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Frugal Find: Say Yes (sometimes)

   Posted On: January 17, 2014  |    Posted In: Saving  |     Posted by: Broke Millennial®

Yesterday, a few co-workers were chatting about going out for happy hour after work. I looked up and asked, “where you headed?” One said the name of the bar and asked “do you want to come?!” He seemed shocked that I’d be interested. I said, “yeah, I’d be down for a drink.” The somewhat surprised expression was explained when he said, “I’m always hesitant to ask you because you’re so money-conscience!”

This is why you say yes (sometimes).

Do I accept all happy hour invites? No. Frankly, I don’t have the funds to go out to drinks multiple times a week. Like I posted several months ago, I do have to “just say no” to certain invitations or counter them with slightly more frugal suggestions.

The issue is, when you write a personal finance blog, love chatting about money and relish saving — it turns people off from inviting you to non-penny-pinching events. As a community, it seems personal finance writers like to point to ways to scrimp, save and protect your cash. But there are times that you need to loosen up the purse strings and go to happy hour, pay $14 for a movie or experience a delicious brunch.

Life can’t always be about making this face…


In a not totally frugal, but mentally healthy mentality, I’m telling you to SAY YES (sometimes).

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32 responses to “Frugal Find: Say Yes (sometimes)

  1. I really like the idea of being thoughtful about your finances. And if you are, I totally agree, you can say “yes” sometimes.

    There are also ways to say “yes” frugally. Go to happy hours and order a drink and a water at the same time and then nurse those for a while and still enjoy the company of your coworkers (without looking like a weirdo for just sitting there drinking nothing)!

    1. You nailed my strategy. I am usually a one drink that I nurse for a while and then switch to water gal. Or, if it’s a really good happy hour deal I can spring for two beers. I usually order beers for happy hours because I find it easier to drag out drinking those than a cocktail.

  2. This is such an important point. I feel like so many people miss out on good, fun social interaction with other people because they’re afraid it’ll cost too much money. As long as you’re conscious of how much you spend for these sorts of things, and don’t let it run away from you, it’s not going to break your budget to go out and have some fun with friends or coworkers.

    1. It’s another reason to have a “fun line” built into your budget strategy (if you’re a budget person). Not only won’t it break your budget, like you said, but it could be good for networking and career advancement.

  3. yeah I get that same quizzical look sometimes when I say yes to non-frugal activities. I agree that you you NEVER say no, people will just stop asking entirely. Or if you always say no, make sure to reach out and suggest alternate frugal activities from time to time.

    1. I don’t usually suggest alternative plans to co-workers, but I have with friends — especially if it’s already been a more expensive week. One friend and I sometimes skip brunch and just get some pastries to picnic in the park. A much cheaper way to spend time together and still get a bit of a “brunch feel.”

  4. Great post! My coworkers go out to lunch pretty much every day of the week, and I brown-bag it the majority of the time. Every now and then I tag along and I’m met with similar expressions of surprise. I know it’s important to be social with my coworkers so I spend $8 on lunch occasionally!

    1. I’m a brown-bagger too (almost more for the waistline than the wallet) but I do like splurging with a lunch out once or twice a month. I’m lucky/unlucky that going out to lunch with co-workers isn’t a norm in my office. Most people get takeout and return to their desks to keep working. Very few folks actually step away from their desks to eat.

  5. Haha… what a great pic 🙂 And I agree – saying yes leads to some rather interesting adventures in life too which would never happen sitting at home!

    1. Love that picture too. Sometimes I worry my face will stay fixed in a sarcastic eye-roll. And I agree, life is about taking adventures! Just cost-effective adventures (and then the occasional splurge!)

  6. Yes Yes and Yes. You have to enjoy your life and not all things in life make financial sense but you have to look beyond the budget occasionally and just have fun!

  7. Love the expression on your face, Erin! I agree – you have to say “yes” sometimes. It’s okay to splurge wisely and consciously and fit a happy hour into your budget. And honestly, especially with work, I think you need to budget the occasional team lunch or happy hour in because while they are always fun – work is discussed too. Always saying “no” means you’re out of the loop, which might cost you getting a good project that will could earn you a raise or promotion. Have a great weekend, Erin!

    1. I couldn’t agree more. Work social functions are really important to join in on because it does help your career. It seems a lot of career moves are made outside the office. Plus, it’s nice to just blow of steam with co-workers!

  8. Saying yes sometimes is a great philosophy. I believe that the “indulgences” make us appreciate the hard work of saving, etc. We have to reward ourselves sometimes, otherwise maintaining a financially healthy lifestyle loses its appeal.

    1. True, it’s about evaluating priorities. I can scrimp in one area to compensate for a brunch, manicure or night out. Plus, work happy hour doesn’t cost more than $10 so it’s hard to feel like that’s going to seriously do damage to my bank account — especially if it’s only once or twice a month. Because I live a fiscally responsible lifestyle, I am able to indulge in some nicer activities because I have the money!

    1. Thanks, Michelle. People who hoard all their money remind me of the folks on that show “hoarders.” Their house might not be as cluttered, but something deeper is going on.

    1. Especially if it helps develop relationships! Glad you enjoyed the movie. I went to Wolf of Wall Street last night and was a bit disappointed, mostly because I’ve read the book. Book always trumps movies (except in the case of anything Nicholas Sparks writes).

    1. I guess I just need to do a better job of vocalizing that I’m open to invitations and won’t always say no.

  9. That exactly interaction happens to me all the time. My friends and even co-workers know that I’m not one to go out spending money (particularly on lunch) when I can bring my own from home and save a bunch of cash. At first it kind of bothered me, but now I pick and chose when I go and what I buy. I’d rather bring my own lunch and splurge on a few drinks after work than buy a $15 lunch (that usually isn’t that tasty or enjoyable) by my work.

    1. I’m with you KK. I’d always rather bring lunch and splurge a few tasty brewskis or cocktails. I also think I make a better salad than 99% of the places near where I work. I spring for lunch out every once and awhile, but I’d also rather do brunch on the weekend than lunch during the week.

  10. Great advice. This is also what I tell graduate students — if you turn down all social invitations in favor of work or money, you will harm yourself not only socially, but your productivity will drop from exhaustion. Then you’ll be *more* vulnerable to wasting money and time, not less.

  11. I have this same problem. I always want to say no to going out to lunch with co-workers, and happy hours because it can get so expensive. I think a balance is definitely the right approach. Trying to limit myself to once or twice a month seems pretty reasonable in my mind. Plus, its a good networking opportunity, so who knows, it could end up leading to some nice opportunities down the road. You are also investing in relationships, which can’t be ignored. Scrooge was frugal, but he had no friends. I don’t want to be Scrooge.

    1. I pity the fool who wants to be Scrooge! Sounds like you have a healthy mentality about your money and developing relationships.

  12. That’s actually one of the things I hate about being in personal finance is that everyone assumes you have to be “cheap”. I’m not at all! I love to spend money. I just like to do it intelligently. To me, a night out with friends is an investment. You may not see the return in your wallet (now), but you realize it later on.

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