Give Me Back My Five Bucks

How do you deal with peer pressure spending?

We’ve all experienced peer pressure spending before. And for me, one of the most frustrating things about trying to pay down debt, save for a goal, or trim that monthly budget, is having to say no to spending money on occasion. I was so used to saying yes to everything, and while I had fun and felt included, it came with a steep price tag.

Saying no is not usually easy. You don’t want to miss out on the fun things that your friends are doing! But you need to make sure you don’t lose sight of your goals and why you’re trying to spend less in the first place. Sometimes your friends won’t understand, but your friends aren’t the ones in control of your future.

Here are a few techniques I’ve used in the past to try and spend time with my friends – without breaking the bank:

Suggest a different activity

Sometimes someone suggests a certain activity simply because it was the first thing they thought of. So if you’re asked out for a late dinner, suggest meeting up at a coffee shop instead. Or, better yet, you could throw on a pot of coffee, fix up some snacks, and invite them to your house instead! Instead of spending an evening dancing at the bar, try taking a drop-in dance class at a studio or gym instead. Or, instead of paying $10 to go to the gym, grab your friends and go jogging outside – or put on a fitness DVD and invite them over to your house instead.

This is especially effective when your friends want to get together to watch “the big game.” Instead of heading out for beers and greasy pub food, offer to host everyone at your place instead. Your friends will bring the food and alcohol – all you have to do is clean up after they’re gone. And if you’re lucky, a few good friends will stay behind to help you with the dishes. :) I once had an acquaintance help me scrub my kitchen floors by hand after a particularly rowdy get-together the evening before.

For every expensive activity your friends suggest, there is a cheaper activity that can be just as fun. Use your imagination and see what you can come up with!

Create a challenge and invite your friends to participate

I love a good challenge, and a great way to deal with peer pressure spending is to create goals you can achieve together as a group. Challenge yourself to bring your lunch to work for an entire month, or instead of heading out for a $5 latte in the afternoon, try drinking the free coffee in the break room for as many days as you can. Once you’ve decided on challenging yourself to a specific goal, ask your friends or co-workers to join you. That way, you’ve eliminated the chance of peer pressure spending, you can support each other in an effort to save money, and you can be social with them at the same time.

Spend less money

This might seem like an obvious thing to do,b ut sometimes when you’re with friends, you can get caught up in the excitement. Before you know it, the bill comes and you’re out $60. There are plenty of ways to save money at restaurants, such as ordering a bowl of soup instead of a meal, splitting entrees with friends, skipping the alcohol, or leaving out appetizers and desserts.

The same goes for when you’re traveling – sometimes you just have to say no. Especially when there are things your friends want to do that you just don’t want to spend money on. On my trip to NYC last year, I opted to skip out on spending $75 to see a Broadway show (it’s just not my thing). When traveling Europe, I’ve elected not to pay to see certain things because they just don’t interest me. And that’s okay! If there’s something you really don’t want to do, it’s okay to say no. Believe it or not, your friends will understand.

Find other ways to contribute

If you are invited to a party or a potluck, but can’t find the money to buy a bottle of wine, or a specific dish you’ve been assigned to bring, ask if you can bring games, a few DVDs, some music, or even offer to help clean up after everyone leaves instead.

Be honest with yourself and your friends

If your group of friends are always doing activities that are out of your price range, sometimes being honest is the best approach to take. You don’t have to go broke or into debt just to get a little social interaction into your life. Your true friends will understand and be sensitive to your financial situation. Chances are, they’ve been in that position before, and might even be able to suggest cheaper alternatives to the activities they have been used to doing.

For me personally, peer pressure spending is harder now than it was when I was broke and trying to get out of debt. At least then, being in debt was something most people could relate. But now my friends and family know how much money I make, and they know I can afford most things if I really wanted to. But just because you have the money doesn’t mean you need to spend it. :)

How do you deal with peer pressure spending?

Spending Recap: April 16-22, 2012

Monday 16th – Seville, Spain
$45.62 (€35) roundtrip train to Seville
$7.56 (€5,80) breakfast
$1.69 (€1,30) entrance fee to Metropol Parasol
$15.64 (€12) lunch
$3.26 (€2,50) souvenir magnet
$9.12 (€7) dinner

Tuesday 17th – Malaga, Spain
+ $155.99 freelance income
$1.82 (€1,40)
subway to airport
$10.56 (€8,10)
breakfast
$19.55 (€15) taxi to Baden-Baden train station
$22.48 (€17,25) train to Stuttgart
$0.65 (€0,50) chocolate bar
$7.82 (€6) doner kebab
$8.12 (€6,23) groceries

Wednesday 18th
$26.07 (€20) dinner & drinks

Thursday 19th
+ $42.50 freelance income
$6.52 (€5) laundry

Friday 20th
+ $350 freelance income
$4.56 (€3,50) public transit

Saturday 21st – Munich, Germany
$3.26 (€2,50) public transit
$9.78 (€7,50) snacks
$3.84 (€2,95) souvenir
$23.46 (€18) dinner & drinks
$3.26 (€2,50)
public transit

Sunday 22nd – Munich, Germany
$3.26 (€2,50) public transit
$5.21 (€4) breakfast
$3.78 (€2,90) coffee
$3.45 (€2,65) lunch
$27.37 (€21) Dachau Memorial Concentration Camp
$16.95 (€13) dinner
$3.26 (€2,50) public transit

WEEKLY EXPENSES– $297.92
WEEKLY INCOME+ $548.49

TOTAL: + $250.57

I meant to get more organized this month so that I could have all of my posts written out in advance. Well, I had the topics in mind, I just couldn’t find the time to write them. So I apologize again for being a little behind in posting. It seems so spoiled of me to say this, but I’m getting a little tired of traveling. Not that I don’t love exploring new places, but I never seem to have enough time to work. I much prefer the pace of working during the week, and traveling on the weekends. I’ve only been home for 5 days this month, and that’s not nearly enough time to get a month’s worth of work done.

