Coming to Terms: How Much Are Friends Worth?
Sounds like a horrible title doesn't it? I mean "how can you put a price on friends", that's the saying after all. Perhaps it is that we are just guy shy but I'm not sure who other than our friends would blame us for that.
Boils down like this. A friend of ours found bed bugs in their house, bed bugs they thought they had solved half a year ago and who got them from the same location we did. It's not that we want to get rid of our plans but once again we are hearing "we have it under control" and we shutter at the thought of if those bugs get back into our house the cost, stress and time are long lasting.
The truth is I know our friends are, to put it bluntly, poorer than dirt but we've never held that against them and try to include them on things but when you are talking over $2k then stuff gets real. We have started canceling some of our services, been cutting back on our food stock and just planning around exactly what we have and clearing out the cabinets to have a bit of financial relief. We've had a bathroom remodel, then go hit by bed bugs, then had to have our central air system replaced... can't afford to be hit by bed bugs again.
You'd think this was cut and dry but these are our friends and we don't want to just kick them to the curb and it is emotionally tearing Peter and myself apart. The other problem is we just invited their daughter to my daughters sleep over and if we allow the girl to come over then we need to figure out how we are going to handle the situation with as little embarrassment put onto the little girl because it's not her fault what her living conditions are.
In the end I know that my family needs its financial well being and that emergency fund we've been scraping together for years with every little tax return or every little bonus paycheck needs to be rebuilt. Right now if something serious was to happen we couldn't handle it and we would be the ones with our hands out asking for aid and the sad thing is as much aid as we have given it'd be only a couple family members that could give some back.
I like our friends and I'm not trying to say choose your friends by where they are in the world money wise but it does make a difference we are finding out. We were the dirt poor family and we associated with others like us and as we moved up to middle class we tried to take the same friends along but some how this perception that we are 'rich' got started. We are not rich we just are very lucky to have good jobs, both of us work and we budget! Every time the electric bill would spike or we had another expense come up we'd tighten our belts and count every penny but people we are dealing with aren't doing that. I know people that have made in one government tax check what I make working all year long and then they blow it and stick their hands out again. So maybe this concept of how hard it is to save money for emergencies is just beyond their comprehension. I don't know. I still like our friends and that makes this extremely hard.
In the end I will choose my families well being over my friends and I know that but I need to come to terms with it.