In a disturbing trend, I’ve come across more and more people who are terrible with their finances. It’s incredible how many people can’t make the connection that their spending habits is the reason they’re falling behind in savings. There’s actually quite a few signs that you’re living beyond your means.

Stop living beyond your means

Zero savings – Some of us aren’t saving because we have other debts paid, but if you find that you’re not saving because you just don’t care then you’ve got a serious problem. Many of us live in Generation Now but by not saving now, you’re simply taking money away from your future self.

Crippling debt – Do you have a ton of debt built up that just seems to keep growing? Are you not making any efforts to pay it down? This should be a pretty clear sign that you’re living beyond your means. As long as you have a huge amount of debt weighing on you, it’ll feel next to impossible to reach your next financial milestone.

Related: How much debt is too much debt?

Cash advances are your friend – If you find yourself getting a payday loan then it should be obvious that you’re living beyond your means. Payday loans have higher interest rates than credit cards and despite what the advertisements say; a loan of $100 will cost you more than $1, much more.

living beyond your means

Low monthly payments are your only option – Are you choosing the lowest monthly payment simply because it’s the only way you can afford something? This is a ridiculous way of thinking, sure you’ll be paying a low price monthly but over the long run, you’ll end up spending more in interest payments. It doesn’t matter what you’re paying for, if you’re making only the lowest monthly payment possible, it probably means you can’t afford it.

What paycheque? – Did you just get paid yet feel like all your money is already gone? Well what do you expect when you’ve got crippling debt, monthly payments, and loans to repay? Let’s not forget about your standard living expenses and any other fixed expenses you might have. You’re basically spending more than you make and that’ll get you nowhere.

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Everything gets charged to credit – I suppose it’s no surprise that many of us are opting to get instant gratification by putting our purchases on credit but what happened to the good old days of saving or the things we want? Oh wait, we already established that many of just don’t care about saving. Our monthly payments are low so that’s good right? Oh right, that just means our long term costs are higher. Maybe charging everything isn’t such a great idea.

Related: How much debt is too much debt?

You hate being home alone – Many people with a spending problem seem to have a phobia of being home alone and end up at the mall or the bar. They claim they need to socialize but it’s really just an excuse to go out and spend some money. Staying home is not nearly as exciting as going out but it’ll definitely keep your wallet a lot happier.

Don't head to the bar if you're living beyond your means

Buying crap you don’t need – Buying stuff is fun, who wouldn’t want the newest and coolest gadgets? Well if you’re having trouble with your finances then maybe it’s time to figure out the difference between wants and needs. It’s okay to treat yourself now and them, but stop living beyond your means and stop buying random crap.

Related: Crap I can’t afford anymore

Name brands only – Name brands are obviously a status symbol and many people wear them as a way of showing off, but in reality, rich people rarely flaunt their money. It’s called keeping up with the Joneses. Who cares what others are doing, you need to worry about your own situation and spending money on brands you can’t afford will not help.

Discount stores are beneath you – It drives me nuts when I hear people say that they only shop at Whole Foods or Loblaws because the quality is far superior compared to other supermarkets. Okay sure Whole Foods offers different products and naturally raised meats, but don’t tell me that the butter you buy at Loblaws is better than what you can get at No Frills. Similar to name brands, people tend to assume that because they shop at expensive grocery stores it makes them appear richer. This is just stupid thinking.

Final word
If you’ve fallen into any of the above traps, don’t worry there’s plenty of time to get back on track. Recognize that you have a problem and take the steps to get your finances out of the red.

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Photo By Chika Watanabe, martin.mutch / Stockpholio