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
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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
And 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?