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Things That Will Keep You Poor
Growing up poor, I knew nothing about managing money. I thought people being in constant need was a normal way of life. Most people I became friends with didn’t have many nice things. I most certainty didn’t have any rich friends.
Once I hit adulthood, I realized that there are wealthy people who are normal. They’re not greedy or bad like I was influenced into believing. They’re just humans who made different choices than most. In this article, I’m going to cover 7 spending habits that will keep people in a poor financial rut.
1. A Binge of Alcohol And Cigarettes
Unfortunately, I spent a lot of my pre-adult years partaking in smoking and drinking. Any little bit of money I received went straight to my bad habits. I remember multiple days where I was craving a smoke and as a result began scrounging for change. I definitely had no shame in stealing cigarettes from my mother.
As I got older (and after I accept Christ), I knew I had to stop. The brand I smoked was nearly $8/pack! Not to mention it was affecting my health. But quitting was so difficult! I didn’t stop until I got pregnant. I understand that quitting seems impossible, but if I could do it so can you!
Cigarettes are a huge waste of money! Trust me, I totally get the pleasure we receive from them (especially after a stressful day a work), but it’s something you should think about. How many packs do you smoke a week? 1 or 2? Let’s say it’s a cheaper brand and only costs about $6.
2 packs= $12
$12 X 52 weeks = $624/year
$624 X 30 years = $18,720
This is obviously a rough number because people may smoke more or less than 40 cigarettes a week. In 30 years that habit will have cost you almost $19,000! That’s way too much if you can’t afford it! That’s a college fund or a missed opportunity of investment. To be honest, the amount isn’t the worst part. It’s the fact that every one of those money stealers are stealing your health as well. It damages the airway and lungs and can cause chronic diseases. My voice is still way deeper than it should be.
Another issue is alcohol. This substance is incredibly horrible for the human body. I wasn’t as addicted to drinking as I was smoking, but I did drink A LOT. A $20 bottle of good quality vodka would be gone in a night or two depending if I was with friends. I drank so much of that stuff that I won’t go near that brand ever again! It’s all fun and games until you’re toilet faced!
It’s very hard to calculate how much a person possibly spends on alcohol because everyone’s different. I’m a little woman so it took me less to get tore up. In my case, I probably would drink two of those bottles in one week.
$20 X 2 = $40
$40 X 52 weeks = $2080
52 X 30 years = $62,400
Woah! No wonder I was scrounging for change for cigarettes. I began smoking at 12 and drinking at 14. How on earth did I even pay for this stuff?!?!?!
Solution: Save your money and avoid the bar or liquor store. You’ll feel better the next day, I promise.
2. Law & Order: SVU
Or whatever you’re into. I absolutely love this show and can spend all day watching it (even reruns!). Truth is: I can do something better with my time. Although I love Olivia Benson, she’s not going to make me successful and help me reach my goals.
We have 168 hours in a week. What are you doing with them? Are you investing in your future and dreams? Your dreams will not show up at your front door in a gift box. They’re like babies and unfortunately babies only appear after much labor and pain. Do you like the way your life is now or do you want different results?
Solution: Turn off the TV and spend some time everyday (or at least every other day) to work toward your goal. Start on paper with a pencil. Get creative. If you’re in a rut, listen to these videos. They empowered me to change a lot of things in my life. I’m confident they will help you to.
3. Unplanned Impulse Buys
Since you were a child, companies have been marketing to you. They’ve tried to rewire your brain into associating their product with something good. I’ve always wondered why Coca-Cola and Pepsi still market their brand. Who doesn’t know about them? I learned that it’s not about knowing who they are. They know how the human brain works and if we see enough commercials that promotes a product positively, we will be compelled to buy the next time we see it.
At the store, what’s on the side of the fridges next to checkout? Is it black, dull, and ugly? No! It’s beautifully designed with a picture of a product ice cold and ready to refresh. Companies know what they are doing. They’ve been doing it for decades. There’s no secret of why candy bars are at checkout. If you think of it long enough, you’ll feel pressured to buy. And this stuff works.
A grocery store is set up in a way that would push someone to buy more. Have you ever noticed that all the necessities are in the back corner of the store? Milk, eggs, water, meats, etc. They know that if they can get you to walk past more items on your way back there, you will probably buy them.
There was a case study done and it turns out that people will fill up the cart every time. Most grocery store have enlarged their carts by 40% or more and people continued to fill them up! They know that we’re weak on impulse buys!
Solution: Make a list every. single. time. And stick to it! It works!
4: The Belief That You Already Know It
“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exist.”
