5 “Nice” Ways to Tell Your Spendy Friends You’re on a Budget

Here are some great ways to deal with potentially-awkward money situations.

5 nice ways to tell your friends you're on a budget

One of the challenges and drawbacks of starting a Spending Fast, or spending diet is letting your friends know. Often, the biggest temptation to buy things comes from the influence of spendy friends. It doesn't always necessarily go well when you try to cut expensive activities out of your schedule, when you know that is what the people you are social with are prone to do. 

When faced with the necessity to share your situation with others, here are some simple, “nice” ways to tell your friends about your budget:

  1. “I'd love to but emergency expenses have come up…”
  2. “I'd love to but I'm saving for the holidays…”
  3. “I'd love to but my financial obligations have changed…”
  4. “I'd love to but what about this (free) idea…”
  5. “I'd love to but I'm on a Spending Fast!” 

Keep reading for all the details… 

“I'd love to but emergency expenses have come up…”

One very easy way to tell your friends about your budget is to blame it on unanticipated expenses. Something always comes up and we rarely have the emergency funds to deal with the unexpected. If you explain you can't spend extra money because of an unexpected expense, people will understand and it's a good way to broach the topic of budgeting money. At the very least it indicates that for the time being it is important to you to stick to your budget.

“I'd love to but I'm saving for the holidays…”

This is the perfect time to bring up the holidays as an excuse to hold off on spending. You can nicely tell your friends about your budget by explaining it within the context of saving up for the season. This is a common time of year where many people feel that crunch and they have to make room for spending more, whether they operate within a traditional budget or not. This is one of the most universal experiences and it's easy to use it to your advantage when breaking the news to your friends that you don't have the extra money to spend. You may even get more support by bringing up the topic and inspire your friends to watch their spending throughout the season as well.

“I'd love to but, my financial obligations have changed…”

One really great way to tell your friends about your budget is to simply explain that you have had a lifestyle change. You may have had something significant come up in your life that gives you more responsibility. It could be that you've moved, or had a child, got married, anything. If you have to take on new responsibilities it always has a ripple effect that causes you to rearrange your priorities. A sudden life change may not even be financially related or economically driven, it can still have the effect of leading you to reassess your spending and what you do with your money.

“I'd love to but what about this (free) idea…”

Another good way to say you are on a budget is to not say it at all. You can imply it just as well. If anyone suggests an activity that involves spending money, why not just counter with a free activity? This is a subtle way of steering your group's activities in a direction that will allow you to continue to spend more time with them. Instead of saying you can't participate because of money, you are putting a positive spin and using the conversations momentum to create alternative solutions. This is a good approach to have if you want to try to create long term change, or just want to buy a little more time. At some point budget is sure to enter into the conversation, so just be ready for it, and always have those free suggestions handy.

“I'd love to but I'm on a Spending Fast!”

I did this when I was on my Spending Fast and I recommend you do it too! Simply make the Spending Fast the “bad guy.” OF COURSE you'd love to participate if only if wasn't for this darn Spending Fast you've committed to! This is really the most straight forward way to tell your friends about your budget and money situation. You can also tell them that you're saving for your future or that you're trying to grow your savings. By focusing on the positive you're making it an empowered choice to not spend money!

How have you gotten out of uncomfortable spending situations with friends? What explanation has worked out best/worst for you in the past and how did your friends handle it? Tell us in the comments and, if you found this post helpful we'd love for you to share it with your friends!