Jul 21, 2022

Buy-Ability vs Afford-Ability: Tips for Expanding Your Budget

— The point of 'affordability' is to combat the struggles of constant sapa, unnecessary expenses and shift focus more to expanding the room for what you CAN afford, short- or long-term.

4 minutes


In a world of weekly owambes, luxury ‘must-have’ items and the subtle fear of missing out, the concept of affordability and being able to buy an item or service seem synonymous. One constantly finds themselves in an environment in which it is quite easy to fall into the trap of making unnecessary purchases and expenses that stunt financial growth.  



Why Are You Making That Purchase? 


Do not feel attacked...yet.  


The question of intent should be at the start of most decision-making instances. It helps to shape the outcome and your reaction to the overall decision made. This is especially true when making purchases or taking some financial choices. These are some reasons for making purchases: 


  • Necessity 
  • For convenience 
  • Seizing the opportunity of a great sale/discount 
  • Keeping up an identity or to feel a sense of belonging 
  • For sheer happiness 


Although the major attack on your financial growth are those impulsive, maybe unnecessary expenses we make, sometimes those particularly unavoidable/completely necessary ones, can be better managed. Therefore, the concept of affordability is incredibly important. 



Buy-Ability vs Afford-Ability 

The concept of ‘buy-ability,’ in simple terms, is Purchase Ability. If you set your mind on an item and you have just the right amount of money to purchase it, you have buy-ability.  


Buy-ability, at an advanced level, takes into consideration the short- and long-term implications of making that purchase. This advanced level of purchasing consideration is ‘Afford-Ability.’ 


Think about ‘afford-ability' in terms of ‘uncostliness.’ When we think of an item as ‘uncostly,’ it signifies that the purchase of that item is insignificant regarding the dent it will make to your finances; the cost of maintaining the service or item does not cause your blood pressure to skyrocket either.  


‘Afford-ability’ does not mean that whatever item or service you are purchasing is not of high economic or personal value. It means that you are not a ‘slave’ to the item or service; you do not need to take drastic measures or stray too far, off course, from your long-term financial goals. 


Defining ‘Affordable’ 

One thing we know for sure is that investment and finance are subjective; your financial journey is specifically tailored to you and your financial goals. Thus, you get to define what ‘affordable’ looks like to you, based on your income and lifestyle. 


With that in mind, here are ways individuals have measured affordability to help guide your definition of it: 


  • Tiffany Haddish - “my philosophy is, whatever the bag costs, I should be able to keep that amount of cash in the bag. If it is a $300 purse, I have to put $300 in cash in that purse. I do not want a bag that is more expensive than the cash I have to put in it.” (BET.com, 2018) 


  • Reddit User - ‘I always say, if you CAN buy that item twice you CAN afford it. If you cannot then you cannot buy it.’ 


  • Reddit User - Do you still have enough money after purchasing to pay for food and bills? Then you can afford it.’ 


  • Reddit User - ‘Basic budgeting: if you are paid monthly, plan all your expenses, rent, food, etc., then see what is left. If you have $100 left and want a vase, go for it’. 


Expanding Room for Affordability 


Basing purchases off the yardstick of whether you can afford it might feel like putting constraints on your financial freedom. This, in fact, is not the intent behind ‘affordability;’ the point of the concept is to combat the struggles of constant sapa, unnecessary expenses and shift focus more to expanding the room for what you CAN afford, short- or long-term.  


That car, house, vacation, those pair of shoes, that night out and other material desires are accessible when you take charge of your financial journey. When you can expand the room for what is affordable to you, your financial freedom is no longer just tied to your income and what it can purchase per month.  


Here are surefire ways you can expand your room of affordability: 

  1. Set short- and long-term financial goals. This will help you exercise better discipline and focus on what is important. 
  2. Boost your financial knowledge. Read up on information that can help you set and achieve your goals. 
  3. Save. Get ready for rainy days by steadily building up your emergency funds. These funds, usually around 3-6 months of your monthly income, will serve as a cushion that will help you feel pressure in the face of unforeseen circumstances.  
  4. Invest. With your emergency funds set aside, it is important to allocate a certain percentage of your income to investments that can make profit for you. 


Having your money work for you while you rest comfortably is not a myth or a privilege reserved for the one-percenters. At GDL, we offer you several investment options that utilize your funds and go the distance in bridging the gap between where you are and where you want to be in your finances. 


Click here to get started on your journey to financial freedom. 

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