How to be the Frugal Friend and NOT feel Awkward

Adopting a more frugally-minded lifestyle comes with it’s challenges. If I had to guess what one of the biggest challenges was to sticking to a tight budget as well as a barrier to some people choosing to live a thrifty lifestyle, I’d have to guess that it was having to deal with the awkwardness that comes with explaining to your friends and family members why you can’t go out for dinner, or participate in big gift exchanges, or why you have to yet again pass on a costly event or function. It isn’t always easy being the frugal friend in the group.

Frugal friend

It’s hard to not feel awkward and downright embarrassed in those situations. Especially if you spent money so easily before and are now putting the brakes on it. Your friends may be confused at this new desire of yours to save money and stick to a budget. It can be difficult to figure out how to preserve a friendship you really value without letting money be the cause of conflict. It doesn’t matter if you are a spender or a saver, money can be a sensitive subject regardless of what category you fall into. Many people have a difficult time talking about it or discussing it with friends.

There are ways you can preserve you friendships, feel confident in your financial decisions, and stick to your budget without feeling awkward or embarrassed. You can be the frugal friend and be okay with it!

Here are some ways you can help eliminate that awkwardness that can come with being the frugal friend.

  1. When you receive an invite to something you can’t afford, suggest something else instead. If a friend asks you out to eat, why not invite them over to your house and you can make them dinner at home? Better yet, invite them over for a potluck. Or another alternative is to explain to them that you can’t afford going out to dinner right now, but going out for just a coffee can fit into the budget.
  1. Say no to the invite but make arrangements to connect with your friend for a different day. If you feel like you are constantly saying no to invitations being extended to you for functions that are just too expensive for your budget right now like concerts, amusement parks, movies, etc. be sure to invite those people out on a different day to do something that is free or does not cost much. Those friends invited you because they want to spend time with you, so make sure you relay the message that you still want to see them, it just has to involve a budget friendly activity. Invite them for a walk, for a picnic or bonfire, over to your house to play board games or drink tea, or to some free local events in your community. Some of the best moments spent with friends involve netflix binges or chats over hot cups of coffee, or walks down a favorite trail.
  1. Explain to your friends and family why you are saying no. No one will know about your tight budget if you don’t talk to them. Explain to them that in order to achieve some of your future goals, you need to say no to things you maybe wish you could do right now. More often than not you will probably find your friends to be quite understanding if they know the situation.
  1. If you are struggling to afford gift exchanges, suggest that you draw names if it is a bigger group. If that isn’t an option you can always make gifts that fit into your budget. Many hours of love go into a homemade gift, and there are lots of people who enjoy receiving them.
  1. Accept that some friends are just not going to understand. It can be hard when you feel like someone is upset with you because you can’t take part in the activities they invite you to. Sometimes people are upset because they feel your saying no to things they are saying yes to is a judgment on them. Try to be clear that your financial choices are your own, and you are not judging them on their financial choices. They may wonder why you can’t go out when you both work the same job. Assure your friend that you both just make different decisions with what you chose to spend your money on and that is okay.
  1. Don’t make your friends feel guilty for spending money. If your friends invite you to a concert and you can’t go, don’t make them feel bad about it. Be happy for your friends that they get to do something they enjoy, and then make plans to do something free or cheap on another night.
  1. Find like-minded frugal friends. It is wonderful to have friends from all different walks of life and with different stories, but sometimes surrounding ourselves with people who understand and get us makes the tough times easier. Try to seek out at least one or two friends who don’t mind wrapping themselves in an extra blanket when they come to your house because your thermostat is kept low. They don’t mind, because they know you’ll be wrapping yourself in a blanket to stay warm when you visit them too!
  1. Just say no, no matter the reaction. Trying to keep up with the Joneses will only hurt yourself in the end. Don’t say yes to something you know you can’t afford to keep others happy.

While being the frugal friend can feel awkward, it doesn’t have to be. Own your decisions on being thrifty, and be proud of yourself for it. The truth is, money doesn’t get in the way of real friendship. True friends will understand when you can’t spend much money, especially if you initiate alternate invitations to make them feel like they are important to you.

Saying yes to excursions or activities that just don’t fit in your budget isn’t worth the anxiety, or the buyer’s remorse you may feel the next day. There are so many free, or cheap things to do together. Sometimes it just takes someone suggesting some thrifty alternatives and ideas to get the ball rolling.

Some days you can feel discouraged by if you are constantly saying no while so many around you are saying yes. Just remember that it will be all worth it when you reach your goals, whether it be paying off a large amount of debt, saving for a trip, or affording that kitchen remodel you have been dreaming of. Sometimes it can help by writing out your goals. Write out the reason why you are being the frugal friend and place it somewhere you can see it. Look at it often. Stay focused. It will (literally) pay

3 thoughts on “How to be the Frugal Friend and NOT feel Awkward”

    1. I love doing potlucks too! And it’s almost bonfire season which is one of my favourite things to do with friends!

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