Monday Q&A | Feeding a Co-Worker, Facebook Deals, and When You Can’t Cut Back Any More

by Kristen on May 14, 2012 · 47 comments

in Q&A

Every Monday, I answer a few of the questions that my readers send me. If you have a question you’d like me to answer in a future Q&A post, just leave me a comment here or email me (thefrugalgirl [at] gmail [dot] com) and put Q&A in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you!

I work nights, and bring something to eat most every night. My co-worker does not make much money and most times does not bring anything. Normally if I were alone, I would eat a leftover, boiled egg or just anything frugal. I feel like I have to buy certain foods for us to eat and share due to not wanting to eat in front of her, and due to the fact that she likes certain things. She laughs if I bring something frugal like a can of chicken and dumplings. This is costing me much more money and I feel it is a cycle I can’t get out of. She says that I should not feel as if I need to bring her food but yet she really expects it. If I bring something she doesn’t like she frowns and looks unhappy. I could save a lot more money if i didn’t have to do this.

-S.

This is easy for me to say since I’m not there, but I think that you need to have a forthright conversation with this co-worker. Let her know that you’re not going to be bringing food for her anymore, and then follow through on that.

Or if you feel like that’s too harsh, I would at LEAST stop catering to her wishes. Bring whatever you’d bring if she wasn’t there and if she doesn’t want to eat it, she certainly doesn’t have to.

It sounds to me like you may be a people-pleaser (Hi! I’m one of those too!), and your desire to please her is making you do something that’s kind of making you miserable. Remind yourself that you can’t make everyone happy and that you will drive yourself crazy if you try.

And something that helps me too is to remember that the world will not come to an end if I do something that makes someone else unhappy. I know that sounds obvious, but my goodness, all too often I function as if I must maintain the happiness of All People In The World.

What do you think about all the Facebook deals lately, where you have to “Like” a company to get a coupon or deal. Sometimes it seems like these are good deals, but I do not have a Facebook account. I had one, but now it requires me to give a cell phone number to “verify” my account, and I do not have a cell phone. My only other option to verify my account is to send a photocopy of my driver’s license, and I refuse to do that. Why are these companies limiting their deals to only Facebook users? I don’t like Facebook anyway, and like it even less now that they want me to send something I’m not willing to send.

I realize you are not a deal site (and I thank you very much for that), but would like to know how you feel about this.

-Susan

Hmm. Could you use a friend’s cell phone to verify your account? I’m assuming you just need to receive a text or something like that.

As to why companies are limiting these deals to Facebook, I think it’s because they’re focused more on marketing than on being fair. Once you like a company on Facebook, they’ve got yet another way to market their products to you, so every “like” is really valuable to them.

They’re not distributing coupons/free stuff out of the goodness of their hearts…they’re trying to successfully market their product.

If you can’t get a Facebook account opened or you don’t want to, my advice is to just not sweat the Facebook deals. We all survived before companies were giving away free stuff on Facebook, right? The freebies are what I would consider to be nice but not necessary. And like I always say, there are lots of ways to save money without doing the couponing/deal thing.

How do you live on less when you have been living that way all along? One can only go down so far without turning off the electricity, for instance.

-BA8

(this question was emailed in after I published Whoopee, we can spend again!)

Yep, you’re totally right. There is a limit to how effective frugality can be because we do all need things like food and shelter.

This is why I don’t think we ought to choose between saving and earning. Living frugally will help you make the most out of the income you have, but it’s not going to do a ton to help you save up a nice nest egg if your income is really sparse.

If you’re in a situation where you’ve pinched every penny you can pinch and you still are having trouble making ends meet, I’d highly recommend figuring out a way to earn some more money.

I don’t know your situation, but if you’ve got a job, perhaps you could ask for a raise*, or look for a similar job with another company that would pay you more.

(*I should have added this when I wrote the post, but the career advice isn’t my own…I’ve just read a multitude of times that asking for a raise is a wise choice sometimes and that women in particular don’t think of doing that.)

Maybe a part-time second job would be a good idea…and that part-time job could be a self-employed kind of job (child-care, housecleaning, paid organizing, tutoring, etc.), depending on what your skills and gifts are. Think about what you’re really good at, and figure out if there’s a way you could get paid to do that on the side.

