Five Excuses You Should Never Use Again

Don't let excuses keep you from goalsExcuses. We all use them, sometimes out of convenience, sometimes to make ourselves feel better. They are a necessary part of life, but when you use excuses to the extent that they become reality and lower your potential, it’s time to learn some new ways of thinking. Here are five excuses you should never use again.

I Can’t Afford It

I have used this excuse a million times in the past. I think it’s truth in many situations. If you make $25,000 a year and want a $500,000 house, you really can’t afford it, but when you use this excuse to stop yourself from saving or investing, that’s when it becomes a problem.

I strongly believe everyone can come up with an extra $500 a month or more if they put their minds to it. The problem is that most people are unwilling to step outside their comfort zone and take advantage of all the opportunities that are available.

I can’t afford it is also a very negative way to view the world. Denying yourself something by thinking you don’t have enough money is the wrong way to go about it. Remind yourself that you can afford it but choose not to because you are saving for other, more important goals.

I Don’t Have Time

Have you ever spoken with anyone who claims not to be busy? I haven’t. Lack of time is a huge excuse, and reality is that there will never be more than 24 hours in the day. There’s no point in wishing for more time.

What you can do is make the best possible use of the time you have.

  • Get organized and keep clutter to a minimum.
  • Make a list and complete the most important tasks first.
  • Don’t get distracted by things that aren’t a priority.
  • Schedule down time. If you know you have an hour in the evening for browsing Facebook, you won’t do it during the day.
  • Accept that perfection is not always ideal. I could spend at least two hours a day cleaning my house, but I’ve realized 15 minutes a day works just fine. It isn’t perfect, but I have more time for other things.
  • Stay up an hour later or get up a hour earlier. Most people can sacrifice an hour of sleep without ill effects. It’s amazing what you can do in a focused hour, especially if no on else is awake!

I Don’t Know How

While it’s probably impossible to know how to do everything, it’s very possible to learn new skills and sharpen old ones. A few years ago, I barely knew what a blog was, let alone how to run one. I also had no idea how to search for and purchase income property. Both of those things became possible with study and research. It’s not always the best use of time to do everything by yourself, but if you want to make or save extra money or do something different with your life, I don’t know how needs to get kicked to the curb.

  • Don’t know how to get out of debt? Start tracking your finances at Personal Capital or Mint.
  • Don’t know how to get started with retirement savings or investing? Many online brokerages like Vanguard, Motif, and Betterment make it as easy as slicing butter.
  • Don’t know how to set up a WordPress site? There’s a YouTube video for that!. The internet really takes away the excuse of not knowing how.

This Is How I’ve Always Done It

I have to remind myself to stop using this excuse as health care rules have changed dramatically over the past few years. I think the way I used to do things was fine, but the government says otherwise. Besides, maybe the new way is better, even if it seems more difficult at the beginning.

Just because you’ve always done something a certain way doesn’t mean that it’s the right way. Have your habits kept you in debt or stopped you from advancing in your career? Again, there is nothing harder than stepping outside your comfort zone, but it can be very rewarding if you have the courage to try.

I’m Not Ready

We stayed in debt much longer than we should have because we were just not ready to put in the effort it took to be debt free. I see this quite a bit with patients as well. Most unhealthy people know they are not doing their best to live a long and active life, but they aren’t ready to give up cheeseburgers or being a couch potato.

People who are not ready usually end up in one of two places. Either they finally do get ready and wonder what the heck took them so long, or they keep putting change off until something catastrophic happens.

I kick myself for all the years we lost while we were building debt instead of wealth, but thankfully, we turned it around before there was an awful financial event like losing a job or not being able to pay our mortgage. The ones who really wish they’d been ready sooner are those who end up old with no savings or hope of a decent retirement. I promise that today is that absolute best day to be ready.

What other excuses would you add to the list? What’s your favorite excuse?


