Advice column: I want to cut back on spending, but a partner insists that we all fork out on things he decides to do

Ask Ash

I want to cut back on spending, but a partner insists that we all fork out for things he decides to do

Dear Ash,

I have recently cut back on my spending as I am concerned about job security following a spate of recent redundancies at work. However, although other colleagues also seem to be cutting back, one of the partners in the department seems intent on continuing to spend lavishly. This would not be a problem if it were not for the fact that he expects the rest of us to act in a similar way. He recently insisted we go out for a departmental lunch at a pricy restaurant, but only after finishing the meal did he confirm that we were all expected to share the cost of the bill, even though he was the only one who splashed out on expensive wine! He also recently confirmed that he expected each of the team to contribute towards the costly gift he had already bought for one of the secretarial staff for her birthday. As I don’t earn as much as the partner in question I do not think it is fair that he expects us to follow his lead. However, I’m not sure how to approach the subject.

Ash replies:

Inevitably when people are on different salary scales it can be difficult to determine what is a fair division of any contributions. However, in today’s credit climate, even people on higher salaries are cutting back on their spending.

Your cautionary, more thrifty attitude is not unique and nothing to be ashamed of. According to research by Barclays, the recession has spawned a new breed of cash-conscious Brits – Young, Ultra Forward Thinking Savers, or YUFTIES for short. It is actually quite trendy to be more careful with your spending habits. In today’s climate, people are more open about cutting back on their spending and there seems to be an enthusiasm for actually scrimping and saving. The explosion of the number of websites on money saving tips, together with the downturn in spending on the high street, also illustrate the point.

Therefore, you should just be honest the next time the issue is raised at work by making clear that you can only afford to make a certain restricted contribution or nothing at all. You may find that others in the office also follow your lead. Ironically, the partner in question may also be cutting back, but his way of doing so may just be by expecting others to contribute more towards his expenditure!


“Ash” is a solicitor who is willing to answer work-related queries from solicitors and trainees, which can be put to her via the editor:, or mail to Studio 2001, Mile End, Paisley PA1 1JS. Confidence will be respected and any advice published will be anonymised.


Please note that letters to Ash are not received at the Law Society of Scotland. The Society offers a support service for trainees through its Registrar’s Department. For one-to-one advice contact Katie Wood, manager in the Registrar’s Department on 0131 476 8105/8200, or

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