Money & Friendships: How to Avoid Money Tensions During the Holiday Season

As the festive season draws closer, our diaries are suddenly filled with after work drinks and commitments that are almost impossible to get out of. Combined with several secret santas and the person that you have wound up gifting every year, the Christmas period is always costly. It is here where the wage gap between friends can become increasingly awkward.  

The high flyer and the city slicker may wish to do ‘something special’ whilst others are struggling to make ends meet all year round. This can cause a divide in friendships and make for awkward conversation.

As a result, the debt advisory service Scottish Trust Deed give us the low down on how to avoid money tensions between friends throughout the festive season.

Talk money honey

As we make our way further down the career path, salaries between friends will inevitably differ. Priorities will also differ as some will want to save for a house whilst others will be living for the weekend. Money can be somewhat of a taboo subject however, the unspoken can also lead to unnecessary friendship divides. It is best to be honest and open about what you can realistically afford in the run up to Christmas. This does not mean that you must disclose the details. It is good to keep it short and sweet and suggest a budget for presents as well as evenings out. Taking the plunge and talking money is a sure-fire way to gain a sense of relief and means that you will not spend the evening watching the pennies.

I thought it was just a lunch?

It is common that people get carried away throughout Christmas. A simple meet up for lunch can quickly turn into a bottomless brunch followed by a bar crawl and expensive taxi rides. Know your limits. If simple lunch suggestions evolve into costly plans that are completely different to the initial purse friendly ideas, it is wise to politely make your excuses and leave. If taking the evening further will see that you worry about finances for the rest of the week, then it is essential that you weigh up if the evening is worth it.

The fastest way to an inferno is through kindness

If you have few money worries and wish to make the most of Christmas, it can be frustrating if your friends do not follow suit. It can seem like an act of kindness to offer to fund the activity or lend them money with no rush to pay it back however, if someone is feeling sensitive around their financial situation, this can add salt into the wound.

Causing offense can be avoided if you offer to combine the activity with gifting. Making a Christmas activity a substitution for a gift can not only save money but remove the financial pressures from a friendship group.

Going Dutch

When the bill arrives post dinner, frustration can occur. For those conscious of finances, you may have spent your time making sensible dinner choices and choosing not to drink alcohol to then encounter suggestions to split the bill. There is no shame in asking to pay for what you ordered only. People often do not realise the substantial difference in costs between those drinking alcohol and those not. You can avoid tensions further by making this suggestion at the same time you made the plans in the first place prior to the meal.

Let the experience take the lead

We often focus so much on experiences that cost money we forget all the options that are free or only require an entry fee. Christmas is the perfect time to take advantage of the countless events that venues host. This gives people the opportunity to have a one-off experience that will surpass any meal or after work drinks.

Charlotte Giver

Charlotte is the founder and editor-in-chief at Your Coffee Break magazine. With a background in PR working in Los Angeles and Barcelona, Charlotte has been running Your Coffee Break from the YCB HQ in London’s Covent Garden for the past 8 years. She is a mother, an avid reader, runner and puts a little too much time into her morning brew.

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