One of my new year’s resolutions was to stop saying, “I can’t afford it,” especially in front of my kids.
I think it puts the position of power on the money or the thing rather than on me and my choices. There are genuinely things I can’t afford, like a mansion or a Lear jet, but most of the things I say I can’t afford are really things I could but don’t choose to use my money on.
I can choose to buy a cheap toy for momentary pleasure, or I can use that money to save for financial security. Which is closer in line with my values? I can choose to have fun with the resources I have without overextending myself.
I don’t want my kids to grow up with a feeling of scarcity. Our lives are abundant – we have a warm home in a safe neighborhood, plenty of food, clothes without stains or holes (even if they are hand-me-downs), toys to play with, good friends, and a loving family. The “I have” list far exceeds the “I want” list, and I want them to grow up knowing that. Saying, “I can’t afford” in front of them puts the don’t-haves up front, in a position they don’t deserve.
Instead, I’m saying, “That’s not how we are choosing to spend our money.” I’m explaining why, too. The toy may be fun now, but how long will that fun last? Is it worth the cost? Do we have something at home that will do the same job, or can we make something similar? The kids are learning that we control where our money goes, and that spending is a choice. It’s also a great opportunity to explain our values in context, which I hope will have a deeper impact.
This post started out as a reply to a post at Budget Confessions. I’ve been enjoying Cate’s blog for a few months and this post resonated with me!