Here’s Exactly What You Can Say When Your Friends Invite You To Something You Can’t Afford

Friendship is the lifeblood of many our experiences. *cue the Golden Girls’ theme song*

Brunching, traveling and celebrating milestones with comrades truly makes life sweeter, but as living costs continue to adversely affect most of the country, it can be hard to keep up with financing our social lives. A study conducted by Qualitrics on behalf of Intuit Credit Karma found that more than one-third of Gen Z and millennials (36%) have a friend who encourages them to spend more money than they should on going out. What’s more, 88% of millennial respondents are carrying extra debt as a result of spending time with that friend and another 80% of Gen Z respondents echo the same sentiment.

“Talking about your finances with your friends could help alleviate some of the stress associated with money, especially if you and your friend have different financial situations,” said Courtney Alev, consumer financial advocate at Credit Karma in a statement. “If you’re in a situation where you feel pressured to spend money to keep up with your friend’s lifestyle, start by being honest with them about your financial situation and what your limitations are when it comes to spending on things like dining out or a night out on the town. This will help set expectations and limit your chances of overspending when you’re with this friend.” 

Sage advice in theory. In practice, it can be quite challenging to be decline an invitation in order to protect your wallet without ruffling feathers, or bruising your own ego. Fortunately, we have some suggestions. Here’s some language you can take to your group chat, save your money, and your friendships.

Offer a cheaper option

If a girlfriend you haven’t seen in a while reaches out and wants to connect over drinks that you know will cost you another $40-$50 outside your budget, ask her if a coffee friend date works instead. Typically, coffee shops offer a cup of plain coffee for as little as $4. If she’s still in a boozy mood, send her this text instead:

“Hey, girl! Lets meet up at my place over some wine so we can REALLY catch up! I know we’re going to be loud and I want to make sure we don’t get kicked out of anyone’s establishment! 😂

Tell her to bring a bottle with her, or head to her place with a moderately priced bottle of wine in tow.

Blame a prior engagement

All of us are leading our own lives and it takes a lot of time and effort to keep all the balls in the air. Your true friends will understand if your schedule can’t permit you to attend a gathering, even if it is a little white lie.

“Hey y’all! My week has been insane 😩. I don’t think I can come out but I’ll definitely catch you when I can come up for some air. 💓💓💓”

Be completely honest

You’d be surprised how many of us are in the same financial boat and just aren’t talking about it, even among your closest friends. Deciding to open up about what you can’t afford can be the best route to take sometimes. But try to keep it light if you’re uncomfortable speaking too seriously about money matters.

“I’ve been wanting to try that restaurant too! It looks so good but I’m trying to save my money. Uber Eats has already tapped me out this month! Next time though. Save me an appetizer!”

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