Every day we are confronted with situations where we have to make a choice to either spend or save money. Sometimes, these situations are presented by family members or friends. How do you say “no” without hurting feelings or alienating others?
1. The Dinner Invitation
When someone you are close to in your family or your circle of friends wants to head out for an expensive dinner, you can still plan a special time without the cost of table service and linen cloths. First, explain that you are in the middle of an aggressive savings program, so you’ve been finding ways to eat well without the added cost of a restaurant. Suggest that you each pick up your favorite cut of meat at the grocery store and meet at your place to fire up the grill. If you don’t feel comfortable talking about your savings efforts, you can say that you’re eating healthier by only cooking food at home.
2. The Lunching Co-Worker
Do you have co-workers who always want you to join them for lunch at local restaurants? Sometimes, we get into habits at work and it will take awhile to change expectations. But start bringing your lunch and people will get the message that you’re not available to go out. If you do want to hang out with co-workers, ask them to bring their lunch as well and they you can sit together for chit-chat or go for a walk after you finish eating.
3. The Shopping Excursion
Some friendships are anchored in shopping. You plan a week night or an entire Saturday to spend time walking the mall or the new outlet center looking for deals or whatever looks great at the moment. You spend money out of habit. How do you stop this habit without jeopardizing the friendship? Change up the frequency and location of these excursions. Offer up different activities with the same friend, such as attending a free concert at the college or visiting a museum. You can also plan to host a garage sale so that you will both make money rather than spend money during your time together.
Learning to say “no” takes practice. After a few times, you will get better and coming up with alternative activities so that you can maintain relationships without jeopardizing your savings and investment plan. You might also encourage your friends and relatives to embark on the journey with you and start their own savings/investment program.