This is how much true friendship really costs us

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Susan Devaney
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As it turns out, friendship isn’t free.

As we get older, we find that some friendships just don’t make the long haul, while others become stronger, better and a real treat (just look at Michelle Williams and Busy Phillips or Jennifer Garner and Judy Greer if you don’t believe us: those women have truly got each other’s backs).

However, as we’re all too aware, making friendships last for life takes time, effort… and money.

Whether its hen dosweddings, baby showers or some other major milestone moment, our friends’ life choices are always the perfect excuse for a celebration. And while we’re all happy to rejoice in such memorable events for our nearest and dearest, it’s starting to cost us a lot of hard-earned cash in 2018.

According to an independent study, for those of us earning an average UK salary of £28,677, we’re willing to spend up to £3,627 on our friends each year, even if we can’t actually afford it. Indeed, 52% of those polled admitted to dipping into their savings to fund a social event or buy a present, while 40% had even borrowed money from a family member so as not to miss a friend’s birthday or social gathering. Alarmingly, some had even taken out a loan to cover such costs, while others had paid for things using a credit card.

Could this be because we are incredibly generous? Hardly: research has shown that we are more likely to cut ties with hard-up friends due to incompatible lifestyles. As a result, 40% have felt pressured into spending money on a friend, while 30% of people have avoided a friend simply because they can’t afford to attend their celebration of some kind. 

52% of us have dipped into saving to fund a social event or buy a present

It is an expectation which doesn’t stop with our closest pals, either: we are splashing the cash on our colleagues, too. In fact, research has shown that, from birthday lunches and leaving presents, we’re spending on eye-watering average of £498 on office-related occasions every year.

However, there are a few simple ways we can make sure we’re not dipping into savings or taking out loans in able to hang with our friends. First of all, take saving seriously. There are plenty of apps – such as Chip, Plum and Cleo – that will help you to easily set aside some of your salary each and every month without fail. So, when that ‘rainy day’ comes along you’ll be sorted in the finance department. Or why not set up a new account? Regular savings accounts with Nationwide, First Direct, M&S Bank and Santander allow you to pay in between £25 and £250 a month and all pay 5% interest (although you usually have to have a current account with them to qualify).

40% of us have borrowed money from a family member so we don’t miss a friend’s birthday or social gathering

Have you invested in anything lately? Didn’t think so. But investing your money isn’t as hard a task as you might imagine. Platforms such as Nutmeg, Moneyfarm, Moolah, Wealthsimple and Wealthify let you invest some of your salary by matching the risk you’re willing to take. Other investing platforms, such as Fidelity and AJ Bell Youinvest, let you bundle investments together and access hundreds of different funds – making things a lot easier.

You can read more here on our guide to managing your finances so you’re not eating beans on toast just so you can attend your friend’s birthday celebrations.

Images: Unsplash 


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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.