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10 Made-Up Excuses To Not Go Out That Aren’t “I Don’t Have The Money”

On the path to financial happiness, you will have to make sacrifices. But, there are only so many “wine nights at home” that your friends are going to accept invitations to before they want to try the new bar down the street. There are only so many “free Saturday morning yoga’s” in the park they will want to go to before they want you to come to a $20 barre class. There are only so many homemade brunches you can make before the allure of $12 avocado toast calls their name.

I’ve used the “Hey, I’m trying to save money” excuse before. Many times, actually. Most of the time, my friends are cool with that, but sometimes my friends are so nice that they offer to pay my way — and that’s when I feel like a mooch. In my opinion, if your betterment comes at the cost of someone’s worse-ment (sure, it’s a word) then everyone loses. So when you want to get out of spending money, but don’t want your friends to pity you and your sad frugality, you can use this free technique. Some people call it lying, but I would never call you a liar because that’s rude.

Also, how many times have you lied to yourself about having money only to put it on a credit card? If you’re going to lie, at least make it a helpful one.

My favorite helpful “lies”:

1. “Oh, wow, I would go out to brunch, but my mom’s in town, and I’m having brunch with her!” Not only do you avoid $17 eggs, but it also makes you seem like a good son or daughter. Maybe even give your mom a call while you’re eating your sad, homemade eggs so you are a good son or daughter.

2. “I’m visiting my parents this weekend!” Harder if your parents live further than arm’s reach. If your parents live close, don’t lie, and actually just spend more weekends with them — especially good if you are lucky enough to have a mom that will feed you if you go home.

3. “I would, but I’m just soon tired!” A classic! I use this one so much. No one wants to hang out with a sad, tired person! You’re off the hook! And to be honest, I am always tired so it’s not technically lying.

4. “I feel like I’m getting kind of sick, so I’m gonna take it easy tonight.” Once again, no one wants to hang out with a sick person. Also, couldn’t we all slow down a little bit? Take the night off, drink some tea, and go to sleep early.

5. “I would, but I have an early morning tomorrow!” Another classic. I’ve used this one not only to avoid $11 cocktail bars with coworkers, but to exit any matter of boring or terrible first dates.

6. “I’m house-sitting for a friend right now, and I have to give the dog his/her medicine at a very specific time.” Okay, now this is getting a little more elaborate. It probably can’t be used for good friends, but maybe for acquaintances who don’t know your life. Maybe even pick up a side gig as a dog/house sitter so this lie can be used more effectively. Now enjoy your free night drinking $5 Trader Joe’s wine in a stranger’s abode!

7. “I actually have a date!” You haven’t been on a date in forever, but they don’t know that! No one would ever think to invite themself on someone’s date! If they ask who it’s with, “Some random guy from Tinder, we’ll see how this goes!” is a good response. If you never bring it up again, they’ll probably just assume it was terrible, like most Tinder dates usually are.

8. “I have a haircut appointment!” People rarely notice when you do get a haircut, so the chances of them noticing that you didn’t actually get one are slim. Can also be substituted for doctor’s appointment on weekdays.

9. “I’m going to the gym/yoga tonight/this morning!” Good for getting out of drinks with co-workers or brunch on weekends. Hell, actually GO to the gym if the burden of lying to people is too much to bear.

10. Are people trying to get you to go on some extended weekend trip that you don’t even want to go on knowing it’s going to cost hundreds of dollars and might not even be that fun? Feel free to combine excuses until they get the picture. “Oh, I would, but I’ve been so tired recently. I’m training for a 5k so I’ll be up early at the gym all weekend. Then I have a haircut on Saturday, plus I’m house sitting all weekend, but I wish I could go! :..(”

Now go forth, and bend the truth for the betterment of your financial future!

Cherith Fuller is a writer and comedian living in Atlanta, GA.

Image via Unsplash

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  • Summer

    I like the premise behind this but some of these excuses are a tad far-fetched or would only make sense if someone is inviting you for a same-day activity. If a friend suggests Sunday brunch on a Wednesday, the whole “I’ll be at the gym!” thing is a little tough to pass off because they’re probably just going to suggest that you either go to the gym on Saturday instead, or go sometime before/after brunch. There’s also the longstanding wisdom that the more detailed your excuse, the more likely that it’s a lie. You really don’t need to give an explanation just because you’re turning down an invite… it’s perfectly okay to say “I’m just going to take it easy at home this weekend” or “not tonight you guys, I’m sorry.”

