7 Little White Lies That Can Save You Money


Sometimes you have to fudge the truth a bit to get out of spending money. There are so many demands on our finances that it helps to get creative in order to save a few bucks now and then. Whether it's getting out of costly social events, fending off salespeople, or even postponing charitable donations, we all tell white lies to avoid spending once in a while. And that's OK! Here are some of the most common ones I've used, and you can, too. (See also: The 10 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves About Money)

1. "I have a lot of expenses right now."

Unless you're swimming in money, this isn't even a lie. If you own a home and have a family, chances are, you do have many ongoing expenses to juggle. From your mortgage to school activities, it can all add up. If you are dealing with a salesperson or even just a friend asking for money, drop this line and you'll usually slide right out of this interaction. No one needs to know exactly how burdensome these expenses actually are. (See also: 5 Friend Types That Can Hurt Your Finances)

2. "I already have one."

If someone is trying to sell you a product or service, you may be able to make them go away by insisting that you have no need for what they're selling, even if that's not the case. Remember that the entire motivation of salespeople is to convince you that you need something. Your job, in turn, is to convince them that you don't.

Salesperson: "Can I interest you in some new windows?"

You: "Thanks, but I just got new ones installed last year."

Those windows may be 20 years old, and the salesperson may be able to tell that you're lying. But they are also unlikely to pressure you much further.

3. "I have a scheduling conflict."

You may not have a conflict at all. It's likely that the only date you have is with your sofa and a few episodes of The Good Wife. But when you have no interest in attending that bachelorette party — that will likely end up costing you quite a bit of cold hard cash — this is how you can wiggle out of it. Your excuse can be anything. A cousin is visiting from out of state. You're pet-sitting for a neighbor. It doesn't matter. The key here is to save money, but also save the relationship by offering to meet the person later for a less expensive, one-on-one outing. (See also: How to Get Out of Social Obligations That Break Your Budget)

4. "I'm trying to get healthier."

You may not be trying to lose weight at all, but when you go out to eat, avoiding appetizers, drinks, and desserts is a good way to avoid unwanted costs as well as calories. These things can nearly double the price of your meal. The next time your friend or coworker tries to urge you to get those cheese sticks, the extra beer, or the chocolate cake, just tell them you're trying to eat healthier. In fact, you could say "I'm trying to cut back." They don't need to know that it's the spending you're cutting back on.

5. "My car is in the shop."

Sometimes you'll be asked to attend an event or outing that requires a long drive. This would involve miles on the car, gas, tolls, parking, and other expenses. However, if you tell folks that you're having car trouble, you may be able to avoid the event, or save the wear and tear on your car by getting a ride there. Of course, this doesn't mean you should simply accept transportation for free. You should be a decent person and offer to pay for gas money or parking. But you'll likely still come out better financially than if you drove yourself. (See also: 18 Free Ways to Be a Better Person)

6. "I'm sick."

Pretending to be under the weather will get you out of almost anything. Dinner dates. Happy hours. Weddings. Little League Baseball banquets. No one wants to be around a sick person, so it's a great excuse. This is not a trick you can pull too often, or you'll be called out as a fraud. But every once in a while, it's convenient — and cost-effective — to feel some "flu-like symptoms."

7. "I've already donated this year."

I admit it: I've lied to a Girl Scout. She was in front of a store selling those famous cookies and she asked if I could purchase a box. "No, thanks," I said. "I bought some recently." This was a lie. Truth be told, I just didn't want to spend the money on cookies.

When faced with solicitations from charities, it's often hard to say no. Sometimes, simply saying, "I've already donated," can end the conversation. And it doesn't mean you can't go back and give once you're in a position to be more charitable.

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