How to Say No to the Things You Don’t Need

Alright, I’ll admit it. I am really bad at saying “No”. I’m the sucker that gets all the extra stuff on my plate at work because I simply can’t say no. This applies to my home life too. Whenever my husband wants to buy something, I just can’t say no to him. We’ve been married for three years and I guess I’m still in that lovey dovey stage. All I want to do it make him happy and give him everything he wants. Therefore, I find it incredible hard to say no to him when he wants something – even if I know we shouldn’t get it.

What You Want, But Not What You Need

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Unfortunately for me, my husband always wants the “latest everything”. As you can imagine, this can become a problem. Especially when you are trying to live a frugal lifestyle and cut costs to pay off debt. Luckily, I think my husband is starting to understand this frugal lifestyle thing. Lately, he hasn’t been asking me to buy a bunch of stuff, but – I still need to be able to say no effectively for when the time comes again.

Therefore, I’ve developed a method of how to say “No” without directly saying it. This method forces my husband to think about things a little bit more each time he does ask for something we really don’t need. 


Husband will say: “Can I buy this new gaming headset on amazon?”

I’ll ask: “How much is it?”

Husband says: “It’s $60.”

I’ll explain: “Hmm, that sounds kind of expensive. Is it something that you really need right now?”

Husband thinks and says “Well no, not really. But – ” [insert long, convoluted explanation here]

I hear him out, and then say: “Well if you don’t really need it and can make do with what you have, let’s not buy it right now. We can revisit next month if we have some extra money”

This usually ends the conversation and we both have a good understanding of one another.  But every now and then he’ll continue and say that we really should buy it now. He’ll have reasons such as “it’s on sale” or they might “discontinue the product”. I’ll respond with something witty like “Well I guess you’ll just have to wait until the next time it’s on sale again” or “We’ll just have to save up enough to buy it at full price”. I also sometimes have to say “If it’s discontinued that means that there should be something better coming out soon, and then you can get the newer version if/when we can afford it”.

Making Excuses

These excuses he uses as to why he needs it are excuses we all make at one point or another. We are trained by corporations to make these excuses and this is simply what the people selling the products want us to think. They use these really effective marketing strategies and say it’s a “sale” or that there is a “limited quantity” to make us think we have to get it NOW. The truth is, they will most likely run the sale again and make more products if it’s selling well.

We need to ignore the excuses for buying things that we have been conditioned to make so that we don’t fall in to the spending trap that got us into debt in the first place. When we better understand how to determine if we really need something and don’t allow ourselves to be pressured by others (including the ones selling the product), we are guaranteed to make better spending decisions. 

A lot of people tell me I should take a more direct approach and just say “No” instead of going back and forth with my husband about it. However, I think this exercise really helps us both by hearing each other out and understanding one another’s perspectives. We are able to talk things out and I think this is a big reason why we have spent less and are starting to save our money. We just need to remain focused on the our needs instead of our wants.

Having trouble figuring out the difference between your wants and your needs? Check out our post on How to Determine if You Really Need Something to help!

Mrs. Frugal

Just your average millennial trying to navigate life and get rid of debt by being frugal.

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