Managing money can be hard enough when it is just yourself. When friends and peers get involved things can get even more complicated. Everyone struggles at one point or another to balance pleasing friends and being responsible with money.

How can we deal with situations that pull at both our friendships and our wallets? Here are 5 tips that have worked for others. Practicing these can help set you up for a lifetime of healthy spending habits and better navigate peer pressure.

Tip #1 Limit Yourself to Cash on Hand
Many don’t realize how essential it is to know how much money they have at any given point. Paying with cash is helpful because you can only spend what you have on you, and it is easy to divide up funds to keep some stashed away for a rainy day.

Tip #2 Have a Game Plan
If you know you are going out to a movie with your friends, plan ahead for the potential money traps. Researching online for the cost of a movie ticket will help prevent any sticker shock. Maybe you’ll want something sweet to eat during the movie. Instead of paying for overpriced (and sometimes even stale) popcorn, plan to bring your own M & Ms from the corner store rather than coughing up the extra money at the concession stand.

Tip #3 Know Your Needs
Ask yourself this question with every purchase: Do I really need it, or do I just really want it?

It’s wise to know what is essential and what is just extra. “Treat Yo Self” culture can really put the pressure on you to make impulse buys. Making your needs the priority should always come first. This means knowing what you need now and what can wait till later.

Tip # 4 Keep Reality In Check
Social Media influences everything from the way we talk, to the experiences we desire, to buying the latest and greatest promoted item. Being aware that what you see on the internet is definitely not what you see in reality keeps the pressure off. Trends are fun, and you can allow yourself to indulge from time to time. However, it’s important to be able to resist social media pressure. Balancing your spending with ideas like “High/Low fashion”, which means buying one more-expensive piece like a pair of designer jeans and pairing it with a basic affordable item like a white tee shirt from the sales rack is just one way to get the best of both worlds.

Tip # 5 Keep Real Friends in Your Circle
Peer pressure is all about the people in your circle… both inner and outer. True, loyal friends will respect your feelings and choices about how you spend your hard-earned money. Putting some distance between you and the people who don’t really have your back when it comes to spending habits may seem harsh. Saying “No” and setting boundaries can be difficult. True friends will find a way of understanding and supporting your needs and decisions, and hopefully you will be able to do the same.

Here’s to making smart choices when it comes to spending habits and the friendships you build.

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