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Old 01-08-2018, 05:38 AM
 
365 posts, read 126,728 times
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I went back into the previous threads and couldn't find anything about this topic quickly.

It concerns being on a fixed income in retirement and how to manage social expenses when you are invited to socialize with people who are in a higher economic bracket than you.

Most of my peers are still working and living on double incomes whereas I'm single and living on a fairly tight budget. I'm not a miser, I do spend money where/when I want to and on what I value. For instance, I'm planning to go on a very nice (not cheap) vacation later this year. However, this NOT meant to be a thread about people's spending habits versus mine or about my budget. I only mentioned this as FYI.

That said, I have a few friends who are in a much higher economic bracket than me and tend to spend more money on things that I wouldn't spend money on. For instance, I don't value eating out, therefore I don't enjoy spending money on expensive lunches and dinners. If I go out for the day, I'm happy to get a bagel and cream cheese somewhere for lunch. Eating out to me is just a big waste of money. Some of it has to do with health issues--eating out tends to pack on more calories than I want to eat and also causes me stomach distress. But that's just me. Again, I don't want to belabor spending habits but just give you a FYI.

Anyway, I was invited to go on a day outing with 2 people who are in a much higher economic bracket than me. I said yes but wasn't really thinking about all of the financial ramifications of the outing. I can afford the one thing that they invited me to do plus lunch but not 3 more things. I don't want to incur all of those expenses for a social outing. My mistake was probably not asking them ahead of time what else they would want to do while in the city (other than the 1 thing I had agreed to do). Granted, if I can always anticipate ahead of time exactly what everyone wants to spend, I would be fine. But most of the time socializing doesn't work to a T like that. People tend to get together and say, "let's go here" spur of the moment, then I'm stuck especially if I'm in a group.

Yesterday I was telling a close friend about this and said that I'm planning to tell these 2 people that I can't afford doing more than the 1 thing (plus lunch) that they invited me to do and that I'm going to suggest they stay in the city without me and I will just come home alone at that point. My friend almost burst a blood vessel about this approach. Said it's not socially appropriate to mention my budget. She said it sounds rude, like I'm saying the 2 people aren't worth my spending money on.

I was floored about her reaction. I have had many friends with tight budgets and we have all been open with each other about not being able to afford to do things. We have always accepted each other that way. I've had friends on government assistance, others in retirement, others who lost jobs and aren't working. Some of my friends have a lot of bills/debts, others don't. We all try to be aware of each other's finances and work out cheap things to do with each other. Like walking and getting coffee rather than an expensive meal.

Question: Is mentioning one's budget considered socially rude? If so, what strategies do you use to manage social expenses, primarily with people in a higher economic bracket? I need some suggestions on what to say to these people if I'm asked to do something I don't want to spend money on. Or, should I just go along with whatever they want to do? If so I know that I won't be happy with that and consequently will probably part from the friendship long term. is it unwise to even try to be friends with people in a higher economic bracket than me?
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Old 01-08-2018, 05:53 AM
 
3,604 posts, read 1,651,369 times
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I have friends in higher and lower income bracket and as friends have been mindful of each other in this regard. I think real friends can talk to each other about what they can and can't afford to do. However with people who you barely know and are aqaintances whose company you enjoy the choice is to save up for the occasional outing or drop them, but sharing your budget issues may backfire and cause awkwardness,which is why your friend thinks it's socially rude.

On the other hand using a sense of humor or just stating you'd love to see them but your budget is tight this week or making alternate suggestions without explaining why should suffice.
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Old 01-08-2018, 05:57 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
28,556 posts, read 62,318,960 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smt1111 View Post
Most of my peers are still working and living on double incomes
whereas I'm single and living on a fairly tight budget.

...how to manage social expenses when...
with people who are in a higher economic bracket than you.

...I'm planning to tell these 2 people that I can't afford doing more than...
Is mentioning one's budget considered socially rude?
Of course not. Rudeness (if any) is about HOW it's done.

But 'clearing the air' is decidedly better than avoiding the issue
or repeatedly declining invitations because you can't justify the costs involved.

If these people are actually friends they'll get it.
But don't expect to receive as many invitations to join them in the future if you decline too often.
---

Ultimately though it's about managing your budget.
Either you provide for the extra $10 or $100 or $1000 needed for SOME of these events or you don't.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I53n7ldcSGo
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Old 01-08-2018, 06:12 AM
 
Location: Central Mexico and Central Florida
7,110 posts, read 3,475,109 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smt1111 View Post
I went back into the previous threads and couldn't find anything about this topic quickly.

