The 6 Habits of Financially Miserable People

The 6 Habits of Financially Miserable People

Most people grow up with false beliefs such as money is the source of all evil or money is dirty.

In most cases, these negative associations with money are based on the thoughts and experiences of our parents.

The truth, however, is that wealth is nothing more than an enabler for opportunities.

Not everything in life is tied to money, but life is certainly more fun without financial struggles.

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We all have dreams, hopes, and aspirations. And in most cases, these are bound to money.

Money is not everything, but without it, it’s hard to fulfill most of our dreams and make the experiences we desire.

Yet, the truth is that money is just a tool. It’s a neutral form and energy. It enables you to do good things and bad things.

What you do with money is up to you.

“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”

— Henry David Thoreau

They deny the importance of money

People who are good with money aren’t afraid to talk about its importance.

Bob Proctor once said that money has a more significant influence on your life than almost any other commodity you can think of. Yet, we often feel uncomfortable talking about the truth because we grew up with limiting beliefs.

If you claim that money isn’t important, you either never had to work for it, or you’re lying.

We all need to pay our bills and I bet you don’t want to worry about affording the next meal.

Money, just like other resources, is a form of energy and enables you to live life on your own terms. Without money, you won’t only lack shelter and food, but you also can’t contribute to making the world a better place.

How to improve:

Stop saying that you don’t care about money. Because you do. We all do.

We all spend +40 years of our lives working for 40 hours per week for money. So there obviously is some relevance to it.

“Money will have a greater influence on your life than almost any other commodity you can think of.”

— Bob Proctor

They can’t control impulse shopping

Most people wonder why no money is left at the end of the month but regularly buy stuff they don’t need.

Impulse shopping often results from feelings like stress, sadness, or anger.

Remember how girls in movies often go shopping after a break-up?

Even though impulse shopping might give you an instant boost in happiness, such purchases can be the reason for financial misery.

How to improve:

Set up a 24-hour rule: Every time you want to buy something new, leave it at the store (or in your virtual shopping cart) and give yourself 24 hours to think about it.

If you still want to have it after 24 hours, you can be sure that it’s worth the money.

In most cases, however, you’ll realize that you don’t need it and save a bunch of money.

They don’t take care of their wallet

Most people’s wallets look horrible: Full of bills and vouchers, banknotes crumpled up, and tons of loyalty cards they don’t ever use.

Yet they end up wondering why they lack monetary resources. Well, here’s the thing: Your money won’t manage itself.

You need to take care of it. And while most of us use credit cards instead of banknotes, how we deal with physical money has a massive impact on our money mindset.

By stuffing banknotes, bills, and cards into your 10-year old wallet, you act as if you don’t care about money.

How to improve:

  • Get yourself a nice portemonnaie: Get rid of that old, ripped one, and grab one that you enjoy looking at and holding in your hands.
  • Get rid of all unnecessary papers and bills.
  • Set up a rule for all small coins and decide whether you want to keep them in your wallet or save them up in a penny bank.
  • Go to the ATM and withdraw some banknotes. Place those in your wallet nicely and don’t spend them. Leave an extra $50, $100, or whatever you desire in your purse to remind yourself of the abundance of money when you open your portemonnaie.
  • Take a few extra seconds after your payments to arrange your wallet nicely. After shopping, put all the change into your wallet accordingly. Don’t rush yourself while paying at the grocery store and accepting your change. Appreciate the flow of money and take a few extra moments to arrange it carefully. Instead of crumpling up your banknotes, place them into your wallet with joy.

They don’t know their numbers

Financially miserable people don’t control their spending behavior.

They know how much money they make and maybe know their fixed costs, such as the rent and phone bills, but they have no idea how they spend the rest of their income.

But as Peter Drucker once said:

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”

How to improve:

Track your monthly expenses and review your spending behavior at least once per month.

I started tracking my expenses three years ago. I could literally tell you how much money I spent on food, clothing, or presents in October 2018 or January 2019.

This might sound greedy, but it isn’t.

I work hard for my money and so do you.

I value my financial resources and I want to know where my financial energy flows. And it’s impossible to know that when you don’t have a good overview of your expenses.

I use a simple, free app called Toshl for my tracking. It takes me two seconds to make a new entry and at the end of each month, I check my numbers, which takes me another 10–15 minutes.

“Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.”

— James W. Frick

They don’t talk about money

How can you improve something if you don’t talk about it?

The answer is you can’t.

If you avoid talking about money, you neglect controlling your financial status.

Yet, in most cultures, talking about money is as much as a taboo topic as sex. That’s why it feels so weird to share our income and expenses.

And that’s why you think someone writing an article about how much money they make is arrogant. But it isn’t. They just have a different relationship with money and can talk about it openly.

How to improve:

Talking about money is the first step toward taking control of your finances.

However, you don’t need to share your income and expenses openly.

You can, for instance, start by talking about specific purchases you made and ask your friends whether they think it was a good deal or not.

Whatever you do, starting small is the key to success.

They’re addicted to takeaway coffee

…sort of.

In 2017, CNBC published a video of Kevin O’Leary explaining why he never grabs a coffee to go, here’s what he said:

“Do I pay $2.50 for a coffee? Never, never, never do I do that. That is such a waste of money for something that costs 20 cents. I never buy a frape-latte-blah-blah-blah-woof-woof-woof for $2.50. I drink coffee, one cup every morning, it costs about 18 cents to make it, and I invest the rest.”

With a net worth of over $400 million, he obviously has a few things to say about money management.

Now, don’t get me wrong: The point here isn’t avoiding takeaway coffee at all costs.

It’s the fact that our small, unconscious habits can sometimes cost us more time and money than we’re aware of.

How to improve:

By tracking your expenses, you’ll be more aware of all these tiny habits that cost you hundreds, or even thousands of dollars each year.

Once you’ve identified them, you can ask yourself whether it makes sense to eliminate certain daily or weekly purchases.

Takeaway coffee is just one example.

Going out for drinks every now and then won’t harm your wealth. Doing it every day, however, will.

Getting yourself some nice clothes and shoes when you need them won’t ruin your financial status. Going to the mall every few days probably will.

“Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.”

— Benjamin Franklin

Final thoughts

Money is neither the root of all bad, nor is it dirty or evil. It’s a neutral form of energy.

If bad people do bad things with money, it’s the fault of the people, not the money.

There’s a huge misconception and many people believe that money would change the core of a person’s identity. The reality, however, is that money just reveals who you are. It doesn’t change you.

If you use a knife to kill a person, it’s not the knife’s fault. It’s you who decided to use that neutral tool to harm someone. You could’ve also used it to make yourself a sandwich.

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