Ask Sherry: What do you tell people who question your spending?
You can ask any question using the form here.
Note: These two questions are separate posts because it became too long, and will be answered early next week.
- What to look for in a daycare
- How to say “No” to people
What do you tell people who question your spending choices, ask you how much money you make,…etc?
I’m assuming you’re talking about people in real life and not blog readers….
Believe it or not, I don’t really get this because I don’t bring it up or mention what I buy or the cost of it unless they ask directly. I avoid the topic of money unless they breach it first and I feel like I have something to contribute.
I usually tell the truth depending on who they are, what I know of them, how close they are, etc.
Someone: Oh that trench coat is beautiful!
Me: Thank you. I love the details on the cuffs, it’s why I bought it!
Someone: *stares*… It really is very nice. It looks … wait… it looks … is that a Burberry trench coat?
Someone: How much did it cost?
Me: About $1600 on sale I think. I bought it when I finished a big contract and felt I had saved up enough money to deserve it.
I’ve met with family members who wanted to know exactly how much I made each year.
I told them the truth because what I knew, which is to say any or all of the following:
A) They’re obsessed with money and talk about it like asking someone what they ate last night.
B) They wanted to compare me to their children, and I knew it would be more than what they could all make combined.
C) They wanted to be proud of me and know that I am successful enough to be self-sufficient and not dependent on anyone.
D) I knew they were millions ahead of me, and if they needed to know in order to feel good about being richer than my family and me, then by all means, take it and feel good about yourself. It’s free for me.
It doesn’t hurt my pride or make me envious that they’re richer than I am. Sure, I wish sometimes I had that money, but other times, I think it’s a curse to be so rich. You never know who loves you for who you are, or for your money, unless they have been with you ever since you were a poor little church mouse.
I know who I am and what I have saved and earned on my own. I’m just as proud of my success as they are of their own. It doesn’t do anything for me to compare myself to others, I’m better off than I was when I started, and as long as I am going up more or less in the black over the long run, it’s all gravy.
Anyway, it can all disappear in a flash for any number of reasons and the only thing that really matters is your health, and what you think of yourself.
For the ones who question my spending choices, I defend it if there is anything to defend, or I don’t want to defend my spending, so I simply say:
Hmm. Because I wanted it.
…or if I am feeling cheeky…
If you have a specific situation in mind, let me know in the comments…
How do you say ‘No, thank you’ when people, especially friends and family try to close a sale on you? To elaborate, one of my friends tried to sell me her mom’s pastry and she said something along the lines of ‘I’ll sell it to you for only $2 each’.
A simple “no thank you” should suffice, really.
If you feel like you can’t say “no”, then try other ways to say “No”:
“I’m sorry, I don’t have the money for that in my budget.”
“I’m watching my sugar intake and trying to be healthier, so don’t tempt me. No thanks!”
How do you say ‘No’ to people to whom you’ve previously given an ambiguous ‘Let’s do something sometime’ without really meaning but are now coming after you to keep your word?
I actually hate this because it has happened to me a few times. I don’t like false niceties, because I believe if someone says something, you do it. I can’t judge whether you are being false or true, but it certainly shows in your character in whether you follow up or not.
The best thing is to fix yourself and stop saying you’ll do things if you don’t mean to.
The only polite way out of this, is to do something with them if you feel like you have no other alternative (although this just encourages them), and if you don’t want to continue the relationship or friendship, then either tell them outright, or if they mention: “This was great, let’s do this again!”, you can say nothing and keep quiet, say a non-committal “Mmm hmm”.
If all else fails, just keep ignoring their calls or emails, or suggestions. They’ll get the hint eventually especially if they’re the only ones working so hard to try and make it work.
Should I stop feeling guilty and sorry for people and not being afraid of making them feel uncomfortable? What’s the fine line?
The fine line is your health, sanity and well-being. You should also just.. not say anything.
Silence is fine. You are allowed to think what you want, you don’t need to say it either even if people press you. It’s your right to keep your thoughts and words to yourself.
It is also fine to be (a little) afraid to make people feel uncomfortable. I usually assess the situation of who I am with, and then pick safer topics or say as little or as much as I want, and if all else fails, I say: “We can agree to disagree.“….or… “That’s a good point, I never saw it like that. Thank you.“, and leave it at that.
I don’t have a specific situation from you, but let’s take money for an example as it seems to be fraught with minefields.
Let’s say you have tons of money saved from working, your friend does not, and keeps moaning day after day about how he can’t afford to pay his rent.
There are a few situations that arise from this off the top of my head.
A) They truly can’t afford to pay their rent for what ever reason
If this is the case, if you haven’t already done so, try helping review their CV so that they can score a better job, practice interviews with them (maybe they have a nervous tic or habit that turns people off), suggest more overtime, or find opportunities to help them make more money, that would be the ideal solution (they fish for themselves instead of giving them fish).
B) They can afford to pay it but prioritized drinking with the boys and buying rounds like a baller instead
Help them budget and track their expenses, or come up with your own situation (imagined or real) where you realized you needed to budget and saw how much you were wasting on unnecessary crap like beer. You can then even make fun of it in a light-hearted manner: “I spent $X on beers every week and it just went right through me! I was literally peeing money.”
Lead by example and talk about how you have installed some frugal money habits in yourself to try and save up for a big down payment on a home because you have a goal to have a place paid off and would rather do that than drink it away. Talk about your own money dreams and how you’re struggling, but in a positive manner.
You get the drift.
C) They are hinting HARD because they know you’re flush
Smile, and if they keep trying to deliberately make you feel terrible and bad about having money when they don’t have any (for whatever reason), then maybe start putting a little distance between yourself and your friend.
Sometimes, people grow apart. Priorities in life change, and you can only do what is best for you. Your life is your own to live, and you get to decide what to do with it. If spending time with these people makes you feel bad about yourself, then slowly wean off yourself off the friendship or get a little distance.
However, if you are volunteering in a soup kitchen and feel like you have so much money but you’re wasting it on crap that could go to helping these people, remember that you are a human being and not a martyr.
EVERYONE at some point, with a heart, feels like this. I have gone through this plenty of times.
What you have to remember is you are already doing a good thing, and if you feel like you are unsatisfied because you could be doing more, then think about setting aside an amount that is comfortable for you to donate back and feel like you’re doing a good thing the way I have.
If it helps any, I hear that money is not what charities really want though, it’s the time of people because money is easy to throw at the problem but hard work and effort is another situation.
You can’t save everyone. Trust me. You’ll just burn yourself out doing it. Not only that, if you start wobbling and are unable to stay steady on your own two feet, how can you possibly be able to help others who are in need? You might end up being the one in need one day.
Steady yourself and help yourself first, so you can help others even more in return.
I would love a day in the life or a week in the life of Sherry…How you spend your time etc. Why? Because I’m a big fan and would love to be both inspired by your efficiency and glad that you have moments of binge watching or internet browsing.
Sure.. I’ll come up with this. I have sort of done it here in my “A Week of Spending” (I have another week coming up some time) but if you want to know about my time spent, I’ll have to start keeping track of it and paying attention.
Keep in mind, I’m not working so… obviously I have LOTS of free time as I don’t go to work. Once I start working, I could do another week. I’d be curious to see how I organize my time, to be honest.