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Ability to Say No...Rational or Emotional

June 14th, 2014 at 07:39 am

I woke up thinking about this, so my thoughts may be a bit random. I was thinking how some people make do well financially and others do not. Now, I realize there are more factors involved, but knowing how to say no is actually important. I think Dave Ramsey has mentioned this a few times, too.

So many people say, yes, I want that and then buy the item they want. It seems in no regard to whether it fits into their financial plan. My husbands coworker rode on a motorcycle for the first time on Wednesday, spent Thursday looking online at bikes and purchased one that same night. Really? She didn't even know she wanted a bike until the day before? She doesn't have a license to drive it yet, but of course, she did. I don't know if she bought it with cash or credit. If she did buy it with cash, great. However, was that the best use for the cash?

We don't buy everything we want because we have other goals, such as keeping our emergency fund funded, saving for college and of course retirement!

I think back to when we were first married and given $1000 from my parents as a gift. It was very generous. Did we go out and buy something with it? No. We honestly didn't need anything after all the other things we received. We saved it. And having that money there was the very beginning of our savings. Over time it just felt good to have the money set aside just in case, so we kept it there.

My husband just interrupted my writing to talk to me about a video he was watching on rational thought and emotional thought. Yes!! This is exactly it. Some people, like the woman mentioned above, make decisions based on emotions. They don't ever look at if those emotional choices are rational. Does the emotional choice make sense towards your financial goals?

I realize making rational decisions is likely somewhat built in for some of us, but I think it is everyone's capacity to learn that skill. All it takes is a few extra moments of thought. The woman above could have done all the looking and riding she wanted, and then taken some time to think about the numbers and how spending that money could impact her other goals. Would she rather spend it on a vacation, has she put enough away for retirement, if she financed it will the payment cause a problem paying other bills.

The truth is the purchase may have been on a whim for her, but it might actually be a wise and rational choice. It likely will save her gas money to drive the motorcycle rather than her SUV.

The ability to use our rational thought and say no at times helps keep us focused on our financial goals. I'm thankful that my husband and I have practiced using our rational thought in making financial decisions.

Have you noticed if your finances are guided by your emotional or rational thoughts? Do you use both?

Don't miss my lastest post on Your Organized Friend, about the three in, three out rule. You know that one don't you?

3 Responses to “Ability to Say No...Rational or Emotional”

  1. laura Says:


    For me, I've finally managed to get to a place where I feel balanced and in control. When I am out of control, or feeling like its a backslide, I can now recognize and pinpoint what is going on, and it is me. Or the psych term we always bantered around (internal vs external locus of control - do I make decisions about the situation/environment or the situation dictate my decisions/situations). I have been able to discern what I want to do - despite initially jumping at the first job situation (paying) that came along which would have been a really bad fit. I am rational about it.

    It is also easier to make decisions not turning them into all or nothing ends of the continuum (which I suffered from too). Ultimately for me it all boils down to balance. And I've seen situations with my inner circle (brother who is getting married and best friend who is single and poor financial manager planner). I've been able to think about things rationally, too, rather than emotionally. (So my brother has finally decided to settle down and marry the long-time girlfriend that he recently broke up with and determined in two months that he couldn't live without) And (best friend who is having surgery and couldn't save enough for her recovery, just filed bankruptcy and is cashing in her retirement money - all $8K of it).

    Thanks for this post, it made a nice little self-reflective exercise and it makes me happy where I am right now, realizing that all of life gives us lessons to learn from. Smile

  2. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I think I approach most of my decisions - both financial and personal with rational thought. Although there are some notable recent decisions - both financial and personal - which definitely were not approached with rational thought. Decisions made with rational thought I think tend to be the ones where you're not risking anything. Choosing to use bonus money to put into savings versus going on an amazing once in a lifetime vacation is using rational thought, but you also could be missing out on something. Missing out on something isn't a great reason to not use rational thought in decision making, but I do think that we sometimes have to be willing to risk a little and NOT use rational thought - as long as we understand and are willing to accept the possible consequences of falling flat on our faces.

  3. scfr Says:

    The art of delayed gratification was something I had to learn and it helped my financial situation TREMENDOUSLY. I'm so grateful I learned it fairly early in my adult years. If the gal who bought the motorcycle had waited 6 months and in the mean time spent more time riding, getting her license, pricing insurance, looking at what "pot" the money to buy would come from, etc. she would have either: 1) changed her mind and decided not to buy or 2) decided to go ahead and buy based on a very sound & informed decision.

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