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Written By
Sydney White is a Texas-born stay at home mom who enjoys spending time with her family, bargain hunting and, of course, writing. She is currently the editor-in-chief of


    1. I think you make your own luck in most cases. Forward thinking people turn bad luck into opportunities while complainers just use it as an excuse.

  1. These excuses all look a little too familiar, I must admit. “I can’t afford it,” is something I used to say a lot. Now, I do my best to say, “We’re not budgeting for that.” But the old “can’t afford it” can still slip out if I’m not paying attention. Nothing sadder than for people to become “old with no savings or hope of a decent retirement.” I know someone whose mom is in that situation, and it weighs upon her heavily. Good reminders here : )

  2. ‘I don’t have time’ rings a bell with me. As a stay at home mom it seems like I should have all the time in the world, my house should be spic and span, and all of our projects caught up, right?! I’m learning to find balance and in the last few years have gone from volunteering full time to very part time. It’s a process to make time for what’s really important to you and let go of the rest.

    1. I think SAHM’s probably have less time than those who work at a regular job. Your shift is always 24/7. It’s not like you can schedule time to get things done when you have kids and their needs to attend to.

  3. In my professional life, nothing drives me more crazy than hearing someone say “this is the way we’ve always done it.” I just can’t stand it! But turn around into my personal life, and I do it all the time. Not necessarily using the excuse out loud, but certainly letting my actions say it for me. Why does the idea not cross over between the two?

    1. We kept our satellite TV way longer than we should have because it was something Jim and I both grew up with and always had. I think there are tons of examples in our personal lives where we keep spending money because it’s familiar.

  4. I know this is a blog so you have to make claims that fit well with a topic, but I do think some of these excuses can be justifiable in some situations. I truly think some people do not have time for things that they commit to and in turn end up performing poorly in many areas of life. I also think there can be situations where you are simply “not ready” for something. You can say “I want to start a plumbing business!” but you truly ‘aren’t ready’ if you know nothing about plumbing. I did like your first example, though, because I am a big advocate of increasing income and figuring out HOW to afford something versus simply resigning yourself to what you can afford at your current salary level.

    1. My hope was to make people think about stopping excuses if that’s what is holding them back. I am not ready to quit my job. It would not make sense financially or mentally, but I am taking steps so that I can quit down the road. To sit around and complain about my job but not be ready to change anything was more of what I was thinking with that excuse.

  5. “I Can’t afford it” is a terrible excuse for many people. What they’re really saying is, they’re UNWILLING to sacrifice some of the comforts they have now in order to prepare for the future.

    1. I think it works in good and bad ways. Saying you can’t afford a new wardrobe might be a good way to use this excuse but saying you can’t afford to save for retirement is a terrible idea.

  6. I have certainly heard and probably used all of these excuses myself. The one that I am probably most guilty of is not having enough time. Sometimes it is legitimate in that I struggle to say “no” and take on too much stuff. I’ve gotten much better there but I do know what you mean by those who throw that out as an argument but have lots of “free time” to do whatever.

    1. Most of the people I hear complain about money or a lack of it certainly have time to do lots of unproductive things but surprisingly little time to earn extra money.

  7. I am the WORST at saying I don’t have time. I know that I have wasted thousands of dollars with that excuse. Rather than say this now, I commit to finding the time. Yes, you may lose some sleep and some sanity, but doing it yourself is so much better than outsourcing just because you don’t think you have the time.

    1. Most people can find an hour or two in a day if they are motivated. I know I waste tons of time getting distracted by things that are not important, like if I walk by my daughters room and see it needs decluttering or something similar. I should let her do it herself and stick to the things I need to get done.

  8. Actually, my husband uses the “we can’t afford it” rationale. That’s because he has ADD, so it’s the fastest way for him to stop the thought process.

    And right now we actually can’t afford it. We need to have $25,000 by the end of the year for his teeth. So we’re trying to pare down on things that aren’t necessities. “Trying” being the operative word, but like all things it’s a process.

    1. I think not being able to afford unnecessary things in order to save up for an important goal is a fine use of this excuse.

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