Friday, March 17, 2017

The Two Words That I Have Always Hated

There are two words that I have always hated. I always have to catch myself and make sure that I am not using them. I hate to hear other people use them. To me they are an excuse that doesn't hold much merit. The only time I can tolerate them is if there is a medical issue. By now you probably know those two words. They are: I Can't.

I can't do that. I can't save any money. I can't cook every night. I can't clean the house. I can't find frugal food. I can't learn anything new. I can't live off a budget. I can't organize my home. This list can go on an on.

When I hear these words, I cringe. I want to scream but "You Can".  When I hear I can't do that, I hear you say but I don't want to. When I hear that you can't save any money, I hear that you don't want to try etc., etc. 

In today's world, there isn't anything you can't do unless you are medically or mentally challenged. With google and You Tube, you can learn how to do almost everything. We live in such a great informational world. No longer do I have to go to the library and bring home books and research what I want to do. I can do it with the push of a button. There are so many things that I have learned with these sources. 

Hubby and I have always been DIY people up until Hubby has had recent back issues. Back issues that prevent him from doing certain chores. Most of them I have taken on except for the outside work. Fortunately, we never used the words we couldn't save money. The savings is what helps us afford the help now. But most things we can still DIY and if we don't know how to, we learn via the internet.

I wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard the words I can't save any money. I would be rich! I can't save any money is an excuse. What the person is really saying is, I don't want to give up anything to do that.  Every one can save some money every week. I don't care if you make $18,000. a year or $100,000. a year, you can save money every week. Back when we weren't making much money when we first got married, we started saving $10. a week. It was not easy. There were so many things that we could have spent that extra $10. on. We did that faithfully every week and we did not ever touch that savings account. When we felt we could save more we challenged ourselves to save $15. a week, then $20. then $30. then $40. then $ 50. etc. 

If you feel your budget is too tight, find a way to save $1. a week, then $2. a week and keep upping it until you are comfortable. Once you start looking for ways to save, you will be amazed at how much you can put away every week. But you have to want to. If you aren't willing to give anything up to save that money, then you are saying I don't want to not you can't. I can't is just an excuse. 

I am sure that we have all seen people who made or make $50,000. to $100,000. a year or more who say they can't save any money. They buy things on credit because they feel they deserve them and get themselves into major debt. We see magazine articles or stories about these people all of the time. Their biggest whining is about how they can't save any money so they can't get out of debt. Yet, they aren't willing to give anything up. They buy monthly gym memberships, go to the movies weekly, eat out 2-3 times a week, buy stuff every week that they don't need, send the girls to dance lessons, send the boys to camp and I could go on and on. But you get the idea. None of these things are prohibitive but not if you have no savings and are in debt.

I have seen so many people in my lifetime who go out to dinner every week because they say I can't. I can't cook is a really big excuse. I couldn't cook when I got married either but I learned from cookbooks that I borrowed from the library. Today you can learn from the internet. If you are going out to eat 2-3 times a week it isn't because you can't cook, it's because you don't want to. Try to turn off that TV program at night or stop spending time on meaningless gaming and instead research something on You Tube or google something that will save you money in your kitchen whether that be a new recipe or how to save a buck on your shopping. 

The one that I hear all of the time is "excuse the looks of my home, I don't have time to clean". I hear I don't want to clean because it isn't a priority. Everyone is busy today but I believe that everyone can take the time to spend 30 minutes a day picking up, cleaning, or doing laundry during the week. Then you and your family can pick one room a week to pick up or clean for an hour on the weekends. That keeps a home pretty clean. Schedule those chunks of  time out every week and your life will be less stressful because you and your family aren't living in a mess. Do the same with getting organized. Take 15 minutes while something is cooking to clean out a cupboard or drawer in the kitchen. Steal minutes of time here and there and eventually everything will get organized.

