What I’ve Learned Being The Broke Friend And Employee

By Beatrice Right

I figured out pretty quickly that you need thick skin to make it through a debt free journey. When you decide to adhere to a strict budget, things obviously change, and your balances are not the ones doing a disappearing act. Since becoming the broke friend and employee, I’ve had to endure everything from ridicule to lonely nights on the sofa and I’ve learned a few things along the way.

“Sorry, I Can’t”

This slowly becomes your response for everything.

Going out every Tuesday for tacos is now a thing of the past, and your friends will wonder why your frequent presence has slowly dwindled to the status of a ‘no-show’.

Although I knew making plans for a night out was definitely not in my budget, I would tag along to unplanned festivities just so I didn’t look lame. I believed that I deserved to treat myself, but in reality, I was just using that as an excuse to be irresponsible.

Do you want to know what was lame? Me swiping a credit card because I knew I couldn’t afford to leave my bed that night.

Yes, I would have a good time, but in the back of my mind I would be thinking of the things I would have to sacrifice in the upcoming weeks in order to repay what I had borrowed.

Shooting down an invite became easier with practice, but I am still trying to find the right balance between my budget and my social life.

Party pooper

At my job there is always something going on that requires a donation. Whether it is a potluck or a baby shower, it’s a sure thing that someone will be walking around with a donation bag and a smile. Seriously, a co-worker could break a toe and the next day someone will be asking for a few dollars to buy a card or to collect a ‘get well’ fund. Ridiculous.

When I was newly employed I would always participate due to the fact that I did not want to be looked at as that girl who never gives, but it quickly became to be too much on my finances. I was out around $10 each month from giving to people that I barely even knew.

Once again—ridiculous.

I’ve now taken on the ‘party-pooper’ title and I wear it proudly. If I don’t have it then I don’t give it, which is most of the time so I don’t participate. No one is going to collect a ‘pay Dyana’s bills’ fund so sorry not sorry.

Debbie Downer

As you learn to manage your finances you will want to share your findings with the world. Seeing someone making a not-so-smart purchase may cause you to want to throw on your cape and save the day.

This is not always appreciated.

My friend recently traded in her Tahoe for a new Jeep and my immediate thought was why in the world would someone want to get rid of a car that’s paid off for one that’s over $30,000? Instead of congratulating her, I babbled on about why she didn’t need a new car and how much she’s going to wind up paying when the interest is added in.

Her response? She didn’t care.

Not many will want to hear what you are saying. People want things, and they could care less about how much it will cost them in the long run. I’ve learned to only share my knowledge when it’s welcomed, otherwise, I always seem to take on the role of a Debbie Downer.

You’re not invited

Those invites from your friends and co-workers will slowly start to shrivel up and blow away in the wind. They’ve heard “Sorry, I can’t” for so long that they don’t even want to waste their time inviting you someplace that you probably won’t go.

Fair enough I suppose.

I’ve found myself spending more and more time at home, missing out on the social life that my credit cards and I once had. I used to feel betrayed when I learned of an outing that I was not invited to, but I knew I would not have gone anyway.

I keep telling myself that my friends are still my friends but sure enough, not everyone wants to live by a budget. Debt is not forever if you don’t want it to be, and I firmly believe that my nights alone on the couch are only temporary...I hope!

Are you on a budget? What have you experienced?

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