Please Stop Saying: “I Don’t Make Enough Money To Do That!”

Do you often find yourself repeating the words that so many people spout when referring to their financial abilities? I know I have been guilty of using this phrase in my younger years. “I don’t make enough money to do that!” Those words, whether you realize it or not, condemn you to inactivity. They pave the road to nothingness because, quite frankly, if that is your response, then you are in essence claiming that there’s nothing else you can do.

That is a mistake, and a tragic one!

If you work your butt off at your main job, but you don’t make enough money, why would you stop there? Why accept the fact that you do not make enough money, and instead, go make enough money? The ball is truly in your court, but in order for you to play, you have to get out there and play! You can’t watch from the bleachers and expect to score the winning basket! Go make things happen!!

Don’t settle for mediocrity, do something about it!

There are many ways to make an extra buck, but here are a few ideas to help you surpass your current income. It doesn’t have to be full-time, nor does it have to get in the way of your main job. It just has to be a way for you to make extra money so you can never, ever again say, “I don’t make enough money to do that!”

  • What do you love doing? Is there something you are extremely passionate about? Brainstorm on ways to make SOMETHING happen. You may be surprised to learn that your brain is pretty resourceful when you start poking around in there. Brainstorming gives birth to new ideas, and those ideas create the spark for more to follow.
  • Have you ever tried selling on eBay? Maybe you should consider it. Sure, at first, it may seem overwhelming or even pretty intimidating, but I assure you it can be learned and you don’t even need a college degree to get started! We have made a boat load of money in the last two years selling on eBay! Whenever we are done using something, we sell it! Whenever we find something in demand at a discount, we buy it, and then we sell it! You could also have a yard sale!
  • Ask for a raise! If you are a hardworking employee for your company, and you feel you are a valuable asset, go make the case to your boss. Ask for a meeting, and then go in there prepared to sell your talents. Explain to your boss why you think you deserve a raise. Maybe it’s not possible, but either way, wouldn’t it be better to know—which brings me to my next money making tip!
  • Find another job that DOES pay enough! If you don’t make enough, why stay where you are? I can’t think of anything more defeating than working a job you probably hate because you don’t make enough money doing it! Can you? (Unless you are not worried about how much you make which means this wouldn’t apply to you.) Why would you want to continue to work a job that doesn’t pay enough money, AND has no room for growth? Isn’t that a no-brainer? Even if you don’t do that, if anything, give yourself a raise!
  • Get an extra job! Deliver pizzas, sell some papers, get your medical billing certificate, offer a service to people who need it, but whatever you do, DON’T do nothing!. If you do make enough but want to make more, this post is still for you. Your main job, doesn’t have to be your only job or your only source of income. Think BIGGER!
  • Ask for some overtime! You never know, it could be available, but you won’t know unless you ask. There’s nothing a boss likes more than an assertive employee! Even if overtime is not available, it could open up more employment opportunities for you once your boss sees your willingness to work a little harder.
  • Lastly, STOP thinking that your options are limited! You could be your own worst enemy in terms of your ability to make more. GET OUT OF THE WAY!

Whether you are looking to save an emergency fund, money for your next vacation, a way to pay off your debt faster, or even earn extra money to steamroll your retirement, it’s worth the extra effort to make things happen! Nothing ever happens to people that sit around waiting for something to fall out of the sky right into their lap. YOU have to MAKE things happen!

Thankfully, I have been able to help many people from this website alone, as well as through other efforts at my church, and the one thing that seems to kill the possibility of financial success more than anything else, is a person’s inability to think outside of the box. If you are not making enough money the last thing you should be thinking is that you have zero options! I have watched more people give up using this excuse than anything else. Believe in yourself and your ability to create the financial security you deserve!

If you don’t make enough, look for a better job, but don’t just sit there and accept your current situation as if it were your fate. Instead, do something, but don’t expect big changes unless you are willing to make big changes!! To get something different, do something different.

Some Ways We Have Avoided the “I Can’t Do That” Mindset!

  • GOT OUT OF DEBT!!!!!
  • Delivered Pizzas (and made LOTS and LOTS of money doing it!)
  • Sold things we didn’t need anymore on eBay, craigslist, or had a yard sale
  • Bought things to re-sell on eBay or craigslist
  • Enemy of Debt blog
  • Wife asking for overtime at the hospital
  • Creating logos for websites (Logos 4 You blog)
  • Photography (I just did a wedding)
  • Upcoming Fall Launch (Inside Charlottesville blog)
  • Upcoming eBooks (Enemy of Debt & Self Reliance Exchange)

My point is to stop accepting the way things are—as the only way. I became a stay-at-home-dad the first of the year, which meant a BIG drop in income. My wife is a nurse, has better than great benefits, and a higher income than I did, so it made sense for our family since we were not willing to use daycare. We could have just rolled over and played dead by thinking this is what we make and there’s nothing else we can do…BUT we didn’t! Every single day, we are trying to come up with other ways to increase our income.

