Home > Managing Debt > How to Keep Your Friends From Pulling You Into Debt

Comments 0 Comments
Advertiser Disclosure


After a long week, a night out with friends can be a great way to unwind and start the weekend off right. Getting dinner and drinks may seem like a harmless plan… until you get the bill. Expenses like these can quickly add up, especially if you’re splitting a bill with big eaters and drinkers and going out on a regular basis. No one wants to tell their friends they can’t go out because money is tight or that they can’t afford the places their friends can, but not doing so can send you straight into debt.

Here are some ways to tell your big spenders that you are making some changes with your money and budget.

1. Just Pay for Your Share

Many people think it’s easier to split the bill evenly when out to dinner to avoid complicated math. Yet if you only had a salad and soda and your friends all had wine and steak, it’s not being split so evenly. Simply say: “I am eating light tonight and I’d like to just pay my share or ask for a separate bill.” Make this clear at the beginning of the meal to avoid confusion when the check arrives.

2. Be Honest If It Isn’t in Your Budget

It is hard to tell your friends you can’t afford to do something, but honesty is always the best policy. Instead of charging the expense, consider letting them know that you will have to sit this one out because it’s been a tight month, or that you’re saving your money for something bigger.

3. Suggest a Cheaper Alternative

If your friends want to do a night out on the town, suggest a potluck dinner party at someone’s house instead. This is a great way to keep costs down and might even be a good way to try something new.

4. Skip Out on Getaways That You Can’t Afford

Try your best not to make any decisions based on a “fear of missing out.” Yes, you probably would have a great time going on a trip with your friends, but that experience simply isn’t worth it if you’ll be worrying about how you’ll pay it off. Don’t just charge it; budget for vacations and tell friends that you want to go, but you have a budget and need to stick with it.

5. Don’t Mix Friends & Lending

If one of your friends understands your financial hardship and offers to lend you some money, politely reject the offer. Loans from friends are never a good idea. Even if they’re willing to lend you money, the consequences of you not being able to pay it back are too high and you don’t want to strain your friendship. Unless you are willing to potentially break a friendship or you are guaranteed to have the cash to pay them back in full, just say no.

The best way to know what you can afford is to create a budget — but they only work when you stick to them. Running up high credit card bills or running out of money because of nights out or vacations simply is not worth it — and getting into debt can hurt your credit. (You can see how your debt is affecting your credit by pulling your free credit report summary on Credit.com.) Honesty is the best policy and when it comes to your friends and money, true and supportive friends will understand and appreciate your goals — and your ability to stick to your goals. You never know, these expenses might have been busting their budget as well, and they might be thankful for your suggestions to cut back!

More on Managing Debt:

Image: iStock

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team