One of the unspoken reasons that black women can’t save is because we have unofficially been identified as the family ATM. With all too many of us embracing the “Superwoman to All But Herself” role in many a circle, we are judged by our ability to please others quickly, please others often, and please others sacrificially. We take Mama Maya’s “be the rainbow in somebody else’s cloud” to the extreme, both to our financial and emotional detriment.
Here are four ways for you preserve your coins and redirect the nature of the relationship.
If they call you to ask for money, tell them that you have another call and you’ll call them back. Breaking the need to immediately respond will give you time and space to think of a clever or not-so-clever come back. And since you didn’t say that you would call them right back, you can play a deliberate game of phone tag until they tire and go away.
I have gotten a lot of flack for this strategy because it seems childish and non-assertive. Of course, I think the ideal way is to be straightforward, but many of us can’t, hence the need for this post.
If you can say “no” without issue, then got for it. If you need a build your courage muscle, by moving from saying “yes” to crazy a$ requests to saying nothing, then use this method until you are fully capable of speaking your money mind.
Have prepared phrases that are at once vague and specific enough to let them know that ain’t going to come up off your cash. Here is my favorite: “Sorry, my finances aren’t allowing me to do that right now.” And if you can push yourself to get comfortable with an awkward silence, you will be empowered to use this structure in other areas of your life. Do you have a bossy friend that always wants you to do things for her in your spare time? Here is your how you let this friend know that you are not coming up off your time to meet her needs: “Sorry, girl, but my schedule is looking kind of tight these days…”
Beat them to the punch. Crying poverty is a great strategy to keep people that you love out of your pockets. Flip the script and ask them if you could hold something. If they tell you that they ain’t got it, then you both can look at each other will blank stares.
Craft a firm email. If you are not light on your feet when it comes to having conversations about money, use technology as a buffer. Get your thoughts together about what you want to say. If you need to save it draft in order to revise and edit over the course of a few days, then do so. Once you feel that you have conveyed your feelings, expectations, and limits, press send. The beauty of technology is that even with an immediately reply from the recipient, you can respond at your own pace. If your family member or friend calls you soon after receiving the email and you are not interested in having a conversation about money over the phone, ignore the call, or see #1.
Frugal Feministas– How you are handling financial pressure to lend from family members?