If you come from a community or a culture where weddings are very valued and you know from a young age that you’re going to have a lot of obligations thrust upon you, do you think it’s silly to start saving? Because you save for other things, right? You save for homes and education. Do you think it’s logical to budget ahead of time for other people’s weddings?
It’s about adulthood, and adulthood is about making decisions and owning your decisions. And even in cultures where a wedding is a big thing, you still shouldn’t do more than you can afford. And if you do, then just know the consequences—that you’re going to be picking up those pieces probably years afterward. And if you’re okay with that, well, you do what you do. I wouldn’t do it, but I understand if you feel the pressure to do it. I really believe in empowering women to live their financial truth. And if you start living your financial truth in your 20s, oh, my gosh, the sky’s the limit when it comes to your financial situation.
What advice do you have for women who know they should say no to some demands but still feel like they’ll be stigmatized in their friend group? So many women lack the confidence to just say no and not care what anyone else thinks. Maybe they fear they’ll be gossiped about, or the other girls in the group will be mad at them. How can they learn to find their voice?
It’s hard. I’ve been the way I am my whole life, so it’s easy for me to say, “Live up to your financial truth,” because I’ve always done it, but I know people who can’t. And so what I usually tell them is, “Try as best you can to think in terms of years. As people are asking you to do things that you know you can’t afford, look down the road and try to see whether you’re going to regret saying yes.” When people are asking me to do things, when I was in my early 20s and newly married, I thought, Well, if I do all this stuff, then I’m not going to have the money to send my kids to college. None of my kids have student-loan debt because my husband and I said no to things.
Of course I’ve done things with friends. Of course you can still have fun, but you pick and choose and you save. And if you’re in a position not to do it, know that they’re still going to be there if they’re good friends. You may miss some milestones, but there are going to be others. Remember, you get to chose your friends, which is so cool. You cannot choose your family, but you can choose your friends, and you can say, “At this moment in this life, I have outlived the usefulness of this friendship.” And we women, we go in, we love, we love hard, we hold tight no matter how we’re being treated in our friend group, and that’s wrong.
We need to be okay with saying, “This was a friend that I had in college, and that was a good season, but this person can no longer be in my life because they are making me feel bad about choices that are good for me.” And I have let go of friends throughout my life where I was like, “I don’t want to keep fighting with you. I cannot go and I don’t want you to be telling me what I can and cannot afford when I know my budget better than you do.” So I say, “It was great, but I’m moving on.”
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Perrie Samotin is Glamour’s digital director and host of Glamour’s What I Wore When podcast. Follow her @perriesamotin.