Is Peer Pressure Leading You to Spend More Money?

Most of us like to be liked. In some cases, that means going along with activities that we don’t particularly care for, or expressing opinions that we don’t necessarily agree with. In the name of peer pressure, we’ll often do things we wouldn’t normally do, just to fit in.

And that tendency extends to the way we spend money. Sometimes, when we see those around us spending money on certain things, or pressuring us to join them in an expensive outing, it’s hard to say no — even if it’s not something we want.

The Pressure to Be Like Others

There’s a lot of pressure to be like others in our world. It’s natural to want to be seen as “normal,” and that can sometimes mean that we spend money on the things that make us seem “like folks.” It’s tempting to buy the same clothes as those around us, or get the same gadgets. This type of peer pressure might not be overt, but it’s there, every day. At some point, you decide that it’s ok to go into debt in order to be like those around you.

What’s even scarier is the fact that you might be mirroring others’ debt as well. You never know, but it’s a very real possibility that the people you are emulating have their own debt. What if you are just being “normal” in the amount of debt you have for things you don’t really care for?

Going Out for Entertainment

Another way that peer pressure can come into play for your finances manifests in the way that your friends might decide to go out. Perhaps they like to go to expensive restaurants, or encourage you to come to the movies every weekend. It’s hard to say no, even if your entertainment budget has been spent for the month, when your friends are pressuring you to come out and have fund. It’s easy to be led to spend more than you have when you are more worried about entertainment than financial solvency. And it’s hard to focus on money when you want to be with your friends.

How to Fight Against Financial Peer Pressure

The best defense against financial peer pressure is a solid belief in your priorities, and contentment with your situation. Remind yourself that you are happy with your choices and your finances. Really consider your priorities, and make it a point to focus on the things that are most important to you.

Another possibility is to talk to your friends. Suggest alternative activities that aren’t as costly. True friends don’t need to be spending money to be happy together. If you can’t seem to break the spending cycle when you are with friends, maybe it’s time to start looking for others who have more in common with you and your values. It’s hard to move on, but at the same time it makes sense if you find yourself worried about the financial consequences associated with your current set.

What do you think? Do you sometimes spend money because your friends are? How do you overcome financial peer pressure?

About the Author

Miranda writes about financial topics for several web sites. Her blog is Planting Money Seeds, and her book, Confessions of a Professional Blogger, is available on Amazon.