There’s nothing more powerful than a girlsquad in full force. They’re your wingwomen when you need to meet that guy. They bring you wine and chocolate when he breaks your heart. They’re there when your kids are sick, when your husband’s an idiot, when your boss is an arsehole.
Unleashing the squad is a powerful force, so we need to use that power for good.
But in reality, we sometimes do each other a disservice. Not just convincing ourselves that shots at midnight are a really good idea. I mean with our money.
The fitting-room frenzy
I still remember a certain bestie of mine convincing me, circa 2001, to buy a red velour suit from Seduce. It was some ridiculous price for a girl earning $30K a year. I lay-byed it for a week before seeing the error of my ways. Lost the deposit though.
We all have a habit of giving each other permission – nay, encouragement – to buy things we don’t need, can’t afford, but look great in.
What if, instead, we asked our bestie whether she really needed it? Is she saving for something else? Is she in credit card debt? What else will it go with in her wardrobe?
It’s not like you have to be a total killjoy-negative-nancy. But asking a few questions or having a rational conversation could be all she needs to get past that temptation in the heat of the moment.
F*ck it, let’s buy the French!
We’re looking a bar menu, and perhaps we have already imbibed some alcoholic beverages, and our decision-making is a little impaired. There is a cheapish bottle of bubbles; a mid-price Aussie drop; and a really effing expensive bottle of French champagne. A Fierce Girl will go with the first – unless she knows it’s going to be some horrible house rubbish, so then she might go with the second.
But a not-so-fierce girl friend will think up some reason – ‘it’s the first month of an awesome year!’ – and buy the third one. Now you’ll either have to go halves or feel obligated to buy something equally exy in the next round. Credit card chaos ensues.
This is one of those situations where we are shamed or guilted or tempted into spending more than we can afford. Nobody means for it to happen, but sometimes – at restaurants, bars and on holidays – we get caught up in somebody else’s spending cycle.
Sure, treat yourself sometimes, but be aware that not everyone has the same financial resources as you. Not everyone will tell you they can’t afford it.
There is a huge social pressure, in our flashy consumer culture, to keep up with our friends. So, try not to be the friend who starts that cycle.
How can your girlsquad support your money goals?
First of all, talk about money! Not in a whingey, ‘I wish I had more’ way. Not in a ‘hehe I am so bad with money but adorable otherwise’ way.
Talk about it in a positive, adult way, that helps clarify our goals and the ways we will reach them.
We talk about our relationship goals. Our career goals. Geez, we share intimate details of sex, birth and bodily functions.
So why not talk about what we are doing with our money? Where we are having problems, where we have found ways to get our shit together, and where we have found good advice (oh hey, Fierce Girl’s Guide to Finance!).
Women aren’t socialised to be interested in this sort of stuff the way men are. How often do you swap stock tips with your mates? The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that men (at a patriarchal level, not individual men) like it this way. Because if women are not very good at money, men can be. And then they can have money and power and control. And we have to stay home and raise their kids and clean their houses and stuff.
So don’t let the patriarchy win. I’ve said before that finance is a feminist issue, and I say it again here.
Another positive thing we can do is have fun, tight-arse activities. When Mindy was saving to go overseas and Alexis was smashing her credit card debt and I was on a strict pre-comp diet, we invented the Supper Club. It was a rotating dinner at each other’s place once every couple of weeks that kept us out of harm’s way. It was great (until Mindy selfishly moved overseas).
Sometimes my friends and I have picnics or walks. Sometimes we go to the beach. Think about ways you can enjoy your friendships that isn’t based on spending. Old school, yo.
We all have a choice about how we influence each other. Be the friend who advocates for positive decisions that improve our lives.
Except at midnight, when it’s time for shots.
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Photo credit: Hubs