How to Stay Sane and Maintain Friendships while Living on a Budget

Sometimes when you are fighting tooth and nail to get out of debt or save a large amount of money for a future expense, such as a down payment on a house or college tuition, your intensity takes you across a fine line, and your healthy determination becomes an unhealthy obsession. If—okay, okay, WHEN—this happens you have to take a step back and remove your blinders because money is just money, and being a miser not worth losing out on relationships and monumental occasions with your friends and family.

We all know that being financially fit is an important part of survival in today’s world, but there are other parts of life that are just simply MORE important. When you feel yourself over-stressing about monetary situations that are minor blips on the radar of life, fearing that your friends have forgotten you exist due to your new hobby of hermit-ing (pretty sure that’s a word I just made up), or shaming yourself for the lack of love you’ve been sharing with others, it’s useful to have strategies to get yourself back on track to living a life you love—and keeping your relationships with your peeps alive and well.

Just because you are “on a budget” does not mean you are destined to eat Ramen alone every night. There are some ways that you can make sure you keep a level head about money matters, maintain positive relationships with your friends and family, and continue to share love with your peeps no matter what kind of budget you are following.

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1. Brainstorm a list of your current life priorities, and put them in order. When you see that money isn’t at the top of the list, you can motivate yourself to quit acting like it is.


Money can buy you things, but consciously examining your life priorities reminds you it’s not the only path to a full life. Don’t let yourself forget that!

2. After you master the art of saying “no” every once in awhile, make sure you balance that out by saying “yes” every once in awhile too. When you first start picking and choosing which activities or items to spend money on, it can be difficult to walk away without forking over dough. After a little time has passed and you begin to notice progress with your finances, it gets easier to say “no”, and you might find yourself having trouble saying “yes”. Make sure you stay involved in activities and relationships at the top of your priority list because these are the best parts of life.

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3. Talk to people. The gift of gab…never. stops. giving.

talking on the phone

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4. Share what you can. If your budget doesn’t allow you to dole out the big bucks to frequently treat your friends or family to the finer things in life, make a valiant effort to make the best of what you have and give what you can. Invite them over for home cooked dinner or lend them your favorite shade of nail polish. Stumble upon a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for an item you only need one of? Shop with your friend, and share the wealth. Get a promo code via email that you aren’t going to be able to use? Go ahead and forward that to a near and dear who will. When it comes to sharing, think outside of the box and give what you can. Others will appreciate it, and you will enjoy it.


If someone gives you half a dozen cupcakes, give four or five to your friends.

5. Plan activities that aren’t expensive. Who says your only social interactions have to revolve around buying food, drinks, or clothes? Nobody—that’s who! Take the reins, and set up wallet-friendly fun like brunch at your place, going for a walk or hike, cheering on your alma mater in a sporting event, or chatting while your dogs go wild at the dog park.

taking reins

Hiking the Bell Trail in Sedona, AZ was free and exhilarating.

6. Cut yourself a little slack. Whenever I feel like I’m not doing as well as I wish I was—with money, relationships, just being a good human in general—I remind myself that my (perceived) “failure” probably isn’t a very big deal in the whole scope of my life or anyone else’s for that matter. And please know that “I remind myself,” is actually code for, “usually after about five rounds of beating myself up over something insignificant..I remind myself”. Everyone is their own worst critic. If you feel like you messed up or aren’t meeting the standards you have set for yourself, you have to let it go and find a way to move forward. If you can’t do that, you just get stuck.

When you start to feel defeated about money or life, try to see yourself from your dog's point of view.

When you start to feel defeated about money or life, and all else fails–try to see yourself from your dog’s point of view.

 For more information about how to start making progress on getting out of debt or gaining control of your finances, check out our Getting Started tab at the top of our page.

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