Financial Excuses: Can’t vs Won’t

no excuses saving money

I see many people ask for financial advice, both on the Internet and in real life. When the advice is given, the person will often say, “But I can’t do that,” in response. This happens particularly when it’s advice they don’t like. Just recently I read a post where the person was asking for advice about how to save for a house when it seemed like all of their money was going elsewhere. When the other posters started offering the standard advice to cut or reduce cable, stop eating out, stop spending on hobbies or other “fun” things, get a second job, etc., the poster fired back by saying, “I can’t,” to every single suggestion.



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5 Responses to Financial Excuses: Can’t vs Won’t

  1. jay says:

    Amen! In a similar vein:
    want vs need (in many historically less affluent societies, there is only the one word)
    fact vs opinion (used this dozens of times to calm arguments between my kids)

    Personal opinion is the confusion comes from an misguided sense of entitlement.

  2. Tenessa says:

    You’ve nailed the problem, but I think a lot of people need help taking action on the solution. There is a big gulf between simply saying, “I can and I will” and actually living life differently. For some, a simple call to the cable company actually represents a terrifying disruption in daily life. Exactly HOW will they and their kids occupy those extra hours? And the payoff may not seem substantial enough to meet their financial goals. If you’re coming up $1,000 short, a mere $100 in savings can be discouraging rather than motivating.

    This is a tremendous area of frustration for me. I can scale my budget up and down at will, but so many of my friends are paralyzed by debt and despair. When they say “I can’t,” I really hear them saying, “It won’t work.”

  3. minny says:

    There seems to be so much ‘leakage’ in people’s spending. Those monthly payments that don’t seem much individually. Mobile phone contracts, gym membership, cable television, DVD rentals where so many a month by subscription, loan payments and credit card payments.

    There was a time before all of these things, when people read books, listened to the radio and the free television channels and had cheap hobbies.

    I am fascinated by the eating out being quicker than making a basic meal at home. One has to get there, sit down, order, wait and then eat. How is that quicker than putting pasta in boiling water and making a quick sauce and a salad. Even using ready made sauce in a jar and bagged salad it has to be cheaper as well as quicker!

    You hear it here in the UK. Young people complaining they can’t save the deposit for a house. They have all of these leakages and we have an unfortunate culture with young people binge drinking and lots of money goes on that. Drives me mad with frustration as well Tenessa.

  4. Gail says:

    People that didn’t grow up poor, I think, have a much harder time being frugal as well as they have never seen ways of getting along without stuff. Some that grew up poor and refuse to live that way again even if it means living above their means also have trouble since they are fighting the ghost of poverty every step of the way. In our society where most people read at most one book a year (I can’t even fathom that as I read so much) it is odd to think that no one would have any entertainment if they cut out cable. Cut out that cable and read instead and you will be impressed how much smarter you are at the end of the year. Even blind people can get books on tape or CD now so if you can’t read, there is still a way to fill your mind. Cut out that cable and play board games with your kids, make needed repairs to the house, clean out the garage, attic and basement and have a yard sale to help bulk up your savings account. Cut out the cable and you will have more time to COOK dinner–what a notion!LOL

    It is sad to see so many that have no clue how to cut back because they think they need everything they have. Think back only 10-15 years ago and most people didn’t have cell phones, many still didn’t have computers, I-pods and tablets weren’t around at all, but the minute they roll off the assembly line there is created by media a NEED for these things. I was watching a TV show a month or so ago and a commercial came on for a new product to deal with a problem that could easily be handled and could be handled for free, but they were peddling something to buy for the problem. Haven’t seen the commercial since so maybe others also realized this was a truly not needed item! Finally some common sense!

    What I find hard, is when you really have cut out pretty much everything and still have trouble making ends meet. Things have been tight for us for awhile now and to top it all off hubby (with no insurance) had to be admitted to the hospital this week. He is home now and doing fine, but how do you even attack the oncoming bills when you are already scrapping the bottom of the barrel so to speak? At least I know the difference between wants and needs as we crunch the budget again. Thank God though, the one doctor scrounged up a months supply of meds that he has to take for a month from her drug rep. One of the paybacks for reminding the doctors and nurses each time something is suggested that you truly have no way to pay the bill!

  5. Sasha Renee says:

    Whenever people are asking me for financial advice and then start saying “well I can’t do that” I always ask them why. Most of them become uncomfortable and stammer to make up some lame excuse. In understand there are legit excuses for not canceling cable and cell phones right now, because if you have to pay out the rest of the contract up front plus penalties that really isn’t going to help your situation. HOWEVER, that means when it comes time to renew that contract you either cancel it or scale it back to the basics. Then I point out that I’m not telling them to do something that I can’t do. I have a basic cell phone plan that costs $15 a month, I don’t have cable, I have an eating budget of $25 a month, I don’t go shopping EVER, I work overtime plus have a second job, I have the tiniest/cheapest yet safest that I could find apartment. No it’s not that fun right now, but when my student loans are paid off and I’ve purchased a house I can start making a few changes and enjoy life a little bit more. If anyone has any tips on how I can reach my goals quicker I am open for suggestions.

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