5 ways to keep your friends and your money

coaching finance money mindset personal lifestyle women and finance Oct 20, 2021

Money and friendships...are you in the friends-zone or the danger-zone?

Whether you have been joined at the hip since your mums took you to Mother and Baby groups, or you met just a few short weeks ago and hit it off, whether it is a case of opposites attract, or being two peas in a pod there is nothing quite like a friendship! 

But regardless of your friendship status, there will sometimes be areas where differences become apparent, and can cause an otherwise beautiful relationship to become tense and stressful.

When we find our new BFF, the last thing we want is to fall out and allow money to ruin an otherwise fabulous friendship.

Friends are pretty good at putting the world to rights, we can talk about some things until the proverbial cows come home.

You’ll spend hours talking about your gripes at work, the latest argument with your partner, the frustrations of not being able to find a pair of jeans that fit, or the latest episode of Love Island..  But there’s one topic that often gets avoided….you’re far more likely to talk about your sex life than discuss money with your bestie!

So how can avoiding the topic of money cause a rift in your friendship?

Often it’s the simple things that cause the most stress.

For example - Who’s paying for the UberEats delivery this week?  If you don't talk about it, one party can end up feeling that it’s always down to them, or that there's an assumption that one can afford it more than the other.....when in fact it might be a case of neither of you having the available funds!

The same applies to grabbing a coffee when you’re out, or buying drinks at lunch.  If you don’t talk about money openly, there’s a chance that one of you will end up paying more than your fair share….and once you’ve started on that particular train, it is difficult to get off it.  In turn, this can lead to a bit of assumption from one party, and resentment from the other.

You may well have been drawn to each other as a result of things you have in common, or you might have been life long friends brought up in similar financial circumstances.

But as we go through life we generally find that we take some slightly different paths.  Differences in salary, in romantic relationships, in the places that we want to visit on holiday for example. 

We hope that our friendship will be strong enough to accommodate all those.  

But  the reality is that these things can also lead to a difference in opinions, in our values, in how we prioritise our finances.  Unless everyone respects those differences, there’s a danger that the friendship can succumb to stress and strain, which can result in you going your separate ways.  

One of the biggest financial stressors is when friends lend money to other friends...and then don’t know how to raise the subject of having it paid back.  Because you are friends, you might feel that you shouldn’t push for repayment, or you give a vague answer such as “there’s no rush”. 

When a payment is missed, or the topic of repayment is avoided, an elephant in the room can appear.  Again, the relationship can become strained and, sadly in these cases, often ends.

I know, in my own experience when I have both borrowed money, and lent money to and from friends, it can lead to some very uncomfortable situations.  I did lose what I thought was a very good friend over money as I felt unable to say NO when being asked to help out.  Ultimately the only way forward for me was to cut my losses and cut ties completely.  What had been a lifelong friendship came to an end over money.

So what can you do to avoid ruining a beautiful friendship so that you can focus on Love Island and planning your next lunch date or night out?

I cannot stress enough, that simply talking about money is the key!  Here are my top 5 ways to keep things on track.

  1. Normalise talking about money in the same way as you can talk about EVERYTHING else!  Ask questions, ask advice of each other, ask how they would approach a situation, or how they went about applying for a mortgage or asking their boss for a pay rise.  You’ll ask your friend for advice when it comes to your love life or your career, so add money to the list! 
  2. Be respectful about differences in how people prioritise their finances at various times of life!  Just because your friend is still happy to spend her money on an expensive night out while you are squirrelling your money away for a new house deposit doesn’t mean you should criticise what they are doing.
  3. Mutual respect means that you can both do your own thing, whilst still arranging friend stuff that suits you both!  When you’ve bought your own house, you’ll be buzzing to get your bestie over for pizza in front of the TV while you put the world to rights again!
  4. When planning a lunch date, a big night out, a weekend spa visit or a holiday together, discuss who is paying for what before it’s too late.
  5. Don’t put pressure on yourself or each other to pay for things you cannot afford, just because you haven’t been up front.  If you feel like you are paying more than your fair share and this doesn’t suit you, then speak up - it might result in a few minutes of awkwardness, but you can quickly get back on track.

We don’t talk about money enough.  However close we are, money is often still avoided as part of the conversation.  Yet we all have a relationship with money, and we can all help each other make the very best of it so that we can get back to planning that next PJ clad Netflix binge watching session or weekend away, with no elephants in the room!

Money - let's talk about it!

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