12 Common Things Poor People Waste Money On

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Robert Sihler

We commonly associate being poor with low-paying jobs or a lack of opportunities, but sometimes poor people get or keep themselves that way by spending too much money on things that are unnecessary and sometimes even unwise or unhealthy.

These are things that wealthy people alike spend money on, but a key difference is that wealthier people have much more discretionary income. Thus, this type of spending doesn’t put them as much at risk of missing a credit card payment, not making the rent, etc.

1. Unused Services and Subscriptions

Unused Services
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People frequently pay money for things they don’t use much or at all because there was a free trial or low starter price. Good examples are magazine subscriptions and gym memberships.

2. Smoking and Vaping

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While people of all income levels smoke and vape, it’s more prevalent among people below the poverty line. More than 25% of them smoke, compared to 12% for people above the poverty line. Due to taxes and raised prices largely meant to discourage use, smoking has become a very expensive habit.

3. Overspending on Travel

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Travel is an escape, and everyone likes a taste of luxury. However, poor people often “treat” themselves to hotels and services that are well beyond their budgets. This lands them in debt or increases existing ones.

4. Fast Food/Junk Food

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Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Many poor people live in “food deserts,” areas that lack grocery stores with nutritious foods. As a result, they eat disproportionate amounts of fast food and junk food (and most fast food is junk food), which wastes money and contributes to bad health outcomes.

5. Credit Card Purchases

Cash Back Credit Cards
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Just about everyone uses credit cards, but poor people are more likely to amass high credit card debt. That and the interest that accumulated creates a burden they often can’t get out from under. It also leads to…

6. Impulse Spending

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This is a spontaneous decision to buy something you don’t really need. Credit cards make it even easier since you don’t have to pay upfront. Impulse spending is often on food and drinks, low-quality items placed to catch your eye, and on unnecessary accessories.

7. Spending Beyond Means

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Credit cards and impulse spending both contribute to many poor people spending beyond their means, which can lead to debt, repossessions, and evictions. Rich people rarely spend beyond their means due to having so much more in resources.

8. Fad Products and Diets

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These things are usually junk or scams. People of any income status can be taken in by them and open their wallets for them, but because poor people have fewer resources, they’re more vulnerable to financial harm by this.

9. Lottery Tickets

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Fair or unfair, rich people don’t need to buy lottery tickets. To poor and even middle-class people, lottery tickets are an easy way to get rich quickly, and stories of people winning massive jackpots only encourage this. However, the chances of winning big are ridiculously small, and poor people waste hundreds or thousands of dollars on lottery tickets.

10. Expensive Coffee

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It can feel nice, and it’s even somewhat of a status symbol, to get Starbucks every day. Spending several dollars a day on coffee really adds up, and when you’re not earning much to begin with, it quietly takes a big bite out of your income. That’s income needed for rent, bills, health care, etc.

11. Expensive Cable Subscriptions

Cable Subscriptions
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A lot of people, not just the poor, pay for expensive cable subscriptions most of them don’t need or get their money’s worth from. There are more economical options available, and the money saved can go towards more important things like rent and bills.

12. Bars and Pubs

Alcohol in Bars
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It’s fun to end the workday over drinks with friends or go out in the evening, but it’s also really expensive. In addition to draining financial resources, it can also lead to alcohol abuse and driving while drunk. Saying not to go out isn’t fair, but advising moderation in frequency and amount is.

12 Highly Unnecessary Things People Waste Money on Every Month

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Are you struggling to make ends meet? Are you trying to make a budget but unsure where your money is disappearing? At least a dozen very common purchases are wasting your precious money every week. Keep reading to see if you can keep more money in your checking account by clearing these purchases or habits away. 

12 Highly Unnecessary Things People Waste Money on Every Month

I Know It’s a Waste of Money and I Have No Plans to Stop!

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There are always articles telling us how to save money and what to cut out in order to hit that magical savings number we all wish we had. But we’re sure we speak for most when we say there is just no way we’re giving up our $5 latte. Here are ten things we waste money on and don’t plan to stop!

I Know It’s a Waste of Money and I Have No Plans to Stop!

If You Spend Money on These 10 Things, Stop! They’re a Surprising Waste

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Are you guilty of wasting money on frivolous expenses? For example, I wasted money daily on overpriced coffee when I worked outside the home. After tipping, those things can become a $10-a-day habit quickly. Recently a Redditor asked, “What is a huge waste of money?” Here are the top-voted responses.

If You Spend Money on These 10 Things, Stop! They’re a Surprising Waste

This article was produced by Our Woven Journey. Featured Image Credit: Mindscape studio/Shutterstock

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