Friday, June 25, 2010

20sb Blog Carnival: Friends And Money #$friends

{hey, it's the 20sb blog carnival and the topic is "How do your friends and others affect your choices regarding money?"}

With a quiz score of 27 from the Schwab MoneyWise calculator, it's definitely time to reevaluate my relationship with money.

The first time I understand what money was, I was about 4 years old. My brother and I had just left our Grandparents house and they handed me $20. I remember getting out of the car in front of our house and taking out the money. I looked at my brother, looked at the $20, and promptly ripped it in half. I proudly told my parents I was splitting it with my brother. After shock then laughter, my parents explained the concept of money to me.

A year later for my 5th birthday I'm immortalized on the family home video's by opening a card with $5 and jumping up and down screaming "MONEY MONEY MONEY I'm RICH!!". Because at that young age I knew money was something that could get you things.

When I was 13 money meant pizza and ice cream at the pool with my best friend. We would ride our bikes and swim for hours with some snack breaks, going home when the pool closed to eat dinner then head back to night swim.

Money in high school was incredibly important. Most of us didn't have jobs because we didn't need to. School was the important thing and so we had allowances. Mine was pretty low but with a generous bf always willing to give me a twenty to go out with my friends, I never did that bad. Plus the times when I needed new stuff my parents handed me a CC with note and that was it. PF Changs for Friday nights, Clinque makeup (hey, we thought it was cool), Victoria's Secret underwear, I always had nice things and didn't give a huge thought about where it came from.

I went away to college and had a meal card but my roommate and I were always ordering food and shopping. My parents opened an account for me at a bank we had at home and in my college town so they could put money in every month. Granted it only $200 but that seemed amazing to me and combined with my friend, we did well.

I ended up leaving college early the first year due to family issues. {I ended up going back and finishing a few years later} I got my first job and was making money for myself. I had no rent to pay and only a cell phone bill so I did well. I can tell you right now...I have no idea where my money went. I know some of it went towards my first car because my mom made me give her some of my paycheck and she matched what she took.

I'm guessing most of it went to restaurants with friends. It seems the older I get the easier it is to make plans for dinner and drinks. And of course new outfits to wear and shoes. I do remember a certain pair of smooth butter soft camel colored knee high boots that were on sale for about $300...but anyways...

Dinner and drinks. The phrase that every CC and debit card runs from in fear. I don't know how many people, especially 20somethings with their first tastes of freedom, have said this phrase over and over every weekend and a few week nights. It seems harmless but it never is. Drinks and appetizers and people wanting to split things and the meal you thought/told yourself you were going to spend no more then $20, $40 at the most turns into $60 or more. It adds up. If you only go out 2 times a week and spend $60 a week, that's $6,240 a year, not including a bar or club on weekends or lunches during work.

I think that's the hardest thing, knowing your money is going to waste. Because at the end of the day that's a lot of money spent with nothing to show. Sure, you can be like Carrie Bradshaw and have a $40,000 collection of shoes but when you want to buy that condo/house, we don't all have friends like Charlotte willing to help us out.

Look, I know I'm lucky because I don't have student loans or credit card debt. I have a car payment which my parents currently pay until I get a full time job. I don't pay rent right now on my apt and my family is covering my bills but don't be fooled, in this economy it is a strain on them as well. It's even harder to manage the non existent money I have and combine it with hanging out with friends but it taught me the most valuable lessons about how to manage my money.

I won't ever be that stupid girl who made $600 cash a week, paid no rent, and still was broke at the end of the week. I won't be the girl who doesn't balance her checkbook. I will do what my Mom always says and pay myself first ($20) if nothing else. I will balance my own checkbook and not spend what I don't need to. It's a matter or need versus want.

So even with those goals how do I get by seeing friends and NOT do dinner and drinks? Well here are some of the ways I've found are fun and work.

1) go to the gym together. it can be really fun and it makes a workout go fast. plus after you can use the pool, cool off, relax, and have a talk. it feels really good and its a fun way to bond without spending money.

2) thrift store. you can scrounge up all your loose change and with $3 can buy 6 paperbacks or 3 shirts, or skirts or a ton of different combos. Half the fun of thrifting is just digging through the stuff and it can last for hours. You can talk and laugh and with so much crazy things, you never run out of things to talk about. A $1 big drink at McDonalds will quench your thirst and fill you up afterwards or during.

3) game night. have everyone bring over their favorite board or video game. bring poker or tarot cards. apples to apples is a big favorite. still want to drink? have everyone pitch in $5 or what they can and make a run to the grocery store. See what you can get, it might be cheap but boxed wine can be fun for all and chips or something aren't too expensive. My friend brought eggs and choc chips and with the rest from my house, we made choc chop cookies.

4) zoo/musems. most cities have them and with a public library card you can check out passes to go for free.

The bottom line is that it might have to suck to admit not having money but there is no shame in being honest. You don't need to whine about being poor so people will pay for you. You can be and sound like a responsible adult and say "Sorry, watching my budget". What kind of rude person would argue with that? If they're your friend they won't put you in a position to spend money you don't have. Hey if it worked for Joey, Phoebe, and Rachel, it can work for you.

I love this blog carnival and think you should all enter. Just writing this made me think about my relationship with money and new goals to work on!!

Go and enter at 20sb!!

{from the 20sb site} Prizes: Charles Schwab has been generous enough to offer five lucky bloggers a cash prize for writing fun and innovative content! That’s right…five lucky bloggers will get $100 each, so get creative, heartfelt, or hilarious. You all have unique voices, so we’ll do our best to highlight a few that really stand out.



Disclaimer: This post is part of the 20SB Blog Carnival: Friends & Money, sponsored by Charles Schwab. Prizes may be awarded to selected posts. The information and opinions expressed in this post do not reflect the views or opinions of Charles Schwab. Details on the event, eligibility, and a complete list of participating bloggers can be found here.


Annah said...

My friends and I are all broke beyond belief, so we share money woes and cheap vodka. That's what friendship is all about! :)

Jennifer said...

I have an award for you on my blog!

JPO said...

I'm RICH now (yes, I'm bragging) but before I married my Daddy Warbucks, I somehow managed to acculuate $8,000 of Credit Card debt in a 15 month span. It was because I though Dior shades and martinis after 9 were more important than being WISE. There I admit. Good for you for trying to live within your budget :)

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