You Can’t Afford That

in Credit Cards, Debt Reduction, Debts, Frugality

Continuing on from yesterday’s discussions that spring from the statement We Can’t Afford That, let’s extend the discussion to how you react to someone telling you You Can’t Afford That. This doesn’t arise nearly as often as it used to for our parents, but there are still situations where this statement is used.

If you go to a bank and want to buy too much house, or you don’t make enough money to afford the house you want to buy, you can actually be told you can’t afford that, and how do most folks react to that? Most of the time I have heard stories recounting this kind of financial rebuff, the victims of the denial typically go off to prove to the denying institution that they are wrong. It is in our nature to prove a statement about ourselves that we don’t believe is wrong (even if the statement is correct).

The reason I ended up as a Mathematician was because a Grade 8 Math teacher who was irate at my boorish behavior once declared in front of my entire class, “… you’ll never be able to do math …”, but I proved him wrong, and it is that kind of negative motivational declaration that seems to drive some of us into doing some very destructive things in our lives (and many times financially).

If a car salesman told you that the car you were looking at was too expensive, how would you feel about that? Would you agree with them, and thank them for helping you from tieing yourself down to a too expensive financial obligation (yes this is completely synthetic since it is rare if ever that I have heard of a car salesman telling you that you can’t afford something)? No, you would prove that fill in your favorite expletive wrong by going out and finding someone who will sell you what you want. Two years later when you are in a financial bind, will you think of that first clerk who turned you down? Not likely.

These days we can buy pretty much whatever we want, on credit. The days of live now, pay later are here, but when is later? Ask your Member of Parliament when that is, because the National Debt needs to be paid some time, but when? Are you building up your own little version of the National Debt?

Does Anyone Say This ?

I think if I heard of a Bank or a Car Dealership that was sending potential customers away, telling them they can’t afford the things they want to buy, I might actually seek out them to do business with them, but that is only after years of realizing how bad my own spending habits were.

Have you ever had a situation where someone told you You can’t afford that? How did it make you feel?

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • debt consolidation predation! April 20, 2011, 7:39 PM

    We’ll apparently if your Greece or Iceland you don’t have to pay your national debt.

  • kh April 19, 2011, 5:54 PM

    Ok, I’m catching up from yesterday … so this might be a little behind.

    I will state categorically that I HATE the phrase “can’t afford”. People use it in all kinds of ways that have no bearing on reality.

    The dictionary definition of “afford” is “to bear or stand without detriment”. Most people who say “I can’t afford that” really can AFFORD it. They choose not to spend the money or time.

    I think people should admit that they CHOOSE not to spend money on something rather than to use the excuse that they can’t afford it. It would make it a lot less of a stigma to CHOOSE not to spend money if people simply acknowledged that choice.

    For example: I can AFFORD to go to lunch every day during the week. I could pay for lunch out, still meet my savings goals, and still pay off my debt. I would not be entering into any further debt by paying $5-$7 a day for lunch. I can AFFORD it. However, I CHOOSE not to do that. I CHOOSE to bring my lunch with me and save that money for other things.

    When there are so many people in our country and in the world who truly cannot afford things, I think it’s disingenuous to claim you cannot afford something when the truth is that you choose to spend your money differently.

  • Ravi Gupta April 19, 2011, 8:28 AM

    I’ve never had a situation like that, however I try to keep my spending to a minimum. That being said people (myself included) tend to rise to the challenge. If someone told me I couldn’t do something, more than likely I would find a way to.

    Great article!

    -Ravi Gupta


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