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Friends, Family and Money

There is some quote about how we are the sum of the 5 people we spend the most time with. 

I believe there is some truth in that.  The people we are around the most influence the way we think and behave.

So, if you are trying to live your life on a budget – make better financial decisions and stay out of debt, doesn’t it make sense to hang around with people that do the same things?

A great start is with your current social circle.  When they all want to go out on the town, suggest game night, or a picnic or something else that costs a tenth as much.  Explain to those who will listen that you are trying to make changes in your life, and that you are now on a budget.  Some may say something like “Sorry to hear that, we will miss you!”  Some are likely to ask about the changes you’re making – or realize that they would benefit from curbing their spending as well.  With any luck, some will come play a board game just because they are your friend.

It may take awhile, but if you stick with it your friend circle will begin to change.  You might find you spend less time with some than you used to.  You are likely to find some take a vested interest in your success with a budget – and may even make changes in the way they manage their money.   If you remain consistent, you will eventually realize that the group of people you are spending the most time with are more supportive of your money choices than not—and that will make it so much easier to be successful.

Family can be a little more of a challenge.  You don’t get to choose your family, but you can explain boundaries to them.  When they request that you participate in things that are outside of your budget, it is ok to tell them that you would like to, but that your budget doesn’t cover it.  They may complain or attempt to change your mind – just stick to your guns.  They may take longer, but even family will eventually come around to understanding that you have other priorities for your money, and that time spent together is more important than expensive activities.

In summary – making smart decisions about your money is nothing to be ashamed of.  You should be proud of what you are doing.  Draw some boundaries and stick to your priorities.  Eventually, your real friends and your family will support you. 


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