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I Ate Alone After Realising I Was Overspending And Eating Expensive Lunches With ‘High Life’ Colleagues

by The Simple Sum | 8 Jul 2024 | 2 mins read

I work in the city. I had joined a new company and at the beginning, I was swooning over the “luxury” life that my colleagues seemed to be living – carrying branded Chanel bags to work and talking about the latest Dyson hairdryer. 

At the start, I was actively joining my colleagues for lunches as I wanted to fit in. We ate many delicious food, indulging in Korean BBQ, Thai food and more. I thought that it was because I was new to the job so they wanted to introduce me to popular eateries in the area. 

But when I received my first paycheck at that job I realised that I didn’t seem to have more take-home pay than before. My credit card bill was also higher than before. I started thinking about how I was spending my money each month and I realised that I was overspending beyond the food expenditure budget I set aside for myself each month. 

With that realisation, I started to scale back on the team lunches to save money. But that also led to a cost. The intangible cost of losing work friends at work. My colleagues started ignoring me instead of asking me along during lunch as I came up with excuses to not join them.


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The funny part about that was that it impacted my work performance. As the work colleagues were supportive of each other, they approved each other’s work projects and ideas more readily than mine. 

I ended up going for my own meals while working in that role. The good outcome from this was that I managed to keep to my spending budget and I was able to have some excess savings to sign up for a yoga membership near my workplace. I was able to live the city worker life to the fullest that I could. 

Instead of relying on my colleagues, I learned to rely on myself. I know that this workplace etiquette is a norm in many places and few people dare to reject their colleagues for fear of judgement and isolation. 

The lifestyle trap is real, especially when there is peer pressure. 

This article is part of TSS Confessions, a weekly column where we delve into personal finance topics that are unscripted and genuine real accounts from people.