• Erika Dowell

Finances with Friends

Mathew and I are relatively frugal in our day to day lives. We mostly make coffee at home (I’m sure my coffee client is cringing right now), we dine out once per week - we try to be better - and seldom drive our car other than to groceries, friends, or errands. I see our car as my independence - able to up and go whenever and wherever, able to help a friend in need, and able to get somewhere quickly if needed. I own my own business, so I can write off portions of our home expenses (wifi, utilities, interest, property tax, etc) to the business.

We have Netflix and Disney. We subscribe to Revive Smoothies because I hate wasting food but like smoothies but not enough to buy spinach and blueberries and strawberries every week (or at least use them up before they mold). I gotta get my veggies somehow.

I hate subscription food boxes; I think they are bad for the planet and bad for your finances, but I think they are good for people who aren’t able to craft their own meal plans/cook/chop/etc.

We don’t subscribe to Amazon (don’t even get me started), Uber Eats, Skip The Dishes, Door Dash, etc.

But something that I always stress about - which is weird for a finance person - is how to make sure that our finances don’t come across and ‘bragging’ or ‘gloating’ or even putting a friend out of comfort if we do something together.

It’s not that we are rich. We are millennial rich - we own our house, our car, we don’t have kids, nor do we have consumer debt or student loans. Neither of us have trust funds or anything. Our finances are literally what we earn and save - together. I’m a nerd, so I have a budget for our household to the dollar. We are fortunate to have money left over. I’m fortunate to even be able to write this in the first place on my Mac laptop with my iPhone next to me.

Something that comes up from time to time with friends or family is how we do finances. Our relationship is potentially odd in the fact that we are both incredibly cheap; we like finding the deals. Neither one of us spends a lot - although we both have our moments with cafe spending. We also have a ‘rule’ that anything other than groceries over $100 needs a conversation, but usually, before we even get to that point we have already figured out the value to cost ratio. I spend months researching something so by the time we buy it we’ve talked at length about it for weeks if not months.

The other weird thing that we talk about is buying video games as if we need to justify fun.

Anyway. Our friend from the west coast was in town and we decided to grab dinner out tonight. We gave them four choices - burgers, fish and chips, all-you-can-eat sushi, or Indian. As we sifted down to our choice, I was happy/interested/proud to hear M tell him ‘Well, if we do sushi you should know that it costs this much’ and the friend simply said ‘oh, well then let’s do the other option.’ And that was that.

Make finances comfortable. Talk to your friends who ask about it, talk about expenses for utilities and phones (are you getting a deal or missing a deal?!), and even discuss how mortgages work so they can get one of their own.

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