Wednesday, March 4, 2015

It's OK to Say "I Can't Afford It"

We are raised not to talk about money. I remember during sorority recruitment, money was one of the five B's (Boys, Bucks, Booze, Bible, and Brands (maybe?)) of topics to avoid during the recruitment process. In my current stage of life, I have friends at all levels of the income spectrum. I have friends who work for the banks in Charlotte and make more than $200,000 a year and I have friends working hourly retail positions where they aren't even thinking about their yearly income.

What I have seen through conversations and experiences, is that we put a negative connotation to admitting that you can't afford something. There is a level of shame associated with the expression when really, there shouldn't be. So you have committed to the honorable of profession of teaching and make roughly $33,000 a year and can't afford to split a dinner of $100 bottles of wine, appetizers, multiple entrees, and desserts with friends, while you ordered a $10 cheese pizza and over indulged on the complimentary bread and water. It would be lovely to attend your best friends engagement party in New York, bridal shower in Nashville, bachelorette weekend in Turks and Caicos, and wedding ceremony in Napa in addition to purchasing a new dress, shoes, jewelry, spray tans, manicures, make up, and hair styling for the day, but weddings are expensive.

I realize this was an obnoxious example, but I see it. Friends who are willing to put themselves into a bit of a financial pickle or take away from their own savings to go on that trip to California they have been wanting to take in order to pay to attend or be in a wedding all because they are too embarrassed to say 'I can't afford it." Friends who will skip out on that mani/pedi they have been wanting to treat themselves too because the night before, they had to split a bill evenly at dinner and ended up paying for way more than what they consumed.

It's something I am trying to teach myself to be OK with. Would I love to book a day at the spa with you, yes. But in reality, I am still trying to pay off my credit card from my trip to Africa so right now "I can't afford it." Renting a house down in Charleston for a summer weekend sounds lovely, but since Henry decided to get live disease, multiple ear infections, and a have a tooth removed this past fall, "I can't afford it." I love taking my fitness classes, but since I didn't make too many placements last month, "I can't afford it."

Sure there is a level of intimidation and vulnerability to it, but instead of digging yourself into a hole finically or making up some ridiculous excuse about why you can't go on a weekend trip with friends, have confidence in who you are and be ok with admitting "I can't afford it."




  1. I could not agree more with this post! It is not a shameful thing to be budget conscience! And also very loving to be conscience of other people's budgets.

    1. Thanks Kristen. I agree, it is important to be conscience of other people's budgets and we often over look it.