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Social Media, Money, & Friends

by J. Money on Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Internet Knows dollar bill
So the 20 Something Bloggers posed an interesting question this week, and for once I thought I’d participate. Not because the others were weak or anything, but when it comes to money y’all know I’m ’bout it ’bout it! Plus, there’s an off chance of winning $100 ;) I know, I’m a slut.

Here’s the question, in question – feel free to answer it yourself in the comments below:

How do your friends and others affect your choices regarding money?

This is a GREAT question because friends usually DO have high influences over our money. And more oftentimes with the departing of it than the saving of it ;) A perfect example: 6th Grade.

How many of you were rockin’ Nike Airs back then? Or better yet, Reebok Pumps? (remember those?) 9 out of the 10 kids I knew had them and unfortunately I was the 10th without. I remember my mom telling me I was just as cool with my Ponys (back when they were originals, not trendy like the ones you see today), and that if people didn’t like me for who I was, over what I wore, they weren’t true friends. Well yeah D’uhhh! But who cared about that in school? We all wanted to be as hip as possible and get as many girls as we could – and it took Nikes to do it ;) The more expensive the better. Haha…

My point? If all our friends were doing it, we wanted to do it too – no matter the cost. Only back then we had the Bank of Mom & Dad to shut us down when we were actin’ crazy. Now it’s just you and your wallet, baby. You have free reign to spend it as you wish, and no one’s gonna know better if you don’t open up your mouth. And in fact, that’s usually what’ll happen – you won’t talk shop with your friends and everyone will think you’re peachy keen (shop = finances btw, not shopping. THAT we know you talk about ;) and yeah, I just said “peachy”)

And I’m not much better about it myself. With the exception of this blog, which I’ll get to more in a bit, I usually don’t talk about finances in real life unless provoked ;) It’s not that I don’t want to though (I do! a LOT a LOT A LOT!), but I just know how uncomfortable people can get in person. And I also know how fired up I get myself! If you’re in $10,000 debt and you wanna tell me about a 50% sale on those $400 jeans you just picked up, I’m gonna feel like slapping you. Even if they do make your a$$ look great (hey, I can slap you there! haha…).

But I also know that when people are seriously in need of help they will usually come seek it. It may not be face to face, or with me in particular, but with social media these days they can find hope and inspiration within seconds. And it doesn’t even matter if you’re friends w/ the source or not! I literally interact with hundreds of people a week and most of us don’t even know what we look like – what our real names are for that matter :) But that’s fine. We’re starting conversations about money and we’re putting it all out here for the rest of the interested-world to see. And we’re really HELPING people! You might never know it, but that last post or comment you sent around could have very well changed the way someone viewed their personal situation.

It’s also easier to connect this way. There are literally thousands of tweets streaming every hour with the latest tips, coupons, and financial news blips! Not to mention awesome check lists and quizzes like this financial fitness check-up tool I just scored a 95% on ;) Ow Ow! (You should try it out and see if you can beat me, it’s fun) And if you can’t take the spasticness of it all, a blog or Wiki is just a click or so away too. You can even read all of it in your underwear if you wanted ;) But the truth is there’s much more people talking about it online than there is out in the open.

So while I know I kinda went off topic here with today’s question, I guess I’m realizing that it’s more of the HOW part that’s affecting me, than the WHO. My real life friends are awesome as hell and I love them to death, but financially I am much more influenced by what people are sharing online these days than face-to-face. That means way less Nike envy, and much more healthy discussion :)

How about you? How do your friends affect your money?

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(Dollar design by J.Money…unless the Gov’t is asking)


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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 caroline June 30, 2010 at 8:07 am

My friends used to govern the way I spent my money. Whenever we would hang out, it would consist of shopping at boutiques or eating good (but price-y on a college budget) food. I always felt like I was keeping up with them so what I figured out was to charge everything. I guess I lived a “fake” life which was influenced by my friends. Now, I’m wayyy more smarter with my spending and finances. I don’t let others influence me. & even if I was to be influenced, I don’t let myself get stuck in that situation hence I don’t hang out with people who make me feel inadequate. So the younger me was heavily influenced and the present me isn’t perfect but I try to make my choices depending on my situation at the moment (which usually results in frugality).

