8 Money Habits That Are Keeping You Poor – Why you’re living Paycheck-to-Paycheck and how to fix it once and for all.
FOCUSING ON THE PRESENT
I’m all for living in the moment and enjoying yourself, but you just can’t take that approach with money. Most people focus on their present needs, what they want NOW, and don’t think about themselves in one week, one year, or when retiring.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but life is unpredictable. You have to be prepared for anything.
Have an emergency fund that you don’t touch and add to it regularly.
Would you survive one month unemployed? What about one year? That is a very scary (and real) situation people find themselves in.
Or perhaps it isn’t so drastic, your car breaks down and it costs $1,000? Do you have that money saved up? Or do you have to load up a credit card and pay interest?
We are natural consumers and we always want the next best thing. I was wrapped in that world in high school and college. I would get the latest iPhone and then Apple would come out with a new, shinier one and I just had to have it. Does this sound familiar?
It doesn’t have to be a phone, we all have our vices. Whether it’s the hottest pair of shoes, the new car, the shiny new laptop.
We get wrapped up in this consumer-mindset that it drags us down. It’s not really our fault, we are bombarded daily with hundreds of thousands of advertisements. Before making any purchase, ask yourself whether you really need it.
Does your phone work properly? What is the cost-to-benefit of purchasing a new one?
Always consider the cost-to-benefit of something.
For example, a new iPhone would set me back about $900 bucks and the benefit would be a slightly better camera and a faster thingamajig (do we even know what we’re buying?!). The cost-to-benefit here is very low.
Practice this exercise with every purchase, especially the extravagant one!
SPENDING MORE AS YOUR INCOME INCREASES
This one’s a biggie. You think if you get that raise, that promotion, you’ll finally be okay!
The reality is, you probably won’t.
Unless you develop a better relationship to money, as your income increases so will your costs.
Trying to increase your income while maintaining your costs the same is the absolute best route to success.
If tomorrow you were to get a $10,000 pay raise, what would you do?
Would you immediately want to upgrade your house? Car? Most people would.
This goes back to reason one, regardless of how much you make, check the cost-to-benefit ratio of purchases!
IGNORING YOUR DEBT
A lot of people nowadays pay an absurd amount of money in interest payment.
Some don’t even look at their statements and just pay the minimum.
If you are in debt, you need to come up with a plan to 1. get out of debt and 2. not pay so much in interest.
I know it’s an unpleasant topic, but ignoring it only makes matters worse. Make a plan and stick to it. You don’t have to eat ramen and be miserable to get out of debt, you just have to be willing to make sacrifices and commit for a couple of years.
YOU DON’T PLAN FOR IRREGULAR EXPENSES
As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail.
Are you setting aside money for car maintenance, birthday gifts, or any other bill/fee that creeps in on you unexpectedly?
The mistake I see all the time is failing to plan for irregular expenses. That includes not only the bad stuff like car repairs and home maintenance but fun things like travel and gifts. You should regularly be putting money away for these kinds of expected but irregular expenses so that when they happen, you’re not left scrambling to find the money and they don’t blow a hole in your budget.
Consider either save more money for these expenses or allow a certain amount in your current savings for them.
PAYING FOR UNUSED MEMBERSHIPS
Do you still have that gym membership you’ve only been to once this year? These memberships sites can be making a real dent in your monthly income.
You should check your subscriptions regularly to see if you are 1) still interested in maintaining the subscription and 2) see if there has been a rate increase you weren’t aware of. Some companies are sneaky and gradually increase your rate, others do let you know, but if your like me, you have a million emails and sometimes miss those important PSA’s
But honestly. There was a point in my life I think I had about subscriptions, and I was probably only using my Netflix and gym one.
I canceled the 13 others and automatically felt lighter.
YOU SPEND IMPULSIVELY
You go to online retailers or perhaps your intention at the mall is to simply window shop, but once you’re there, something catches your eye and you’re hooked! You just have to have it.
If you have no intention of spending money, don’t bring your credit card with you.
Maybe take a $10 for parking just in case, but definitely (if you do take your cards with you everywhere) consider the cost-to-benefit of the purchase.
Thee are many items we feel we absolutely must have and once we get home, the appeal goes away and it collects dust in our closets.
LACK OF A BUDGET
I’m honestly shocked when my girlfriends tell me they don’t have a budget. They kind of just estimate their costs and spend accordingly.
This is the absolute worst mistake you can make.
I assure you, you have a million things in your head and there are a lot of purchases you will forget. Then your credit card statement comes along and you are shocked at how high it is. Some of the things you purchased you don’t even remember!
Stop being surprised by your credit card statements!
Sit down every month and write down your income, your mandatory costs (mortgage, water, misc. bills) and allot specific amounts for the rest of your money.
For example, if I don’t budget my money, I can easily spend up to $1,000 a month on groceries! That was my main problem in College.
So I now set a grocery budget of $400 a month (about $100 a week) and shop accordingly.
Also, keep a ‘fun’ budget. That’s your movies, theme parks, etc. And if you go over any other budget, you have to deduct it from your fun one.
This allows you to stay motivated to stick to your budget.
It’s NO fun overspending on groceries and not being able to go watch a movie or take my daughter to an arcade.