Spend carefully

Nice ways to say 'no I can't afford that'

Whether it’s a Friday night pub meal with your pals or a weekend away with the whānau, sometimes you just have to say no.

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Money talk

Perhaps you’re saving for a specific goal or the budget is tight this month, which means sometimes having to decline invitations or compromise on what your quality time entails. 

But how do you do it? How do you navigate saying no – especially to a close friend or whānau member?

We know talking about money can be daunting and at times embarrassing (especially if things are tight). But there’s nothing to be uncomfortable about when it comes to looking after your financial wellbeing. This article includes tips on how to politely say no with our conversation tips.

Conversation tips

To get you warmed up, it can help to remember these three things when kindly telling someone no.

Ways to nicely say no

Find it easier to say no with these phrases – simply swap out the ___ with your real-life plans.

  • “That’s a little out of my budget, how about we do ___ instead?”
  • “That’s a great idea, but would you mind if we did ___ this time? It’s a bit cheaper for everyone.”
  • “Why don’t we find a cheap and cheerful restaurant instead?”
  • “I really appreciate the invite, but maybe we could do that another time?” 
  • “How about we do something low-cost, like a picnic?”
  • “Want to hang out at my place instead?”
  • “I can’t this time, but once I’m done saving for ___, I’d love to.”
  • “Money is a bit tight at the moment, so I’ll skip brunch this time.”
  • “I just really can’t afford it right now, I hope you can understand.”
  • “I’ve got some big savings goals I’m working on – can we take a raincheck?”
  • “Maybe another time? I’m saving for ___ and it’s really important to me. I hope you can understand.”
  • “Wish we could but unfortunately that’s not in the budget this year.”

And remember, it’s OK to say no to an invite to stay home and look after you – and your bank account.

Besides, a home-cooked meal or a day on the couch may be as good as a holiday. Or you could pack a picnic and take a daytrip to the beach.

So, whether you’ve set yourself a savings goal or just know your spending limits, having a saver mindset and a few handy phrases up your sleeve can help keep you on track.

Steps to financial wellbeing

Our financial wellbeing programme can help. Try one step or two, or work through the programme's six steps in any order.

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Important information

This material is for information purposes only. Please talk to us if you need financial advice about your situation and goals or about our products and services. See our financial advice provider disclosure (PDF 39.9KB).

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