For some reason and especially at social gatherings where it seems to come up, I hear food is so expensive. I am spending $700. to $1000. a month for my family of 4 to eat. I want to ask what are you eating? Where are you shopping? Do you have an Aldi's? When I ask if they have looked at what they are eating and what alternatives they have for buying food cheaper, I hear it's impossible to spend less. In other words they don't want to. They don't want to take the time or they don't want to learn. I want to take them shopping next week and teach them so that they can save $200. to $500. a month. 

When people are in debt, they usually do not have a budget or they don't stick to it. When I hear I can't live off a budget, I hear we don't want to or I know that their budget isn't working and it needs to be recalculated. If you can't live with a budget, you will never get out of debt. 

The one I really hate is hearing I am too old to learn anything new. I hear this from people who are 30 something right up to 60-80 year olds. What you are really saying is I don't want to be bothered learning anything new. I will be 70 years old this year and I can truly say that I have never stopped learning nor will I ever stop learning. If I can learn something new every week, you all can to. You just have to want to.

Learning is the reason that Hubby and I live so well in retirement. We learned from before we even married with the choice of education we chose. Then when we married, we spent a lot of time learning about finance and the stock market. We learned what jobs paid what and what jobs had what benefits. We didn't get where we are today without researching everything. That is how we made the best choices for our family. Hubby took promotions when they would benefit us. Our family was always at the forefront of our decisions. Hubby turned down two substantial promotions when they would have uprooted our family. One would have sent us to New York City and one to another large city in NY. Both would have not been to our or our childrens' benefit. Could we have made more money if we had gone to either place? Yes, lots more money! So you see we didn't always just take the money into consideration, we took what would be best for our family into consideration. We did not believe that living in these cities would be best for us. We researched housing, other costs of living, and schools and said no. We did this each time knowing that he might never be offered another promotion but that turned out not to be the case fortunately. 

As we had to make a repair in our homes or maintain our cars, we researched and did it ourselves. Hubby taught himself everything that he knows to this day by researching and learning. He did all repairs, all maintenance, all electrical and plumbing in our home. This just didn't come natural to him. He sought out the knowledge. Anyone can do the same.

So the next time you hear yourself say I can't, stop and really think about what you are saying. What can you do to change that? I do that every day when I don't want to clean, when I don't want to cook, etc. The way you think about those things will affect your bottom line.    

Sorry if this is so long but due to unforeseen circumstances, I wasn't able to post yesterday. Hence the long post today.

I want to remind all of you that I may be on jury duty starting on Monday. I will find out tonight and if I am called I will let you know. Those days that I am serving, I may not be able to post. We will see how long those days go.

I hope all of you have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day and a terrific weekend. We will be celebrating St. Patrick on Sunday evening when my daughter in law and grandson fly back from a trip to Disney World. She surprised my grandson this week with a 4 day timeshare trip. My son stayed back because he had to work. Fortunately our snow storm stopped about 2PM the last day and they were able to fly out that night to Orlando. 

A P.S. to Chris: As you are trying to catch up on all of my blog posts, I am trying to catch up replying to all of your wonderful comments. I have not forgotten you. I am replying to as many as I can each day.


  1. Such a good post. I have this mindset now, but wish I had had it about 30 years ago! I will say, that we do hire out most home repairs because my husband is still working about 40-50 hours per week, and makes a good living. It is worth it to us to hire a professional so that my husband does not need to spend his free time trying to fix things around here. But if it is a simple plumbing problem he gives it a shot! We do our taxes now with turbo tax, (used to pay an accountant years ago), we do our own spring clean up, (saving about $1,500), etc. But we pay a neighbor's son to mow our lawn (cheaper than lawn service), so that is one less thing my husband needs to worry about. It is a balance between what you are willing to pay for and how much you want to save. Have a nice weekend. Sherri

    1. Hi Sherri,

      I agree with you 100%. When you are saving
      and can afford those things go for it. I truly understand the balance between money and time. What I was talking about are people who say they can't when they do nothing to better their situation.

