How to Set Financial Boundaries with Your Friends and Family

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Follow these tips to set financial boundaries with loved ones without causing arguments or hurt feelings.
Updated Dec. 26, 2023
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Do you have friends and family members who are always asking for money? Maybe they go out to eat all the time, or they can’t seem to stop living paycheck to paycheck. You may feel you're constantly being taken advantage of, and it's time to stop it.

Fortunately, there are ways you can set intelligent financial boundaries with those always-broke friends and family members. You can also learn how to stick to those boundaries without getting manipulated into giving them more money.

Define your own financial goals

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If you don't have your own financial goals, it won't be easy to set limits with others. Think about what you want to achieve in the short-term and long-term. Do you want to save for a down payment on a house? Are you trying to pay off debt

Once you have a clear idea of your goals, it can be easier to set boundaries with others.

Set realistic limits

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It's essential to be realistic when setting financial boundaries. If you're constantly being asked for money, you may need to limit how much you're paying to give each month. You may also limit the number of times you'll go out to eat or drink with others. Remember, you don't have to justify your limits to anyone.

Communicate your boundaries early and often

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The sooner you communicate your financial boundaries, the better. You don't want to wait until someone asks for money before setting a limit. Be upfront about your limitations from the beginning. This can help prevent arguments and hurt feelings down the road.

Have a plan for when people ask for money

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It's not always easy to say no, especially with family and friends. Having a plan in place can help you stay firm in your decision. 

For example, you can say that you're only willing to give a certain amount of money each month because you’re trying to save up $1,000 in your bank account.

Determine how you feel when someone asks for money

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Do you feel resentful when someone asks for money? Do you feel you have to say yes? It's important to be aware of your feelings on the subject. This could help you stay strong in your decision-making.

Don't feel guilty about saying no

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Saying no may be challenging, but it's important to remember that you're not responsible for anyone else's finances. You have a right to set boundaries and stick to them. Don't let guilt or pressure from others convince you to give more than you're comfortable with.

Avoid being pulled into arguments about money

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Arguments about money can be tricky to avoid. Family and friends may try to convince you that their financial situation is different from what you perceive. They may also try to downplay their income or spending habits. If you find yourself in an argument about money, stay calm and focused on your own financial goals.

Remember that you're not responsible for anyone else's finances

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It's important to remember that you're not responsible for anyone else's finances. You may not be able to control how others spend their money. All you can do is focus on your finances and stick to your own financial goals.

Focus on the positive

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There are bound to be bumps in the road when setting financial boundaries. Try to focus on the positive aspects of your decision. For example, you may save more money or reduce your financial stress. Keeping a positive outlook may help you stay on track.

Seek supportive communities

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There are many supportive communities for those trying to set financial boundaries. Look for online forums or groups that offer advice and encouragement. Being part of a community can help you stay motivated and committed to your boundaries.

Get professional help

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If you're having trouble setting financial boundaries, you may benefit from professional help. A financial therapist or counselor may help you understand your emotions and behaviors around money. They may also offer guidance on setting and achieving your financial goals.

Be prepared for setbacks

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Setbacks are inevitable when trying to set financial boundaries. You may give in to peer pressure or fall back into old habits. Don't be too hard on yourself if you have a setback. It’s all just part of the process.

Stay the course

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It's essential to stay the course, even when setting financial boundaries is difficult. Remember why you're doing it, and keep your eye on the prize. If you slip up, don't give up. Just get back on track and keep going.

Find a role model

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Finding a role model may be helpful when trying to set financial boundaries. Look for someone who has successfully established and maintained financial boundaries and has learned some smart money moves. They may be able to offer guidance and support.

Set aside time to review your goals

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It's essential to set aside time to review your financial goals. This can help you stay on track with your financial situation as well as set and maintain your financial boundaries.

Cultivate other relationships

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Cultivating other relationships may help you stay strong in setting financial boundaries. Find friends or family members who support your decision to set financial boundaries. These relationships can provide you with a source of strength and encouragement.

Offer alternatives

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If you're asked to give money, offer alternatives. You may offer to help in other ways or give a gift instead of money. This can be a good way to maintain financial boundaries while still being supportive. You can also help them brainstorm some legit ways to make extra cash.

Be assertive

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Being assertive is key when setting financial boundaries. You need to be clear about what you're doing and why. This may help others understand and respect your decision.

Know your triggers

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Knowing your triggers may help you avoid situations that may lead to financial boundary violations. For example, if your triggers are being around certain people or being in a certain place, try to avoid those people or situations.

Be patient

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Setting financial boundaries may be a process. It may take some time for you and others to adjust. Be patient, keep working at it, and keep your eye on the end goal.

Bottom line

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In order to be financially healthy yourself, it's important to set financial boundaries with loved ones. This means communicating your own financial goals (like building wealth for your future), setting realistic limits, and staying the course even when it's complicated. 

For more support, seek professional help or look for supportive communities.

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Author Details

Larisa Redins Larisa Redins is a highly experienced professional writer and editor. With experience writing on diverse topics, such as eco investments, real estate, cryptocurrency, side hustles, and budgeting, she loves to learn and share her knowledge with readers.

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