Ms ZiYou Friends

Do you have friends on your spending wavelength?

I’ll start with two unrelated statements:

  • One of the keys to reaching FI is keeping your spending in check.
  • You are the average of the people you spend the most time with.

Both of these statements above I agree with wholeheartedly. Therefore, me being me, I am drawn to the intersection of these two ideas. So my question is as follows: if you are on the FI path, should you have friends on your spending wavelength?

I have been on an FI journey for around 5 years now. And I’ve been reflecting on how my friendships have changed. Am I drawn to frugal friends? Do I have friends that are spendy? Does my pursuit of FI influence my friendships?

Friends Acquisition as an adult in 2018

Ms ZiYou Friends

Going back to basics – I find it interesting to consider how we made our friends? What has brought us together and what keeps us from seeing each other?

And in my case, I can certainly categorise my friends into a few distinct categories.

Interest-based friends

Whether’s its knitting or go-karting, hiking or political biographies we tend to all appreciate friends that have similar interests than us. Mutual interests are a great base for friendship. And I know I always appreciate friends that are into the same things as me. I have friends that love hiking, day trips and getting out in the countryside. And other friends that are into activities such as theatre, lectures and cinema trips.

Work-based friends

Work-based friendships are easy. You see each other all the time without needing to make any extra effort – you go into the office, and so do they. Moreover, work friends offer something more than someone friendly to spend time with. Work friends get all the political drama at the office and are expertly placed to help you navigate it. They are also very handy for slipping away for a coffee together to pass a slow afternoon and calling it networking or interdepartmental cooperation.

Old friends

These are the friends you have little in common with nowadays, but you have the same lived experiences in the past. Perhaps you grew up together? Or went to school or university together? You bond over old times and reminisce fondly over shared memories in the past.

Random-network friends

And we all have these random friends, that we don’t really remember how we met. Are they a friend of a friend? A work-friend of someone? These are friends that are fun to spend time with. We don’t really have much officially in common, but somehow, they get you. And I love the serendipitous nature of these friendships – it just all works effortlessly.

Over and above enjoying time together, what makes a friendship endure?

So what makes us stick with friends? How do we get over that first fight and decide the friendship is worth something?

Friends with similar political ideology

Ms ZiYou Friends

The younger me would never have thought about politics. But the older me sees politics becoming more and more relevant to my everyday life. And I get drawn towards people with very similar politics. People who believe in fairness and that our society is certainly not fair in 2018. It’s no secret I’m a committed feminist, and I love spending time with people with similar viewpoints.

Friends on similar incomes

As I get older, I find people tend to stratify more into income (and status) based groups. Personally, I’m not concerned about how much my friends make or how powerful they are. I find these old-fashioned judges of value and I actively select out of social groups that are high earner/power focused.

I don’t care what my friends make – I don’t judge people according to their income. Moreover, I really believe our society overvalues some roles monetarily (raises a hand here) and undervalues other roles.  These pink collar roles that are disproportionally held by women are systematically undervalued in financial terms, yet we need these roles for humanity to prosper. And I don’t think continuing to underpay women is the right answer here – we need radical change.

Friends with similar spending habits

This is the gold mine of perfect friends in my book. I like to hang with people who are on the same spending wavelength as me. Which, to be honest, is too frugal for a lot of people. And that’s ok. I’ve let a few friendships slip as they have just too spendy habits. I’m not saying either of us is right or wrong – just different.

As an example the friends I went to the Edinburgh Fringe with were very much on my spending wavelength. Spending money on theatre tickets made us all very happy. Additionally, we were happy to buy a bottle or two of wine and have a few drinks in a pub. However, we all tended to breakfast at home and took sandwiches for lunch.

For those on the FI path –  spending wavelength is important

You have similar spending habits

As I get further along my journey to FI  – 2 or 3 years to go now – I am seeing shifts in my friendships. I’m subconsciously much more willing to spend time with people who share similar spending habits.

And I like friends that have a similar time vs money scale. When you both recoil at spending on taxis for instance and preferring to walk the 20 minutes the compatibility is clear to see. having friends that share DIY tips and share tools makes me happy – I love a bit of DIY and it is amazing how much better practice makes you.

And talking about people on your wavelength – UK FI Pod Update

UK FI PodAnd the trailer is now ready for  UK FI Pod!

