Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to talk to your friends about money, but you weren’t sure how to bring it up? Money is a tricky subject with anyone – check out a couple of common scenarios below for some tips:
Splitting the Bill
If you’ve ever gone out and purposely ordered something cheap only to have someone suggest you split the bill, you know how frustrating this can be. If someone asks you to go out to grab a bite with them and you know they like to split the bill be up front about it by saying you would love to go but are on a tight budget
The Friend Who Over Spends and Complains About Not Having Enough Money
This is a tricky one. It’s only natural to be concerned about a good friend if you see them overspending and worrying about money. However, personal finance is exactly that, very personal. In my opinion, unless they directly ask for your advice or you are extremely close with the person, you should probably keep your advice to yourself. Even with these two situations it’s important to not overstep. If someone asks for your opinion on a small issue, give them advice on that topic and maybe anything directly related. This is not the time for a full-blown finance lesson or for you to bring up other issues you have noticed.
As for bringing up something with a close friend, if you truly feel like you have a close enough relationship, then you could try to start up a conversation. Try to do it in a positive way. Instead of saying “It seems like you are spending too much money and you need to stop” try phrasing it like “I’ve noticed you’ve been worried about money lately, maybe we could sit down and work on a budget worksheet because that has really helped me stay on top of things lately”. Even if you think that you have a close enough relationship, some people just don’t want to hear about it or talk about money problems with friends. If you bring up something and your friend seems upset or uninterested, just take a step back, apologize for overstepping and don’t keep bringing it up.
If a friend asks you for a loan, take a minute before you say yes. If you say yes, you need to be ready for the fact that they might not repay you. A very smart woman once told me if you loan money to family or friends, it’s best to consider it a gift. If they wind up repaying it, great! And if they don’t, then it won’t be an issue. The reason for this is that it can really ruin a relationship when money is loaned and expectation for repayment are not met. You should also be prepared for what your friend then uses their money for afterwards. If you loaned them money and agreed to consider it a gift in your mind, then see them going on a fancy trip a little while later, that will probably not feel good and can cause strain between people. If you have the money and want to help, then just think about these issues before hand. If you don’t have the money, then let them know that. It can be hard to say no but you don’t want to put yourself in a bad spot because you wanted to help someone who may or may not pay you back.
Share your own thoughts on money with friends. Who knows? You may make it easier on them to start a conversation.