We’ve all heard a lot about how we shouldn’t try to keep up with our friends and give in to peer pressure. But do you know how to be a friend who supports other people’s money dreams and goals?
Peer pressure can cause people to make bad spending decisions. If everybody is going to a club or buying the latest must-have fashion item or gadget, it can feel difficult (even impossible) to not join in. The result is that you spend money you don’t have, or you spend money that was earmarked for something else just so that you’re not the odd one out that spoils the fun.
We have given tips on how to avoid peer pressure before, but today let’s talk about what you can do to not put pressure on other people when it comes to spending. Just as you can sidestep peer pressure, you can also take care to not be THAT friend.
- Be open to money conversations. Money can be a very tricky topic in families and between friends, but you can open the door by starting money conversations once in a while. For instance, ask your friends for savings tips or remind each other to fill up before the fuel price increases, or share the great new budgeting tool you’ve discovered. Also talk to your friends about their goals and dreams for the future, and be brave enough to say if you are strapped for cash – that sets an example for other people to be honest as well.
- Check expectations and financial realities before you start making big plans. Few things are more fun than a group of good friends going away for a weekend or attending a concert or big sporting event together. It is easy to get swept up in the excitement and commit to things you can’t afford. You can be the friend that raises the possibility that everyone might not be up for the adventure, and creating the space for people to pull out without being made to feel guilty or ashamed.
- Give your friends options. When the planning starts for somewhere to go or something to do, put options on the table, eg, we can go out tonight or make pizzas at home, or instead of going clubbing this weekend, we can pool our money and go away for a few days next month. This opens up the conversations and could result in your group doing something new instead of the same stuff.
- Respect people’s money boundaries. This means, for example, not putting pressure on people to go out or, when you are shopping together, to buy something just because you want to. Always extend the invitation, but respect people’s right to say ‘no’. You do what you want to do, and they do what they want to.
- Always pick up your share of the tab. Don’t assume that someone else will pay for you. If you can’t afford to spend with the group, don’t go out with them. Again, the example you set might be all someone else needs to put their own money boundaries in place.
Staying true to your own money priorities can be difficult, especially when you are part of a group, but it is possible with a little help from your friends. This Youth Month, you can be that solid money friend.