Money may seem like a straightforward topic, but it so rarely is.
As much as we think we’re making financial decisions based purely off of numbers, our decision process is more often than not overlaid with emotional drivers.
And one of the sneakiest emotional drivers of them all is being too “nice” with our money.
It doesn’t always pay to be nice
People who are considered too “nice” for their own good are often categorized as people pleasers. And there is certainly some truth to that.
According to Dr. Helen Odessky, you can tell if you’re people pleasing if you agree to something because you would feel bad, guilty, or as though you’re not a good friend if you say no.
But people pleasers aren’t the only ones who might be a little too nice when it comes to their money.
Dr. Susan Chanderbhan-Forde talks about how being too nice can happen when you have “difficulty with setting boundaries in your relationships.”
Think about family members who might ask you for money. Even if you aren’t a people pleaser, you might feel required to lend that money because of a lack of clear boundaries.
No matter what the reason is, being too nice with your money can cost you big. And if you think it doesn’t happen to you very often, think again.
Take a look at the list below. Notice anything familiar? There are probably a few things there that, when added up throughout the years, can have some major financial consequences.
But don’t worry, we have another list below revealing tips on how to stop spending money on being nice.
12 ways being nice is costing you money
- Buying drinks for your friends…every time you go out
- Footing the bill for dinner (or lunch, or brunch) with your friends
- Splitting meals evenly – even if you ordered the cheapest thing on the menu
- Buying extra nice gifts for family or friends for birthdays, kids’ birthdays, housewarming, engagement parties, bridal showers, baby showers, weddings, and so on
- Saying yes every time you’re asked to be in a wedding (and all of the costs that follow)
- Going extravagant for your own wedding because you’re afraid your guests won’t enjoy it if you don’t
- Hosting frequent barbecues or dinner parties (and all the costs that incur for food, alcohol, dessert)
- Lending money to family or friends (anywhere from $20 on up to the hundreds or thousands)
- Frequently footing the bill for a friend who’s not in a great financial place
- Buying something whenever a retail salesperson pays you special attention
- Avoiding negotiations during a job offer or while making purchases for fear of seeming unfair
- Not asking siblings or other members of your extended family for help in splitting the cost of care for elderly family members
How to stop spending money just to be nice
As you can probably guess, that list above can go on and on.
But if you’re ready to break the cycle, here’s how to stop spending money and start saying “no.” Even if it may not be considered the nice thing to do.
1. Create firm boundaries
We often fear that saying “no” to the people we care about will make it seem like we aren’t empathetic to what’s going on in their lives.
The irony is, if we don’t say no when we need to, the effects can drive a far deeper wedge into the relationship.
talks more about why this is:
“I’ve seen situations where people agree to participate in weddings that they can’t really afford the costs for or try to give expensive gifts to friends and family or provide financial assistance to family members that really stresses the giver financially,” says Chanderbhan-Forde.
“Ultimately, people end up not being able to meet important financial goals and feeling stressed and resentful, which negatively impacts their relationships,” Chanderbhan-Forde explains.
Saying no might be hard, but if not saying no will hurt you more in the long run, it will hurt that relationship you want to preserve as well.
2. Say “no” politely
So what about the act of saying no? This can be the hardest part of all. Odessky says you can overcome this boundary by being polite:
“You can say no and initially it will feel uncomfortable,” Odessky explains. “The good news is that a firm no can still be said politely.”
“Saying ‘no thank you’ and reaffirming if pushed is all it really takes most of the time,” adds Odessky. “People worry that if they are assertive with their response it will come off as aggressive and that is usually not the case.”
It’s just like they said when we were kids, a little politeness can go a long way.
3. Keep your goals in mind
Finally, if you really want to learn how to stop spending money on being nice, the best thing you can do is keep your financial goals in mind.
Odessky speaks more to the importance of this step:
“Keeping our priorities and setting boundaries are all part of good self-care, including financial self-care. In the wrong circumstances being too nice hurts us.”
Remember, everyone has financial goals they want to reach. But nickel and diming yourself when trying to be nice is definitely not the way to get there.
As you work on creating those boundaries and politely saying no when they’re being crossed, stay firm in your resolve by remembering the goals you want to reach.
Don’t let being nice now lead you to financial regret later. As hard as it is to say no, let your goals speak for themselves.
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