How Many Friends Can I Afford?

“People Whore”

My closest friends affectionately call me a “people whore,” a term designated for the extrovert struggling to live any moment alone. And they’re right. For better or worse, I require the sound of banter and laughter. I long for claustrophobic spaces with many people, fearing the silence, the stillness and the loneliness. So I made friends. A lot of them. I had drinks with acquaintances and dinner with coworkers. I went to music festivals, film festivals, and theater festivals. The Facebook friend requests piled up, and as a result, so did the invitations to vacations, birthday parties, weddings, and baby showers. I was having the time of my life.

That Uh Oh Moment

Somewhere along the way, I fell in love with a charming woman and we started to plan our lives together. Unfortunately, our dreams required a lot of money and we had none. I scanned my budget up and down to see where I could cut costs. Within minutes, no seconds, it was obvious that the vast majority of my spending was on friends. But relationships are priceless, no? Tell that to Visa and Mastercard.

Like many people trying to save, the first thing I did was suggest alternate hangout possibilities. A game night or a home-cooked meal. A jog around the park or a volunteering opportunity. This method works for some people, and if you can convince your friends to change their money-spending ways, this is the way to go. For me, my suggestions were not always met with complete openness. Many of my friends still went to expensive restaurants for dinner and invited me to lavish weddings. So I did the next best thing: cut out the majority of my friends.

Cost Per Person

As any married or engaged couple will tell you, narrowing down your guest list  is the best way to keep your costs down. That has been the most effective tip my fiance and I are using  to finance our wedding. But I’ve realized this is also the most effective tip I canuse to finance my life. Instead of spreading my time — and my money — among a crowd of friends and acquaintances, I now focus my time — and my money — on the people I value most. And it has been the best decision yet. Not only have my relationships grown deeper, I eat and play better too. All while maintaining a thicker wallet.

Harsh Much?

It may seem harsh to place a monetary dollar value to friends in your life. But we place values on them all the time. We say… are they worth my time? Are they worth the effort? Are they worth my patience? We are limited human beings who only have 24 hours in a day. We are also monetarily limited human beings who only have so many funds in our bank account. So I chose wisely on not just how to spend my hard-earned dollar, but with whom I’ll spend my hard-earned dollar? I hope you do too.

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