Ask Tracy: My friend’s spending is stressing me out.
I’m about to move into my first home so I need to save as much as I can.
My problem is one of my friends has expensive taste. Every time we go out I end up way over budget and it’s stressing me out. It feels like my money disappears!
It’s her birthday next week, how do I deal with this without hurting her feelings or, worse still, losing her as a friend?
Understanding your own money personality can really help you tackle situations like this. It’s really easy to find out what your personality is with the free test you can download here.
From what you’ve said, I think you could be a Nurturer or a Connector. Nurturers are very generous and they find it difficult to set financial boundaries with people they care about. This means that they can end up getting into debt for friends and family even though they are naturally good with money.
Connectors are less comfortable with money and they care more about heart to heart connections than making money. The fact that you love going out and are really do not want to upset your friend suggests you might be a Connector.
It would also explain why money just seems to disappear as Connectors find money difficult to connect to. It’s too abstract.
Your friend sounds like she could be either a Romantic or a Celebrity. Romantics love to enjoy life. They are very generous but one of their challenges is flamboyant spending. Celebrities are also prone to compulsive spending but they are more about visibility and making a big impression.
One way to distinguish a Romantic from a Celebrity is that Romantics love how luxury feels, while a Celebrity loves how it looks 😉.
If you can’t actually work out which your friend is, don’t worry. Behind both money personalities there is a hidden fear. In fact behind every money personality there is a fear that drives their less healthy money habits.
In the case of the Romantic it’s not feeling valued and acknowledged. In the case of the Celebrity it’s about approval and love from the people around you.
These are the feelings you are going to be picking up on as a Connector or a Nurturer and why you find it so difficult to say no to her.
How does this information help you?
As I mentioned, money often baffles Connectors. Tracking your money will really help you to stay in touch with money and see where it goes. The fact that you have already managed to get into a position to move into your own home suggests you have already started to get to grips with this.
Keep going, you’re on the right track!
Paying in cash also helps to make the connection between money and what you are spending it on. It’s all too easy for £100 to go on a credit card, imagine handing over that amount in cash… not so easy!
You probably have a list of items you want for your new home. Do you know how much they will cost? This information helps to make money feel more real. It’s not just £100 spent on the night out, it’s also that beautiful set of bedlinen you have on your wish list.
What’s your budget for your friend’s birthday? What can you genuinely afford without taking yourself off track? If you spend more than you are happy with you are sacrificing your happiness for hers. Would you really want a friend of yours to do that for you?
Remember that what’s really important to your friend is feeling loved, valued and approved of. How could you give her this without spending a single penny? Challenge yourself to come up with at least five different ways you could do this.
Finally, take two pieces of paper, place on on the floor where you are standing and screw the other into a ball and throw it as far as you can. I know this sounds bonkers but stay with me!
This is a very powerful exercise we developed called “Throw The Ball Out”.
Imagine that you have moved into your new home. That is the point where the ball of paper has landed. Go and stand in that place. Imagine being in your new flat with all your lovely things around you. Take a walk around it in your imagination. Really visualise it and allow yourself to fill up with that feeling.
Now look back at the piece of paper on the floor. That is where you are at the moment. What would you like to say to the “you” standing there worrying about upsetting her friend? What did you do to get to your new place? Did you have a conversation with your friend? How did you stick to your budget? Let the new “you” help you see what the current “you” can do.
Make some notes and then take action!
Click here to ask us your money question, all questions will be anonymous (of course) 💕