Thursday, January 14, 2010

Frugality is Hard on Friendships

I’ve been feeling pensive lately and have reached the conclusion that frugality is hard on friendships.

When Hubby and I were newly married, we were in college and poor as church mice. Yet, we had a wide circle of friends, most of whom were also in college, newly married, and living below the poverty line. After both Hubby and I graduated and both had decent incomes, our lifestyle moved up a few notches until we actually became spendthrifts. We had moved away from our college town and college friends and made new friends at work and with our hobbies. Most of our new friends were also spendthrifts and we maintained that lifestyle and those friendships long after we had children and our double income was reduced to a single income.

We always knew children came with responsibility, but we also found that children are also expensive, and the older they get, the more expensive they get. By the time our savings were tapped out and our credit maxed out, we knew we had to drastically change our lifestyle to make ends meet. I’ve heard that the number one cause of divorce is because of financial stress, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s also the number one cause of lost friendships. When we started cutting out all the extras like eating out, movies, and other entertainment, our friends started dropping out of our lives. When they called to ask us to go out to eat or to the ballgame, we would suggest something that was free, but they always wanted to do things that were out of our price range – that price being $0. When we invited them over for dinner and games, we seldom got takers. Soon it was just our little family spending time together every weekend. But that was ok, because it took a lot of stress out of our lives when we didn’t have to keep explaining why we were choosing not to spend money.

As time went by, we met people who were also trying to get control of their finances, but either because of both of our busy family schedules or the distance between us, we never really developed friendships with other couples. Hubby had friends at work that he went hunting and fishing with, but those friendships never became our friendships. Even after we got out of debt and began enjoying the fruits of our struggle, it has been hard to find like-minded friends. We don’t have to eat every meal and every weekend at home now, but we do prefer a relaxed evening over a more formal event. The friends we had before becoming tightwads are still here, and we still talk to them, but have found we have very little in common anymore.

At this point in our lives, I wonder if it is hard to make new friendships because of our financial choices or if other people our age just don’t want to break in new friends. Has anyone else lost or gained friends because of frugality?

Until next time, may you have blessings and friendship,
Marti

1 comment:

Jerzy said...

Oh how right you are ! When I was single and worked 2 full time jobs - there was never a night when I went out with a pocket full of cash. I had friends everywhere I went. When my birthday came around - you'd have thought it was a national holiday. Then I got married, had kids, and stopped working (yes, in that order, I got married, and stopped working the day my first child was born. No more cash in my pocket. While dh is more than generous - and has never questioned where the money goes (we're self employed, and I handle all the finances) - I'm very frugal - because I want to live well when we are older. I am no longer surrounded by friends - MOF - I'm lucky if I get one birthday card each year (from mom !) Most of the adults I know are parents of my childrens friends. I just don't have the time it takes to invest in a real friendship anymore - although I have found many "cyber" friends that hopefully, God willing, will turn into IRL friends once I have more time to commit to them. But the friends I make now I know will stick with me whether I'm in the "have" or "have nots" side of the room - and that's always a good thing !

Thanks so much on your comment today. I did talk to dd's swim coach (email so she wouldn't know) - he reassured me that he knew it was the other kid making all the trouble - not the first time - won't be the last. But so hard to stick my nose in where it's not wanted... sigh. They grow up tooo fast !