  2. I was just thinking about this the other day when I caught myself saying "I can't lose weight." STOP IT! I said to myself, you can, you just haven't disciplined yourself to do it. A roommate of mine, years ago, told me about her mother's very serious ceremony for their family, where she wrote the words "I can't" on a piece of paper and held a funeral for them and buried it in the back yard. Thanks for this great reminder and encouragement. I CAN do what I set my mind to and persist in doing.

    1. Hi Rozy,

      You are welcome and you CAN lose weight. I am doing it. It isn't easy but I'm doing it. I can't wait until the snow is out of here so I can get back to walking again. Good luck on your journey.

  3. I just recently came across your blog and I want to say thanks for sharing. I am learning a lot.

    I really like what you mentioned in this post about breaking things down into small manageable chunks. Sometimes we focus so much on the big numbers or large amount of work, we forget we just have to start somewhere.

    1. Hi Barbara,

      You are welcome.

      We do all have a habit of trying to do that from time to time. Big jobs are just a bunch of little jobs.

  4. I absolutely loved this post. I never let my children get away with "I can't." It was so funny when I told whoever that maybe she/he should not watch tv until she/he learned. It was amazing how quickly they learned.

    My GED students would say "I can't" during Algebra lessons. I asked them if babies ever said I can't and gave up when they learned to walk. That made a great impression on them. I pointed out how they walked really well now and could dance and jump and did not fall down anymore. These were grown men in prison, so I had a captive audience.

    Great post.

    1. Hi Practical Parsimony,

      I never let my kids get away with it either. Today they will try anything new and they are great DIY grown ups.

      Thanks for sharing the story about your GED students.

  5. I can't fail because I'm my only reliable backup plan. I will always find a way to make it work and succeed.

    1. Hi ND Chic,

      That is so very true. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I'm with you 90% of the time. I'll add that I have a personal example of someone who puts in 100%, but can't save. Disabled aunt, approaching 60. She works full time (always has) but only qualifies for jobs like dishwashing, etc due to disability. She is totally inspiring, because she, in fact, always works so hard without any expectations. That said, it's not enough to make ends meet, even with careful planning & one of her siblings helping her with her finances (supervising, ensuring all bills are paid properly). She does not eat out on her own dime (the family gets her gift cards for occasional splurges) & I recently found out that she'd never been to Starbucks! :-) Based on the disability, most DIY projects are also out of reach.

    I add that only because I too fall into the assumption that everyone who works full time is paid a livable wage, and/or that they can move up & get better jobs that are higher paying, etc. It's a good reminder that there are people who aren't in that bucket, even if they are the small minority.

    But, totally agree with the overall message & try to instill it in my children all of the time.

  7. You are SO right, the internet is a VERY tool to use in learning new skills. In the past two months, my household has saved a lot of money by watching repair videos. My hubby used a video to learn how to install a new garbage disposal. We ordered one online and then he installed it. I estimate that we saved $180 service call from a plumber. Next, I watched a video about unclogging a toilet. Went to Walmart and purchased a $6 auger. Another plumber fee saved. My last savings thanks to a youtube video was changing out the directional tail light. No need to go to a mechanic. Thank you youtube and thank you American Dreamer for your encouragement! It is always appropriate to try your repair (as long as it isn't dangerous) and then go to the "expert" if you mess it up.

    1. Thanks for sharing with us Ellie! Love your repairs.

  8. I spent the better part of 20 years working with adults with developmental disabilities. Most have a can-do attitude that puts most "able-bodied" people to shame. The only people I have met who "can't" do things are those to whom everything was handed with no expectation of participation.

  9. Hi AD, this is Chris. I am all caught up on your posts now, some really good stuff in there that I sure didn't want to miss. :)

    This was a great post today and such a good reminder to keep trying, even when things are hard. We all have things in our lives that are difficult, I know I do, but you can always do something to try to make things better. And I have to remember to be patient with things and not give up too soon. I like the saying of how life is a marathon, not a sprint. I have to tell myself that a lot these days. :)

    1. Hi Chris,

      Thanks. I like that saying too.