A How-To Guide For Setting Clear & Firm Financial Boundaries


First, let’s establish what boundaries are, as many people may have misconceptions about what they look like. As certified therapist Elizabeth Earnshaw, LMFT, writes about boundaries: “[They] are what happens when you can sense what you need and want—and can access your voice to speak to those things.” Essentially these are the lines we draw about the sort of behaviors we deem appropriate or not, and how we will react in return.

She goes on to explain that, “we all have ‘limits,’ and we all experience violations of our limits. Most of the time, people are not trying to violate your limits—they just aren’t aware of what they are. Sometimes, this is because we are not clear with ourselves or other people about what we want or need.”

This can happen often with our finances. It can look like spending more money than you’re comfortable with when out to dinner with friends, letting folks borrow money too frequently, or having different calculations about how much a group experience (i.e. trip) will cost. These situations can all feel like violations of your own financial wants and needs. 

However, like Earnshaw noted about boundaries, these instances when people push your financial limits often aren’t intentional. Many times, they can arise from miscommunications about budgets or spending expectations! But that just means learning how to set financial boundaries is all the more important—so that we can prevent resentment and hard feelings over time.


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