Forum Home» Debt-Free Wannabe

Pressure from 'Friends' and people you know - Page 6

New Post Advanced Search

Pressure from 'Friends' and people you know

edited 19 April 2011 at 6:34PM in Debt-Free Wannabe
116 replies 19.1K views
13468912

Replies

  • Kate78Kate78 Forumite
    525 posts
    This is the problem that always arises when you have made and effort to change some aspect of your lifestyle. ;)

    Whether it be living more frugally/losing weight/healthy eating... sometimes others can't help but see it as a negative reflection on THEM.

    As other posters have said, real friends will adapt to the new situation, there's no need to be defensive, just calmly explain that you and your OH have decided to live within your means. Real friends will not try to sabotage your efforts.
    Barclaycard 0% - [STRIKE]£1688.37 [/STRIKE] Paid off 10.06.12
  • cavimcavim Forumite
    40 posts
    I know just what you mean. We don't have the hen party/wedding situations but we do find that we're ending up living like hermits because we can't afford to go out. Christmas and birthday times have also been difficult as family in particular spends a fortune on lots of little presents and we're expected to do the same (so thank goodness for MSE, Ebay and bargains elsewhere on the Web - also recycling our own presents!).
    CC companies have done a dirty by stopping the 0% deals we relied on to move home improvement costs around, and have increased the reasonable 11-15% interest rates up to 25% or more (so we have had to freeze several CCs meaning we don't have the credit we need available, or they've dropped the limit hugely without any notice then slapped "overlimit" fees on us and started "debt recovery procedures" a week after the increases they haven't even told us about), plus the new rules on min payments mean we're now spending twice as much on CC repayments than on our mortgage and household bills!. As for food, we spend about the same - or even less - on our weekly food than we do on our 2 cats' food/litter/medications/uninsured vets bills,etc, which shows how frugal we're having to be. We got rid of our 2nd car several years ago and drive as little as possible now - mostly just the other half's work journeys.
    We've had to cancel many social arrangements because we can't afford them (can't even afford the petrol to get to see our closest friends now & they won't come up to us because we now don't have a dedicated spare room and only have 1 bathroom instead of the luxury spare room & en-suite facilities family/friends used to have with us for over 10 years, despite us having to "rough it" if we went to see them!). (Amazing how many "friends" don't want to know you once you move to a smaller house too, and how family judges you and loses respect in you just because you have financial difficulties!).
    Have also had to cancel weekly walks with other people (my only social interaction most of the week, being self employed and working from home) because we either can't afford the petrol or can't afford the cost of a cup of tea mid-walk and have had to cancel £5 exercise classes with friends because that £5 is needed to cover a direct debit about to go out. I've said I'm ill when I haven't been as everyone sees you as a failure if you can't even scrape together a few pounds.
    We're selling as many of our belongings as we can (Ebay and boot sales), other half is working overtime, etc, but we get further and further behind and further into debt. We're scared to go the debt management route as our house is mortgaged and we're scared stiff of having the house re-possessed (and I'm scared stiff at the thought that bailiffs might turn up at the door if we don't pay our loans/CCs). So far, we've not missed one direct debit/loan/card payment in our whole adult lifetimes, though the situation's now critical and family are having to help us out (which we'll never hear the last of and, again, there are the constant questions "how did you get into this mess" - then ignoring or not understanding the answer! - and the judging "looks").
