Easy Tips to Save Money in Your Social Circle

Group of friends drinking wine at an outside restaurant table

Studio Firma / Getty Images

People are social creatures. We tend to mirror those around us.

So if you're trying to create your first budget, cut costs, earn more, or generally trying to trim unnecessary spending, you should take a long, hard look at the people around you.

Ask yourself a question. Does your social circle consist of good influences and role models, or are your friends and family encouraging unhealthy financial habits?

Tips to Save Money in Your Social Circle

Like it or not, our social circle—colleagues, neighbors, friends, family—​plays a huge role in shaping our attitudes and behaviors towards money. If you're concerned that the people in your life are not supporting your decision to live a more budget-conscious lifestyle, here are a few tips.

Pick Who You Hang out With Carefully

You tend to imitate those around you. I’m not saying you should completely give up spending time with your friends who are more carefree with their money. Income inequality can affect friendship in many ways, but, after all, friendship is priceless.

However, for the time being, maybe you should focus on spending your Friday nights with the portion of your friends that tend to be more cost-conscious.

If all your friends are getting the VIP bottle service at a night club, you may be tempted to do so as well. If you hang out with that group of friends that would rather get a frozen pizza and watch Netflix, then you’ll most likely do the same.

Suggest Cheaper Activities

How can you spend time with those friends who like to spend? Be the person who suggests activities.

Your friends might fall back on their standard habits of dining out at restaurants or hitting up bars if no one suggests an alternative. Taking it upon yourself to mention a different activity means you can pick something that’s both fun and wallet-friendly.

Going on a night hike, playing board games, playing soccer at the park, watching movies at home, or having a jam session in the living room are all great options.

As an added bonus, you may become more popular with your friends because they’ll no longer have to come up with fun ideas or activities. You’ll naturally become the central organizer within your group of friends. Who knew pinching pennies could lead to stronger friendships?

Get Your Spouse on Board (If You Have One)

Nothing can decimate your budget faster than a spouse who doesn’t share your vision or doesn’t enjoy following through with the execution.

By motivating your partner, you’ll also motivate yourself. Sometimes the best way to stick to a plan is by enlisting the help of an accountability buddy. There’s no one better than your spouse or partner to fill that role. You may even decide you need to keep money separate in your marriage.

What should you do if your spouse isn’t interested? Ask him or her to create a vision board to discover the underlying "why," the motive behind this new-found frugality. If they don’t understand your desire to budget, they might after recognizing that you're skipping a restaurant tonight so that you can make a down payment on a house, or retire five years earlier than planned, or get rid of your car payments once and for all.

You can explain that budgeting isn’t about depriving yourself of a few indulgences. It’s about inching closer to your big goals. Skipping dessert doesn’t feel like such a sacrifice when you realize the money you would have spent on the chocolate cake is now extra money in your Aruba travel fund.