It’s now in the process of being distributed amongst all podcast players. Current status is; available on Stitcher, Spotify, Google Podcasts, RadioPublic, Anchor, Pocket Casts and Breaker already and just waiting on iTunes.

If you want to listen, please find the show on the podcast player of your choice and subscribe.

I’ve got a few interviews recorded already, so all is on track for a 7th September launch. Exciting Times. Show notes will be available on the website – UK FI Pod.

And here is the trailer for you.

Over to you

  • What are your thoughts?
  • How did you acquire your current friends?
  • What do you think keeps a friendship together?
  • Are your friends on a similar spending wavelength?

Thank you for reading – please leave a comment below and join in the conversation. You can also connect on Twitter or contact me privately.




25 comments on “Do you have friends on your spending wavelength?

  1. I have an eclectic mix of friends but generally I’d say most of my friends come from much poorer more working class backgrounds than me.

    In general they are mostly high earners (50k plus) but self made. The main thing is none of us are that bothered about status or that there is right or wrong fashion music wise etc. They know I went to private school and it doesn’t bother them.

    I’m probably more right wing than most of my friends probably because of my background but we are accepting of others views. None of us are that extreme Two of my friends voted leave the rest remain were all still friends.

    I was never interested in politics but a friend who is very political kept moaning at me not to waste my vote As i rarely voted as i could never work out what they stood for most of the time . At her suggestion I spent over a hour using policies not parties website (do you know it?) that year and ended up with a weird mix of lib dem and (hold your nose) UKIP! . And No I’m not racist I happen to think immigration is a net positive benefit for the UK. Since then I have also voted Conservative and lib dem so I’m not all bad lol.

    You can imagine my friends reaction but she has now forgiven me and said at least I now vote. I’ve noticed we are all becoming more political as we get older and I do try and take an interest

    1. Hi FBA – that’s interesting that you are similar in income now but different in backgrounds.

      Oh yeah – I’m someone who is very much of the belief we all should vote – not by party, but whatever way you choose on what matter to you.

      I am going to find that website – last time I tried something I came out Lib Dem I think. UKIP did have the odd good policy – like sorting out refuse collections!

      I don’t vote by party, but I don’t vote for white men – they are just too overrepresented in politics and positions of power.

  2. Also My friends and I are similar spending wise We love travelling and tend to do this on a budget (although now we’re better off financially we do have the occasional blow out luxury trip too) we are more about experiences than material things

    we also don’t really do birthday and Xmas presents We all pretty much have everything we want and buying stuff for the sake of it seems pointless and a waste . Alot of the time we just put the money towards going out and spending time together. A nice meal or a house party which costs little

    None of them are aiming for fi but all live well below their means So may get there anyway. A couple that have expressed an interest I’ve talked about the fi concept. It’s the investing and optimising spending part that’s missing with most of them although they do put a reasonable amount in pensions so that’s something.
    Alot are scared to take the plunge or are too disorganised to get round to it Weirdly my money is the one area I’m very organised with. If only I could apply it to the rest of my life!

    1. Ah, you also have friends on the same spending wavelength – and hurrah for saying no to consumerism. I’ve had enough of it too.

      Your friends sound like a lovely bunch who’ll happily retire in their 50’s, which is early to most people.

  3. Status a d connections are very strong and a blessing as much as a curse.
    The worst are the spendthrifts who inherit wealth from bomad and don’t earn it themselves. The wealth of their parents makes them superior to others.

    As an anecdote – get kids – you’ll get a whole new bunch of friends and will be defined by your kids. It refreshingly different at a 20.year old mother and a 45 year old mother with kids the same age have more in common than two.the same age but kids 1 year apart.

    But beware, there are definite tribes of parent!

    1. Oh yeah – don’t start me on inheritance and inherited wealth – I’m quite socialist on that and think inheritance tax should be nearer 100%.

      And that story about friends with kids parents is funny! I think they are similar to work friendships – you can bond over a commonality in both your lives.

  4. Equally would you still think tax at 40% is fair if we couldn’t get the benefit of the tax break on pensions. I just can’t get on board with that hence why I’ll never vote Labour lol

    1. I think income taxes are far different to tax on unearned income. I’m not really a fan of progressive taxation like we have and I think it encourages people to work less (or look for ways around it).

