Do you have trouble keeping up with your university friends – financially?
Without a doubt, money can have a major impact on your friendships, sometimes even strong enough to break them.
Having a different budget from your friends can affect the social aspects of university life, especially in situations such as where you eat, shop, what type of entertainment you choose and how often you go.
For instance, a lunch outing with friends can quickly get uncomfortable when you choose the cheapest item on the menu while your friends order more expensive ones, only to split the bill equally at the end of the meal, leaving you with a heftier bill than what you bargained for.
While you’d love to try out cafes with Instagrammable brunches with your friends, your humble budget wouldn’t allow you to do so, making you feel compelled to come up with an excuse not to go.
It sucks to be the frugal one in the group as a lack of money can make you feel left out in social outings or that you’re missing out in life.
So what can you do to navigate those potentially awkward but incredibly painful-to-your-wallet social situations?
Here are some suggestions for university students:
Money is a highly personal topic – and a lack of it can be an uncomfortable thing to bring up when your friends come from wealthier backgrounds.
But rather than come up with excuses over why you can’t make it for outings outside your budget, consider telling your friends the truth about your budgetary constraints. If they’re true friends, they would try to understand your situation.
Otherwise, you run the risk of giving them the message that you don’t enjoy spending time with them by constantly turning down their invitations to go out.
Discuss inexpensive options to spend time together
It’s unfair to expect your wealthier peers to constantly accommodate your needs, such as spending time together in your dorm rather than going out when they have the means and time to do so.
While this means that you’ll occasionally miss out on some out-of-budget outings with your friends, speak to them about making more budget-friendly options that would enable you to participate without growing apart.
This could include sporting activities like running, grabbing coffee from a no-frills cafe, spending a night in watching Netlflix, to name a few.
Expand your social circle
Whether or not your friends accept and understand your financial situation, it’s also worth considering expanding your social circle and getting to know people with more frugal means.
This way, you’ll feel more compelled to let your guard down by being with friends who wouldn’t bat an eyelid over the prospects of staying in for a night of Netflix, rather than spending time at a pub or restaurant that can hit you pretty hard in the wallet.