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A lot of factors affect your spending, and if you’ve ever sat down to create a budget 7 Useful Excel Sheets to Instantly Improve Your Family's Budget 7 Useful Excel Sheets to Instantly Improve Your Family's Budget It's not always easy to set up a family budget, but these seven templates will give you the structure you need to get started. Read More , you’ve probably given them some thought. But here’s one factor you probably never thought about in a financial way: your social circle. How your friends think and talk about money can have a big effect on the decisions you make, and it’s time to start giving it some thought.

Social media is especially replete with complications. You want to keep up with your friends on Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook, but what if they’re encouraging you to make bad financial decisions, even sub-consciously? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Are Your Friends Good Influences?

This is the first thing you need to think about. And you might not like the answer you come up with, so it’s a good idea to think very carefully and be honest with yourself (it’s worth spending some time journaling How to Jumpstart a Journaling Habit with 7 Simple Templates How to Jumpstart a Journaling Habit with 7 Simple Templates If you have a journaling template, you have a big advantage: you don't have to figure out what to write! Templates are time-savers and they also reduce the friction of starting. Read More about). What do your friends post about on social media? If they talk a lot about the things that they buy or spend money doing, it’s possible that they may have a negative influence on you when it comes to finances.

Take a quick scroll through your social feeds and see how many times your friends mention things that they spent money on, and whether you think they were good, financially sensible purchases. Are they sharing pictures of the new expensive clothes they bought, or excitedly talking about how much they saved by shopping on Craigslist? Are they showing off the fancy meal they had at a restaurant or bragging about how much they’ve saved after refinancing their student debt How to Save Thousands: Consolidate Your Student Loans How to Save Thousands: Consolidate Your Student Loans The average 2015 college graduate will have to pay back $35,000 in loans. Here's how loan consolidation can help. Read More ?

Look at the ways in which your friends talk about money online. Because people generally use social media to share only the best things Deep Down We're All Monsters. That's Why Social Media Is Great Deep Down We're All Monsters. That's Why Social Media Is Great We all know that social media updates aren't always authentic, but what's actually happening to our identity as we post that update to Facebook, or send that video over Snapchat? Read More in their lives, they’re much more likely to share pictures of their brand-new car than they are their credit card bill.

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You might not think that this sort of thing affects you, but evidence shows that your friends are hugely influential — and that can be positive or negative. If your friends are talking about the awesome places they went to eat last night, you will want to go out to eat. If they’re showing off their cool new kicks, you’re a lot more likely to go shoe shopping.

Even if you have a lot of self-discipline, you will need to use more willpower when your friends are influencing you to make financial decisions that you know aren’t good for you. And you can only resist so much temptation How To Work The Willpower Muscle How To Work The Willpower Muscle Some people don't have the willpower problem. What makes those productive people different? As it turns out, there's plenty of research on the subject, and the answer turns out to be pretty simple Read More .

Prune Your Social Feeds

What can you do about friends that might not be helping you meet your financial goals? The best thing to do is to prune your social feeds (you probably have too many Facebook friends 5 Reasons Why You Should Start Deleting Facebook Friends 5 Reasons Why You Should Start Deleting Facebook Friends Once upon a time, Facebook was all about adding; more social used to equal more fun. Not anymore. Now it's all about deleting. Read More anyway). You don’t necessarily need to unfriend people who spend a lot of time talking about what they’ve spent money on, but you can certainly mute them so you don’t see it all the time.

If you still want to see most of someone’s Facebook posts, but want to filter out ones that might not be a great influence, you can use an extension like F.B. Purity that lets you filter your feed Clean Up Your Facebook News Feed With Social Fixer Filtering [Weekly Facebook Tips] Clean Up Your Facebook News Feed With Social Fixer Filtering [Weekly Facebook Tips] Facebook has become a one size fits all social networking platform. The typical News Feed is filled with randomly mixed updates from friends, family, colleagues, and various pages. While you may want to see all... Read More by keyword. Get rid of posts that include words like “buy,” “bought,” or “spent” to start, and then look for other words that are often used in posts that might tempt you to spend money.

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It’s easy to follow a lot of brands and other accounts on Twitter that encourage to spend, and keeping tabs on a lot of celebrities can have a similar effect. Again, mute or unfollow them. It’s for your own good.

