To Split or Not To Split?
Navigating Finances in Friendship
I enjoy being outdoors on days I can get over the anxiety of getting kidnapped or killed. Thank you, Nigerian parents. I love a good day-under-the-tree picnic with my people, a movie hangout, a visit to a museum, the zoo, or a film/fashion show hangout.
Let’s just say I have a rather artistic and adventurous, but mundane taste.
These adventures cost money. Even stepping outside for fresh air in Nigeria costs money these days. I typically like to be aware of the financial atmosphere of a location before accepting any social invitation.
For instance, an invitation to BluCabana Restaurant & Cafe is an overpriced condition for me. Such a place charges ₦6000 for a salad. I wouldn’t want to put myself in a position where I’m tearing chicken one day and soaking garri the next day — living to impress isn’t wise living.
To be on the safe side, I thoroughly research the cost of an Uber from my house to the intended location. If I’m going with friends, everyone is contributing their own quota. On days we go by public transport, I offer to pay for others when I can afford it.
I know I sound like a penny pincher but these arrangements and careful planning have helped keep my finances and friendships in good health.
The topic of money is already frowned upon in our society, so bringing it up and expressing the difficulty of declining an invitation to a friend’s birthday breakfast because you are worried about the cost feels socially repugnant.
After all, nobody wants to be known as the “stingy” person. At this stage of my financial life, splitting a bill equally has allowed me to enjoy myself in a way that my finances cannot.
Before you start turning down every social invitation, or incurring debt because you’re too nice to say no, try to use the following tactics to successfully balance your budget while having fun with your friends.
1. Have an arrangement before hand.
Will it be a split-this-evenly or you-cover-your-part situation? This is a question some people feel ashamed to ask. Asking how the bills will be handled for each hangout is as important as the hangout itself.
As people grow in their careers and businesses, it is advisable for bills to be split, as not all of your friend’s salaries or income can afford such expenses.
2. Be considerate of the location.
Many of your friends are scattered across different countries, states, and regions, so of course, it’s only considerate to keep this in mind when planning an outing among yourselves.
3. Have an understanding of your friend’s earning power.
People are generally more concerned with their friends’ spending ability than their earning capacity. Knowing how much your friends make might be difficult because many people find it financially demeaning and embarrassing to tell how much they make.
For friends who don’t mind getting naked with their finance, use such information in their interest. For instance, a friend who just got a job may not be immediately able to afford exotic places.
4. Budget for social events.
We cannot escape it. There will always be a wedding, birthday party, book release, reunion, etc. that will free us from the confines of our monotonous life. Being well prepared in advance is essential.
You should start saving some money every month for such events. You should not join a girl’s trip unless you are prepared to spend the money.
5. Learn to say no.
Your financial situation and budget must be respected, but you cannot criticize your friends for continuing to desire to partake in an expensive pastime. You may occasionally have no choice but to decline an invitation.
There is only truly one method to handle a friends-and-finances situation, regardless of the form you experience it. It is to be honest.
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