    Friends & family just don't seem to get it. They think that, because we've had a 4 bed house, 2 nice cars and good lifestyle in the past we must have "spent, spent, spent". I used to earn a lot more than my other half but haven't been able to get any interviews, let along the work/pay I was getting before, since hitting age 50 and being made redundant a month after my birthday (ageism is alive and well!), as happened to a friend was as well. Most of the truly poor people I know are single/divorced women in their 50s who've had similar job experiences, despite being "professionals" in their fields. The Job Centre wouldn't give me the JSA because they argued I was self employed (I'd registered as a sole trader several years previously when going through another redundancy, but had never had any self employed work but didn't formally say I'd closed the "business" in case I got self employed work in the future - ie doing the honest thing and being open with the Tax Office). I was pushed by the Job Centre into setting up another small business related to one of my hobbies (which I've found out is because they don't have to give you JSA if the business doesn't make any money or you earn a pittance, which is very common these days as so few people on spending on non-essentials!) - and we've no children so no tax credits, benefits or other help at all from the government because my other half works and earns more-than-a-pittance, despite me paying higher rate taxes & NI for many years.
    The OH has only received lower-than-inflation (or no) pay rises for over 10 years now - no merit rises at all despite him working for a large company - and he's on at least £10k less than colleagues but can't do anything about it because he was brought in from another company and his colleagues' companies negotiated better pay deals pre-transfer. The company also moved everyone (which is why we live in this area) then transferred the office back a few years later, but no-one could afford to move again so everyone is having to pay out a fortune in petrol (even when car sharing).
    When we were both earning, we still didn't splash money around. We were sensible on a day to basis then did something once or twice a year as a treat (often in lieu of birthday or Xmas presents), had cheap meals at the local pub, got cheap holiday deals (eg using our Tesco Clubcard vouchers from all that petrol spend!) & spent less money when on holiday than we spent at home (and way less than supposedly "broke" friends/family who thought nothing of spending hundreds of pounds on drink while on holiday - which we found out about years after they'd let us subsidise them & "treat" them when they were in fact better off than us!). Yet these friends and family (who are either older and are on cushy final salary pensions, or on on benefits and getting more money than us!) still judge us and act as though we've squandered money and not bothered to save (when we've saved, bought premium bonds, shares etc, but had to cash in everything over the last 5 years to be able to live). We've also put money into pensions but those pension pots are now less than we put in due to either forced company moves (due to redundancy/outsourcing) or poor pension management by the trustees or companies dealing with the pensions.
    Sorry to have waffled on but it's comforting to know there are people also suffering the "friends" problem and having to live like hermits when we're only trying to survive financially and are taking responsibility for keeping up repayments on our CCs/loans/bills. My average hours' sleep per night is down to 3 hours due to constant juggling of money throughout the day and into the early hours online, moving money from one account to another when there's any temporary surplus between DD payment dates, and constantly trying to see if there's enough on a CC to get enough petrol for the OH to get to work and back! I can honestly say that I've never been this poor - even when I started off in working life renting a flat with my ex, although we had to watch every penny and he sometimes ran out of petrol on the way to work at the end of the week (and we bought one bottle of cheap booze a month!), we didn't have the debts so life was much simpler and at least we could still enjoy life.
    PS I tried to get a face-to-face meeting with a Citizens Advice specialist debt counsellor recently (because our situation is so complex and I need to explain how everything is juggled around and what the situation is on everything) but was told I wasn't eligible because we have a mortgaged house and they only let their specialist debt counsellors see people in rented accommodation. Yet the Citizens Advice Bureaus is supposed to be open to all, whatever your race, religion, sex, disability .......... but not in this area ("the affluent South"!) if you have a mortgage!!
  • quanticquantic Forumite
    1K posts
    Erme wrote: »
    Okay I don't see the big deal here that can't be jazzed up with accesories? Some of my church clothes (and yes you offended and hurt my feelings excrutiatingly for using the 'c' word and taking my Lord's name in vain in the above post by Quantic last posted to this) I've had for 10 years and then they were only £1 in a charity shop. Really don't see the prob.....unless it's about trying to keep up with the 'joneses' which is so not worth it..




