The article said that by saying that you can't afford something means you're financially insecure and that can be scary to kids. (Not a direct quote but that's basically what it meant) I never really thought of it that way. I've told my oldest plenty of times that we can't afford something and need to save up for it. I don't think it's affected her. So have you said that to your kids?
Found the article.
6. "We can't afford that."
It's easy to use this default response when your child begs you for the latest toy. But doing so sends the message that you're not in control of your finances, which can be scary for kids, says Jayne Pearl, the author of Kids and Money. Grade-schoolers may also call you on this claim if you turn around and make an expensive household purchase. Choose an alternative way to convey the same idea, such as, "We're not going to buy that because we're saving our money for more important things." If she insists on discussing it further, you have a perfect window to start a conversation about how to budget and manage money.