Yesterday, I grabbed a “friendship” card from the grocery store to mail to one of my best friends. I was hoping they would have a .99 cent section, but no such luck. That card ran me just under $4.
If I were born 75 years ago, my life would probably look nothing like it currently does – except my three closest friends have been my three closest friends for a long time – one since kindergarten and the other two since high school. If I were in my 20s or 30s in the 1950s, I’d probably still live around the corner from the three of them and my little costs of friendship would be an extra cup of coffee when they brought their kids over to play dates or a bottle of vodka for poker nights with our husbands (and this total cliché is actually 100% based off stories of my own grandmother’s life).
But we’re 1980’s babies and our lives are a little different. One was uprooted to the other side of the country to move with her family when her dad was transferred at work in her last year of college.
Another other one is brilliant and has spent years collecting degrees in different states.
And the last one does still live at home.
The point is that it’s not so easy to keep those friendships alive by walking around the corner, knocking on the door and seeing if they have time to chat.
We text pretty often and Skype and FaceTime have definitely made the distances seem less far, but in each of those three relationships, tiny gifts have also made it seem like we’re a little less far away.
The brainiac and I have been writing actual hand written letters to each other since before I can remember – actually, the habit started out as passed notes in high school and just never stopped. Sometimes they’re scribbled on a plain sheet of printer paper. In college, it wasn’t uncommon to get a note written on the back of a boring handout from one of our classes. However, we’d also keep an eye out for a real humdinger of a card and consider it a real win, even if it cost $3-5, when we found the right one.
The homebody always gets a birthday present – no matter where I am in the world, because it’s a rare year that I’m with her. They usually only cost $5 to 20 and have been anything from a weird Harry Potter bracelet I found on Etsy to a small flower delivery (there are so many easy sites online to find flowers all over the world, like Flower Delivery Perth) to those awesome $5 Cheryl cookies.
The best friend since kindergarten just gets the occasionally mysterious “Thinking of You” package in the mail. With 26 years of friendship to work with, we have roughly 8,000 inside jokes. I remember a Facebook ad popping up with What Does the Fox Say water bottles that made me laugh (it was kind of the bridesmaid theme song of her wedding) and since I was solidly in the black with my finances that month, I clicked away, said good-bye to $25 and send that sucker over to her.
I think often with personal finance blogs, we harp on how to cut corners and budget line we should get rid of, but it’s important to remember that besides safety (which is awesome) and freedom (which is even awesomer), money can buy some happiness, when we use it right, and it doesn’t even need to take all that much of it.
To me, the little costs of friendship are always worth the splurge.
Looking for a little more reading today? Check out my interview with Andrew over at Family Money Plan!