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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.