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Can You Afford It?

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Have you ever been in this situation? You are with friends and they suggest going somewhere for dinner. Your finances are tight and you really can’t afford to eat out at the pricey place suggested. What would you do?

1. Admit you don’t have the funds and say, “I really can’t afford it.”
2. Keep quiet and go along—you’ll just order an appetizer and water.
3. You enjoy being with friends so go ahead and buy what you want!

Saying those words, “I can’t afford it” is something many have struggled with at one time or another. Some may feel shame or embarrassment if they utter those words. But there’s nothing wrong with saying it! Money issues are often difficult to discuss or verbalize. Perhaps rephrasing it would help– “that’s out of my price range right now.”

It is important to be honest with yourself about what you can afford. Facing reality may be difficult but it can reduce your financial stress. Would you rather confront things now or when you are struggling to pay your credit card bill? However, do you even know if you can afford it?

Everybody needs to learn how to manage money. Good money management includes being able to pay your monthly bills, save for the future, and buy the things you need and want without creating unmanageable debt. A spending plan can be a helpful money management tool. For resources on spending plans and more, click here.

You probably have noticed that different people have different attitudes about money. Some people want to collect as much as they can, while others want to buy as many goods and services as they can. Recognizing your attitude about money can help you deal with situations where you say, “I can’t afford it.”

Recent articles by Jean Chatzky (http://jeanchatzky.com ) and the Wall Street Journal discussed having to admit when you can’t afford something.
Here are some tips for saying “I can’t afford it”.
• Know your situation and what you will say when presented with an offer. “Let me check my budget/spending plan.” “Let me think about that.” “That’s not in my plan for today. Maybe another time.”
• Understand the emotions that are involved. Friends often get their feelings hurt if you never want to go with them. Explaining your plans in advance can often avoid misunderstandings.
• Peer pressure encourages us to spend money when we can’t afford it. The constant barrage of advertisements or friends, family or co-workers can exert pressure to part with your money. When you have a clear understanding of your money and financial goals, it may make it easier to resist. But it is not always easy!

Knowing and understanding your finances will help you find the courage to say, “I can’t afford it” or “that’s out of my price range.”

Article can also be found on the Living Well in the Panhandle newsletter.  To subscribe to this newsletter, click HERE.

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