The biggest mistake any human can make is assume they know everything about a topic. In our world, things are always changing or being discovered. Businesses are no longer running the way they did 100 years ago (or 50, or 20, even 5 years ago). The average CEO reads about one book a week. This results in 52 books a year. But why? Because they know the second the stop learning is the second they will begin to fall behind.
Also, be aware that not all resources are reliable. It’s important to find an author you trust. Do your own research on a topic. Come to your own conclusion.
Solution: Find a way to get more information to you. If you’re spending a lot of time on Facebook, try converting some of that time into research. Get an informative book at the library on a topic you enjoy. Find a good blogger who teaches your subject. Search for a YouTube video playlist that will pick at your brain. Buy an audio book on the subject and play it in the car. Look for a local group who meets on the subject with an expert present. The list is really endless on how you can fit more knowledge into your already busy life.
5. Attempting To Impress People
Uh-oh… we’ve all done this. It’s in our nature to want people to like us. “Look at me! I’m so unique and great. There’s no one else like me.” You are special and remarkable, but you do not have to break the bank to prove it.
As I stated before, I was raised in a poor household and didn’t have a big closet full of clothes. I remember feeling really insecure about my clothing and was teased more than a few times. Isn’t that just how life goes? It’s normal to want to feel accepted, but most importantly to be accepted by you. One of most powerful things that happened in my life was to learn that I am good enough.
You are good enough. It doesn’t matter who doesn’t see it; that’s the truth. You’re one a kind and you’re here for a reason. You don’t need the latest technology or newest clothes to prove it. Your personality is worth more than all those things combined. Therefore, if others don’t see that its due to their own problems and not yours.
Solution: Instead of focusing on the new product that will eventually vanish, spend time growing your qualities. These will remain as long as you do. People will genuinely adore you for who you are. There are always people who only want you because of what you have. However, the second you lose those things you will lose them as well. When purchasing nice things make sure it’s because you enjoy it, not because you want to impress people.
6. Not Budgeting
Sadly to say, this is probably the main reason why people in America are trapped in a poverty lifestyle. You’d be surprised how many people don’t know what a budget is. It’s incredible how money just vanishes before your eyes. “I spent how much?!?” It’s extremely vital that we learn a system that we can control these crazy dollars.
Budgeting may sounds like ‘extra’, but it’s totally worth it. In my opinion, it doesn’t take much effort. After all, it’s only math. However, the part that most people struggle with isn’t the math. It’s the behavior that should follow. Nevertheless, writing the budget shows you what you’re working with. How much are you making? How much do you need to spend to survive? Is there any left over to work with?
Most people probably shy away from budgets because they associate it the word with bondage. On the contrary, my personal experience with a budget is a sense of freedom. We had a lot more money than we thought. With it, we could pay the bills, save some, and set a specific amount aside for enjoyment. We no longer had to stress about pleasure purchases because we knew that everything else was already covered. A lot of people who began budgeting will tell you it felt like they got a raise.
A good reason to take inventory is because no one else will do it for you. Although it’s fun to enjoy money, it hurts to be broke. No one is laughing at that point. The #1 reason for divorce in America is money fights. The #1 reason for arguments in marriage is money. Don’t allow this to happen to you. Sit down together and come to an agreement.
Solution: If you don’t have a budget, I suggest pulling out a pencil and paper and start right now. Just play with the numbers. It’s fun to manage money when there’s money to manage. Begin with your monthly income. Then, calculate your total expenses. Subtract the two. How much is left? Do you have a goal you want to achieve financially? Is there any way you can start moving toward that goal today?
7. Beloved Credit Cards
Yup, I don’t like credit cards. Actually, I don’t like debt of any kind. If I can’t afford to pay cash for it, then I won’t buy it. The reason for my stance is high interest rates. There will be people out there who tell you to get a credit card and how to use them. I’m going to tell you to avoid it all together. Seriously, when I got my first credit card I maxed it out so fast. I was stuck paying that bill for like 2 years (and we were poor).
Another reason why I’m against their use is because research shows that people who pay with plastic spend more. There’s no feelings attached to it. McDonald’s was one of the last fast food places to allow people to use credit cards. When they finally decided to make a switch, their sales skyrocketed. When it’s plastic, it’s easy to super size it. We think it won’t hurt us because it’s not currently coming out of our pocket.
When we’re paying on a credit card, it’s literally as if we’re throwing money behind us. We’re throwing money at our past. Our current money is paying for a service or product that is used. Certainly it’s no longer worth the amount we paid (overpaid) for it. I can go on forever about debt, but if you want to begin to win with money, please cut them up.
Solution: Get rid of them. The last things a broke person needs is another bill. We’re going to war on poverty, and you will be victorious.