The Little Costs of Friendship

The Little Costs of Friendship

The Little Costs of Friendship | brokeGIRLrich

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.

And we all know that I roam the globe looking for the weirdest stuff I can find to fill my time (cruise ships, circuses, children’s theater tours).

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.

BFFsThe 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! 

15 thoughts on “The Little Costs of Friendship

  1. Thanks for work-founded reminder, Mel! Just like you, my old buddies are now spread out around the country and it’s been hard staying in touch. Maybe it’s a guy thing or just a lame excuse, but I haven’t been as good about it as you. I still see them once or twice a year and occasionally text back and forth, but it’s not the same as it used to be.

    Work and life gets in the way, but one of my goals after early retirement is to hopefully connect more and visit more often as well.

    Thanks for the post!
    The Green Swan recently posted…My New Target AllocationsMy Profile

  2. Some of my friends and family are overseas. I found an excellent Lord of the Rings book from the local bookshop that is about to incur some high postage because that family member is loved and has had a rough year. Absolutely worth it and he will be surprised.
    ZJ Thorne recently posted…Net Worth Week 14My Profile

  3. Investing in friendships is totally worthwhile – whether it’s a phone call or a small gift, like you mentioned. Not only is it a small expense, but knowing that the gift will have a huge impact on their day, and make them smile every time they see it, makes it totally worthwhile.

    Lately, I’ve given small gifts in the form of labor. Since I repainted our new house by myself, and then our old house (also by myself), when some friends I hadn’t seen in a while posted pictures of their new house and asked for help painting, I immediately volunteered. I figured I’m basically a pro now and I have all the tools, so they don’t have to buy as much, plus I’ll get to hang out with them!
    Pia @ Mama Hustle recently posted…What It Means to Want LessMy Profile

  4. I have one friend I’ve kept in touch with since I was nine, and letters are our preferred medium. I have to be honest, since deleting Facebook (personal anyways) and having kids, I’ve been horrible about keeping in touch. I’ve moved a lot in my life, so very few of my friends are around the corner even though I moved back “home.” This is a good reminder to get back in touch. It really is important!
    FF recently posted…How to Save Money as a Cat Parent: $40 Petco #GiveawayMy Profile

  5. What a lovely post! :)

    I agree sometimes it is good to remember the value our friends and family brings so much more than the money we may spend on them! I always make sure I buy proper gifts (usually bunches of flowers) for my mother and grandmother at holidays/birthdays etc because they mean so much to me! And I love getting their texts and photos when they receive the gifts as it brightens up their day too! :)

    Natalya x
    Natalya @ Cottage Retreatist recently posted…Conquering the burnout at 30My Profile

  6. I love how you have three best friends for life. That is so great! I have a couple of really good close friends, but our friendships go back around 15 years. I don’t speak to anyone from school but that’s a story for later! What stands out for me about your gift buying is how thoughtful your gifts are – the perfect card, a quirky bracelet, even a delicious cookie. I think taking some time to buy something you know the recipient will love means so much more than buying something super expensive.
    Hayley @ Disease Called Debt recently posted…Does Your Partner Have Debt? When to Walk AwayMy Profile

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