Friends with Benefits
No, I'm not talking about the type of relationship Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn supposedly have right now. I'm talking about several friends who have been very, very good to me.
My friend P is someone that I hope to emulate. She's "holds loosely" the things that she has. She recently loaned her minivan to a group of college students. And when they struck a deer on a country road, she was glad that they emerged from the accident unscathed. Her thoughts were more for their well-being and safety than the cost of the repairs.
Her family owns a lake house, which they sometimes rent out during the summer months. But more often than not, she offers the use of the house to friends and family who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford a vacation rental. This past weekend, she offered to take me and several of my gal pals to the lake house. The weather was perfect. So we went water skiing, rowed a boat, lay out on the dock, played a couple of rounds of boccie ball, took a long walk around the lake, built a fire outside, drank hot chocolate and talked into the wee hours of the night. All my friend asked of us in return was that we split the cost of some groceries and help tidy up the place before we left. It was well worth the four hour drive.
Gas = $20 (technically $15, but since we were using a friend's car, I rounded up)
Groceries = $23
Total for the weekend = $43
Earlier this month, a coworker was giving away a couple of free tickets to a Cubs game. I'm not a huge fan of baseball, but I'm too frugal to let $35 tickets go to waste. And these were great seats. It took several last minute phone calls, but I managed to convince a couple of friends to go with me to the game. Again, a very fun, relaxing and frugal evening. As an added bonus, they were handing out free baseball caps to all of the women :-)
Hot dogs = $4
Drink = $3
Nachos = $3
Total for the evening = $10
I learned the next day that my coworker and another coworker go in on season tickets every year. And more often than not, they wind up giving the weekday tickets away, usually to support staff.
All this to say, I'm grateful that I have generous friends and coworkers who share freely of their wealth. This wasn't always the case. When I was younger, I used to be jealous of my 'rich' friends and relatives. Kids who drove around in fancy cars and wore designer clothes and spent money like there was no tomorrow. One of my friends in junior high invited me to go water skiing with her and her family. Strange as it seems, I rejected her offer because it seemed too much like charity to me. So maybe I've matured a bit since then. Despite the fact that I may not be able to offer my friends expensive 'perks', they seem to enjoy my company anyway :-)