Do you hate feeling broke or ask, “Why am I poor?” Well, you’re not alone.
While some don’t make enough to pay for their basic necessities, others maintain poor spending habits that keep them in debt. In 2018, the American household debt hit a record $13.21 trillion [source]. That’s a lot of zeros! To break the debt cycle, you have to develop positive money habits. So, if you’re tired of saying “I hate being poor”, here are 35 top tips to stop being broke.
Why Am I Poor? Top 35 Tips to Stop Being Broke
9 Habits To Stop Being Poor
Habit #1. Earn Cash Back on Your Everyday Purchases
Wouldn’t it be nice to earn Cash Back on your everyday purchases? Well now you can. Cash back sites and apps are giving consumers more and more opportunities to earn free money on the items they already buy. Sign up for these sites and apps to start earning free money on autopilot.
1. Shop and Dine Out to Earn *Easy* Cash
Dosh is a mobile app (iOS and Android) that turns your debit or credit card into a money making machine! Simply link your most used cards to the app and start earning up to 10% cash back on purchases at over 1,000 stores and restaurants. Here’s a couple of our favorites:
Every time you swipe your card, free money is loaded into your account *automatically* in the background!
The only time you have to open the app is to cash out that sweet (effortlessly earned) money straight to your bank account OR PayPal.
You can also get $5 cash when your friends and family link a verified card.
*COVID-19 Hack: As of 4/22/20, Dosh is offering 4% cash back at Safeway and 4% cash back at Vons when you order your groceries online. Create your free Dosh account here to earn easy money on groceries through the Dosh app, and grab a $1 welcome bonus! (Pro tip: use Dosh and Ibotta together to earn more free money)
2. Earn Cash From Every Receipts
If you want to earn real cash on your receipts from almost any retailer, start using the CoinOut app (as seen on Shark Tank). All you need to do is take a photo of your receipts and CoinOut will give you randomized rewards.
Additionally, CoinOut surprises users with fun bonuses and extra cash back opportunities every week!
How does it pay? Well, CoinOut pays in the form of real hard cash (i.e. PayPal or Bank deposits) or you can cash out in the form of Amazon Gift Cards!
Need some proof? Check out the last PayPal deposit CoinOut sent us!
3. Get a Big Fat Check for Your Shopping Habits
Get up to 40% cash back when you shop at 2,500 stores using Rakuten (formerly Ebates). Each quarter, Rakuten will send your cash back rewards in the form of a “Big Fat Check”or money transferred to your PayPal account.
You don’t even have to request your cash back payment—Ebates sends payment every three months.
“Help me stop being poor!”
Here are the facts. The *only* way to save money is to spend less than you earn. There’s no way around it.
So what does this mean for you? It means you need to either decrease your expenses or increase your income.
We want to help you do both. Join our 6-day Savings-Account Accelerator Workshop. We’ll send you expense-lowering tools and techniques (and even a few tips on how to boost your income). These frugal-living hacks will help you accomplish the cardinal rule of personal finance: keep your income over your expenses.
When you can spend less than you earn, your money will grow. You will build your savings, pay down debt, and save for retirement.
Join our free 6-day Savings-Account Accelerator Workshop, and start growing your wealth today.
Habit #2: Stop Letting Trips to the Grocery Drain Your Bank Account
If you want to stop being poor, start by reviewing your grocery shopping habits. If you’ve ever gone to the store hungry or forgotten your shopping list, you might have walked out with an astronomical bill. Here are a few ways to live cheap and cut costly grocery trips.
1. Get Free Money Every Time You Grocery Shop
If you enjoy earning free money, Ibotta pays you $5 every time you go grocery shopping.
Ibotta is a free mobile app (iOS and Android) that gives you cash back on your in-store and mobile purchases. You can get rebates on the items you already buy such as milk, eggs, and more.
Just snap a photo of your receipt and your Ibotta account automatically updates with a cash back reward. You can redeem your free money in the form of a free Amazon gift card, Visa gift card, your favorite restaurant’s gift card, or PayPal cash.
*COVID-19 Hack: Since you’re cooking at home, you’re probably buying more groceries than ever. Ibotta saves you money on groceries nearly every grocery trip. Grab your receipt, snap a pic, and earn cash back. (You’ll get a $20 welcome bonus just for using the app.) Another tip if you’ve been having your grocers delivered: Ibotta will give you 2% cash back on your Insacart delivers. So you’ll save on the delivery fee, and you still get to take a picture of your receipt to earn more cash back.
Who doesn’t like free money?
