Frugal Student Tip #3 – Don’t Catch Spending Envy

Spending envy is contagious, but entirely preventable. Avoid spending money just because everyone else seems to be doing it. Frugal Student Tip #3: Don’t catch spending envy.

In other words: Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses.

It’s common to feel like you’re surrounded by people who have money to burn. (But, as I always say, maybe they do, maybe they don’t.)

You know who I mean — the suite-mate who’s always wearing the “best” brands, the guy buying coffee every morning (from the kiosk instead of stopping by the dining hall), the group who rushes from afternoon class to the student parking lot to go shopping and out to dinner (twice a week), the friend who always has the newest gadget the moment it is released.

It can be difficult to see others constantly going out, spending, upgrading their phones, on their new tablets, etc. It’s only human nature to want the same. Resist the urge to tag along. Curb the urge to get whatever they just got. While spending envy can be contagious, I’m happy to say it’s also entirely curable.

Remember, when it comes to spending envy, splurging on non-essentials is not a race — and you don’t win anything for keeping up.

When the envy virus strikes, simply take a step back and consider it impartially. With due consideration, you’ll see there are better ways to spend your time — and better ways to not spend your money.

What can you do when the trendy spendy crowd is off on their merry way? Do your own thing. Bring others along! Invite some of the spenders to a lower-cost outing, or look around for folks who seem to have similar budget needs.

Go ahead and go out to the coffee house once in awhile, but leave the $5.75 cappa-frappa-whatever concoction to the big spenders. You can get a standard coffee for far less, and it will come in one of those cool cups anyway. (You can add cream and sweeteners for free, if you need a little something extra with your caffeine delivery system.)

Hanging out with people who know how to have fun without spending a ton of money can be a solid foundation for friendship. It also can keep you on track with your personal long-term goals — you know, like finishing college without a mountain of credit card debt!


Further frugal reading:

56 things to do other than spending money

Coping with social spending situations

Pinterest Very Pinteresting! Find some frugal tips and ideas on our Pinterest board for Frugal College Students.

Find all the Frugal Student Tips here.

Author: Amy Widner

Amy is Vice President, Operations at Smart College Visit. She found her 20+ years of experience in corporate and higher education communication to be almost adequate preparation for her recent experience navigating the college search and admissions process with her oldest child. She finds joy in helping ease the process for all.

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