To afford something is to have enough money to pay for it. This is a good verb to use when talking about buying things and managing daily expenses:

  • Kevin can afford to buy a new computer.
  • Vanessa can’t afford to buy a new car; she’ll have to buy something that’s used.
  • How much can they afford to spend on rent?
  • Tom can’t afford to take a vacation right now because he’s so busy. (You can use "afford" when talking about things other than money.)
  • The police department can’t afford to take risks against bad guys carrying guns.
  • We can’t afford to take any chances.
  • The store can’t afford to lose any more customers to the competition.

Notice that the word "afford" is often used with the modal verb "can" or when negative, "can’t."

The adjective form of this word is "affordable."

  • Do you know of any affordable places to stay at in Cancun?
  • George and Maria found an affordable apartment in a good neighborhood.
  • That seems affordable. Let’s buy it.
  • New furniture is just unaffordable for us right now. We’ll have to wait until we have more money.


Click here to learn more words.


First published on August 27, 2013

Updated with video on August 7, 2017