overcoming FOMO

together we CAN overcome FOMO

“…I’ve been living with FOMO…”

FOMO.  Fear of missing out.  We all get it (only now we have an overused acronym to diagnose our problem.  YOLO anyone?).  When you’re living life on a budget, it can be one of the most difficult things to overcome.  Nobody likes to be on the outside looking in.  You don’t want to be that person who wasn’t there for some “unreal” evening, or have to live vicariously through the stories your friends or coworkers.  But, after speaking with several doctors*, I’ve learned that we do have a cure.  So, how do you stop spending money out of FOMO?

  1. Set your priorities.  Some things will undoubtedly be more important to you than others.  You may want to go to the bar with your buddies, but you may really want to go to your best friends wedding in Turks and Caicos.  Like just about everything in personal finance, priorities matter.  So, take a couple of minutes and figure out what activities mean the most to you.  Then, you can…
  2. Budget.  Unless you’re super rich and don’t have to worry about the money you’re spending (which, if that’s the case, please tell me in the comments and link to your blog) we all budget.  If your friend just got engaged, or you and your pals have a weekly happy hour get together, or you enjoy a round of golf each Saturday with your coworkers, budget for it.  Nothing out there prevents you from intelligently enjoying yourself (or stupidly, for that matter.  But you’re smart kids.).  You can set aside money in a vacation fund, spur-of-the-moment-travel fund, wedding fund, bachelor/ette party fund, golf fund- anything that you don’t want to miss out on.  I’m willing to eat spaghetti a few nights a week if it lets me enjoy 18 holes on the weekend.
  3. Suggest new activities.  Nothing out there says that you have to go to a bar to have fun or expensive restaurants to enjoy a meal.  Although you’ll be forgiven if it seems like that.  I swear, sometimes the youths act like if you’re not spending money, you’re not enjoying yourself.  But things like cookouts where everyone brings a dish or a beverage can be an inexpensive and fun way to enjoy a Friday evening in lieu of a restaurant with $12 watermelon and goat cheese salads.  Watching college football at your friend’s house on Saturday for the cost of a “sixer” or some pizza can beat going to a sports bar for $9 Bud Lights (of course, make sure you find a friend that still has cable).  Have a play-date for your kids or pets, or just meet for some coffee.  You can hang out on the cheap.
  4. Accept it.  You’re going to miss out on some things.  Such is life.  We’re all going to miss out on things.  Everyone remembers that Tuesday night back in college you didn’t go out to the bars that turned into an “epic” evening complete with pro athletes, table service, and limousines.   There will always been stories in which we play no role.  It’s going to happen.  The key is to make sure you’re there for the events that will undoubtedly have a story.

Anytime you’re afraid of missing out, realize that you’re sacrificing now so you won’t be missing out on what really matters.   Seeing your parents or grandparents, traveling, watching your best friend get married… or even watching that best friend get sloshy drunk a few weeks before they say those vows.  Overcoming FOMO means the ability to enjoy life on your terms, without fear.

How do you get over FOMO?

photo credit: Shandi-lee via photopin cc



  1. I get over FOMO by saying I am missing out on this, to afford something else more important to me. I can’t have everything I want and that is ok.
    Melanie @ Dear Debt recently posted…What Are CDFIs and How Can They Help Me?My Profile

  2. I think FOMO is worst when you first start out in a debt or frugal journey. Eventually things settle into a ‘normal’ way of looking at things and you wonder how you could have been so wasteful before. I guess my worst FOMO is with respect to travel and pet ownership. We’re not traveling, although we did go to Hawaii using a lot of points in the first year of our debt journey to attend a family wedding. I would like to get a dog but we are delaying due to costs of pet ownership.
    debs@debtdebs recently posted…Cutting Cable – Will it Payoff?My Profile

    • I think you’re right Debs. It gets easier the more you do it. And I think you’re being incredibly intelligent and caring about the dog. They are very expensive and can eat into a budget, especially if you’re working to get out of debt. Plus, dogs are amazing and pets are always things you want to spoil.

  3. FOMO–hah! I do suffer from it at times. But, we really prioritize travel and visiting family, so we don’t feel like we’re missing out too much in that arena. We also tend to invite friends over to our house a lot (’cause it’s cheap and laid back), which means they usually reciprocate and invite us to their house. We’ve been able to almost eliminate bar/restaurant outings by doing this–woo hoo!
    Mrs. Frugalwoods recently posted…Travel Cheap By Eating Like a LocalMy Profile

    • That’s awesome! We’re still working on getting out friends out of the bar/restaurant mode. We’re about halfway there where we’ll hang out at a house for a while, but then they’ll want to nightcap it at a bar… no thanks.

