8 Money Habits That Will Keep You Poor Forever

8 Money Habits That Will Keep You Poor Forever

Money—earning, saving, and growing—is a tricky endeavor. Sadly, some habits, when left unchecked, could leave you stuck in a cycle of financial struggle. Let’s explore these habits and how to break free from them.

What money habits keep you poor?

  1. Lack of spending discipline.
  2. Lack of earning power
  3. Lack of work discipline.
  4. Lack of financial literacy.
  5. You are not paying yourself first.
  6. Impulsive buying.
  7. Broke people are influencing you. 
  8. Selling your time for money is your only income. 

Good money habits versus bad money habits

Good and bad money habits play a vital role in determining your financial future. Poor money habits can keep you broke by diminishing your wealth over time, creating a cycle of financial instability. For instance, a lack of spending discipline can lead to living paycheck to paycheck with little or no savings. Impulsive buying can land you in debt, leaving you with interest payments that eat away your income. Not investing in your earning power through education or skill-building can limit your income potential, causing you to fall behind as living costs rise. If these habits persist, they can create a perpetual financial struggle.

On the other hand, good money habits can accumulate wealth over time and contribute to financial stability and growth. Disciplined spending can help you live within your means and save for future needs. Investing in your earning power can lead to higher income over time. Regular saving and investing can turn small amounts of money into significant wealth, thanks to the power of compound returns. Being mindful of who influences your financial decisions can help you adopt better money habits while diversifying your income can protect you against financial shocks.

In essence, bad money habits can trap you in a cycle of financial struggle, while good money habits can set you on the path to financial prosperity. It’s a simple principle, but mastering it requires discipline, knowledge, and a commitment to long-term financial health.

Let’s look deeper at the eight money habits that can keep you broke.

1. Lack of Spending Discipline

One of the biggest culprits that keep people broke is a lack of spending discipline. It’s like a leaky bucket—you earn, but the money slips through holes of unnecessary expenses. Consider an individual who splurges on gourmet coffee every morning. What seems like a harmless $5 treat totals up to $150 per month, $1,800 per year. Conversely, brewing coffee at home could cost pennies daily, freeing up funds for more important financial goals. You get several bad spending habits that are not in your budget, and your money will melt away.

2. Lack of Earning Power

Next up is a lack of earning power. Sticking to a low-paying job or not seeking opportunities to increase your income means you’re likely to stay broke. It’s a harsh truth, but money often flows towards skills and value. If you’re not improving your skills, you’re not increasing your value, and you’ll find it hard to earn more. A diligent approach to continuous learning and career growth could help escape this vicious cycle. You must raise your value to employers through skills, knowledge, experience, responsibilities, and education to increase your earnings power.

3. Lack of Work Discipline

Lack of work discipline ties directly into your earning power. You might be in a job with ample growth opportunities, but without the dedication and hard work, your earnings will remain stagnant. The person who consistently misses deadlines or underperforms won’t likely receive promotions or raises. Cultivate a strong work ethic, exceed expectations, and you should see it reflected in your paycheck over time.

4. Lack of Financial Literacy

Financial literacy is critical. It’s not just about earning and saving money but understanding how to make it work. A person who isn’t financially literate might save, but without investing, they lose the potential for compound growth. Start reading financial books and blogs, and consider speaking with a financial advisor. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to money.

5. You’re Not Paying Yourself First

A typical money trap is paying everyone else—landlords, credit card companies, utility providers—before paying yourself. This habit leaves little for savings or investments. The individual who follows this pattern often lives paycheck to paycheck, struggling to build wealth. Aim to save or invest a portion of your income before you pay your bills. It might be challenging initially, but you’ll thank yourself later. Ultimately, it would be best to work for yourself, not bill collectors. Put your name at the top of your budget to pay first.

6. Impulsive Buying

Impulsive buying is a fast track to an empty bank account. The thrill of a sale or the desire for instant gratification can lead to purchases you don’t need or can’t afford. If you’re buying a new pair of shoes every month, consider whether it’s necessary or a want. Instead, save for long-term value or invest that money for a higher return.

7. Broke People Are Influencing You

The company you keep can significantly impact your financial situation. If individuals with poor money habits surround you, their influence can rub off on you. Break free from the norm—seek out friends or mentors who are financially secure and can provide guidance and positive influence. Don’t take financial advice from broke people. They are also usually the ones with the strongest opinions.

8. Selling Your Time for Money Is Your Only Income

If your only income comes from selling your time—a salaried job or hourly work—you’re caught in a cycle that limits your earning potential. There are only 24 hours in a day, after all. Consider building passive income streams, like websites, YouTube channels, or online businesses, which could generate money while you sleep.

Key Takeaways

  • Cultivate spending discipline and avoid unnecessary expenses.
  • Improve your skills and seek opportunities to increase your income.
  • Show dedication and hard work at your job to boost your earning potential
  • Acquire financial literacy to understand how to make your money work for you.
  • Prioritize paying yourself first to build savings and investments.
  • Curb impulsive buying and focus on long-term value.
  • Surround yourself with financially secure individuals for positive influence.
  • Seek passive income opportunities to break free from trading time for money.


Embracing better money habits is a journey that requires discipline, a learning mindset, and strategic planning. Breaking free from financial stagnation involves understanding and changing the behaviors that have kept you poor. By focusing on disciplined spending, increasing your earning power and financial literacy, prioritizing savings, reducing impulse buying, seeking positive influences, and diversifying income sources, you’ll be well on your way to financial freedom. It’s a path filled with challenges, but with persistence, the rewards are worth every step.