Woman holding wallet full of ramen.

15 Mistakes Poor People Make That Keep Them Poor

When money is tight, it can be a tough cycle to escape. You may be doing things that are breaking your budget without even knowing it. People took to social media to share what poor people do that keeps them in the red. 

Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.

1: Drinking Your Money

Two beers.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Reaching for the bottle leaves many empty wallets, but some commenters understand why. “I’ve been unemployed and poor before, and honestly, drinking and keeping my mind numb got me through those days. I have absolute empathy for people who do this.”

2: Playing the Lottery 

Lottery balls.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Jackpots can be tempting, but spending too much on tickets will leave you high and dry. “I remember working in a supermarket and seeing the lower income people come in every payday and just throw away money on losing tickets,” one commenter says. “The lottery is definitely a way that some poor can escape poverty, but it is way too unlikely.”

3: Swallow Your Pride

Woman holding up her fist.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

One commenter has friends who are doing poorly but won’t get food stamps because they’re ashamed. “Pride doesn’t feed you, clothe you, or keep the lights on. If services are available, utilize them.”

4: Cheaper Isn’t Always Better 

Woman holding piggy bank.
Photo Credit: Krakenimages.com via stock.adobe.com.

If you believe being a cheapskate always pays off, think again. Heed the advice of this commenter, “The cheaper option usually doesn’t last as long and ends up costing more in the long run.” 

5: Dangerous Loans

A building saying "bank."
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Payday loans may seem like a quick fix when you’re in a pinch, but many people have something to say about how dangerous they can be for your finances. One commenter called it “the dumbest thing that someone with no money can do.” 

6: Single and Struggling 

Woman holding coins.
Photo Credit: Kaspars Grinvalds via stock.adobe.com.

Kids are expensive either way you slice it, but one commenter says solo parenting has left them in a financial hole that’s taken years to dig out of.” Don’t think I’m shaming anyone here; I’m speaking from experience. I had twins with an alcoholic idiot, and it was absolutely the worst thing I’ve ever done financially.” 

7: Be Your Own Chef 

Poke bowl.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Many claim one of the biggest mistakes poor people make is eating out, even if it’s cheap fast food. “You can save a lot of money (and be healthier) by making your own meals,” one person said. “And it isn’t very difficult. There are so many recipe resources online nowadays.”

8: Not So Fast Cash 

Money in a pyramid.
Photo Credit: Alex via stock.adobe.com.

If it sounds too good to be true, it is. At least according to this commenter, whose mother burns cash on pyramid schemes and “good opportunities, only never to see a dime.” They say, “It takes a lot of commitment to even have a chance to earn a decent amount. She’ll never be better off if she keeps doing this, and it saddens me.” 

9: Pressing Your Luck

Fallen dominos.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Feeling lucky? Avoid taking your chances at a casino. One commenter says, “I’m always amazed by the people in there who you know are spending the little money they have, trying to double it and failing. It’s pretty sad that they’ve fallen prey to it.”

10: Spending on the Wrong Things 

Woman holding a world credit card.
Photo Credit: Krakenimages.com via Adobe Stock.

According to one commenter, keeping your wants and needs in check can make all the difference. “I have regular contact with a poor family, and I can’t believe how often they buy new gadgets or buy anything without considering if they can afford it.”

11: Go Against the Flow 

Sign saying "Dream job."
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

One commenter says they moved from a childhood of poverty to upper middle class by doing the opposite of people around him in the same situation. “When you are poor, you are surrounded by people who make poor life choices, have poor impulse control, and just do every conceivable thing wrong.”

12: Education is Key 

Stack of old books.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

After growing up in a poor area where you really could be “too cool for school,” one commenter realized how it impacts your future. “This whole posturing that it is cool to be ignorant, to not want to learn, is what keeps a lot of those in my home community down. Until that attitude changes, they’ll stay where they are.” 

13: Inconvenient Store 

Person holding money.
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Even though they’re close by, some say buying all your items at convenience stores is holding you back. “It’s called a convenience store because it’s easy to buy stuff, but not cheap. You pay for the convenience ($6 for a two-pack of no-name brand batteries, etc.).” 

14: Credit Savvy 

Person handing over a debit card.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

One commenter says that not understanding how credit cards work can set you back big time. “Poor people really can’t afford to get into the trouble that credit cards can cause. Credit cards are really useful, even necessary, but people must take the initiative and get educated on the proper use of credit cards.” 

15: Adding Insult To Injury 

Angry woman.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

One person said that having a disability or chronic illness is enough to keep you impoverished since government assistance isn’t working as it should. Another agreed, “Perhaps not on purpose, but the system is set up that those who actually want to work hard and make things better are unable to.”

Source: Reddit

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