Different socioeconomic classes spend their money on different things. For example, rich people will usually buy more healthy foods than the poor. The poor will often spend more money on bills than anything else. At the same time, all groups waste their money, but they do so on different items.
This article will show you how poor people waste their money. The point of the article is not to make you feel wrong about the way you spend your money. It’s to make you think about how you spend your money. When you know what you can afford, you may find yourself climbing up the socioeconomic ladder. So take a moment to learn about where you waste your money and how you can fix it in our list below.
20. Junk Food
There is a myth that poor people can’t buy healthy foods because they are too expensive. Have you stood back and looked at the price of fresh fruits and vegetables compared to chips, ice cream, and cookies? When it boils down to it, junk food is more expensive as it doesn’t last as long as a bag of carrots or a head of lettuce. Plus, the way your body feels simply isn’t worth the price of junk food.
Many poor people think rich people will go out for lobster often or that they eat in fancy restaurants, but the reality is that most people who are considered rich don’t do this. They like to focus on eating healthy in their own home by buying fresh vegetables, fruit, and foods high in healthy fats. The truth is, rich people save money by taking this route, and poor people can learn from this. Therefore, put down that nearly $5 bag of chips and pick up the bag of carrots that costs $0.82 per pound.
19. Credit Cards
Credit cards can become a great way to pay for an emergency if you can handle the payments and paying the amount off sooner. For instance, if you need to put a $500 on your credit card and your minimum payment is $25 with an interest rate of 21%, you will pay more on interest than your principal every month. This can take you at least two years to pay off, and that’s only if you don’t use your credit card again.
As you might know from personal experience, you can find yourself in a lot of debt quickly if you use credit cards. Because so much of your money goes toward interest instead of the principal, credit cards are a massive waste of money for poor people because they usually can’t pay more than the minimum payment. In fact, some can’t pay this and soon find their credit card bill in collections with even a higher amount and more fees. The moral of the story is to use a savings account to put away a little money each month, even if it is only $10 to $20. Use this money for emergencies only, and you don’t need to worry about credit cards.
18. Homes Beyond Your Budget
Buying your home is one of the biggest days of your life. It’s a place that you go to every day for comfort, relaxation, and the safest building you know. Because of this, you spend months trying to find the perfect home. You need enough space for a family and need to make sure you have your own space. You want a specific kitchen, living room, and other features. With so much that you believe you need to have in your home, it’s easy to lose sight of your budget. Plus, you want to keep up with your friends, and they might have nice homes.
In reality, you need to stop looking at what other people have, including your siblings, and focus on what you can afford. Do your daughters need to share a room? Many children do and grow up to become best friends. They will adapt and find ways to have their own space and time. Yes, trying to cram five people into one bathroom in the morning is a challenge, but when you’re living within your means, you will keep yourself out of debt and stop wasting money. When this happens, you might find yourself saving, and your wealth is growing so you can one day afford a bigger house without losing money.
17. Impulse Shopping
How many times are you in the checkout lane and you look at all the candy bars, lighters, and other items? These are known as impulse purchases and are placed strategically (and sometimes with a higher price than similar things in the store) so you buy them on an impulse. Your lighter for your candles is nearly out of the liquid, so you need to buy a new one. Now that you see it at the checkout lane, why not pick it up now?
You need to tell yourself “no” to all impulse items because they are one of the most significant ways you waste your money. Instead of buying that lighter for $3, you can find a different one at the dollar store for $1 that will work just as well.
We all want to be beautiful and, unfortunately, many poor people (especially women) feel that rich women are naturally more attractive. They believe that this is true because rich women can afford to dye their hair regularly, wear the best makeup, and spend hours in the salon. In reality, most rich women don’t do this. In fact, if you meet a female CEO at a local business, you may find she has very little makeup on and is not wearing a manicure.
The myth that poor people believe when it comes to the rich and how they spend their money, looking beautiful is based on the way celebrities look and not the typical entrepreneur woman who did you what do every morning – took a shower, dried and brushed her hair, and brushed her teeth. It’s all about prioritization when it comes to spending money. Let go of the need to be glamorous through the beauty salon.
15. Personal Trainers
You have heard so many stories about how many personal trainers rich people, mostly celebrities, have. You see how this gives them the “perfect” body and keeps them healthy – or at least you see this through the media. This gives you a false belief that everyone needs to have a personal trainer to help change your life around. It’s like thinking there is this magic pill that your trainer has you take and this magically transforms your life.
While personal trainers can help, they are usually too expensive when you can barely make your most important bills. In reality, you will find the same results by looking at YouTube videos that focus on what you want to change. Another step to take is doing your own research.
