Financial instability is one of the top contributors to stress, anxiety, and even marital problems. Constantly spending your energy worrying about whether or not ends are going to meet every month will take it’s toll on you both physically and mentally. Nobody wants to live paycheck to paycheck, we all desire to be able to pay our bills on time and still have money to enjoy. People like to blame their financial struggles on their income and while that is often times a contributor, most people struggle financially because they lack something more important than a large income: self control. I once had an acquaintance (we’ll call him Randy) ask to borrow a few hundred dollars from me because he wasn’t going to be able to make his rent payment. Randy and his wife both worked and they had a few kids, on the surface it looked like a legitimate issue and it was definitely a sad story. I know for a fact that the guy had just gotten himself into a HUGE car loan and the payments were eating up his monthly income. I also knew he had a boat sitting in his driveway that he could easily sell for several hundred dollars or more. The bottom line is that Randy didn’t have an income problem, he had a spending problem. He tied up all of his income in car payments, boat payments, boat insurance payments, fuel for the boat, etc. I LOVE helping people who are need but I’m am totally against enabling people to continue making horrible freaking decisions by bailing them out every time they get into a pinch. Randy was living wayyyy above his means and that is exactly why many people stay broke their whole lives.
I’ve put together a list of ways that you can be sure you’ll never get ahead with your money and that you’ll likely always be struggling to make ends meet every month.
1. Finance a car.
How average are you? The average car payment in America is around $500 a month and the average amount financed for a new vehicle is around $31,000 for an average of 65 months. That’s absolute insanity. If you love struggling financially by trying to impress your broke friends with a stupid vehicle that you can’t afford, then I encourage you to finance a car. This will ensure that hundreds of dollars of your monthly income will be sucked out of your budget to make the bank rich in exchange for a vehicle that drops in value every second you drive it.
2. Eat out. A lot.
The average American spends about $1,200 a year on fast food. I’ve personally seen budgets where families were spending $200-$300 a month on dining and fast food. If you shop smart you can get groceries that will feed you lunch for a week for the same cost as eating one fast food meal. Until you’re debt free, there’s no reason that you should be spending money on dining out.
3. Treat yourself cause “you deserve it”.
I hate this mentality. I constantly see social media posts about people wasting their income on frivolous shopping and unaffordable vacations using the excuse that they “earned it”or “deserve it”. Seriously? Grow up. Be an adult. What you deserve is to be responsible with your finances. The truth is you should be able to do those nice things for yourself which is why you should want to stop being broke. Consistently digging yourself into a hole by blowing all of your money on stupid crap to “treat yourself” will ensure that you’re never able to build wealth and will never have any real money to actually enjoy. Skip the weekend trip for now so you can see the world later.
Your income is your most powerful wealth building tool. The more of your income that is drained by recurring payments is that much less that you can put toward building wealth. Financial freedom can be a reality if you choose it.