As you start taking control of your finances, you will start paying attention to every penny spent and every available dollar. This means that the little inconvenient situations that commonly arise like office gifts and lunch with friends a little more difficult. Here are some great ideas to tactfully handle a few common and awkward financial situations while still sticking to your budget.
The Group Gift
Group gifts can be difficult. You may be interested in going in on a gift and then feel astounded when you find out that the group has decided to purchase a luxury gift and needs hundreds of dollars from each contributing member. To avoid this awkward situation, first get a general idea of what you are willing to spend on the gift. When someone asks if you want to go in on a group gift, ask what gift and budget they have in mind. If a decision hasn’t been made or if the gift is out of your price range, simply mention that you had other ideas and will purchase your own gift this time. Then go out and find a gift that will work with your financial goals. You don’t have to overspend just because everyone else has decided to. There are many excellent gifts that you can purchase while still sticking to your financial goals.
Dinner with Friends
Taking control of your finances isn’t about never getting to go out or have a good time any more. Rather, you are just doing the things you love on your terms and as you can afford them. When going out to eat with friends, you can make dinner decisions that will work with your budget. Every menu has a wide range price options. If you know how much you can spend, be sure to order something that fits within that amount. You have a couple of options to avoid awkward situations when the check comes. You can either ask for your bill to be separate when you place your order, or you can speak up if the group tries to divide evenly and you have spent a lot less than everyone else. Bringing cash along, in small denominations can work great. Simply figure out what you owe (including tax) and tack on a generous tip. Then say something like, “This should cover what I owe, since I spent a lot less, I would rather that we don’t split the check straight across.”
Christmas and Other Holidays
Holiday gift giving can be especially stressful. When you open a generous gift and have only purchased a small and generic gift for the other person, it can be really awkward. Remember that what you choose to give doesn’t have to be based on what you receive. Sticking to your financial goals is important and you will have to choose gifts in your price range. If you know that you can’t spend a lot, but want to find a thoughtful and generous gift, remember that thought counts.Rather than purchasing a $5 gift card to a local fast food restaurant, purchase an inexpensive frame and include a favorite picture. Add a personal and meaningful note, to make your gift really stand out. You may also want to purchase a few inexpensive but nice holiday gifts to have on hand if needed. Remember, everyone sets the budget that works for them, and your budget is determined by what you have, not what others have.
Mastering the art of personal finance won’t be easy. However, if you use a little creativity and dedication, you can find solutions to potentially awkward social situations. Never apologize for sticking to your financial goals. Be proud of the decision that you have made and stand firm, even if it requires a bit more work.