Avoiding the Pitfalls of Peer Pressure Spending
Posted By :Elena Difiore
Posted At : Monday, Apr 18, 2011
Unfortunately, many times friends and money mix about as well as oil and water. Case in point, you’re at the mall window shopping with a friend when you spot that pair of shoes/handbag/new laptop you’ve just been dying to own. Your friend, seeing the haze of debate in your eyes, urges you to give in to the temptation, “What could it hurt? It’s just a pair of shoes.” However, as tempting as the purchase may be, you know it isn’t a positive step toward your new goal of financial independence. When evaluating and adjusting your spending habits, it’s important to take a long look at what, or who, influences our decisions.
First and Foremost, Be Honest
Your friend calls you up on Friday night suggesting you all go out for dinner, drinks, and a night on the town. As happy as you are for the invite, you’re disappointed when the reality sinks in that you simply can’t afford these types of outings right now. When it comes down to it, your best bet is to simply come clean about your newly acquired budget. Sure, going through financial hard times can be a difficult, and even embarrassing situation for many people. However, try to give your friends more credit. Chances are, your true friends will be sympathetic and understanding to what you’re going through. Now that they’re aware of your situation, they can help keep you on the financial straight-and-narrow and hopefully will no longer tempt you with expensive outings.
Don’t wallow around in self-pity waiting for your friends to come up with cheap, fun activities to invite you to–start brainstorming on your own! A lot of the time, people opt for choices like going out for dinner and drinks because it’s an easy activity to set-up. Instead, take it upon yourself to plan a budget-friendly evening such as a game night or a poker tournament. You can choose to raise the stakes by betting with loose change or stick strictly to your low cost lifestyle by only making friendly wagers. A great option is to use Monopoly money to bet with. Then, at the end of the tournament, the winner receives a gift basket or gag gift of some sort.
Cut Yourself Off
If, after all the tips and suggestions you’ve tried, you still can’t seem to control your spending around your peers, it’s time to cut yourself off. This method requires you to plan ahead. For example, if you’ve been invited to dinner and drinks with friends or colleagues, scope out the restaurant ahead of time. Check out the menu for food and drink prices so you can have a realistic picture of how much the night is going to cost you. Use the menu prices to approximate how much money you need to bring with you. Leave the credit cards at home and just bring enough cash to get you through the night. That way, you won’t be tempted to keep charging more and more items (or drinks) to your tab as the night goes on.
Cutting back isn’t easy–especially when those around you aren’t in the same boat. However, there’s no reason why changes in your financial situation should have a negative impact on your social relationships. By being upfront with your friends, and yourself, it’s easy to find ways to enjoy each other’s company without straying from the path to financial independence.