Is it ever socially OK to be stingy? - Evewoman

Managing Your Money

Is it ever socially OK to be stingy?

Photo; Courtesy

We all have that friend or friends who keep borrowing money from us. Even if you are all exposed to similar income, somehow they come to borrow Sh200 here and Sh1,000 or Sh2,000 there.

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The script is usually the same; they rarely repay the money and, if they do, they will pay part of it and ‘assume’ you have forgotten about the total amount.

Telling them that you actually don’t have money reduces them to pitiable sacks of potatoes, telling you sob stories about how they do not know where to get their evening meal or fare home after work.

The sympathetic you will share your last Sh500. Then you will wonder for how long these friends will ‘use’ you. The sad truth is that they will use you as long as you are ‘useable’. If you are tired of this scenario, there are ways to save yourself from the jaws of depression.

1. Learn to be firm

If you do not have money to spare, just say so and maintain that story line. Do not allow their stories of desperation, which are usually made up to tug at your generous heart, to push you to sacrifice.

A colleague once told me that when she said no to these ‘borrowing’ friends, they bad-mouthed her. Develop a thick skin and ignore the gossip. You cannot buy loyalty with money.

For how long will you give the money just to avoid being talked about? Always keep in mind that your money is yours and it is you to decide whether to give or not.

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No one will raid your handbag to establish if you have the money and you have refused to give it out. Even if they do, that money could be a debt you are planning to repay - it is already budgeted for.

2. Stick to your budget

The problem with most women is that they do impulsive purchases or lending. To avoid distractions, just stick to your budget. Someone also advised me that the best way to ward off these irritant borrowers is to also borrow from them at times.

Of course, they won’t give you the money but the message you send is very clear: you too get broke before the end of the month.

I learnt that the one of the best ways to ward off these friends is to actually avoid giving them ‘small’ monies and lend them some substantial amount. One friend asked me for Sh8,000 and she gave a litany of problems that she needed to solve with that amount.

I said I would raise about half of the amount and she was happy that I gave her Sh4,000. That was three years ago. She is yet to refund the money but it has saved me a lot of the borrowing of Sh100.

This little amount of money that you give out without thinking, eventually adds up to lots of money. Just think of Sh100 every two days, in a month, that is Sh800.

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If that goes on for one year it translates to Sh10,400 or more given that there are days she will corner you to buy her lunch. Just think about it, why spend such an amount of money on someone who also works and earns an income?

 3. Be OK with being mean

Finally, being ‘mean’ even if you are not naturally a stingy person helps you wade through these snares of pretentious friends.

When you go out for lunch, for instance, just whip out the exact amount to clear your bill.

If these friends ask you to top up for them, insist that you just carried the amount for your meal. This is a subtle message that if they order a meal, they should be ready to take care of it or “chonga viazi.”

When you are financially bankrupt, these so-called friends will hardly remember how you used to bail them out; they will be long gone in search of another friend to exploit.

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