Anyway, I was invited to go on a day outing with 2 people who are in a much higher economic bracket than me. I said yes but wasn't really thinking about all of the financial ramifications of the outing. I can afford the one thing that they invited me to do plus lunch but not 3 more things. I don't want to incur all of those expenses for a social outing. My mistake was probably not asking them ahead of time what else they would want to do while in the city (other than the 1 thing I had agreed to do). Granted, if I can always anticipate ahead of time exactly what everyone wants to spend, I would be fine. But most of the time socializing doesn't work to a T like that. People tend to get together and say, "let's go here" spur of the moment, then I'm stuck especially if I'm in a group.

Yesterday I was telling a close friend about this and said that I'm planning to tell these 2 people that I can't afford doing more than the 1 thing (plus lunch) that they invited me to do and that I'm going to suggest they stay in the city without me and I will just come home alone at that point. My friend almost burst a blood vessel about this approach. Said it's not socially appropriate to mention my budget. She said it sounds rude, like I'm saying the 2 people aren't worth my spending money on.
\
If you suspected there would be other expensive things on the agenda, yes you should have asked specifically. It seems you are now planning to do so; nothing wrong with that and nothing wrong with simply saying, I'm really not interested in x, y or z. But better to ask the entire scope of the trip when it was first announced.

Everyone has their own priorities, whether based on budget, time constraints and/or level of interest. Day trips into any city can be pricey....museum admissions for example. While we aren't on a budget, if I'm not interested in a particular museum or its current offerings, I don't attend. I just say I'm not interested...it could be others in the group think I can't afford it. Doesn't matter my reason. But I do flesh out the plans in advance, as you should also.
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Old 01-08-2018, 06:27 AM
 
29,829 posts, read 34,912,438 times
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The OP needs to make it clear that his reluctance to do things is financial and not a loss of his feelings toward them.

This thread is helping me put another thread in perspective.
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:11 AM
 
6,448 posts, read 3,370,114 times
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If you tell them in a kindly and honest way, and if they are TRUE friends worth keeping, they should totally understand and work with you to make the outing work for you too.

I am in a higher income bracket and am super sensitive to my friends who aren't. I try to make them feel comfortable being honest about it by saying something like, "hmmmm, I'm not sure this is worth the expense, what do you think?"
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:15 AM
 
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our friends all have income all over the place . we always plan around the lowest earners if we go out
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:17 AM
 
8,221 posts, read 11,935,652 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smt1111 View Post
Anyway, I was invited to go on a day outing with 2 people who are in a much higher economic bracket than me. I said yes but wasn't really thinking about all of the financial ramifications of the outing. I can afford the one thing that they invited me to do plus lunch but not 3 more things. I don't want to incur all of those expenses for a social outing. My mistake was probably not asking them ahead of time what else they would want to do while in the city (other than the 1 thing I had agreed to do). Granted, if I can always anticipate ahead of time exactly what everyone wants to spend, I would be fine. But most of the time socializing doesn't work to a T like that. People tend to get together and say, "let's go here" spur of the moment, then I'm stuck especially if I'm in a group.
Of course your friend is wrong when she says it's rude to mention your budget as a reason to decline a social activity. That said, I'm curious as to what these activities are in which you can't participate. Is there any reason for being so circumspect in describing them as one thing that you agreed to do (besides lunch) and three things that you don't want to do? If they're going clothes shopping (or shopping for some other items) after lunch, you, of course, are under no obligation to purchase anything and could merely "window shop." If they want to go out for drinks at the end of the day then once again, you can spend time with them while drinking water or an inexpensive soft drink.

Would you care to elaborate on what the activities in question are? I realize that it was not the focus of your question, but then again, you could have asked the question of whether it is rude to mention financial constraints when declining a social invitation without going into the limited detail that you did. But since you did, I'm just asking you to flesh out the details a little more. Perhaps the community could give you suggestions on how to participate in these other activities with your friends without incurring much in the way of expenses.
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:31 AM
 
365 posts, read 126,728 times
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It hasn't been determined yet what else they're planning to do. So far, all that's happened is that I was invited to go along; I said yes but the plans were loose at that point. Now, a few days before the outing, I need to call the person to firm up the plans and started thinking "what if they ask me when we're up there to go to a show, get dinner, maybe see another museum." I didn't think of this IN ADVANCE, that's why I'm in a bind. I agreed to going up there without thinking of all of the ramifications. I'm not a fast thinker and I'm not socially adept with people who are in a higher economic bracket than me. Most of my friends have been in my bracket or lower income.

I'm planning to discuss this today with the person but wanted to run it past the forum to see what the suggestions were. I'm NOT looking for ideas how to participate in these activities--I'm asking how to GET OUT OF participating in them.
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:36 AM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,698 posts, read 23,700,326 times
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Socially rude? True friends don’t care about stuff like that, they care about their friend’s well-being or at least they should. You should be able to feel perfectly comfortable asking what the plans are because of your budget restrictions. They should understand. Otherwise maybe you need to find a new crowd to hang out with.
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