If you have extra possessions, you could sell them in order to build up a bit of an emergency cushion.

Have you signed up for Swagbucks? Using Swagbucks doesn’t require any special skills, and you could use your points for things like Amazon gift cards. That could give your budget a bit more wiggle room. It’s not going to be as profitable as a part-time job, but hey, every little bit helps!

If you need more ideas, MoneySavingMom has a 27 Ways to Make Money list up, and at the bottom there are a few links where you can find freelance work.

_____________________________

Readers, do you have any advice to share on these three topics?

______________________________

Today’s 365 post: Requiring Concentration

disclosure

Leave a Comment

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Julie Magdalena May 14, 2012 at 10:59 am

Last year was a tough one for us, as I was very ill and we had extra medical costs. I cut back on food expenses by cooking a lot of beans. We ate just the cheap winter vegetables. This year, I should be able to make some online sales of vclothing and dolls I sew, and my landlord and I are putting in a large garden for both canning and vegetable sales from home.

Reply

2 Becky May 14, 2012 at 11:06 am

My 2 cents:
For the first letter – must you & your coworker eat together/be together while eating? Can you take your break at a different time? If necessary, could this dilemma be brought to a supervisor? I assume you have different roles at work, if you can afford to bring something to work to eat & your coworker cannot? It seems the coworker knows he/she can manipulate you & should put some of that energy into providing for him/herself. Or pass along the address/phone number of the local food pantry – if this person is in such a serious situation, there are resources available.

For the Facebook letter – I’m fairly certain I have not given my cell phone # to Facebook. Oftentimes there is a very small button that says SKIP or No, Thanks or an X to close the dialog box. Also, do they know if a # is fake or not? Try a XXX-555-XXXX number like they do on TV shows. Also, once you like a company on Facebook, you can “unlike” them if you no longer want to receive updates from them.

Reply

3 Kristen May 14, 2012 at 11:11 am

Ooh, taking a break at a different time is a GREAT idea.

Reply

4 EcoCatLady May 14, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I totally agree on the co-worker thing. Change the routine. Maybe even “go run errands” on your break for a week or so (even if that means just eating in the car). I think you also need to let your co-worker know that you, too, have limited financial resources.

Reply

5 Susanna May 14, 2012 at 11:30 am

a coworker and I often fed a fellow coworker who was having financial trouble – we were ‘saved’ when they got rid of her (for a different issue). I can’t imagine anyone working not being able to bring food – surely she eats at home? has leftovers? she’s taking advantage of you – I had a coworker who always cooked and I LOVED her food – for some reason someone else’s leftovers always looked better than my stuff and I’d joke with her that ‘hey I like the other stew better you made what your kid wanted!) I couldn’t reciprocate by cooking(she was finicky)but if we went out to get something I’d often pay for our meals or bring her something else. I tried not to take advantage. sounds like this person is gonna milk you til you just stop and I’d just stop if it’s costing you $ you’re not willing to spend on her. bring what you want to eat and eat it – if she says anything just act like nothing is wrong – after all she said you didn’t have to do it right?

Reply

6 Shannon May 14, 2012 at 4:46 pm

At one point while I was working and going to school, I could only afford to eat one bowl of ramen noodles a day and two tablespoons of peanut butter a week. I was very fortunate to be friends with a couple who invited me over on Monday evenings for a dinner.

You never know what someone elses financial situation is like. Unfortunately, starvation amongst the working poor is all too real.

Reply

7 alice May 14, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Yes, but I can’t imagine you would make faces if you didn’t like what they offered you for dinner!

Reply

8 Vicki May 14, 2012 at 11:36 am

For Facebook, I always find the teeny tiny print where it says to skip giving them my cell number, and they still don’t have it. I have quit signing up for a lot of those FB deals, though. Probably 99% of the free samples I was getting just weren’t worth the time to fill out the form. Free sweetener? It was about 1 tsp. Free fish oil capsules? 2. Free shampoo? A teeny foil packet like we used to get in the mail frequently. Many of the other deals tend to be coupons, but unless I already buy the product, a coupon doesn’t really save me any money. And a lot of the very best deals are for the first 5,000 or 10,ooo or something customers, and by the time I get on, like the company, and fill out all the forms, the deal is gone anyway. The ones I do sign up for, I go through once in a while and delete them from my account (un-like) unless I want to see advertising from them.

