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Wearing Down My ‘No’ Muscle


I was superiorly pleased my ability to keep my diet and exercise in check. Not only did I accomplish my goals, I dragged a lot of folks into accomplishing theirs. What I realized in that experience is that I can only say ‘no’ to a limited number of things. I worked REALLY hard to pass on processed foods and motivate myself to exercise. I ran out of energy saying ‘no’ in my finances.

May was our worst spending month of the year. June is shaping up to be a close second. I bought so much stupid stuff. New pair of workout shorts? Of course! New pair of tennis shoes? I NEED those. A new this. A new that. I bought all the things I’m usually so good at saying ‘no’ to. Embarrassingly, I even bough a pair of AirPods. AirPods! I do a lot of conference calls and my wired headset was falling apart. Rather than replacing them with another inexpensive set, I bought AirPods.

I wore them when I went for a run this morning and I was embarrassed. They felt showy and stupid. They’re not me (no offense if you love them and do not feel that way!).

I used my individual budget money (I get $60/month) to purchase them and that ate more than 2 months of my savings. The other purchases though, I blew those budgets. I knew I was way over so I ignored balancing our accounts for weeks.

Sure, it doesn’t help that we are smack in the middle of a pandemic or that we are experiencing a lot of social unrest, but trying to be restrictive across too many areas of your life is dangerous. Yesterday, I packed up everything that hadn’t been worn or used and shipped them back to Amazon, Nordstrom, and Famous Footwear (I told you it was bad!). Most had already been opened so I’ll only recover $200 back from my spending spree.

I moved around the budget as much as possible but I’m still going to have to dig into the buffer fund we just built. I feel sick.

You’re probably thinking, “You just did a post on Accountability! Where was your husband in this!?!?” Whelp, he was making purchases as well. Apparently his ‘no’ muscle was weak too. We were also really busy and didn’t sit down together to look at our spending at the end of the May. This probably would have helped us rally in June. Neither one of us was paying attention which made things so much worse.

I’m trying to extend myself some grace. These are some crazy times. But I’m embarrassed. I messed up. Ugh. This is always going to be a battle. It’s a matter of choosing which battle I want to try the hardest to fight.


  • Reply Sarah |

    When we first got married, we has a $50 rule. We couldn’t spend more than $50 without telling the other person. Not really asking permission. Just telling him/her that we were spending it to make sure we could pay our bills the next month.

    This was 30 years ago. You might try it. You could increase it to $100 if $50 is too low. Might make you both realize you are on spending sprees.

    • Reply Beks |

      I love this. We actually set a very similar rule a few years ago at $50. We stopped doing it but it’s time to start again!

  • Reply stephanie |

    My “no” muscle was also weak in May and so far in June. I guess the best thing to say is that it was at least realized, mistakes were made, and changes are happening. I feel when I go on a spending starvation, I often have weak “no” muscle periods. I just need to plan to spend for want items in moderation.

    Sounds like your recovery was shift. Good for you!

  • Reply Emily N. |

    Have you heard of the concept of decision fatigue? It sounds like this is exactly what happened to you. You used up all your willpower on diet and exercise, and just didn’t have any left for your budget.

So, what do you think ?