Dear Snarky – Help Me Say No to the Back-to-School $ Shakedown

Dear Snarky,dear_snarky_logo-1

I’m going through a divorce and money is really, really tight. This has me dreading school starting because as soon as I walk through the door with my kids everyone has their hand out from the PTO to room moms asking for money for school improvements, teacher gift and classroom parties. I need your advice on how to nicely, but firmly say no without sounding pathetic or feeling embarrassed.

Signed, On A Strict Budget

Dear Budget,

You came to the right person for advice. Back in the day I bounced a $10 check to my daughter’s elementary school PTO. Totally not my fault mind you. It was an accounting error.  😉 Now back to you.

My advice is to not be afraid of no. No is not a four letter word. You can use it often and without regret. As in “No, I can’t contribute this year, but I’d be happy to volunteer in the classroom.”

Or “No thank you, I’ve already scheduled my donation to the school.” And you’re not fibbing because your donation could be chaperoning a field trip.

Don’t even feel like you have to follow your no with a “I’m sorry”.


Your basic family needs come before extras like school parties and you have nothing to be ashamed of or to feel guilty about. Now go out there and make it a great first day of school.

*If you have a question for – Dear Snarky – 21st Century Advice With an Attitude – write me at or send me a private message on my Snarky FB page.