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Frugal Find: Just Say No

   Posted On: July 12, 2013  |    Posted In: Saving  |     Posted by: Broke Millennial®

It’s Friday night. All your friends are going out for happy hour to celebrate the end of the work week. You’ve already gone over budget this week, but hey it’s happy hour and that means deals. You head to the bar and 4 drinks later realize it’s a $25 tab and that’s half your grocery budget for the week. Feel free to adjust this tale for going shopping for sales, or dining out or heading to a $14 movie (yeah, New York is expensive). Needless to say, there are times in life you need to do what your parents, teachers or those cops who came in for D.A.R.E classes taught you about peer pressure and drugs: Just Say No!


(I was the valedictorian of my D.A.R.E. class. And yes, that is actually a thing.)

Perhaps it’s an odd frugal find, but finding your power to say no can be difficult. Some people feel better about money lining their wallet instead of paying for experiences (guys, get out some), but others don’t want to deprive themselves of social experiences, networking opportunities, vacations and good old fashion fun. We struggle to walk away from a good time so we just swipe our cards, run up a tab and think about the financial responsibilities later. I’ve never been one to support deprivation as a form of budgeting, but there are moments in life when your frugality should kick in.

Want to go to happy hour with your friends? Go! Stop at one drink, or just get a soda, or heck a free water. Have gal pals who want to check out a sale? Do it! Just say no to actually purchasing something. Are your friends wanting to go out to dinner and the movies? Just say no to spending $30 to $45 and suggest cooking at home and streaming a movie or show on Netflix. Sometimes alcoholic milkshakes and season one of the Kardashians make a lovely evening. Scratch that, I’ve disclosed too much.


(Screw it. I’m not ashamed about my guilty pleasure. Alcoholic milkshakes are delicious!)

Treating yourself is important, but if you tend to count two happy hours, a movie, two dinners out and a shopping spree each week as acceptable you might want to adjust your “Treat-Yo-Self-meter.”  Sometimes you need to harness the power of just saying no for the sake of your wallet and perhaps your sanity.

Do you find it hard to just say no?


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22 responses to “Frugal Find: Just Say No

  1. It’s all about will power. Are you strong enough to refuse that drink order when you’re out with your friends. I guess it all comes down to your goals and how badly you want them.
    Who doesn’t like milkshakes and Netflix parties? I am judging you a little for paying attention to the Kardashians, but we all have flaws 🙂

    1. The Kardashians and any Real Housewives series always makes me feel better about life. No matter how down I am I can watch them and think, “at least I’m more emotionally stable and sane than those ladies!”

    2. I have to agree with this willpower statement. I have terrible will power so I know if I go out, I’ll likely order more than one…. What I’ve done to slow down the money spending is make sure at a bar that I order a drink and a water so I must drink both before ordering more. And to ensure I drink even slower, if there’s no happy hour, I’ll order a liquor and club soda drink, but in a full sized soda glass. As a bonus, it lowers the alcohol percentage which ensures I don’t get intoxicated and in that “I’ll buy all my ‘friends’ at the bar a round!” mode (not that I have ever gotten that way but you never know!).

  2. I think I’ve gotten pretty good at saying no to spending items. I’ve even said no to lunch at work when I forget my lunch and ate a cliff bar because I was too cheap to pay for the overpriced cafeteria food!

    On a side note, my D.A.R.E essay won the essay contest for my class…I now think D.A.R.E. is kind of a joke and should be ended asap. Research has shown kids actually become more interested in drugs vs. if they didn’t take the class haha.

    1. I won the essay contest too!!! And now we both blog…hmm…

      That’s so sad it makes kids more interested in drugs. Perhaps there is a better tactic for teaching it. D.A.R.E. is one of my final memories of the US before we moved overseas.

