Could This One Little Word Keep You From Overspending?

by Miranda Marquit · 6 comments

One of the major reasons we overspend? Our quickness to say yes to things — for example, when our kids ask us to buy something, or when our friends want us to come out for an expensive night on the town. Sometimes we say yes to ourselves, justifying purchases we don’t really care about, or insisting to ourselves that, somehow, we deserve something.

If you’re looking for ways to spend less, one of the best things you can do is to say no more often.

Here’s how to cut some of the less important things out of your life:

How to Say No More Often

Figure Out What’s Important to You

The first step to saying no more often is to say no to the things that don’t matter. Figure out what’s most important to you. Often, we get so used to buying things (without thinking about why we’re doing so) that we end up with houses full of stuff we don’t really care about. It’d be easier to save money if you stopped spending money on things that don’t matter to you.

Take a good look at yourself. Introspection can not only help you decide what you most want to accomplish in life, but can also help you figure out what your goals should be. What do you want your money to do for you? How do you want to live?

Then, stop spending money on things that don’t enhance your life. Say no to the unimportant. When you change your focus and live a life aligned with your innermost values, it’s easier to turn down spending that doesn’t fit with your goals.

Be Realistic

It’s important to be realistic about your financial situation, as well as practice discipline. This can be difficult, especially when you have to say no to your children. If you’re realistic about the way things are, however, you’re more likely to stay on track.

Crunch the numbers, and make a firm decision that you don’t want to go into debt (or that you want to make paying off debt a priority). Paying attention to your finances makes it easier to know when you can say yes, and when you have to say no.

This doesn’t mean you always have to say no to frivolous spending. Sometimes it’s nice to splurge a little. Just make sure you’ll truly enjoy the results of the expenditure, and avoid going into debt for something you don’t need.

In the end, it comes down to knowing where to draw the line. This means being mindful about what you have coming in, what’s going out, and what you actually want to spend your money on. Pay attention to your finances and commit to your financial and life goals — and you’ll have a better chance of saying no when it really matters.

Do you have trouble saying no? What (or who) is your biggest weakness?

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  • Jason @ Phroogal says:

    I’ve learned to say no more often working on my startup. I realized when I was saying yes to hanging out or doing X Y Z I was spending more than I normally would. Last two weeks I just focused on things I wanted to work on and spent $0. I still had fun and I did things that mattered to me.

    • David @ says:

      Balance is key Jason! Good for you to work on something that matters to you, because those are the things that will pay dividends for years to come!

  • Retired By 40! says:

    I struggle with this. The Big Guys says no, and I don’t have a problem with it, but when I tell him no, I feel like his mom. It’s my issue, not his, but I struggle with it!

  • Dee @ Color Me Frugal says:

    Our biggest weakness has got to be eating out. Hubby and I both work long hours and it’s so easy to just say let’s hit a restaurant instead of meal planning. It can become really hard to say no to the idea of going out to eat when we are hungry and there’s nothing ready to eat. We definitely need to get better at this!

    • David @ says:

      Would tallying up the dining bills each month and using some (half?) of the amount to spend freely tempt you to prepare more meals at home?

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