5 Money Habits That Keep You Broke

Being broke or constantly fretting about where the money will come from to pay bills can be very disheartening but some of this stress can be avoided by changing some habits.

5 bad habits you can change immediately are

  1. Spending More As Soon As You Get More  

You have just got a salary increase or made a lot more on a deal than you projected and immediately you go and spend the money. Increasing expenditures as soon as you have an increase in your income is a bad habit to have. Leave the money and pretend it is not there. Try for a month, maybe 3 to not spend the money. Try to save your extra cash and not increase your expenditure.

Do not introduce new spending categories or increase amounts on existing categories just because you have more income.

  1. Only and Always Buying New Things

New furniture, the latest version of a mobile device, opting into a new bundle plan or subscribing to every special offer or lottery deal that pops up on your phone to name a few . Offers are carefully devised to keep you spending money. If you are constantly upgrading your wardrobe, car, phone, bundle etc. as soon as a new version hits the market means you will be constantly trying to keep up.

Cultivate a habit of searching carefully and finding used or nearly new items at much lower prices. Go to open air markets, household sales or go to the monthly pop up market at some places of worship or the malls. Ask a carpenter to refurbish your old furniture or make you a version of the bed or table you liked in the retail store.

Also, check out the stuff stacked at the corner or along some of our streets or inside the many markets and pick something from a local craftsman or woman.

  1. Thinking Budgeting is Useless

 Thinking that budgeting never works and not doing it at all will ensure that you buy what you want and forget what you need. You need to budget and take care of all the unavoidable such as rent, water, electricity, school fees, car payments etc. And with the same budget curb or reduce on what you want (as these are expenses you choose to bring upon yourself) like take away, entertainment, gifts, bundles, gambling etc.

Set a strict budget for discretionary expenses as they are the ones you can control.

If you think budgeting is useless your money will be misdirected and your wallet or purse will be empty most of the time.

  1. Abandoning Tracking  Your Expenses

You start out well for a few months by keeping track of all of your expenses then some fall by the wayside. Usually because you think that they are too small or insignificant.  The daily newspaper, an extra kilo of this or a little more of that, a hand out here and a hand out there; do add up. It is the wide variety and frequency of ‘really small’ expenditures that eat silently into your money overtime as they are not immediately noticeable.

If keeping track of your expenses day to day is too much for you then allot yourself a weekly allowance and keep to it.

  1. Not keeping a cash emergency fund

 You have probably lost count but there have been numerous moments when you have had to say to someone,

“Please may I have…” This is because you do not keep a cash emergency fund. It does not have to be a large amount of money and it can be built over-time. Start with an attainable amount for you.

To see how easy this cash can be collected start by committing to putting aside the price of a newspaper every day or the price of a take away lunch. Add this amount up and see how much it totals to in a month. It is a lot, right?

Set this money aside ( in an envelope hidden away) and at the month end use it for a specific purpose, such as reducing a debt you already have, for an emergency or on a luxury that you and your loved ones can enjoy together. Maybe on a variety of some of those exotic fruits that you can normally not afford or a nice day out.


A Zambian site sharing quick read articles around work, money and adulting life with selective interviews and quotes.
The founder, editor and lead writer who left university with a good grasp of public administration, economics, money, banking and international relations is also qualified in journalism and creative writing. She has been published in Drum and The BBC Focus on Africa Magazine and has been featured in several local and international publications.
An avid bird watcher with an extraordinary fondness for chikanda ( a Zambian delicatessen that vegans and non-vegans world-wide are putting on their bucket list ) she often tweets in poetry and short prose @kwachalelo