Saying “No” – Practice, Practice, Practice

by teresalaynebennett

photo of ruby-encrusted Queen Elizabeth's crown

A crown?? Keep reading. It’ll make sense.

In our retail-centric culture, if you’re not willing to practice saying no till it rolls off your tongue like butter, prepare to be in debt for the rest of your life. I am not kidding.

On the other hand, if you’re willing to drop the yes habit and adopt the no habit in buying situations, you’ll stay solvent and maybe even able to hang onto enough disposable income to do something really cool. Hint: we get to no by asking Should I?

My favorite method
for practicing no

Instead of immediately pitching them into the recycling bin, open those flashy sales flyers that bulk up your daily paper, the glitzy catalogs that choke your mailbox, and the shouty, unsolicited, advertising emails that overpopulate your inbox. Now, read them.

Yes, I did say read them. And, yes, I know this flies in the face of what I said about encouraging yourself by not comparing; keep reading, and all will be made clear.

Pay attention to each piece, especially advertising fliers from stores you’d never dare set foot in. Look at each item and say no ALOUD to each item you don’t want or need. Do this as many times as it takes for no-thanks-don’t-need-it becomes your no-need-to-think-about-it, first response.

My next favorite
practice for learning
to just say no

As you sail down grocery-store aisles in hot pursuit of whatever’s on your grocery list, pay attention to all the stuff you’re sailing past. Start muttering to yourself (quietly – we don’t want them to take you away) no, nope, no thanks, don’t need that, or that, or that. You’ll be stunned by how many items there are in your favorite supermarket that you have no need of – all the things to which you can honestly and painlessly say no.

My favorite practice
for dire circumstances . . .

oh, say, a glitzy new mall or fancy-dancy department store. When someone near and dear coaxes you into into these hotbeds of fiscal ruin, use that event to practice your no habit. Wander the aisles, paying attention to all the products you have absolutely no need of and would never be silly enough (even if you had the money) to buy. Even better; pay particular attention to all the products you wouldn’t ever, ever, ever want to wear, possess, eat, etc. No! NO! NO! Excellent practice.

Pay attention, now:
yes, YOU can learn to say no.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t become a no maven in the spending arena. I’ve done it, and you already know how cluelessly average I’ve been. That means you can say no just as competently and effectively as anyone else.

However, you have some serious catching up to do. On my best no day, NO ONE can beat my no habit. Queen Elizabeth could offer me her crown for only $29.95 and before I could stop myself, I’d blurt out, “Rubies are kinda winey red, aren’t they? That’s really not my best color. Naaah, no thanks.”

Not exactly the sort of dialogue that makes for good Anglo-American relations across the pond, but then it’ll never come to that, now will it?

Can you learn to say no to spending? Of course you can! Pay attention and utilize every arena where you can practice, practice, practice saying no. Then do us all a favor, and share your best no-to-spending story.

© 2014 Teresa Layne Bennett

red box with white text: "Most of us have very weak and flaccid 'no' muscles . . . . . Your 'no' muscle has to be built up. . . ." – Iyanla Vanzant

How’s YOUR “no” muscle? Weak? Practice!