It’s Really OK to Say, ‘I Can’t Afford That’


From the Wall Street Journal.

Many people would rather struggle to pay off a large credit-card bill then utter the phrase “I can’t afford it.”

Feelings of shame, embarrassment or a desire to avoid conflict are just some of the reasons folks just won’t say no.

But being honest about what you can and can’t afford can reduce financial stress and boost your financial health.

Below, therapists, financial advisers and parenting experts give tips on how to say the dreaded phrase (without actually saying it): 

Here are a few tips from the article.

1. Set limits, decide later

There’s a lot of peer pressure in our society to spend… When presented with an offer, folks can alleviate some of that pressure by using a phrase such as “Let me think about that and check my budget.”

2. Warn them in advance 

Telling friends in advance can prevent them from feeling rejected later on

3. Teach the kids 

When your teenager is whining that “everyone else has one,” it can seem easier to just buy the toy or latest electronic gadget to keep him or her quiet. Not to mention, despite their own financial challenges, most parents don’t want their children to feel deprived.

As a result, telling a child they can’t afford it is something many parents will do their best to avoid.

Instead, after reassuring the child they’re loved, the parent could say “I choose not to spend my money on that,”

4. Blame your adviser 

If all else fails, blame your adviser.

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