We’ve all been there… well, not everyone. But given that you clicked on this post, I’m assuming you either are the broke friend, were the broke friend, or you’re on a quick path of becoming the broke friend.
Let me just say this. I know this struggle all too well, and trust me, it’s an uphill battle. You feel awful for saying yes and no. Saying “yes” to staying in for the night, to dollar menus, and to re-watching Netflix movies on someone else’s account. And saying “no” to going to the actual movies because you aren’t trying to spend $20 on a non-matinee movie ticket with no snacks because the snacks cost more than the actual ticket.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a firm believer that a little struggle is good for the soul. It keeps you humble. But hey, if it can be avoided - why not? Here were my go-to strategies (yes, well-thought tactics) when I was the broke college student just trying to survive in my squad of non-broke friends.
Call the shots first.
99.9% of the time, friend groups are indecisive when it comes to making plans. So speak up. Keep all the free and cheap stuff in the back of your mind. But the key is that it has to be fun. Period. Go to free concerts. Walk around a festival. Hang out downtown. Go to get appetizers during happy hour. A game night (Head’s Up never fails). Then, they’ll always look to you for the next move.
Ask a bunch of questions.
If your friend suggests eating at Red Lobster, but your account is looking more like McDonald's, try to subtly manipulate them into having a taste for something else more on your scale. Ask questions. Get all Dr. Phil on them. “When was the last time you had a Coney dog? You know you want one. We haven’t been there in a minute!” Red Lobster who? Works every time.
Avoid falling into "friend debt."
Okay, every squad has a friend or two who is always willing to spot the broke one. If you don’t, you might want to find some new friends. Usually in the squad, there’s one extremely generous friend. Money means nothing to her – she values your presence more than her bank account. There’s also the friend who is willing to spot, but she for SURE wants her money back. Don’t even think about going a week without saying you have her money coming soon. Either way, this, my friend, is “friend debt.” Get out of the habit of always telling your friend’s you’re “broke and can’t go,” because their natural instinct is going to be to spot you. Honey, if you don’t have the money now, I guarantee that when you get it, you ain’t gonna want to pay it all back to them!
We’ve all played the role. Acting like we’re ballin’ but really not. Playtime is over. You should be able to tell your friends when you simply don’t have it, or are going through a tight money situation. In doing that, tell them what you can afford, and see if they’ll be down for that!
Bottom line, you’re not alone. Times get tough. Especially in college. Just don’t be broke forever. And when you do have money, don’t blow it all with your friends. Start up a side hustle of something you’re good at. That’s such a great way to make some extra money without causing a burden. Gotta do, what you gotta do!
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