Mind-Your-Money Tip #1: Beware the Money-Toxic Friend

Mind-Your-Money Tip #1: Beware the Money-Toxic Friend

My friend Allison is the kindest, most generous person you'll ever meet. Yet, trust me, I will never again let her pick where we go for dinner or get me an appointment with her colorist without doing my homework first. There have been too many times when I've found that my portion of the dinner bill blows my entire weekly food budget or highlights with her guy cost $250.

It's not that Allison makes significantly more money than I do, or that she's frivolous. It's just that she has different financial responsibilities and priorities. So, even though she's like a sister to me, she's still my Money-Toxic Friend.

Signs That You Might Have Your Own Money-Toxic Friend

  • She minimizes or dismisses your anxiety about your finances when you try to talk about it.
  • She encourages you to spend money on things you know you shouldn't.
  • She puts you in situations where you're not going to have control over how much you spend. (This was where Allison and I got into trouble.)

It Is Possible to Put Your Friendship Back on Solid Fiscal Ground If You...

  • Tell her what you CAN afford, not what you CAN'T do and CAN'T spend. Try focusing the conversation on a particular financial goal you're trying to reach, like paying off your Visa bill, or saving for a winter vacation. You never know, once she sees where you're going, she may become your biggest supporter.
  • Change how you're spending time (and money) with each other. Instead of a three-course meal, meet for tea. Instead of hitting the latest trendy yoga studio, attend a free in-store class at Lululemon. Instead of taking a weekend trip together, block out Saturday to rent bikes and explore a different part of your town. You get the idea.
  • If you have to be in a retail environment with her, invite another—more conservative—friend to tag along.

Amanda is a psychotherapist specializing in financial behavior, helping people bring money into balance.

Amanda's work has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, SELF, Real Simple, and Body & Soul. Amanda writes for LearnVest about Love & Money.

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