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2 everyday tips June 30, 2010 at 9:21 am

I was broke growing up, so I had my Kmart Trax shoes and had to suck it up. Once I was a working teen, I bought things so I wouldn’t stand out like a freak, but I was no trendsetter by any means.

That being said, my struggles early in life have kind of set my tone for spending for life. Keeping up with the Joneses is the last thing on my mind. I want things that are functional, not flashy. If I am going to spend, it will be on vacations with my family as I value experiences much more than things.

Regarding friends, I have friends all over the economical scale. I have some that are incredibly well-off and I would go insane if I kept up with their spending. I have some that are barely getting by on unemployment. I just spend how I see fit and try to be responsible.

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3 Khaleef @ KNS Financial June 30, 2010 at 9:28 am

I can honestly say that I don’t let anyone influence my financial decisions. My wife and I discuss everything and base our decisions on the bible.

…But, yes I did have a pair of Reebok pumps back in the day! I still remember Dee Brown winning the Dunk Contest and pumping them up before his dunks!

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4 Meghan June 30, 2010 at 12:01 pm

The internet has changed the way I handle money for the better. Now I am the one bringing up financial discussions in daily life and hoping to inspire and help others!

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5 Carrie June 30, 2010 at 12:28 pm

my best friend in real life is just done with law school so she’s drowning in school loans but not done with the bar yet so she can’t start working so she’s currently in the position to be super frugal. we’re planning an eclipse matinee and lunch at chipotle with a buy one get one free coupon for our next get together.

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6 kt June 30, 2010 at 12:53 pm

most of them just make me want to spend more and more of it without thinking of the consequences. Needless to say i spend a lot of time away from them because this is a one way street that ends in the largest sinkhole known to me.

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7 Micki June 30, 2010 at 1:22 pm

I have gotten rid of my friends that are not properly spending there money. Quite mean, huh? Well I am a young professional just starting off and I am building myself up to be financial successful. Have you ever heard of the saying “Misery loves company”. I’m not miserable, so why hang with those that are?. I am changing my lifestyle, changing my life along with surrounds and it has made a differance. In my past, I found my friends governing my money. When I first saw this question, I thought “well they don’t have access to my checking accounts or savings account, so my answer is NOOOOO”. But I have a “former” best friend that is married. I remember she told me that her and her husband could not pay there rent and overall they were struggling. The next day, she invited me to go out shopping and spending $500 on Armani jeans. In my mind I was confused. I saw this never ending cycle over and over. Overtime, I did not spend as much as she did and place myself in financial mayhem but I did spend quite a bit.

What am I trying to say? It does matter who you hang out with and they may start to dictate your money with you knowing it or not even knowing it. THINK SMART, SPEND SMART and SURROUND YOURSELF WITH SMART PEOPLE : )…the end

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8 Nyx June 30, 2010 at 2:16 pm

@Micki-No I don’t think its wrong to ditch spendthrift friends. Its so easy to be influenced by friends, its better to have friends who understand why you hold back on spending.

I won’t say that I am not influenced by my friends, its easy to be jealous when you see friends buying, psp players, ipods, computers, etc. I’m focused on paying back my debt. Its almost paid off, just two more paychecks ought to do it. By paying back this debt, I’m learning that I’d rather wait for the stuff that I want, I’d rather save first. Even if I’m the last person in the group to own something.

I feel so stupid paying back debt, I hate paying for past mistakes in the present. Yes I had a good time in the past, but now in the present it sucks having nothing, that’s what I hate about debt.

Most of my debt is from dinners out, not from buying stuff. Ridiculous how you can spend yourself into debt by eating out. I didn’t think this was possible but it is! Too many dinners out to the Olive Garden. I live in Omaha, NE so its not like we get fancy here, but people here sure love to go out to eat. I’m learning to say no and limit dinners out to just the weekend or to once a week.

To answer J Money’s question, I had a pair of Nike shoes in middle school but not Nike Airs. I believe its possible to have fun with money without losing your brain. =)

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9 Micki June 30, 2010 at 2:50 pm

I work here in DC and eating out can be quite expensive which is where a small percentage goes toward each month. I am cutting it out in July and thereafter. (friends “had” an influence over that because I always feel obligated to pay or just eat out for the hell of it…lol).

