How to Avoid Overspending on Other People


Sometimes the reasons we overspend aren’t so much to do with clever advertising and pampering ourselves, but because we are over¬≠spending on other people. Human relationships can involve all kinds of complicated emotions, and these often get tied up with finances.

Paying for friends

Do you have a friend who never has any money? Do you ever ask that person out, knowing in advance that your friend is going to say he or she doesn’t have any money and that you will end up paying for you both? If a friend is broke, then of course there is no harm in treating him or her to a trip out once in a while. But if this turns into a habit, then the relationship has become one-sided, and you could find yourself in the position where you are always expected to pay. If you are living together, the situation could be much worse. You may find yourself paying the lion’s share of the household expenses, and sooner or later this is going to cause resentment.

Although being hard up is not necessarily your friend’s fault, you shouldn’t have to shoulder the responsibility of supporting him or her. Outings, for example, are not essential to life, and if your friend is regularly letting you pay for them, then this is bound to put an unnecessary burden on your finances.

You should be particularly wary of paying for expensive outings. Regular trips to bars and clubs, for instance, usually involve paying for expensive drinks and perhaps entrance fees. Meals in restaurants or regular takeaways also stretch the finances very quickly. If all this is sounding familiar, then you need to take action before things spiral out of control.

There is no need to fall out with your friend, but it’s important to start looking after yourself too. If you live together and he or she isn’t contributing towards the household expenses, gently explain that you are getting into debt and can’t afford the same level of spending anymore, and that he or she will need to make a contribution from now on. Suggest a weekly figure, and make sure it takes into account things that are often easy to overlook, such as toilet rolls, cleaning products, tea, coffee and milk. In other words, replace going to expensive places such as bars and clubs with cheaper options that don’t put a drain in your pocket, such as walks and picnics in the countryside, or visiting a free exhibition or museum. You could also have get-togethers with friends in your home or go to theirs.

If your friend is a true friend and really cares about your well-bei ng and peace of mind, he or she should have no problem with your suggestions. You should find your friend making every effort to help, even if the weekly contribution towards household expenses takes a few weeks to sort out. In the meantime, however, there should be no resistance to the changes in outings. If you do encounter an unhelpful or uncooperative attitude, then it is time you looked at your relationship more closely because it will be obvious that your friend has started to use you and does not have your best interests at heart. Remember that you are just as important as other people and that you are worth protecting and caring for, so don’t let other people take advantage of you.

Looking at the other side of the coin, some people press money on their friends and insist on paying for everything. In these cases, even making simple purchases like a bottle of wine or a few cans of beer can turn into a battle. If you find that you are insisting on paying all the time, take a back seat and let your friend have an equal say in the relationship. You can’t buy friendship, and your friend will think no less of you for letting him or her pay for things on an equal basis.

Fair and equal partnerships

Having equal relationships applies just as much to partners. If you feel that you are shouldering too much of the financial responsibility in your relationship, you need to discuss it openly and put it right before it ruins your relationship as well as your finances. Disagreeing about money is one of the main causes of divorce and relationship breakdown in this country; the best way to avoid it is by dealing with it now rather than ignoring it and letting the resentment build up. If necessary, get some professional advice or counselling.

Pampering children

There is often a great temptation to overindulge your children or someone else’s, especially if the parents have broken up. Showering gifts of toys or money on children is no substitute for love, friendship and support, and it can create unhealthy expectations as well as additional responsibilities. It is better to concentrate on sharing quality time with children by having fun with them, playing games and listening to their needs, rather than overindulging and spoiling them with presents they don’t need.

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About the Author: Marie Mayle is a contributor to the MegaHowTo team, writer, and entrepreneur based in California USA. She holds a degree in Business Administration. She loves to write about business and finance issues and how to tackle them.

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