Keeping Up.

Hey yo! Today I am honored to have my friend Kayla write the very first guest post on this blog. Kayla is a young professional new to the ways of the working world. I am proud to say that I helped turn her into a fellow Ynabber. She wanted to share her story about how she keeps up financially with her friends. As a new father I don’t really have this problem as I don’t have many friends to speak of. I kid. 

Take it away Kayla!

I am 24 and finally making enough money to enjoy my life!

money make it rain cash money dollar bills

I can go out to bars, go on vacation, spend my money on random excursions like kayaking, weekend trips, brewery tours, and indoor trampoline parks. However, I try to be mindful of what I’m spending, what I’m saving long term, and what I’m going to need to save up for in the short term such as tires, vacations, and doctor’s visits.

As I grew up and learned about how to be smart with my money from my parents, Vic, and his wife Glady, I’ve set goals and expectations for myself so that I won’t ever have to worry about money in the future. #YNAB

Saving money is tough because finally having extra income is exciting and there are so many fun things to do. It is also hard when all of my friends are going out and spending tons of money on the reg and I know that I can’t keep up.

The Breadwinner
My boyfriend and his friends all make at least double what I do. I mean, it makes sense, they are engineers, while I’m a lowly marketing assistant. Yes, mom, now I understand why you were not over the moon when I chose to study art and media studies instead of math.

ugh facepalm embarrassed face palm no

Thank you for supporting me even though you knew I could make WAY more money studying something else.

I don’t know about all engineers, but aerospace engineers work a crap ton of hours and they are rarely at home except for the weekends. It doesn’t help that they have an incredible cafeteria at work that feeds them delicious meals for less than $4 a meal and probably the best snickerdoodle I have ever had.

What I’m trying to get at is they don’t have any food in their house (unless you consider beer, which I have been known to have for dinner on occasion), they eat out for every meal on the weekends, and when I stay over there (which can happen at least 3 nights a week) I feel obligated to go out to eat, order in, or starve.

The Struggle is Real
This gets very expensive especially because my boyfriend likes fancy brunches. Generally we switch off who pays for the meal, but even so, sometimes I end up spending $100 per week on 6 meals out and that is on the lower end. It’s a good thing I’m a good cook.

dog what omg scared confused

When we first started dating I was so nervous that if he found out that I didn’t have enough money to keep up with his lavish lifestyle he would dump me. Now I know that is ridiculous, but I still find myself spending way more money than I want to due to the fact that all his friends go out a lot and I want to be part of the group.

It’s a double edged sword. It sucks to feel left out when all of my friends go out and I can’t afford to join them, but it also sucks when I give in to going out with them and have a mini panic attack about money when my portion for brunch turns out to be $60 (three hours of my working life before taxes).

I am still searching for ways to do it all, while also saving for my future.

How I “Keep Up”
1. I Offer to Cook Regularly
Cooking in is not always less expensive depending on what you make, but you can also get more bang for your buck and better quality since you don’t have to tip yourself. If I only want to spend $15 on dinner for the two of us I will skip the fresh caught salmon and go with chicken instead. Tofu also makes an excellent cheap protein substitute and can easily be added to any meal. Trader Joes wine is also a life saver. I love their Red Diamond cab.

(Vic – I love me some Two Buck Chucks! My palate is not refined enough to notice the difference between that and an $80 bottle. I also love grilled cheese and hotdogs 🙂 )

2. Invite His Friends Over to Eat
If I am worried that I will miss out on something (#FOMO) I invite his friends to breakfast/dinner. Pancakes are an easy and super cheap meal for a group of people. Chances are, even if they have no food in their fridge, they have some flour, pancake syrup, sugar, vegetable oil and butter. Then all I need to pick up at the store is eggs and milk. Bam! easy breakfast for 10 all for under $5. Add in some bacon for an additional $6 making your breakfast twice as good for only $11 bucks total.

