How to Say No

Last weekend I went to a neighborhood flea market and yard sale where I scooped four picture frames for $15. Sam and I bought a vintage map of Croatia while on our honeymoon, and I’ve been looking for a frame to fit it.

I have a love/hate relationship with buying old picture frames. I love how they look, how inexpensive they are and how neat they look next to each other. But unless you’re constantly scouring thrift stores, they can be hard to find.

How to say no

The frame that I bought to put the map in didn’t have any glass or backing. This is pretty common if you’re buying picture frames outside of a store. I’ve had to purchase glass before or redo the backing. If you get a great deal on the frame, it’s worth it.

The woman I bought the frame from owns a custom framing store. If I brought the frame into her store, the glass would only cost $10. When I went in today to get a full quote, she told me it’d be $85.

Eighty-five dollars?!? I know custom framing is expensive, but there’s a big gulf between $10 and $85. I felt uncomfortable. She remembered me from the sale but didn’t remember the original price. I told her I’d have to think about it, rolled up my map and left.

On my way back, I called Michaels and asked them for a quote for custom framing. Their answer? $29.95. More than 50 percent off.

I don’t think the lady was trying to rip me off. There’s a reason why there are so many custom framers who haven’t been squeezed out by big box stores. But for what I need, there’s little reason to splurge.

Sometimes it’s awkward to say that you can’t afford something. Recently I heard someone say if you come across that scenario, you should reply, “That’s more than I was hoping to spend today.” It’s direct but diplomatic.

Plus, there’s no reason we should feel weird or awkward when we say no to a salesperson. I didn’t promise the woman I would buy my glass there, and taking up 5 minutes of her time is the cost of doing business.

You have to feel confident that you deserve to do your research and find a better price. I wouldn’t mind going back if I found out that her rates were comparable, but spending $55 more is not in my budget.

This example also works for friends and loved ones who want you to spend money. It can be hard to say no to lunch out with your coworkers, to explain that you’re trying to cut back. We don’t want to shame people with our financial choices.  I don’t want to make someone feel like her services are overpriced.

You have to be confident in what you want. I almost gave in at the frame store. I hate running pointless errands, and I want to get everything done before we move to Denver. But then I remembered that driving to another store would likely save me a lot of money.

Sometimes saving money means being uncomfortable. Returning an item because of buyer’s remorse doesn’t feel great. Asking for a discount doesn’t come naturally. But the more you practice being frugal, the easier it’ll get.


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