“I Can’t Afford It”

“I can’t afford it,” is a phrase that has come to mean something different than the words strung together actually mean.

“afford |əˈfôrd|  verb [ with obj. ]  *
1 (CAN/could afford) have enough money to pay for:
the best that I could afford was a first-floor room | [ with infinitive ] :
we could never have afforded to heat the place.
• have (a certain amount of something, esp. money or time) available or to spare:
it was taking up more time than he could afford.
ORIGIN late Old English geforthian, from ge- + forthian ‘to further,’ from forth.
The original sense was ‘promote, perform, accomplish,’
later ‘manage, be in a position to do.’”

“I can’t afford it,” actually means:

  1. You have not enough money to procure that which you desire or need, OR
  2. You have not enough time to spend toward a given activity.

It has been co-opted by people with money, and I am not sure why.  They use it when saying that they are choosing to do this over that.   “I can’t afford to repair my grandmother’s bed for $1,500.  BTW, did I tell you I will be going to Greece for a month?  I needed a little ‘me’ time!”  When did it become a thing to say, instead of saying the truth, “I would rather spend my money on going to Greece for a month.”

DSC04050Do they do this to align with the 99%?
Do they do this because they are ashamed to have the luxury of making choices?
What, oh what, is the purpose of this lie?

And it is a lie, a not-very-little lie, and like all lies, it causes me to be less interested in them on any level, because lying separates, all lies separate.  Do these people think we are all stupid and don’t track that they made a choice, and they can afford, but choose not to spend?



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* From my Mac’s dictionary, with meanings removed which had no place in the post.

About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
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5 Responses to “I Can’t Afford It”

  1. susanissima says:

    Well, you’re absolutely right. In the arts one hears this phrase, “Sorry, I’d love to buy it but I just can’t afford it,” all too often, and it’s discouraging. On the other hand, to be fair, sometimes it really is the truth. Eat or buy?

    • Absolutely — That is what I am saying. I have no problem with people who actually can’t afford it (oddly, these people usually find ways through payment plans or some such thing to repair a family heirloom — we work with them, and you can tell. (Gads I have to make that clear; will reread.) We just see more and more wealthy — I mean WEALTHY — people who do the “I can’t afford it.” One minute they say “I can’t afford it.” then the next the say they are taking a month in Italy. I grew up a welfare kid. When I say “I can’t afford — this or that . . . ” it means I do not have the money. Otherwise I say it’s not my priority or I don’t want to spend my money on it or “It’s a lovely dress, but it is not for me.” These feel more real, more honest, and I am curious why mostly wealthy people have co-opted the idea of struggling financially.

      • susanissima says:

        Perhaps some “wealthy people” have forgotten their role as patrons of the arts. This has always been a function, a responsibility, rather, of those who had the resources to keep art alive in a culture. Is that dying out?

        • Oddly, the uber-rich seem to decide to not repair, and possibly buy new?
          Unless they happen to be into this or that they are few and far between in our end of the business, though they have decorators at $150/hour and buy new things and travel . . .
          The new middle class might be willing to take care of their items; I don’t see them spending now as they are not in that position.
          The folks who we see scrimp and save to get a family heirloom treated is often those who can’t afford it . . . and they do nto put it in cards, they save toward it.

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