Guest Post: 7 Reasons You’re Always Broke
For understandable reasons it’s been rather Christmassy on 7 Reasons as of late. And while today’s post isn’t exactly a festive post in itself, it may well be relevant when you reach the till with your basket full of presents. Don’t worry, though, while your loved ones might have to do with a sprig of holly and a set of firelighters this year, next year will be very different. All you have to do is read (and learn) from today’s guest post. And that’s not the most challenging thing you’ve ever been asked to do, is it?
These days, it’s easy to blame the government and the bankers for your financial woes, but the chances are you could make things a lot easier by making a few of your own changes. Think Money, which provides debt management and other financial solutions, offers its own ideas about why you might be struggling financially…
1. You’re An Impulse Buyer. It’s funny how supermarkets can make you forget half your shopping list and replace it with all those things you Didn’t Know You Needed. The problem with this is that you’ll still have to go back and buy the things you forgot, at which point you’ll end up buying another load of junk that should probably be banned from human consumption. The simple answer: write a shopping list, and stick to it.
2. You’re A Plastic Spender. Credit cards are one of those magical modern inventions that can make spending money so much simpler. The reason for that is that it doesn’t really feel like you’re spending money – and it might not actually dawn on you that you can’t afford your rent until your landlord starts hurling abuse through your letterbox.
We’re not saying you should stop using your credit card altogether, but a bit of advance planning can’t hurt. Before you make that purchase, work out how much money you need for important stuff, like food.
3. You Never Budget. Planning out every last penny of your spending might seem a bit regimented, but if there’s one area in which you should give your inner anarchist a rest, it’s here. If you have bills to pay and food to buy, it really is a good idea to make sure you have enough money for those things before you start your next online shopping spree.
It doesn’t have to be complicated – look at a few recent bank statements, add up all your essential living costs and make sure you put that money to one side at the start of each month.
4. You Hide Things From Your Significant Other. We’ve all done it: fearing the ire of our loved ones, we pretend our latest and greatest purchase cost a good 50% less than it actually did. This poses a multitude of potential predicaments, all of which confirm the old saying that ‘honesty is the best policy’.
Scenario A: your partner, in the belief that your combined bank balance is a lot healthier than it actually is, goes out and spends yet more money, sending your account into the red.
Scenario B: your partner becomes suspicious and checks the price online. You are sleeping on the sofa tonight.
5. Your Significant Other Is Hiding Things From You. Despite the punishment you may have received for your own spending mishaps, there’s every chance that your partner has probably done the very same thing more than once. And without watching the bank balance like a hawk, it’s very easy for these things to slip under the radar. So unless you’re willing to be completely honest with each other – and never buy anything you actually want ever again – it might be an idea to have a joint account for your bills and other living costs, and keep your own accounts for the things you don’t need.
6. You Drive Like A Maniac. It’s another thing most of us have been guilty of at one time or another: putting your foot down at the lights to get away quickly, or driving at 80mph on the motorway to get somewhere on time. Not only are these things against the law, they could also be adding a lot to your monthly fuel bill.
Change gears when your engine hits 2,500 revs; brake gently; accelerate slowly. We won’t keep boring you with the tips you’ve probably heard (and ignored) a thousand times, but taking them on board could cut your costs by more than you think.
7. You Can’t Cook (Yet). Back when we all wore loin cloths, your life expectancy would be significantly lowered if you or someone in your family couldn’t cook, to say the least. These days, things are much easier: microwave food and take-aways mean a meal is never more than a few minutes away. Those foods may also hit your life expectancy, but a more pressing issue could be the effect on your bank balance.
Buying fresh ingredients and making meals from scratch is usually cheaper, not to mention healthier. What’s more, it’s probably not as difficult as you think. Find some simple recipes online, learn to cook and see your finances improve.