Can You Afford It? - think importance and priority
So, you're faced with a purchase decision. Can you afford it? It's up to you to decide.
The key is how you decide. I think we all decide in nearly the same way. The answer might take a while to come to us. It might take quite a bit of thinking.
We might even have to sleep on it before we arrive at the right answer.
If the truth were known, it's probably the same answer for a good many of us. How can that be?
Won't we all have different answers? I think not.
It seems clear to me that the answer is going to be something like, "Yes, if I think it's important."
Can You Afford It? - what it really means
So, when someone asks us, "Can you afford it?" What are they really asking us? They're asking if a purchase can be prioritized into our money management scheme. They want to know if we view this as important enough to allocate financial resources to handle it, or squeeze it in somehow.
As long as you're willing to sacrifice something else to make room for the new expenditure, then nearly everything within reason is affordable.
I've seen too many examples of people with ample means who won't buy something even though they could do so quite comfortably. They say "I can't afford that" as if it were true. It's not true. At best, they're offering an excuse instead of saying they don't see the purchase as important or otherwise a priority in their life.
On the flip side, plenty of people buy things on credit and then have problems paying for them. Why is that? Because they made a decision that the purchase was important to them, even if it means they have to sacrifice something else that's important.
How do they make such irresponsible decisions? They made a choice to make one thing a higher priority than another. Again it's an example that points out that people choose to afford something.
I Can't Afford It - what it really means
So, the lesson in this is very simply that people allow competing demands to mess up their priorities.
The point is that we're all involved in managing money, and our decisions about what we can or can't afford are based on our money management plan. Within reason, we can afford just about anything, but it's really a matter of how well we prioritize things and take the long view with respect to our financial well-being.
Here's a very basic example of what I'm talking about. Think of an indigent individual who has no home, no food, no personal belongings to speak of, only the clothes on his back and he's living in the street. At best he's malnourished. If you gave that person $10, what would they likely buy with it?
Think carefully about your answer. What would they buy? In other words, what would their priorities be?
You would think it might be food or clothes, but it would more likely be cigarettes or alcohol. Remember, these people aren't on the street because they make good decisions. They're not good at recognizing what's important and prioritizing things.
I understand that most of the homeless have a mental or emotional disorder, but the lesson is the same. When we are asked, "can you afford it" we all make a decision using whatever faculties we have to distinguish importance and priorities.
It's the same with anyone else. We all choose to afford things based on how important we view that item in relation to other things we need and want. So, the next time you ask someone "Can you afford it?" and you hear them reply "I can't afford it," just remember that what they're really saying is it's not important enough to me now to make a purchase.
Done with Can You Afford It, back to The Mindset of Frugality