friends

Do friends and finances mix?

Good friends are hard to find and can make the difference between life being rewarding and full, or being a bit mundane. Our friends share our joys, celebrate our triumphs, shoulder our burdens, and fight in our corner. Often, our most valued friendships are those formed in the foundation stages of adulthood – at school or university, in sporting teams, and at the beginning of our working lives. You share your dreams and see yourselves together through all of life’s stages.

But as you all grow and change, so too do your priorities. What once were unspoken expectations that allowed the group to mesh seamlessly may no longer sit so comfortably with everyone if your circumstances change. For instance, perhaps since your early 20s it was automatic you would hit the pub on a Friday night and chase the sun home. It’s all great fun until someone decides it is time for them to set some life goals. These could be as diverse as saving for a home deposit, training for a marathon, planning a family, or taking a career step. Suddenly dropping a few hundred dollars on a night out is not the careless act it may once have been.

Then what? What happens when your friends want to go upmarket on the birthday dinner but your budget puts you in more of a pizza and a movie position? What if they order three courses plus sides and want to split the bill, but you only had a pasta? It is easy to feel a bit put out when you are trying to hit some targets but your friends seem wide of arc.

These uncomfortable feelings will grow like weeds if they are not dealt with early on, and it needn’t cost you your friendship. Most likely, your friends just haven’t thought of the intricacies of your plans. The key will be to communicate.

You can’t expect your friends’ priorities to change because yours have but you can work out ways to still enjoy your time together without blowing your budget. Think carefully about how much money you have allocated to entertainment expenses and how you want to use that. You might want to spend all of it on one big night out every few weeks or use it a little at a time over the whole month.

ith some planning you can make your money go further and not lose touch with your friends. Instead of going out for dinner, eat at home first then meet them later for drinks or dessert. Explore your transport options so you aren’t left getting a taxi home by yourself. Better still, plan to spend time together in ways that are low or no cost. Visit a gallery, pack a picnic and relax in the park or go for a bike ride. Spend a day at the beach or have a “big night in”.

Speak to a financial planner for concrete advice on ways to make the most of your money to achieve those goals. And when you are ready to shop for your property, call us for a good deal on your home loan and pre-approved finance. Chances are, your friends’ goals are probably not as far from your own as they may seem and it won’t be long before you are all on a similar track once again.

When the roof over your head is your own, those big nights in are so much sweeter.

By Marie Mortimer. You can follow Marie on Google+ 

Image credit: lusi

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