  3. I don’t find it difficult to say no most times. If my friends are going out, it’s usually to Applebees where I can get an appetizer for $4, and I usually split it with the boyfriend. If I go out to drink, I will only have one since I have to drive back home after. I guess it’s also a good thing that I am a homebody most of the time, so I’d rather stay home or have a low-key hangout. I’m not one for crazy big social situations.
    I have known people that say yes to everything in the name of having fun and then complain that they have no money in their bank account at the end of the day. They still keep going out, though!

    1. Oh, the Applebees happy hour. Applebees was the closest restaurant to my college and I swore I’d never return after I graduated. But those boneless buffalo chicken wings are pretty tasty.

      I like going out and having a good time, but have gotten good about a one drink rule or negotiating with a friend to do something cheaper.

  4. Great post Erin! I wonder what you were going to do for your Frugal find. You’re just busy busy writing. 🙂

    Anyways, I can completely relate in seeing people who say no and just keep drinking. Sadly they suffer from FOMO! FOMO has made our generation ridiculous. Seriously, if you miss one mediocre night, then it isn’t going to be the end all be all.

    Nice lack of tv stand. 🙂 They are quite expensive. 🙂

  5. There are definitely some times where it’s harder to say no. Recently I traveled to visit some friends from school that I barely ever see and I definitely spent more than usual, just because I was out doing what they normally do and wanted to participate. I have anticipated this and was ready, but I certainly could have said no more than I did. If you have trouble limited yourself when you’re actually in the moment, then you need to find ways to limit your exposure to those moments.

  6. I used to have a hard time saying no when I was a nightclub-hopping college gal, but since I’ve graduated and entered the “real” world, saying no has become much easier on the wallet. I’m also such a homebody now that the thought of getting all dolled up and wear 4 inch heels to go dancing sounds so tiring lol

  7. I love how the title of our posts today are polar opposites, haha.

    In order to get out of debt, I had to say no to sooo much. Shopping, dinners, drinks, vacations, etc. It’s nice to have the freedom to say yes more often now, but I still say no to the things I realized I didn’t actually miss. Quitting drinking helped too, but saving money was only a bonus to a decision I had to make for myself. 🙂

  8. Alcoholic milkshakes sound fabulous. I could go for one right now. I used to have a hard time saying no to friends, now that I’ve practiced it, it’s actually pretty easy these days. I had no idea there was a DARE valedictorian, I don’t think we had one. But I did do a skit at our DARE graduation. We used the “bad boys” music in the background for a fun added effect 😉

  9. I discovered this week that Summer and “No” do not go hand in hand for me. I blew through all my money and will now have to live off pennies for the next week (in my entertainment budget, anyway). I have a new plan to resist summer’s temptations and say No!

  10. OMG D.A.R.E! Taking me back….saying no can be hard and it really depends on the circumstance for me. Most of the time, it’s not worth it and there are cheaper alternatives around the house.

  11. I haven’t seen that sign since middle school that and McGruff the crime dog. I have gotten to the point that with certain things people just expect my answer to be no. I guess it works sometimes though I get left out. Its funny people will ask and when they don’t hear the answer they want to the cant just so ok cool. They need to convince you to do what you already said you dont want to. Will power and knowing that you have a reason/goal and heck you have a choice. Nothing wrong with saying no. More people should do it more often.

  12. Alcohol milkshake. #want

    I sucked at saying no too. Then I got married…so that helped 😉

    I’m trying to not be a self-serving ass; but I can’t HELP myself! I built Earmark (iPhone app) for this exact thing – it’s a mobile app for tracking every time you say “no” and then it tallies up those savings toward stuff you really want – and lets your friends chime in on what to spend your savings on. It kind of gives you the power to say no if you need to, and yes if you want to.

    Anyhow, it’s meant to help with this exact thing, so I hope I don’t get my ass handed to me for posting a comment about my own product. Either way, alcohol milkshake ftw =D

  13. Love this advice! I definitely went out during college and had a water sometimes–with good company you don’t need the overpriced drink and empty calories.

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