Being broke sucks. Worrying about bills and living paycheck to paycheck also sucks. And the thought of that being for a lifetime is demoralizing.
While all our financial situations are different, we all have the ability to change our “broke status.”
Will it be easy? Not at all, but your financial life can completely switch gears by identifying bad money habits that are keeping your pockets empty.
The trick is to really come to terms with these bad money habits and that yes, you probably are guilty of some or maybe even all of them.
Yikes: Average credit card debt that stands at nearly $16,000 and very low savings — 73% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account (Source).
Have you currently wondered or seem to be asking yourself lately, “Why am I always broke?”
If you are doing any of the 14 bad money habits below, then it’s time to start making changes otherwise you’ll risk being broke forever.
1. You don’t know where your money goes
If you are stuck living paycheck to paycheck and do not have a budget in place, you probably don’t really know where your money is going.
It can help you identify what is costing you the most, where you can make cutbacks, and how to starting making financial changes. By just guessing or going in blindly to your situation, you may be missing key information.
Recommended: Use Personal Capital to help track your net worth and spending. It’s free to use and can help you stay organized.
2. You’re lazy or procrastinate when it comes to your finances
Guilty of this here in the past. I was never on the lazy side, but procrastination was my good friend.
Not everyone is a personal finance nerd like I currently am. And I know finances are not always exciting to understand or look at, but it needs to be part of your weekly routine.
Too many times I’ve heard people and friends say they will worry about it later. That’s how you stay broke or end up in financial pain as you get older. Being lazy is just as bad and it costs you money.
Remove this bad money habit immediately!
3. You don’t pay yourself first
Every paycheck or any money you get or make — you should be paying yourself first. This means, putting that money to your savings or retirement before paying any bills.
This is a popular strategy in the personal finance world, but is key to really helping you build a savings.
Yes, you want to pay your bills and any debt on time. But if you focus on just that without prioritizing your savings first, 9/10 you will have very little left to save.
4. You spend money on things you can’t afford
A big problem many people have is not living within your means.
You want the fancy car, the big house, the nice watch, or whatever it may be. But if you do not have the cash or financial cushion to pay for these things, you have no business buying them.
It’s how to end up in debt quickly, financing items you can’t afford, and wasting more money on interest.
Of course, it’s okay to treat yourself, but be wise about what you can currently afford.
5. You surround yourself with negativity
People who are negative, pessimistic, and put the blame on others or societal factors can really drag you down. Misery loves company.
Surround yourself with successful people and others who have an optimistic view of the world.
Their mentality will rub off on you and you can learn a lot from successful people.
I’ve seen other posts that blame hanging out with broke people will keep you broke. But I think it has more to do with the mentality of those around you than their financial status.
6. You only rely on one income stream
Having one source of income can work out in your favor for a while, but what happens if you lose that job? What happens if the company fails?
Being reliant on one source can put you in a tricky financial situation if something comes up. But it can also keep you broke.
To really build some wealth and passive income you should be investing in stocks, starting a side hustle (like a blog), investing in real estate, freelancing, etc.
7. You’re trying to get rich quick
Building wealth and accumulating money doesn’t happen overnight. It can happen fast sometimes, but generally, this is a long term approach.
The problem most of us lack is patience, we all want to get rich now. And looking for the easy way out and falling for getting rich quick ideas actually hurt your pockets more than they help.
You need to take the long approach to growing your bank accounts.
Most wealthy people who didn’t inherit money, worked really hard behind the scenes for years.
8. You have a consumer mentality
Instead of thinking about buying appreciating assets like stocks or real estate, you focus on spending on items like cars, clothes, boats, etc.
There is nothing wrong with purchasing the latter if you have the means, but always thinking like a consumer keeps you broke.
Essentially, you are focusing on material things that will bring you temporary happiness, instead of thinking of a long-term money plan. Start correcting your consumer mentality and break the spending cycle.
9. You are worried about impressing others
A great way to stay broke is to constantly worry about what others have and trying to impress them with material things.
By blending the consumer mentality and seeing the flash of social media, you can get aggressive with your spending on unnecessary things or upgrades you don’t need.
The key here is to ignore what others have and focus on your own money goals. Easier said than done, but it can keep your pockets full.
10. You use credit cards wrong
The use of credit cards can be a great thing for establishing credit, for emergency purchases, and even to get travel points or cashback.
However, too many people use it to buy high price items that they do not have the cash to pay for.
This leaves your credit card debt to grow, especially when a lot of cards have very high interest. Now you are wasting money paying the interest or you are quickly racking up debt.
Note: In April 2018, the average credit card debt for these households is $9,333. And Households with the lowest net worth (zero or negative) hold an average of $10,308 in credit card debt (Source).
11. You’re spending more than you make
Another one that probably seems pretty obvious to not do, but happens more than you think. We end up spending more than we actually have.
By taking on loans and using credit cards too openly.
This sets you up for some debt that can quickly balloon and have high interest sending you in a deep financial hole.
Saying no, not buying more than you can afford, spending less, and making more can all help alleviate this bad money habit.
12. You don’t set money goals for yourself
Once you know your budget and have some understanding of where your money is going, you need to then set goals.
This can be weekly, monthly, quarterly, or however you want to do this. But this serves as a reminder and keeps you motivated to reach a goal.
By not having goals, you have nothing to reach for and you don’t know where you are in your finances.
13. You don’t bother to learn investing basics
Schools are not going to teach you these things unless you when to college specifically for finances.
If you are going to understand how to invest in stocks or real estate you need to take the time of your day to educate yourself.
Understanding the very basics to get you started is not overly complicated. Yes, there is a lot of information out there, but it’s easier to digest than you think.
14. You don’t make enough money
This is probably the most obvious and biggest complaint many might have. If you have cut back on spending and done most of the above, then it is clear you need to make more money.
Just like I’ve mentioned before, everyone’s career choices and financial situations are different. However, in this digital century, we all have opportunities to make money.
The solution to making more money means working hard, but putting in the work can pay off.
- Work hard, take on extra, and learn all you can. When the time is right, ask for a raise. If you don’t get one and are unhappy, start looking at new jobs.
- Look into a career shift. I shifted into digital marketing by taking free online certifications and then working for an agency to absorb all I could. Now I’m making almost 60% more than I was in 2017.
- Start a side hustle. Whether that is starting a blog, dropshipping, making things and selling on Etsy, etc.
- Flip things on eBay. This can be a lucrative money-making machine. Hit up yard sales and flip for more on eBay or Amazon. Some people can make a full-time living on this.
- Freelance or consulting. I started doing this back in 2013 to help make extra cash and improve my career experience. There are tons of websites to find work part-time work.
There you have it! Some of the bad money habits that if you do not break, can keep you broke forever.
Many of the above fourteen items were major contributors to my own financial woes, but as I broke these habits I noticed significant improvements.
Hopefully, these help you in our own journey and were clues into what might be holding you back financially.Are you guilty of any of these bad money habits? Are there others you think belong in this list? Let me know in the comments below!