Money Problems: Why Do You Have Them?

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Do you feel like there’s never enough money at the end of the month? Do you put on a smile even though your stomach is in knots? Why is it that everyone else seems to be financially stable and you’re struggling to pay the bills? Let’s explore the common money problems and learn why you’re plagued with them.

Single or Married?

Before we dig deeply into the issues of money problems, it’s important for me to note that there is a huge difference between being single and married in the world of personal finance.

If you are single, you control 100% of your financial decisions! If you want to stop living from paycheck to paycheck and get out of debt, you (and only you) have to make that choice. From there, it’s merely a game of mental strength and discipline. It can be difficult, but in all honesty, you’ve got it easy.

Now, there are quite a few people that have the privilege of being married (I’m one of them, which is why I used the word, “privilege” :)). Marriage is often a wonderful thing, but the great majority of marital disagreements are about money.

One of you might have the genius idea of getting out of debt and developing a future of financial freedom; however, if the other just wants to live like a millionaire now, then there is little chance that the spending will stop.

Hopefully, both you and your spouse are willing to change your lifestyle in order to transform your broken down financials into positive assets and investments. If this is where you are in your lives, congratulations! It’s time to alleviate your money problems.

Are You Overspending?

Many of us would immediately answer, “Of course not! We’re pinching pennies every day!”, but be honest with yourself. Answer these questions with a “yes” or “no”.

  • Did you go out to eat more than 4 times last month (including fast food)?
  • Do you ever buy coffee from your local coffee-chain or from the gas station in the morning?
  • Do you spend more than $150 on groceries per person per month?
  • Do you spend more than $50 on clothes each month (per person)?
  • Do you have a vehicle that is worth more than $6,000?
  • Do you avoid discount clothing stores because they are “below your standards”?
  • Have you made more than one purchase that exceeded $500 this year?
  • Do you avoid using coupons (perhaps it embarrasses you or you think it’s a hassle)
  • Do you have a vacation planned that will cost you more than $2,000?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, I would label you as an “overspender”. Also, if you answered, “I don’t know” to any of these questions, chances are that you are spending more than necessary in that category. If you don’t know how much you’re paying for food or clothes per month, I bet you’re dishing out almost double the amount you need to!

Are You Earning Enough?

If you truly are pinching pennies and living frugally, but still can’t make ends meet, then perhaps your earnings are just too low. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average household income is about $50,000 per year.

If you are married and are making less than $50,000 in before-tax income, you are considered below average. It may be time to search for other income avenues besides your primary job.

There’s a few handy pieces of finance and budgeting advice found here.

If you have either of the money problems above, you’ll love Friday’s post Titled, “Money Problems: How to Solve Them“. I’ll teach you how to cut your spending, and how to make more money!

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Get Out of Debt Money Save Money

Derek

AUTHOR Derek

My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

15 Comments

  1. Some months are crazier than others so I would look at the ‘going out to eat’ question as how that works on an average month. There are some months we might go out twice and others we go out six or seven times due to various circumstances, but it averages out in the end which I think is more the true test.
    Money Beagle recently posted..Sometimes All It Takes Is One

    • We are started to prepare meals ahead of time so that we can “heat and eat” and still live healthily! I think it’s a great practice for anyone.

  2. Wow, I bet over 95% of Americans and Canadian fit your definition of overspender. 😉
    It’s very important to have the same financial outlook as your partner. If the couple have different saving priority, it’s probably best to have separate finances.
    retirebyforty recently posted..Our BMW Z3

    • Haha, yeah, I bet you’re right. I’m kind of over the top sometimes when it comes to avoiding expenses. My main point though, was for those that are already having problems. If they don’t have enough money, they certainly shouldn’t be spending money on the things I outlined above.

  3. I had money problems because I over spent, and didnt spend according to my values – It takes a lot to turn the ship around if you’ve been sailing towards the end of the earth, but it’s worth it in the end.
    Jeff @ Sustainable life blog recently posted..Financial Stability

    • It really is tough to change habits. I don’t think the urge to spend ever goes away, but it can certainly get better with constant course correction.

    • I can relate somewhat, Robert. When I was single, I thought it was important to buy a couple of big screen TVs, surround sound, and a nice couch! Now that I’m married, I’m more concerned about the daily budget and reaching our short and long-term goals.

  4. I disagree … I totally avoid using coupons because it’s a waste of my time to search for them, clip them/print them, then drive store-to-store to hunt down each deal. I shop at CostCo, period.

    I also love traveling and would gladly spend money on doing something I love. I would hate to reach the end of my life with lots of wealth and no travel experiences.
    Paula @ AffordAnything.org recently posted..Elmo Says- Save!

    • I’m not a coupon maniac, but if I see one that’s of use to me, I’ll definitely clip it out and use it! Keep in mind that these suggestions are only for those that are having money problems. I’m guessing that you are doing just fine Paula, and if you want to go on a vacation with cash, that’s just fine with me! 🙂

  5. I have to agree with you, most of the arguments are on money, actually the lack of money in my house.

    The phenomenon of overspending is maybe not a habit but it is something we learn since very young ages, you see it around you, it comes from tv commercials etc.
    From everywhere you experience only one thing: CONSUME, CONSUME and CONSUME MORE!
    Virag@Escapist mom recently posted..Oh No- Not Another Pet Story!

    • Ha, I hear you there! Our last “discussion” was about money! And, yes, the culture we live in is a spending one. It’s exhausting really.

  6. Hey Derek, First time reader. I’m writing a parenting/family blog, but I am a finance professional and love these topics. Plus, every family has finance issues. Anyway, I usually try to value-add on my comments which usually means starting little debates — I hope you don’t mind!

    I definitely agree about the importance of controlling expenses, but the limits you describe are probably for your lifestyle and goals. My view is that everything is a trade-off. As long as you make the decision to do something, knowing the consequences, then that’s ok. You’ve consciously made the trade to have that coffee today but work one day longer in 30 years for example. That said, I’m like you, a saver at heard. I don’t even come close to $50 for clothes most months, I have a single reasonable vehicle for a family of 5, we have an inexpensive house. Because of that my wife and I are almost millionaires and ahead of our goal to retire by 40. I’ve subscribed: great topics.
    Alex | Perfecting Dad recently posted..Too Many Secrets- Why Privacy Ruins Marriages And How To Save Them

    • Hey Alex. I saw your post at Bucksome Boomer as well. Glad to have you! I think you’re right. Everyone can have their own guidelines for their budgets, as long as they agree on them, and the budget will take them toward their goals! Thanks for visiting and subscribing!


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