a “go big” type of person.  Now for dinner, it’s nothing really bad.  I was making a chicken with pasta for us and I decided to use this basil infused olive oil to cook the chicken in.  And then I decided we needed to have a salad.  And if I decided to put a lot of veggies in the salad, that just made it healthier, right? So it was nothing bad—I was making sure we had good, healthyish food to eat.

Where it does go…wrong…is in other aspects of my life.  I was always that friend who invited you out to dinner and decided I would be paying it.  Not really terrible—until I was doing it when I couldn’t afford to.   But hey, that’s what credit cards are for, right? (Ugh, sometimes I want to go back and slap the younger me’s hand)

I’m also terrible when it comes to giving gifts.  I make a budget and immediately find something that is so perfect for the person that I can justify it buying it even if it makes my budget cry for mercy.   And then of course I need to buy a card and wrapping paper and oh, look, a secondary gift that would have fit into my budget in the first place—well, I still need to get it! What a horrible mentality to have.

So what have I done to fix this?  Well, my envelope system works great for me.  If I say I am only going to spend $25 on so and so’s gift, I put $25 in that envelope and bring nothing else with me to the store.  I shop around for deals and sales and absolutely DO NOT buy the first thing I see.  Also, homemade baked goods are usually a big hit.  And relatively cheap to make as you normally get extra uses out of some of the ingredients you buy to make the yummy gifts.

Okay so that helps with my gift buying but what about dinners with friends?  I’ve become a huge fan of pot luck dinners.  Set a theme with friends, tell them what you will provide and see what they are going to be bringing.   I did this for my guy’s birthday last year and we had so much food I was begging people to take other dishes besides theirs home.  Or offer to cook one time and then go to their house the next.  I am not saying do not go out eat to eat with friends—that would be extremely hypocritical of me.  But switch it up a bit.  I rarely go out to the movies with a friend as I like to watch them at a house—where we can critique the movie if it is horrible or pause it to have a potty break.

Those two things alone have helped me out a ton with my budget.  I’m no longer wondering where my money went and then kicking myself after I do the research.  Do you have any suggestions? What are some of your favorite frugal things to do with friends?


6 Comments on “Friends and My Money”

  1. belowhermeans says:

    I always try to buy people’s dinners too! I’m getting better at it. Wrote a bit about this problem on my bio page on my blog because my older sister does the same thing.

  2. This sounds exactly like something I might have done. Most of the time those decisions and purchases have to do with my kids, though, instead of friends. It’s hard to put a limit on what you’re going to do for your kids. Ah, well. I am getting better.

  3. I love potlucks for dinners! It’s a great way to be able to cook at home and other people can either cook or bring food if they still want to buy food. I’m surprised by you offering to pay for dinner for other people – that’s something I never do and my group of friends never does it either (unless we’re paying each other back for something). We would never let each other just pay for dinner for a normal occasion. That seems like it would get so expensive!

    • bogofdebt says:

      Well, it was more me just doing it rather then them letting me. I can be kind of stubborn at points. I’ve gotten much better about it. Especially when I realized what I was doing to my own finances by trying to be a awesome friend–because I can be an awesome friend without doing that. (took me a bit to learn that)

  4. I’m the “go big” type of person too. But I have to scale it back a bit sometimes. I try to only spoil my BF sometimes as well as my family and friends. Baked goodies are my thing, as well as cooking at home parties and potlucks!

  5. says:

    I’m a go big person too. I love to give gifts and see the excitement on other people’s faces. One strategy I use is to make use of credit card rewards. You can usually get some pretty good gift cards and use them as gifts or to take friends / family out, etc. Really, if you use the card responsibly, it costs you nothing!

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