I believe that instead of saying “I don’t make enough money!”, you should instead ask yourself, What can I do to make enough money?”

Most importantly, STOP IT with the excuses!

Photo Credit: Don Hankins

About Brad Chaffee

30 Responses to “Please Stop Saying: “I Don’t Make Enough Money To Do That!””

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  1. Jesse says:

    I’m with you man! I hate when people say this, especially when my wife does because we choose to not buy things we don’t NEED. If you truly can’t afford something, do something about it! Great post buddy.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Thanks a lot Jesse! \”Doing something about it\” is the most logical solution. Unfortunately, people get pigeon-holed into believing that unless an opportunity presents itself there\’s no way change the outcome. You could even say that is a huge problem in our seemingly fast growing society of entitlements. It kind of makes me sick to think that is where we are headed! Thanks for the comments my friend!

  2. Dena says:

    This is such a great post, Brad! I LOVE it. This is kick in the ass for all who need it. There is always a way. Sometimes we just have to do a bit of work to find it. : )

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Right on Dena! Even if only just a few people read this post and decide to take action, I feel I have done my job. ๐Ÿ™‚ But you know, it;s like they say, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t force it to drink. Hopefully this post will act as a starting point for people to start taking action when they are finally ready to. ๐Ÿ˜€

      As always, it’s so nice to hear your thoughts!

  3. Hi Brad, you make good points about thinking out of the box, especially in a tough economy. My husband and I have been selling old things and re-selling items we bought on the cheap as you suggested. We like Craiglist a lot because it has no fees.

    I think a lot of people could afford X if they retuned their priorities. For example, my husband has a co-worker who makes about the same salary. He’s always eyeing my husband’s lunch and asking how he can afford a gourmet sandwich and fruit. It’s not magic, we just spend more on high quality food because we think that’s essential, and skip things we don’t need like cable TV.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      It’s unfortunate that priorities aren’t what they used to be. It used to be that taking care of your family was priority, now it seems as though having the biggest and baddest gadget, car, or television takes precedent.

      We use craigslist for items we don’t want to fuss with shipping, or that would cost too much. If we sold everything we sell on craigslist we would be meeting people constantly to get the item to them, this way we just put it in the mailbox all together. LOL I don’t know why more people do not take advantage of those resources.

      Hmmm…delicious sandwich or cable TV? I’ll take the delicious sandwich any day, but it hasn’t always been that way. LOL We haven’t had cable in more than two years and we are still alive. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for your comment!

  4. financialwizardess says:

    I actually say this all the time, but in a good way. I think it’s great to inspire people to go make more money, but maybe some people need to learn that they don’t make enough money for (insert frivolous item here). So in respect to needs vs wants or especially in respect to funding a retirement account, etc, I’m with you. However, a lot of people don’t make enough money for their silly purchases such as manicures, pedicures, fancy car lease, oversized house, designer clothes, technology bundle (phone, internet, HDTV, etc), and I wish I heard this more often from that crowd regarding those items.

    I recently shopped for a new laptop to replace my 7 year old one, and I’m glad my inner voice told me several times “you don’t make enough money to justify that purchase” when I strayed and started looking at more expensive models. It kept me in line. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      That is an EXCELLENT point financial wizardess! (love the name) ๐Ÿ˜€

      Too many people do exactly as you say and it is really important for people to realize the difference. I understand completely how you felt about your recent computer purchase. When we replaced our 6 year old computer in the office we bought the desktop for about $399 and that was only after upgrading to Windows 7 from Vista and adding extra memory. The laptop I am now using cost me $200 and it still works great. I know so many people that spend $1,000 or more on a computer but have no emergency fund, and still justify the computer as a need. It\’s a shame.

      Thank you so much for adding to this discussion.

  5. Love your list of things you guys have done!! Didn’t realize you were into photography, very cool. Your “get it done” attitude is contagious! Keep up the great job.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Thanks Jason! Yeah I have been a closet photographer for quite some time. Haven\’t had the camera I wanted but that is about to change. We became debt free so I was able to afford a Nikon D5000, and I paid less than $700 for it with lots of extras including 3 lens. I was so stoked! I can\’t wait until I get it. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Thanks for commenting man, and sorry my blog keeps pushing you into the spam folder!

