Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How Many Tabs Can You Pick Up for an Out-of-Work Friend?-- Money Magazine

It certainly caught my eye. Last year, one of four friends (housemates) lost her job. And now, whenever the quartet goes out, the employed friends pay the entire bill. "Amy's not close to finding a new job, and this is getting expensive. When can we stop?" That's the question featured in "The Ethicists," a regular feature in Money Magazine.

The answer: "...times are tough, and now it's time for some tough love. Being unemployed doesn't make someone a charity." --Jeanne Fleming and Leonard Schwarz

The Ethicists argue that the friends should stop paying Amy's entertainment bills. " [T]he free lunch window closes," the columnists say, adding: "You might try softening the blow by making plans to do things together that Amy can afford right now. Netflix, anyone?"

Good advice, but I'm torn. I certainly believe in tough love, but I would recommend tough love for the all four friends. Maybe the entire quartet needs to take a time out from expensive entertainment, restaurant meals and other budget-guzzling outings.

The laid-off friend/housemate won't feel left out, and the rest of the group can put their cash into an emergency fund.

Suggested entertainment:
  • A gallery opening. (There might be free food!)
  • Picnic
  • Sports in the park
  • Covered-dish dinner party
  • Free event at a bookstore, museum or library
  • Board game night
  • House party (DIY club night)
  • Yard sale tour
  • Thrift store clothing excursion
  • Free classes at a craft store, hardware store or home supply chain
  • Bike riding
  • Sports clinic at an athletic store
  • Volunteer
  • DIY home spa
  • Clothing swap party
  • Cooking class or wine-tasting class at Whole Foods


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monica said...

I couldn't agree more. My husband and I used to always foot the bill for a couple we were close with, because one of them was unemployed. When he got a job, they still seemed to expect us to pay, and it became a very awkward situation.

The moral of the story is charity doesn't breed closeness. Thanks for the great reminder.

Monica @ Living Large on Less

Craig said...

Any type of outdoor activity is best to save money as well as stay active. Especially for guys, it's very easy to just go play ball for a few hours.

Stefanie said...

I can't imagine letting someone else pay for me all the time even if I was unemployed. If you don't have the money.. DON'T go out. My husband has been unemployed for a few months and we just opt out of things we can't afford right now. It's not a big deal, people understand and there's no hard feelings. Plus we don't owe anybody anything.

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