14. Wasting Food
This is a frustrating point for many people, especially the people who cook. You come home from a busy day at work and make your family an excellent home-cooked meal that is healthy and helps you save money. However, your kids barely touch it, and your husband isn’t that hungry, so you throw half of the food in the garbage. In a few days, the leftovers go in the trash, and you feel like you just wasted the whole meal.
It’s not that you want to waste food. It’s difficult to know when your family is starving, and when a smaller meal would be best. It’s hard to see if they’ll like the meal they ate last month or if it doesn’t taste the same, so they don’t eat as much. The best tricks to follow to decrease waste is to keep track of what is thrown away so you learn a bit more about how much food to make and serve. Use leftovers in different dishes or create a different side, so it’s like a mixed meal in the next few days to a month, providing you can freeze the leftovers.
13. Giving Your Children Fancy Toys
Like most parents, you want to give your children everything they ask for. Of course, you don’t do this because you also want to raise children that understand the value of a dollar, how to save, and realize they don’t need whatever they want. However, it’s hard when all their friends have phones, laptops, and Xboxes.
While it is nice to treat your kids every now and then, giving in every time they want an expensive new toy, game, or device will run your finances dry. Plus, children will only focus on most of these items for a few weeks or months, and then they sit there collecting dust. The best option is to keep their fancy devices and toys to a minimum and wait until a special occasion, such as Christmas, to give it to them. The wait will be worth it.
12. Strange Fitness Products/Miracle Diets
You want to lose weight and do it quickly. Instead of focusing on eating healthy and finding yourself losing a couple of pounds a week, you decide to purchase the new miracle diet pill and a couple of fitness products that will help you exercise. You couldn’t really spend the money on these items at the time, but you found a way to work around that by pushing back a couple of bills that can wait until next month.
Not only does this send you into a bit of debt and increase your bill because you now have late fees, but the chances of these items working as you want are slim. Because you don’t have an exercise or weight loss plan, you will soon find your products collecting dust or selling them at your next garage sale for not even half of the price.
11. Fortune Tellers and Psychics
Don’t deny it – even though you might not have actually spent money on a fortune teller or psychic, you have thought about it. You have looked at the free reading groups on Facebook, shared your picture, and tried to get someone to tell you something. It’s a natural curiosity for people to learn as much as they can about their future, what direction they should take in life, or even past experience. Unfortunately, many people are scammers and just looking to make a few quick dollars at your expense.
The truth is, your future depends on your choices and if you want a good prospect you need to make good choices and doing this is free You don’t need anyone to try to tell you whether you should marry your significant other or not as your heart, mind, and time will tell you. Instead of wasting your money on people who are trying to scam you or giving you an educated guess, focus on paying down your debt so you can start saving your money.
10. Spiritual Items And Good Luck Charms
When you are poor and trying to build your wealth, you’ll try pretty much anything. In fact, you probably have an idea of the types of items you’ve wasted money on, such as a good luck charm that was supposed to give you better luck with your finances. Usually, you know that these pieces won’t help you as much as someone says, but you still hope for several reasons. Sometimes you just need something to believe in, and other times you really think they will help you, you just need to find the right item.
If you truly believe, then you need to follow your heart. However, always remember your budget and to be smart with your purchase. Don’t go to Amazon and purchase a bunch of crystals and candles because you read a money spell. Instead, do some research and save up for this exclusive item. Make sure you genuinely want to buy the article and it will become useful in your life instead of impulsively purchasing it.
9. New Trends
You have a daughter who is begging you for the latest fashionable jeans that cost over $100. You want her to have everything she needs, but she doesn’t need these no matter how badly she thinks she does. It seems that every time you walk into the store, the jeans are staring at you and telling you that you can afford them if you try.
The fact is, the jeans won’t be as popular within a couple of months and then your daughter will want that different pair. Fashion and trends change quickly and often overnight. If you start buying one item, you will need to purchase the next thing because you need to keep up with your neighbors. However, you can’t afford the jeans as quickly as your neighbors can. You have other priorities for your finances, and it’s not a fancy pair of pants that you can find for cheaper in a few months.
8. Your Health
One of the biggest mistakes poor people make is ignoring their health because they can’t afford health insurance, the doctor bill, to fix a cavity or glasses. The problem is when you ignore problems with your health, they become more significant problems and much more expensive. No matter what the issue is, ignoring your poor health will not make the problem disappear. You need to put your finances in order the best you can and then focus on the priority at hand, which is getting yourself to the doctor, so you don’t end up with a large hospital bill or operation later.
Go to the doctor, even if you don’t have health insurance, and look at payment plans. Hospitals and clinics have great payment plans for people with and without health insurance. All you need to do is get on your phone and call them once you get the bill. Sometimes they will have financial hardship cases and will deduct a certain percentage from your bill. Plus, you’re now on your way to staying healthy and out of the hospital.
