I want x. Can I afford it?
First, can I afford it does not mean do I have a line of credit that allows me to go into debt to acquire this? It means do I have the money saved up to pay for this thing I want?
Also, when a friend says, “I can’t afford that” it often means, “I don’t prioritize spending my money on that.” People are often intimidated by saying, “I can’t afford that” to their peers for fear of sounding “poor”, when actually getting comfortable with saying that might dramatically help your savings account. As Dave Ramsey says, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”
In our world where credit is everywhere, saying “I can’t afford it” feels like saying, “I am so poor that I can’t get credit enough to pay for that item.”
In fact, it’s choosing to spend money in other ways and preferring to save up for wants rather than jumping into debt slavery to acquire more, more, more. (When I hear someone boldly say “I can’t afford that”, I feel such pride in their discipline, restraint and their ability to prioritize.)
Make the “I want” purchases when you’ve saved up for them.
How will you know if and when you’ve saved up for the purchase you want to make if you don’t know where each dollar you have coming in is going out? Are you asking, “Where does all my money go? I work so hard, and yet come up short.”
Make a budget, which in the beginning may be intimidating.
Start small; record each amount you spend money on throughout each day. Write it down. I use Excel. Every day do this. For one month.
You can do this! It just might change your world, your future and your legacy.
“If you are going to have a real dream, you need a real plan.” — Chris Hogan
Looking back after one month, see which items you spent money on were *needs* and which were *wants*. Which purchases were not necessities? Add that amount of what you spent on wants and ask yourself, what would I rather have spent this money on? Paying off debts to become free of debt slavery or paying that app subscription I forgot to cancel after the free trial and never use?
See how you can tackle eliminating or reducing those “want” expenditures. (Here are 7 ways to start on monthly bills that you can easily reduce, most often with a simple phone call, including your cell phone bill, internet provider, even Amazon….click here.)
After that one month of recording every single item you’ve spent with a short description like “groceries”, “entertainment”, “car repair”, etc., google “top 20 expenses we forget to add to our budget.” Lists like that when you’re first starting out are helpful.
In that first month of recording your budget, you likely didn’t need to pay car registration or a plumbing bill or Christmas purchases (again, Christmas is not a *surprise* – it comes around every year, you can be prepared for it. No more Christmas debt!) but they will appear over the course of a year, so those go in the budget too.
Armed with this information, you can finally know where your money is going and if you can afford your most recent “I want.”