People have money trouble for different reasons. On the other hand, there are some mistakes and bad financial habits that are common in these situations. This explains why some people have these problems with money over and over. See if any of the following apply to you.
1. Not wanting to think about money.
If you didn’t pay attention or think about where you were going when driving you would probably get lost and have accidents more often. The same is true of money. Many people just don’t like to pay attention to it or think about it. Perhaps something from their past has caused them to think it isn’t right to think about it, but the results are continual problems. Give it some thought.
2. Blaming situations and other people.
Sometimes a person is partly right about whose fault it is that they are broke or in financial trouble. But even then focusing on blaming outside forces it is the absolute worst approach to solving the problem. When you blame you give away power. Always look at what your role in the problem is and what you can do to correct or improve the situation.
3. Wanting appearances over reality.
If you want to look wealthier, go get a loan and buy that new car today. If you want to be wealthier, that’s the worse thing you can do. Did you know that 40% of millionaires buy used cars? But this isn’t about cars. It’s about building wealth and using your money wisely. You probably can’t guess who around you is a millionaire. Give up trying to create the illusion and start working on the reality.
4. Not knowing where it goes.
One big reason many people have money trouble is that they have no idea where the money goes. I had a friend who had pizza delivered three times per week for about $20 each time. I’ll bet he didn’t know he was spending over $3,000 per year on that one habit. Write down everything you spend and what you spent it on for a month or two and see what’s really going on.
5. Not calculating real costs.
Once people decide they want something, they often play games with their own minds. They say “It only costs…” and ignore all the ongoing costs. When you buy a boat, for example, you have to consider not just the payments, but the cost to operate it, the insurance, the annual license and registration costs, repairs and maintenance, and so on. I can assure you that some people are paying $200 for each use of their small boats without ever knowing it. Do the math.
6. Thinking debt buys more things.
It is true that you can have more things right now by putting them on your credit cards. The part people forget is that this makes everything more expensive, and if you pay more for everything you buy, doesn’t it make sense that over the course of your life you can’t buy as much? You get better prices for cash, and you save the interest charges as well. Debt is for homes, business and investments. Pay cash for everything else.
7. Not controlling fixed expenses.
There are expenses you can easily stop at any time, like going out to eat or buying music. Then there are your more or less fixed expenses, like rent, electricity, gasoline for the car, insurance and so on. If your fixed expenses are too high you are in trouble every time your income dips or is interrupted, or something expensive happens. Rent a smaller place if necessary, get a high-mileage (used) car, and try to keep all the fixed costs in your life to half of your income.
8. Thinking financial surprises are unpredictable.
If unexpected car repairs or other surprises that cost less than a thousand dollars are the source of your financial problems, you need to start thinking about this differently. You don’t know when the washing machine will die or when your insurance rates will rise, but you do know that these “surprises” will happen at some time, so you can plan for them. Set aside money every week for sudden expenses and it will be there when you need it.
9. Helping friends and family too much.
I have seen many people get into money trouble because of their generosity. Every time they have a bit of money saved a friend or family member has a need for it, and they help – or so they think. Money rarely changes people’s situation if they don’t know how to use it. And never quite getting your own financial situation right makes you less able to help others. Set your own house in order first, and then give wisely.