Are Your Friends Costing You?

Photo (cc) by Pink Sherbet Photography

Peer pressure is no longer just for kids – it’s also a very adult and very real social problem.

When the economy was roaring along, it wasn’t such a big deal to spend a little extra on drinks with coworkers, vacations with relatives, or concerts with friends. Now that times are leaner, it’s hard to tell your peers that you feel pressured to spend money you may not have.

As I mentioned in the video above, a poll by Bankrate.com found that 46 percent of us sometimes feel peer pressure to overspend. So what can you do to save money and save face at the same time?

Realize you’re not alone

You’ll feel better about your predicament when you understand just how widespread it is. It affects new college grads, African-American women, and even women halfway around the world. So it’s quite possible that within your social group, you’re not the only one who wishes you could dine somewhere cheaper, or see a matinee, or hit a Happy Hour with better drink prices.

In fact, you might be surprised to learn that most in your group feel the same way – even those who are well off. A Washington Post article talks about Americans who have money but feel guilty spending it, because they don’t want to be judged harshly by peers who have less.

This should make it easier to tell your friends, without embarrassment, that these mean times call for lean entertainment options. They might actually thank you for it.

Find intriguing alternatives

You can also be proactive and seek out interesting things to do that don’t cost a lot. If there’s any silver lining to recent hard times, it’s that many venues – ranging from nightclubs to museums – are offering deeply discounted social activities. Here’s one idea: If you regularly go out after work with your coworkers, check out the casual dining chains like Chili’s and TGIFriday’s during Happy Hour. The recession has wreaked havoc with this category of dining establishment, so after-work Happy Hours are now cheaper and longer.

For instance, near where I live, the local Champps restaurant/sports bar features a 4-7 p.m. Happy Hour with half-off appetizers. It’s not unusual to see coworkers coming in for one adult beverage, split several appetizers, and then head home only $10 lighter. Let’s face it, you don’t go out with friends to eat as much as socialize, and this is an economical way of doing it.

Tell a little white lie

This one comes from Wisebread.com, and it’s probably effective, albeit a bit devious…

It’s hard to suck up your pride and say to your friends, “I can’t go out because I don’t have the money.” So fib a little. Tell them you’ve committed to spending more special time with your partner. Tell them you’re cutting back on the bar to train for a race. Tell them you’ve joined a book group and have reading to do. Sometimes replacing one excuse (broke) with another (working on physical fitness) is easier because you’re not as emotionally tied to it.

A better idea, though, is to create financial goals and stick to them – then telling the truth will work just fine. Simply say something like “I’d love to go skiing in Aspen with you, but I’m committed to saving the down payment for a new house, so I simply can’t right now. “

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

Dollar stores have great bargains on both everyday and occasional purchases.

8 Things I Always Buy at Target
8 Things I Always Buy at Target

I grew up shopping at the original Target store and am a lifelong fan. Here are my favorite purchases.

30 Purchases That Will Start Saving You Money Immediately
30 Purchases That Will Start Saving You Money Immediately

Sometimes, you’ve got to spend to save. These canny deals are a good bet for savings.

7 Social Security Blunders That Can Ruin Your Retirement
7 Social Security Blunders That Can Ruin Your Retirement

Making even one of these mistakes can easily cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2020
3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2020

Still married to your cable company? Hold on to your wallet!

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car
This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car

Looking for a good deal on a set of wheels? This should be your first stop.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

10 Things the Pandemic Is Making Obsolete
10 Things the Pandemic Is Making Obsolete

Even if a COVID-19 vaccine is discovered tomorrow, it’s unlikely we will ever return to these ways of life.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?
Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?

You could save more than $30,000 by setting aside these costly expenses for just one year.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.