I feel that I am a good mate to all of my friends. I would do just about anything to help those that are close to me, only if however it is reciprocated and I can see that person is genuinely a close friend, not just an acquaintance or similar.
If you feel you are the same way, I am certain you can feel what I am about to say. I feel I am always the most lenient with my money, by this I mean – always happy to chuck in that extra $5-10 when splitting a bill etc for the sake of not making an awkward moment between friends, or perhaps buying someone a drink, telling them they can pay me back later.
But at what point do you have to stop being ‘the nice guy’ when it comes to money? It all adds up and over time, I cannot tell you how many times I have forked out money to probably have it never returned or forgotten about/not appreciated.
I call this ‘friend lends’.
The cost of being financially efficient
Not to put tabs on myself, but I feel I am quite on top of my finances, clear goals, desires and outcomes I want to achieve. The price for being this way is that I find myself with ‘backup’ finances as I never like myself to be stranded (this is debateable between pay cheques, I often find myself dead broke!). Having these finances in place means that you can do things, pay for things and generally be prepared for what might come your way.
The downside however is that as someone who values friends, I am also quick to look after my mates for a drink, dinner or something else with the notion of getting paid back later. Sometimes though people forget to pay you back, making an awkward moment whereby you wonder whether you should follow it up or not.
More often than not, the money is so minor ($5-$10) so I often just say ‘nah, I’ll just leave it’. But this really adds up.
Should you ask for your money back?
I think from now on, if I am ever in this situation – I will actually ask for the money back – but very nicely. It all adds up over the long run, ideally coming out of the wash with everyone even – though sometimes I feel this isn’t the case for me personally.
There is nothing wrong with asking for your money back, it doesn’t make you tight, it doesn’t make you a bad friend – friends should be more than able to talk about this stuff.
Tricks for slowing down your ‘friend lends’
You don’t have to become a scrooge over night. Just simply have in the back of your mind that you need to cut down your spending. Make up reasons for why you need the money back or why you cannot lend little bits here and there. These don’t have to be lies – I am sure we could all do with a bit of extra money to pay down debts, save for a holiday or something else important. Also, I am quite quick to speak up and offer money – perhaps you should consider just being a bit more silent when the “ATM is so far away” talk pops up.
Also consider not buying rounds of drinks when out, this will slow your drinking (something I need to learn!) and also end the night a lot easier on your wallet. Often drink rounds end up with someone getting stung for $100 which is never remembered.
At the end of the day
Friends are friends. They are great. There is never a reason to fight over money. Though it is however worth taking account of just how much money a friendship can cost (god that sounds cheap) and find a way to ensure you don’t waste away thousands over the course of the year. Friends never intentionally forget, nor do they have any kind of dark motives – it is simply a case of not remembering and you feeling awkward for having to remind them.
In saying all this – I bet I owe thousands to other friends of mine. I am probably just as bad as what I am trying to slow down.
Do you do friend lends?
Share with us the good, bad and how you ask for money back without sounding like a cheapster.