Hang on… this is a bit different from my normal posts. haha
For whatever reason, society and social media have programmed us to be ashamed of our financial status. If we have more than our friends we are seen as bragging and pretentious. If we have less, we should feel inadequate and apologetic. Why?
Honestly, how does your financial status affect anyone outside of your household? It doesn’t, unless you are dependent on them.
So why are we so afraid to utter those words? Just four little words. . . “I can’t afford it.”
Stop. Break the shame cycle and be honest with yourself. Stop giving that phrase so much power over your emotional well-being. Maybe change the statement. Try “I didn’t budget for that this week,” or even “how about next week? I think I’ll have a bit more wiggle room in my budget.” Neither of those statements seem to carry the stigma that “I can’t afford it” does. Perhaps because saying that you have a budget appears to mean that you are carefully managing your money. Perhaps it seems classier. It’s the same thing though when you get right down to it, the money isn’t there.
I’ve seen people’s body language change towards me when I say “I can’t afford to right now” and it made me feel guilty for trying to use my money wisely. I’ve had to borrow money from other areas in our budget to go out with friends in the past so that I could participate without feeling that weight of being less because I didn’t have the funds. But I’ve started to finally come to terms with the fact that I’m not my money. I’m a human independent of my financial status and have just as much to offer as the next person. I’ve realized that if people can’t see that I really don’t need them in my life. Find yourself even just one friend who is trying to save money and it will change the world for you. When you ask if you can see the matinée showing because it’s $2 less per person and they respond with “Sure, and we can just share a large popcorn” instead of “ugh, I really would prefer to go to the later showing. Let’s just do lunch and then go see the movie,” it will feel incredible. If you haven’t found that yet, keep searching. Hopefully you will.
On the flip side, BE that person. Be the friend that isn’t pushing for pricy outings or coffee out every week. Be the friend that suggests baking cookies for an afternoon or trying out a new recipe together. Recreate some of your favorite outings at home. You can rent a movie for around $1 most places or watch one that you already own, pop some popcorn and have a movie night in. Buy a bottle of wine and have everyone bring their own canvas and whatever art supplies they have on hand and do a night of art and fun at someone’s house instead of paying fees to go out. Heck, find an old Bob Ross video and make trees and birds out of your mistakes. Pick up some wings from the grocery store and watch the game at your house instead of a local sports bar. There ARE options for fun with friends that don’t cost an arm and a leg.
But above all, tell ‘em.
Tell ‘em you can’t go to the movies. Tell ‘em you can’t go get a pedicure. Tell ‘em you can’t meet them at the bar to watch the game. Tell ‘em that you can’t go shopping. Tell ‘em that you can’t go.
And then, tell ‘em why.
Tell ‘em: I’m broke, I can’t afford that, or it’s too expensive. Tell ‘em you’re saving money. Tell ‘em you are getting out of debt. Tell ‘em your car payment is due. Tell ‘em you have student loans to pay off.
I know it’s scary; honestly, the thought of doing it myself is enough to make me anxious. But it needs to happen. We need to stop being scared of the way that other people view our money.
There are probably a thousand memes out there that say “there is a difference in being broke because you wasted your money and being broke because you paid your bills.” Aspire to be that second kind of broke, because that type of broke is the broke that will find themselves getting out of debt and longing for a savings account. That’s the kind of broke that will have a place to live, food to eat, and a job to make ends meet. That’s the kind of broke that respects their money and will ultimately tell people “naw man, I have bills to pay.”
I challenge you to turn down the next invitation that you didn’t budget for. I know it won’t be easy, but if we start now it will get easier. Afterwards, come here and let us know how it went! Did you just turn it down, did you offer a suggestion that fit your budget, or maybe invite them over instead for a fun night in?
We work hard for our money right? Why let someone devalue that work for you, seems silly when you think about it.
Alright, enough. Ha ha. Chin up! Spend less! I’ll see you tomorrow.