The Power of Saying No

Why and How to say “No” to Save Your Cash





By Pascale Hansen, Financial Expert on Cyno




"Wielded wisely, "No" is an instrument of integrity and a shield against exploitation. It often takes courage to say. It is hard to receive. But setting limits sets us free." - Judith Stills


When saying an affirmative “No” to others’ requests for money (or assistance, an invitation, a proposal or anything else that may take you away from your personal priorities), you are operating from a position of strength and therein lies the power of “No”.By saying “No” you’re affirming that a request is not in line with your values and that you take personal responsibility for living your truth and sticking to your goals. Saying “No” is especially important when it comes to personal financial management and staying on track to achieving your financial goals.


The 5 Key Benefits to Being Able to Say “No” Are:

1. Your integrity stays intact

Being generous and supportive to someone financially, lending them money or buying them gifts is a beautiful thing, however if it means that you’re spending money you cannot afford and you’re not sticking to an agreed-to spending plan that you formulated with your spouse or partner, then your integrity is at stake.

Integrity is as essential as benevolence in establishing interpersonal trust (trust between people) and is essential for healthy, successful partnerships. Staying “No” to your own impulses to spend money you know is not within your spending plan is essential to maintaining healthy money habits and honest, trustworthy relationships.

2. It protects you from exploitation


Often when you are kind many people will perceive it as being “too nice” and will ask you and sometimes demand things from you because you have a history or accommodating their needs.

When it comes to lending people money, do you insist on specific repayment terms and dates or do you just let it slide?

If your children of any age ask for money, do you just give it to them, or do they have to earn it?

Often, we see well-being parents enabling and disempowering their adult children by not being able to “No” for repeated requests for money. Sadly, this enabling behaviour often strips the adult children of the motivation they need to accomplish anything that would lead them to being financially self-sufficient.


3. It keeps you focused on your goals

If you have a clear, financial goal you have a burning desire to accomplish, this will undoubtedly require you to say “No” to demands on your time or money that will take you off your path to reaching that goal. If you have to take extra shifts at work to get out of debt or to save for a down payment on a home, it will require making that choice over maybe working less hours and taking longer to make your dream a reality. Similarly, with your spending plan you can make choices to cut out certain luxuries in your life or go without a vacation or two in order to reach your goal faster.

4. It helps you resist temptation

Being able to resist the temptation of unnecessary purchases so we can stay on the path of our financial strategy, requires the ability to set limits for ourselves and be in charge of telling ourselves “No. We have to set our own boundaries and resist the impulse to buy based on a what we want instead of what we need.

This is much easier to do when we have a very clear vision of what we’re striving for with our financial plans. In order to say “No” to the immediate gratification of an impulsive purchase or an unsound investment, the desire of reaching our goal has to outweigh the short term goal of satisfying a temporary impulse.

5. It gives you the strength to change course


When you feel you’re making a big mistake with a decision that could have lasting financial implications for yourself and your loved ones, such as pursuing and paying for an additional degree or buying a home more expensive than you had initially intended, the ability to say “No” before deciding will be the powerful course direction you need to protect your own best interests and those of your family.


How To Say “No” to a Request for Money

Use the sandwich communication strategy; say something positive, then say “No” followed by another “slice” of positive, in essence sandwiching the “No” between two positives.

Here are 3 examples:

1. A friend or family member asks for a large loan

Say: "I wish I could, but as a rule, I don't lend money to friends or family. I hope you get the help you need”.

Why it works: It's clear that you are not singling out this person as untrustworthy. You’re stating your rule and sticking to it.

Remember this to avoid feeling guilty: Lending any amount of money can cause a host of problems and put your friendship at risk and set you back financially if the loan isn’t repaid.

2. A colleague asks for $30 for a birthday gift for another colleague you wouldn't recognize at the watercooler.

Say: "That’s really kind of you to organize a gift for Joanne, but I've never really had a conversation with her. I’ll just wish her a happy birthday in person."

Why it works: It’s very likely that the person asking for donations has no idea about the relationship between you and the intended recipient. By clarifying the nature of your relationship―and emphasizing your intention to get to know the person better―you come across as thoughtful rather than cheap.

Remember this to avoid feeling guilty: A gift isn't a gift if it's an obligation.

3. Your third cousin asks to bring his girlfriend-of-the-month to your $200-a-plate wedding reception.

Say: "It would be great to have your girlfriend celebrate with us, however we've already had to make so many tough decisions to get the guest list down to size and we cannot afford another guest. We would love to meet her so let’s have you two over for drinks after the wedding?”

Why it works: If you share your behind-the-scenes planning and financial constraint, your cousin may understand your situation.

Remember this to avoid feeling guilty: It’s your special day and your finances, which means you have the power to make it everything you want it to be. 

Not being able to say “No” and mean it and ultimately feel good about saying it in order to stay on track in your life, can have a costly price both financially and emotionally. If you’re a person who is naturally generous with no limits, the thought of saying a clear and affirmative “No” can be an unimaginable stretch.

Is your ability to be able to say “No” taking its toll on you? What is it costing you? Constantly saying “Yes” purely to gain someone’s approval when it’s costing you dollars and cents will carve away at your financial goals. Saying “No” has the ability to keep you on track to achieving your goals.

If you feel you need more clarity around your financial goals and a simple effective way to accomplish them, please book a time with me today.


Pascale Hansen is a Money Coach, Cash Flow Specialist and Financial Planner.

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