Then, I once invited someone to go play laser tag, and they told me, “I can't afford that right now, sorry.” And I didn't think it was rude, I thought it was refreshingly honest.
Giving someone a legitimate reason why you can't do something is actually quite considerate.
I thought my social life would suffer
Actually, I've found the opposite. If you're constantly making excuses for not going to costly events with your friends, they might think you just don't want to hang out with them. If you're honest about your budget, they'll know it's not them - it's your frugality. If you're meant to be closer friends, you'll find something more budget-friendly to do together. Actually, being honest about my finances has brought me closer to friends that I initially didn't know very well.
I was embarrassed
We all care what people think to some extent.
We all have our Jonseses.
still find it difficult
to murmur the words, “Sorry, but I can't afford that.” But what's the worst that happens? Your friends think you're broke? Big deal. We're not working toward financial independence to show off; we're doing it for ourselves. Also, everyone else is usually broke, too. Whether it's getting out of debt or saving money to buy a home - most of us are on a budget.
The benefits of proclaiming my frugality
Support from friends
When I started proclaiming my frugality to friends, I was surprised at how many of them were frugal, too. In the past, we might have complained about money, but we never actually discussed frugality. But being honest about my budgeted lifestyle opened up a new bond with many of my friends. They started giving me personal finance advice, they started sending me great shopping deals, etc.
Also, they started reading my blog posts on
Get Rich Slowly
and giving me feedback. That was an added bonus.
Swapping frugality tips
Another benefit to being open and honest about my frugality is that I've been learning a lot. My friends and I swap frugal living hacks and tips, and it's always interesting to learn how other people work with their budget.
I stopped doing things I didn't really want to do
I've never particularly enjoyed going to the movies with friends, unless it's a movie I've been waiting to see. That's just my personal preference - I don't like spending 20 bucks to sit there quietly with a friend for two hours. I'd rather engage in a conversation, and, usually, it's a movie I'd rather wait to watch on Netflix (or not watch at all). Of course I realize that lots of people feel differently, and many of my friends love going to the movies. I just don't; I never have. Yet I've seen
in the theater just because that's what my friends wanted to do.
So now, when I'm asked to go see movies I'm not thrilled about, I tell friends I'm saving my entertainment budget for something else - maybe another movie, maybe a concert. And it's not an excuse; it's true! I save myself from doing something I don't particularly want to do, and most importantly, I'm not blowing my budget just to be affable.
Staying within my budget
Obviously, the biggest benefit to proclaiming my frugality is that it's been good for my budget. Friends are not only respectful about my financial goals, they're helpful and supportive, too. It's easy to keep a budget when you fully make your budget part of your life.