Everybody knows that weddings can really rack up a bill, but what about all of the other celebrations that people attend? "Friendsgiving," for example, has become increasingly popular as people live greater distances from their families. One financial company surveyed 750 Americans about attending events held by friends, the financial burdens involved, and the reasons that people feel obligated to participate in such activities.
Traveling with friends ranked number one for the most expensive activity, which makes sense given that travel, hotels, and eating at restaurants for nearly every meal really racks up a bill. The average group trip cost per person was estimated to be about $500.
Second place goes to weddings - also not a big surprise, especially for those in the wedding party (average $273/person) as opposed to normal attendees (average $148/person). After weddings and bachelor/bachelorette parties, winter holiday parties of came in third place with an average cost of just over $100. Other parties, including baby showers, Friendsgiving, graduations, birthday parties, etc. all fell into the more manageable $50 to $75 range.
Out of the 750 people surveyed, 30 percent said that they've had to skip a friend's event because of the cost involved, but at least 40 percent said that they would attend their friends' special events regardless of the price tag on them. Twenty-five percent of the survey's participants went into (usually short-term) debt from expenses associated with going to friends' special events.
Interestingly, compared to celebrations of significant life events like weddings and baby showers, fewer people expressed regret about attending friends' annual holiday events regardless of cost.
Why are so many people willing to go into debt to spend time with their friends? The top answer from 62 percent of survey participants is not wanting to be a disappointment. Significantly fewer said that the reason was that the event sounded fun (41 percent) or that they were afraid of missing out (36 percent).
To avoid having to struggle with something like a friend's wedding, the company that conducted the survey, Novi Money, recommends being honest about financial strain with your friends. By cooperating, you might be able to figure out a way to cut costs for everyone involved.
If a prohibitively costly event is unavoidable, though, the company recommends skipping the main shindig. Try to figure out an alternative arrangement, for example, having a low-key dinner with your friend and their new spouse to celebrate instead of attending their grand wedding. Even though you're likely afraid of letting your friends down, they're your friends - they'll understand. If they don't, they're probably not very good friends.