This weekend I went out to dinner with a few friends. We went to a local bar and grill for lunch and had a few drinks. By the end of the afternoon/evening (about 6 hours later) we had a pretty hefty bill. Since I don’t get to see those friends very often I don’t mind dropping a little cash when we go out. But I do worry that our all day eat and drink fest may have made my friends overspend.
Just for reference, I met both of these friends at work when I was their boss. One has since finished grad school and moved to a new job and the other is still in grad school finishing her degree. Ms. “finishing her degree” and I are pretty close and whenever we go out she always says how horrible she feels that she’s still relying on her parents financially.
As her former supervisor, I know how much money she makes and I completely understand how difficult it is to survive on that meager salary in NYC. That being said, I also know that it is possible to live on that salary, because I have 3 employees who do it currently. I’m not saying it’s easy or fun, but when you budget carefully and cut out most of the “extras” you can make it work. But that’s neither here nor there and how she budgets her money is really none of my business.
I guess my only concern is that I might be enabling her “money misbehavior” when I invite her to lunch. I know that my friend is trying to pay off her credit card balance and rely less on her parents for money. So when we do go out, I’m overly conscious of the fact that she probably should be saving her money, not dining out with me.
I try to suggest places that are reasonably priced and always pay a little bit more than my share of the bill to try and help her out. But I also feel a little bit strange even asking her to go out because I know she’s not in a great financial place. To be fair, I sometimes ask her to come over to our place for dinner so she doesn’t have to spend any money, but we live about an hour away from each other, so it’s sort of a “hike” that’s not always convenient for her.
Of course I understand that she’s an adult and she makes her own decisions about how she spends her money, but I don’t want to feel like I’m enabling her to spend money she doesn’t have. I also don’t want to put my “money values” on her and make her feel bad about her situation. **She’s never asked me for “help” and I learned a long time ago to keep my mouth shut about money unless someone specifically asks for advice.
Do you go out with friends when you know they’re broke?