Tired of Being Broke? Why you are broke and how to change it

Many people have a story of falling on hard times.  But what about when you are in a constant cycle of having no money, with no end in sight?  More than likely you are tired of being broke, but how do you change it?

tired of being broke

If you find yourself in a perpetual state of being broke for years on end, there could be reasons it is happening that you can change.  Sometimes we need to take a good hard look at some of the choices in our life.  It isn’t always easy, but it is worth it.  When we realize we have the power to make some changes, we are able to work towards a better financial future.

Being broke isn’t the same as living on a tight budget.  Many of us have a modest income, living on a tight budget, but aren’t what I call “broke”.  Broke is a state where you constantly have no extra money, or not even enough to get by.   You may be behind in your bills, and unable to pay down any debt or put away any money in a savings account.

WHEN YOU ARE TIRED OF BEING BROKE, LOOK AT WHY YOU ARE THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Sometimes circumstances that are out of our control have caused us to come on hard times.  You may be suffering an illness and can’t physically work, or you may have run into expense after expense on your home that was unavoidable.  Or maybe you have lost your job and are struggling to find work.

Those scenarios, the ones that are out of your control, make it harder to make ends meet.  But even with the circumstances that are out of your control, during that time you can work harder to cut expenses and save money.

However, aside from circumstances that are out of our control, sometimes people are making a decent income but they still wonder, “why am I always broke?”  Because even though they are making a decent wage, they still wind up with more month than money.  They are downright tired of being broke, but aren’t quite sure how to change it.

If that sounds like you, keep reading to see some of the reason you might be struggling of financially and how you can change that.

Let’s look at some answers to this question you may be asking yourself….

WHY AM I ALWAYS BROKE?

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YOU EAT OUT A LOT.  Eating at restaurants is one of the biggest expenses people let go unnoticed.  I understand why.  I, too, absolutely love eating out.  A night where I don’t have to cook AND do dishes, plus eat amazingly delicious food?  Of course it makes sense that people enjoy it.  However, it adds up in a hurry.  If you have a family, it adds up even more!

How to change it: Cut back your eating out drastically and you will notice a huge difference.  Make a decision to eat out only once a month. That may seem like a huge cutback on something you enjoy, but imagine what it would feel like if you made it to the end of the month without having absolutely no money?

YOU GRAB A DAILY COFFEE AT THE DRIVE THRU.  Again, may not seem like much, but if you do it every day it adds up.  Here in Canada our lower priced coffee chain, Tim Horton’s sells a large coffee for $1.99.  If you buy one every day each month that is an extra $61.69.  Or, if you prefer the fancier chains like Starbucks and you order a Venti coffee every day at $2.45 each, you’ve spent $75.95.  That’s a lot of money that could go towards groceries, debt, or other bills.

How to change it: Make your coffee at home, and leave the Starbucks or Tim Horton’s for a special treat.  If you find it difficult to get up early enough to get your coffee maker going, buy a coffee maker with at timer (like this one) and prepare and set it at night.  Not only will you have save money, but you get to wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee!

YOU PAY ONLY THE MINIMUM BALANCE ON YOUR CREDIT CARDS, STUDENT LOANS, OR LINE OF CREDIT.  That total number you get on your debt statements?  If you only pay that and nothing above for your entire loan, you will be paying for a LONG time with a TON of interest.  It’s really hard to get ahead financially when your debt load is not really shrinking all that fast.

How to change it:  Pay more than the minimum amount.  If you don’t have much to put towards the debt, even twenty extra dollars helps.  Put whatever you can towards the principle of your debt.  Use the coffee money you are no longer buying coffee at the drive thru with to go towards your debt.  The quicker you pay it down, the more money you will have freed up which will, in the long run help you to stop being broke, even if it doesn’t feel that way when you are making the extra payments.  If you can pay down a debt if 5 years instead of 15, it will be completely worth it.

YOU PAY TOO MUCH FOR GROCERIES. This is an easy one to fall into, because there are SO many ways you can end up overspending on groceries.  You might be shopping at a higher priced store instead of the budget grocery store.  You might be forgetting about food in your fridge and letting it go to waste.  Or you may not be shopping the sales.  You also may be buying more expensive food.

How to change it:  Compare prices at your local grocery stores and start shopping at the store with the lowest prices.  I’m always amazed at how different various stores can be when it comes to their prices.  Also, be sure to eat leftovers in the fridge, and don’t forget about that produce!  Meal planning and shopping the sales are huge helps and you can learn how to do that in this post HERE.  As well, you can make meals that are better for a small budget.  Read What to Eat when you are Broke for meal ideas that are frugal and delicious.

YOU HAVE TOO MUCH HOUSE, OR CAR.  If you have struggled financially for years and are really tired of being broke, it may be time to look at downsizing.  House poor (or car poor) is when you spend too much of your income on your home (or vehicles.)  Generally it is recommended that you do not spend any more than 30% of your gross income on housing expenses.

How to change it:  If you are exceeding more than 30% of your gross income to pay for housing costs, it may be time to downsize to a smaller home.  Also, take a look at your vehicle expenses – car payment, insurance, gas costs – and consider downsizing your vehicle as well if you have a high car payment or a gas guzzler.

YOU LIKE TO SHOP.  Maybe you are a mall shopper, always up for a new outfit, or maybe you are a budget store shopper and hit up the dollar stores and thrift stores often.  Either way, it all adds up.  You  might think if you shop at the cheaper priced stores that you are being wise, but if you are continually broke, those expenses, no matter how small they are will keep you from moving forward.  When you shop, you are investing in stuff, not yourself.

How to change it:  This one is going to sound pretty simple, but, you just need to stop shopping.  Take a break from going into the stores for a while.  Once you are not broke anymore, give yourself a budget for each month to spend and don’t go beyond that.  Decide to stop investing in stuff, and choose to invest in yourself – that means using that shopping money for things like savings, or paying down debt.

YOU USE CREDIT CARDS TOO MUCH. Whether it be shopping, or going out to eat, grocery shopping, or filling up your gas tank in your vehicle, you always pull our your credit cards.  The problem with this is that if you are struggling financially, it can be easy to forget to pay off the cards or ignore it.  I know some people love to use their cards for their loyalty programs and I don’t see anything wrong with that – if you are not struggling to pay them off.

How to change it:  Make a cash only rule until you get your finances under control.  Yes, you may lose some points for the loyalty programs while not using them, but the points aren’t very helpful if you keep throwing yourself into debt.  Once you manage the cards better you can start using them again, but until you are at the point where you don’t need to ask yourself, “am I going to be broke forever?” using the cards should be avoided.

YOU DON’T MAKE ENOUGH MONEY. Sometimes you can save and scrimp all you want, but there are times that you may just not be making enough money.

How to change it:  Look at how to increase your income.  Maybe it’s time for a new job, or maybe you can add a side hustle to make some cash.  If you are like me and are a stay at home mom, it may be time to look for ways to work from home.  For some ideas, check out 10 legitimate ways to work from home.

YOU MAY BE WONDERING, “AM I GOING TO BE BROKE FOREVER?”

Being broke for years on end can be tough.  I know, I’ve been there.  But there is hope and you can often change your circumstances.  Sometimes it just requires you to take a real hard look at your life and deciding if it is time to take a different path than you have been on.  Remember that there are times where we need to realize that if we want different results, we have to stop doing the same thing we’ve always been doing.  Change isn’t easy, but it is usually so worth it.  If you are wondering what to do when you are completely broke, try applying some of these tips to your life and see how they can make a difference.  You don’t need to be broke forever.

Related:  How to keep going when you want to give Up

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