“I Can’t Afford It.”

These are my least favorite words in the English language.

Seriously. They really piss me off.

Disclaimer: I’m not talking about the millions of people who live in poverty across the world. Poverty is a real problem- and one that I’m dedicated to alleviating.

I’m talking about your average middle-class unsatisfied (and ungrateful) person who can afford more luxuries than 90% of the world. Saying you can’t afford something as an excuse disrespects those who truly can’t make ends meet.

There are only two reasons for saying you can’t afford something: one, you don’t want to buy it, and you’re using money as an excuse. Two, you wish you had more money, and you’re feeling sorry for yourself.

can't afford

If that purchase was life-saving, you would be able to afford it. You would do whatever it took to pay for it.

The reality is, you’re choosing not to spend the money, for whatever reason. You always have a choice, whether you realize it or not. You might feel that with student loan payments plus rent plus the clothes you “need” for work, you don’t have any money to take a vacation. But in reality, you’re choosing not to travel because the student loan payments, rent, and clothes are more important to you. If traveling was the most important thing in your life, you could buy fewer clothes, get a cheaper apartment, or do whatever it would take to find the money.

Give yourself permission to spend money on what’s important to you

You don’t have to spend money on traveling if it’s not important to you! And it’s okay to admit that. When someone asks why you aren’t going skiing with the rest of the group, tell them the truth: you would rather pay off your student loans faster than spend money on travel right now.

Yes, it can be scary

It’s totally understandable that you would feel scared to be open and vulnerable about why you’re not joining your friends on the trip. You’re sharing your true values with your friends instead of giving some lame (but socially acceptable) excuse about not having the money.

If they respect you, they’ll respect your values and appreciate your honesty. If they don’t respect you, do you really care what they think?

Knowing that you can afford anything is empowering

Instead of feeling sorry for yourself when you see that adorable dress with the $300 price tag, you can do one of two things: Buy the dress and be happy with your choice because that dress is meaningful and aligns with your values. Or, don’t buy the dress and be happy with your choice because you’re saving your money for something else that is meaningful and aligns with your values.

You create more of what you focus on

So when you focus on what you can afford (a.k.a. anything that truly matters), you’re going to attract more of it- more confidence, more of what matters, and even more money. Or, you could continue to focus on what you supposedly can’t afford and attract more self-pity and excuses. It’s your choice.

I’ll take more of what matters to me, please. What will you choose?

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