Have you ever gone out with a bunch of friends, had a great time but found your bank account much lighter when you got home? Or you went to store with a friend just to pick something up, but a few more items ended up in your bag? Whether or not you want to admit, sometimes friends can help enable poor spending habits.

You might want to take a hard look at your friends and avoid hanging out with these personality types:

Bargain Hunter
On first glance, you might think this friend is great to go shopping with. He knows where to go to get the best sales and always haggle his way into a better deal. However, if you find yourself buying things because it’s on sale and not because you need it, then your friend might be enabling a bad shopping habit.

Money to Burn
Money never stays long in this friend’s pocket. He likes to buy whatever catches his eye. Even if he’s got a trust fund or some other way to replacing that cash in his pocket, you find that when you’re hanging out, your money burns a little faster too.

The Latest Thing
Gadgets, video games, sports…it doesn’t matter what his interests are, except that he has to have the latest thing. Then he’ll bring his prize to you to show it off, and it gets you thinking, “Hmmm, I’d really like to get that.” Or worse, you’re at the store with your friend to pick up his latest prize and you find yourself picking one up as well.

Hey Look at That
This friend likes to browse, looking for things that catch his eye. When he finds that new, cool thing, he has to point it out to you. He may not have enough cash in his own pocket to buy it himself, but he has no problem helping you spend your money.

Mr. Mooch
Possibly the worst out of the bunch, this friend never pays his own way. There’s always an excuse, “Oh man, I forgot my wallet.” Or “Hey I had to pay for , do you mind covering me this time?” Regardless of the situation, he always finds a way to get something for nothing. You’re stuck paying the bill.

Sometimes you’re not aware that you’re hanging out with these spending enablers. However, if you find hanging out with the friends becomes a budget buster, then you need to look a little closer at who you’re spending your money with. Remember, at the end of the day, it’s you, not your friends who have to pay your credit card bills so make sure that what you buy is really what you need. Don’t let yourself get talked into spending money you don’t have.

About the Author
The following is a guest post from Kathryn Katz, a Certified Personal Finance Counselor who works for Consolidated Credit Counseling Services in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Their non-profit agency helps families through financial crisis using credit counseling, debt consolidation and financial education.

4 comments

  1. Joe Plemon // May 7, 2010 at 10:40 AM  

    You make a point that seems to be a part of human mindset: whether we want to or not, we tend to become like those we associate with. Have you ever seen the photos of people who look like their dogs? Well...maybe that is going too far.

    But we do need to be very deliberate about staying on our own spending plans no matter who we are hanging out with.

  2. Jerry // May 7, 2010 at 2:12 PM  

    I have found this to be true with some friends. If I'm completely honest about where we are financially and let people know that we can't do certain things then our true friends understand. It IS hard, though, and it can lead to misunderstanding if people think you're just blowing them off. The only insurance against this is to be totally up front.

  3. odysseustoday // May 9, 2010 at 12:33 AM  

    The Money to Burn friend is a great one to hang around when you are broke. These are the guys to go get a drink with as they will end up buying 1-3 rounds guaranteed. They also tend to be pretty outgoing which is nice for social situations.

  4. Robyn Davis Sekula // May 11, 2010 at 9:58 AM  

    This is a terrific post - I agree completely that you need to watch your friends and make sure they aren't encouraging you to spend money you don't have. This can be particularly true if alcohol is involved. I've cultivated a few friends that I'm content to sit at home with and have a glass of wine, and that's super-cheap entertainment!