Budgeting 101: “Sorry, it’s not in my budget”

Budgeting 101- Sorry, it's not in my budget

One of the hardest parts of being on a budget is saying no to things.  Sometimes you have to say no to yourself (and resist impulse buys) and sometimes you have to say no to other people.

Friends and family ask if you’d like to do something (go out to dinner, see a movie, buy Girl Scout cookies, etc.) and if it doesn’t fit in your budget then the answer has to be no.  But when you’re constantly saying no, it can get awkward!

Overcome this awkwardness by sharing your goals.  I know finances are personal, but you don’t have to share dollar amounts.  Just the big picture goal. For example, my response to an invitation to go out might be something like “Sorry, Matt and I are cutting back on expenses so we can pay off our debt as quickly as possible.”  Being on a budget is much easier when your friends and family know your goals.    

And your friends and family will respect that you are on a budget (if they don’t, you probably have a bigger problem!).  If they give you any push back like “It’s only $15 for a movie ticket,” explain that these little costs add up.  Or you could budget to go out with your friend the next month by cutting back somewhere else in your budget.

Another way to get around saying no to your friends is to suggest an activity that is cheaper!  Instead of going to the movies, invite your friends over to watch a movie at home.  Instead of going out for dinner, get takeout or try cooking a new recipe.

Sorry, It's not in my budget

To save money, you could also lessen the frequency of these expenses.  Instead of meeting friends for dinner every weekend, agree to meet every two weeks or once a month.

Figure out what works for you and what fits in your budget.  Remember the first post in this series?   Make sure your essentials, debts and savings are paid for before you start spending money on non-essential things.

Do you say no to friends and family when an activity doesn’t fit in your budget?  Is it awkward? How do you handle these situations?

Michelle at www.livelychicken.com




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8 thoughts on “Budgeting 101: “Sorry, it’s not in my budget””

  1. This is one of my husband and I’s biggest struggles. We don’t really budget, and I know that is a problem, but he is the worst when it comes to saying no to things. He thinks $10 or $15 here or there is no big deal and it drives me insane. I know how quickly that stuff adds up. We definitely have to continue working on this.

  2. It’s definitely challenging to stick with the budget when you feel like you’re letting your friends and family down. But you have to keep your eyes on the prize!

  3. Saying “no” to friends or family who don’t understand what you are trying to do can be one of the hardest things about frugality. I know I had to tell my brother no about going to a Jimmy Buffett concert this year, even though 10 years ago we were going together every year. But I was single and making good money then, now I’m married with kid and making less. I’m okay with giving up a concert, but he didn’t understand because he never saves (and often pays the price of not saving).

  4. I think you are on the right track suggesting alternatives. If it is your company they want, friends will go along; if it is a warm body next to them while they do the activity they want, well, maybe you haven’t lost much.

  5. This is one of the hardest parts about sticking to your budget I think. I have no trouble whatsoever saying ‘no’ to myself, but find it almost impossible to say ‘no’ to friends or family. Even though I’m quite open about our financial goals, I just don’t want to spoil the party.

    Coming up with an alternative is a good solution. Or better yet: make your own suggestions before anyone else invites you, so you don’t have to say ‘no’. And you’ll be the fun one for always taking the initiative 🙂

  6. With most friends, just saying it’s not in my budget is enough. With the friends that that’s not enough – I kind of wind up reevaluating why I’m friends with them in the first place.

  7. That’s definitely something I struggle with and just saying no. I think saying no adds up though and you are able to save a lot more on simple stuff.

  8. I have found some creative ways to say yes without hurting the budget. If friends ask to go out to dinner, I invite them over for a potluck where (not only do we both save money), but chances are we have a great time spending time together versus the experience of going out.

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