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Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Money guru Sheila Conway dishes out some tough advice today. -- AP

Thanks, Anastasia. Unless you’re a hermit, I’ll bet you’re constantly accosted by friends, relatives, neighbors, and co-workers trying to part you from your hard-earned dollars. This week it’s Bob in accounting whose kid is selling popcorn for his Boy Scout troop. Last week it was your next door neighbor inviting you to a Tupperware party. Next week your niece will be selling wrapping paper to raise money for the PTA.

No matter how low on funds you are, you usually buy at least the cheapest item in the catalog because you’re a nice person and feel uncomfortable saying no to these people, even if the last thing you need is a tin of popcorn, more wrapping paper, or another plastic storage container. Not to mention the fact that even if you did need popcorn, wrapping paper, or a plastic storage container, you could buy them all for a lot less at Target or Walmart.

Social pressure and the need to be liked make you spend money you don’t have. Then you feel like kicking yourself afterwards as you shove the popcorn, wrapping paper, and Tupperware into a pantry, drawer, or cabinet. There’s also the fact that at some point your kids will be selling Girl Scout cookies or overpriced boxes of M&M’s, and you don’t want people slamming doors in their faces.

If you added up all the money you’re coerced into spending each year, I’m certain you’d be shocked by the total. I’m here today to give you permission to say no. Don’t be intimidated. You don’t owe these people any excuses. Don’t feel guilty about being extorted. Just say no. Your neighbor has no right to twist your arm because she wants to earn a little extra money. The guy in accounting shouldn’t be extorting his co-workers so his kid wins a prize for selling the most tins of popcorn. And if money is tight for you, your relatives should know better than to try to get you to buy overpriced stuff you neither want nor need.

And when it comes time for your own kids to sell stuff? Tell the organization your kids aren’t an unpaid sales force.

Wow, Sheila! Now all I need is the courage to follow your example. What about the rest of you? Ever find yourselves shelling out money for something you didn’t want? Let’s hear from you. Post a comment to the blog this week, and you're entered into the drawing for a free book from our Book Club Friday guest author. -- AP 


Allene said...

Great Post!! I'm glad someone finally took a stand about this issue. Just found you today but will return.


Welcome, Allene! I hope we'll see you here often.