different financial priorities

Hi Everyone,

I have always been one to be more of a saver than a spender. Don’t get me wrong, I have made big purchase that racked up the credit cards, But overall I do like to nickel and dime things. ie I will bring my lunch to work, meet friends for coffee instead of lunch, go to the discount theatres instead of paying $13 for a movie.

The issue is, people seem to think I am poor. Although I am less well off than I use to be, I still can live OK. The reason I don’t like to spend on entertainment is because I will be in the market for a new car in 7 years and am hoping to pay cash.

I know people who I suspect (because I never come out and ask) are probably in the same income bracket as me or perhaps earning a bit more. From what these people say, they have car loans and the thought of saving up to pay cash for a car is just not on their radar.

I respect that they have different priorities. However, it has gotten to the point that at times, they will offer to pay for my meal to get me to go out with them. I don’t think it is right for me to accept since I genuinly do not intend to return the favour. And whenever, I suggest a cheap activity like coffee in the afternoon instead of lunch, they roll their eyes. I suspect some people just really hate cooking.

I am starting to wonder how to handle this. I remember when I was a kid, my mom told me, ‘some people just can’t have fun unless money is involved’. She was referring to a bunch of men that would never go golfing with my dad, because my dad NEVER played for money. So I am wondering, is there such a stigma? Do some people just not know what to do with themselves unless they are spending money?


Everyone is different, and if you don’t like spending money, that’s your decision. Just tell them you are saving for something.

You can be vague. When they offer to pay, also let them know again you are saving and can’t reciprocate…if they insist then go and say, thank you.Or reciprocate by having them over some nite etc.

For the eyerollers, next time i would tell them to be careful or thier eyes may freeze that way…of course in the spirit of humor and banter with friends. :slight_smile:

Lots of people do really enjoy eating out. I wouldn’t judge them. They just have different priorities than you do. One solution would be to suggest getting take out and then you could bring your own meal and eat it picnic style somewhere.

I understand totally.

Same here; seems to be something of a status symbol? ie being well off enough to ear out etc,

So your last sentence is spot on.

I live well within my state pension, carefully and very focussed and I genuinely do not enjoy even a coffee out. A flask and a sandwich I am happy with.

But some folk think I am getting at them.

I dilute that by saying i give to my family working with the homeless.

Saving for a new car to pay cash is smart.

In the past auto dealers tried to get me to trade in my car and take out a loan for a new one. It seems this sort of thing is encouraged because if everyone kept their cars until they could pay cash for a new one, the auto industries would probably capsize.

There really is no reason to take out a big loan and drag out the payments for 60 months or whatever. Look at all the interest you save by not doing that.

Spending is encouraged for many other reasons. I think you are correct in wanting to be a little frugal and do things your way.

It’s just a difference in personal style. Some people are “spendy” and other people just like to try different restaurants, like to eat, or prefer to spend their money on personal experiences and fun rather than watching their nickels and dimes.

If these people asking you out are your good friends then maybe you could tell them you like to be frugal and you are saving up your money for a car, so you can’t reciprocate and don’t want to spend the money. They may offer to treat you anyway without any wish to get the money back because they just enjoy your company and want to give you a gift. Or they have the option to just ask you for coffee next time.

If they’re not your good friends then I’d just make up some excuse not to go, like say you don’t like to eat in restaurants (which is true - you don’t have to explain the reasons why).

Just remember to tip generously and not be scrupulous about the bill. I had a friend who would not tip and bring out a calculator when the bill arrived. This not only went for dining (I’m talking about $5 for a dinner) but other things such as services- like a salon. Folks in the service industry often depend on tips to make a living and more often than not they’re short changed. An owner of a place mentioned to me that when my friend and her husband would go in, they would never tip, so it left a bad taste in her mouth. I understand about saving money and having different financial priorities as I am a saver as well but this type of behavior really put a dent in our relationship and I didn’t enjoy going out with her or a group of friends with her because of it. Why not buy a friend coffee if they buy it for you? It’s the same concept- you spend the same money just at different times. Give it a try and take a small step. It may help your outlook and improve your relationships.

Also- the same friend wouldn’t give to the church- the church has to pay light bills, etc. so maybe examine what your outlook is on giving in that regard, too. It may not be about financial priorities (as you seem to have those straight) but rather attitudes about money.


I think you have right idea. You have a goal in mind; the car. It will be great not to have a car payment!

One of my good friends got aggrevated because she said another friend never wanted to do anything unless it was free or with the Church. She was also a person who complained about how much credit card debt she had due to vacations, clothing/shopping, home decor, etc.

I know a man who retired early. Never married; no kids. About 10 yrs ago he was his mom’s primary caregiver until she passed away. He has no cell phone, goes to the library for internet access. Very few things are necessities! Frugal! But, I bet if you said. “Let’s go to the Holy Land or Rome.” He could in an instant!

Our best friends are from Poland and they are the smartest with money, finding the best deals! We usually go to each others houses for breakfast, lunch, or dinner/playdate with the kids. You have to be creative! We always exchange our money saving strategies. I joke that we should start a website called " Cheapies R Us"! It’s not uncommon for us to come up with phrases like “Embrace your inner cheaply”! :slight_smile: It’s kind of our joke.

