We didn’t like being told “no” as a child, and we don’t like the word any better as adults. Whether it’s the allure of the forbidden (“no, you can’t date that boy!”) or feelings of entitlement (“I deserve that new purse!”) we struggle to accept that “no” is sometimes the best answer.
It seems too many people mistakenly associate “no” with deprivation. Standing in front of our coveted item, we justify that we work hard, so there is no reason to tell ourselves “no”. And if we do tell ourselves “no”, then we are deprived.
See how emotions and money get tangled together?
Feeling deprived isn’t a positive emotion. In fact, it feels pretty awful. What if I told you that “no” can be one of the most powerful and positive responses you can tell yourself? Two letters that no longer depress you, but help you honor your goals and dreams.
Feels different, right?
This is why it’s critical to create yearly family goals in alignment with your values and dreams. You want to choose a family save goal that excites and unites everyone to work towards a common goal. Now, when you’re at the store, you have a better answer than “no” when your children want you to buy something. When save, spend and share was still new to my girls, I would still take them through the following process:
- Acknowledge the item and remind them of the family goal: “I like that toy too. But I’m really looking forward to going to Disneyland with you and riding the teacups.”
- Affirm their commitment to family goal: “Aren’t you excited to go to Disneyland too?”
- Affirm your commitment to family goal and empower them to make money decisions: “Our family trip is so important to me that I’m choosing to go to Disneyland with you over this toy. If you really love this toy, you can choose to add it to your goals. The choice is yours.”
I never had to say “no” to Lauren and Taylor and more often than not—the toy was soon forgotten once the girls started thinking about our family vacation. They never felt deprived. Now days the girls are seasoned vets. They still find things they want, but instead of begging me to buy it for them, they ask me how they can earn money to buy it themselves. Love it!
This also works on you too. Many times when we find ourselves tempted to pull out our credit card, it’s often an emotional response to a bad day. When I find myself tempted to buy something I don’t want or need, I remind myself what really matters most—taking my girls to Disneyland.
Nothing would make me feel worse then disappointing my girls. So it’s easy to put down my credit card and walk towards my goals. I don’t feel deprived; I’m getting a vacation with my family where we’ll make life-long memories that I will treasure forever. Instead, I feel good. I demonstrated good financial behavior to my girls by honoring our family goals that mean so much to me personally and the world to them. I haven’t lost anything but gained so much.
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