smart spending

How to stay friends when salaries differ

Find affordable common-ground activities
Find affordable common-ground activities © wavebreakmedia/

Gurney advises friends to "participate in activities that can be achieved easily by both parties."

Stern loves attending musicals and typically tries to get the best seats available. But when she goes with her teacher friends, she happily buys less-expensive tickets. "For me, it's more about the experience of going with a friend than having the best seat in the house," she says.

Gurney says the friend making less has to pull equal weight in expressing their priorities. "The lower earner has to feel confidence that the relationship will survive if he or she is honest as to what is affordable and what is not," Gurney says.

When Huck's college friend suggested they celebrate New Year's Eve at the Drake Hotel in Chicago, Huck had a hard time saying no. "I may not ever have an experience like that again." As hard as it was, she declined.

With her group of friends already going, Huck thought she might spend the holiday alone. But her college friend cared more about spending time with her than at a fancy party. They rang in the New Year together.

Bottom line, Gurney says: "Remember why you are friends, and keep those sentiments in the forefront of how you treat one another."


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