When You are Short of Money...

by Shelly Burke

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An Expensive Friend

It happens to everyone. There are times when money is tight. How can you spend time and have fun with your friends without telling them the details of your private life and, more importantly, not getting yourself deeper in debt? Here are some suggestions.

To Say

  • "Money is a little tight this month; instead of 'girls' night out' going to the movies and dinner, how about coming to my house to watch a video and make ice cream sundaes?"

  • If you're shopping with friends and they urge you to buy something, say, "I'm just window shopping today," or "I'm in a really picky mood and not going to buy anything unless it's absolutely perfect!"

  • If a friend knows of your situation and offers to treat you to lunch or a movie, accept her generous gesture and make a pact with yourself to reciprocate when you can. Remember that it is a blessing and joy to be able to give, as well as receive. Just say, "Thanks. I really appreciate it!"

To Do

  • Remember that you don't have to tell anyone the "how" and "why" of your financial plight, even if they ask. If they do ask, say something like, "It was a combination of things that got us into the mess, and we're doing all we can to fix it."

  • An exception to the above suggestion; if you've been the victim of a scam, you might choose to tell people about it so they don't become victims too.

  • Be casual about your money problems; don't give endless details (or any details at all, if you don't want to!) or place blame.

  • Focus on the positive aspects of your life and your financial successes no matter how small.

What Not to Do

  • Don't dwell on your problems or complain about your lack of funds. Your friends don't want to hear more than the basic details, and you will further discourage yourself if you continuously think and talk about your problems.

  • Don't envy your friends who seem to be better off financially. They might be hiding their problems or have problems in other areas of their lives.

This article is adapted from Shelly Burke's book, What Should I Say? Finding the Right Words for Life's Stickiest, Trickiest, Most Uncomfortable Situations, and Shelly is also the author of Home is Where the Mom Is; A Christian Mom's Guide to Caring for Herself, Her Family, and Her Home. You can read an excerpt at http://www.shellyburke.net/homemom/about.php.

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