Reply

9 Kristen May 14, 2012 at 11:43 am

Yep. That’s precisely why I don’t bother signing up for free sample offers…the samples are so tiny!

If it’s a free package of something, then I’m interested. But a package of one cookie? Not so much.

Reply

10 jen May 14, 2012 at 11:47 am

I am certain you do not need to have a cell phone to have a Facebook account because I don’t have a cell phone either. As Becky mentioned, any screens popping up asking you for a cell phone must be optional, though they don’t always look that way.

Reply

11 Vicki May 14, 2012 at 11:49 am

For the reader feeding her coworker, I can’t imagine that! Surely an adult can bring their own food, or gratefully accept what you wanted to bring that was frugal. Next she will be wanting you to post a menu so she can approve it. I took a temporary job once at the amusement park where my son worked, and he asked me to bring him a lunch since I was packing myself one anyway. He got a lot of (good-natured) ribbing about his mommy bringing him a lunch (and several people asked me how they signed up? LOL). But even when there was a boyfriend-girlfriend situation, I always saw them buy their own lunches. There should be no obligation to feed a co-worker, especially one who is picky and doesn’t want what you would normally bring. I think Kristen is right, you need to tell her you will no longer be bringing her lunches so she can plan something of her own. A dozen eggs is not expensive and she could bring her own hard boiled egg. lol

Reply

12 WilliamB May 14, 2012 at 11:50 am

S – you could also be explicit with your cow-irker. “Co-worker, you say I don’t need to feed you, but you make unhappy faces when I bring something you don’t like and even more unhappy faces if I don’t share. I have to be honest: I can’t afford to pay for your dinners every worknight. If you’d like to keep sharing we’re going to have to come to some sort of financial arrangement.”

If she demurrs, and tries to keep the current arrangement (and why not, it’s a sweet deal for her!), give her the name of local food banks instead. If nothing else, this might quiet her up.

My final suggestion is to look for ways not to be with her when you eat your dinner.

Reply

13 Susanna May 14, 2012 at 1:45 pm

your suggestions are much more diplomatic than mine of cut her off! :-)

Reply

14 WilliamB May 14, 2012 at 3:20 pm

One of the more pleasant aspects of written communication is that one can take the time to consider one’s response.

My first thoughts were far less diplomatic.

Reply

15 priskill May 15, 2012 at 9:51 am

“Co-irker” — Hah!

Reply

16 Katy Wolk-Stanley May 14, 2012 at 11:51 am

That co-worker question is *very* odd. If the co-worker is eating at home, surely she has leftovers. Dishes such as vegetarian chili made from soaked beans and pasta bought using coupons, (which are easy to find) cost next to nothing.

This is a tough love situation, where she is either going to have to have an uncomfortable conversation or live the consequences of being unwilling to have that conversation.

No one can take advantage of you unless you let it happen.

Good luck!

Katy

Reply

17 Shannon May 14, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Perhaps the co-worker isn’t eating at home.

Depending on the co-worker’s age, they may have no idea how to cook and may not be willing or able to gamble what little money they do have on the idea that a cup of dry rice =/= a cup of cooked rice/ beans. When I was very young, I had about .15 cents a day to feed myself with and absolutely no idea how to cook basic foods and didn’t have the time to go to the library and research cheap food (working and school full time).

Reply

18 NMPatricia May 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm

I just want to second what Susan said. I ordered some clothes online from a company who offered free shipping if I signed up for something I couldn’t really discern what I was signing up for. (Boy is that a convoluted sentence!) I get tired of the incredible intense marketing of just about everything. I am not very immune to it and resent having it forced on me at every turn.

For what it is worth, Susan, I just ignore these kinds of offers. It “costs” me in time and energy more than I ever get back.

And I so appreciate the sentiment in the last letter. I keep looking for frugal things and find I do most of them anyways. I am not particularly in dire straits though. I hope things get better for BA8.