Update 03/23/20: Ibotta has cash-back offers on grocery and restaurant delivery services:
– DoorDash– $2.50 Cash Back on your first order
– Instacart– 2% Cash Back
– Grubhub– 10% Cash Back for new customers, 2% Cash Back for existing.
– Blue Apron– $12.50 Cash Back for new subscribers
– Home Chef- $10 Cash Back for new subscribers
Download the free Ibotta App here (and grab this $20 Welcome Bonus for trying it out)
Want to read more about Ibotta? Check out our updated Ibotta app review!
Also See: 34 Simple Frugal Living Tips– Save $1000’s Every Month
2. Stop Buying Water Bottles
Did you know the average American spends $100 a year on bottled water? [source] Why spend money on bottled water when you have plenty of water at your fingertips?
If you buy a pack of water every grocery visit, you could save hundreds of dollars just by switching to a filtered water. Additionally, if you indulge in juice or other sugary beverages, you’re not only wasting your money, you’re wasting precious calories.
Do your health and your pocketbook a favor and switch to filter water only.
3. Swap an Adult Beverage for a Healthy Alternative
If you enjoy an adult beverage from time to time and are still asking “why am I broke”—alcohol could be the culprit.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, the average American spends 1% of their annual income on alcoholic beverages [source]. If the average American makes about $46,800, they are spending $468 a year on alcohol.
So, instead of indulging in a fancy glass of wine at dinner, try sticking to a non-alcoholic alternative like filtered water.
Habit #3: Cut Recurring Charges You Forgot About
From Pandora to Netflix, recurring subscription services can add up. It’s easy to forget about them when they’re directly paid from your bank account.
About 84% of consumers in a recent survey underestimated the dollar amount they spent on subscription services every month. Consumers estimated that they spent about $111 per month, when in actuality they spent $237. [source]
If you’re like most consumers, you’re paying for services you don’t need or have forgotten about. So, carve out some time and review all your expenses. Then, cut the ones you no longer have a use for.
1. Get Rid of Unused Subscriptions:
If you don’t want to take the time to cancel your subscriptions or negotiate lower service fees, try letting a free app do it for you.
Apps like the Trim app can help you cancel subscriptions, negotiate lower cable bills, help you find better insurance premiums, and more.
Please note that Trim takes their payment immediately. For example, if Trim saves you $10/month, they will request their 33% fee ($40) right away. But you keep 100% of the savings after that.
Getting ripped off by your cable provider? Download Trim to take the hassle out of lowering your cable service.
Habit #4: Start a Side Hustle
Here’s how to stop being poor: try making more money. Side hustles help you earn cash for doing the things you enjoy.
Now is the perfect time to begin looking for a side gig that fits your personality and skill set. What hobbies do you enjoy that could turn a profit? Take a moment to write them down and research how to how to make money doing them.
There are many ways you can make money using the skills and talents you already have, all you have to do is get creative.
Habit #5: Get Healthy
Did you know the average 65 year old retired couple needs about $280,000 just to cover medical costs in retirement? [source] You may think retirement is far off, but there are things you can start doing today to help cut this costs.
For starters, begin working on your health. The healthier you are, the less you may have to visit the doctor, reducing your medical bill costs. By eating right and taking care of your body, you can keep yourself from being poor. If you need an extra boost of motivation, there are some apps that will pay you for your efforts.
1. Step Your Way to a Pocket Full of Money
Sweatcoin is a new activity tracker that lets you earn Digital Currency for the steps you take. Basically, you get paid for moving and exercising more.
You can use your digital currency toward the purchase of other gadgets, sport kits, healthy nutrition and much more.
2. Complete Wellness Challenges for Cash Prizes
Who doesn’t enjoy a little friendly competition? HealthyWage gives you and your friends the opportunity to earn cash prizes for completing wellness challenges, making a personal weight loss best, gathering your friends for weight loss challenges, or competing in a corporate wellness program.
If you’re looking for a way to up the weight loss ante, HealthyWage can help you get there. Win thousands of dollars for taking care of your health and wellness.
Habit #6: Replace Your Shopping Addiction with a Less Expensive Hobby
Want to know how to stop being poor? Try replacing your online shopping addition with a less expensive hobby.
With free shipping and handling offers, online shopping is the preferred shopping method for many. The convenience of browsing your favorite retail sites in your pajamas, makes purchasing online a hard addiction to break.
Instead of browsing the latest deals and discounts, start reading eBooks or researching free activities you can do in your community. There are many alternative hobbies that can keep you busy without breaking the bank.
Here are a few other suggestions to aid you in cutting back on your online shopping habit.
