Thursday, December 4, 2008

Just Say No Thank You

Tip #36 - Just Say No Thank You. When you are trying to save money, there seem to be lots of obstacles in your way. There are the cute little Boy Scouts who knock on your door trying to get you to buy popcorn. And there are the cute little Girl Scouts who knock on your door trying to get you to buy cookies. There's the guy at work who is running a 10K for a worthy cause and wants sponsors. There are the ladies on the block who want to do a monthly girls' night out. And the list goes on and on and on. How do you save money without feeling like you are not supporting your community and your friends, and worthy charities?

You just say "No, thank you." And then you add "It's not in my budget." Remember, you now have a budget that shows where your hard-earned dollars are going to go. If it's not in your budget, then be honest and tell them so. No one can argue with that. And if you really want to feel like you are supporting your community and your friends and your favorite charities, then put them in your budget. Pick out your favorite charities in the beginning of the year and decide how much you will donate to them. Then add it as a line on your budget. If you want to buy two boxes of Girl Scout cookies each year, then make sure you put it as part of your grocery items the month you buy them or add it as part of your budget. If you want to support a friend or colleague of yours who runs races twice a year, then put it in your budget. You can also just do a one-line budget item for miscellaneous giving that may include causes such as these. If you don't have money to do this, then leave it out. But when the Boy Scouts come knocking on your door, remember to say, "No thank you. It's not in our budget."

In Real Life (IRL) - It's hard to say no - especially to children who are trying to earn money for a class trip or a friend who is raising money in memory of someone. I decide at the beginning of the year which charities I am planning on supporting and how much I will give to them. Then I add in an extra amount for miscellaneous causes. This line item comes in handy because we often have older relatives or friends who pass away and we like to make a donation in their name. We either donate to a charity of their choice or one of our favorite charities. When someone knocks at my door, I usually say "No thank you. It's not in our budget." Although sometimes I have a hard time not giving to our high school band since I was a bandmember and remember trying to raise money for our band trips. Sometimes rather than buy what they are selling, we may just give a small donation - such as $5. Then I feel like I am supporting them but I don't have to spend $20 or whatever it costs to buy what they are selling to do so.

Girl Scout cookies are part of our food budget. I used to buy 4 boxes per season - two from my niece and two from our neighbor. I just took it out of our grocery spending that month. Neither one is a Girl Scout anymore, but my daughter now is. So I will have to show a lot of willpower this year when cookie time rolls around. Remember, it's okay to give and to buy as long as it is in your budget to do so.

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