Fighting Past “I Can’t Afford It”

How often have you caught yourself saying: “I Can’t Afford It”?  That’s one of the most disempowering phrases we can use in our creative lives. “I can’t afford it” is the financial equivalent of “I don’t deserve it” or “I’m not ready for it.” Of course you deserve it, and of course, you’re ready.

You just have to tell yourself that you are ready, you deserve it, and all you need is a plan.

Now perhaps there truly are some things you may not be able to afford. Like this yacht…

However, more often than not, you could (and should) be breaking down life into two columns:

–       I don’t want it.


–       I am creating a plan to have it.

Let’s explore these two options:

I Don’t Want It

Maybe this isn’t as “wow” for you as it was for me, but there are some powerful nuggets of wisdom for your pocketbook in this thought:While listening to an organizing expert on the radio last week, I had a revelation. The woman said, “If you have less stuff, you can spend less time trying to organize.” It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Yet, this is a powerful statement. You only have two hands. When those are full, there isn’t any other instrument in your life that you can use.

1)    Decide what you don’t want and sell it. Think you “can’t afford” that vacation this summer? Worried that you aren’t sure how to pay for those classes to improve your craft? Selling items reduces clutter and creates cash. Donate unsellable clutter to claim a tax break if you are able to use itemized deductions on your tax return.

2)    Avoid buying new stuff. Your budget will heal if you only buy those items that you are going to use. Another question to ask: if I’m buying this, what item will I no longer use? Sell or donate the obsolete item.

3)    Create lists of opportunities with your electronics and subscriptions. I have a stack of magazines waiting to be read. I’ve decided to read one a day until the stack is empty and then I’m going to discontinue the subscription. A good friend just disconnected cable and instead bought a Roku internet television box for each set.

Overall, here’s my point: is it that you “can’t afford it?”, which is disempowering, or is the truth that you “don’t need it,” which places you squarely in the driver’s seat in your life.

I’m Creating a Plan To Have It

Maybe that yacht is in your future. Sure, you can’t have it right now, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t afford it. As it says in Napoleon Hill’s book Think And Grow Rich, if you want something bad enough, trust your subconscious brain to find a way.

I’m frustrated when I hear people say, “I wish I could have….” If you are a wisher, stop it right now! Wishing for something is too risky. A financial planning friend of mine once said, “Risk is all that’s left when you’ve finished planning.” In short: plan more and there will be less risk that you’re not going to achieve your goal.

Here are some steps to have what you deserve:

1)    Determine the cost. Every goal has a price tag, and it isn’t always calculated in dollars. In many cases, you may have to trade time or services for your goal. At times, this may make you realize that “I don’t really want it,” which is great! If you don’t want it, you can then move on to the next goal.

2)    Plot the course to your goal. Set a reasonable timeframe and set milestones. You may not have all the answers right now, but if you know the cost and also the time, your brain will begin to create ways to attack the problem.

3)    Work your plan and throw off discouragement. Often, the goal gets lost in the frustration that accompanies going after what you want.  Really wanting something means sticking with your plan, even if it looks like you may need to modify the goal.

See how that works? When you tell yourself “I can’t afford it,” you’ve given up hope. If you set a plan in place, you’ll quickly learn if you really want the goal and if you’re willing to put in the effort. Maybe you don’t reach the yacht, but instead this nice boat:

As Michelangelo said, The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.

Have fun dreaming!