The Carr Report: Just say NO!

by Damon Carr, For New Pittsburgh Courier

Back in the mid ‘80s through the early ‘90s, I recall First Lady Nancy Reagan forging a war on drugs with the slogan, “Just say no!” They would often detail a grim story about someone who used drugs and the ill effects that it caused. I remember a popular commercial during that time. This is an egg. They will hold up an egg. This is drugs. They’d show a picture of a frying pan. They’d crack the egg open, pour it into the frying pan. As the egg is sizzling in the frying pan they’d say: This is your brain on drugs. The message was to avoid the devastating consequences of taking drugs—JUST SAY NO!

I’m reminded of a scripture of Jesus talking to his disciples. He said, “If any of you want to follow me you must ‘deny yourself’ and pick up your cross. I take that to mean there are certain things in life you’re going to want but it may interfere with your advancing to a higher level in life. As a result, you must “deny yourself”—Just say no!

Earl Nightingale said that any worthwhile goal can be accomplished. To accomplish your goal, it’s not about what you’re willing to do. It’s about what you are willing to “give up” to accomplish said goal.

What are you willing to give up? Deny yourself! Just say no! Do you see the trend? Winning, advancing, and taking positive leaps forward will require sacrifice, doing without, compromise and an unyielding, consistent ability to not fall prey to our own wayward temptations.

Winning with money is no exception. We have so many things competing for our hard-earned dollars. We have our needs, wants, and desires—most of which cost money. We have our goals. Practically every goal we have in life has a price tag attached to it. Let’s put it in perspective: Food, clothing, shelter, transportation, light, water, gas, cable, Internet, entertainment, gym and other recreational activity, vacation, insurance, taxes, debts and other expenses. All of this adds up quickly. How do we win financially? Something or some things has to give!

Truth is, people who are truly winning financially are frugal, avoid debt and are super savers. That dear friend is un-American. Americans spend, spend, borrow, spend some more, consolidate, spend, spend, borrow then rob Peter to pay Paul, while shortchanging Pam on what’s owed to her. Not much left to save. Ironically, saving money is how you create financial stability and ultimately build wealth. If you cannot consistently save and pile up cash, it’s a telltale sign that you’re struggling financially.

If you want to win with money, you have to embrace the concept that money is finite. There’s only so much that will flow through our bank account. We have to do the best that we can with it. Although there’s so many responsibilities, needs, wants and desires that have a price tag affixed to it, we have to accept: It’s POSSIBLE to have it all. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to have it all RIGHT NOW.

With that in mind, we have to learn how to prioritize, sacrifice, do without, and delay certain wants in order to pay for certain needs. We have to be intentional and purposeful with our dollars so that we don’t wallow in regret. We have to “Just say no.” Below are some things you’re going to have to learn to say no to:
Just say no to “Yourself:” I recently shared a meme on Facebook. It read, I finally found out who was stealing my money. The image was a picture of a woman looking in the mirror choking herself. The “buck” literally and figuratively starts and stops with you. We are our own worst enemy. When it comes to spending money our innate good judgment sensors oftentimes speak to us posing the questions. Are you sure? Do you really need this? You know you have that thing coming up that’s going to cost X amount? Yet we oftentimes give in to temptation thinking it will make us feel good. It may make us feel good in the moment. But buyer’s remorse can wake you up in the morning. Be mindful of the bigger picture.

Just say no to “Your Children:” Kids really do think money grows on trees. There’s no stop to their frequent requests. As parents, our first name to our children is Mommy/Daddy. Our last name is Can I. Every time you hear Mommy/Daddy it’s followed by Can I. Mommy can I have this. Daddy can I have that. You can literally drop a small fortune on something they wanted. Not even seconds later they’re asking for something else. We as parents want our children to do and have things we were unable to do as children.

Think about that. We as children went without A LOT, yet we turned out OK. I’ve learned in financial coaching, parents are willing to make various sacrifices but they’re reluctant to have their children make various sacrifices. It’s incumbent upon us as parents to teach our children about work, sacrifice, saving, and other important characteristics. Or else risk them always depending on Mommy and Daddy to take care of them or bail them out as adults.

Just say no to “The Joneses:” Everybody trying to keep up with the Joneses, which is a feeble attempt to outearn, outshine, and more importantly OUTSPEND our siblings, neighbors, friends, co-workers, church members. For what? A compliment? The Joneses is an illusionary model of success. More stuff creates clutter, not happiness. More clutter creates confusion, not peace. It’s OK to have nice stuff. Just do it on your own time and with your own dime—not because you want to prove to others that you’re a success.

Just say no to “Family and Friends always in need:” I believe in giving a “hand up” to a family member or friend who is experiencing “Hard Luck.” But a family member or friend who is in constant need because of “Dumb Luck”—miss me with that. They have deeper issues they need to fix. You can wish them well on their journey but not at your expense.

Just say no to everybody and everything that will impede your progress in winning with money. If you’re unsure, give yourself 72 hours to research and think about it. After all, saying yes is how many of us got ourselves in a financial jam in the first place.

(Damon Carr, Money Coach can be reached at 412-216-1013 or visit his website @

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