Friday, April 27, 2012

Friendship Friday - do you find it expensive maintaining friendships?

Disclaimer for all spelling blogging on the iPad and I seriously hate typing on this thing!

So I saw on at least two blogs last week people said how they find all the friend activity expensive.

I happen to agree and disagree.

Obviously it really adds up, and quickly. I remember one weekend a few months ago we had plans on both the sat and sun.

Each social was about R200 each, and that's only buying two meals, one kiddies' meal to share and a soft drink. I think you all know my drink of choice is a water.

And that's just one weekend.

This kind of spending is not how we like to manage our finances in the long-term!

But like it or not, while we still have good prices in SA, food and eating out has gotten very expensive. Before overseas eating was a lot more expensive but now we compare on a more equal footing.

Just a few years ago (i sound really old!) a pasta dish was on average R40. These days it's on average R 70). Crazy!

So yes, with my kind of friend goals, it can get really expensive.

But it doesn't have to.

I also make lunch dates with friends and will have a sandwich which is cheaper. And of course, the cheapest is to either meet at one of your houses or do an activity together. If you don't mind having people over, that is. I need to blog more about this because not many people like opening their homes.

My friend came over about two months ago and we had tea and pancakes, homemade by me. Louisa and I have a plan to bake biscuits together next month. Another friend had us over for a playmate and asked us to bring a plate of eats so that's an idea too.

But over to you.

What are your feelings about the expense of maintaining friendships? Has money hindered you? How have you gotten creative?

Of course, I haven't even touched on gifts and so forth :)


  1. Certainly it can be expensive to get together over a meal. I try to remind far as friends go, as far as "treats" for my girls, and as far as one-on-one time with the does not have to be about food and gifts.

    My girlfriends and I can laugh just as much over a $1.50 cup of tea at the bookstore as we can over appetizers, dinner, and drinks.

    My girls get just as giddy with a trip to the park to see the ducks as they do with going to the yogurt shop.

    And Hubby and I can split an appetizer and then treat ourselves to ice cream, instead of a three-course meal on date night.

    And there's always home. I love when my girlfriends come over...I'll turn on some music, make hot chocolate, or we'll sit on the patio with something from my 'fridge.

    I think when we consider "getting together"...especially with friends that we don't see super often...we often think we need to "do something". That's not always the case. Sometimes I think simpler is can focus on the conversation and not the environment / etc.

    [You know I love all this dialogue, Marcia! :) ]

  2. I very rarely spend money on few friend dates I have. When I go out with my BF, we usually combine our shopping trips. So if I have to go bulk food shopping, or house shopping, she'll do her's then too. Call it multi-tasking, but you can chat a lot in a big warehouse store when no one is around and it's always helpful to have an extra set of eyes and hands!

    I've also just set up another friend "date" to have someone come help me stain a deck table. Again, I'm getting something done on my to-do list, they are getting my time, and I don't have to leave the house or spend unplanned money!

    Do you ever run errands together? Do you consider that a proper date? I will say that our conversations are just as deep and meaningful, and our time together is usually longer than if we were to just get a meal.

  3. It gets crazy expensive in a hurry if you ask me.

    A lot of times friends invite me to join them for a show for instance (R200 entrance and then add food snd drinks to that). I usually declibe because firstly it's not practical with Nicola, abd secondly that just doesn't fit in our budget at all.

    Maybe it's because I am a single parent? If you have two incomes perhaps you have a bit more spending money to go around? If I have to choose between buying milk for a month or going to one show...I'm going to buy the milk. ;-)

    We do go out occasionally, but usually together and not more than once a month to be honest.

  4. It depends WHO the friend is. Some of my friends won't eat at the Mugg and Bean for example because it's too local or whatever. I just tell them that I can only afford to spend x amount and if they are prepared to pay the balance for me (i.e. the amount over and above what I can pay)then I will happily go to the Five Flies where the food looks pretty like Top Billing but doesn't fill your tummy.
    They usually agree to my plan after that.
    I am extremely frugal and I budget a very small amount for friend dates. I don't do dinners (unless it's a R99 for 2 meals special at Groupon or something - I buy those as I see them and then we end up splitting the costs. Works out dirt cheap at the end of it.) and I usually suggest things like going out for dessert only, meaning that you eat at home before we go out. I do think that people associate friend dates with eating and it really doesn't have to be that way. Going for a walk is awesome as is getting a takeaway coffee and sitting and having it in a park on the bench. Last week I ended up going with friend E for a beach walk. He was taking his dogs and invited me along. I hate dogs but was in the mood for his company. I didn't spend a cent. I go for the occasional show and again, I don't do anything mainstream. I went to a one-man show last month which was FANTASTIC and it cost me R40 for a ticket at a local theatre. I do subscribe to all the theatre newsletters so that's how I know about them.
    Am still busy with my Friends/Money post. The words are not flowing and it's all over the place. I will sleep on it and try tomorrow again.

