One of the questions that I receive often is how to deal with explaining to family and friends that you can’t afford something because it’s not in the budget. Truthfully, I used to be so embarrassed whenever I had to tell someone that I couldn’t afford to go out to eat or that I couldn’t go their child’s birthday party.
I used to feel so judged because of my budget – and sometimes I still feel judged. I really truly cared what others thought and I would feel awkward anytime I had to stand my ground and say no to something that I really wanted because it wasn’t in the budget.
Now, I rarely ever feel awkward when letting someone know that we can’t do something because it’s simply not in the budget. But it definitely took me a little bit of time to get there. I like what Peter Voogd states in his book, Six Months to Six Figures, “Instead of “I can’t afford it”, try “how can I afford it?” One is a statement the other a question. One makes you think the other gives you an escape.”
Yes, there are definite times when we truly can’t afford to do something but if instead of becoming sad or disheartened by the fact that we can’t afford something and ask ourselves how we can afford it the next time the opportunity comes around, we then challenge ourselves to dig deeper and push ourselves further.
We then change our financial lives from focusing on what we can’t afford to what we want to one day afford. For example, my husband and I one day want to own a homestead. It’s a big dream because we plan to do it debt-free, but it’s going to take time and money to make it happen.
So, even though we can’t afford it right now, we will one day. By focusing on our financial goals, we take the negative out of the equation and turn it into a positive. And I’m a firm believer that that is the key to succeeding in money. Because when you focus solely, on the negative you run the risk of allow discontentment to grow and we all know discontentment leads to debt and debt leads to financial hardships.
The other part of this question that I get often is, “do you plan to still keep a budget after you’ve paid off your mortgage?” The answer is a resounding YES! A budget is a plan for you money. It creates boundaries within you’re allowed to operate.
Just like with children, if you don’t set clear and firm boundaries with your children, they will run all over you and everyone else. But if you set clear and firm boundaries with them and teach them to stay within those boundaries, they grow up to be pretty amazing adults.
That’s the same philosophy behind budgeting your money – setting clear and firm boundaries that you train yourself, your spouse, your children, and anyone else that depends on your household for money to stay within those boundaries.
And the more you stay within your boundaries the more financially secure you become.
If you’re struggling with setting up a budget or sticking to a budget, I encourage you to check out my resources page here that lists several resources that I just love!
What is one piece of advice that you can give to someone struggling with the “I can’t afford it” stage of budgeting?
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