Reply

19 Kris May 14, 2012 at 12:20 pm

S-why does your coworker “not make much money”? Is she on a significantly lower pay scale than you are? Is her paycheck feeding a family? It seems inconsistent to me that you both work for the same organization but you can afford frugal healthy meals and she can’t. Several years ago I befriended a woman (college student who I met at church) who always seemed to be struggling financially. I would have her over for dinner or pick up the tab if we went out, but as time went on, I noticed inconsistent behavior. She was able to afford her own apartment (no roommates) and purchased a brand-new, expensive futon. I backed off on my friendship with her when I started picking up on her inconsistencies. You may not physically be able to remove yourself from her presence but you can distance yourself emotionally. Look on this as an opportunity for learning–you can learn to be more assertive, and SHE can learn that she can’t take advantage of you any more. It won’t be easy but you’ll benefit greatly!

Reply

20 Maggie May 14, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Respectfully, I think that you (Kristen) misunderstood what BA8 asked. I think that his/her question was more focused on you, in response to your post, rather that soliciting advice for how to make more money. I read the question as asking how you (Kristen) can continually become ‘more and more’ frugal. At some point, you are going to reach the bottom, where you have X amount of dollars budgeted for things, after a course of Y amount of time you find yourself consistently sticking to this budget, and TA-DA! you have reached your goal. BA8′s question seemed more ‘how does it seem like you are taking something that isn’t a temporally ongoing progress (being frugal about budgets that you constantly use, like groceries) and claim to make it a continual process whereby you get ‘more and more’ frugal.

As a woman who does work outside of the home, as well as one who has had (and still does) the luxury of staying home to raise my six children, I find it insulting that you are trying to give advice about “how to ask for a raise, etc.” I respect what you do as a homemaker, but it is certainly a different story out in the working world. And if you are to be believed about your background, between being home schooled and marrying young, that is not a world on which you are qualified to give advice. Please don’t tell people to ‘go and make more money’ in this economy, it makes you sound ignorant. They are trying to make more money-which should be obvious to you, as they are reading your blog.

Reply

21 Kristen May 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Oh, darn. I should have specified that my advice about asking for a raise wasn’t original to me…I just keep reading that advice over and over on personal finance blogs and in books that talk about career advancement. I know those career writers and book authors often talk about how women are prone to not asking for raises and such, so I thought it was worth throwing out there.

But you’re right, I should have explained that that advice wasn’t coming from personal experience.

As far as the first part of your comment goes, maybe I should devote a post to this. In a nutshell, though, I’d say that my message is, “Live frugally and also try to earn more money if possible.” I recently wrote about how frugality has its limits, and I wouldn’t personally say that I am always continuing to get more and more frugal. I live within my means (cheerfully! :) ), but there’s a certain level of frugality where I want to stop (although if circumstances became more dire than they are currently, I’d change my tune…you gotta do what you gotta do.)

I don’t want to turn off my electricity or give up shampoo or give up my dryer entirely or live in a Tiny House (the sort on wheels), you know? Could I become more and more frugal every year? Probably. But since it’s not necessary for me right now, I’m happy to maintain my current level of frugality.

Reply

22 Megyn @MinimalistMommi May 15, 2012 at 1:52 am

I sometimes think the idea to “just go make more money” is somewhat ignorant. If the questioner is in a similar position to us (utilizing some government funded programs) and gets another job, it could kick her off of programs. If that happens, she has to find a way to cover those costs, like healthcare, which may actually cost more than she would bring home with the added work. Just getting a job isn’t always the best solution. Sadly, in my case, it’s better financially for us to stay “poor” so our boys can have health insurance over me getting paid for my job/internship since it would leave us under some months. I just wish more people understood that there is this grey area where adding work/money actually leaves you poorer than having less work.

Reply

23 Gwen May 14, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Maggie (respectfully), Kristen is passing along the advice that is often blogged about at one of the larger personal finance sites – Get Rich Slowly.

And Maggie (respectfully), I don’t appreciate your use of the word “luxury” in relation to Kristen staying home to raise her children. There’s a whole lot implied behind that word that makes me think you did not really intend respect to Kristen at all.