    I am totally with you though on sometimes being hesitant to admit that I’m turning down an invite for money-related reasons if it’s a friend who I’m afraid will offer to pay. I appreciate the intended generosity but I also feel like a mooch in that case and I don’t want either side to end up feeling like there’s a need to keep score on who has paid for what.

  • Kira90

    Obvious lies?

    Suggesting some kind of free activities instead is much better.

  • Handy Millennial

    “I’m so tired!” I have some friends that say this preemptively. Its’s funny that you put this in the list. Knowing how to side step awkward conversations and avoid being pushed into needless spending. It’s all about being gracious but holding your own.

  • Miss Meg

    I would SO much rather a friend just tell me they don’t have the money – if I can’t afford to offer to pay their way, I won’t! And if they just keep making up excuses like these, I’ll just stop inviting them to hang at all. People know when you’re making a flimsy excuse if don’t want to spend time with them, and most take a hint! Be careful how often you use these, or you could be running out of friends pretty quickly.

  • Jack

    Yeah even telling little lies make me sooooo uncomfortable. I’d much rather just say that eating out isn’t a priority for me, and suggest just having coffee another day instead.

  • Lauren E

    Yeaahhhh this is a big swing and a miss for me. What a bizarre article. 10 lies to avoid going out with friends instead of just being honest about wanting to save money? If you have to lie to friends to save money, then those aren’t friendships worth having IMO.

  • Ella

    Telling people “No” based on my money priorities has gotten so much easier with practice.

    I also find it easier if I add a reason. “No thanks, iHOP pancakes aren’t in my budget priority right now. I’m eating pancakes at home and saving for Hawaii – come on over if you like!” Or “I’ll walk with you while you get lunch but I’m challenging myself not to spend on lunch out for the month.”

    The detail might not matter to the person I’m telling but it makes me a lot more comfortable saying it. I’m affirming my priorities to myself!

    • Dana Ernest

      I use the same logic! I used to feel terrible saying “I don’t have the money to go out”. But rather than saying I don’t have it, I say that I’m trying not to spend or saving up. I went to NYC for a birthday trip last month and didn’t go out in the month leading up saying “I’m saving for my trip”.

    • Lauren E

      Yes! I really don’t understand how lying to a friend about housesitting is more comfortable for someone than just saying that they don’t want to go out.

  • Lava Yuki

    I hate nightclubs and was always dragged by my friends throughout my uni life. Now working, I have a stock of lame excuses to skip out on clubs and drinking events as I’m pretty weak with alcohol, it’s overpriced in clubs and bars where I’d rather spend the money on something actually worthwhile and clubs just kill me. I usually say I’m doing overtime and will finish late or that work was a long day and that I’m wrecked as an excuse. But I find that the being sick excuse isn’t readily believed.
    I guess the hair cut and appointment one can only be used on weekdays or during working hours as I once made the mistake of saying I had a hair appointment…. at 8pm on a Saturday…
    I’m much more willing to go for stuff like dinner or brunch, but I almost always bail out of drinking and club scenarios. I really hate squandering money on things I don’t like for the sake of others.
    Other excuses I’ve used are thing like attending a course in (insert far away city which requires overnight stay), that I have to babysit my friends kids, or simply saying that I don’t want to go because I don’t really feel like it at the moment.

  • Savanna Swain

    I find this piece unsettling because so much of what TFD stands for is encouraging a culture where we’re candid about our finances…

    However, I do like the writing, even though I disagree with most of what the author’s saying.

    • Holly Trantham

      Thanks for commenting, Savanna! I

  • Jay0623

    If you’re not willing to be honest with your friends about your priorities and how you can best support each other’s goals, it’s worth remembering that “no” is a complete sentence!

  • D.

    I don’t get why it’s necessary to lie though if the reason is you want to save money. If someone is a good friend, they will understand if you just straight-up say, “I’m saving money now” or “I can’t afford that now, but let’s chill at home.” And if it’s a co-worker, just say, “I can’t make it but thanks for the invite!” You’re not lying, you’re saving money, aaaand you save yourself from the mental gymnastics of keeping up with lies. And I don’t know, this article, to me, kind of implies there should be some shame in not always having the money to go out for drinks for brunch. I completely understand not wanting to tell everyone all your business, but I also don’t understand the need to lie about why you can’t/don’t want to go out.