Resist peer pressure
Peer pressure doesn't end after high school. If anything, once you start making money, there may be more pressure to dress a certain way, live in fashionable neighborhoods or indulge in pricey vacations with your peer group. Especially among young adults making a decent salary, "There's pressure within that social group to go out and spend money and look a certain way, whether it's clothes or style," says Chris Dlugozima, a certified consumer credit counselor at GreenPath Debt Solutions in New York.
Once Huck found steady work at a framing store, a close colleague cajoled her into hanging out at expensive lounges. They would have fun drinking, eating and dancing, but at the end of the month, "(I'd) look at my bills and be like, 'I can't believe I did this!'" Huck says. "We just ate food and had a bunch of drinks. I could have bought new pants and replaced the ones with a hole in it."
This kind of rude awakening can hurt a friendship. "The relationship hits a bumpy road when one friend puts himself/herself in jeopardy because he overspent or is living beyond a comfort level," says Kathleen Gurney, Ph.D., CEO of Financial Psychology Corp.
"So many people, if they want to keep up with someone, they will spend money they don't have to do those types of things that will only get themselves further and further into debt," Kinney says.