7 Things Poor People Do With Their Money

7 Things Poor People Do With Their Money

The seven things that poor people often do with their money serve as a roadmap to staying broke. Understanding the habits that often lead to a cycle of poverty is essential in an economic environment where financial decisions can make or break someone’s financial stability. This article delves into the behaviors and choices regarding money commonly observed among individuals facing financial challenges.

From the pitfalls of high-interest debt to the allure of luxury brands, we explore seven key areas where those with limited resources might unknowingly amplify their financial struggles. I aim to shed light on these habits, not to cast judgment, but to offer a more precise understanding and practical advice for anyone looking to navigate their financial journey with more awareness and control.

Things Poor People Waste Money On

  1. High-interest debt Payments: This includes payday loans or credit card debt, which can have very high interest rates. These debts can quickly spiral out of control, costing more long-term.
  2. Lottery Tickets: Spending on lottery tickets is often higher among those with lower incomes. The chances of winning more than you spend are slim, and the cost can accumulate over time.
  3. Rent-to-Own Services: These services allow people to get items immediately but charge high interest rates and fees, making the total cost much higher than outright purchasing.
  4. Convenience Foods: Fast food and prepackaged meals can be more expensive than cooking from scratch. Despite their higher cost and lower nutritional value, they’re often chosen for convenience.
  5. Expensive Bad Habits: This includes things like smoking, excessive drinking, or gambling, which not only cost money upfront but can also lead to more bad decisions and long-term health care expenses.
  6. Excessive Use of Services with Fees: This includes ATM fees from out-of-network banks, late payment fees, check cashing fees, or overdraft fees, which accumulate over time.
  7. Luxury Brands: Spending on high-end brands, which can be significantly more expensive than more functional or essential alternatives, often trying to show off they own the brand name item trying to look rich.

Keep reading for a deeper dive into each bad money habit and how to escape it.

The Trap of High-Interest Debt

One of the most significant financial burdens for those in lower income brackets is high-interest debt. This often comes in the form of payday loans or credit card debt. These debts are appealing because they offer immediate financial relief or the ability to purchase necessities (or desires) without upfront cash.

However, the high interest rates associated with these debts mean that individuals pay much more than they borrowed over time. This can lead to a dangerous cycle where more debt is accumulated to pay off existing debt, causing a long-term financial strain. To break this cycle quit spending more than you make and build an emergency fund. This requires either earning more money, spending less money, or a mix of the two.

The Lottery Ticket Illusion

For many with limited income, lottery tickets represent a glimmer of hope for a better life. However, the reality is starkly different. The chances of winning big are incredibly slim, yet the cost of regularly purchasing these tickets adds up over time.

This habit diverts funds like investing or saving that could be better used elsewhere. Lottery spending is often higher in lower-income groups, driven by the elusive promise of a life-changing windfall.

Playing the lottery is often equated to a ‘tax on the poor’ or ‘a tax on people who are bad at math’ due to its low odds of winning. Statistically, the chances of hitting a significant lottery jackpot are akin to the probability of being struck by lightning — exceedingly rare.

This reality starkly contrasts with the high expenditure on lottery tickets, especially among those with limited financial means. Breaking this habit involves a shift in perspective: recognizing the lottery as entertainment, not a financial strategy.

Instead of spending on lottery tickets, setting aside that money in a savings account or investing in a small but high-probability business venture can yield tangible, albeit smaller, returns over time, fostering a healthier financial habit and mindset.

The Hidden Costs of Rent-to-Own Services

Rent-to-own services are another financial trap. They allow individuals to acquire items immediately without the total upfront cost. However, these services often come with high interest rates and fees, making the total cost substantially higher than outright purchasing.

Rent-to-own items can include furniture, electronics, and appliances – everyday necessities that become significantly more expensive through these services. To escape this trap, only buy what you can afford after saving money. This requires planning, self-control, and avoiding lifestyle inflation.

The Convenience Food Trap

The appeal of fast food and prepackaged meals lies in their convenience, especially for those with busy or irregular schedules. However, this convenience comes at a higher cost than cooking from scratch.

Additionally, these food options often have lower nutritional value. Over time, the habit of opting for convenience foods can lead to both financial and health detriments. You can save a lot of money simply by shopping for groceries, cooking, and eating healthier at home.

The Financial Drain of Expensive Bad Habits

Expensive bad habits such as smoking, excessive drinking, and gambling are not only costly upfront but can also lead to long-term health expenses. These habits can be particularly damaging financially, as they often form a part of daily routines, leading to a significant cumulative cost over time.

These habits represent a substantial and often overlooked financial drain for individuals struggling with finances. You will save a lot of money by replacing expensive bad habits with cheaper good habits like exercise, a healthy diet, investing, and meditation.

The Cumulative Cost of Service Fees

Service fees may seem insignificant, including ATM fees from out-of-network banks, late payments, and overdraft fees. However, over time, they can accumulate to a substantial amount. These fees are often overlooked but can be avoided with careful financial planning and awareness. You can save a lot of money when you have a bank account and manage your budget to avoid fees.

The Luxury Brand Mirage

The allure of luxury brands can be powerful, even for those with limited financial resources. There is often a desire to own high-end brands as a symbol of status or success. However, these items are usually significantly more expensive than more functional or essential alternatives without providing additional utility. This habit of spending on luxury brands can lead to unnecessary financial strain.

Rich people do not try to prove something about their financial status by owning luxury names. The wealthy know they have a high net worth. Focus on building wealth not trying to shortcut the appearance of financial success by owning a brand name.

Key Takeaways

  • Avoiding Debilitating Debts: Steer clear of debts with exorbitant interest rates, such as payday loans, which can lead to a vicious cycle of borrowing.
  • Resisting Gambling Temptations: Lottery tickets, while seemingly a shortcut to wealth, more often result in financial loss rather than gain.
  • Understanding Rent-to-Own Pitfalls: Be wary of rent-to-own agreements, as they often culminate in higher overall costs for goods.
  • Choosing Home-Cooked Meals: Choose preparing meals at home over resorting to fast food, balancing both economic and nutritional benefits.
  • Curbing Costly Vices: Limit spending on harmful habits like smoking or excessive drinking, which drain finances and impact health.
  • Dodging Hidden Fees: Avoid unnecessary fees such as ATM or overdraft charges, which incrementally erode the ability to save money.
  • Shunning the Allure of Luxury: Resist the temptation of luxury brands, focusing on functionality and affordability instead.


This exploration unveils critical insights into habitual spending patterns that can perpetuate financial hardship. It underscores the importance of informed decision-making, strategic planning, and prioritizing long-term financial health over short-term gratifications.

Embracing these principles fosters a foundation for economic resilience, empowering individuals to navigate the complexities of personal finance confidently. Ultimately, understanding and rectifying these common financial behaviors is pivotal in paving the way toward a more secure and prosperous future, directly addressing the core theme of our discussion: the monetary choices of those facing economic challenges.

Understanding these seven common financial pitfalls is the first step toward making more informed financial decisions. Financial literacy is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty and achieving financial stability. It’s crucial to recognize these habits and seek information and resources to navigate the complex world of personal finance.

Remember, every step towards informed financial decision-making is towards a more stable and secure financial future. Stop doing the seven things poor people do with their money and you will have more money.