Isn't it annoying when the same friend always seems to have more cash in their purse or wallet than you do? You know you have more or less the same income but every time you go out, you’re the one scrambling around for cash? Why do they always insist on a taxi home when you can barely afford the bus? Planning activities is hard because you need to juggle your finances,yet your friends always seem to have spare cash. .
It's not as if they have more money coming in than you do. And they seem to pretty much have the same responsibilities; rent and family etc. So how come they always seem to have money to spare while you're searching the back of the sofa for loose change?
The answer is probably as simple as it is annoying. They're just very good at managing their money. This isn't to say you're not. But we can all look at friends and envy their budgeting skills. And we can also learn from them.
If you have a friend or friends with a seemingly bottomless bank account there's no shame in asking for a little fiscal advice. Of course, you may well feel this could be the most awkward conversation ever. But it needn't be. You’re not asking to borrow their debit card for a month. Just asking for one or two pointers about how they manage their cash. And it's not as if you're in a unique position. A study by Arriva found 80% of people ask friends or family for financial advice . So, you may as well grab the bull by the horns.
It's important to set limits. We're not for one moment suggesting you should ask your friend for advice on managing debt, or how to invest a nest egg, that's what specialist financial advisors are for. But there's no harm in approaching a friend who seems to manage their money well and asking them how they do it.
But how do you approach your friend without either of you feeling awkward? Or worse, your friend thinking you're asking for or need a hand out. Not only that but no-one really likes talking about money.
But just be yourself. If you have a good friend you're going to talk to don’t worry. You already have the strong relationship you need to broach the subject without embarrassment. If you're still not convinced you can ease into the conversation by talking about a holiday you hope to take or car you want to buy and how you're trying to review your finances to try and save towards your goal. Your friend is sure to come back with how they save up for things. But if they don’t, just ask!
Lessons to learn
Are there things your friend does that you can copy?
Do they have a savings account into which they pay a small deposit every month? Where do they go for financial information? How do they choose bank and savings accounts?
What financial habits do they have that you can learn from? Do they use public transport instead of driving to work? Perhaps they shop at a different and better value supermarket than you? Do they bulk prepare a week's lunches instead of buying sandwiches every lunchtime? Do they avoid the coffee shop and save on the cost of a morning latte?
Any tips you can pick up could help you budget a little better. And that’s probably what your friend will tell you. That budgeting is the secret to managing your income and to have money left over for doing the things you want to do. Without having to go short or miss out on the things your friends take for granted.