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10 Ways to Combat Peer Pressure to Spend March 11, 2011

Posted by CredZoo - Tame Your Credit in Tips For Good Credit.
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by Logan Sachon, for Bundle

You love your friends, and your friends love to spend money. They spend money on new clothes that put yours to shame, on expensive presents for your birthday, on fancy bottles of wine for your dinner party, on drinks for the table at the bar. The pressure to reciprocate — and keep up — can be intense. But don’t fear: just because you have high-rolling friends doesn’t mean your bank account is in jeopardy. Big spenders and little spenders can indeed be friends, but it requires some finesse so you aren’t always feeling poor and they aren’t always feeling bad because you’re poor. We’ve got ten way to keep your spend-happy friends close and your wallet closed.

1. Tell yourself: Own it

Do not covet your neighbor’s phone (or his car, or his fancy MacBook). Instead, embrace your old-school flip phone, your car-less lifestyle, your two-inch-thick Dell laptop. Having new things sure would be nice, but you don’t need them; don’t let your gear-toting friends make you think you do. Your things aren’t old and crusty — they’re old and trusty. Own your own stuff.

2. Tell yourself: A bottle of wine is a bottle of wine

Just because your friend brings a $20 bottle of wine to your dinner party doesn’t mean you have to stray from your $3 Trader Joe’s standard when he’s hosting. Get the cheap stuff. It’s okay.

3. Tell yourself: It really is the thought that counts

If your friend buys you a massage for your birthday, do you have to reciprocate in kind come hers? You do not. Sweetness need not have a price tag. Flowers from your garden, a homemade cake, a thoughtful book: these are all fine presents.

4. Tell your friends: You’re coming down with something

The price of dinner doubles when you add booze, and ordering just one drink is a dangerous move: it’s too easy to order another one. Nip that temptation in the bud by not drinking with dinner, and nip your friends’ pressure on you to drink with dinner by saying you’re sick. And no, friends, margaritas do not kill germs.

5. Tell your friends: You’ve only got cash

At the bar, it’s so easy to tell the table, “I’ve got this.” You don’t have this, because you don’t have your card. All you have is cash, and you only have enough for your own drink. We’ve all left our debit card at home on accident before. You should leave yours there on purpose.

6. Tell your friends: You’re saving for something big

Your friends don’t want to hear that you’re trying to be more frugal — it calls attention to the fact that they are anything but and that’s no fun. But you know what is fun? Vacations. You’re not skipping the $20-a-head concert because you can’t afford it. That sounds icky. You’re skipping the $20-a-head concert because you’re saving for Maui. Much better.

7. Tell yourself: Your friends like you for you, not your money

Remember that your friends are your friends because they like you and you like them: the exchange of money or goods isn’t a part of the equation. If you pick up the bar tab, that’s a nice perk, but it’s not what keeps your friends around. They will like you even if you split the check.

8. Tell your friends: You’re bored with going out

You’re not suggesting a game night at home because you’re broke. You’re suggesting a game night at home because the bar scene is tired. At your house it’s cozier, the music is better, and there’s no line for a beer.

9. Tell your friends: You already ate

Don’t skip your friend’s birthday dinner because it’s at a restaurant you can’t afford, but don’t go and order nothing. Eat beforehand, own up to it, and order a $10 dessert when everyone else is ordering $30 entrees. You’ll have the best plate at the table, and your friends won’t feel uncomfortable by you not eating.

10. Tell yourself: There is nothing wrong with staying home sometimes

If you really can’t spend money right now, don’t put yourself in situations where you can spend money. Going to the bar and not ordering anything while your friends keep the cocktails coming is hard. Not going to the bar while your friends are there and keeping the cocktails coming is also hard, but less so. Catch up on your reading (or last week’s episode of Gossip Girl).