Why I Stopped Saying "We Can't Afford It!"
“We can’t afford it.”
“That’s WAY too much money.”
“That is too expensive.”
“We don’t have enough money.”
These are phrases that were most definitely a part of my childhood, and they were something I was bringing into my kid’s childhood as well.
Until I stopped.
CHOOSE TO STOP
It was a conscious choice to stop saying these things to my kids. I also had to choose to stop saying them to myself.
As I learned more about mindset and how what we say to ourselves can create our reality, I decided to try a little experiment. You see, for a long time all this mindset stuff was just woo woo to me. It didn’t actually matter what I thought. Right?
After all, isn’t it true that we can’t afford it? We don’t have enough money to buy Legos everytime we go to Target. Or to go out to eat 4 times a week.
Well, yes. And, no.
Yes it’s true because we do NOT make those things a priority in our budget. Buying our kids as many toys as they want is NOT a Value of ours. (Is it for anyone?!) While I would LOVE to be able to eat out 4 times a week, that doesn’t fit into our life right now either.
DEFINE YOUR VALUES
So, we choose to make sure our money is being used in ways that fosters those Values.
Sometimes that looks like eating out with friends and their kids at a local restaurant that serves food options that nourish my body. But, often it looks like cooking dinner at home with the kids, teaching them about cooking healthy food and having a family check-in around the dinner table.
That “cheaper” option of dining at home, allows us to fund other categories that are part of our Value system. Values like Travel. Taking trips with our kids to help them see the vastness of the world and the diversity of its beauty, as well as revitalizing us all as a family.
We CHOOSE to funnel our money towards purchases that support our Values. And not to buy toys everytime we’re at the store. Does that make sense?
But also, no. It’s not true that we “don’t have enough money” because we could choose to cancel our YMCA membership so that we could buy a couple more Lego sets a month.
So, saying that we can’t afford it, or that we don’t have enough money isn’t really the truth.
We do have the money. But we choose to spend that money on something that is of more value to us. While my kids might argue that Legos are of value, it’s my job as their mama to help them see that there is a difference between short-term, desire-driven value and long-term, rooted and defined Values.
Here’s where the “woo woo” mindset stuff comes in again. Saying over and over that “we can’t afford it” is solidifying in your children’s minds (and your own) that money is scarce. And a scarcity mindset breeds greed and thoughts of “I’ll never have enough.”
In a child’s mind, if there’s never enough money it’s a natural conclusion to think: “I’ll never get new toys and therefore I don’t want to share or give. I need to keep what I have since I won’t be getting anything new anytime soon. And I need to get what I want now whenever I can. Right now.”
But, imagine the alternative for a minute. If a child knows that life is abundant and governed by Values and choices rather than impulses and reactive grabs, then it’s easy to be generous and patient. Maybe not easy… but easiER for sure! Scarcity and fear cannot exist in the midst of abundance and gratitude.
INCOME IS FINITE
I can hear you saying “that’s all well and good but the truth is that income is finite.” True. We can usually increase our income if we want to (Uber driver anyone?), but there’s still only so much that we have coming in at a given time. Whether that income cap is $40,000 or $200,000, we can only spend what we have.
That’s where the budget comes in as the plan for how we CHOOSE to spend that income.
The key is to make sure you’re choosing to spend your money on things that bring you joy and that you Value.
I know this mindset stuff can sound a little crazy when you’re just starting out with it. But, honestly, what do you have to lose? It doesn’t necessarily take a lot of work to shift to the abundance mentality and I’m SURE that if you choose to try it, you’ll begin to create a new reality for yourself and your family. Here’s another mama saying the same thing!
AND, BONUS, IT WILL CREATE A NEW OPPORTUNITY TO TEACH YOUR KIDS (AND YOURSELF) THAT BUDGETING IS A CHOICE, NOT A CHORE.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! Leave me a comment below.