Reply

24 Susie May 14, 2012 at 7:02 pm

I agree that there needs to be some respect here as well! I work and my husband works but we don’t have children and still love The Frugal Girl’s advice and suggestions. Also, I have a friend who when I asked how she got her Regional Manager job (we both work in libraries the most difficult place to get a raise I must say) she said the minute that the position was vacant she went to the Director and asked to be the interim person until the position was filled while continuing to keep up with her regular duties. She went for the job permanently and got it because she was already doing it. Now she is a Library Director. So yes it pays to ask :-)

Reply

25 Virginia Dare May 17, 2012 at 10:54 am

I think that with many endeavors, like being frugal, or losing weight, or quitting smoking, or earning more, a lot of times people put themselves in a box mentally and feel trapped–like they can’t change their lives. They also sometimes don’t open their minds to their actual possibilities.

It’s true that you can’t always just get more money, but if you NEVER ask for a raise or look for a different job or get a degree or take on extra work, then you’re not going to increase your earnings or be more happy at work. This can go for people who just don’t like their jobs, too.

Kristen does earn money, by the way, and I don’t know about other markets but where I live staying home is not always the luxury it might seem because day care for 2 children costs almost as much as my salary.

Reply

26 Renee CA May 14, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I read some very helpful advice recently (for me), and might help the first reader. If you must choose between guilt and resentment, always choose guilt. Carrying resentment is more harmful for your body. For example, if you don’t feed your co-worker, you feel guilt. If you do, you feel resentment. So it is more beneficial for you to figure out how to stop.

Reply

27 Kristen May 14, 2012 at 1:45 pm

That’s a really interesting thought…I wonder why it is that we people-pleasers tend to choose the resentment. It’s not like feeling resentful is really fun!

Reply

28 Renee CA May 14, 2012 at 1:54 pm

I know! But apparently resentment, like unresolved anger, causes more physical stress. I had never considered that either.

Reply

29 Hazel May 15, 2012 at 1:48 am

Because resentment isn’t caused by something *you* (the people-pleaser) have done. Unlike guilt, which is directly a result of an action or in-action by said people-pleaser, resentment is a response to somebody else’s behaviour and therefore Not Your Fault. We’ll skip over the fact that you could change the situation by changing your actions because behaviour isn’t logical like that…

Does that make sense? It’s a bit early here!

Reply

30 EcoCatLady May 14, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Wow… can you come tattoo that one on my forehead?

Reply

31 Michele May 15, 2012 at 1:06 am

Helping is doing something for someone that they can’t do for themselves. Enabling is doing something for someone that they CAN do for themselves.
People pleasers(aka approval seekers) do what they do to “control” a situation and is a trait of Codependency. The problem ends up not being the coworker, but “S” not being able to set up boundaries. At some point, we have to get it into our heads that using word “No” isn’t a bad thing.

(Boundaries by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend is a great read)

Reply

32 Becky May 14, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I definitely agree that a conversation with the co-worker is much needed! It’s so hard when we feel like our kindness is being taken advantage of, but is there any possibility that this could be a matter of perception? That maybe she really isn’t expecting you to bring her food or responding unhappily, even though you feel like she is? I’m not saying that’s the situation for sure, but I know that, on occasion, my perception of situations can be a little off. I’ve perceived people expecting things from me or them being unhappy or frustrated or angry with me when that really wasn’t the case at all! I’m also a major people pleaser, so I try to pay close attention to reading people’s reactions and when I think they’re upset with me, it just tears me apart. But, sometimes I’m just plum wrong and I had been beating myself up over nothing! Like I said, I’m not saying that you ARE perceiving the situation incorrectly, but if that happened to be the case, a blunt, yet kind, conversation should clear that up quickly! I’d really like to hope that she’s not intentionally taking advantage of your generosity, because it sounds like you have been very kind to her so far!

I really hope you get it all cleared up. That kind of stress can really make your work days miserable! Good luck!

Reply

33 priskill May 15, 2012 at 10:03 am

This makes so much sense — people pleasing can lead to wrong assumptions about the other person’s motives, feelings, etc., and lots of stress for the “pleaser” while the other person may have no clue. It’s another possibility to consider. A “blunt kind” talk is really warranted, although it’s hard for us serial people pleasers to do. Best of luck to S!

