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Man with cash flying out of his wallet because of bad money habits.

10 Money Habits That Are Guaranteed To Keep You Poor

Think about what your life would be like if you weren’t worrying about money. You always have enough for bills and other needs. You can pursue important goals or buy the things that can make you happy.

You can create this life—not by winning the lotto but by getting rid of bad financial habits that sabotage your success and replacing them with productive, positive habits.

Bad Habit # 1: You Don’t Keep a Budget

Spending money without a budget is like driving a car without using the brakes. You’re not setting any limits, so you usually end up overspending and asking yourself, “Where did my paycheck go?”

Most people agree that budgets are important but forget to keep track. So, the best way to break this bad habit is to make it easy to record your expenses.

Better Habit: You Use a Budget System That Suits You

If you’re always glued to your phone, use a budgeting app. You can plan your budget and plug in your daily expenses, which will notify you when you’re about to overspend. Some apps will also generate monthly reports so you can monitor your spending patterns.

If you’re not a “tech” person, record it in a notebook or use the envelope system. Withdraw your total monthly expenses and then divide them into envelopes marked for each type of expense (bills, rent, food, etc.).

Bad Habit # 2: You Shop When You’re Stressed

Retail therapy only relieves stress temporarily. The initial adrenaline rush quickly changes into shopper’s remorse, followed by worry over how to pay for all those purchases.

Better Habit: You Find Simple Joys

Write down ten or more ways you can cheer yourself up without spending a single cent. Whenever you’re feeling upset, look at the list and pick what you’ll do for the day. You can avoid stress from hitting “critical levels” if you do one of these mood-lifters daily.

Can’t think of anything? Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • Exercise or any physical activity like walking or dancing will give you a natural endorphin rush
  • Make a playlist of your favorite songs or funny videos
  • Take a long, hot bath with your favorite scented soap
  • Find a hobby or creative outlet, like gardening or painting

Bad Habit # 3: You Get Tempted by Internet Ads  

We all have that friend who’s the “shopping enabler” because she always tells you to buy something. Well, something far worse is sales and marketing campaigns driven by algorithms.

The websites we check, or the search terms we use, will trigger customized ads that play to our interests and demographics. And when we do shop, we’ll be given ten more product recommendations and a discount code – “use now before it expires!”

You must be aware of these marketing campaigns and how they can play you like a puppet. You think you’re getting a “good deal at the right time,” but you’re being psychologically manipulated.

Better Habit: Outsmart the Ads

Change your social media or Internet settings to filter out ads. If you do want to buy something online, check out several sites and compare prices. Beware of tactics like bloating up the original price and offering “70% off!” to make it look like a sale.

Also, never buy any item on impulse. Ask yourself if you need it, if you can afford it, and if this is the best time to buy it. For example, you can save on clothes by waiting for end-of-season sales.

Bad Habit # 4: You Pay Too Much for Convenience Food

Food delivery or buying convenience food like pre-packed salads costs a lot more than cooking food at home. Plus, you’re not sure about the calories or nutritional content, so you’re getting the short end of the deal.

Better Habit: Cook Your Own Food

It’s easier than you think. If you’re busy, you can cook them for the week and freeze them for later use. Voila, homemade microwave meals.

And if you’ve never done anything more complicated than boiling an egg, the Internet is your friend. There are many videos for simple, quick recipes anyone can do. After a little practice, you’ll be cooking like a pro.

Bad Habit # 5: You Save “What’s Left”

Do you spend, then hope you have a few dollars left over to put into a piggy bank? That’s not how it should go.

Your budget should include a set savings goal—ideally about 20% of your income or any fixed amount that you can afford. That’s the only way you can build a Rainy-Day fund for emergency expenses or sudden loss of income.

Better Habit: Save Before You Spend

Arrange for your bank to automatically transfer some of your income into a separate savings account. That way, you don’t even have to think about saving — it’s already been tucked into your emergency fund, and you now must live within whatever’s left.

Bad Habit # 6: Your Expenses Bloat with Your Income

You would think that the more money you’d make, the more money you’d be able to save. Unfortunately, it’s more common for people with higher income levels to have more debt.

That’s because of “lifestyle expenses”. People will start buying more things to represent their status—bigger cars and designer clothes. Peer pressure plays a big role: you think you need to look the part or keep up with your successful colleagues.

Better Habit: Understand Your Needs

You need food, but it doesn’t have to be steak every night. You need to dress within the office dress code, but that’s not a reason to own 12 pairs of black heels.

Before you buy anything, ask yourself: “Do I need it, or do I want it? Why do I want it? Is it because it gives me personal satisfaction, or am I trying to impress others?”

