Credit: Friends image via Shutterstock
Being a good friend doesn't come cheap.
A new survey from CouponCabin.com revealed that nearly 20 percent of U.S. adults spend an average of $500 or more on gifts for friends in a typical year. In addition, nearly one-third of adults spend more money on their friends than their friends spend on them.
The research shows relationships between friends can easily become strained over financial issues. More than one in five has felt pressured to keep up with friends on how much they spend on dining out, fashion and homes, while 20 percent have had a "friend breakup" over a money dispute.
Weddings are one area in particular that can cost friends a fortune, according to the study. Sixteen percent of those surveyed anticipate spending more than $100 for friends' weddings this year, on purchases like gifts, travel, parties and new clothing, with 7 percent shelling out more than $500.
Those wedding expenses are sometimes too much to take on, the research shows. More than 20 percent of those surveyed have declined an invitation to be in a bridal party because they couldn't afford it.
When it comes to friends and money, honesty is always the best policy, according to Jackie Warrick, president and chief savings officer at CouponCabin.com.
"If you feel pressured to spend money on friends and you can't afford it, be straightforward and explain your situation," Warrick said. "Not only does speaking up help alleviate the pressure, but it can also strengthen your friendship."
Rather than money, the study found that the most important part of friendship is quality time spent together. Thirty-five percent said they spend more than 15 hours a month with friends, with just 7 percent not spending any time with them.
The study was based on surveys of more than 2,200 U.S. adults over age 18.