There are so many excuses that people make for why they don’t have enough money. You’ve probably heard them all in your life, and you’ve probably said a lot of them yourself and these excuses are often the reasons you’re still broke.
You don’t make enough money, you can’t get a promotion, you have debt. These are all reasons you’re broke but may not be the actual root cause. It all stems down to our day to day behaviours and the things we do that can keep us in financial ruins and it’s important to focus our energy on changing these behaviours and getting rid of bad money habits.
I’m not saying that being broke is entirely your fault, because there are some systemic issues that keep people broke but it’s important to try and get yourself out of those situations as soon as possible and change your financial future because none of us want to live paycheck to paycheck forever.
30 Reasons You’re Still Broke
1. You Don’t Have Financial Goals
Not having financial goals to work toward is often the number one reason why people have an empty bank account. If you aren’t constantly working towards a single financial goal, then you are definitely not going to be able to stick to a budget long-term.
There are so many different things you can make goals for when it comes to your finances, here are just a few:
- Retirement Planning
- Debt Payoff
- Saving for a Home
- Saving for College Tuition
If you aren’t sure where to start when it comes to making financial plans and goals for yourself and your family, I highly suggest you try and create a Five Year Financial Plan, it will help you figure all of that out with ease
2. You’re Focused on Others
With the growing popularity of social media, we spend a ton of time focused on the lives of everyone around us and not actually creating the life we want or the life we can afford. When we focus on what other people are doing we can be convinced that we are failures or that we aren’t where we should be.
One thing you need to remember is that you don’t actually know how someone you see on social media is paying for the extravagant things they’re doing or buying. Don’t start charging tons of things on credit cards just to keep up with what your friends are doing.
3. You’re Not Working Enough
I can’t begin to explain how many emails I’ve gotten where someone is talking about how they can’t afford all of their bills but they’re only working around 20 hours a week and have no savings. It’s kind of obvious, right? You need to work to make money, or at least have some kind of income producing assets.
If you can’t work a 40-hour work week (because of kids or other constraints) you can definitely find a smart side hustle that you can make decent money from and be able to work from home.
My favourite way to side hustle is by starting small online businesses like this blog and eventually being able to grow them into a large income producer.
4. You’re Working Too Much
This one may seem a little weird to a lot of people reading this, but hear me out. Obviously working a lot can lead to higher income if you’re paid hourly, however, it can also lead to worse financial decisions that happen often.
For example, a person who works more than 40 hours a week is much more likely to buy their lunch instead of bringing it from home because of time constraints. People who are working too much are much more likely to do things for convenience reasons so they’ll probably end up being broke more often, even though they may make more money.
5. You Party Too Much
Spending too much of your time out at bars and drinking with your friends is a huge reason why so many people in their 20s and 30s are broke. Partying is a great part of growing up, however, it is a huge money waster and is not a necessary part of your life. If you were to just party one less time a month, you could find yourself saving a few dollars that can really add up over the course of the year.
6. You Only Make Minimum Payments
Having a credit card is a really complicated process that not a lot of us seem to understand. We are allowed to just start charging things to a credit card at 18 without ever being taught how they work or how to pay them off.
Making just the minimum payment on your credit cards each month is not a good way to make financial progress because the minimum payment is actually only the amount of interest you owe plus $10. This means you’re only making $10 worth of progress each month and that’s only if you’re not charging anything to your card. You need to try paying down your credit cards more quickly and always make more than a minimum payment.
7. You Talk a Lot, and Rarely Act
I’m pretty sure everybody knows a person who is like this. They always talk about how they are starting a business (but they never do) or talk about how they’re paying off their debt (but charge a trip to a credit card). If you’re one of these people, you need to realize that just talking about the ways you’re going to improve your life isn’t going to help you actually improve your life.
It’s more important that you act in silence instead of talking in public and do things that will make your life better without just talking about things you want to do.
8. You Aren’t Budgeting
Budgeting is one of those things that everybody knows they should be doing but so many people avoid and then can’t figure out the reason why they’re broke. Budgeting is important because it helps you realize that your money should be working for you instead of you just working for you money.
Making a budget can help you make a plan for your money that will help you start investing your money and actually having more in your bank account at the end of the month. You can sign up below for my free budgeting course that can help get you started:
9. You Can’t Say No
Something that we all need to learn at some point in our lives is that we can’t always get what we want. We have to figure out how to say no to things that aren’t going to help our futures and that can hurt our wallets.
Not being able to say no is a real reason you’re broke and you need to figure out how to say no when your friends want you to go out and grab drinks if you can’t afford it. You need to say no if someone convinces you to buy a brand new car. There are so many opportunities where you need to remember that no is an option and it will help your finances for years to come.
10. You Blame Others
Blaming other people for your financial woes is a really common thing for people who are always feeling broke and aren’t sure how to fix it. People often blame their parents, their college, or their significant other but they are rarely going to take control and take the blame for the financial mess they’re in.