  5. I reckon all my friends (bar one whose career has skyrocketed in the past couple of years) are on similar salaries. By friends, I mean friends who started off as work colleagues but who I socialise with regularly even though it’s been years since we worked with each other and we’ve known each other for 15-20 years. On a recent outing, we commented on the fact that aside from working together, we had very little else in common but we continue to enjoy each others’ company. All have different backgrounds, though all state school education but only a couple of us went to uni. Actually, there are two other things we have in common – none of us have kids and our liking for alcohol! My other close friends are ones I met at the gym and again, I think they’re in the same salary range as me.

    What we spend money on is different – those of my friends who spend their money on their homes choose not to go on foreign holiday whereas others (like me) like their holidays. None of them are really spendy on gadgets or clothes, although a couple do like their new cars.

    None of them are pursuing FIRE although they are aware of my (loose) plan. A couple occasionally ask me how my plan is coming along and I think it’s starting to be genuine interest rather than just polite conversation.

    It’s rare that we talk about politics although regarding Brexit, there were cries (in jest) of ‘OMG, you’ve doomed our country!’ as some voted Leave and others Remain. And a couple didn’t vote, which I think is worse!

    Thanks @fatbritabroad for reminding me of that quiz – I came out as Tory (43%), UKIP (29%), Labour and Lib Dems (both 14%). Thought I’d be higher in Lib Dems and err, not so high in UKIP!

    1. That’s so cool Weenie that old colleagues become lasting friends – that’s awesome – I can see how shared appreciation of relaxing with a drink and having no kids preventing you going out being good bonding criteria! And cool how everyone has their thing they like spending money on.

      I did the quiz and got 60% Lib Dem and 40% Tory (ahem!)!!

  6. In Bangkok, all my friends tend to be cash-strapped NGO workers and journalists. No one’s rolling in money, so we enjoy an expensive brunch or cocktail here and there, but otherwise we’re quite money conscious. My UK friends however are in a completely different world – they’ve built up their careers in higher paying fields, so they’ve been quite happy paying for expensive dinners and nights out. But recently they’ve started having kids, so now when I meet up with them, it tends to be for a cup of tea at their home instead of a lavish night out (which I find much preferable!)

    1. I always wondered who hung out in Bangkok – NGO workers and journalists seems like an unexpected mix!

      And yes, lavish nights out are so overrated – cups of tea at home are awesome.

  7. yeah, I like to hang out with frugal people. way less pressure to spend and we can talk about interesting ideas. I also like this new virtual community of PF/ FI people, of course!

  8. Very interesting topic! I think this may be a product of my personality (I come across as a very shy, reserved introvert and it takes me a long time to warm up to people, so I maintain a very small circle of close friends… also I really like talking about being a lawyer with other lawyers and it’s hard to make “non-law” friends since I started law school, haha, not sure that reflects that well on me), but all of my close friends and I have always been… remarkably similar in our general backgrounds and values and we’re all somewhat similarly situated in general career and earning details and how we spend.

    Not all of us come from the same amount of parental wealth, we tend to all go to universities with robust need-based financial aid and we run the gamut from people who had their undergraduate education entirely paid for with need-based scholarships to people whose parents fully funded their undergraduate education and even some graduate school, but our parents taught us similar values (be at least a little frugal about a lot of things, try not to be flashy) and so we end up approaching spending money in very similar ways. Among other things, we’ve generally always “gone dutch” on bills, paying for what we ordered rather than just splitting the bill evenly however many ways or taking turns treating each other, which I don’t think is that similar for everyone. Except we’re also not stingy (I swear!), we absolutely don’t nickel and dime each other or worry about being off in our estimates by a dollar or two here and there. Now that we’re a bit more well-established in our careers we sometimes treat each other a bit more. There are differences in how much we shop and like to spend money on discretionary things like that, but surprisingly few given the range of socioeconomic backgrounds we come from.

    We also tend to be very aligned in a lot of political views. I don’t think I could be friends with someone who isn’t open-minded to acknowledging, say, the pervasive force of discrimination in our industries. (Law has it pretty bad, but in subtle ways since people in our circles generally know better than to say anything overtly discriminatory.)

    1. Hi Xin – thanks for reading and sharing – and you are always so insightful and self-aware. Your friends sound awesome – yes to friends that understand there is discrimination in the real world. And that’s cool that you are all very similar now despite different backgrounds.

What do you think?