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Fighting Debt While Surrounded by Spenders

Aug 14, 2008
We live in a society dedicated to spending money. If you're determined to control your spending, but you are surrounded by people who spend a lot of money, you have a challenge. It can be difficult not to spend when others are spending. Spending is kind of contagious, in a way.

This is particularly difficult if you eat lunch with coworkers. You may enjoy their company, and want to eat with them, but if they're constantly going to restaurants while you bring your lunch from home, you feel torn. You want to eat with your friends, but you don't want to spend the money to eat in a restaurant.
You may feel that refusing to spend money makes you look poor. In our society, there is a reluctance to say, "I can't afford it." Many times, when we just say, "I don't want to spend the money," we feel people think that we're broke. Our egos get caught up in this situation and we want to prove we can afford it. So we spend the money, whether we can afford it or not.

There are a couple of things to understand and realize in this situation. First, your friends probably do not interpret "I don't want to spend the money" as a statement that you're broke. They probably take it at face value. But second, it doesn't matter what they think. You are not obligated to spend money you don't want to spend, just because someone else is spending money. They're spending their money; you're making your own choices about your money.

Practice saying, "I would rather keep my money in my wallet." If you feel you need an explanation beyond that, tell people you're saving for something in particular. You don't actually have to explain your spending decisions to anyone, but if you feel you need to, explain that you're spending on certain things and not spending on certain things, to achieve your financial goals.

You are not a bad person if you don't spend money. In fact, most people will actually admire and respect your ability to save your money and reach your financial goals. They might not express that respect, but that's not your problem.

One of the best things you can do to control your finances and reach your dreams is to keep track of your spending. You may already know that by writing down what you spend, you have a better idea of where your money goes. This helps you focus your spending on things that matter.

It's also a good idea to track what you would spend when others spend. For instance, if you eat lunch with coworkers and they bring back restaurant food while you eat food from home, write down how much you would have spent on lunch. If everyone goes out for coffee and you get water or stay in your office, how much would you have spent?

Keep a record of your savings. When you begin to rack up huge savings over the course of a few months, you'll have even more incentive to keep your money in your wallet unless you're the one who wants to spend it.
About the Author
Read the blog http://www.zero-out-my-debt.com for the latest tips and information on debt elimination and debt reduction .
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