I spent my 20s trying to keep up with the high-rolling lifestyle of those around me, like the privileged Blair Waldorfs of New York City.
I accepted every invitation and attended dinner parties and social events, purchasing overpriced drinks from nearby stores in futile attempts to fit in.
The cost of this quest for acceptance quickly added up, leading to a significant amount of debt that I was unable to pay off on my own.
I eventually decided to take matters into my own hands and enrolled in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, a nine-week course aimed at educating individuals on money management strategies such as eliminating debt and saving for life’s unexpected expenses.
This program helped me regain control of my finances, allowing me to say “no” when spending habits became too costly or excessive.
For instance, when presented with an expensive bachelorette weekend with friends, I graciously declined knowing that it would do more harm than good for my bank account.
While it can be difficult to turn down offers of friendship, learning how to calmly explain why you are not able to participate has allowed me to prioritize financial stability without sacrificing important relationships.
Give Your Family & Friends Some Credit
No matter how much your family loves you, they don’t want to burden you with their financial needs. Good people respect that everyone has their own responsibilities and obligations to manage.
Most of us have been in a difficult situation where saying ‘yes’ could mean we cannot pay our rent. Life can be harsh and hard, but we always get through it together.
It is important to remember that no one should be expected to carry the burden of another’s finances alone – rather, it should be seen as a shared responsibility that is only taken on when necessary.
Try To Tone Down The Drama
Declining an invitation can be a daunting task, especially for women who might feel like they have to put on a grand performance to “justify” why they cannot attend.
We often tell tales of financial struggles, guilt, and regret in hopes of garnering sympathy from the person issuing the invite.
The truth is, however, that it doesn’t take much effort or effortful dramatics to politely decline an invitation. It’s perfectly acceptable to simply express your regrets with positive language such as: “I’m sorry I’m unable to join you for [the event], but due to current financial constraints I’m not able to make it.
But I wish you the best and I’d love to celebrate with you in another way!” Being honest and straightforward is more than enough when declining an invite.
Show Appreciation & Express Gratitude
It’s always a thoughtful gesture when friends or family take the time to think of you, and even more so when they understand that you’re not able to accept an invitation.
If I had been invited to my cousin’s baby shower, for instance, I would have written her a personalized letter expressing my gratitude for the invitation, regret that I wasn’t able to be there in person, and enthusiasm about the soon-to-arrive bundle of joy.
There’s nothing quite like receiving a piece of snail mail compared to an email—it takes more effort and thoughtfulness on the sender’s part and is much more personal.
Propose A Different Option
If you’ve been invited to a destination bachelorette party that is outside of your budget, it doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on spending quality time with the bride-to-be.
There are plenty of thoughtful, meaningful activities that you can do together without breaking the bank. For example, host a homemade brunch at your own home or take a picnic out into nature for some fresh air and conversation.
If you’re in an urban area, consider attending a free outdoor movie night or search for free dance or fitness classes in the area.
With a bit of research, you can discover creative ways to connect with those around you without draining your savings account.
Create Something Unique
When a friend or loved one celebrates an important milestone, it can be hard to feel like you’re not matching their level of enthusiasm if you don’t have the same financial resources.
This is especially true for bridal showers and weddings, which can come with steep price tags. But it’s possible to show your care and support without breaking the bank.
Consider small yet meaningful gestures: bake a pie using an old family recipe or craft a knitted scarf as an extra special gift that money can’t buy.
If distance prevents you from attending in person, make a video showing your love and appreciation for the couple.
And, of course, don’t forget about thrift stores—find a unique picture frame to display photos of the happy newlyweds!
Ultimately, expressing yourself doesn’t have to cost much at all; it just takes honesty and creativity. Declining expensive offers doesn’t mean you are being cheap or insensitive, but rather that you are taking care of yourself financially in order to navigate life’s various stages responsibly.