Have you ever caught a healthy habit from a friend? If your close friends are eating healthy, you’re more likely to be inspired and eat healthy too. Well, the same can be said when it comes to spending. The company we hang out with can make a difference in our lives, in both good and bad ways. Peer pressure is not something only school kids face and it could impact your finances negatively. Here are some ways you can have your finances in check without abandoning your entire social network:
1. Hit the stores … by yourself
How many times have you succumbed to “peer pressure” and bought something just because your friend said it looked amazing on you? Sure, it can be great fun to shop with friends and get opinions on your buys, but money habits can be contagious and how your friends spend influences you too. If you choose to shop on your own, have a shopping list and buy only what you need and can afford. If you’re not quite ready to let go of shopping buddies, then always scrutinize what your friend says about that shiny new pair of shoes that she thinks you should buy. Do you really need another pair of shoes? Do you own something similar? Just think again before you buy.
2. Get a budget buddy
Bad spending habits aren’t the only ones that are contagious, good ones can be too. Well, birds of a feather flock together they say. Friends with similar traits are likely to pick up good habits from each other, this can work well for your wallet too.
Find a trusted friend with good money habits and share your financial goals. Talk to them frequently about your progress and accomplishments. Positive reinforcement will help you fend off contagious money habits.
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3. Be honest to people about your finances
You don’t have to quit hanging out with people who lack good money habits, but make it a point to communicate about your financial goals. Be honest about the impact they have on you. This would be a delicate topic and should be approach with care lest your friends find them the blame of your financial state. Take responsibility for your own actions and explain your stand. Then suggest other ways that you can hang out with them without overspending like having a stay-in instead of dining out.
4. Track your expenses for one week
Write down every single item that you have bought, no matter how little the amount might be. At the end of the week, see where your money is going and who you are with when you spend. This way, you will know where the problems lie and the impact different friends have on you. Identifying your spending patterns is the first step towards making change.
Once you’ve identified the problem areas and bad spending triggers, keep up the good habit of diligently tracking your spending while avoiding the pitfalls. You can also make use of a DrWealth account to track your expenses.