Reply

34 kathie May 14, 2012 at 1:56 pm

I found your blog recently and am enjoying reading it. To the woman S
who is bringing her coworker dinner, she just needs to stop in mho! She needs to just bring whatever she wants for dinner, leftovers a peanut butter sandwich. She needs to wake up this woman no matter how hard she has it can afford a PB sandwich or eat her own leftovers, she has become dependent on S and just is plain old taking advantage of a giving/caring person.
If this woman was really destitute she would be appreciative and eat whatever you put in front of her. thats not the case is sure sounds like to me.

Reply

35 EcoCatLady May 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm

I would like to respond to BA8′s question. As a life long cheapskate… er… I mean… “frugal goddess” I have always lived on much, much less than the average American. But here’s the thing… it’s not the sort of thing where you can just set up a frugal system once and then forget it. I find that I have to revisit my spending (and earning) choices on a regular basis.

It’s not just that unconscious spending can creep in there when you’re not paying attention, it’s that circumstances and priorities change over time. There have been times when I’ve been working 70-80 hours per week and found that paying a little extra for a few convenience items or services was really worth it. But there have been other times when I wasn’t working at all, and during those times I find it’s much more beneficial to do things myself. But those are decisions that I have to re-visit on a regular basis.

Anyhow, I have a 2-tier system. I do a small scale “financial reckoning” each month, where I look at my spending & income for the month and decide if I made wise choices on how I spent both my time and money, or if I should make some changes. I also try to do a bigger picture shakedown once a year (usually at tax time since I’ve got all of the financial records out and am looking at them anyway.)

Setting aside time to really look at whether my spending (both in terms of time and money) is really worthwhile or not really helps me, because I can make decisions in a more considered way rather than “in the heat of the moment” if you know what I mean. And I often find that some expense that used to serve me well, no longer does, and sometimes I find that spending a bit more in one area might pay great dividends in the long run by contributing to my sanity or bottom line in one way or another.

Allowing myself to make those sorts of decisions in a considered and dispassionate way has allowed me to make much bigger changes in my life than I ever thought possible.

Anyhow, those are my thoughts.
:)
Cat

Reply

36 Susie May 14, 2012 at 6:53 pm

This is a great point! I do the same thing using my good old check registers that I seem to have a lot of. Also once a year I look at what we spent our money on the most. I was shocked how I spent thousands on credit card payments that this year I vowed to pay them and if I use them I pay them off right away. Unfortunatly we had a car accident in another state and that set us back but with tax returns and a small settlement check we’re getting on track finally!

Reply

37 {Adventuresindinner} May 14, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Love these Q and A’s, these were super hard though. I like the idea of asking for a reaise especially since women almost never do so and statisticallly are more likely to earn less for the same job.

I often wonder if I can pair down more and more but there comes a point when at least just asking yourself the question is enough to make a difference C:

Reply

38 Cindy@Rhinebeck May 14, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Just when you think you can’t cut back anymore, a new (or old) idea pops back in your head. This just happened to me the other day:
http://cindyonrhinebeck.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/a-stitch-in-time-saved-sixty-bucks/

The money I save living this way more than compensates. It took a long time to convince my husband but after the bad year we had in 2011, all he says now is ‘yes dear’. Make a vow when you come back into money you continue to live this way (cost-efficiently) and you will NEVER have financial problems ever again!

Reply

39 Pam K. May 14, 2012 at 11:56 pm

PLEASE don’t give out a friend’s cell phone number for FB offers! They could get dozens of texts, which they have to pay for! I have never found that I ended up with much of anything free from FB “like” offers. I get better offers from local places of business through email, when I sign up to be in their “fan” club, etc. Don’t waste your time pursuing offers on FB, they are usually a rip off!

Reply

40 Anna May 15, 2012 at 7:13 am

Using a cell phone to verify a facebook account does not cause you to receive dozens of texts, just one text when you receive a verification code. Just like when your bank texts you a one time verification code code if you’re on a computer you’re never logged in on before. Facebook does not give that cell phone out to any companies and does not continue to send texts.

