How to say 'no' to a friend's loan request: Dave Ramsey's advice

Dear Dave,

I’m on Baby Step 2 of your plan, and I’ll be debt-free except for my home by the end of the year. I have a friend who is very irresponsible with his money, and he often asks to "borrow" cash between paychecks. I don’t want to be cruel, but things are getting out of hand with his requests for money.


Dear James,

I think you should tell your friend the truth. Let him know you’ve decided to get control of your money, you’re trying to get out of debt, and you simply don’t have cash to spare. Be sure to do it with a kind spirit, but sometimes you’ve got to look at the big picture in these situations. You’re not really helping someone if you participate in their misbehavior and enable bad habits. Sometimes, you have to love someone enough to tell them no.

Let your friend know how hard you’re working to get your finances in order, and how it’s making a big difference in your life. Maybe you could offer to show him the steps you’ve taken so far, and let him know he could be successful doing this, too. You might even try to show him how to make a monthly budget, and act as his guide and accountability partner if he’s willing to accept this kind of help.


In some cases, helping someone means offering what you know they need instead of what they want. But you’re never really helping someone who’s incompetent with money by simply handing them cash.

Good luck, James!


Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, including The Total Money Makeover. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 16 million listeners each week on 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.