We are stepping into the zone of being politically incorrect here. However, at CashingTheCow, we aim to challenge the ways we think about our finances from draining prematurely or inefficiently. We all have friends and family that we spend time with and throughout our lives. These people, including ourselves, go through different psychological, professional, financial and physical states. There are things to consider when spending time with our friends and family. Especially, when considering the types of activities that may be appropriate. These are based on our friend’s or family member’s state and our own finances. Although this may seem cold hearted, it helps us consider the benefits of human interaction in our encounters. Here’s a brief guide on how we can manage our financial interests during such encounters with people at different points in their lives:
People who are depressed
Depressed people are hard to please. Especially if it’s due to a physiological issue rather than just a temporary mood swing. If your friend is feeling down for one reason or another, don’t put pressure on yourself to cheer them up. Spending money on them will likely provide a short lived uplift. Furthermore, it probably will not come across in the most sincere way to help. Depressed friends need someone to talk to. Likely clinical help if they are really depressed and could pose a danger to themselves or others. If this is the case, convince your friend to seek professional help. Alternatively, think about if an intervention via a doctor or social worker would be appropriate. Stay with them throughout their recovery, but again, don’t base your encounters on eating and drinking or spending money. If your friend or family member is depressed, try to have fun staying active and busy in other ways. This is especially true if you can find group activities via MeetUp.com or other apps that help you connect with people of similar interests.
People who are struggling financially
Hang out with these people, but better to do so in private. Or, plan your outings accordingly to avoid awkward situations. For example, if you need to to pay their bill or a larger portion of a shared bill. Look out for venues where activity or food and drink costs are less, or the setting is more casual. An example of a low cost activity would be to meet at a cafe or ice cream shop. Also, volunteering or doing charity work together would be an alternative. Such activities are fulfilling for both parties if you are not wanting to spend money. Or, if the other person doesn’t have money to spend.
People who like to show off
If you spend time with people who are fixated on making a statement, you may fall into the same mentality. Being the center of attention could outweigh sensibility or reason when you make your purchasing decisions. Purchasing decisions will likely be made on the intent of standing out without much else in mind. If standing out entails buying less popular items on a discount shelf or charity shops then more power to you. This may in retrospect turn out to be a benefit from hanging out with people who like to show off.
People who only like to meet up in the evenings
Evenings are convenient times to meet up due to work commitments. However, evening meets tend to drag across multiple activities and venues. Go for drinks, then next dinner, then maybe a show, then maybe an after-party and then after the party continues. The cycle repeats. We should show love for our friends. However, those that want to meet in the evenings need to learn there are other times and ways Try suggesting more subdued evening activities that are narrow in scope, commitment and don’t involve alcohol. For example, an evening concert at a coffee or tea house. If you don’t drink, order a juice or hot chocolate. Otherwise, suggest morning or lunch meets on the weekends, or walks in the park followed by a picnic. Try to plan your activities so you don’t get stuck into the financial commitment of staying out or activity hopping.
People who are materialistic
People who need to fill their life with possessions do so to fill a void. Spending money to pass the time is something you don’t want to acquire as a habit. If you do value the company of such friends, try getting them outside their comfort zone. Spend time doing constructive activities whereby you can both get satisfaction. For example, doing physical activities or hobbies together such as cooking, playing music, exercising or walking. Going shopping may get you both into trouble, so try to avoid situations where they can flex their buying urges.
There are certain types of people to avoid when you are considering how best to limit negative emotions and influences that may be costing you money. If you hold these people dear to you in some way, think about alternative activities based on the type of person they are and their interests.