2,024 Honest Ways to Say "I'm Broke"

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We've all been there – flaking, ghosting or flat out lying to get out of plans because it's not in the cards financially.  But making false excuses to avoid the awkward conversation doesn't just leave us out of intention with people we care about. It also starts building an unhealthy practice between ourselves and what we perceive as our financial shortcomings. This form of self-deception can actually prevent you from finding the financial freedom you're looking for, and make it more difficult to be honest with yourself and others in the future. 

Instead, try using this equation for a straightforward, honest reason you can't attend. Create your own combination by choosing one phrase from each of the lists below – and add your favorites in the comments.

1. Say it.

The hardest part is being honest. Just tell the person where you are – you'll become more grounded in your current state, and give the other person the space to respond authentically in return.

I’m broke.

I’m low on funds right now. 

I’m trying not to spend too much money this week. 

That’s a bit out of my price range right now.

I don’t have the funds.

I’m focusing on saving money for X.

I’m making money moves right now and don't want to spend it on X.

I'm currently saving for X.

I’m more interested in spending money on X.

I didn’t budget for X this week.

2. Provide Alternatives.

This gives you control over the potential meetup, and consequently, more control on your funds. Choose activities that align with your budget.

Let's do X instead?

I'd love to have you over for dinner / drinks / snacks / watch a movie / etc.

How about we catch up over the phone?

Let's try to think of cheaper things to do.

Let's carve out extra time before / after the next time we'll see each other in person to chat.

Let's plan to do this [insert date when you'll feel more financially grounded].

Let's do this at a [unspecified] later date.

3. Don't apologize.

We often want to apologize where we feel like we're lacking. You owe no one any explanation when you're grounded in what you can give. Practice swapping "I'm sorry" with these words instead.


I'm glad we can figure this out together!

I appreciate your flexibility.

Looking forward to catching up!

Let me know!

Sorry not sorry.

Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash




Nicole CardozaComment