This is also a great way to earn the “Best Girlfriend Ever Award” and get all of his friends on my team. (Vic – I have yet to win such a prestigious award)

anna kendrick boom
(Vic approves of this gif. Or anything Anna Kendrick.)

3. Stay at My Place.
I have tons of food in my house because I love cooking and prefer to eat healthy instead of eating at a restaurant anyway. I’d much rather spend my hard earned money on organic produce and avocado oil mayonnaise than eating average food at a restaurant (note – Dad is too cheap for mayonaise that includes avocado). Also, eating out all the time gets boring so when you cut back and only go out a few times a month it becomes exciting and more like date night!

If you have any ideas or suggestions on – 1) Cheap dinner recipes 2) How to take my spending down a notch 3)How I can “keep up” please comment below!

Kayla Nada is an L.A. native, Fulbright Scholar, and experimental video artist determined to take her life back from her 9-5. A total foodie and doughnut connoisseur, you can usually find her dropping her chopsticks in a southeast Asian restaurant, spending $$$ in a trendy doughnut shop, or cooking up a storm in her own kitchen. She speaks seven languages and is always looking to learn something new. 

You can also check out her Etsy shop here. Vic has one of her Doctor Who mugs and it is FANTASTIC. 

*cover photo by OTA Photos

20 thoughts on “Keeping Up.

    1. Thanks Heather! Kayla saved me this week with the post because I struggle so much being consistent.

      I’ve been with my wife since we started college – about 17 years. I don’t know how I would handle relationships in this day and age. May you find a partner that is as money conscious as you!


    2. Thank you so much! I’m glad you liked the post. Yes, it can be hard and even scary to have to explain to someone you are dating that you can’t keep up with their lifestyle, but being honest and up front makes it a lot easier. Good luck! Please share ways you find to “keep up” as well because I am always looking! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Money shouldn`t be a problem with real friendship. I have friends who are financially better off than me (some loads!) and others who have less (again, some by much), but because we`re close it`s not an issue. We can say to each other this place is too expensive, can we chose something else, and then we do.

    It`s only where I am not really close to someone and am embarrassed to discuss it, where money becomes awkward and I may end up spending more than I should, or eating something I don`t enjoy because I`d be self conscious if I was spending more than everyone else.


    1. Thanks Culbia! That is a really good point. It does get easier once you’ve been friends with someone for a while to tell it straight and spend less money. Those awkward moments are tough though, especially when someone asks you to go out in front of a handful of people you don’t know very well. It can be very hard to say no or “can we go somewhere less expensive” when you are new to a group. Do you have any suggestions on how to alleviate this pressure?


      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, in front of strangers or mere acquaintanes, I`d be embarrassed. I`d probably try to suggest something else without a reason if it`s planned in advance and then later take the closest friend aside and say look, I`d love to go out with you, but I can`t really afford that place. If it`s a spontaneous outing, I`d probably just make my excuses naming another reason, which is probably a bit lame. Say, I`ll join for one drink, or not at all.


    2. It’s tough. My friends are understanding that I want to be “cheap”, but it still can be difficult when everyone is going out spending money and having a good time. Fortunately, being a dad has kept me home a lot and I have a lot more fun at home with my daughter and wife 🙂


      1. I suppose it all depends on who you are. I grew up a financially deprived child in a rich kids` school, because it was closest and my parents couldn`t afford the train fares to send me to a school which was less pretentious. I`ve lived through having less money (and holidays, and CLOTHES, and pocket money, and Xmas presents, etc) all my teenage, which was not pleasant at all, but now, I`m not embarrassed to say I can`t afford the same as you, nor will I look down on others who say the same to me.