Lifestyle expenses are essentially using your money to buy other people’s respect or approval.  That’s never healthy —financially or emotionally.

Bad Habit #7: You Avoid Talking About Money

Many of us grow up with many hang-ups over money because of poor habits we picked up from our habits or perceptions created by strong childhood experiences.

For example, Lisa R. has vivid memories of growing up in a “house where there was never enough.” Her parents struggled to keep their jobs and often lived off food stamps or hand-me-downs.

When she was able to get a good job, she overcompensated by “buying what I couldn’t enjoy before.” She associated savings with deprivation and got stressed whenever her husband told her about budgets.

Better Habit: You Are Aware of Money Attitudes and Try to Change Them

If thinking about money makes you feel upset or anxious, and every conversation you have about money ends up in a fight, try to understand where these feelings come from.

Those subconscious attitudes are sabotaging your efforts to develop good financial habits. The key is to identify them and then reframe your experience. Instead of thinking, “I feel deprived when I can’t buy what I want,” you can say, “I am saving for something more important to me.”

Bad Habit #8: You Have No Long-Term Financial Goals

Most people say, “I want to be rich” or “I want to stop worrying about money.” But that’s not a goal, and it’s a vague wish. The problem with vague wishes is that they don’t drive you to action.

Better Habit: Create SMART Goals

If you really want to make it happen, you must turn that wish into a SMART goal. “SMART” is a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound acronym.

For example, “I want to save $50,000 by the time I’m 30, so I can use that as seed money to start a business.” Or “I will earn an extra $100 monthly to go to Paris for my birthday.”

Once you have a specific goal, you can break it down into milestones and then think of ways to achieve it. Then, motivate yourself. Make a vision board, write affirmations, or plot your progress in a financial app or a journal.

Bad Habit #9: You Aren’t Investing in Your Ability To Earn

Saving money is just one aspect of increasing your wealth. But as you probably know, progress will be slow if you don’t have a lot of income.

This is especially true during the post-COVID-19 world, which shook the economy and led to many companies closing or downsizing. Now more than ever, you need to “think out of the box” and think of creative ways to earn.

Better Habit: Invest in Yourself

Just like you create SMART goals for your savings, create SMART goals for your career and earning potential. What can you do so that you can get a better job and create alternative sources of income?

Here are some examples to jumpstart your brainstorming process:

  • Take a class or workshop that will teach a new skill or get you a certification
  • Look for online freelancing jobs you can do in your free time
  • Start a simple home business that doesn’t have a lot of risks, like selling cookies during the holidays
  • Learn about stocks, mutual funds, or other investment tools

Bad Habit # 10: You Don’t Have a Backup Plan

Emergencies can happen to anyone. You may suddenly lose your job, or a family member can get sick and need urgent (and expensive) medical care.

Just like a house should have a smoke alarm and fire extinguisher, every sound financial plan should have built-in measures to tide you through these unexpected expenses.

If you don’t, you’ll be scrambling for last-minute solutions—and as anyone who’s ever gone through an emergency knows, it’s hard to think straight under those circumstances. You have to make a plan now to know what to do and where to go if you need money immediately.

Better Habit: Have Your Plan B and C

Plan B is to have emergency savings tucked away. Financial experts recommend that this emergency fund should be able to cover at least six months of household expenses, so you can cover rent and bills in case you lose your job. Ideally, you should also have insurance for medical bills or any car or house repairs.

But if you don’t have savings or insurance, or they’re not enough to cover all expenses, then Plan C is to know where to get simple, fast loans.

These loans can help relieve you of your immediate financial concerns. Instead of worrying or stressing out over money, you can focus on your work, your family, and any other pressing matters.

Get Personal Loans from a Lender You Can Trust

Simple Fast Loans is one of the easiest ways to get the money you need for personal emergencies. With a simple verification process and no collateral required, you can borrow from $200 to $3,000 and enjoy flexible repayment periods.

Do you have a bad credit score? Don’t worry: Simple Fast Loans has personal loan packages for your particular financial situation. Just contact the company for a quick consultation. It only takes a few clicks, and you’re on your way to getting the cash you need.

Smart Money Habits Can Change Your Life

When you learn good money habits, you’re not just taking charge of your finances. You feel more in control of your life. You’re no longer controlled by debt or financial anxiety. You won’t lose sleep over how to pay the bills.

And even if you’re in a bad financial situation (it can happen to anyone!), you have a plan and a solution. We can’t avoid problems but don’t have to be stuck in them. You know things will get better because you’re making things better.

Use these smart money habits to achieve your financial goals, and remember: no matter what happens, you can always trust Simple Fast Loans to get you through a rough spot.

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