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Home / Frugality / How to Say “No” to Overspending…and Anything Else


In many situations today, saying no is thought to be imperious and a sign that you are uncooperative. Both make you a poor team member, co-worker, or partner in life. The team work mentality has taken over our lives to the point that we are hard pressed to say no when it is really necessary. Outside of the work realm, this inability to say no can spill into a person’s financial life, leading to an inability to prioritize and large amounts of debt. Let’s have a look at several top strategies to help you say no when you need to.


It is impossible to say yes to everything. Because money and time are both limited commodities, you will have to prioritize. Even if you have to sit down and do a side-by-side comparison to determine who, what, and when are more important to you, then you will have to do just that. Some things will be obvious: should I pay the rent or buy a new outfit. Others will be more difficult: do I save money or buy that new outfit, then save money ”next week”. Unfortunately, ”next week” may never come.

Weigh the Pros and Cons

Consider the pros and cons of saying yes or no to any given situation. You need to be practical, not emotional when deciding which to say. Once you have decided , be firm. Do not let the opinion of others sway you. Keep running through the pros of your decision to help stiffen your resolve.

Stick to Your Core Values

We all have core values and boundaries. For some, it can be hard to say no even when saying yes would push past those boundaries or cause them to compromise their core values. Think of it like this, your partner is a great person and you want to please them. They want a new car, you know it will push the budget to the near breaking point. Saying yes will please them, but make you compromise your thrifty values. Saying no will disappoint them, but they will get over it. Sounds like an easy decision, but how many of you know someone who just helps their partner buy the car to see them happy?

Form a Strategy

There is that word again: strategy. Perhaps a better way of saying would be plan. Plan how you are going to say no. Talk yourself through it. Sound like this is a tip for saying no to other people? It’s not. Self talk will help you to say no to yourself when you are trying to avoid making an unnecessary purchase. You should try forming a self talk scenario before you get into a crucial situation, though.

Self talk and planning how to say no will help with others as well. Having a ready explanation as to why you oppose an idea often eliminates the negative connotations of the response.

Tips For Saying No Successfully

Never apologize for having said it. It makes you seem pliable, so people doubt your decisiveness and keep trying to change your mind.

Skip the aggressive tone and stance. Most of us are so uncomfortable saying no that we immediately take a fighting stance and change the tone of our voice when doing so. Neither will help you or the person you are interacting with.

Do not beat yourself up for saying no. If you have a good reason, why should you regret it? That doesn’t mean you should not expect some feelings of doubt and guilt. Those are easy emotions to feel and come naturally. When they come, go over your pros and cons list again and you will be able to justify them away.


About the author: Jerry Coffey


Jerry Coffey spent many years in a debt-riddled gray area somewhere between broke and desperately broke. His seemingly endless need for more and more cash led him to payday loans, repossessions, bankruptcy, and depression. After years of the same financial style, he heard a piece of advice that inspired him to find a way to change. The advice: ''The very definition of a fool is someone who continues to do the same things, but expects different results.'' This led him to a much more frugal lifestyle that sees all of his bills paid on time and a growing savings account. Even the seed of a retirement account has begun to sprout.


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