Bagra Beats

Friendships and Money Part 1

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Money.

It can make or break relationships. Or it can just make them socially awkward for years to come because someone in your friendship group still owes you money from that group holiday, but they still post about their extravagant outings on social media.

Becoming financially independent has made me really look at money differently. Not just because it’s money that I’m earning, but because of how badly I spend it. As a result of knowing my own bad spending habits, and seeing the ways others spend their money, I don’t have a lot of sympathy when it comes to friendships and money.

In this blog I will talk about personal money management and situations that can come up where people will try to finesse you out of your money and how to avoid it.

If in the situations described, you are the bagra/haywaan friend, then you really need to fix up.

Remember the mantra of bagra beats… am I a mug?

Personal Money Management

Personal Money Management

Never spend all the money you have. That money doesn’t exist for you to spend it all. It exists to be saved. If someone had told me this when I was 19 and had a paid internship, I could have so much more money in my life. I spent almost 2k on clothes (bear in mind I wear abaya and hijab so no one was ever going to see these outfits). I bought clothes I was never going to actually wear.

You shouldn’t look at your money in your account and think right well I can afford to eat take away every day now. That is a bagra mentality.

Curb your desires and your need for gratification.

If your desires exceed your budget, you need to think like a donkey. Imagine you’re a donkey going on a journey. As great as it would be to carry loads of things to make the trip more comfortable, you need to remember that you’re going to be the one carrying them. Limit yourself to what you need. This is one of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to money. The more money they get, the more stuff they think they need to buy.

People’s needs increase according to their income but sometimes you need to stop and think…do you really need that expensive hot chocolate machine? No. Do you really need that fancy notepad when you already have 12 unused ones? No.

Restrain yourself. You need to have savings, but also a level of control over your desires. Sometimes people think freedom is being able to buy whatever you want whenever you want. That’s how you end up broke and asking friends for money. Live well within your means.

You’re not in a dire situation only when you hit zero. You’re in a dire situation when think that not hitting zero means you’re fine.

If necessary, read a book on money management. It doesn’t come easy to everyone. Certainly not for me. Here’s what I recommend.

Now lets talk about friendships. The following rules are my opinions.

The Rules of Friendship Dates

The one on one date

When you have a one on one date with a friend, good etiquette is that the one who invited the person on the date should pay, IF it’s a coffee date. If it’s a food date, then split the bill. If I’m out with a close friend we won’t split the bill unless it’s more than £15. We prefer to do a “you pay for this, I’ll pay for the next date.” 

If you’re meeting someone who irks you or is quite arrogant, then split the bill regardless of how cheap it is. We’re not here to be begfriends with people and buy them coffee.

If money is tight, or you’re trying to save then let your friend know if you’re not looking to spend money. I will happily tell people who invite me out that I’d like to go somewhere cheap. Or I tell people to do coffee instead of food if I’m not in a position to spend money. I used to invite people to my house so that i could save money but people would overstay and chill at my house for 4 hours+ like I don’t have a life. But that’s for another post.

If your date insists on paying for food, then you should have some intention of reciprocating that gesture and not order the most expensive thing on the menu. That is haywaan behaviour.

Group Dates

On group dates the rules vary slightly. If you ordered something significantly cheaper than the rest of your buddies or something a lot more expensive, then everyone should pay for their share. You can’t order the most expensive thing and then put the burden of your greed on other people. That’s haywaan behaviour. Similarly, don’t feel pressure to split the bill if you ordered the cheapest meal without a drink and everyone else ordered the most expensive thing on the menu. If they make fun of you for being broke, admit that you are and that what you ordered is a direct demonstration of your brokeness.

It can be quite stressful sometimes where everytime you meet up with friends it’s a food motive and you’re spending at least £20 a week eating out, amounting to over £1000 in a year. If it’s not in your budget then don’t feel pressured to go. Sometimes you can do a video call. If you’re at a cafe and your friend has ordered something, you don’t have to order anything. You’re there for the company.

If someone insists on going to a fancy restaurant then politely decline and don’t go. Don’t go broke for fancy food and dead company. You can just say sorry I can’t make it and that’s it. You don’t have to justify or explain yourself. 

If the date is at someone's house

The only exception here that comes to mind is when someone invites a group date to their house and orders takeaway. Do not invite me to your house if you’re going to make me pay for my own takeaway. Am I a mug? I never go to someones house empty handed, and then on top of that you charge me to eat at your house? Nah. This is bagra behaviour. Either cook or cover the takeaway yourself.

I know of a guy who invited his friends over, then he ordered pizza and the next day he sent them a text asking them to transfer money for their share. Bearing in mind this person ate at my house maaany times in the past. Delete these stingy people from your life.

Group surprises

I absolutely despise these. I cannot stand them. The amount of times I have been added to a whatsapp group for someones leaving/birthday/baby gift and I see a message of how someone nominated themselves to be a bank collector and said we’re all going to contribute x amount of money to buy a gift for someone. In 90% of these situations I have barely been acquaintances with the person they’re buying a gift for. And it’s so awkward because you can’t say in a group chat hey guys, I don’t chat to her so I’m not going to contribute. If you leave the group, it’s dramatic. So what do you do?

Firstly, you never ever create this group. If you are the person that does this, I don’t like you. Message people privately and say hey there, I’m thinking to get something for someones birthday, would you wanna take part and make it a group gift. AND GIVE THEM THE OPTION TO SAY NO. Just because you love this person does not mean I should pay £30 to contribute to some expensive gift. 

I got invited to an afternoon tea for £60. I love the girl in question that it was for but you cannot just come to me on a Thursday afternoon and pressure me to spend £60 because you want to front for social media. The girl that was organising it offered to pay for me, and the thing is I could easily afford it, but the money in my account is not for having afternoon tea at the Ritz. Simple as. And I will not take someone else’s money for that.

One easy way out of these groups is to politely say that whilst you love the idea, you intend to get a separate gift, and then leave the group. Another thing you can do if it’s an outing is say that you’re not available on the day and don’t explain why. 

However if there is any rule within group surprises that I need you to fully fully fully understand.If you have been designated as the money collector and payer, NEVER EVER pay for anything until all the money is in your account. Never put yourself in a position where you’re waiting on people to pay you back. There are people in that circle who will not pay you back and you will be left out of pocket. Whether it’s booking an airbnb, paying for a restaurant, paying for a gift, never be the person who will make the payment, and if you are that person, do not pay until everyone has transferred the money to your account.

In part 2 of money and friendships we will look at asking for money and paying it back. Stay tuned.

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