5 Ways to Relieve Spending Pressures

Friends at Dinner

It's hard to watch friends, or even strangers, living a lifestyle that appears more relaxing or exciting than your own. Whether you label the resulting emotions FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) or a yearning to Keep Up with the Joneses, the sentiment could push you to live beyond your means and interfere with your ability to build a firm financial future.

But there are ways to relieve the squeeze on your wallet without feeling like you're not part of the "in" crowd. Here's how.

1. Earmark your money

It's easy to say yes to excess spending when there's no obvious reason to say no. But when you're committed to setting aside a portion of your income to help achieve financial milestones, like buying a home, you can genuinely say you've set goals that require you to skip a particular expense. If you're honest about your money goals, you might even inspire others to set some of their own.

2. Do your research

Do you and your friends look forward to seeing the latest theatrical release on the big screen every few weeks? Maybe you're regulars at a local restaurant or call the shopping mall your second home. If your money leak is related to entertainment, eating out, or shopping, hop online and search for discount coupons to reduce those costs. You could also suggest a free or low-cost alternative, such as preparing a meal at home or meeting up during happy hour.

3. Reduce the time spent on social media

Scenic vacation spots, luxury clothing, and breath-taking homes are fun to browse on social media. Unfortunately, following these accounts and spending hours scrolling through visually appealing images can also negatively affect your mental and financial health.

Viewing these posts is fun and can even be a source of creative ideas. But trying to mirror a lifestyle you can't afford can be devastating.

If you feel sad or rack up debt trying to live a life you see online, consider unfollowing those accounts and cutting your social media time in half.

4. Stop comparing yourself to others

One of the quickest ways to trade joy for gloom is to compare yourself to friends, family, or strangers. Stay focused on your financial goals, and remind yourself of personal and professional accomplishments. Remember that your value isn't based on how much you earn or material possessions. It can take time, but learning to avoid the comparison trap makes it easier to keep a rein on finances.

5. Carry cash

Saying no to excess spending starts by setting limits. And that can be hard to do when you have a high limit credit card in your wallet. Leave the card at home and carry cash to tamp down impulse spending. Even debit cards can lead to overspending if you frequently convince yourself that you can simply replenish the funds by transferring money from other accounts.

Remove the unnecessary pressure that accompanies a desire to live someone else's life. Each time you choose your money goals over a frivolous expense, you'll move one step closer to your long-term financial dreams.