How Peer Pressure Can Destroy Your Finances
As many adults do, you likely have set some long-term goals for your money. Whether it is building or maintaining a six-month emergency fund, retirement nest egg, or a vacation savings account, these goals show that you are using smart thinking when it comes to your finances. However, sometimes, friends can add a little financial peer pressure that can put a damper on your achievement of your goals.
When your friends like to spend money, it can be tough for you to tell them no to a night out. Most everyone wants to go out and have a good time with their friends, and there's nothing wrong with that. However, when you say yes to every shopping outing, road trip, expensive restaurant evening, or other splurges, that can get expensive.
Setting and Staying on a Budget
The first thing you should do is decide exactly how much you are willing to spend on a weekly or monthly basis for some fun time with friends. Then, set yourself a budget that allows for this spending of money.
Keep in mind that it can be easy to think you will only spend a certain amount, but once you are out with your friends, it takes discipline to say no to the fancy clothes, expensive dinners, or that special after-dinner cocktail or dessert.
Stick to your budget. Once you deplete your social spending, that is it for the week or month. You can find some free online budget templates that can help you stay on track with your budget. If you see that spending more than you plan is more tempting with credit cards, take only cash with you when you go out and leave the credit cards at home.
Keep focused on the future to fight pressure. Consider the benefits gained by saying no to peer pressure to dine out or splurge a few times a week. You have priorities and goals, therefore, set yourself some limits and stay bound to them. In fact, you do not even have to say yes to every invitation.
Moreover, there's no shame in watching your pennies. While your friends may spend more on entertainment and luxury items, you will be in a much better place at the end of the day financially because of your smart money choices.
Avoiding the Wrong Situations and People
It probably isn't necessary to permanently cut bad influences out of your life. However, you should figure out who it is that puts the most peer pressure on you. Financial enablers are the last thing you need when you are trying to be smart with your money. These are people who turn peer pressure up and tell you things you want to hear so you will spend more money.
While you are the only one in control of your money, bad financial influences are the wrong people to be hanging around with when you are looking for positive reinforcement and support for sticking with your budget. Although friends can often be persuasive and some will try to link their friendship to your ability to spend alongside them, you are the one to blame for over-spending.
Good friends will understand that you have your limits. Plan on sticking to your budget. Friends that respect you and your goals are the ones worth hanging out with in the first place.