Are You Enabling Your Friends To Spend Money?

Today we welcome back Daisy Flower, our Thursday contributor.

I was at the mall the other day to pick up a few things before going on yet another weekend trip to see my family. I ran out of some of my favorite makeup, so I was in Sephora looking to replace it. I am a big eavesdropper (I maintain that it’s not eavesdropping if the people are talking loud enough for you to hear it – then you’re just ‘overhearing’), and I was tuning in to a couple of girls’ conversation that were standing next to me.

What I Heard Shocked Me

The girls were looking at an expensive facial cream, discussing its merits. One girl was encouraging the other to try it out, but the other seemed reluctant.

“Why don’t you just try it and see if you like it? If not, just don’t buy it again”, the one girl urged. The other kept glancing at the price tag and waffling. The friend was acting as a pretty good Sephora sales associate, but “upselling” to her shopping buddy.

Then I Caught Myself Doing The Same Thing

I found myself doing the same thing when I was shopping with my mom on my trip, and caught myself in the act. My mom was looking at a dress in a store, and I was essentially doing the job of the sales person; trying to convince her to buy the dress and telling her about why it was great. I even heard myself say “you should buy it”.

I couldn’t help but wonder why this behavior is seen over and over – and why I,  as somebody who fancies herself frugal and fiscally responsible, was partaking.

Is it the desire to keep up with the Joneses? Is it instinct is to encourage our loved ones to do the same?

It’s human nature to be competitive and to want what you don’t, or can’t, have. That’s what keeping up with the Joneses is all about. Other people’s money is never going to be as important to us as our own is, so we don’t have that filter that we might have with our own spending.

We are more compelled to quell our desire to keep up with the Joneses, and less compelled to do the same with friends and family. Maybe because we want to see our friends and family happy and successful, we subconsciously encourage spending on things that enable them to keep up with the Joneses.

Are We Born Consumers Or Is It Taught?

Consumerism is forced upon us at a young age on TV, the radio, in magazines, and even in a subtle way in school through sponsorships and programs. Enabling friends and family to spend money, rather than save it, may just be a manifestation of that fact.

Or Maybe We’re All Trying to Sabotage Our Friends

We’ve covered that humans naturally have a competitive streak. Maybe we’re trying to sabotage our loved ones so that we can look better than them? I’m mostly kidding, but pressuring friends to buy something that they don’t need can be financial sabotage.

Do you enable your loved ones to buy things?

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  1. I actually do this to my mom a lot. I’m like, just get it Mom! It looks great on you!

  2. I definitely do this to my mom! They have been extreme savers their whole lives and have hardly bought anything for themselves. They’ve always been saving for a rainy day. But, now they’re older and I think they should spend their money and enjoy themselves! =)

  3. I’m joining the chorus here and saying that I do do this a lot to my mom too. Part of the reason though is because she can be so frugal sometimes and won’t spend money on herself even though she should as she’s got plenty in savings that the occasional treat won’t hurt.

    But for most other people, I actually try to tell them not to buy it if I can know them personally enough to do so–like my brother. He has so many tech gadgets and I always gently chastise him when he buys another. Obviously, my tips usually fall on deaf ears but I definitely don’t try to push him to spend!

  4. Since I rarely go shopping with my wife, I know I d o not enable. That being said, I know that if I need encouragement I will enlist her in my shopping. I think it is because I rarely shop.

  5. Definitely I done this before. And now as a Mom I give what my daughters like.

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