7. Going Out
We all need to go out and enjoy ourselves from time to time. It’s great to go out with your friends for a drink or go out with your partner to a movie, but how much money are you spending on it that could go elsewhere? This is not to say that you shouldn’t go out and enjoy a night every now and then, but you don’t need to do it every Friday night or every payday.
If you know that your anniversary is coming up in three weeks and you are craving Chinese food, wait and go out for Chinese for your anniversary. If your friends are going to the club on Fridays, stay in and enjoy a gentle and quiet evening at home at least three weeks every month. Take one day a month and go out with your friends or invite them over to your house for a movie night.
6. In-App Purchases And Games
You download a free game to play on your phone during your downtime. You are on level six when suddenly you run out of coins. You’ve become a bit addicted to this game and can’t imagine taking the time to build up your coins so you can purchase the item. This is when the app tells you that there is a new sale, and you can buy 1,000 coins for $9.99. You think about how much you can do with that many coins and how long it would take for you to build without paying and decide that $10 isn’t that much money.
Within a couple of days, you have run out of coins again, but this time you need to spend more money for less coins. By the end of the month, $150 went into your app when it could have gone to groceries, gas, or paying the electric bill. Don’t be ashamed if you’ve fallen into this trap; it happens to many people. However, you need to find a way to end the spending streak so you can focus on your priorities, even if this means deleting the game. Trust me; you won’t miss it after a couple of days.
This is seen as similar to in-app purchases for many people when it comes to looking at it in terms of wasting money. Gambling can be anything from going to the casino to buying a lottery ticket. Sure, the chance of putting a dime into a machine and getting back $50 sounds great, but what will you do once you win just a little money? You think this is your lucky day and soon you’re leaving a casino with less money than you came with.
This doesn’t mean you can’t go to the casino, but you need to make sure of two things before you go. First, you can afford to go to the casino. Just because you have money in your account doesn’t mean you can afford to spend it gambling. Second, you need to have a budget. Go to the casino with $20 and once you spend that money, get out of there.
4. The Newest Technology
In some ways, this is another way of keeping up with your friends. You want the newest and greatest technology because of all the features it gives you. On your phone, you get a better camera, thinner or bigger phone, and something that looks new and what other people want. But, if you think about it, there is very little difference from one phone to the next. Even if you have the money to pay for a new phone, it doesn’t mean you can afford it.
It is important to remember the difference between having the money in your account and being able to afford the item. When your car needs maintenance that is $800 and the new phone is priced at $800, what you can afford is to fix your car and not buy the new phone.
3. Your Bank
Have you ever looked at how much money you give your bank every year? This doesn’t just include the commission you pay your bank for commission and not to mention those dreaded overdraft fees. Think about it, if you average ten overdraft fees a month and each charge is $33, you are paying your bank $330 a month, and this comes to $3,960 a year. This is definitely money that is wasted just because you couldn’t keep your checkbook afloat. At the same time, it’s hard not to look at your bank and blame them because how are you to get and stay out of the hole when they are taking so much of your hard-earned money?
This doesn’t mean that you withdraw all your money from the bank and stop using them. It means that you need to take control of your finances. Look at how much you make and create a budget, so you know that you will keep your account in the positive and avoid those overdraft charges.
2. Vaping And Smoking
Not only is this harmful to you, but poor people spend more money on smoking and vaping than any other socio-economic status. In fact, it’s often the lowest socio-economic groups that spend more money on gambling and smoking when an average price for a pack of cigarettes is a little over $6, though many states are increasing the cost to up to $10 per pack.
This means that you will spend around $200 on a pack of cigarettes every month, especially if you go through a half of a pack to a whole pack every day. To put this into perspective, without inflation, the cost you spend on cigarettes every year is $2,400, and the price for ten years is $24,000. Now, take a moment to think about what you can spend that money on, such as repairs to your car or even save up for a new car or house. Of course, you could also put that money into savings for your retirement. If you want to stop smoking, there are multiple ways, such as reading a self-help book or going to the doctor.
1. Giving To The Wrong Charities
This isn’t easy to hear, but there are many well-known charities you donate your money to where the charity doesn’t see half of the money you gave. Part of this is because of the fees the system takes when they process the payment. The other part of it is some of the money goes to paying the staff instead of where you want the money to go. For instance, if you donate to a charity that helps sick children, you want the money to go to the children and not the staff.
While you can continue to donate money, it is essential to find a charity or nonprofit organization that is in your area. Then, you can walk in the doors and talk to the executive director about where your money will go, and you can see the program expanding because of your contribution. Even if you don’t feel like paying the staff’s wages is a waste of money, you always have a better feeling when you are helping the people you want to over anything else.
“15 Things POOR People Waste Money On.” Alux, YouTube. March 2019.
“13 Ways poor people waste money but rich people don’t.” Paula R. Gorman, Ideas Ranking.