Help! Money is harming my friendships. Most of my friends and family know I write about money for a living and sometimes I worry that it influences the way people talk around me. Do they feel pressure to justify splurges? To let me know they used a coupon? Do they hide certain purchases from me?
Is my frugal lifestyle harming my relationships?
I truly hope that the answer is no. But sometimes, I detect a bit of anxiety from my friends as they tack on a quick “but don’t worry, I used a coupon” to the end of their shopping stories. Other times, I think I hear a need to justify purchases as being “really worth it.”
Do people think I’m judging them on how they spend?
I don’t want others to censor their talk around me or feel obliged to reassure me that they did, indeed, get a deal. I’m not going to stop being your friend because I discover you’re deep in credit card debt. Or cozy up to you because you’re a coupon whiz.
My money philosophy is, to each their own.
It’s your money, so if you want to spend it on fancy cat food, matching ski outfits, and a new car every three years, be my guest! I’m going to spend and save my money the way I want, and for all I know, you think my spending habits are ridiculous.
I try not to judge people based on their money habits because I haven’t walked a mile in their shoes.
For all I know, their credit card spending is out of control because their parents never taught them how to use one responsibly. Or they experienced tragedy early on and so their life philosophy is live today, forget tomorrow. Perhaps they have a parent or secret benefactor that bankrolls their quarterly Club Med trips. Maybe they talk about spending big, but it’s just talk. Or maybe they have a second business selling stuff on Ebay that funds all their expenses.
So when I hear about a purchase that I might not have made, I remind myself that my circumstances are different than theirs. I try to see how it fits into their priorities and lifestyle, and be happy for them.
The reality is, however, that I DO have opinions about money.
I don’t think carrying a balance on your credit card is a good idea, and I believe pretty much everyone should have a cash emergency fund and a retirement savings account. This is just a short list. I could go on and on. (Oh! That’s a post I’ll write soon!)
I can’t help but have opinions. It’s impossible to be 100 percent objective when it comes to money. But if I’m careful not to judge people – isn’t that good enough? Is having opinions about money the same as judging them for their spending?