Decades ago, it was common for people used to say “I can’t afford it” when discussions came to big things like houses or cars and even for small things like going out to dinner. However, as Mark at My Own Advisor observed, we don’t often say we can’t afford things any more. I think the culprit is easy access to debt.
When people used to say they couldn’t afford things, what they meant was that they didn’t have enough cash in their wallets or bank accounts right now. However, today’s salespeople are well-trained on how to get past this objection by steering you towards debt.
Try telling a car salesperson you can’t afford a certain car. He’ll scramble to work out lease details to get the payments down to an amount you can afford. You’ll end up with a debt and a stream of payments you don’t want. Even a dinner out may go on your credit card and become debt if you can’t pay it off at the end of the month.
The next time someone is trying get you to spend money you don’t want to spend, instead of saying “I can’t afford it,” try something like “I don’t want to go into debt for this” or “I don’t want to go any further into debt.”