This isn’t me saying that there aren’t any systemic reasons why you’re broke, because there are. The world isn’t perfect, but you can’t blame your circumstances for your financial situation forever, and it’s time you take it into your own hands and start taking control of your own money.
11. You Stopped Learning
A lot of issues that we have stem from not taking the time to continue learning about the topic that we’re struggling with. Once we leave school we aren’t really forced to continue learning, so it’s important that you seek out that knowledge on your own. You can learn about money by reading books about money (like Rich Dad, Poor Dad) or listening to podcasts about money!
If you’re reading something like this, you’re already on the right track! If you want to continue to receive financial education straight to your inbox, be sure to sign up to my email newsletter below and get weekly updates from me.
12. You Have Too Many Vices
A lot of people who have emailed me about being broke never mention the types of vices that they are spending money on every few days. It takes a bit of emailing back and forth and some prying on my side to really figure out that they buy a pack of cigarettes every other day and also drink a bottle of wine 5 times a week.
Having too many vices that you use to deal with your life can be a real budget killer and can be a serious reason you’re broke. Maybe take some time to realize why you do the things you do and see which vices you can quit.
13. You Have Bad Habits
Sometimes we can develop things that we do each and every day that we don’t even realize are a big detriment to our finances and they become life long habits that are almost impossible to break.
Dealing with these bad habits when we’re young is a really good idea because it’s a huge reason you’re broke and can get you thinking more about your finances. Cutting out things like eating out for lunch every day, and starting doing things like meal planning can change your finances forever.
- Recommended Reading: Bad Money Habits That Are Keeping You Broke
14. You Surround Yourself With Broke People
Have you ever heard the saying you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with? This seriously affects the way you view money and the way you handle your money.
The reason you’re broke may honestly be the people around you. It could be your family, it could be your friends, it could be your significant other. If these people are bad with their money and they spend every penny they make and have nothing in the bank they are going to influence you to do some of the same behaviours.
You should surround yourself with some people who are great with their money and are in a place where you’d love to be. I’m not saying that you should abandon your friends and family, but maybe get some financial education and share that information with your friends and family so you can all grow together.
15. You Only Buy Name Brands
Something that it takes a while for people to realize is that brand name stuff doesn’t always mean it’s better than no name or less expensive brands. It seems like a lot of broke people have an association in their head for price and quality and this can contribute to the reasons you’re broke.
You can save a ton of money on clothes and food by just switching to some less expensive brands and thinking harder about the actual quality of the items!
16. You’re Too Cheap
This one may sound weird, but hear me out! Being cheap can actually cost you money in the long run, weird right? When you’re passing the line from frugal to cheap you can often see that you’re spending more money replacing things that you bought really inexpensively because they were horrible quality.
It’s important to not be too cheap and to avoid quality items just because they are a little more expensive because this will make you throw away more and more money on things you already own.
17. You Buy Because It’s on Sale
A real reason you’re broke could be your love of things that are on sale and how you just can’t pass up a “good deal”. However, is it really a good deal if you weren’t planning on buying the item in the first place?
It’s really important to learn the difference between buying something that’s on sale and buying something just because it’s on sale. Don’t go looking for sale items!
18. You Drive Everywhere
A big reason why young people are broke is because we want to keep up with our friends and have the nicest car possible without ever really thinking about our budget and what we can really afford. And then, once we have these cars we often use them way too often and are driving everywhere even if we could walk.
I’ve seen people who are always complaining about being broke who drive two blocks away to grab a jug of milk when they could walk and it would take no time at all. Driving your car a lot less could save you hundreds of dollars a year!
19. You Don’t Have Emergency Money
A lot of the time a person feels like they are doing awesome with their finances up until the point that an unexpected emergency occurs. At this point people often realize that they are going to have to charge the emergency onto their credit card.
A great way to stop this and no longer feel broke when you’re experiencing a financial emergency is to have an emergency fund ready. An emergency fund is a bank account where you’ll have (hopefully) 3-6 months of expenses saved up to cover any scary things that may happen (i.e., broken down cars, a job loss, or a plane ticket to go to a funeral).
- Recommended Article: How to Build an Emergency Fund (The Right Way)
20. You Don’t Track Your Spending
Tracking your spending is one of those things that nobody wants to do but when we do, we learn a lot about how we handle our money and where it goes each month. If you’re always feeling like you’re broke it may be time for you to try out something like the Highlighter Method for Tracking Your Spending.
Even if you only track your spending for one week every month, you’ll be able to really see where your money goes and where you can cut so you can save a ton of money and stop being broke.
- Recommended Article: The Highlighter Budgeting Method
21. You Don’t Invest in Yourself
Sometimes if you want to increase your income and stop being broke it’s important that you invest in yourself so that you have the knowledge and education necessary for you to find a profitable side hustle or start your own business!
