Most of my friends are twenty-somethings working in corporate America with no real financial responsibilities – rent, utilities, car note. So they have quite a bit of disposable income. You know what they do with it? Spend it. To hang out with them, I’ve got to keep up the spending pace, or else!

Once upon a time, I would spend right along with them and not think anything of it. Now, things are different, I’m working my way toward entrepreneurship and spending like there’s no tomorrow won’t get me there. What will get me there is being smart (and frugal) with my spending.

Whether you realize it or not, the people you hang around can influence your spending, even if they’re broke. People without money expect you to spend your money on them. People with money expect you to spend money with them.

You have to be careful of how your friends, and even your relatives, influence you to spend your money. If you don’t have a budget or clear money goals, you’ll be easily steered to spend more money that you should.

Set a budget and stick to it. Decide at the beginning of each money how much you’re going to spend on dining out, entertainment, and other leisure spending. Once you’ve spent that amount, stop spending. Don’t make excuses to keep spending, like “Oh, I’ll spend less in x category” or “I’ll cut back next month.” Be disciplined with your budget and learn to say “No.”

Be willing to change your friends if their spending habits continue to poorly influence you. You probably won’t have to make an effort to change your friendship. They’ll likely stop calling you to go to go out on the weekends when you say you can’t afford it.