Have you been working for years with nothing to show for it? Are you a college graduate still living paycheck-to-paycheck? If you’re always stressed about money, check out these 12 reasons you always feel poor. There may be a few easy changes you can make to help get out of the “I’m poor” mindset and start saving some of your hard-earned money.
1. You’re Not Tracking Your Finances.
It may seem obvious, yet many of our financial difficulties had humble beginnings that have snowballed over time because we weren’t paying attention. When we have plenty of cash on hand, we seldom take the time to plan our spending or think twice about impulse buys thoroughly. Why not if you know you have the money to do so?
The problem is that even if these purchases don’t hurt us right now, that doesn’t guarantee they won’t in the future. The lack of savings at the end of the month is due to the impulsive purchase I made today. Keep a tally of your expenditures to force yourself to pay attention. Regularly question yourself, “Did I really need this?” and adjust your expenditures accordingly.
2. You’re Living in Clutter.
The website Very Well Mind reports that clutter has been linked to poor mental health. Cluttered living conditions are associated with increased stress, difficulty focusing, relationship issues, mental illness, and depression.
Getting your home and vehicle in order is the first step toward liberation from a poverty mentality. Purge yourself of unnecessary items and reward yourself with tidiness. You may not be poor, but you might as well be if your daily commute includes shoving aside empty Gatorade bottles, drive-thru receipts, and food wrappers.
3. You’re Overspending on Convenience.
It is possible to avoid doing many tasks oneself if financial resources permit. There are many methods to spend money and save time if that’s what you’re after. Over time, though, it’s easy to depend on such luxuries, which may lead to financial hardship even if you can afford them.
4. You’re Comparing Yourself to Other People.
When you compare yourself to other people, it’s hard for anyone to feel rich. No matter how much money you make, you can always find someone who makes much more. This is especially true in the U.S., where the income gap is large. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2008 that when people were asked how much money it takes to be rich, most said it took exactly twice as much as they had, even if they had millions of dollars in the bank.
5. You Can’t Really Afford to Buy the Things You Do.
If being financially happy has a downside, it’s how easy it is for that to turn into being financially lazy. When your income is more than enough, it can throw off your sense of how much money you have. You don’t think twice about buying a brand-new car with all the bells and whistles or a nice house on the nice side of town because you think you can afford it.
But just because you have the money doesn’t mean you can always buy it. There’s a reason why almost a third of people who win the lottery end up going bankrupt: no amount of money is infinite. When you spend money today, you can’t spend it tomorrow. It may seem clear, but it’s never been easier to spend money than it is now. You no longer have to give cash, write a check, or swipe your credit card. It’s easy to get the wrong idea about your money if you don’t track it yourself.
The trick is to train yourself to see the big picture. Even though a top-of-the-line car might be reasonable, where else could that money go? Try to figure out your most important financial goals, and let those goals guide you when you spend money you could be saving.
6. You Don’t Really Know What You Want.
Most money problems come down to this: “I am here, but I feel like I should be there.” If you think things are fine the way they are, there shouldn’t be a problem, right? But what if you don’t know what “There” means? What if all you know is that “Here” doesn’t work?
That can be very hard to deal with. It’s very hard to make good changes when you don’t have a plan, and it’s even harder to make a good plan when you don’t have a goal. If you feel stuck, it may be because you don’t know what you really want.
You might want to think about making a “starter goal” to get you going, even if it changes later. It can be small and short-term, but it should be specific and not vague. Once you have a goal to work toward, finding and solving some of these other problems is much easier. But everything begins with a goal.
7. You’re Sticking Your Head in the Sand When It Comes to Debt.
When you don’t have money, stacks of bills and notes that you owe money are a big source of stress and fear. But ignoring these problems and not paying your bills will only worsen them. Many young adults have college loans and other kinds of debt, but they don’t know they have many choices. For example, there are a lot of programs that can help you pay less on your student loans or even get rid of them completely. But you need to do something and look for these opportunities.
8. You Feel Stuck.
When you’re poor or having trouble with money, it can make you feel like you can’t do anything about it. But giving in to those feelings of powerlessness will hurt you. By getting correct, fair information and help, people can feel in control of their finances and confident in their choices. Then, they can take steps to improve their finances.
9. You Don’t Know How to Handle Your Finances.
Most people are poor because they don’t know how to handle their money. One of the problems with debt is that compound interest works against you, not for you, as it does with investing.
The mindset should change from “How can I spend money to make me happy now?” to “How can I use this money to buy me financial freedom in the future?” If you can make that change, you should be able to get through most problems.
10. No Savings for Hard Times
There are four main ways in which individuals cause financial harm to themselves:
They are oblivious to their actual debt levels and interest rates.
Having little cash on hand to cover unexpected expenses.
They are ignoring the need for retirement savings.
Having no idea how their credit score is changing. Getting a free copy of your credit report and checking it for accuracy is the easiest way to do that.
11. You’re Not Putting Money Away Regularly
Be careful to put some of your paychecks away as soon as it arrives.
If you set it up so it happens every time you are paid, you’ll be more inclined to keep it up. By prioritizing savings, you may improve your financial situation.
12. You Can’t Keep to a Spending Plan
Although many individuals recognize the need for a budget, many nevertheless fail to create or adhere to one. Many people get into trouble with their finances because they refuse to create a budget.
Budgeting is important for people of all socioeconomic backgrounds since it reveals the root causes of financial difficulties and suggests solutions.
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Featured Image Credit: NoMoreStock/Shutterstock
Demi Michele is a seasoned traveler, turned freelance writer. Having explored most states and ventured internationally, her love for outdoor cafes, new cuisines, and cultural immersion shines through her wide range of articles. Based in Texas with her family and two Scottish Terriers, Demi turns her adventures into captivating travel narratives to share with readers.