Many people seem afraid to say “No” to anything or anyone. As though saying no to an invite will end the friendship or offend someone so badly that they never speak to you again. For this post though I’m specifically speaking about the power of saying no to things because of financial reasons. With other words you want to rather save the money or spend it on something else instead of doing what your friends want. (Or maybe you really just don’t have the money).
It can be scary admitting to your friends, family or business colleagues that you either don’t have the money or that you would rather save money instead of spending. People seem really ashamed to say that. In fact it seems easier to talk to friends about how much money you’ve spent on things (like clothes, cellphone, car or whatever) than what it is to speak about how much we have saved or invested.
Isn’t that strange? It’s easier to speak to people about how much we spend, even if it means we’re going into debt and making really bad financial decisions. But when we make good financial decisions and decide to save and invest then we’re shy to tell people? It seems a little messed up!
Now before we get into some of the power of saying no, let’s just understand exactly what the post is about.
When to say “no”
Life is multi-faceted and things happen quickly and often unplanned. There is absolutely nothing wrong with going out for dinner with friends or having drinks after work. You do need to live life! With all the demands on your time and money, the easy answer of when it’s okay to go out and when you should rather stay home all lies in your budget!
Mmmm I know people hate the word ‘budget’ because they feel that it restricts them from doing anything. That is only half true. The things that you may give up now will almost certainly allow you to do something better down the line! The whole purpose of a budget is to plan what you want to do with your money and how much you’re willing to spend on various things. Have you seen the post on creating a financial plan?
When you’re hit with sudden invites and opportunities you simply need to look at the decisions you’ve already made. It may be an easy yes or no answer but often it’s a little more tricky. You may not be able to see your friend again for a few months, or there is perhaps reason to celebrate. What this means is that you will need to decide what you’re willing to sacrifice.
Imagine having a pot of money. Once it’s used up it’s all gone! That is literally how your bank account works, once you’ve used it, it’s gone. You really need to consider the value of your spending each and every time as you’re sacrificing something else. If you spend money of dinner (as an example) you may not have enough to service your car next month. So to avoid the stress of thinking about these things, write it all down as a budget.
If you haven’t got a budget then quickly head over to Budgeting 101.
The power of saying No
1 – You take charge of your money
First off, this is YOUR money and you get to decide how and when to use it. Others may feel that they’re entitled to it, and friends and family will forever try to twist your arm (for good reasons and not so good ones). It’s important to remember that you have a budget to stick to, financial goals, dreams, a future, etc and you’re ultimately responsible to make it all happen. Have a look at your goals now and remind yourself what you’re aiming towards. Or maybe set a small goal now just to motivate yourself.
When you say no to something it’s a sign that you’re taking charge of your money! (And that’s a good thing!)
2 – You reaffirm your priorities
Saying no to something means that you understand your priorities. Achieving goals and living life according to your priorities happens by taking small and constant steps in the right direction. Each time you do something that reaffirms your priorities it becomes easier to see your end-point and to remain motivated. If you haven’t really thought about your priorities yet then have a look at this post on Values & Money, it should give you some insight on this.
3 – You can help others
This point may not seem all that powerful but it really is! You can help others to take charge of their money by motivating them and helping them understand the importance of good financial stewardship. People will see if you’re excited about your goals and about making good financial decisions and that can help them sort their own lives out!
Final words on the power of saying no
It’s small decisions that we make each and every day that ultimately have huge power of our lives. When it comes to finances, nothing happens quickly. You don’t get rich overnight, you don’t get into endless debt in one day; it’s all a journey of small constant steps.
We need to always keep our priorities, goals and dreams in mind and when others try to get you to spend money you don’t want to, then you must be strong and just say “no”!