As for last week’s spending, I think I did okay considering I was traveling. In fact, we’ve been eating so much delicious food that I think I must have gained at least 5 pounds! :)

Trip Recap: Spain

I headed on vacation to meet up with a friend from back home. We spent 5 days in the south of Spain, and we were also able to get to Gibraltar, which was a crazy experience. Last week’s trip to Portugal had me wanting to explore more of the country, but this was the first place where I can honestly say that I’d love to go back. There were so many things that I wasn’t able to do – like hike El Caminito del Rey – which is supposed to be the world’s most dangerous hike (check out this review) … and I would have loved to have taken a day trip to Morocco. But… maybe we’ll be able to make it back there one day. :)

Cost

Accommodation (6 nights): $62.28 (€48) – HostelBookers.com sponsorship
Transportation: $185.33 (€142,83)
Food
: $201.77 (€155,50)
City Transit: $80.94 (€62,38)
Entertainment: $41.97 (€32,35)
Miscellaneous: $7.07 (€5,45)
TOTAL: $579.36

Transportation

This was another RyanAir flight, so I had to endure over 6 hours of roundtrip travel just to get to the airport. And the worst part was, my flight to Spain was so early on Thursday morning that I had to book a hotel at the airport (€48) – no trains or buses would run early enough to get me to the airport for 5am! So my $111.37 (€85.83) roundtrip flight actually ended up costing me $247.61 when you factor in train tickets to the airport, and the hotel I had to get. :|

Accommodation

(note: my stay was provided free of charge by HostelBookers.com and the Oasis Hostel Malaga, but my reviews are always my honest opinion of the places that I stay in.)

We stayed at the Oasis Hostel Malaga, which is conveniently located right in the city centre. Dorm rooms start at just €13/night, and we stayed in a mixed 8-person dorm room for the duration of our stay. Everyone who stayed in our room was extremely friendly and sociable, and the hostel had plenty of amenities to keep everyone happy – including a rooftop terrace and bar, free use of computers, a kitchen, and plenty of space to lounge around. And, since I was the only girl in a room of guys, I never had to fight for the washroom. :) I also liked how there was a full washroom located in the common area. There were a couple of super early mornings where I took my stuff down there to blow-dry my hair, so that I didn’t wake up my roommates.

The picture here is of my bunk. We had drawers to lock away our belongings, and that small backpack (which, when not stuffed full, complies with RyanAir’s super strict carry-on baggage rules) is all I brought with me – a week’s worth of clothing, toiletries, camera, purse, and all of my laptop stuff.

A few small complaints: my key card stopped working every day for some reason, the front desk staff were often not at the desk (although to be fair, it was later in the evening when it was less busy, but still), and even though they had signage for reading lights and hair dryers, they didn’t actually have any for rent. But really, you can’t beat the price or the location of the hostel, and I’d definitely stay here again.

So if you’re looking for hostels or cheap hotel accommodation in Malaga, make sure you check out the HostelBookers website.

Food

I will be the first to admit that I spent way too much money on food. But I got to try all of the dishes people recommended to me – spanish omelette, seafood paella, and lots and lots of tapas. :) And the wine! It was always so, so good. My favourite dish was at a restaurant called Gorki – it was chicken gizzard pate (hey, don’t get grossed out, it was amazing) over artichoke hearts. Growing up in Vancouver, I’m used to a steady diet of seafood. So the last two weeks spent in Portugal and Spain have really been a treat because, well, in Germany, there’s not much seafood. :)

  

Entertainment

We based ourselves in Malaga, and it was a cute city. I really liked the walkway down by the water, although for a beach destination, it was a bit of a disappointment. The beach was not nearly as nice as Faro in Portugal. But it was just a little too cold to go in the water anyway, so it wasn’t a big deal.

Our first day trip was to Gibraltar! The bus was just €12,29 each way, and it was completely worth it. The station is located in La Linea, then you have to walk across the border into Gibraltar – which is a British territory. It was kind of weird to go from all Spanish people, to hearing British accents everywhere. :) There, we spent €25 on a 2 hour guided tour of The Rock. And while I don’t usually like tours or tour groups, this one was well worth it because the area is just so big (we were just there for the day), and the lift that goes up The Rock was broken. Afterwards, we went down into the city and ate fish and chips.

Our second day trip was to Seville, and what a beautiful city! I got to see the Metropol Parasol – and is supposed to be the largest wooden structure in the world. From there, I just walked around the water, and all the way to the Parque de María Luisa, which is quite possibly the most beautiful park I’ve ever been to. In my opinion, it even rivals Central Park in NYC!

  

  

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