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Think You Can’t Afford It?

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Think You Can’t Afford It?

I can’t afford it…

These words are quite complex and they’ve been popping up  a great deal lately – both for the women I work with and in my own head. I’ve noticed that we are quick to claim “I can’t afford it…” when often, at least it appears to me, we mean something entirely different. And while these words may be quick to our tongue, they fall short of the empowered state in which most of us intend to live. Here are a few of the most common ways I’ve noticed this case of mistaken identity playing out:

1. When “I can’t afford it” really means “I don’t want to.”

This happens all the time and, honestly, who are we protecting by blaming the balance in our checking account for our “inability” to do something we don’t actually want to do? Whether it is a lunch date or a new house or a workshop, if you receive an invitation that you’re not interested in accepting, just say no. All you have to do is say, “No, thank you,” or “That doesn’t feel true for me at this time,” or “I’m looking for a different type of support right now.”

As I learned many years ago from one of my first teachers, “No,” is a complete sentence. Just decline, politely if you wish. You do not have to explain yourself to justify saying no. And if you’d like to explain your decision, do everyone involved in that situation the decency of offering the truth. If they have a problem with you, then they have a problem. You don’t. The truth is enough, just offer it and let it work its magic.

2. When “I can’t afford it” really means “I’m not worth it.”

This is when someone has access to the resources, really wants to invest them in this opportunity, but isn’t sure that it’s okay to give themselves the gift of this opportunity. I’ve seen women do it with everything from education to clothing (especially bathing suits), and health care to vacations. These are the same people who would never let their partner go to work without being perfectly attired, their children go without medical or dental care. They make sure that their co-workers’ shifts are covered so they can take time off. They give and give to make sure that others have their needs met, but they won’t invest in themselves.

This is not a life-affirming way to live. The “I’m not sure I’m worth it” mindset leads to burnout, illness, and perhaps most painfully, an unshakable case of martyrdom.

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Christy Diane Farr

Christy Diane Farr is a catalyst. If that sounds like something you want more of in your life, visit 'The Greenhouse' at and join the Wildflower Evolution on Facebook.


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9:42PM PDT on Aug 12, 2012

yes! this was a great read. the last point was very helpful. thank you.

12:55PM PDT on Jul 15, 2012

Thank you. I'm in a pickle about a purchase and need to read this more than once.

10:26PM PDT on Jul 8, 2012

Good points! I think they can also apply to other forms of "can't", like "I don't have the time..."

8:24AM PDT on Jul 6, 2012


7:35AM PDT on Jul 6, 2012


7:33AM PDT on Jul 6, 2012


12:08AM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

8:55PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

Ah...the power of words.

6:35PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

When there actually is discretionay money, perhaps it's more honest to say that this expense is simply not a priority. Even when money is tight, some of us have ways of being able to make a donation to a crucial cause or buy a present to cheer a friend. For me, eating at a restaurant is pretty far down on the list, but I may very well buy kettle corn from my cousin's booth at a local Farmer's Market tomorrow.

8:30AM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

thanks for sharing

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