Tis the season to just say "no"

It’s great having an extended family. It’s great having a large network of friends spread out across the country. It’s great having co-workers who tolerate your presence.

Summer, however, is the time of year when all those great things start getting a little less great – specifically for your bank account.

While the holiday season is a clear drain on your finances, we tend to underestimate the impact of the many social obligations that begin popping up when the weather starts to improve. The chief offender? Weddings.

We all know that getting married is deeply expensive for the bride and groom, but it’s also a significant expense for those attending. As of 2015, weddings were estimated to cost $673 per attendee. Airfare, hotel rooms, food, and gifts add up in a hurry. And that doesn’t include any wedding season staples, like bachelor/bachelorette parties and wedding showers.

The summer is also a popular time for family gatherings, reunions, and personal vacations. In other words, you’re going to have a lot of things to do and places to be and almost none of it will be cheap.

Of course, there are ways to cut costs. You can hunt for deals. You can pack smart and grab plane tickets when prices are at their lowest. You can successfully dine out on a tight budget. The reality, though, is that your budget probably just doesn’t have space for all of these events. So you’re going to have to learn to say “no”. As you might know from personal experience, that’s easier said than done. Here are a few tips to help you put your foot down (gently and politely).

Figure out your budget

When you say no to someone’s invitation, they may take that personally. That’s why you need to make this about the numbers. Review your budget. Evaluate how much you can spend on trips and special occasions. If the money isn’t there, it isn’t there.

Be honest

Avoid making excuses, but also keep in mind that you don’t need to provide a reason unless asked. “We would love to attend, but we just aren’t able” is a perfectly acceptable response.

Respond quickly

Don’t ignore an invitation just because the answer is no. And definitely don’t make someone chase you for an answer. If you can’t go, let the host know promptly so they can alter plans accordingly.

Find another way to celebrate the occasion

Send a card. Send a video message. Send a gift, if you’re so inclined. Let the host know that you appreciate the invitation, you’re thinking of them, and you wish them well. Even if you can’t physically be there, you can still send your love and support.

Jesse Campbell photo.

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, with over ten years of experience creating valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

  • Better Business Bureau A+ rating Better Business Bureau
    MMI is proud to have achieved an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), a nonprofit organization focused on promoting and improving marketplace trust. The BBB investigates charges of fraud against both consumers and businesses, sets standards for truthfulness in advertising, and evaluates the trustworthiness of businesses and charities, providing a score from A+ (highest) to F (lowest).
  • Financial Counseling Association of America Financial Counseling Association of America
    MMI is a proud member of the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA), a national association representing financial counseling companies that provide consumer credit counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling, bankruptcy counseling, debt management, and various financial education services.
  • Trustpilot Trustpilot
    MMI is rated as “Excellent” (4.9/5) by reviewers on Trustpilot, a global, online consumer review platform dedicated to openness and transparency. Since 2007, Trustpilot has received over 116 million customer reviews for nearly 500,000 different websites and businesses. See what others are saying about the work we do.
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development - Equal Housing Opportunity Department of Housing and Urban Development
    MMI is certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide consumer housing counseling. The mission of HUD is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD provides support services directly and through approved, local agencies like MMI.
  • Council on Accreditation Council On Accreditation
    MMI is proudly accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA), an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. COA’s thorough, peer-reviewed accreditation process is designed to ensure that organizations like MMI are providing the highest standard of service and support for clients and employees alike.
  • National Foundation for Credit Counseling National Foundation for Credit Counseling
    MMI is a longstanding member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), the nation’s largest nonprofit financial counseling organization. Founded in 1951, the NFCC’s mission is to promote financially responsible behavior and help member organizations like MMI deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.