Home Money Consciousness 18 Money Mistakes Middle Class People Make to Get Stuck in The Rat Race
Money Consciousness

18 Money Mistakes Middle Class People Make to Get Stuck in The Rat Race

Simi February 13, 2018

Not facing reality

One of the fatal financial mistakes members of the middle-class make is not dealing with the reality of their money matters. Instead of confronting your escalating debt, you prefer to stick your head in the sand like an ostrich. If you don’t acknowledge it, it will go away. At least, that’s what you think (or hope) might happen. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Pretending you’re not in financial trouble only makes the problem worse.

If you’ve overextended yourself in terms of debt, but you do nothing about it, the vicious cycle will perpetuate itself. You’ll make more deficit to service existing debt. Your whole life will become about working to pay off debt that paid off other debt. That’s not a quality existence.

It might not be the most beautiful experience, but you might need to consult a financial adviser and lay your cards out on the table. It can be hard to admit you’ve messed things up by living beyond your means. But think about the alternative. Better to tell a consultant who can help you before you lose it all.
Money problems can become marital problems. They place enormous pressure on a relationship. The strain can become so high that the relationship breaks down.

If one of you is pretending your finances are fine when they’re not, you can drive your partner to a tipping point. This is something you want to avoid. If the relationship breaks down to the extent that you get divorced, it’s a sad situation emotionally. But, not to sound cold, it’s an even sadder situation financially. It will only increase your debt and your monthly expenses. To avoid this eventuality, seek financial help before things go too far and nothing can be salvaged.

Where we come from

People in the middle-class tend to come from a middle-class background. There are certainly exceptions. Some people had an upper-class upbringing who now live a middle-class life. It’s a massive mindset change. Very often, this group will have champagne tastes on beer money. It’s hard to accept that you don’t have the money for the finer things in life. And if you’re going into debt to get them, you’re placing your financial future at risk.

Yet another group of middle-class people comes from a low-income background. For them, the temptation is to make sure their lives and the lives of their children are nothing like the life they led growing up. In doing this, they can go a little overboard, and wrack up debt they can’t service.

In a lot of cases, they lack the financial planning skills needed to manage an income, pay a mortgage and bills, and still have savings left over. They were raised in a hand-to-mouth existence, and so the culture of savings has not been inculcated in them.For those that grew up in the middle-class and remain there, they don’t know anything else.

Many of the habits they acquire when it comes to money come from their upbringing. However, being middle-class 30 years ago is not the same as being middle-class today. Life was a whole lot simpler back then. The demands on your money were not so many. It was not as easy to incur debt as it is today. It’s normal to want to give your children more than you had growing up, but you can’t do it at the risk of bankruptcy. You need to be objective about what you can afford and not succumb to the temptation of debt.

Not shopping ‘smart’

Leading a middle-class existence is a hectic life. You have a full-time job, children who do various activities, social clubs, and responsibilities to your extended family. It feels like every minute of your day is jam-packed with something that needs to be done. So, when it’s 6 p.m., and you’re tired after a long day at work, you don’t feel like cooking. You order pizza, thinking it’s not that expensive. But add up your pizza bill at the end of the month, and you’d be surprised.

It’s Saturday morning. This is the only time you have to go grocery shopping. You don’t look to see which shops have discounts and where you can get things more cheaply. There’s no time. So, you go to the nearest grocery store and do your shopping.

You don’t have a list, because you’re in a hurry. You haven’t planned meals for the coming week. You’ll wing it. Afterward, you arrive home having bought a whole lot of things you didn’t need. And when you realize that you didn’t buy spaghetti, it means another trip to the shop where ‘offers’ tempt you to spend more.’ As an experiment, go an entire month without ordering take-out. You’ll save more than you think. Next, plan your meals for the week. Make a shopping list and stick to it. Go shopping once a week.

Get everything you need so that you don’t have to go back. Look out for stores that offer lower prices. Set yourself a budget each week. Try to spend less than your budget and use the extra money for a family treat. If you struggle to cook during the week, do it in one large session over the weekend and freeze your meals. Don’t be surprised if you halve your grocery bill this way: it can be done!