No matter how good we are about staying on budget, there are times when we entirely blow our whole budget for the month. Family and friends that are visiting, or even friends that we ordinarily spend time with, can sometimes talk us into spending more on activities and shopping that we would if left on our own. With the Mardi Gras & Easter holidays approaching, and more visits with family and friends that you are normally used to, this is a great time to go over your finances and arm yourself with a couple tips for staying on budget.
It is important to remember that family and friends want to spend time with you and don’t always mean to throw you off your budget. Having alternate ideas or plans that suit your budget in mind before you feel pressured into spending is important. Still, it is up to you to speak up for yourself and be able to say no when you are not comfortable with extra spending.
Create a Special Activity or Dining Fund
If you do not already have special outings or dining out worked into your budget, but know that friends and family will be visiting soon, begin setting aside money just for this purpose. There are always things that you can afford to do with friends and family on a budget, so give yourself the option to do so with a little planning.
Have Budget Friendly Options Ready
If the attractions or restaurants your friends and family want to visit are not in your budget, have alternate options ready to suggest. This still allows everyone to get out and together for a little fun, but takes some of the pressure off your wallet. Mix in outdoor activities that get everyone moving with a budget friendly activity that you can afford and fill your days that way.
Explain Your Choices
Friends and family have taken the time to come up with activities and plans they would like to include you in, so rather than just saying no, give them an explanation. Let them know about your budgeting and big reasons for it, like saving for a new car or attempting to pay back your student loans by the end of the year. You might end up being surprised by how supportive they are of you and your financial goals. This will also stem off additional requests a month or two down the road.
Follow Up With a Conversation
After you’ve let your friend or family member know about your reason for turning them down, sit down to have an actual conversation with them. Not everyone is comfortable talking about money, but it is important for you to let them know about your financial constraints and desire to live within a budget. This will prevent hurt feelings and frustration later.
What are some good tips you have already implemented when friends or family come to visit?