  6. Right on, my friend! I am all over the idea of doing some extra things to make more income rather than having a negative attitude and just saying that you can’t afford it. Aside from the Engaged Marriage blog, I’m writing a killer e-book, launching a new fitness site for couples at and creating online engineering courses to sell for residual income.

    Am I some single guy with tons of time? NO WAY! I’m a very involved husband and father of three little kids with a full-time engineering career and heavy involvement in my church and community. And I like to crush it!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      And that is exactly what you are doing good buddy! CRUSHING IT!! I didn\’t know you were doing the engineering courses online though, that is AWESOME!! Kill it bro! ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. J$ says:

    Haha…i wrote almost the exact post the other month ๐Ÿ™‚ now the wife always catches her self when we’re out shopping and this phrase comes up! i love it…. i also love saying i can afford that, and that, and that every time we go out but we CHOOSE not to buy it all.

  8. Adam says:

    Thanks for the article! One definitely needs to step it up in order to make money. I took your approach of selling things online. I just avoided using ebay with all its hidden fees. I opted for Main Street Fair (, an online auctions and free classified ads site that offers some of the lowest listing fees online. People need to find a way that works for them and go for it!

  9. Greg says:

    We used to say that all the time, now we say “we choose not to spend our money that way”. In reality we do make enough money to buy a lot of things we don’t need, but by focusing on our goals (retirement, college savings, etc) we don’t spend our money on things that take our focus off of the goals.

    Great article.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Thanks Greg! You\’re right, just because you have enough money to buy something doesn\’t necessarily mean you should. Priorities should still be in place. The idea for this post came from hearing people say that they didn\’t make enough money to save, pay off debt, or invest. It\’s kind of frustrating to hear people give up like that so I thought this post would address that issue. The bottom line though, people have to make the decision to take action. If they do that then even if they fall short they can honestly say they tried. It\’s the ones that don\’t do anything extra, or don\’t change any of their current financial habits that bother me. Their prerogative, but I hate to hear them complain that they can\’t do this or that. Whew, I think I just wrote another blog post on the same subject. Haha!

      Thanks again for stopping by to leave your thoughts. Please come back in the future! ๐Ÿ˜€

  10. Jen says:

    I agree with no excuses but what about people like me and my husband without college education (he doesn’t even have a HS diploma or GED) one car that barely runs, sold everything we own thats worth anything, except our crappy old computer. We put in applications everywhere and get nothing…McDonald’s isn’t even hiring. Our nearest bus stop is 6 miles from our house. My husband works odd shifts at his current job and takes home 1600-1800 a month and we are barely scraping by. Our house is a manufactured that has lost all its value and is in constant need of repairs that we are not handy to fix, we have no emergency funds saved because we are in the negative every month and we aren’t spending our money anywhere other than mortgage, gas in the car, car insurance, utilities and food (and we are talking generic and living on pb&j) the only “luxury” we have is internet…no cell phones, no cable tv, no eating out. We can’t get medical because through his company its more than half his paycheck every month…now I don’t mean to complain because I know so many have it way worse than we do but reading this makes me feel like a loser because I don’t see HOW we can get our heads above water…every time we catch up something goes wrong…like the shower pipes bursting that we just had to replace, or the brakes in our ONLY car giving out etc. I am sure I will get slammed and accused of being just an excuse maker but there are real people out there like us that don’t make over 30K a year and are doing all the right things but still can’t get ahead. We have no debt other than our house payment though so I consider myself lucky and we put down a good chunk of money on this house that we will never get back because our house is currently not even worth what we owe but we can’t even rent anywhere cheaper than what our mortgage is so we are stuck.

    Sorry this is all long winded and run-on sentences but seriously what would be your advice to me? Other than stop with your excuses…

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Hi Jen, I am on my way out the door, but just wanted to say a few things after reading your comment. I will certainly respond in greater detail later today when I get home.

      First of all, this article was intended to reach the people who are turning a blind eye to what they are capable of without ever giving anything a try. I think this post speaks to a majority of people struggling but certainly not all. There are always a few like yourself who have tried everything and find themselves in hard situations. What I see when I read your comment is someone who has taken action to try and make the situation better, but just hasn\’t been able to do so. I definitely do not see a loser when I read your words. You\’re not a loser so please don\’t think that. Keep your head up Jen!