1. Remove Your Save Credit Information
Retailers save your credit information to simplify the buying process. Disconnecting your credit card information from your favorite retail sites will give you more time to think about your purchase before you hit “submit”.
The effort it takes to find your wallet, may be just what you need to skip unnecessary purchases.
Related: You’re missing out on cash back! Compare your card to the ‘Best Cash Back Credit Cards of 2019’
2. Unsubscribe From Your Favorite Retail Newsletters and Promotional Emails
Retailers do their best to send you deal and discount alerts to seduce you back to their site. Unsubscribing from their newsletters and promotions will help you avoid impulse buys.
3. Venture Outside for Fresh Air and Exercise
Exercising is a great activity to help you avoid staying poor. Instead of spending hours on the internet, head outdoors for some hiking.
Trying a new sport or a running club, will not only keep more money in your pocket, it can help you make new friends.
Bonus Tip: The average family spends over $100/year on toilet paper. Why waste this money when there is solution thats cheaper, benefits the environment, and is significantly more sanitary.
Use a Bidet. Europeans use them. It’s time for us to get on board. Here’s a couple of options on Amazon right now:
– Handheld Bidet– This one is the #1 Best Seller on Amazon
– Easy-Install Bidet– This is more like a typical bidet you attach to your toilet seat. It has over 1,700 4.5 Star Reviews!
Habit #7: Avoid Late Night Drive-Thrus
You may think you’re saving money by hitting up the “cheap” drive-thrus, but, in fact, you’re actually wasting more money than if you were to eat at home.
The July 2017 Consumer Price Index reported that the cost of dining out has risen more than 2%, on average, from 2016 to 2017. On the other hand, groceries have maintained their cost and are relatively affordable. [source]
Here are some other alternatives that can help you cut food cost and prep time.
1. Meal-Prep for Fast Healthy Food
Weekly meal plan services have become a popular and affordable option for consumers. $5 Meal Plan has made meal planning as simple as possible.
For $5 a month, they will send a meal plan where every meal will cost $2 per person and sometimes even less.
2. Order Your Way to Healthier Living
If you don’t like the hassle of going to the grocery store every week, try ordering your vitamins, supplements, and healthy foods online with Vitacost.
Vitacost offers up to a 50% savings on healthy retail products that you want and need. Also, you can enjoy Free shipping on all order over $49.
3. Save Money on Household Items and Food Purchases
If you thought Overstock was just for household items and furniture, think again. Overstock lets you save on everything from gourmet cheese products to juicy steaks.
If you want healthy and inexpensive food delivered right to your front door, try shopping on Overstock.
Habit #8: Spend Money With a Budget
One of the best ways to avoid being poor, is to make and stick to a budget. Developing and sticking to a budget may seem mundane and restrictive, but it can be one of the best ways to get your spending under control.
There are many different budgeting strategies that can fit your lifestyle and spending habits. One of the more popular methods is using the 50/30/20 rule. This means you will use 50% of your income on necessities, 30% on luxuries, and 20% on savings.
Using this method will help you organize your finances. It can also help you determine where you may be overextending your income.
Here are some other budgeting tips that can help you avoid being broke.
1. Live Below Your Means
Many Americans struggle to love within their means, not because they don’t make enough, but because they spend more than they earn. According to Bankrate, most Americans don’t have enough to cover a $1,000 unexpected expense. [source]
To avoid going into debt due to an unexpected expense, you will need to review your income and expenses. Review you budget and make sure your spending less than you earn. If you’re spending more than you earn, you may need to cut your expenses.
Also See: Lower My Bills: Best Bill Negotiators
2. Track Spending Habits
If you don’t know where your money is going, how can you expect to make adjustments. In order quit your poor spending habits, you will need to track your purchases.
Start by reviewing your bank and credit card statements for a few months. This will help you check where your money is going and determine your poor money habits.
Once you discover the spending habits that are keeping you poor, you can begin to making adjustments.
For example, if you discover you’re visiting Starbuck 5 times a week, try cutting your visits to once a week.
3. Automate Your Savings
Automating your savings can help you drop the temptation to skip a contribution or use your savings for other purposes. To set up automatic contributions, visit your bank or financial institution to set up an automatic bank transfer from your checking to savings account.
Even if you have to start with a small contribution, the goals is to simply start. You can increase your contribution amount, as you become more comfortable working within a budget.
Alright, those are the easiest ways to stop being broke and start saving money!
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Ashley is a personal finance writer and content creator. In addition to being a contributing writer at the Budgeting Couple, she writes for solo entrepreneurs as well as for Fortune 500 companies. When she’s not calculating her net worth or reading the hot new finance book, you might find Ashley cage diving with great white sharks in South Africa.