  4. I used to have a FOMO issue, but then I realized that I was never going to accomplish my financial goals if I fixated on being a part of everything. I have become more structured in my approach to activities and definitely scaled back on what I do with my friends. It is a positive reinforcer when you see your savings go up and your expenses go down because of these lifestyle choices and it just makes it easier to say no going forward.
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Music Mondays – Don’t Stop BelievingMy Profile

  5. I fear on missing out on compounding returns ;).
    Anyways, I can see how this can start as a legitimate argument. You need to spend SOME money to have a happy life, but there are usually alternatives as you highlight in your post. I can go hang out with people at their places or at my place rather than a restaurant. Parks, lakes, all sorts of fun free places you can go to.
    Kipp recently posted…The Layers of an Emergency FundMy Profile

  6. FOMO is something that with time I’ve learned to gradually tune out. As you said, you can’t be everywhere and do everything you’d like so I just pick the things that would make me and my budget happy ;)
    Kassandra @ More Than Just Money recently posted…The Evolution of A BirthdayMy Profile

  7. For me, the biggest defense against FOMO is #1 – know your priorities. Because you are right – the likelihood of being able to say “yes” to everything without creating debt is low. But in my mind if you know what matters most – you don’t have to miss out on that. So what if you miss a few drinks, a meal out or concert if it means that you get a dream vacation with your family. You’re not missing out on anything. It really is about perspective.
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted…Understanding Long-Term Care and How to Pay for ItMy Profile

  8. As you said…knowing your priorities really helps to overcome fomo and yolo. Now with a little one and wife, I know there are way more important things in life. The best things in life are often free.
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted…Should I Renew My AAA Membership?My Profile

  9. I love Melanie’s response. Setting priorities *really* helps keep my spending in line with what’s truly important to me. I’ve never had much “FOMO” before, because I am a homebody, but there are certain things that get to me. If priorities aren’t clear, I always ask myself if I’ll be happier from it, or if it’s a good use of my time.
    Erin @ Journey to Saving recently posted…How Do You “Get in the Zone” for Work?My Profile

    • I’m a total homebody too, Erin. I mean, I like being asked to the Prom even if I don’t want to dance. But I have no problems spending a night at home watching some Netflix rather than spending a night at the bars.

  10. I agree with Andrews. This year we skipped family vacations and other stuff because we didn’t have other things planned. We have a wedding and my girl has trip to Disney next year. So giving up on things to this year is a OK when we have a major family event this fall and a Disney trip next year.

  11. FOMO is rough. How I deal – stop going in FB, Instagram so much. People like to boast about their weekends and make them seem funner than they really were. I also try to remember the times when I did go out in fear of FOMO and actually had a boring time. People tend to over hype what really happened, so remembering that is a huge help in overcoming FOMO for me!
    Lisa E. @ Lisa vs. the Loans recently posted…Maintaining Friendships on a BudgetMy Profile

  12. FOMO is fun to say, but pretty rough to deal with. I cope by saying yes to the really good stuff. Then at least I have a great memory or something to look forward to when I say no. I really wish I could say yes to a friend’s wedding in Turks or Caicos….
    Autumn recently posted…Goals UpdateMy Profile

  13. I had a severe case of FOMO in high school, but I think everyone did. Things changed in college. The best nights were the ones hanging out with my buddies at our apartments or houses. My FOMO completed it’s 180 degree turn when I got married. Now I have to be very intentional to make sure I’m making time for people. My 9-5 job, my side hustle, and working on my house take up almost all my time now. I think if I was still single I would have a pretty bad case of FOMO because I’d want to be meeting people as often as possible.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…How to be Productive When You are a Night OwlMy Profile

    • How right you are DC. I think back to college and most of my fondest memories are just random nights doing nothing or playing mario kart or something. I do think my marriage has helped my FOMO as well, as my wife and I compliment ourselves and we would both rather own our own time than new cars or anything like that, so it honestly works out. And remembering to make time for people is key. In the end, relationships matter more than just about anything.

  14. If you do average things, then you can only expect average results. So if I’m happy with the results then I won’t mind joining the crowd. However, if you want to be better than average, that involves doing things differently. That’s how I look at things and it helps neglects the FOMO syndrome.

