Just Saying No IS a Viable Option

by Jackie Beck

Suppose you’re invited to an event, but it’s costly, and you don’t have the money. You’re faced with a decision: do I put it on a credit card, or is there some other way to get the money?

You stress out about it for a while, and then either juggle things around to make your budget work, or resign yourself to more debt (vowing to pay it off “next month”). But then the next month comes, bringing yet another unusual expense with it, and you find yourself struggling again.

You’re stuck in a cycle of obligatory social spending — whether that’s going for the daily lunch out with coworkers when you’d vowed to start bringing your lunch three times a week instead or attending the wedding of your parent’s cousin’s child that you haven’t seen in 20 years.

But it doesn’t have to be that way

You DO have other choices. Sometimes we forget that there is a third option entirely: not going to the event.

It is ok to say no, I’m sorry, we can’t make it.

You don’t even need a reason. And your “no” probably won’t be the end of the world for the other person. Don’t believe me? Try this. Think back on the last 10 times people told you they couldn’t make it to something you’d invited them to do. Do you even remember the last 10 times things you were invited to, and who it was that told you no? I’m guessing not, so long as it wasn’t the same person saying no every single time.

No is a viable option

Sometimes we get so caught up in the idea that certain things are expected that we forget that no is a viable option — especially when we’re worried about what other people will think. And let’s face it, no one wants to be thought of as cheap, or selfish, or a bad friend, or uncharitable, or whatever other negative thing your brain is putting out there that most people aren’t going to think anyway.

And you don’t have to give a convoluted explanation when you say no, or justify your answer to anyone. You just need to remember that YOU are most likely the only person stressing out about your answer.

Saying no IS a viable option. Give it a try.

Posted in Expenses | 5 comments.

5 Responses to Just Saying No IS a Viable Option

  1. I agree totally. Someitmes there might be things that you should really go to, but those shoulnd’t bust your budget because you should be good about saying ‘no’ to things that arent’ really necessary. Some work buddies of mine hit a happy hour every friday. I go once a month. If I went every week like them, my wife and I would be in a different financial place, but going once is great because I get to go, but I’m not becoming an alcoholic and losing all my money to cheap beer.

  2. I could not agree more. You can open yourself up to more spending than your budget can handle if you don’t learn to say no. I know it’s not fun to say, but a true friend will understand.

  3. Those who cannot say “No” to others have relationship boundary issues they need to address. Dr. Henry Cloud has a great book about this topic, “Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No.”

  4. Little House says:

    Many years ago a relative of mine was getting married on the east coast (and I live on the west). I had to decline due to finances. I still wish I could have gone, but it wasn’t the end of the world. It was the better choice.

  5. This is a very difficult skill to learn! Especially where relatives are concerned…I recall advising my old friend SDXB,, the father of two importunate daughters, to stand in front of the mirror and practice forming the mouth around n-n-n-n-n-n and o-o-o-o-o-o-o.