Tips for handling peer pressure
Eating in—while your friends eat out
Your friends may always want to eat out instead of going to the cafeteria. If you or your parents paid for a meal plan, eating out is like paying for the same meal twice. Perhaps you can make a compromise and go to a couple of meals each week with your friends. Or, notice other people you know who do eat in the cafeteria and start going to meals with them.
Some of your friends may have more money to spend than you do. Every time a break comes up in your school calendar, it seems like they take trips out of town, or even out of the country. As much as you'd like to go with them, you might not always have the financial resources to do so.
Try to sit down with your friends and plan ahead what trips they're thinking of taking. If you know what's coming up, and one trip sounds a lot more fun than another, you'll be able to plan for it and save the money. Figure out if you can afford a spring break trip. If you are going on a vacation, check out ways to Travel on a Budget.
When taking an extravagant vacation is not an option, look to your other friends that have budgets that are more aligned to your own financial situation. You'll often find a great group of people attending fun, low-cost events closer to home over vacations and school breaks.
Refusing to lend your car
If you have a car on campus, do your roommates and friends constantly beg for a ride or even ask to borrow your car? Worse, do they not give you gas money for the favor? This isn't too big a deal if you're going to the same place anyway, but it can be annoying, inconvenient, and expensive.
Unless you ask others to ride with you, start an upfront policy on money for rides. For example, you might want them give you $5 for gas before you leave the dorm. This way they won't conveniently forget their purse or wallet, and you won't be left paying for everything.
And as for letting friends drive your car, just be careful. It's a nice gesture if one of your friends is really in a jam, but think about the insurance and liability if they get into an accident. Talk with your parents to see what they think about you loaning out your car. It might be that your car insurance doesn't allow anyone but you to drive the car. In that case, you've got a great reason not to loan your car to your friends.
Saying no to money borrowers
If your parents give you a little more spending money every month than some of your friends receive, it's possible that they'll start asking you for cash. Sometimes, they say they'll pay you back later, but it seems like they never do.
It may sound hard-nosed, but the easiest way to deal with this is to make a pact that you simply don't lend money to friends. If you want to treat them, that's fine, and a kind offer on your part. But lending money to friends, knowing you likely won't ever be repaid, is just setting yourself up for frustration and resentment.