It can be hard to talk about money, even among the people you're closest to. Partners, friends, family— the people who know everything about you— can still dodge talking about dollars and cents. But being financially literate is so important and, as Bustle's Get Money series shows, you really should try to start saving and spending responsibly as early as possible. But, unless you earn a fortune, that likely means making some tough choices. "It's not the most fun advice, but the only way to save money is to live below your means," Mike Katchen, founder and CEO of Wealthsimple, tells Bustle. And while a lot us might do our best to be make responsible choices in our own lives, it can become a lot more complicated when other people's special occasions come into the mix. That's right— I'm talking about weddings and bachelorettes. And anyone who has spent six weekends and every spare penny in single summer on weddings and parties will feel my pain.
And hell, in some cases it's not even about savings. In some cases it's a full on, "I'm sorry but I don't have enough money to EAT this month and go to your spa weekend plus night out plus family picnic plus engagement party plus wedding brunch." Or am I the only one who knows people who seem to have 45 different wedding celebrations? Honestly, I think it's ridiculous how much expectations about spending for these things have gotten so out of hand. So really, really don't feel bad.
But it's complicated, because you want to celebrate with your friends and support someone you care about. Obviously. Yet a lot of time the bride or the person organizing wants to go all out and just expects everyone else to be able to do the same. It can be really thoughtless and really frustrating.
So what if you just can't afford it?
Talk To The Organizer
Look, if you can't afford it at all then you can't afford it at all— and that's not your fault. But if you talk to the organizer they may be part of you can join. My friend felt stuck when she couldn't afford a bachelorette celebration which included (I kid you not): a weekend away in Berlin with activities estimated as at least $700, plus a night out in their home town, and a bridal shower with the bride's family. It all could have easily come to $1,500 dollars. But by picking and choosing, she managed to make it more affordable and still participate a bit.
Stick To Your Guns
How did she do it? Well, she knew what was realistic for her and stuck to it. She went to just the night out in their home town and the bridal shower, both of which she knew she could do on the cheap. The hard part? The organizer was really rude and insensitive about the whole thing, but you can't let that get in the way.
Explain Your Situation To The Bride
If you feel like you're skipping to much or you're not having any luck talking to the organizer, try bringing it up to the bride directly. Most likely, she won't want you to be stressed and embarrassed about the money situation and you'll feel better from talking to her. If not? Well, you may want to rethink that friendship.
Let It Go
Finally, let it go. Remember that weddings and wedding planning are super, super high stress and can bring out the worst in people in ways that will totally be water under the bridge next year. So try not to get too caught up in the histrionics of it all.
In reality, bachelorette parties are nice but they shouldn't be the defining point of a friendship. Do your best, don't bankrupt yourself buying shots and going on trips with people you may not even know that well, and let it go. If you're real friends, the friendship will still be there.