Why does it seem that making friends and staying close to family is expensive? If you are careful about how you manage your relationships, there isn't any reason why you can't reduce the money that is spent. Remember, quality counts when it comes to relationships; there is no substitute for time and attention.
If your relatives think that love equals money, both the relationship and your budget are damaged. Express that you love them, but that you will not enable misbehavior or foster dependence. Offer to pay for courses like Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University or Suze Orman's books. Then stop bailing them out. If you cannot meet your own needs, you hurt both parties by giving in to them.
"Let's have lunch" is often the basis of many friendships. However, the "lunch" doesn't have to be "out". Brown bagging at the park can be just as enjoyable. Meet at your house or theirs for lunch. Parties can be fun but going out to party can be expensive. Cutting back on spending does not mean cutting back on time with friends. Have an all night movie party; have everyone bring over a horror movie. Or have a spend-the-night party with chick flicks for girls.
Stop Leaning on Your Doctor
Our physical healers often come to be our emotional healers as well. Are you visiting your doctor out of physical necessity or to meet an emotional need? Do you need to visit the chiropractor twice a week for physical pain, or is it the emotional support that you crave? If you are paying for treatment of physical problems, be sure that you are not simply looking for emotional support that could better be obtained from your friends and family.
Therapy Should Have an End Point
Therapy should have the intent to restore to health. Are you still attending twice-weekly therapy to discuss an incident that happened twenty years ago? If so, do you have an expected resolution or a plan offered by your counselor? Ongoing therapy can become nothing more than a time to complain about the current and past details of your life. This is neither good for your budget or for your current relationships. If your current counselor cannot come up with a plan for completing therapy, you need to find a new therapist.
These are just some ideas to help you start thinking about how your relationships may be costing you money, and how to go about spending less. Only you know your financial situation, and you need to be assertive about what you can and can't afford. If you are sensitive about how you broach the subject, others should be receptive and understanding of your financial concerns.