Reply

41 Hazel May 15, 2012 at 2:00 am

I think the author of the first question has got herself into a situation that she knows she should get out of, and she knows how to, but can’t bring herself to initiate the confrontation necessary. Generosity is one thing, and I know Shannon has pointed out she may be genuinely hungry, but picking the menu seems to be taking advantage!

I was in a situation with a flatmate years ago where my now DH would tell me to say whatever was necessary, but I just couldn’t. It seemed easier to seethe with resentment rather than start an awkward conversation. Ironically, in other situations I’m the first to speak up, but anyway…

Tell her things are a bit tight at the moment and you can only bring in frugal foods, if you really can’t say “no” altogether. Would it be easier to implicate a third party? It may appear slightly dishonest, but do you have a partner or husband? You could explain that they aren’t happy about the amount you are spending on food to take to work and they want you to stop/cut down/only bring certain things. You may have reworked your budget together and feeding coworkers on a regular basis doesn’t fit in it.

I know many people will think that S should “just tell her”, and I’m sure that’s the healthy response, but this may stop the cycle she’s got herself in if she really *can’t*.

Good luck.

Reply

42 Jamie B @ merricontrari May 15, 2012 at 2:39 am

Two things:
1 – I think there is a way to bypass the phone-confirmation thing on Facebook. I have had an FB account since 2005. It’s asked me once or twice in the last year or so to confirm my phone number and I don’t want to, and I haven’t. Obviously if you wanted to use the site on a phone you’d probably have to, but I use the mobile site on my Kindle Fire and still haven’t given them my phone number.
Moreover, I think Facebook’s terms of use for businesses require them to offer an alternative way to enter contests, so if there’s a contest you realllly want to enter, contact the company and ask!

2 – Swagbucks is great and I love it. I also like Superpoints and Recyclebank. :)

Reply

43 Jamie B @ merricontrari May 15, 2012 at 2:55 am

Oh, as for the “how do you keep getting more frugal” – my answer is this: your situation will continue to change! You’ll settle into a groove of how much you spend on what things, but then something changes, whether it’s the season of the year or a season of your life. You’ll have different needs and will have the new challenge of discovering how to be most frugal while meeting them!

Reply

44 Crystal @ Crystal's Cozy Kitchen May 15, 2012 at 10:15 am

When we were in a tight spot financially I started doing online surveys (some are better than others!), using swagbucks, inboxdollars (just don’t spend money to get money-it can be a temptation!), my points, etc to make a few extra dollars. They don’t pay a lot, but made a difference in our lives as it gave us a bit of extra money to spend once in a while.

Reply

45 priskill May 15, 2012 at 10:26 am

@ Maggie: But asking for a raise is a great idea, regardless of who gives the advice, and the “working” status of the advice-giver seems immaterial at best. It’s just practical — if you’ve cut expenses as low as you think you reasonably can, and ends are still not meeting, you may need to make more money. Doesn’t require Ben Bernanke to vet that particular concept. But — hearing it from a smart, friendly, non-judgmental and trusted source (such as FG) is really be a motivator, at least for me.

And I do appreciate the writer (Megyn?) who pointed out the gray area where it’s actually NOT a good idea to make more money since she would lose medical — that is horrible and I wish I had answers.

Still, for most of us, making more money (and the suggestion to do so) is a sensible possibility, in my obviously non-humble opinion.

Reply

46 Brandi Betts May 15, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I can absolutely relate to the reader who is running out of ways to be more frugal. I am single with a small amount of credit debt to pay off plus student loans, mortgage, car payment,etc. Some of these bills are fixed expenses while others – grocery, utilities, fuel consumption are within my control. But I have cut back so much in these areas that I’m struggling to find additional ways to save money. Getting a raise at my local government job is not an option so I have taken on some freelance work. Even still the cost of living is increasing faster than I can pay off debt. It’s a scary position and I really feel for the person who asked the question. But on a lighter note, I love this blog! Keep up the good work FG!

Reply

47 alone on the prarie May 16, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Use “Jenny’s” number with your area code. I seen that on a news thing, and they say it works. If you don’t know who “Jenny” is, it’s from a song in the 80′s. Her number is XXX-867-5309 (and I can’t say it without singing it)

Reply

Previous post:

Next post: