The hardest thing you will ever have to do in your adult life is mastering the art of saying ‘no’ to things that don’t align with your goals. In fact, this year I made a promise to myself to say no to everything that doesn’t align with me and where I want to be, financially. So far I’ve said no to vacations, no to brunches, no to work happy hours, no to borrowing money to friends and families, and no to things that just don’t feel right.
It’s been a year of changing how I allow people to treat me and also empowering myself to use my “no” muscles since they’ve been dormant for quite some time. It hasn’t been the easiest journey, but it’s been worth it because of the goals I’ve accomplished.
Since I started my journey of no, I’ve been laser-focused on paying down my debt and bringing myself one step closer to being debt free. In February 2017, after eight years of carrying over $7,000+ in credit card debt, I was fortunate enough to pay it all off in seven months. This was all due to self-discipline, focus, and of course many ‘no’s.’
Without my no’s, I don’t think I would have been able to accomplish this in such a short time span. I created a plan and stuck to it to the best of my ability. Even when I overspent I found a way to ensure my monthly goal was met.
I know it’s not as easy as it sounds, but I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage you to stop allowing people to spend your money. Here’s why:
It will take longer to reach your goals
The reality is someone will always have something to say about how you’re spending your money—ignore them. The only person that knows your financial situation well is you. As the driver of your finances, you are in control and should not allow a moment to set you back on your goals. By keeping your goals in your face all the time, it will reassure you that you are on the right track. The sooner you get to your goal, the faster you can go accomplish the next.
You’ll become the queen of broke
If you have a lot of friends and family members, there is never a shortage of events and things to do. Now imagine saying yes to everything: multiple weddings, brunches and baby showers, birthday parties, etc. for a whole year. Over time it financially becomes a burden because we all know of these things come with a price tag. With all of these events, it often leaves very little room for prioritizing what you want to do with your money vs. what you “feel” obligated to do.
We all struggle to prioritize our needs and wants because we want to make other people happy. If you find yourself in this situation before you actually commit, check your pulse to see if in fact you 1. can do it (financially feasible) 2. want to do it. If you don’t say yes to both then you shouldn’t commit. The last thing you want is to dig yourself more in debt, or put yourself in a situation where you struggle to get out of it.
And, oh, the possibilities when you learn to say no
When you stop allowing people to tell you what to do with your money you will no longer find yourself in unwanted financial situations you can control. You’ll find yourself blowing your financial goals out of the park and unbothered by what other people have to say.
If there’s only one thing you remember from this article, I want you to remember to not become an inconvenience to yourself by overextending your yes. Use your no muscle more often.
This article by Felicia Blaise originally appeared on Clever Girl Finance.