5 Times It's OK to Be "Selfish" With Your Money
So many of us (especially women!) have been trained, by our families and our culture, to never, ever be selfish. We don't even want to appear selfish, and will do so many things to make sure we come across as generous and nice.
Taken to extremes, there are "unselfish" financial choices that can cause huge problems in your own budget. This is unfortunate, because saying "No" in situations wherein you don't really want to spend hard-earned money isn't selfish. After all, the money is yours. You earned it, and you should choose how you spend it, regardless of other people's desires and expectations.
Here are some situations where it isn't selfish at all to keep your money for yourself. (See also: 10 Money-Saving Habits You Should Never Apologize For)
1. When a borrower approaches
Many of us know a borrower. Whether it's a friend or family member, there's that one person who, when they reach out to you, you always wonder, How much do you need this time?
It's so hard to say no to these people. Their needs are often legitimate, even if they're created by the their own inability to stop spending. Even when the need is real, if you have some misgivings or if they still owe you from last time, you can choose to deny their request.
It's your money, and it's also your job to make sure it is spent responsibly. If they won't be responsible, or even if you just anticipate needing the money before they can pay it back, keep it. And if the person is a serial borrower, they need to learn to stand on their own two feet. It may as well be now. (See also: 16 Cardinal Rules of Loaning Money to Friends and Family)
2. When it's MLM madness
Oh, multi-level marketing … everyone's favorite get-rich-quick scheme. Whether it's kitchen tools or jewelry or leggings or oils or candles or anything else, when a friend buys into the latest MLM fad, it can be so hard to say no.
If you attend their latest sales party, you'll almost surely be expected to buy something. And it almost always comes from a mom who wants to quit her job and stay home, or a family member who just needs a little more each month.
There's nothing wrong with most MLM products. If you like them and you'll use them and you want them anyway, go ahead and buy. But don't feel like you have to buy them out of guilt. After all, there's only so much you can spend, and then your friend will have to find real clients — people who actually want the product — anyway. (See also: 10 Types of Friends Who Are Costing You Money)
3. When your child screams
Next time your child yells, "You never buy me anything! You're so selfish!" remember that he or she is just trying to get a reaction out of you.
Sometimes, we don't even feel that guilt. We know the kid is acting like a kid … but we still end up buying them something so they will just be quiet and let us finish our shopping.
Seriously, no one wants the be the parent dragging the screaming kid around the store. But better to be that and teach your child that they can make as much noise as they want and it won't change anything, than to cave and teach them to scream for what they want.
4. When the neighbors come knocking
So your neighbor kids are cute. Seriously cute. But there's only so much candy/Girl Scout cookies/wrapping paper/odd pastries/Christmas trees that you need. Sure, you want to help them raise money for that class trip, but you'd also like to take a trip of your own someday.
When they come to the door, it's perfectly acceptable to decline their fundraising products. If you really want to support them, you can ask them what they'll be selling over the course of the year, and tell them to come by when they have an item you actually want.
Beware, too, the fact that kids talk amongst themselves. If one kid finds out you bought something, sometimes that brings a whole herd of them to your door, and then it's extra hard to say no, because you know that they know that you already said yes once.
So if you want to support them, or they are selling a product you like, go ahead and buy. But if there's nothing you want or you are strapped for cash, feel free to decline, too. It really is your choice.
5. When GoFundMe asks
You're scrolling through your Facebook feed when you see a picture of an adorable family and one of your friends, who you love and trust, is asking for help for them. So you click through to the fundraising page and find out someone has cancer, or is in the hospital, or died suddenly, and their dear friends are asking anyone for financial help.
It's hard to deny the fact that your heart breaks a little. Life is hard, and these stories remind us that our lives could get much, much harder at any moment. That doesn't mean you need to give them money, though.
I think that many of us want to fix hard things, and giving a little money in these situations makes us feel better. But unless you know the people personally and truly feel moved to give, from the generosity of your heart and not from guilt, you can skip it. It's OK. You don't have to try to fix the whole world's problems. Plus, if you give away all your money and then face your own medical or financial emergency, you won't even be able to help yourself.
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