  5. It can, but for us there are ways to limit the cost - with my friend Rose we go out for running / cycling together and we often meet for a cup of tea at each other's homes. We also catch up all the time on Skype. With my friend Paul we catch up on gmail chat all the time and we both listen to the same music at the time that we then discuss on the gmail chat. Or he often comes here for a recording session for YouTube or just a bit of a catch up. So in these cases the cost is limited really.

  6. I try to keep week friend dates cost effective- for instance Mimmos have a great lunchtime menu woth meals from R 29 on. On weekends we sometimes splash a bit - mostly because we realize that wherever we are ( within limits) costs about the same than the Spur which I in general hate apart from breakfast. I hate their food. We do entertain quite a bit at home as do our best friends and yesterday we met them at Rietvlei dam reserve for a boerewors roll braai. Not to cosly, tasty and we all had a fabulous day

  7. Ahhh ... that is the reason that I have so few honest to goodness friends. And probably it is more MY problem than others. I don't know. But scrimping for 4 years as you watch your savings dwindle to nothing - happy to have any blessing passed to you from others .... can leave you feeling, I don't know, desperate? One sided, like I do all the taking and they do all the giving?

    While my "old friends" are happy to come all the way out to my house to spend the day, and even pitch in on chores and maintaining the day. Most of those that I know really do not want to drive way out to my house. I cannot afford to join the secret sister games at church or clubs. I don't drive, and as I tell people a LOT ... I just don't have the time or energy to WALK 25 miles into town from my house, I laugh, but I'm serious on the inside. On the flip side, while people have time to drive 20 minutes across town, they don't have the time to drive 25 minutes out of town. I don't get that. But my Dh has the same problem. I think it's the trees. And the houses so far apart.

    But I've never been overly great at the friendship thing. My close friends swear up and down that others don't know what they are missing, and they don't mind as it leaves more of me for them to enjoy. Still, I can't help but wonder if I'm not missing quite a few pieces of the friendship maintenance puzzle.

    I'm not creative, and our budget is so tight that we rarely eat out of have anyone over and give away food, we don't buy Christmas or birthday gifts. Even my birthday parties are getting to be avoided. Sitting on my kitchen table is a $2 water gun for my "rich" nephew's party tomorrow. I know he'll have fun with it ... I just wish I could give him more.

    Yeah, I'm beginning to feel as if I have nothing to offer anyone if I can't spend money on them.

    I don't know. So many complain about what they don't have. Sometimes it is easy to fall into the wishing I had more bucket.

    Mostly I just keep up with friends on Facebook and email and blogs. Maybe for an introvert like me, it's not so bad.


  8. I really wanted to join in this week but we had connectivity issues yesterday :(

    We do a lot of braais and get together's at houses - we love having people over. David even more so than me. It does actually work out pretty reasonable to have a braai.

    Restaurants are expensive and we are a family of 5 and Cameron eats like an adult so it does get ridiculous so we actually really limit it.

    Tomorrow we are all meeting at our local park for a picnic which is also really a cheap way to get together with the kids.

    But we have so many birthdays/engagements/farewells etc that we see most of our close friends 2/3 times a month without much planning!

  9. For me, it's not really an issue, don't have lots of friends and the few I have are busy with their families over weekends which is usually when I have some time.

    I rarely meet up with people for lunch or dinner (and so many people find that shocking) I don't have that much money to throw around at eating out (I love cooking), so I tell most of my friends, you can come over to my house and I'll whip up something for you and I do a mean cheesecake and my new favourite flourless peanut butter cookie! But I live so 'far' away that people can't drive to my house :-( (it's only 30km from sandton city though)

    And if I really want to catch up with a friend we can still meet at a restaurant if that's what they want and I order water with loads of ice and lemon (tap water) and tell them I don't plan to eat, if I don't want to spend R150 (about $18) on pasta covered in cheese - I can buy at least twelve packs of pasta for that price - cheapskate I know! BTW I only like spaghetti so most other pasta or cheese aint my things (ok now I'm digressing)

    My new thing is to ask friends to join me on one of the numerous walks I do on weekends 5, 8 or 10km (cheap and healthy and imagine how much talking and catching up can be done during a 5km, 8 or 10km walk). None has yet taken me up on the offer though

  10. Just responded on "Unwritten"s blog. I dont maintain those friendships. If you need to see me at dinners and lunches..sorry cant do it. simply because I can't afford it. I have a friend who comes over. We open a 2L coke, a packet of chips...and if her kids are with her, we make hotdogs. We then sit and yak the afternoon away. Love those visits. My friends (true friends) understand that my budget is unless you are prepared to compromise, it will make a relationship difficuly. Anyway, the way I view it is, an afternoon with a cup of tea/mug of coffee and a good old yak (complaining about all the rich girls(smile), talking about the future, talking about the present, is far more priceless than a stiff lunch at a restaurant. I also have a1.5 year old which makes it difficult in restaurants so it is not a plesant experience for me. I am foremost a Mom then I am a with me and you will have a friend for live

  11. I also prefer to entertain or to be entertained at a house, then going out due to entertaining friendships, can get so expensive.
    That is why I can only entertain friends once in 2/3 months.


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