One afternoon, I looked out my window and saw 2 guys in Polo’s and shorts approaching my house with clipboards. I knew immediately that they were trying to sell something and I just didn’t want to say “NO” to yet another person trying to get me to buy weed killer, grass fertilizer, or whatever they were selling. So, I made the decision to not answer the door. Unfortunately my 3 year old daughter did not get the memo. When I didn’t answer the door when they knocked, she began to howl at the top of her lungs. She is my extrovert child that desires to play with ANYONE or talk to EVERYONE and she was not about to let the opportunity pass her by to talk to SOMEONE other than Mommy. Sigh. So, I answered the door.
I didn’t want to because I hate having to tell people “NO”. This is evidenced by my calendar. Our lives are inundated with people asking us to do things, buy things, and commit our hard earned money somewhere other than where we want it to go. That’s where creating a Spending Plan comes into play.
A Spending Plan is a plan to spend things list. I plan to spend money on my taxes, insurance, mortgage/rent, utilities, and food; among other things. You conscientiously make the decision beforehand what you plan to spend your money on. Then when someone asks you, “Will you buy these Girl Scout Cookies?”, You can honestly say to them, “Yes, I planned on buying these and I’ll take 10 boxes of the Thin Mints, please.” You decided before hand where you would spend your money.
“Sir, I didn’t plan on buying that magazine subscription that you are offering, It’s just not a part of our spending plan. Good day to you.” You said “NO” so nicely. You feel great because you helped that sweet little Girl Scout, but under your terms and not out of guilt.
I set up my Spending Plan and then have it transferred to the appropriate sub-accounts automatically. It helps me to know that the money is being saved for the appropriate item. Then, when Girl Scout cookie time or Boy Scout popcorn times around, I just go to my sub-account for Charity or my personal spending account and use that money. Without guilt. Because I PLANNED on spending the money.
My husband and I were having a discussion in the car the other day about saying “NO”. I don’t think he says it often enough and he thinks I don’t say “YES” enough. It was a very good discussion, not heated. Just an open and honest discussion about money. Every couple should have these moments. We have discovered that the car is a great place to start the discussion. Then we move on to reading articles to stimulate the conversation and then getting home to verify everything. Just choose a place to have your discussions that work best for you.
So, this discussion. I think our society says “YES” too much. We have debt. We have too many THINGS. He thinks that we need to say “YES” more because we’ve been blessed so much. We need to help out the people selling things especially those down on their luck or just starting out. When I countered with, Yes, I agree that we need to help people, but not to our own detriment. He agreed to that. Sigh of relief. We talked about adding more to our Charity sub-account because we want to be able to do good for others. We want to be able to say “YES”, but on our conditions.
In order to do that, we must stay out of debt, live within our means, and plan on the amount we want to spend towards helping others out. Our Spending Plan changes from time to time. There are always the fixed items that NEVER change such as phone, mortgage/rent, taxes, house insurance, car insurance, utilities, and tithing. Then there are the things that can fluctuate such as redirecting funds from your Vacation fund into your Charity fund. Just be flexible and agree together where you want your money to go.
Choosing to say “NO” isn’t painful if you know why you are saying “NO”. It’s the bigger picture, folks. Make a decision about where you want to spend your money before you are confronted to buy something you don’t want or need.
So, next time you see those guys walking up your drive, you can confidently say to them, “Thank you for all your hard work, here’s a bottle of cold water, but I’m not interested in purchasing what you are selling because we have chosen to say “YES” somewhere else in our Spending Plan.” Then you can smile and close the door knowing you helped someone.