Don’t let anyone derail you! You can even say, “I’m not poor. I just spend less than I earn.”

One of my co-workers told me that she got tired of car loans. So she kept her vehicle as long as possible and just kept making car payments to a savings account. After about three or four years she had enough money to pay cash for her next car. When she did that she kept making “car payments” to her savings account for the next car. She saved a load of interest money.

Years ago I was listening to a book on tape about financial “peace”. (not Dave Ramsey) One of the chapters was on loans and using credit cards. The author’s uncle used to work for GM and had told him that the only reason GM builds cars was to offer something people would need to take a loan on. He thought at the time it was an odd statement. And later when he got an application for a GMAC credit card in the mail that conversation made sense.

Dealers will sell you a car for cash, but they would probably rather set you up for financing. There is a ton of money to be made in financing.

I suspect that the Student Loan industry, Mortgage industry and other financial credit industries would never ever want their consumers to think too hard on this or start saving.

The OP should just keep being their sweet self and sticking to their guns. If they keep offering, you can tell them that you have a couple of goals for travel and other things on your plate instead. You can also be a little snarky in that most restaurant food leaves you unimpressed. I remember seeing an interview with Katherine Hepburn, she actually didn’t like to go out to eat in restaurants. She told the interviewer that she’d be happy to provide a nice meal in her own home. (I was so impressed, I must have been 15 or so.) She had established a fairly moderate lifestyle (even if her politics were not!). When she began working in film, she had her paychecks sent to her father, and lived off an allowance.

Find new friends too. Pot luck friends maybe? Frugality is a thing along with the simplicity movement.

When I used to work a co-worker was lamenting the amount of student loans he had. It was higher than his yearly salary. We saw each other in the break room, he had gone out to the sandwich shop and was eating his lunch. He saw me open up a can of soup, heat it up in the staff microwave and produce my sandwich from my reusable lunch bag. I told him I did this most days and it only cost me about $2 bucks. He looked at his lunch. The next day we were both using the staff microwave.:slight_smile:

Good luck to you, OP on saving up for that car! I hope you really enjoy it!

My wife and I are the same way. Not poor, just frugal. We just don’t worry about other peoples opinions.

I understand that. And I don’t judge them. I just don’t understand why they expect me to go with them. Also, I don’t understand why once in a while they can’t simply do something like coffee only


Tip? I never tipped anyone in my life! Never anywhere ti would be relevant

Not just different atttudes and priorities; different lifestyle and that too is fine …

They ask you out to eat because they want to spend time with you. Just about everyone eats lunch. It is a way for them to spend time with you and consume a meal at the same time. Other times may not be available on their end- for example, work, family life or ministry/volunteering.

They may not like coffee (or tea) or cannot consume it (think gastrointestinal disorders). I used to love coffee but cannot drink it anymore. Meet them halfway. They may interpret the rejections as you not wanting to spend time with them. Perhaps you can clarify your intentions.

Another perspective is that coffee is seen as not allowing much time as a meal would. People often bond over food. In some cultures, it’s hospitality, and to refuse is insulting. For some, such as dating, a meal means the person is more serious about their intentions and wants to spend more time getting to know the other person; going for coffee a person can leave quicker and easier, so sometimes it’s seen as not being as intentional.

Of course, as tipping varies and applies to a country or region…

Of course, as tipping varies and applies to a country or region…

Of course, as tipping varies and applies to a country or region…

Order an appetizer or a small salad and pay for it yourself. You will kill two birds with one stone. You will not draw attention to your being thrifty and you will come across as if you are on a diet. Unfortunately being on a diet is a socially acceptable trait while being thrifty is not.

Quit worrying about stigmas. There are too many fake victims wandering around the world as it is. Accept the situation as it is. Worry about those who are truly victims and can not eat because there is none.

I doubt that the OP would gain much ground by being “snarky” or implying her friends are suckers deceived by the loan industry, food industry, etc.

I am very frugal myself (almost never buy anything full price) and have driven the same car for 10 years. Others in my income bracket routinely get new cars every 3 - 4 years. They don’t mock me about my old car, or point out that I am getting it repaired so often I might as well junk it and get a new car, or insinuate I am a sucker being deceived by the car repair industry, and that they’re probably happy I’m not paying much attention to exactly how much the cost to own this car is when repair and maintenance are included.

I think one pitfall of being “frugal” is that some people seem to think being “frugal” means they are automatically not only smarter, but actually morally superior and “better stewards of money” than people who spend their money more freely. A holier-than-thou attitude is not a way to get and keep friends.

I especially find it maddening when such “frugal” people refuse to give money to charity, many often excuse that by pointing out how many charities are poor stewards of the money they get, or are even outright scams. That’s true to some extent but I do think obsessively hoarding your own wealth can eventually become sinful too. Some who claim to be “frugal” and have stockpiles of items in their homes even have some tendencies to hoarding, as in the psychologically pathological type of hoarding.

So, I don’t think being “frugal” should be grounds for sneering at those who don’t meet your own standards for that.

Maybe they invite you out for lunch because they like you or want to get to know you better.

Thank you for pointing out my faults and failings.

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