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JOMO: The Joy of Missing Out and Saving Money

‘FOMO’ has become a part of many people’s modern vocabulary. The ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO) highlights feelings that people feel they are going to miss a great event or social opportunity by not attending an event. Understandably, FOMO has grown alongside social media as people get more of a view into other people’s lives than ever before, creating more space for envy. Studies do however link this behavior to increased anxiety, lack of sleep, and poor concentration. [1] International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: ‘Combating Fear of Missing Out (FoMO) on Social Media: The FoMO-R Method’

But what if we could be at peace knowing other people are having fun without us? The joy of missing out (or JOMO) is the antidote some are turning to. Psychologist Susan Albers explains JOMO as “really embracing the idea of just finding joy and contentment, of opting out or missing out on activities, and prioritizing your self-care.” [2] Cleveland Clinic: ‘What Is JOMO? How To Enjoy Missing Out’

While finding time to disconnect can improve one’s mental health, [3] Positive Psychology: ‘Embracing JOMO: Finding Joy in Missing Out’’ missing out on parties and events can also have a financial benefit. To find out how much people can gain by declining activities, a survey conducted on behalf of Self Financial has asked Americans whether they save money and headspace by turning down invitations in favor of quality time for themselves.

Key findings

The state of JOMO in America

Living within one’s means is an aspiration for all Americans, but recent increases in the cost of living appear to make this more challenging than ever. A survey by CNBC in spring 2023, found that almost three out of five (58%) live paycheck to paycheck. [4] CNBC: ‘With inflation stubbornly high, 58% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck: CNBC survey’ With Americans looking to save money however they can, would cuts to their social calendar save them money?

Eight in 10 (81.2%) said they enjoy deliberately missing out on social events. Millennials (aged 27-42) were the most likely to take part in ‘JOMO’ like this (83.1%) with those in their 60s the least likely (70.6%). 

More than half (55.6%) of those who enjoy these feelings of JOMO said they would choose not to attend events specifically due to the high costs associated with attending. Almost three-quarters (72.2%) also said they feel a stronger sense of well-being when they turn down that RSVP. 

People who would be willing to miss social events  Potential savings Source
Event Wedding parties People who would be willing to miss social events 28.5% Potential savings $580  Source:
Event Birthday parties People who would be willing to miss social events 27.7% Potential savings $50.56 (on a gift) Source: Average costs of a gift between friends and spouses.
Event Bachelor(ette) party People who would be willing to miss social events 27.5% Potential savings $1,400 Source: Average cost of attending a bachelor and bachelorette party
Event Baby showers People who would be willing to miss social events 26.2% Potential savings $40 (on a gift) Source:
Event Gender reveal parties People who would be willing to miss social events 26.1% Potential savings Gifts not expected Source: -
Event Engagement party People who would be willing to miss social events 25.8% Potential savings $62.50 Source:
Event Housewarming party People who would be willing to miss social events 25.1% Potential savings $37.50 Source:
Event Graduation party People who would be willing to miss social events 20.3% Potential savings $116.19 Source:
Event None People who would be willing to miss social events 15.1% Potential savings - Source: -

According to The Knot, the average American spends $580 attending marital ceremonies. [5] The Knot: ‘Here’s the Average Wedding Guest Cost & How to Budget for It’ More than a quarter (28.5%) of respondents in the survey on behalf of Self Financial said they would be happy to miss out on weddings to save money. Bachelor and bachelorette parties (27.7%) are also high on the list, as are birthday parties in favor of time to themselves.

Just 15.1% of people said that they wouldn’t miss any events hosted by family or friends to save money, but the results seem to show that most are willing to decline for the benefit of their bank balance and/or JOMO. 

How much can people save by cutting back on social events?

It’s human nature to want to feel included. Attending social events with friends helps us to feel connected to others, and FOMO strikes when we see photos on social media of others having fun when we weren’t invited. While almost 80% of respondents in this survey said that they enjoy socializing, it seems that most are also happy turning down the occasional event for self-care or saving money.

On average, respondents said that they would decline an average of 3.2 social events per month due to financial concerns and/or wanting more time for themselves. This could be something as small as one drink with a coworker, or a friend’s birthday party. Over the course of a year, the average American can expect to miss 38.4 events in the interests of JOMO. The number of events missed per month was also relatively similar between men and women too, indicating JOMO is not specific to a gender. 

How many social events do people turn down in a normal month? 
0 4.5%
1 10.1%
2 24.6%
3 20.1%
4 17.7%
5 12.1%
6 4.3%
7 3.1%
8 1.6%
9 0.5%
10+ 1.3%

Could this lead to cost savings? This research asked the U.S. public how much they spend on popular social activities to gauge estimates on spending and saving. 

On average, people spend $19.41 on a trip to the movies, $37.10 dining with friends, and $26.50 on drinks/snacks after work. By taking the cost of these three common events and putting them together, a person could save as much as $83.01 per month if they declined to attend these three example events each month. This works out to $996.12 over the course of a year. Naturally, the three events someone declines could also cost nothing or very little and will vary per person. 

How do people express their joy of missing out?

Do people really miss out when they turn down social events? Americans seem to feel they aren’t missing much; almost half (48.6%) said they sometimes regret their attendance. Almost a third (31.9%) said they often feel regret, and nearly one in 10 (9%) always wish they’d declined when attending. 

How often do people regret attending social events
Always 9.0%
Often 31.9%
Sometimes 48.6%
Rarely 8.8%
Never 1.8%

With so many people apparently questioning why they go to social events, and a potential financial incentive to combat FOMO over non-attendance, how are Americans using the time they buy themselves by declining? 

What do people do when they steal back alone time?
Reading (books/magazines/etc) 41.5%
Gaming (mobile/console/etc) 33.0%
TV & movies 31.4%
Chores & DIY 26.7%
Exercise 25.4%
Sleep 25.0%
Meditation & yoga 20.5%
Arts & crafts 18.5%
Plants & gardening 9.5%
Writing & blogging 9.3%
LEGO & puzzles 6.4%

Note: Respondents could select more than one answer so percentages don’t add up to 100%.

It seems that most choose to bury their head in a good book. More than four in 10 (41.5%) from this survey say they choose to read instead of attending social gatherings. This has potentially been influenced by trends such as #BookTok, a popular TikTok hashtag driving book reviews and recommendations on social media. [6] PBS: ‘How #BookTok is giving authors and booksellers a much-needed boost’ Video games (33%) and TV/movies (31.4%) were also popular JOMO activities.

Do Americans still feel FOMO?

“72% of respondents said that they feel pressured to attend events by friends who make more money than them”

Despite the majority of participants in this survey appearing to regret attending social activities and finding joy in the extra ‘me-time,’ it still seems that many feel pressured to accept invites to gatherings and fear missing out when they see others having a good time on social media. 

72% of respondents said that they feel pressured to attend events by friends who make more money than them; the same number of people also felt obliged to spend more than they wanted when out socializing. Men were slightly more likely to feel pressure to attend events by their peers who earn more (76.1%) compared to women (70%).

It appears that the majority also feel jealous on some level when scrolling through social media. 60.9% of respondents said they feel envious seeing people on vacation or eating out at nice restaurants online. 


This survey, conducted on behalf of Self Financial, asked 1,204 U.S. adults on 12th March 2024 about the joy of missing out (JOMO) and the fear of missing out (FOMO) of social gatherings. Participants were asked a range of questions about how declining attendance at social events makes them feel and their spending habits in relation to social events. 51.5% of respondents were women, 47.8% men, 0.5% identified as non binary, 0.2% declined to say. 


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