Kick them in the shins and run.
(kidding pls don’t do that)
Let me just start by saying….
This. Makes. Me. Angry.
I understand that a large portion of the world doesn’t care about their finances. That’s fine. It’s stupid, but it’s fine. I can’t control them (yet) and can’t stop them from making terrible financial decisions just to appease their peers or create some instant satisfaction. And frankly, I don’t try to!
And yet…when the situation is flipped, people feel like they can and should tell you what to do with your money, as long as (goodness forbid) it’s not something responsible and smart – like paying off your debt. Buy a new bag? Yes! Take a vacation on a whim? Of course – life is too short to get out of debt! Go for dinner when you can cook at home? Obviously, what else are restaurants for??
As you can probably tell I have been victimised by debt-lovers. YES, VICTIMISED. It’s not dramatic (it definitely is), it’s accurate.
The difference between peer pressure spending and normal spending
Now, this is not really an official thing, but I’m making it one right here and now –
Normal spending on things you need or truly want – this is money spent on items or activities which truly enrich your life. You would choose to spend your money on this to share it with people you love, to make yourself a better person or maybe because it’s something you’ve saved up for and have dreamed of buying with your hard earned cash.
Peer pressure spending – this is money spent on items or activities which do not enrich your life. This is something you might spend money on because people won’t leave you alone until you do or maybe to fit into your surroundings (hello high school MB). This isn’t something which brings you true joy or makes you a better person or enables you to spend time with people you freaking love to death or even helps you survive!
Why my feathers are ruffled:
My team at work goes on an annual ski trip for a weekend every year. The total cost is anywhere from £500-£600 when you include flights, accommodation, ski lifts, equipment rentals, etc. Most of the dinner and drinks are picked up by the senior management which is extremely generous and does make a dent in the cost. It’s a lot of fun and really good for getting to know people and having a looooot of fun. But it’s expensive.
I went my first year (January 2016) and liked it a lot, but I was also living in a situation where I was barely paying rent so I went (and debt-repayment wasn’t the most important thing back then for me).
This year, I’ve decided not to go and that is so hard for me. Especially when members of my team are giving me such a hard time about it. The lead partner of my group even called me out in front of everyone about it (kind of jokey, but of course my face was completely bright red and flushed).
“That’s what overdrafts are for!” and “why else do you have a credit card” are only 2 of the many, many ways I’ve been pressured to go on this trip.
I have severe FOMO and I also give in to peer pressure relatively easy (sorry mom) when it comes to stuff like this, so normally by now I’d have impulse-purchased the flight….
But I haven’t caved and I’m not going to! I’ve devised a little plan to help me resist this and any other money-spending activities which are not necessary or really important. Hopefully, if you’re also a victim of peer-pressure-spending © (yes, now it’s copyrighted because it is actually a thing) this will help you – know you are not alone!
3 tactics I use to resist PPS
‘1. 24 hour rule. When I’m being told I should definitely spend money on an activity (i.e. ski trip) I’m waiting a FULL 24 hours before booking anything, committing to anything, etc.
I’ve used this tactic twice now and avoided buying plane tickets twice in a row! A cooling off period is one of the most powerful tools you can use against peer pressure.
2. Putting the cost in real terms – I actually learned this from my boyfriend and it really, really helps. An example would be – ski trip costs about £600 all in, here are the things I‘d rather (or have to) spend £600 on that I can use that money for:
- Rent is £625 – so this is basically putting a roof over my head for an entire month
- Round trip tickets to America – I’m visiting my family next year back in the U.S. and this amount will buy me an entire round-trip flight! I will have not seen them for over a year at this point, so it’s pretty important.
- An amazing, week long holiday next summer with people I love and want to spend my free time with. I’m not saying I don’t love my team at work, but spending 2 very boozy days with them after spending about 80% of my time with them isn’t high on the list of priorities!
- Oh, I don’t know – paying back my debt that much earlier. That’s the kind of money that can move my net worth from the neggies to a number following a ‘+’ sign when I’m down to the last stretch.
3. Have a friend keep you accountable – this is something I’ve done by accident but has genuinely stopped me from buying the flights for this trip on at least one occasion (I know, I’m weak lol).
My friend is also not able to go on this particular trip (which helps b/c it would be not as much fun without her) so we made a pact to stop each other from going down the rabbit-hole of “maybe I should go.” This is probably one of the best ways to stop yourself from taking a leap that you will regret, because it’s not something you need or truly deeply want. It’s something that you’ve been pressured into purchasing.
Find a person who will remind you of all of the logical reasons you set out at the beginning for not wanting to spend your money on this thing/activity!
Most of all, I’m trying to remember that I am doing the right thing by paying off my debt as quickly as I can. I want to be free of the payments and the stress and put my money into a down payment for a home or a real emergency fund. It’s what I want and what I know is the best path for me.
ps i was having fun w the gifs sorry
Day 6 – No-spend-November update: I’m one week in and haven’t spent a penny on clothes or eating out! I’m super proud and this is easier than I expected!!