Thursday, March 5, 2009

Why is it that some many people won't say...

...that they just can't afford to do something? When did it become embarrassing to admit that you just didn't haven't the money to do "X" or "Y"? It occurred to me that so many people prevaricate rather than just saying, "We'd love to, but that isn't in our budget right now." Why is that? Shouldn't we encourage our friends and relatives to live within their means? Wouldn't you feel terrible if you found out that someone was going into debt to buy you a present or, even worse, impress you?

I've noticed that people don't know how to react when I decline participation in "X" or "Y" for financial reasons. Why? Seriously, sometimes the only reason I'm declining is because I can't afford to participate. It is not that I don't want to participate, it is that I cannot if I am going to be fiscally responsible. If I'm not embarrassed to say it, so why should someone be embarrassed to hear it? It is really mind boggling when you start to think of it. How many people are NOT telling us the reasons they aren't participating in things? How many people are participating in things they can't afford so that no one will know they can't afford it? This is a vicious cycle and I think it has trapped a lot of people.

So, just in case you were wondering, this is the truth: We can't afford it. We need to pay off our debt and that is what we're focused on...it is that simple. There is no shame in admitting that, there is nothing to be embarrassed about. It is simply a statement of fact.

Do I wish we didn't have debt? Yes. Do I think we've made some mistakes? Yes. Are we asking anyone else to rectify our mistakes? No.

If one thing could come out of this economic downturn, it would be that people were proud of the decisions they made to live within their means and pay off their debt. Even better, I'd like this period to serve as an example that will keep my children from ever acquiring debt.

4 comments:

generationsgoneby said...

Erin,

I don't drink. Never have. When friends would invite me to go somewhere where the main entertainment was drinking, I would decline. I'd get that same look and feel that you are talking about. I wasn't uncomfortable to say that I wasn't going because I don't drink, but they were uncomfortable that I would say that.

If I went, but just didn't drink, it made them even more uncomfortable.

I tell people all the time I can't do or buy something because I can't afford it. Sure I can afford it, but that means that I won't be able to afford something else that is more important. I think that's what bothers them is they realize that you have something else that is more important than they are (even if it is only groceries).

Erin said...

I don't drink, either! And you're right, if you are with drinkers and you say that you don't drink, you get the same response...good analogy!

loveaphid said...

I grew up trying to keep up with the Joneses so it would truly be a feeling of shame to admit we could not afford it. Sadly now I get a feeling of shame if I run up bad debt or ruin my credit rating. So these things are in conflict. I made a decision to get over it when I decided I wanted to stay home. I don't want to have to go back to work, so I have to learn to hold my head high and say I can not afford to do that. I figure if the ultimate goal is just to get together and spend time together we can find ways that do not require us to lose out on groceries for the week to do it.

Organizing Mommy said...

Erin,
It's hard for them to "not be embarrased for you", even though there's nothing to be embarrassed by. It's the crazy spending culture that we live in. Sometimes I think, who's the opossum here? Me or them? (Who's upsidedown anyway?) I think people of our parents' generation would be aghast at someone coming right out and saying "I can't afford it", but we should not be embarrassed about doing the right thing! Good for you--getting out of debt!