It’s also a phrase that I use quite often myself.
It’s bullshit, though.
- I can’t afford it is an excuse.
- I can’t afford it is what we say when we are afraid to spend money because what would my partner/mother/friend think.
- I can’t afford it is what we say when we don’t want to tell the truth.
- I can’t afford it comes from a place of scarcity, rather than abundance.
- I can’t afford it is often a lie.
First of all, “I can’t” isn’t an accurate statement in and of itself.
Can and can’t is about the physical ability to do something.
Will and won’t is about the choice to do something.
We often confuse I can’t with I won’t.
Let me give you a personal example.
Right now my husband and I are looking to move to a larger house since we are feeling a bit squeezed in our current home.
Given that my husband spent the last year following a dream and not making any money, and I was pregnant and/or on maternity leave, it would be easy for us to say “we can’t afford it.”
In reality, though, we can afford to move.
What is really up for debate, though, is if we want to spend the money.
It’s not we can’t, it’s do we want to. There is a big difference.
There are there main reasons why we say "I can't afford it" when we really can.
- We say I can’t afford it when we really can, because we don't want to offend someone or we don't want to rock the boat. We would be better off saying “I love the idea, but I don’t want to spend the money on _____ right now.” It’s more honest and more powerful.
- We say I can’t afford it when we really can because we are worried about what someone else might think. We feel guilty and let guilt drive our decision, rather than desire.
- We say I can’t afford it when we really can because we struggle with our sense of self worth. It's true that money will not buy you happiness or confidence, or whatever else you seek, but please invest in yourself, and buy the things that make you smile and feel good.
Just to be clear, I am not urging you to spend money on every whim that comes your way because that would be irresponsible.
I am asking you to look deeper and ask yourself why you say I can’t afford it.
If your heart sings at the idea of having or doing something, spend the money.
If you don’t want something, don’t buy it, and don’t lie about why you won’t.
It's Your Life. Live It Boldly.
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