Spring is here and like sleepy bears stretching outside of their dens after a long winter, peeps are getting social! This likely means your calendar is filling up for summer already, with friends and family dropping you texts left and right about going out, doing this, and signing up for that. But saying yes to every social invite that comes your way is draining on the bank account, it’s also stressful as you find yourself struggling between saving money and missing out on a good time or seeming rude for declining invites.
Personally, this is the biggest area of saving that I struggle with. I can pass up clothes, I can grocery shop like a pauper, and live in a tiny house, no problem, but saying no to friends and family? It’s hard as heck. It’s something I’m still working on, and most of my monthly unplanned expenses are social events.
I’m still exercising the “no, thank you” muscle, but here are a few things I’ve said “no” to in the last few weeks
Kentucky Derby General Admission ticket $70 + taxes and fees + cost of pre-gaming
James Taylor Concert– $120 + taxes and fees
Sunday Pilates class– $20.00
Tough Mudder $89 + taxes and fees
MLB Opening Day– prices vary but you can expect to pay around $75 + taxes and fees, also cost of pregaming all day at bars near the stadium
I included the Sunday Pilates class because even though it’s small in comparison to the others listed, I’m a true believer that the small things really add up. It’s the $20 here, $10 there expenses that chip away sneakily at savings. Any unplanned expense should give us pause, not just the $100 and over crowd.
Once you realize you don’t have to say “yes” to everything, you’ll find yourself in a much better place. Invitations are just that, they’re an ask, not a demand, and you always reserve the right to politely decline. You don’t even need a lie, an excuse, or an explanation. You’re allowed to say no to something simply because you don’t want to attend. When you don’t want to attend because you’re paying down debt, saving money, or trying to live more simply, that’s your reason.
How to decide if excepting an invitation is worth your hard-earned cash
Don’t say yes to the invite right away
Let people know you’ll think about it. For example: you get an invite to a bachelorette party that’s a plane ride away, four days in a costly hotel, with $$$ excursions planned all day every day. Magnet the invitation to your fridge and allow yourself a few days to mull it over. No one expects an RSVP to an invitation within days. Research how much the trip will cost and decide if you can make the trip and still make your savings goal for that month.
Ask yourself if the cost is really the cost?
Don’t just look at an invitation to a concert and believe the cost of your ticket is going to be your flat cost. Tickets come with taxes and fees which can usually add another 15-20% to the bill. If you’re attending with others, they may want to grab some dinner or drinks before or after the concert, and what about during, as well? Alcohol at stadiums and concert venues are marked up quite a bit. Transportation to and from is something to consider in the cost, too. When deciding on an event ask yourself the true cost, and be frank with yourself.
Ask yourself: Is it worth the cost to you?
Memories, great time with friends, once in a lifetime experience?
Sometimes even if there are memories to be made, great times with friends, or a once in a lifetime experience you still need to say no. Why? Because you need to live within your means, save money, and/or pay off debt.
Ask yourself if there is another, cheaper alternative?
Can you do a Pilates class at home with an instructor on Youtube? Can you throw a Derby Party at your house and invite friends over to view the race on television?
The choice will always be yours, and I’m not advocating saying “no” to every invitation that falls on your lap. I’m all for enjoying life, being social, and having a great time. In fact, for all the things I’ve politely declined, I do say “yes” to things that matter to me.
Hubs and I recently said yes to a trip to Florida that we’ll be taking at the end of the month. Lodging is free (we are staying at a family place), plane tickets were completely covered from Steve’s NCAA bracket winnings, Ranger has a free place to stay while we are away, our condo is next to a grocery store which means we can make the trip as expensive or inexpensive as we wish.
Days are filled mostly with swimming, sunning on the beach, playing local disc golf courses, and occasionally dining out. We do not buy souvenirs or shop while we are on vacation. My cost analysis determined that given that minimal spending was required for an amazing six-day trip, this was an opportunity I wanted to say “yes” to. I thought about it for several days before we pulled the trigger on our plane tickets. Like everything I respond to, it was a thought out, deliberate decision, not one made on impulse or a moment of passion. We knew the dates Steve’s family would be traveling to Florida and spent a few weeks to discuss it and think over our travel plans. We ultimately said yes, and we’re happy to have something fun to look forward to on our calendar.
What do we do when we want to travel and lodging isn’t free? We camp! Check out my articles this month on camping with your dog, and the benefits of camping vs. staying a at a hotel.
Do you have a hard time saying no to invites? Have you said no to something recently for the sake of your bank account?