To be truthful, the only debt I have is a student loan for $10,000. I work working here in DC trying to cut this debt out completly. Other than that I have no others. I am working on reducing costs in my life. I used to live in a studio apartment for $1118.00 plus living expenses which totaled to about $1602.45. I have managed to find a friend that wanted to rent out there basement in VA for only $800 plus my new living expenses which have totaled to $1028.00. I am sooo banking right now in comparison to my previous expenses: ). I say all that to say, my friends recently have influenced me to do better with my money by offering a new place to live where I can swallow up and save. ( If you noticed I write out my money to the penny, its just a way of being honest with myself)

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10 Miss Jane June 30, 2010 at 3:10 pm

My dad was pretty well off and there was a lot of peer pressure materialism happening when I was young (+ I was spoiled! :P ).

After my dad passed, I was pretty much broke all the time since I was never taught how to save and earn. I didn’t care about materialism and what my friends had compared to what I had in high school/college since they were all as broke as I was anyway. So unless you count my friend influenced choices of cheap alcoholic beverage, there wasn’t much anything else ;)

Lately, there has only been minimum influence (i.e. Friend with a bass amp they wish to sell and the like) and everything gets discussed with the finance first.

Scored a 92 on the test. Way better than it would have been a couple of years ago :)

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11 Christine June 30, 2010 at 4:13 pm

The worst way friends influence me is when they tell me about something new that they just bought! Then it’s like I want it!!! Haha usually I resist though. I definitely spend more though since through friends I know more about deals and such.

The worst influence in my life though is my boyfriend! I definitely spend a bit more going out and buying things when I’m with him. Though I have had an influence on him also, on curbing his spending habits. So in a way, it all kind of works out. Though sometimes its good because when he buys something, I don’t need to because I can just use his!

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12 Yana June 30, 2010 at 5:02 pm

It used to be that my friends and any kind of standard advertising did not affect the way I use money, but things have changed. What does affect me now is word-of-mouth on the internet. Some years ago, I saw a post offering a bonus to me and the poster for opening an account at ING Direct. I was not even a poster at that forum, but I bit. I didn’t even use the account for a couple of years, but then I did, and I’m still a customer. On the internet, I block most ads and scripts (have never clicked on any ad even prior to ad blocking), but one of the first things I bought online was an account at fastmail.fm I found out about them at a forum where e-mail providers are discussed, because I was looking for it. Love the product, and the company was recently acquired by Opera Software – another brand we really like. I love reading blogs by those whose opinions I respect and who show intelligence, as well as slashdot and reviews at amazon.com I have probably spent more money based on reviews at amazon than anything else.

The internet is my friend. And basically the only one that makes me spend money :P

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13 J. Money July 1, 2010 at 3:28 pm

@caroline – I love it! That’s exactly how I am these days :) Confident enough to spend when I actually truly want to spend, and still flexible enough to splurge here and there and not look like a total tightwad. Haha… and I use that word in a negative light (although maybe it’s definition is alos negative?). I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being frugal or stingy sometimes, but being a tightwad is the worse – when you save money at other people’s expenses and always mooching off of others on purpose. Bleh.

@everyday tips – Trax!!! oh man, haven’t thought about those in ages… I bet you could totally bring those back if you could find yourself a pair ;)
@Khaleef @ KNS Financial – Haha…. yeah man, if you rocked those you could jump so much higher than anyone else ;) Interesting that you base everything on the bible. Would be interested in hearing more if you had time to share? Maybe we can do a “Money & the bible” type guest post or something? Give it some thought :)
@Meghan – And we love you for it!!! The internet needs both questions AND answers for it to work so well, so keep on starting the convos baby!
@Carrie – Bad ass. Matinees are underrated too – there’s nothing like walking out into the sun afterwards and pondering what your eyeballs just consumed. Always better to decide if you’re on Team Jacob or Edward while you’re wide awake and not falling asleep ;)
@kt – That’s too bad. If you were here in DC you could hang out with all of us! :)
@Micki – Passionate much?! Haha…love it. Sad that your friends are in the never ending cirle (aka the rat race), but good for you in realizing you needed to break it. I hope you can find some new, more normal, friends to hang out with! Sharing financial similarities is great for relationships.