    That is just crazeeeee!!!!. Such a pathetic reason to study. If only I was well enough to study. Boy...that makes my blood boil.

    So yeah. Maybe I don't have the fancy job like you do but am just decorating my pad (first time in 10 years. Was an exchange) and noticed B&Q last weekend @ least had 3 for 2 on paint and 10% off if you spent more than £30 for a few weeks (you got a coupon)...so yeah....it's possible...

    Compromise and go for the cheaper alternative if possible. One of my aquaintances has not has his LBM and is now on JSA and finding things tough (less than 10% of what he was on)...I told him not to not go for his coffees out but have them cheaper. He ignored me....:mad:

    E

    Its funny how you go through life, knowing people since you where like 11 years old and then suddenly a few circumstances change it becomes abundantly apparent that they where only along while the good times rolled. Soon as the good times stop they are not who you thought they where.

    The thing I find most devastating for my OH is that they used to secretly make a little bit of a joke of her, as she was seemingly the only one who had not 'got her things in order' with regards to having a house, saving and the like. I think they all used to make a joke about it and it made them feel better about their situation, knowing she was the one in the group who was always in a worse situation.

    Then we met each other, I have helped her out in some ways, and she has helped me out in a lot of ways too. When we met I had really bad social anxiety, which is the complete opposite of her. It seems she has helped me sort this out and I have helped her from being reckless.

    Maybe this is the reason they are reluctant to accept the new way we live, suddenly they don't have that person who always made them feel better about their mess.

    I can't help but feel like they think she has gotten a free ride, but unfortunately for them they cannot see that wealth is not always measured in pounds.

    I'm not sure if you where joking about the C word or not, but I have taken it out regardless, didn't mean to offend anyone.
  • CH27CH27 Forumite
    5.5K posts
    True friends stick around.

    Some friends are life, some are for a season.
    Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.
  • spykey_ukspykey_uk Forumite
    355 posts
    I can totally sympathise with the OP here. We have drifted away from some of my OH's friends who have acted very similarly to the OP's.

    They would not accept that we couldn't afford to do the things that they wanted to do and took it as a personal attack on them. Even when we suggested that we do cheaper things, they would ignore those suggestions and then act as if we were being bad friends for not spending money on lavish days out with them.

    Similarly, one of the couples lives with their parents (her with her parents and him with his) and have just fallen pregnant. She isn't working and he earns a low wage and yet they are still spending money on holidays. In the last year, they have been to the Caribbean, New York, Paris and Dublin - places we can only dream of. We haven't had a holiday for years, even in the UK. They have booked a holiday to Las Vegas the month after the baby is due and are planning on leaving the baby with her parents. It upsets us so much because we have been desperate for a family ever since we got married but are trying to get debt-free before doing so. They have openly said that they are just planning on getting a council flat and (as they aren't married) just putting her name on the tenancy so that it will all be free and they won't take her partner's income into it.

    We fell out with them mainly because our morals conflicted, but also because they couldn't accommodate our needs or understand that we don't have the same "throw-away" attitude to money that they do. We incurred our debts through university study, and a few reckless decisions when we were younger, but are now very sensible (and in their eyes "boring") and are trying to get rid of our debt so that we can buy a house and start a family.

    I have to say, if the friends won't accept that you can't spend money like they do, they probably never were friends in the first place. The sad thing about my story is that we ignored a great group of friends for years because the friends who couldn't understand our frugality also demanded a lot of our time and kicked up such a fuss if we couldn't see them (whereas the good friends never said a word). The happy ending to that story is that we are back in touch with our good friends, who totally understand the need to save money and pay off debt.

    I hope this all makes sense!
    Mortgage when started (Dec 2013): £157,272.50
    Current mortgage (date): £156,885.56
    Mortgage free day: Dec 2043
  • quanticquantic Forumite
    1K posts
    spykey_uk wrote: »
    I can totally sympathise with the OP here. We have drifted away from some of my OH's friends who have acted very similarly to the OP's.

    They would not accept that we couldn't afford to do the things that they wanted to do and took it as a personal attack on them. Even when we suggested that we do cheaper things, they would ignore those suggestions and then act as if we were being bad friends for not spending money on lavish days out with them.

    Similarly, one of the couples lives with their parents (her with her parents and him with his) and have just fallen pregnant. She isn't working and he earns a low wage and yet they are still spending money on holidays. In the last year, they have been to the Caribbean, New York, Paris and Dublin - places we can only dream of. We haven't had a holiday for years, even in the UK. They have booked a holiday to Las Vegas the month after the baby is due and are planning on leaving the baby with her parents. It upsets us so much because we have been desperate for a family ever since we got married but are trying to get debt-free before doing so. They have openly said that they are just planning on getting a council flat and (as they aren't married) just putting her name on the tenancy so that it will all be free and they won't take her partner's income into it.

    We fell out with them mainly because our morals conflicted, but also because they couldn't accommodate our needs or understand that we don't have the same "throw-away" attitude to money that they do. We incurred our debts through university study, and a few reckless decisions when we were younger, but are now very sensible (and in their eyes "boring") and are trying to get rid of our debt so that we can buy a house and start a family.

    I have to say, if the friends won't accept that you can't spend money like they do, they probably never were friends in the first place. The sad thing about my story is that we ignored a great group of friends for years because the friends who couldn't understand our frugality also demanded a lot of our time and kicked up such a fuss if we couldn't see them (whereas the good friends never said a word). The happy ending to that story is that we are back in touch with our good friends, who totally understand the need to save money and pay off debt.

