Friends with money: Is your social circle affecting your financial goals?

A prominent study last year found that people’s weight , among other things, seems to correlate with those of their friends.  If your friends are fit, you’re more likely to be so yourself, and if they’re overweight, well, you’re more likely to be overweight too.  It makes sense, in a way—you make friends with people with similar lifestyles, and you’re also influenced by their choices once you become close.  The same could be said for financial fitness.  It’s tough to stick to a budget when you’re surrounded by spenders.  In my personal experience, one of my close friends loves to shop and spend her paychecks as soon as she gets them, which is perfectly fine–but the last time we had coffee I came close to leaving with a $40 purse in addition to my latte.

If you feel your friends’ spending habits are making it tough to stick to your budget, not to worry!  I have a few tips for staying in control—at least when it comes to money.

  • Start by talking to your friends and letting them know about your budget and your goals. It’s important that you talk to them about your limitations and the reasons for them so that they understand when to stop insisting.
  • Make a list of the things you want to buy before going shopping so that you stay on track.
  • Bring cash instead of credit cards so that you don’t go over your intended budget for the day.
  • Make a monthly budget plan.
  • When you’re about to buy something, make sure you’re buying it because you need it and not because you want it.
  • If you do decide to buy something, make sure you are buying the economical option and that you can afford it.

Everyone has different ways of spending and saving money that work for them.  But when you’re with friends who like to spend more than you do, stay aware of your personal budget goals and keep these tips in mind.

Now think about it—have you ever been pressured into spending more money than you really wanted to?