Category Archives: Money and Relationship

A Letter to A Friend With Money

My dear, dear Girlfriend,

You have been my good friend for eleven years. Time flies, doesn’t it? You are turning forty today. Happy Birthday!

Do you realize how much you have achieved? You have money. You have no debt. You have a big house, and you have a good and stable job. You can afford to go to exotic countries for your vacations. You are raising two kids all by yourself, and you are doing a great job.

I am very proud of you because not every woman could have achieved what you had. Remember last year you bought a new car and paid cash? It was such a huge achievement, didn’t you think so? At least in my eyes! A single mother of two pays cash for everything! I, on the other hand, can only dream about it.

We have been good friends for years, but somehow it feels that we live on two different planets. Sometimes I feel like you don’t know me at all. Especially when it comes to your birthdays.

Let me take this letter as an opportunity to try and reach out to you because it seems that spoken words don’t have enough power anymore.  I should have written this letter a long time ago. Actually, I have been trying to reach out to you for years. But you never listened. 

I am always dreading your birthdays because I know that I am expected to keep up with your expectations. You don’t take into account that Beaker and I have debt to battle. You don’t ask me if I can actually afford to celebrate your birthdays the style you want. For years I have tried really hard. I have even put quite a few your birthday expenses on a credit card just to prove to you that I was a good friend.

This year I am refusing to overspend in order to be a good friend. The point is that the friendship should matter, not the amount of money I spend on your birthdays. Right? RIGHT?

You are turning forty, and you want a big expensive celebration with close friends. You want great celebrations every year.  I won’t mention the past. This year I totally understand it. We turn forty once in a lifetime, and some of us want to make it a special occasion, something to remember forever.

If you want your close friends around during your special day, don’t you want to consider your friends’ financial situation? Just for a short second? Just once in eleven years? 

You suggested an upscale five star restaurant where entrees are served a la carte and cost about $50 and up.

Have you ever listened to me telling you that there are bills, there is debt in my life? Have you ever understood that Beaker and I don’t have a good emergency fund, and we live on a borrowed time before something happens?

Don’t make me regret telling you that we paid $13,000 off of our debt last year, because it seems to me that you want me to put your birthday bill on my credit card.

Now… I realize I have gained some weight over the years. But it doesn’t give you the right to tell me that Beaker and I should eat less when I tell you that we cannot afford to go to your birthday where we have to pay $50 per plate. Of course we can come and order a couple of salads (hopefully they will give us some bread), bring a bottle of wine, and watch you enjoy your day. Would you like us to do this?

I am trying to understand what matters to you the most: spending time with your close friends celebrating your special day OR have an upscale dinner just because you can? If it is the latter, you are on your own this time.

Hopefully the day will come when you read this letter. Maybe you will get mad that I put it on my blog. Maybe it will ruin our friendship. I do hope, however, that this letter will make you think a little bit more about me and a little bit less about yourself.

I love you, and I always will be your friend!

Happy Birthday, my dear!

Why Women Lie About Shopping

This article is not a generalization. It represents my observations only.

One of my married friends always goes shopping alone. She always pays cash. Why? Because there will be no monthly credit card statements and no paper trail. There will be no questions from her husband about what she bought while shopping because she won’t show him her purchases that are tucked away in the trunk of her car.

Her husband will never know about the three pairs of shoes that will later be put into her closet. Or the new pair of jeans that she will wear when they go to the movies. Or the new skirt she will put on for a day at her office. He won’t know, he won’t ask questions and he won’t suspect how much was spent.

If we don’t point out to our husbands or boyfriends a new wardrobe piece that we are wearing, would they eventually notice? The majority of men don’t notice which also means that they don’t ask “Is that something new?” Even if they do ask us, those of us who don’t want to admit that a piece is new, indeed can always say “Oh no, I’ve had this forever.”

Even if we do show what we bought while shopping for new clothes, we still might omit or alter one very important fact such as … the price. We might tell a partial truth about an item that we have just purchased.

Why do some of us keep our wardrobe price tags a secret in spite of the fact that we work, earn money and want to look good?

Maybe because we are feeling guilty about spending money on ourselves when we can be spending on our kids, or paying off debt, or putting it into savings, or investing it into our future.

Maybe we think that we overpaid for a great looking dress. Sometimes we do overpay but we don’t want to admit it, even to ourselves.

Maybe we think that the price is irrelevant. Receipts are shredded, price tags are destroyed. We lie about it … well… because those damn shoes are worth it.

Maybe when we come back from a store, we don’t want to be interrogated: “Why did you buy it? How much did you spend? Couldn’t you get anything cheaper?” Or even better “How many shoes (skirts, bags, jeans) do you need?”

And the final Maybe:

Maybe being financially honest and having full disclosure means having similar goals, workable budgets, understanding and most importantly accepting each other’s spending habits.