We all have that one friend or know of somebody who always pressures us to go out. They’re often the same friend who always has new clothes, drives a great car, and always has the latest smartphone or other must-have accessory.
How often do you find yourself saying yes to going out when you can’t really afford it? Do you feel like you need to buy the latest clothes and gadgets just to keep a social life?
If you do, and your spending is starting to feel like it’s getting out of control, it’s time to make changes before you’re left facing a mountain of credit card repayments or other debts. Let’s look at what changes you can make to regain control and fix that leak in your savings account.
Staying in might not be the new going out, but it sure is cheaper
“Staying in is the new going out” sounds like a wonderful trope until you realise there’s nothing on TV and you’ve watched everything you’re interested in on Netflix and Stan. Twice.
That’s where your friends come in.
A night in with your friends can be just as fun as a night in town. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper, too.
Next time your friends ask you to come out to a bar, invite them around instead.
Find shared hobbies and try something new
Most people have different hobbies that they engage in with different social groups. In some cases, your main friendship group won’t even know about some of your other interests.
Ask your friends what they get up to when they’re not with you, and whether they might be open to sharing one of their hobbies with you. You may find your friends have more in common with you than you originally thought! Just make sure to suss out whether there are any significant costs involved with getting started.
If you meet at the same place regularly, change it up
Sometimes coming up with new and exciting activities to participate in with friends can feel like a chore after the monotonous 9 to 5 – but it doesn’t have to!
If the local bar is starting to seem like your second home, it’s time to get out of that rut. Get each of your friends to take the lead for a night – and be open to going places that you wouldn’t usually consider. To keep costs low, place a limit on the amount you’re each required to spend to participate. For a real challenge, why not make your outing a free activity? Some of the best nights are those that require you to be creative.
Stop comparing yourself
Often, the real problem most people have is that they’re struggling financially because they feel pressured to keep up with everything their friends are doing.
It can seem like the most difficult thing in the world to be at peace with the fact that you may be at different stages in life, but once you do it can be liberating.
So, what if your friend earns more money than you? If they can afford to go out for dinner three nights a week, good for them. It doesn’t make your life any worse, nor should it reduce your own feeling of who you are and what you’re worth.
You’re you. Be you and be happier for it. Trying to keep up with others won’t bring you happiness in the long term.
Expand your network and meet new people
Sometimes, people are stuck in their ways and are reluctant to change. Some of your friends might love their lifestyle and, harsh as it may sound, may not be too worried about your financial situation if they’re okay. If you’re determined to make a change and you know that your current friendships aren’t helping you, it might be time to get out and meet new people.
This isn’t a call to arms for you to ditch your friends, but there are times in life when we outgrow people – or they outgrow us – and we need to reach out and look to build relationships with new people who share our perspective on life.
Your friends will still be your friends, you’ll just have new friends that you can do enjoyable, fun things with that suit your goals. You can still do things with your current group; just participate at a level of spending that you are comfortable with.
It’s so easy to fall into a rut of allowing other people’s habits and lifestyles to directly influence our own financial wellbeing. However, you need to be strong enough to make the necessary changes to your life. Leading a lifestyle that is unsustainable for you has the potential to affect you for years down the line. Is it really worth it just to keep up appearances?
Disclaimer: This article contains general comments and recommendations only. This article has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before taking any action you should consider the appropriateness of the comments made in the article, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. If this article relates to the acquisition, or possible acquisition, of a particular credit product you should obtain and consider the relevant disclosure documents before applying for the product.