Instagram and Pinterest can be especially bad when it comes to putting ideas of spending into your head; even if you’re using Pinterest to find cheap DIY projects DIY Dammit! Makes Terrible Pinterest Crafts So You Don't Have To [Stuff to Watch] DIY Dammit! Makes Terrible Pinterest Crafts So You Don't Have To [Stuff to Watch] DIY Dammit is the antidote to bad Internet craft advice, overcoming failure with comedy and apathy. Read More or looking for #frugal or #savemoney hashtags on Instagram How to Find the Best Instagram Hashtags to Get More Likes and Followers How to Find the Best Instagram Hashtags to Get More Likes and Followers Hashtags are how your photos show up in the "Discover" tab, how other people find pictures, and they lead to more likes. But you probably need some help on using the right hashtags. Read More , you’re likely going to see a lot of posts that make you want to spend money

Again, go through and see if there are accounts that might be influencing you to spend money. Unfollow or mute them.

Be a Good Influence

In addition to minimizing the bad financial influences on your social feeds, you can strive to be a good influence and start developing a small community around positive financial habits How To Start Saving Money And Stop Spending With 4 Easy Habits How To Start Saving Money And Stop Spending With 4 Easy Habits One of the top new year resolutions on many people's lists is to spend less and save more. It's easier said than done, but you can still rely on several apps and tools to help... Read More . You don’t need to start a new Facebook group or create a new mastermind group How A Mastermind Group Can Help You Achieve More Goals How A Mastermind Group Can Help You Achieve More Goals The term 'mastermind group' is being thrown around a lot in the personal development sphere these days, but what exactly are they, do they work, and how could you set up your own group? Read More ; just post about when you make good financial decisions and encourage others to do so as well.

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Follow accounts that give out good financial advice and encourage you to develop positive habits, and share their posts with your friends. In addition to creating a more positive social media experience (or at least one that doesn’t encourage you to ignore your budget), you might also be helping improve someone’s life.

Being a good influence starts a great cycle of people helping each other out. It’s awesome.

Understand Your Financial Psychology

Making good decisions isn’t always easy, but if you understand why it can be hard to stick to your financial goals, you can do a better job. No matter how hard you work to keep your social feeds full of positive financial influences, you’re going to see things that tempt you, whether it’s something cool that your friend bought or a highly targeted ad that tries to take advantage of your particular situation.

Because you’ll always have to resist temptation to some degree, it’s a good idea to learn more about your willpower and what you can do to strengthen it. For example, being aware of how marketers try to trick you Do You Think Twice About These Online Shopping Traps Before You Buy? Do You Think Twice About These Online Shopping Traps Before You Buy? Retailers and marketers are using cutting-edge behavioral psychology to get you to buy their products, whether you need them or not. Do you know how they're targeting you? Read More into thinking that you need something can help you see through the ads that show up in your feeds (your friends might unintentionally be using these tricks as well).

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And if certain types of posts tend to motivate you to spend money more than others, it’s good to notice and think about that. Do food-related posts make you hungry and want to go out to eat? Maybe you should try to have a snack before scrolling through Pinterest. Do pictures of exotic locales make you want to buy an expensive flight around the world? Try having a microadventure How to Turn Your Next Vacation into an Adventure How to Turn Your Next Vacation into an Adventure Adventure is a state of mind. Take a few ideas from here when you want your vacation to be a compromise between new excitements and familiar relaxation. Read More close to home instead.

There’s an infinite number of different reasons you might feel compelled to spend money when you’re on social media, and just as many options for curbing the temptation. Spend a few minutes thinking about what gets to you and how you can make good financial decisions anyway.

How Are You Influenced?

Everyone has friends on social media that make them want to spend more money . . . even if you know that they only post the good parts of their lives. Learning to recognize and deal with this temptation is a great step forward in becoming more financially stable.

Do you feel influenced by your friends on social media? What good or bad financial habits do they encourage? How have you tried to create an environment that encourages you to make better financial decisions? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

  1. fcd76218
    July 1, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    While I agree with everything you say in your article, I would like to suggest that you look in your own backyard too. Almost daily there is a MUO article urging the readers to buy some "kewl" new gadget that they absolutely cannot get along without.

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