Btw, didn’t know you were in DC – I am too :) So totally get how expensive it is around here. Well done for changing up your living situation – to be totally honest I’d sell our house and get back to renting/sharing a place in a heartbeat if I could. And if the Mrs let me ;)

@Nyx – Don’t feel stupid for paying down debt!!! Debt-payers are ROCK STARTS! And guess what? We ALL have had, or currently have, debt right now – it’s all apart of the game ;) We make mistakes, we pick ourselves back up, and we try to avoid them going forward. Even though we’ll still slip and make mistakes again :) Keep that head up and know that you are getting that much closer to Financial Freedom and stress-freeness! Not many people can say they’re doing that.
@Micki – Hey,
@Miss Jane – Awww, well good job! Sorry to hear about your father, that always makes me sad. My wife lost hers early on too – you girls are strong for going through all of that ;) I can’t even imagine.

@Christine – Haha, yup! And usually our friends are buying new things left and right trying to tempt us ;) Keep staying strong over there though, you’ll be a lot better off in the long run.
@Yana – HAH! That’s a very interesting way of looking at it….but man, that is so true. I’m much more influenced by friends & reviews online than I am in random advertising. Esp if it’s a blogger I read a lot or if I’ve heard it like 5 times in a day(this recently happened to me with LivingSocial.com – it was like BAM! Everyone was talking about it and I had to see what the fuss was about ;). Great realization!

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14 nyx July 2, 2010 at 2:41 am

Thanks for the encouragement J Money =)

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15 finallygettingtoeven.com July 2, 2010 at 12:22 pm

I have never let anyone else influence me on anything. I have always danced to the beat of my own drum and my parents even used to ask me repeatedly “Why is it the whole rest of the world is going to the right and you insist on going left”?… because…I AM ME..! I am not a follower, can’t say I am a leader either ‘coz most people are still asking “why ARE you even doing that?” That’s okay, I have always had the mindset, “you don’t like what I am wearing, doing, saying– then don’t look at me, it IS just that easy”…I was that way throughout my childhood and still am now. It must have worked because even though I was the 11th kid not wearing the Nikes, (yup, K-mart for me too) I still had tons of friends and was liked by the majority of the people. With me what you see is what you get, no pretenses, and I won’t talk behind your back either.

With all that being said, ever since I have found this here internet and the world of blogs, websites, etc with interests the same as mine I have opened up a whole new world of friends. My ‘real life friends’ bore me…(sorry, but it’s true… we really have not much in common but we still like one another as people and if asked I probably bore them too) anyway I have found people ‘like me’ and I really enjoy the daily interactions with others that want to talk about the same things I do. Social media for me has been a great addition to my life and I look forward to a lot more goodness coming my way each day. Does it influence me, in a way, mostly because I look forward to reading what others are saying. And now that I have my own blog and can express my opinions to the world (sorry people….) I enjoy posting and I get a kick out of seeing just how many people are stopping by and listening to what I have to say….

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16 Aury (Thunderdrake) July 2, 2010 at 12:35 pm

For me, one of the most pimping things right now is having a rock solid asset column that will let you buy all the doodads and Nikes as one wants. :P

I think it was smart of you to have taken the route to make your own financial decisions based on those you hang around with online. We all got pretty similar goals, I suppose you can say. <3

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17 J. Money July 2, 2010 at 2:13 pm

@nyx – we’re all encouraging each other, baby!

@finallygettingtoeven.com – Keep it up over there!!! You really can’t go wrong being YOU unless you’re like an axe murderer or something (you aren’t, right? RIGHT?). Staying true to yourself is always something I’ve admired about people – and something I have to at times double check w/ myself. Not that I try being others or change my ways on purpose or anything, but just that I can easily start molding my actions depending on who I’m hanging out with at times (non-financially that is). I always come back to ME though when I realize it.

@Aury (Thunderdrake) – You got that right. It’s personally MUCH better knowing you can buy any of this stuff if you really want to, but that you don’t *HAVE TO*. Such a huge difference having control over your own spending actions like that ;)

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18 Katie July 3, 2010 at 2:31 am

My friends only influence my spending when we are all together in a drinking establishment and I have already had a few too many. Then it is time for the shots to come out for some reason. Thus, I have stopped going to the drinking establishments. If we want to endulge in some adult beverages, we can do it at home where the budget is already decided and by the time we want to break it, we can’t, either physically or legally. :)

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19 J. Money July 3, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Hah! I know that oh too well my friend. A little pre-party action at home never hurt anyone!

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