        I however undestand that people who are not used to having less money (new commitments, or a source of money disappearing) will be embarrassed at first, particularly if they have been defining themselves and received positive recognition for what they spent and what they had. They may keep spending in front of their friends to keep face.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing, lovely to hear another voice. The struggle is real, I feel it too. It hard when you don’t have combined finances (not that I am recommending that). You are very generous hosting at your place. I would encourage you not to necessarily focus on ‘keeping up’ but rather what is best for you, and aligned with your values and your personal situation. Love your path, keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m happy that other people can relate to the struggle. I’m definitely still navigating through life trying to find what’s best for me, but I love cooking so I am always happy to have people over. It can get expensive though when you’re offering to feed 4-6 people.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Isn’t it funny how scared we are to talk about money early on in relationships? It takes real courage.


    1. Yeah! Right? I feel like money is such a taboo subject in relationships and yet I talk about it daily with my friends. I’ve decided to talk about it more with my bf and see where that leads.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Yep! I must have been together with my wife for about 13 – 14 years before I truly started to talk money with her. That was when Addie was born almost two years ago. Before I would just go with the flow and didn’t pay too much attention to our money as long as we had enough to get by and have fun once in awhile.


  4. I love the idea of tipping yourself! I’m totally going to do that and then use the money in my tip jar to get something fun that I wouldn’t normally spend money on.


  5. Vic — Love your blog. It is great to hear stories from someone who has a similar perspective on life.

    Kayla — I am ancient now but here are some tips I used in my younger out-on-the-town days regarding social situations that cost $$$.

    First off, it sounds like you have a good man by your side — I didn’t hear any shaming on his or his friends’ part — just your desire to find balance with having fun and being financially responsible.

    * Be honest and straight-forward with your BF about wanting to spend responsibly and within your budget — which you acknowledge is not his. Most engineers and their logical minds will be instantly turned on by your level-headedness. Score!

    * Follow-up your honesty with some potential solutions to the situation. For instance, if you two go out with friends then he knows that in all instances at more pricey places you will be contributing a set amount and he will cover the difference. This could work for several reasons: i) you no longer have to feel anxious about where “the group” wants to go, ii) he will see that you continue to spend responsibly even when it is “his $”, iii) you will be contributing and he will be treating — which means everyone gets a kiss at the end of the night. 🙂

    * Search Yelp for some affordable alternatives to go out. Couch them as “adventures” with the group and try to incorporate a few of the new favorite affordable eateries/bars into the mix.

    * Learn to drink beer — always cheaper than cocktails. Embrace the wine-spritzer to get more bang for your buck. Alternate each drink with water….repeat — good for the pocket book and your liver.

    * Help encourage your BFs friends to find someone special too so that they are less interested in going out and more interested in just hanging out together.

    * Hit the clubs before the cover charge kicks in or go out on Ladies Night with the boys.

    * Limit the out-on-the-town get togethers or eating at restaurants to certain days of the week. This will give structure and also something to look forward to.

    * Host once a month dinner parties where you give everyone a dish/beverage to bring and a prep job to do. This will add to your “Best GF Ever Award” status. You can give party props to any of the guys who show their cooking chops.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All great tips! Thanks Sara!

      Honesty is definitely the best policy. I do know firsthand as a former money abuser that sometimes people just don’t “get it”. When people used to tell me that they didn’t want to go out because they’re broke or didn’t want to spend the money I thought they were cheap. I do think if they’re good friends that they should understand in the end though 🙂


  6. Thank you Sara for your wonderful suggestions! As Vic mentioned, honesty is always the best policy, however it is tough to implement sometimes. The hardest thing for me is sticking to my budget because I technically have the money to go out, but I would rather save it, unlike my BF and his friends, which is something my BF doesn’t always understand (he’ll understand when we are living off of my retirement fund ;)). I love your idea to use yelp to find cheaper alternatives and suggest them as adventures. I think my friend group will really get a kick out of that! Its definitely hard to be the most responsible (monetarily) person in my friend group because not many people my age are thinking so far ahead. I am definitely going to try and start a monthly potluck dinner as you suggested.

    Thanks again for all the ideas 🙂


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