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Two Simple Letters To Save You Time and Money

What if I told you there’s a simple word in your vocabulary that can help save you both time and money.

This word is only two letters and is one you’ve probably heard countless times in your life.

You’d probably want to utilize this word more often, right?

What if I also told you that this word at times can be extremely difficult to say, without context its meaning can be misinterpreted and its use could even lead to conflict between you and the person(s) you say it to?

That makes the situation a bit more complicated.

Nevertheless, I’m sure most of you would say “Yes” to using this word more consistently if you truly thought it would help save you time and money.

So what is this oh so difficult and important word that can help you out?

“No”

Saying No Can Save You Time and Money

The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything

– Warren Buffet

How many times have you said “Yes” to something when you really wanted to say “No”?

“Could you do            for me?”

“Do you want to do           ?”

“You should buy ____ because…”

Think of how much time you have wasted doing things you didn’t really want to do, just because it was too hard to say “No”.

Not just time, but money too as those often go hand in hand (there’s a reason “time is money” is quoted so often!).

Your friend wants company to an event and guilt’s you into going with them. This costs you both time and money.

Your boss asks you to do additional work even though you already have a full workload that will cause you to stay much later than normal at your salaried job. This costs you time and (maybe) money via lower $/hr worked.

You have a salesman/doctor/agent/etc. upsell you on something. This most definitely costs you money, and occasionally even time depending on how long it takes and if there is anything additional you need to do.

The possibilities are endless and I’m sure people face different scenarios within their individual lives.

How much easier would it be to just say NO to all the things you didn’t want to do?

Turns out, that word is a lot harder to say than some people may realize.

Why it’s so hard to say “No”

There are many factors at play when it comes to reasons why it’s tough to say no.

Rejection is one of them. Nobody likes getting rejected, and sometimes even more so, people don’t want to disappoint or hurt others feelings.

You wouldn’t want to hurt your mothers feelings by not going home to see her when she asked you to visit, would you?

Another is having a fear of conflict. By saying no to someone, that can oftentimes cause conflict as you may be refusing to do something that they want you to do.

How many times have you said yes to a significant other and did what they want just to avoid a fight, even when you really didn’t want to?

Would you really refuse a direct request from your boss even though your hands are already full?

Another reason is that some people are just simply too nice to say anything but yes.

Have you ever met someone like that? Someone who is a yes-man (or woman) through and through and doesn’t know how to say no even when it puts them in a serious bind or time crunch?

Many of these scenarios are ones that I have struggled with in the past.

One I did not mention is the fear that you’re missing out on things when you say no (the youngin’s call that FOMO – fear of missing out).

For instance, even though it’s an event or experience you may not like or want to do, because all your friends are doing it, you don’t want to miss out on the good times and experience of doing something with your friends and that all of them will talk about.

The good news is anyone can learn to start saying no more often.

Learn to say No

Here are a few good strategies to help you save your own time and money by saying no more often:

Ask for time before giving an answer

Many people have a knee-jerk reaction to automatically say yes to requests. By asking for more time, you can think it over and determine if this is something you truly want to do. If not, you can have a good reason or excuse thought up as to why you are saying no.

Say no in a different way

Sometimes literally just saying the word no has an extremely negative ring and connotation to it, that people don’t like to hear (shocker right!?). Thus, saying no in a different way can lead it to being a more positive conversation.

Instead of outright saying “no”, perhaps you could say “I’d love to, but I can’t because…” even though you may never have actually wanted to.

Or leave it open ended with something like “Unfortunately not this time, but perhaps at some other time?” Going this route may lead the person to ask you again in the future so you’d have to be careful with this response.

Give the Question back to the Person

In a work situation it’s tough to say no when your boss asks you to do something. Instead of an outright no response (which may not go over well) perhaps you can respond in a different way to ensure you aren’t working awful hours.

For instance, in our example where your hands are already full and your boss asks you to do something on top of that, you could respond, “I can do tasks A, B and C, though I would need a week to accomplish all these and do a good job instead of 3 days. How would you like me to prioritize?”

This puts the question back on them, as well as communicates exactly what you are doing and how much time that takes.

Be (a little) Selfish

While being nice and thinking of others is great and is something that everyone needs to do, sometimes you just have to be selfish and think of yourself.

After all, there comes a point where this is your time and your money that you are spending by saying yes to things.

Take into consideration your goals and align them with the things you are saying yes and no to.

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Saying no more often is something that I am definitely working on. Whether that be with friends, family, through work or anything else, I know there are ways I can improve on this to help save my time and money.

Have you saved time or money by saying no to things you may have previously said yes to? If so, I’d love to hear what they were and how you handled the situation in the comments!

11 thoughts to “Two Simple Letters To Save You Time and Money”

  1. Hah I’m sure the part about staying late at work is definitely not you speaking from experience, right? 😉

    I’m better about saying no these days, but it’s always a work in progress (see also my hectic rehearsal and work schedule this week when I really could’ve used a free evening instead). For social situations, I also like proposing another option as a compromise to saying yes to spending time but no to spending money. Instead of happy hour, how about brunch at my place or a hike this weekend instead? So far I’ve found no one’s upset with not spending the money on happy hour since the underlying goal was to spend time together anyway.

    1. Staying late at work DEFINITELY had something to do with this post haha. I like how that works out though, you still want to spend time with them, just doing it with a more ideal (ie. not expensive) event!

  2. Couldn’t agree more. I read somewhere that it’s the “negative space” in your life that matters most, and filling it by saying yes all the time detracts from it.

    Also, I had a good chuckle here: “…perhaps you could say ‘I’d love you, but I can’t because…’ even though you may never have actually wanted to.” Boom. Dating advice acquired.

    Great post!

  3. For me it hasn’t been saying no to things I don’t want to do, but needing to say no to what I want to do more. There are a million and one things I’d like to do with my time, but alas, I need to sleep, and so I cant fit them all in. I’m finally starting to realize that saying yes to one thing means having to say no to something else down the line.

    1. Ah that’s a really good point! I hadn’t even thought to bring the post in that direction but it’s so true. There’s just not enough time in the day to do everything we want unfortunately.

  4. The book “Essentialism” is a wonderful treatise on saying no in your professional career. So many of us are overextended, mainly because we feel that if we take more on we’ll be more successful. All it really does is create, fragmentation and stress.

  5. This is something I’ve struggled with on and off for years and only now getting better at it. I believe that the ability to say “no” starts with having a better sense of self and self-worth. When I stop and realize that my time is important as well, it’s a bit easier to say no. The tool I’ve used that helps me say no more often is to pause and ask for time to consider the request. I give myself a day or a few hours and usually it’s clear if I really want to do something or if I just want to make the other person happy. If it’s the later, it’s easy to identify and then deliver the “no” bomb.

    1. I agree with all that, I hate letting people down and I think many times I think that by saying “no” I’ll be letting them down. I like your method of simply realizing that our own time is just as, if not more important. I’ve been using the wait to give a response approach as well and it definitely helps!

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