Frugal living isn’t always easy. Sooner or later your attempts at living the frugal lifestyle are going to be shot down. The other day a reader posed the question, “how do you deal with friends and family that like to spend more frivolously than you, and sometimes put pressure on you to spend more, or worse…they make fun of your lifestyle?”
Example scenarios that come to mind: dinner and a movie out with friends, multi-family vacations, and neighborhood parties. These are all times when the pressure for you to “keep up” is very high.
Constantly dealing with these situations and trying to live frugal at the same time can be challenging. Since life is worth living to its fullest and since becoming a hermit is not the answer, I’ve got a few guidelines for you to consider:
Keep in Mind that Frugality is YOUR Choice
One of the great things about this country of ours is the notion that (for the most part) you can make your life what you want it, increase your earnings, and spend your money on whatever you like. It’s a great freedom we have.
That being the case, you’re not responsible for the way others live their lives. If they want to spend wastefully all the time (or just sometimes), it’s their right. It’s (usually) not your place to tell them how to spend. Like a reader once said, the only time you should tell someone to quit spending wastefully is if they’re involving you (i.e. asking you for money). So keep the focus on what you can control: your own spending.
Additionally, remember that one person’s idea of frugal is not another’s. We all have our own frugal-o-meter, so to speak. That friend’s purchase that you’re questioning might be the only thing they’re splurging on at the time. Or, they may have all their other financial goals met, so they are free to spend how they please.
So the take away here is that if someone is pressuring you to spend, don’t look down on them, but have confidence enough in yourself and your goals to do what’s best for you at the time. If you’re friends and family are half-way reasonable, they’ll understand and take note.