If you live on one income and you are in a terrible financial situation, maybe the reason is because you have some bad financial habits
When you live on one income, you really can’t afford poor financial habits.
Truth be told, many people can’t afford their bad money habits, but they just can’t seem to find a way to get rid of them.
Some years ago, I was very ignorant about personal finance and had a lot of bad habits.
When we became a one income family, I knew I couldn’t continue with these bad financial habits if I wanted to provide for my family. So I had to learn some good financial habits to replace those poor habits.
I managed to get rid of most of my bad habits after I learned about personal finance and understood how debt and not budgeting or saving money could affect my life for many years.
If you’re living on one income and struggling to survive, you may have some bad money management skills that’s making it hard for you to make ends meet or thrive on one income.
So let’s look at some poor financial habits that could be very costly for one income families.
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5 BAD FINANCIAL HABITS TO AVOID IF YOU LIVE ON ONE INCOME
1. POOR SPENDING HABITS AND INDULGENCE
Poor spending habits and indulgence are two of the most common habits that put people in bad financial situations
Lots of families are in dire straits financially because they don’t budget or have a plan for their finances.
These folks spend their money without thinking about what they are buying or how it would affect them financially.
Sadly, we live in a world where instant gratification is the norm, so we tend to indulge our desires and cravings without thinking of the financial consequences.
Some of you have the mistaken belief that money is meant to be spent (instead of managed), and that you’ll always have enough money.
So you don’t save or plan for the future, instead you engage in impulse buying, make bad investment decisions and buy things like cars or houses that you can’t afford because you convince yourself that you need them
One common trait of people with bad spending habits is they always have an excuse or a reason for their poor financial or purchasing decisions. They can always justify why they had to buy one thing or the other or why they made the financial decisions that they made.
These people are living in denial and they don’t want to accept that there’s a bigger problem they need to address.
If you live on one income, poor spending habits can jeopardize your family’s future and create a lot of problems for you so you need to fix it before it’s too late.
Impulse buying will mess up your budget and cause you to run out of money. Which means, you may end up struggling to pay some of your bills or buying enough food or other necessities.
But the biggest problem with poor spending habits and indulgence is that it could easily cause you to fall into debt especially if you start using expensive credit to make ends meet.
HOW TO BREAK BAD SPENDING HABITS
- Learn to say no to impulse shopping.
- Plan your spending.
- Learn good spending habits and replace those bad habits.
- Buy only what you really need and save the rest of your income.
- Identify your spending triggers (things, people, places etc)
- Practice delayed gratification
- Think of the opportunity cost or what you have to give up if you spend your money recklessly
2. FINANCIAL IGNORANCE
When it comes to money management, ignorance is not bliss.
The more you know about personal finance and how money works, the better you will be at managing your finances.
Financial ignorance is one of the most dangerous things you can do to yourself, that’s why it’s so important to get a financial education.
Everything I know about personal finance is as a result of getting a financial education. The goal of becoming financially literate is so you can make smart financial decisions.
Understanding basic financial concepts like debt, savings, income, liabilities etc is financial literacy 101, yet a lot of people lack a basic understanding of these terms and continue to struggle financially.
If you’re in a terrible financial situation, and your problem is that you keep making poor financial decisions, then it’s possible you don’t know enough about personal finance and you need to fix that.
Financial illiteracy or ignorance correlates highly with financial problems because when you sign up for financial products you don’t understand, you’re asking for trouble.
When you don’t know how to create or manage a budget, you’re asking for trouble. When you don’t know how to save for a rainy day, you are asking for trouble.
You get the idea.
So if you think your problem is financial ignorance, here is what you need to do:
Start learning everything you can about personal finance and how money works. There are lots of good money advice out there and lots of bad advice so you need to do your homework and be careful whom you listen to.
To help you get started, here is a small list of some the best personal finance books. Go check them out!
3. LACK OF FINANCIAL PLANNING
When you live on one income, poor financial planning can cause you to fall into financial difficulties.
If you became a one income family without proper financial planning, chances are you may be having a hard time trying to meet all your expenses on one income.
If you’ve never been trained in finances, don’t know how to create or manage a budget or how to earn a good income to cover your expenses, you may end up in bad financial situation.
Poor financial planning can wreak havoc on your finances especially as a one income family.
Since lack of financial planning can lead to debt and overspending, you need to take the time to plan your finances.
So what do you do if you are struggling with poor financial planning?
The first thing you need to do is to set some financial goals. After you set some financial goals, you need to act on them. Which means take action. That’s how you plan effectively!
Personal finance is 80 percent behavior and 20 percent knowledge so even if you know everything about finances, but fail to act on what you know or change bad money habits, you’re still going to struggle financially.
4. USING CREDIT CARDS OR EXPENSIVE CREDIT TO MAKE ENDS MEET
Many single income households with low incomes and no savings resort to using expensive forms of credit like payday loans and credit card advances to make ends meet.
While this may look like a good idea at the time, the end result is more debt for these households. This is one of the reasons many families are stuck in a cycle of debt and poverty.
I understand there are times when you simply have no option, and I have been there.
When you simply have no other means of keeping your lights on or feeding your kids, and you have access to a credit card, then you gotta do what you gotta do.
But the problem is, if you keep doing this, it will become a very vicious cycle to escape, because these debts usually spiral out of control since they are used to cover recurring living expenses.
Using short-term, expensive loans liKe credit card advances and payday loans to cover ordinary living expenses like food, rent, and utilities is not the answer to your financial problem or the best way to make ends meet.
So what should you do instead?
Focus on building up your emergency savings. Find a way to earn more money. Curb unnecessary spending and don’t be a victim of consumerism.
Learn to live below your means and start using a budget
5. LIVING IN DENIAL
Many people with bad financial management skills are living in denial.
Instead of admitting they are in a financial mess, they bury their heads in the sand and pretend everything is okay.
Waiting until things get so bad and out of control is not a smart strategy to adopt. If you’re in a mess financially, you need to admit it. This is the first step you need to take if you want to turn your finances around.
Being in denial about your situation only serves to keep you there longer than you need to be, and that isn’t very smart. If your dream is to thrive as a one income family, it’s really important that you start taking steps to create your dream life.
Denial is not a good coping mechanism. Don’t shove your reality into a drawer and pretend it doesn’t exist. Hiding unpaid bills and collection notices is bound to backfire sooner rather than later.
Ignoring your financial problems, hoping they will resolve themselves, or just go away is asking for trouble.
As an example, some years ago, I kept ignoring bills and demand notices from Dominion Energy (Virginia electric company) because I didn’t have the money to pay my electric and gas bill. When my power was turned off in the middle of winter, I had to deal with them and and negotiate a payment arrangement to get my lights turned back on.
I knew I shouldn’t have waited until my power was turned off before contacting them, but I thought I could ignore it and maybe the problem would go away.
So if you find yourself in a bad financial situation, don’t ignore it. If you have been ignoring, it’s time to wake up and face it headlong because it isn’t going to go away.
HOW TO CHANGE BAD FINANCIAL HABITS
There are lots of ways you can change bad financial habits, but the most important thing is a willingness to change.
Because if you’re not willing to change those bad habits, nothing you do is ever going to work.
If you’re really committed to changing your bad financial habits, this post, 7 habits of financially stable families, is a good place to start.
If you have more than one poor money habit, focus on changing one habit at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed and discouraged!
Which bad financial habit do you struggle with the most?