money health weekly


“No” Opens Up a Different “Yes”

values and purpose help prioritize opportunities

❝Every time you spend on something, that's something you can't spend on something else.❞ -Dan Ariely

I'm at a pub talking with some friends of mine about taking a vacation. It's fun to plan for vacations, and we order another round as we continue the planning process. We determine that for about $1,000 each, we could all go to Las Vegas. We're having so much fun planning this vacation that time gets away from us, and we are out way too late.

Unfortunately, the next morning I oversleep, and now I'm running late for work. I jump into my car, throw my bag into the passenger seat, and start the car.

Well, I try to start my car.

It never starts. I try some more with no luck. I keep trying, thinking it will help, but eventually, my battery dies. This is the start of a bad day.

I finally get my car towed to the mechanic, and I'm told it will be $1,000 to fix. Yikes!

In light of this new situation, I have to call my friends and tell them I cannot go on the trip. It's sad to have to say "no" to a trip I want to go on. On the other hand, I need my car. Fixing it is priority number one.

It's easy to think of the ugly "B" word (budget) as being deprivation-focused and having to tell ourselves "no" all the time. A more empowering way to think about managing your money is to recognize that saying "no" to one thing allows you to say "yes" to something else.

saying no to one thing helps you say yes to another thing


Economists talk about the concept called opportunity cost. Opportunity cost is a way of thinking about what something costs in terms of what you give up for it. In other words, instead of thinking of something as having a price in dollars, the opportunity cost represents what I can't buy. For example, spending $1,000 on a trip means I can't spend $1,000 fixing my car. Therefore, the opportunity cost of going on the trip is fixing my car. This can be applied to time as well. An hour spent on social media is an hour I can't spend playing with my family. Therefore, the opportunity cost of spending time on social media is forgoing time with my family.

Opportunity cost is important when we consider the fact that our resources are finite. We can't have it all or do it all, so we have to make some important choices, and opportunity cost helps us think about those choices.

prioritize what you want so you can afford it