I was reading through some content the other day and found a list of the top 25 common factors for those who are financially struggling. It was interesting to see as we consider the state of our economy as a country. In addition, consider the state of the local church as it continues to decline.
1) Flat screen TV – I’d love to have one but I know we can use the money elsewhere right now. But I’ve seen a lot of paycheck to paycheck households with a flat-screen TV. They are the wave of the future but these were bought to have a cool tv not because tube TV’s were no longer available.
2) Premium cable channels – Who doesn’t love the shows on HBO or Showtime? But the the ones who are most complaining about money tend to not only have one premium cable channel, they tend to have them all! When you mention that it’s expensive they insist that it’s cheaper because of a package. They might also have some sort of DVR t record all of the channels too. Sorry, I can’t see spending over $100 a month to sit in front of the TV that much (thought there was a time that I did but I was also in credit card debt once too).
3) Eating out often – The not so well to do can’t get ahead because so much of their paychecks go to eating out often. I’m not against a good meal but these people rely on other to cook for them rather than prepare food for themselves.
4) Leasing a car – A car lease can be useful but the not so well to do’s are perpetually leasing, enticed by the lower monthly payment. Over time though a bought car would have saved them a whole lot!
5) Buying a new car every few years – Maybe worse than the car leasers are those who insist on buying a car every few years. Oh, the horror of not having an up to date vehicle that you take care of for the long haul. You must have something new to show off.
6) TV in every room (with cable) – The not so well to do’s are so consumed with their TV shows that they have one in every room lest they miss something on TV! Every bedroom and kid has one! There might even be a small one in the kitchen. And to add to the expense they probably all have full premium cable channels. I love TV but come on!
7) Latest cell phones – The not so well to do’s always have the latest cell phones. It’s a miracle if their cell phones last for the 2-year contract. These are people where you run into them every few months and somehow they have a new phone. They’ll insist that it didn’t cost them anything but we know better.
8 ) Eat poorly – This goes hand in hand with eating out. The NSWTD’s tend to eat like crap. Soda is a staple as are fried foods and fast food in general.
9) Overweight/No Exercise – When you eat out all the time and don’t eat well what’s going to happen? Yeah, you’re gonna put on a couple of pounds. Or more! This people scoff at exercise and moan that they don’t have time and it’s too expensive. Of course it is – you’re spending too much time and money on your TV’s and shows!
10) Lots of new clothes – Oh, the not so well to do’s have to have the latest styles or the biggest name brands. And in excess too! A few pairs of shoes or sneakers? Yeah, that would be optimistic. More like enough shoes so that none of them ever have a chance of wearing out.
11) Tons of gifts for the holidays when you can’t afford it – Have you heard this story? Person complains that they are up to their necks in credit card debt because they had to buy everyone gifts for the holidays. Not just immediate family but all sorts of extended family too. Uncle Joe’s wife’s sister Mary’s kid needed to get that new X-Box game becuse you promised it to him. Wonder why he likes it when you come over for the holidays?
12) New computer every couple of years – Man, the not so well to do’s go through computers like my two year old goes through diapers! There’s always some reason they needed a new one. And no, these people don’t need their computer for work in any way.
13) Don’t take care of their stuff – These folks not only have lots of stuff but they don’t take care of it either. Rather than take care of their stuff they let it fall into disarray. Even if there’s something small that can be fixed they’d rather just go buy another then go through the trouble of fixing it. Yeah, here’s one reason they go through so many cars, cell phones, and computers!
14) Tons of gadgets – Always with the newest gadgets the not so well to do’s have (that was a Yoda sentence, huh?). Besides cell phones and such they also have whatever is the newest thing, paying full price for being the first to have it.
15) Doesn’t own a home – Nothing wrong with renting but I find that the not so well to do’s more often than not rent. And they move pretty often too. I guess their apartments aren’t ever big enough for all of their stuff!
16) No online high yield savings accounts – No ING for these people. For whatever reason they don’t trust online banking, or so they claim. Yet they seem to be able to use their computers to shop online without trust issues, hmm.
17) Doesn’t budget – No budget what-so-ever! “Budgets? We don’t need no stinking budgets!” Spend and we’ll figure it out later.
18) Couldn’t tell you their monthly expenses – The NSWTD’s can’t keep track of their expenses. There’s so many to keep track of too! Think a budget might help? They also have a tendency to miss payments on bills making the cost of their expenses even greater.
19) Doesn’t share finances with their spouse – There’s a tendency that one spouse takes care of all the finances while the other one has no clue. Scary.
20) Hates job but won’t do anything about it – Do these people bitch about their jobs! But ask them why they won’t leave or look for another one and they’ll give you a litany of excuses.
21) Little or no college education – I don’t want to rag on people who don’t like school. It’s not for everyone and not everyone needs it. But it seems a lot of the not so well to do’s have little or no college education. Just saying.
22) No financial priorities – These are the people that tell you they could never save a down payment for a house but then you see all of the gadgets and new items they have. Yeah, they could save up they just don’t make it a priority.
23) Quick to pick up tab and tip – It’s great going out with these people because they are quick to pick up the tab and/or leave a ridiculous tip. It’s like they are trying to prove they have a lot so they become over generous. Hey, I’ll pay my share and you don’t have to prove anything to me!
24) They don’t realize their situation – For all of the complaining about money they do, the not so well to do’s don’t realize why they are cash-strapped. When you try to point out how they spend or how expensive some of their habits are they say it’s nonsense.
25) No personal responsibility – Someone or something is always out to get them and causes them to be broke. The IRS hates them. Their bosses won’t promote them. Their family takes their money. There’s always some outside influence that causes them to not have money. It rare that they blame themselves for their situation.