No one wants to be the friend who always has to miss dinners, concerts, and vacations because of their strict budget. Maybe you’re unexpectedly tight on cash all of a sudden, or maybe your friend group has slowly but surely fallen victim to lifestyle creep. Whatever your reasons, saying “no” to well-intentioned friends and family is one of the most challenging aspects to keeping your spending in check.
If you’ve noticed that you’re spending more than you’d like to be because of the company you keep, here are some tips to resist financial peer pressure without tarnishing your relationships.
Be transparent about your budget
There are two main perks to letting those around you know that you’re sticking to a budget. First off, good friends will respect your boundaries and be less likely to pressure you into spending more than you’re comfortable with.
Secondly, you’ll be more likely to hold yourself accountable. Rather than feeling the pressure to spend, you’ll feel pressure to save. The key here is to be casual, but firm. You don’t want others to feel like you’re complaining, asking for help, or passing judgment on their spending habits.
Be prepared to say no
If you struggle to say no to someone’s face, it helps to prepare for situations where you know there’s likely to be financial peer pressure. Write yourself a tentative script, e.g. “I can’t afford that right now, what about [alternative solution]?”
Think up activities or propose locations that you know are within your budget. If possible, it also helps to take initiative with choosing restaurants and making plans, so you can avoid having to reject someone else’s expensive ideas. Here’s a list of ideas for social plans that won’t break the bank.
If your friends insist on something you can’t afford at the moment, be ready to stick to your “no.” And if you’re constantly finding yourself in this uncomfortable position, it might be time to find new friends.
Find new friends
If you’re being priced out of your friend group, it’s time to rethink who you spend your time around. It sounds harsh, but real friends will spend time with you for cheap.
People don’t need to share your exact spending habits in order to respect your budget and your boundaries. If someone in your life doesn’t want to make time to get together without the pressure to spend money, that might be a friendship you’re outgrowing.