Peer pressure can be a powerful thing. Just ask any teenager – if you can get them to talk without rolling their eyes at you.
But peer pressure, or influence, doesn’t just affect our youth. When you graduate and make your way out into the world you still have to deal with pressure from others, just in different ways.
One way others might influence you can be through what you buy and how you spend your money. Have you ever gone shopping with a friend and after you got home you looked at what you bought and thought, “What was I thinking?”
That is commonly referred to as buyers regret. But why have regret? More importantly, why let others influence our spending in the first place? Here are few reason we let others influence our spending.
We Want to Fit in
One of the reasons we may let other people influence what, where and how we spend our money is because we want to fit in. We tend to emulate what other people do and how they act without even realizing it if we have a sense of admiration for them. So, we buy similar things to what they buy and go to the same places they go. It makes us feel good to be a part of the group. We may even try to spend as they do, whether we can afford to or not.
Why do we care? It can be difficult to be the different one in a crowd. Sometimes other people make fun of you. Or they publicly humiliate you by announcing your differences to everyone within ear shot. If you have a low sense of self-worth it is especially difficult to be the person that others think of as different. So, we hide our low self-esteem by letting others manipulate us into buying things we might not even like.
We also may allow others to influence our spending habits out of habit. For example, if you come home from work nearly every night and spend the first hour surfing the internet and shopping, you have developed a bad habit that is probably increasing your spending.
Advertisements are everywhere and marketing campaigns are designed to draw you in and get you to buy their products. Break those bad habits you have that cause you to overspend and you will no longer be affected by marketing ploys. Why not join a health club or go walking instead? These are things that will benefit you.
Most of us have a natural desire to compete and it can spill over to our spending habits. Some of us try to “keep up” with neighbors and friends by always one upping them. Buying the new, latest and greatest products on the market.
For instance, why buy a new flat screen television if your old one still works just fine? Is it because your neighbor or best friend just bought the newest, largest T.V. available in stores right now?
What Can We Do Instead?
So now that we know some of the reasons why we let others influence our spending what can we do to change it? Perhaps we can stop competing with others and just be thankful for what we have. Be happy that our friends were able to buy and enjoy that new flat screen television. Or, rejoice in the fact that you are different from your friends and stop letting your fear of ridicule ruin your budget. It is likely you will be both happier and of better financial health if you do.
Do you find that others influence your spending?