There’s a belief that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Whether or not you buy into that, it’s inevitable that the people you surround yourself with influence your choices. And that includes your money habits.
You might have friends who love to eat out at cool new places. Or kick back at a speakeasy with a cocktail infused with branches. Or who spend big on new outfits every pay day. Their choices inevitably seep into your lifestyle, because you want to spend time with these people whom you value. You might catch up with them at that new restaurant and buy that next round. You might see their cute new outfits and join in when they’re shopping. And slowly but surely, that becomes your new normal.
There’s a separate issue of how your friends’ spending behaviour makes you feel, consciously or not. Social pressure from being bombarded with images of beautiful people doing amazing things on instagram, or who live in a beautiful house you could never afford, means we can often end up feeling inadequate and unhappy. Relativity is proven to hinder our happiness.
We need to talk
There are other elements of your relationships outside of how you socialise that can deeply impact your finances. Is it socially acceptable to talk about money, whether it’s about your pay or your debt? Is it considered lame or boring to be financially responsible? Do you have a friend whom you can ask for money advice? Do you have people around you to help you stay on track?
It’s undeniably difficult to be the responsible person on your own. But research published in Psychological Science indicates that if you’re low on self control, having strong-willed friends around you can help to make up for what you might lack. So having that friend/s around who is disciplined, whether it’s with spending, eating, drinking or exercising, may be a good thing for your long-term goals.
Thick as thieves
It’s also helpful to have a buddy or a partner-in-crime when you’re trying to do something difficult. Find the Amy to your Tina. A study at the University of Chicago found that having a friend for moral support when the stakes are high, strengthens your bond to one another. Having a friend to share small indulgences with, like sharing that slice of cake, also strengthens that bond.
It doesn’t have to be awkward or boring to pare back some of your spending. And it doesn’t have to be awkward or boring to talk about it. If you’re in a bit of a tangle when that credit card bill arrives, chances are it’s not only you that’s feeling that way, but some of your friends too.
Spend small, live large
If you’re anything like us, a financial diet is on the cards for January after indulging ourselves over the hols. Summer is here (in Australia) and there’s something about the balmy weather that makes us want to have lots of fun in the sun. But it doesn’t have to be costly to enjoy yourselves. Here are some ways to bring down the spending average of your five closest friends.
- Movie night
Appoint an alternating curator each time. No arguments. Just everyone forced to watch a movie of your choice.
- Pot luck dinners
Make one thing each and bring it along. Having a theme is fun, having no theme is funny. Ever had six people all bring dessert coincidentally?
Getting steps in and hanging out with your buddies. Win-win, unless it’s uphill. Ugh.
Who doesn’t love lying about on the grass in the sunshine?
- Board game night
This of course depends on how competitive your friends are. Ahem.
- Outdoor festivals (for example, Opera in the Domain)
It’s summer in Sydney, and there are loads of free events all over. Maybe not an option in the Boston winter.
Or glamp. It can be done.
- Free days at the museum
Get cultured or just listen while your friends do.
- Cook together
An especially fun one for date night.
- Find the best cheap eats in your hood
We’re on a mission to make it as easy and as joyful as humanly possible for anybody to be on top of their money. It’s not about getting rich, it’s about having freedom. We believe everybody deserves that.
The Carrots Money app is coming soon. Make sure you’re on the weekly carrot newsletter list to get on the waitlist 🎁