    I hope this all makes sense!

    God this really sounds like you are writing about our life. We are basically exactly the same, we are now in a position of somewhat stability but are still pretty worried about starting a family, purely for financial reasons. I think if we knew we would be ok money wise we would be starting a family very soon.

    Similarly, we are pretty much holding up our own wedding plans while we get back on our feet, this is the main reason that we are trying to be so careful with our money right now and thus not wanting to do anything too lavish and unnecessary. I don't want to start my married life with payments towards the wedding we have just had, and ideally I would like to do it the old fashioned way whereby I save up and pay for it in cash.

    In contrast, 3 people we know have just been married and another 2 are going to be getting married in the next 12 months, all of which paid for it with either a loan and/or credit cards. This sets an unrealistic bar for everyone else and each time it seems our friends try to surpass the last lot, with more expensive/lavish wedding/hen&stag do/honeymoon... where does it end?

    I might be old fashioned, but I like the idea of BEING married, not GETTING married. To me, It is a day to commit to my OH for life, not a spectacle to show how well we are doing.
  • spykey_ukspykey_uk Forumite
    355 posts
    I completely agree Quantic - we had a very low-cost wedding for which we saved for two years. Other couples we knew did it on credit, spent a fortune and managed to get married about six months after getting engaged.

    I agree that it is more important to have a great marriage than a big wedding and my DH and I are both in agreement with that. We try not to look at what others are doing now and are a lot happier just enjoying what we have as a result.

    I learnt a lot about doing a wedding on a low budget if you want any tips!

    I think we have to just get some comfort from the fact that we will be free of debt and able to enjoy the money we earn, rather than it all going towards interest/charges/debt repayment when we are older.

    Fingers crossed! :D x
    Mortgage when started (Dec 2013): £157,272.50
    Current mortgage (date): £156,885.56
    Mortgage free day: Dec 2043
  • quanticquantic Forumite
    1K posts
    Thanks for the offer, I may well take you up on that sometime.
  • RASRAS Forumite
    28.6K posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    quantic wrote: »
    I might be old fashioned, but I like the idea of BEING married, not GETTING married. To me, It is a day to commit to my OH for life, not a spectacle to show how well we are doing.

    That is one of the lovilest sentiments. I hope that you have expressed it to your OH.
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • This is a great post. We are also trying to be frugal and become debt-free and I also am fed up of being labelled as 'tight' just because I wish to spend my money on different things, or don't wish to spend money in some cases. In particular when going out with work colleagues who are seemingly very well off, they think nothing of choosing expensive places to go, booking taxis etc that not only can I not afford, I don't want to spend my money on those things. I was actually out with work last week and a colleague's OH implied very directly that I was tight. I was so embarrassed, and could not believe anyone could be so insensitive, and this particular person has no idea about my financial situation and while I know nothing about hers, I get the impression she is very fortunate in financial terms.

    The problem I have found is that people will not discuss money issues, even small ones, with the people in their lives, which is why I think so many people get into trouble with debt, and so many people make assumptions about others' wealth, when in actual fact, somebody who appears wealthy could have £50k of debt, while somebody who appears poor could have £50k in the bank.

    Well done for sticking to your principles and for finding someone who agrees with them as your partner. Please don't wait to get married because you feel you have to have an expensive wedding (of course if you do want that that's fine, it's up to you!). My OH and I got married last year and it cost hardly anything in comparison to what you hear about. We had literally the day of our dreams (abroad) and it was not expensive. For us, like you have said, it was about BEING married, not GETTING married, and our day was perfect, even if we didn't spend a fortune on chair covers, a £1000 cake, an expensive dress for OH etc. Our guests all said how lovely it was. We were fortunate in that we wanted a small wedding abroad so we could get married outside in lovely weather, and we had a big party in the village hall when we got back for everyone, and this worked for us. However I know some people like the thought of everyone being at the actual wedding, in which case it will be more expensive. Whatever you decide, good luck!
This discussion has been closed.

Quick links

Essential Money | Who & Where are you? | Work & Benefits | Household and travel | Shopping & Freebies | About MSE | The MoneySavers Arms | Covid-19 & Coronavirus Support