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 is the Content Manager at MMI, focused on creating and delivering valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

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