      I will email you later today to try and see if I can help you out somehow. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Judy says:

    Just stumbled across your site. I would like to echo yor point of asking for overtime. I work for an international organization and I asked my boss for a year in Africa (although there was no job as yet in the pipeline that I knew of or that had been advertized.) Know what? A job came up in Africa within two weeks and I was given a week to move! I do not have a family so it was not a problem for me to pack up and go. I have had a great time in Africa and enjoyed the change of scene. So, go ahead and ask – if what you are asking for is not available, an alternative may be given to you. I have found there is no harm in asking.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Awesome comment Judy! It just proves that you never know what\’s available until you put yourself out there. It seems that every time I put myself out there, something comes of it. Even if it\’s not what I was hoping for some opportunity presents itself and usually ends up being perfect for me at the time. Actually I am waiting to hear back from someone on a proposal I sent for a position that may or may not exist building their business blog site and creating graphics. We\’ll see how it turns out. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. daniel colebrook says:

    plz help me say her stop money all my money about bank plz

  13. David's Doin' It says:

    This is EXACTLY what I needed today. I’ve been going round and round with the “I don’t make enough” saga for a while. The pressure is on because my girlfriend wants to go to school, eventually get married and start a family – and she wants to be sure everything is provided for.

    I’m a musician, a massage therapist, administrative assistant, and fast learner. I just got my GED, and while it’s been a bit difficult to convince myself there is something I CAN do…I just DO it. It may not happen overnight, but it WILL happen. Thanks for this post, Brad! I’m bookmarking it in case I ever feel down and out about things.


    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Awesome David, glad to hear my words helped you! You sure are the jack of all trades that’s for sure! I love that! Multiple income streams is the new black. Thanks for the kind words and for reading Enemy of Debt. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Witheld says:

      I hate to be the naysayer here, and I totally get where you are going with this, but seriously – get real. Maybe if more people said exactly that over the last 20 years, rather than saying “I make enough to buy this ridiculously large house/car/tv/etc.” or “I make enough to keep making the minimum payment on my high interest line of credit”, we wouldn’t be in such a crappy place today. No offense, but all the psychobabble behind your article is just a little unrealistic. Just working harder/smarter doesn’t guarantee you can make more money, only increases the likelihood of it. So climb down from your high horse and admit that TonyRobbins-esque positive thinking has it’s effective limits.

      • Brad Chaffee says:

        It’s okay to be a naysayer, in fact it’s welcome. You say you see where I’m going but then prove otherwise with your statement. This wasn’t an article about saying no to things you don’t need, it was an article about people who say they can’t afford priorities yet waste gobs and gobs of money on wants. In other words they have big screen televisions, cable, an expensive car but then say they don’t make enough to feed their children, obtain health insurance, or pay their bills. No high horse here at all you just missed the point COMPLETELY. And I guess I’m the naysayer here but I’ve never listened to a single anthony robins CD I just know that when you think positive and believe in yourself you’re much more likely to succeed. Can you refute that? Someone who lacks the confidence and doesn’t believe they can do better than they have has NO CHANCE at progress. Why would someone who felt that way even try if they didn’t believe it was possible? That’s simply common sense.

        With your “a little unrealistic” remark I believe you made my point beautifully.Thanks.

        Think positive people and believe in your ability to change your direction in life. I used to think like “Withheld” and those just happened to be the MOST UNPRODUCTIVE years of my life. When I started trying to do things I at one time didn’t think I could do, guess what happened? I started making more money.

  14. Cameron says:

    I agree with you in the sense that you are talking about, if you want something and you don’t have the money, then you need to make more. but I know that there are far more important things than money such as time and being around people that you care about. I get what I need and maybe a book or two and put some money into savings. I go on walks, read, write, exercise, hang out with my friends and that’s just fine with me. I’m not on welfare or being helped by anyone, I have everything I need to survive plus a few extras and pretty well happy with that and I don’t want more money.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Thanks for weighing in Cameron. To be clear though the post wasn’t meant to encourage hyper-consumption. It was actually inspired by a few conversations I had with co-workers at the time, about them not being able to afford health insurance and other essentials while having rather large car payments, expensive vacation plans, and were always bragging about their latest and greatest new toys. They would act like it was because they didn’t make enough when the real reason they didn’t have what they needed was because they were out buying what they wanted.

      I applaud your lifestyle but also don’t think there is anything wrong with someone that wants to do and spend more as long as they have their priorities in order. If someone has a good retirement plan, a solid emergency fund, and other essentials taken care of there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a little fun too. You’re right, there are a lot of things more important than money but it’s hard to deny the fact that it’s money that pays the bills and provides more than just comfort.

      Since becoming debt free my wife and I have not only been able to make more money but we also developed something we lacked prior to taking on our debt. Contentment.

  15. Cameron says:

    I agree with you perfectly, sorry I misunderstood the original article a little bit. I definitely agree that we do need money as a tool to get things that would otherwise be impractical to make ourselves and that you have to do what you have to do.

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