    Great post as always, cheers!
    Henry @ Living At Home recently posted…Weekend Browsing – August 23, 2014My Profile

  15. FOMO, oh no the travesty. I guess Im just mature and don’t let FOMO affect me. I place a higher value on my goals,it doesnt bother me if I miss out on some events, not in line with my priorities. Budget for what you want, and do it, but you cant do everything and expect to be happy or free.

  16. It doesn’t bother me anymore… in the beginning though, whoa! I felt so constrained and that I was never going to do anything again. Now I just love watching my accounts increasing or my debt decreasing. It’s silly, but I know I still get to do the important things. A lavish vacation every six months isn’t important to me. Being able to go home and see my family when I want to or need to is important to me.
    Alicia recently posted…Transferring My Student LOC to a Credit CardMy Profile

  17. Missing out sucks! Luckily most of my friends aren’t too spendy and enjoy a fun night of video games or a home movie too.

    What’s important in the end is that you enjoy the people around you, not the things you do with them. If you truly need to spend a massive amount of money on a night out to enjoy yourself with someone, you’re doing something wrong.
    No More Waffles recently posted…Stuff Our Parents Never Taught Us, Part IV: Savings RateMy Profile

  18. I actually get “deal” FOMO. I worry so much about getting the best price that I hesitate to buy something, thinking I’ll be able to find a better price later on. Of course, sometimes, that makes me miss my window of opportunity altogether.
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted…Labor Day Savings: Throw a Budget BBQMy Profile

  19. I like your last advice about acceptance. It makes me realize that it is hard at first but along the way knowing that it will help me in long run is really really pays off. FOMO is all in the mind. With right perspective, it is curable.
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…Investigating Peer to Peer Loans for Borrowers and InvestorsMy Profile

  20. Budget to not miss out. include whatever costs for nights out or holidays as part of the budget. Can’t miss out on fun, that’s what it’s all about! :) good article. keep it up!
    Toby @ One Six Zeros recently posted…Flybuys: What it really is costing you.My Profile

  21. I don’t think I suffer from FOMO too much because I typically live my life exactly how I want to live it!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…Why I Save For My Children’s College EducationMy Profile

  22. Staying off FB as much as possible helps. I’d like to say I’m above feeling crappy about myself if I see friend jet setting the world while I’m scraping by, but I’m not. :) Even though I realize it’s all an illusion anyway! :)
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Dealing with SetbacksMy Profile

  23. FOMO only happens when you’re comparing yourself to others or following what others are doing. Stop caring what others are doing and do what you love to do. Easy solution.
    Tawcan recently posted…Weekend readingMy Profile

  24. FOMO is the term we’ve discussed in lunch time. At first, they were like disoriented what FOMO stands for. Then, after I spilled it, the conversation went on for like hours. Very interesting topic!
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…Blogging is Still One of the Best Ways to Make Money TodayMy Profile

  25. I love potluck dinner! We used to have it back in high school. Everyone brought various kinds of food which was great. It wasn’t that expensive and we had a great time!
    Poor Student recently posted…College Students Should Start Planning For Their Retirement Now!My Profile

  26. You know what everybody in the office knows what FOMO stands for and means. It’s like every now and then someone will say “Let’s go, FOMO!”. Then, everybody will just laugh. But the intense pressure is really there to someone experiencing it.
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…5 Reasons Why You’re Not Making Money OnlineMy Profile

  27. I used to have this problem with live entertainment. I worried about missing out on seeing Bon Iver or Fiona Apple at the Ryman. And these shows were amazing, don’t get me wrong, but I eventually had to cut back to a more reasonable entertainment budget.
    Addison @ Cashville Skyline recently posted…Holding Myself Accountable: the August ReviewMy Profile

  28. I think there’s also a huge amount of FOMO that occurs that’s completely unfounded. For instance, in Australia, the property market has been running very hard, making huge positive returns in the past couple of years. This has driven a lot of FOMO within younger demographics and first home buyers.
    If you’re looking to invest over the long term, then big “runs” or “dips” in markets or performance all tends to smooth itself out. Prices tend to revert to the mean over time in the short term.
    Mr Ikonz @ Project Ikonz recently posted…August Spare Change Challenge complete!My Profile

  29. “No FOMO” please! Let’s go and have fun. There are ways in being in while still being frugal. We just have to take it easy and think before we join in the bandwagon. Right?
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…Financial Impacts of a Global Ebola PandemicMy Profile


  1. […] to save more of their monthly salary. If you feel that way sometimes, I suggest you check out Ryan’s post about FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out. He provides four great tips to deal with your fear to miss out on fun […]

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