Many believe the only reason they’re broke is the fact that they do not make enough money to cover their expenses and have some leftover cash. However, some of us refuse to re-evaluate ourselves to improve our finances by making better life choices. I was definitely in this boat — I used to believe that being broke was solely about not having the amount of money I desired to purchase things I wanted. But when I learned that my mindset was the issue, something clicked, and I began to question my actions.
Here are five of the main reasons that might be keeping you broke, and how to fix them.
1. The wrong friendships
This is an issue that not everybody recognizes. Having toxic friends with a different mentality than yours can be highly detrimental to your finances. If your friends encourage you to go out every weekend, spend money on drinks, purchase material items that you do not need, they are only contributing to your broke status. I used to have many of these types of friends, but after realizing that they were not helping me achieve my financial goals, I slowly became more distant and ended up with only a few close ones.
Another way you can fix the situation for yourself is to let your friends know that you are on a tight budget. Perhaps you’ll realize you need to find yourself real friends that understand and value money as much as you do.
2. Not knowing how to manage my money
I always bring this up when talking about money and building wealth. If you make a good amount of money but do not know how to manage it properly, you can still end up broke. Knowing how to manage your money should not be all about saving it — it should also include having a separate savings account just to cover emergencies, for investing (making that money work for you), paying your bills, and other necessities. When I learned how to manage my money, I was able to create my business without having to take out a loan, and I am graduating from college debt-free.
3. Not learning new skills
I believe that if you are not constantly learning new skills and using them on a daily basis or career-wise, you will put yourself inside a box with no room for expansion. When you learn new skills, you can tackle different tasks that may result in a higher income. You can also use those skills for a side business. I learn new skills by taking online courses and applying the gained knowledge to my business. I increased my income, and became more responsible for doing so. I also use websites like Lynda and Skillshare to expand my knowledge on certain topics.
4. A toxic work environment
Your job may be contributing to your broke status by not allowing you to expand or by not giving you a break. Let me explain: if your job is constantly contacting you, even when you are not at work anymore, or when you are home on a weekend, they are using your personal time for their growth. This is an example of a toxic work environment that you want to avoid. Your brain needs a break to store new information, which allows you to learn new things and detox mentally. Additionally, you could be using that free time to invest it in yourself and go after more of the work you actually want to do.
Unfortunately, I had a terrible experience working in a toxic job. Besides not teaching me anything new, nor helping me improve professionally or personally, the person in charge tried to take over my life. I could not make plans, because I never knew when I was off until the day beforehand, since the schedules were made one day ahead. Also, on my days off, I used to receive many phone calls and texts asking me to go help someone — or to ask questions that they could have answered themselves just by looking at the spreadsheet. Due to this, I was not expanding nor growing, and was forced to quit.
5. The belief that being broke depended solely on my income
Many believe, just as I did, that they are broke because they do not make enough money. The reality I had to learn was that if I made enough to cover all my bills, buy groceries, cover all my necessary expenses, and end up with $100 in my pocket that I’d choose to waste, being broke was my choice. What you choose to do with those extra $100 is your responsibility. You may use your extra cash to purchase books and educate yourself, invest it in the stock market (yes, that little amount), save it for a side business, or even create a website to present your skills to the world.
Whenever I have money leftover or a little extra income, I save it to pay off the mortgage loan my husband and I took out, because that is the only debt we have. By paying more than what we are supposed to each month, we lower the amount of interest we have to pay. That way, I spend it on something that matters and that can potentially save us thousands of dollars in the long run.
Elenny leads a finance, career, and entrepreneurship- focused website. Her mission is to promote equality and growth in the professional and personal aspects of life while building a community of like-minded women.
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