This could mean going to school and getting a traditional education (but try to avoid student loans) or investing in online education to teach yourself a new trade. Here are a few awesome courses and lessons that could help you grow a business online:
22. You’re House Poor
Having a house that you can’t actually afford is one of the biggest reasons you’re broke and why so many people out there are broke. It’s really common that people are given mortgages or rent a home that is way more expensive than what you can actually pay for if you plan to save.
A common rule of thumb in personal finance is to spend no more than 25% of your after tax income on your housing. This means that if you make $4,000 a month you shouldn’t be spending more than $1,000 on your home because if you do you’ll end up with very little money left over at the end of the month.
23. You Grocery Shop on an Empty Stomach
One of the biggest ways we waste money in the western world is by wasting money on food that we aren’t going to eat. When you go grocery shopping on an empty stomach you’re destined to buy more foods that sound delicious (and are usually horrible for you) that you may not ever eat.
A lot of these things will end up right in the garbage after a few weeks of us staring at something that you don’t even know how to cook. This is a serious reason why you’re broke and it’s important that you eat before you go so you are less likely to over buy.
- Recommended Article: How to Save Money on Groceries
24. You Always Eat Out
Eating at restaurants is an awesome way to spend time with friends or family and can be an awesome and simple option for a date night. However, it is also so extremely expensive to always eat out or order take out.
If you do eat out, it’s important to know how to save money at restaurants and really be able to cut costs down so you aren’t throwing your money away.
- Recommended Article: How to Save Money When Eating Out
25. You Have Saved Credit Cards Online
This is one of the biggest things that kept me broke for so many years after college because I’m a huge impulse buyer but not in person, only online. Having your credit card information saved on some of your favourite websites can be a really big recipe for disaster.
I’ve noticed that people are most likely to online shop when they are bored, or having a bad day, and those two emotions don’t lend well to a level head when it comes to not spending money. Having to take that extra step to go grab your wallet, and enter your credit card information can stop you from buying things in the middle of the night (seriously, I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on amazon without realizing it in the middle of the night).
26. You Put Everything on Credit
Credit cards can be a valuable tool if you have the money to pay them off in full each month, but if you’re just growing a credit card balance it’s going to keep you broke for a long time. Credit card debt is some of the hardest to get rid of because you can easily charge something new to your credit card with a few clicks of a button.
If you’re the type of person who puts everything on credit, it may be time to try out an all cash diet for a while and see how that makes your finances go and see how much money you can save.
- Recommended Article: Credit Cards Rules You Should Be Following
27. You Always Play The Lottery
Buying lottery tickets can be fun. It can be especially fun to think about all the things you’d do if you had a few million dollars in the bank. However, for 99.99% of people who play the lottery, you’ll never win and you’ll just continue to throw money away.
I had a friend in college who was convinced that they would some day win the lottery and spend over $20 a week on tickets. In the 4 years that we were in school they spent over $4,000 on lottery tickets and maybe won about $500. That’s money thrown away and completely wasted.
28. Your House is a Mess
This is another one that may seem a little weird to some, how does having a messy house relate to reasons you’re broke? Well, when someone has a seriously messy house they are much more likely to go and buy something that they already have.
For example, if you have a bottle of sunscreen in your house in the back of a closet but you can’t seem to find it, you’ll definitely go out and buy another one instead of getting a sunburn, but if you were a bit more organized you could definitely find that sunscreen and save the $10.
- Recommended Reading: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
29. You’re Scared to Invest
This one isn’t really surprising to me, since I’m actually scared of investing a bit too but have finally started finding small ways to start investing without being stressed about it. Investing is scary because you never know how your investments are going to do and there’s always a chance that you’ll lose it.
However, investing is the best way to stop being broke and can really change your financial future. The only investing that most people do is putting money into a 401(k) but they won’t make the decision to start investing on their own! Let’s change that, okay?
There are two services you should test out to make investing a breeze to start out with. The first, is Acorns. Acorns is a free service that will connect to your bank account, round up your purchases and invest your spare change. This makes investing automatic and you don’t even have to think about it, but there isn’t too much money going into the account to the point where you’ll run out of money. Try out Acorns today!
If you want to do some more intentional investing but are too scared to go deep into an investment firm, you can choose to invest with robo-investors like Wealth Simple. You can get your first $10,000 managed for free if you sign up using my exclusive link!
30. You Impulse Buy
Making a ton of impulse purchases is a really simple way to keep yourself broke because 99.9% of the time you’re buying things that you (1) don’t need and (2) will never actually use. I find this is extremely easy to do with home decor items because people will buy something they thing is cute at the store and then end up putting them back in the box and never looking at them again.
It’s really important that you find ways to stop impulse buying and start planning ahead for your purchases instead of just deciding on things last minute. I highly suggest you try out the 30-Day Rule that can totally help you stop impulse buying.
- Recommended Article: How to Stop Overspending for Good
You don’t need to stay broke forever, heck, you don’t even need to stay broke for the next few weeks. If you think about some of the reasons you’re broke you can figure out actionable things you can do to change your future and stop throwing money away! Let’s get you to stop being broke as soon as possible!