About a month ago, a new neighbor moved in across the street from my parents. His driveway is directly in line with the driveway of my parents’ next-door neighbors.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an unusual occurrence. Someone hit my parents’ mailbox a little while ago. The mailboxes are all the way at the curb, positioned a little weirdly, making it all too easy to hit them.
Even worse, you have to have a specific mailbox, it’s a community standard. Of course, they’re not cheap. They’re all metal, and it costs $200 to replace.
They’re also cemented into the ground, so you have to get someone to pour concrete and then stick the post in.
Hopefully you’re beginning to see how much of a hassle this is.
“I can’t afford to fix it…”
Which is why I was surprised when news came that he once again managed to hit their mailbox a few weeks ago. Pretty sure that was twice in less than a month!
As we were outside talking to the next-door neighbors, they were visibly upset. These are two of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and no one has seen them so mad before!
It turns out the first time the mailbox was damaged, they spoke to the new neighbor, and told him they would be willing to take $80 for repairs, a hefty discount from $200.
“I can’t afford that,” the new neighbor replied, handing over only $60.
Being the nice people they are, they accepted that and walked away. But this time, there was going to be a price to pay.
They ended up filing a complaint with maintenance, and he’s being billed directly for the services. They don’t have to listen to his excuses.
Let me give you a brief overview of why I think this is a load of bull.
In the month he’s been here, this new neighbor has purchased:
- Storage space for his boat as it’s not allowed in the driveway
- A fancy golf cart
- A scooter
- He had a classic car delivered (I think he owned it, it just made the move separately)
- 8 palm trees ($260/each, plus installation)
He also owns an adorable dog that he can’t be bothered to leash so I kind of want to steal her if she ever lands near my parents’ house. (Joking…maybe.)
All of this (and plenty more), and he has the nerve to tell them he can’t afford it?! Yeah, okay. If that’s truly the case, maybe you shouldn’t have gone out and purchased all that crap!
To be fair, everyone in their community is either retired or working toward it. Golf carts are all the rage down there, but I still don’t see why you would need 4 different vehicles to choose from (including his regular truck)…
In any case, everyone is very unhappy with this guy. You can’t really screw over super nice neighbors and get away with it. He should have owned up to his mistake, and paid for it. Or at least offered to pay the rest when he could. I just couldn’t believe he managed to hit the mailbox again so soon! Wouldn’t you be looking out for it?
That time I said I can’t afford it…
I have to admit, I am guilty of using this phrase too, albeit in a different way. I would never try to use it as an excuse to get out of paying for something that I rightfully should.
I do say it when I don’t want to buy something. That doesn’t really make sense, right? R had to correct me on this weeks ago.
“Let’s go out to eat!”
“No, we can’t afford it.”
“Yes we can, you just don’t want to spend the money.”
It made wonder why I always default to saying that. It’s true – technically, we can afford it, but I choose not to spend my money on certain things.
Sadly, I think it comes from so many years of my mom saying it. Any time we went shopping, and I wanted something: “We can’t afford it.” It was clear we were there to only get what was on the list, and nothing more. That phrase was beaten into my head, and I felt guilty ever asking for (or receiving) anything.
In my parent’s case, they really couldn’t afford to buy more. It wasn’t an excuse. They were living paycheck to paycheck and in debt.
Thus, the “we can’t afford it” mentality made its way into my head over the years. I am plagued by the feeling of not having enough, when in actuality, I do. I’m just haunted by what my parents went through.
It’s definitely part of a bigger problem (I have a rather unhealthy relationship with money), but I’m trying to address it piece by piece.
No longer will I say we can’t afford something (unless it’s a brand new car or a house; those are out of our reach right now!), but I will acknowledge that I’m not willing to spend my money on it because I have other priorities.
Truthfully, I felt a little ashamed once I stepped back and thought about it. By saying I couldn’t afford things, I was doing a disservice to those who are in a much worse situation than me. We have a decent amount of savings, I just don’t like to think about it since I don’t like parting with money. But it’s there if we seriously need it, so I need to stop acting like it would be a sin to spend.
By saying we have better things to spend our money on, I’m not inadvertently saying we’re “poor” and can’t go out, and that’s a step in the right direction for me.
Have you ever had someone pull the “I can’t afford it” excuse on you? Have you had false beliefs about your financial situation before, or used a phrase without thinking it through?