Since my boyfriend and I started the Spending Freeze at the beginning of January things have started to change when it comes to how we both look at money.  The biggest takeaway so far is the power of no and being able to say no when we feel tempted to spend or feel pressured from an outside source to compromise our financial goals.  We have been able to say no to eating out, traveling, going to the movies, and extra items at the grocery store.

The power of no in a certain way is actually quite liberating because it allows you to control your finances and realize where you want your money to go.  Financial priorities are important because it allows you to focus on what is important to you instead of just letting those little slips happen.  Sometimes it feels difficult to say no to things you would have previously said yes to but realistically I don't feel like I am sacrificing much by doing so.

Maybe you feel guilty from telling your friends that you don't want to go to a fancy place and spend money on drinks or maybe you feel like these relationships will suffer from your decision to not over indulge.  Here are some tips:

1.  Figure out who your true friends are.  Basically all I am saying is that the people how really care about you will understand and respect your decisions to not throw money away on things that don't meet your list of financial priorities.  Also,  refrain from letting "associates or acquaintances" dictate what you should be spending money on.  A true friend will also meet you where you are.

2.  Find ways to hang out and visit friends that doesn't involve spending anything or is very inexpensive.  Meet at a friends house for a potluck or series premiere of a television show you both watch, go on a walk, meet for drinks at someone's house before going to dinner or research restaurants that offer discounts or specials if you simply must eat out.  Anna Newell Jones has some awesome ideas of things to do instead of spend money.  Websites like GrouponLiving Social, and Scout Mob are all great places to start for deals in your area if you can't completely slash eating out or events.

3.  See if you have a fellow frugal friend.  Maybe one of your friends wants to start a spending freeze or limit what they spend, by teaming up not only do you gain an accountability partner but you can also have an ally when it comes to everyone making plans for the weekend.

4.  Use moderation and set limits.  If you know that it will be impossible to stop going out to eat with your friends or doing other things that can add expense to your budget then set a limit.  Maybe instead of doing something a couple times a week do something once a week or wait until the weekend.  If your crew likes the weekend scene, see if you can look for deals or promos that will help you save some dough or meet up for brunch or lunch which are usually cheaper than dinner and drinks.  Give yourself a budget for each outing so you have an easier time staying within your monthly goal.

5.  Feel good in your choice.  If saving money or paying down debt is important to you then DO NOT let anyone waiver your decision to put your financial priorities on hold.  Remember only you know your finances and there is nothing wrong with you choosing to abstain from expenses that are not necessity in order to make your goals a reality.

Often times we charge things to a credit card start paying it off months later and have no idea what was so important at the time that we couldn't spend the cash on it's time to take control.

The power of no is about empowerment!  Even now that I am unemployed I am not too worried about finances because I have managed to pump up my savings and get my budget down to the bare essentials.

The important point to realize is that by saying no to certain things you are able to say yes to others like paying down debt, saving, and planning where your money goes.  Maybe your goal is to pay off all your credit card debt and start saving to buy a new car or go on a fancy vacation.  By saying no to a pair of to die for heels or not hitting Starbucks a couple times a week, you are able to say yes to slashing that debt and freeing yourself.

Saying yes to taking control and utilizing the power of no will not only help you better control your money, but will also leave you empowered with your priorities.  You can do it!

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