How to Deal With a Cheap Friend

It’s one thing to be frugal. You know what you want to spend your money on and you prioritize it. You know what you don’t want to spend your money on and keep those costs to a minimum . But you are far from belligerent, and as you know, from time to time, when traveling or perhaps on special occasions, you lose money. Modesty is okay.

You’re certainly not a curmudgeon. Nobody wants to be that person, bastard at a birthday party, grocery store, or cafe. But we all know the curmudgeon. We are all outraged by the curmudgeon. (And to be clear, we are not talking about friends who ruined or just earn less money than you Cheapskate -. Is the one who has the money to work together with everyone, but he is looking for every opportunity to cut corners and reduce costs even if that means their friends have to incur additional costs.) However, here are some strategies for dealing with the curmudgeon in your life. Because these people are the worst.

Don’t try to argue with them.

Look, if anyone wants to wipe and reuse the same sheet of aluminum foil 17 times before finally throwing it away, that’s their choice. You cannot control anyone else’s choices or behavior other than your own. Take a deep breath and realize that whatever logic this person has about aluminum foil is not likely to change if you throw yourself at them for it. Some habits just need to get rid of, no matter how much you hate them.

When it comes to niggardly people, it’s best to save energy for really important conversations, such as niggardly habits that affect you directly. If you’ve had repeated run-ins with someone who refuses to pay their fair share of a restaurant bill or sees you when it’s time to chip it, it’s probably time to say something. Prepare to have an honest and open conversation with this person, but do not be surprised if he becomes defensive. It may take a while before they see their mistake.

Set expectations early and often

To avoid embarrassing situations and potential resentment, clarify your expectations for money long before anyone has to reach for their wallet. Take, for example, the always elaborate birthday dinner where no one knows if you will have separate tabs, one tab, separate tabs with food for the guest of honor evenly split between you, or some other configuration. Do not leave things to chance and do not drive someone into a corner.

Instead, state your expectations ahead of time. For example, your invitation email might say, “We plan to split the bill equally and deposit Jessica’s food and drinks each time, so please schedule cash or a card for your share.” Or let’s say you are planning a bachelor party. For every potential action that you propose for participants to consider, provide a cost estimate in advance so as not to disagree after the plans have already begun to form.

If you set those expectations and someone turns away, don’t try to confuse them with it. Remember that you are open about the costs so as not to argue with them.

To be honest, being straightforward about costs is one of the best things you can do for all of your relationships. Providing crystal clear cost information long before it’s time to pay can help all participants – whether they are comfortable, poor, or somewhere in between – determine if they want to spend their money on those specific expenses. Be thoughtful: It’s not just to anticipate your curmudgeon friend’s responses. This is for everyone’s peace of mind.

Avoid the activities that bother you the most

This tactic is for those of you who cannot escape the curmudgeon in your life because you are connected to them. You cannot control what they do, but you can control how you interact with them. Think about what this person is doing that grinds your gears the most.

Maybe you know they are terrible garbage collectors . Maybe they’ll embarrass you at the mall by throwing a handful of coupons at the checkout counter and unrelenting willingness to argue with the cashier. Can you avoid this single, anger-generating action with them, or reduce the frequency with which it occurs?

Make alternative plans

Even if your budget seems tight, you could probably better take advantage of free or low-cost activities in your area. Invite you and your stingy friend to meet at an event like this. Or plan activities that don’t require joint planning, such as a walk in the park or a picnic with lunch in a bag. Cheap people love to do free stuff like almost everyone else. Look at this in common.

Yes, this is the same path you would take with a friend who doesn’t make as much money as you do, or who is in dire financial straits. Maybe this is what you suggest when there are too many days between you and your next paycheck. But if you’ve tried to start a discussion about money before, and your curmudgeon friend doesn’t have one, offering a free class can completely save you from talking about money – even if only for a few hours.

Redefine your friendship

Do a quick gut check about a dozen times you have spoken to this person. Do you think they are using you to avoid wasting money? Are they forcing you to spend more by refusing to fork out? Maybe this person is waiting for you to book your hotel for the wedding, asks if they can spend the night with you, and then “forgets” to chip in … for a year. Or maybe they come to every party empty-handed (while actively participating in everything on offer) when everyone else heeds your warning that your barbecue, though overflowing with the meat provided, will be BYOB.

If you know how to plan for someone’s curmudgeon, your friendship can be wonderful and enjoyable. But if it tires you and your wallet, it might be time to reevaluate how much you value this particular relationship. If you’ve already tried to talk to someone about how their behavior affects you, and they are immune to your pleas, this may be hopeless. If you need to stay sane, remember that you are allowed to exclude people from your life if their behavior is ridiculous.


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