If You Don’t Have Money, I’d Better Not Find These Things In Your House

by Derek

Do you always feel like you’re short on cash at the end of the month? Would you have trouble coming up with $1,000 in 24 hours? Is it difficult to recall what you spent your money on last month?  If you answered “yes” to these questions, I would put you into the category of “money troubles”.

You might not make much money to begin with, and the money that you make is certainly tough to hang onto. Where do you suppose it goes? Well, most of it probably goes toward rent, then your car expenses (gas, insurance, repairs, etc.), then to your food and clothing. For the most part, these are all essential expenses, but you know that you make more money than that. Where in the world does it all go?

Where to start?

Rather than tell you all of your money is going to waste at restaurants, entertainment, and frivolous spending, I’d like to point out all of the luxuries that you should be avoiding if you are short on cash. I have developed a list of 10 items that shouldn’t be found anywhere in your house if you are hard up for money. And, if you have one of these items, you’d better not tell me about it, because I would consider it irresponsible spending.

1) Videogame Consoles and Games – If you complain about not having money, but you’re sitting on your butt playing Halo, you’ve got some problems (my friend did this exactly and it didn’t work out well for him).

2) Big Screen TV – Owning a big screen is a classic financial mistake that quite a few people make. I once saw a man on the news that was upset about a power surge that busted his big screen TV. When he was asked why he didn’t have renters insurance, he said that he couldn’t afford it….. but yet, he owned a $1,500 television… don’t be like this guy.

3) iPhone – It doesn’t even have to be an iPhone. If you have text and data on your phone plan, but you’re short on rent every month, it’s time to get rid of your phone. Pick up a track phone for a while – you’ll survive.

4) Namebrand Apparel – Women sure do love their purses! Coach, Michael Kors, and Prada are all fine products, but they are way overpriced. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that you’re getting a deal because of the quality craftsmanship. Paying 10 times the price for something that lasts twice as long just doesn’t make sense. The same goes for clothing and accessories too.

5) Netflix – If you don’t have enough money to pay bills, why would you subscribe to a convenience? It seems harmless because of the low cost per month, but $10 a month can really add up after a while!

6) Cable/Dish – I already mentioned the big screen, but really, cable isn’t necessary either. Someone’s best argument might be that a television is used for weather warnings and emergency circumstances. I agree, a television is important for that reason, but you still don’t need cable. Get an antenna and save yourself $50 a month.

7) Internet – Some of you may have just gasped…. “No Internet?! How could I live without the internet?” Believe me, you’ll survive. When my wife and I were strapped for cash, we cancelled our internet (even though I had my blog to keep up with!). If you truly need the internet every couple of days, head over to the library. It’s free! J

8) Golf Clubs – This is kind of a no brainer. If you are struggling financially, there’s no reason to have golf clubs. Not only are the clubs themselves expensive, but the money you’d spend at the course is astronomical as well!

9) Expensive Jewelry – These days, it’s hard to detect what’s real and what isn’t! So, why would you spend massive amounts of money on diamonds and sapphires? Ignore the commercials and settle for the fake stuff. No one’s going to notice anyway.

10) Empty Bedrooms – If you have empty bedrooms, this means that your house is way too big for you, and you most likely spent more money on it than you should have. You may want to seriously consider downsizing, or renting out one of your rooms.

Do You Need Any of The Items Above?

For some reason, many of us have been brainwashed to believe that we are entitled to a certain lifestyle, or that we can’t live without a few technological devices. Let me tell you, none of the above items are necessary. People do without them every day and lead very productive, normal lives. Don’t be afraid to be different. Change your financial life today so that you can live a fruitful life tomorrow!

What do you think about my list? Is there anything on this list that you simply couldn’t do without?

Photo: Some rights reserved by bryangeek

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20's Finances August 31, 2011 at 6:15 am

Great article. I absolutely agree with you. Some people close to me have told me the difficulty they have with paying their mortgage and I just found out they purchased an IPAD. I couldn’t bring myself to tell them of their mistake, but I am glad your article covers it.

Derek September 1, 2011 at 3:21 am

Haha! That’s a perfect example! My friend always told me about his money troubles and was convinced that he just needed to make more money. Then, one day I visited him at his house and he was playing his Xbox 360 on a 60″ television… I no longer felt sorry for him.

Beth August 31, 2011 at 6:34 am

#4 is good advice for men as well. I wish PF blogs would stop attacking women for having brand names as if men aren’t into brand names as well. (Hello sunglasses, suits, cars, smart phones, electronic gadgets, sports gear, watches, etc.)

Most of the women I know could care less about purses or shoes. Perhaps I’m running in the wrong circles 😉

Derek September 1, 2011 at 3:22 am

You’re right, you’re right, men have their areas of spending as well. Gadgets could definitely be placed here in #4. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

Beth September 1, 2011 at 3:51 am

“Their areas of spending as well”? Really? I’d say there is a heck of a lot of overlap! I know men who are more into designer/brand name clothes, watches, shoes and sunglasses than the women I know! They may not be buying purses, but they’re particular about their bags too. Remember when every guy had to have Rae Bans like Will Smith? Or shoes like the latest basketball star?

Oh the slip side, I know women who don’t care about purses, but are quick to flash their smart phones, cameras, etc.

Leslie August 31, 2011 at 6:44 am

Great post! Add getting your nails and hair done to the list. If you’re crying broke, your hair and nails shouldn’t look like you’re going to a Hollywood event. Do them yourself at home!

Derek September 1, 2011 at 3:23 am

That’s a good one! I’ll had hair dying as well. Get it done professionally, and it’ll run you over $100! Crazy!

Nancy August 31, 2011 at 6:53 am

I think this list is short-sighted and plain wrong. Your recommendations are essentially similar to prescribing a crash diet of only cucumbers and water for people trying to lose weight. If people are struggling with money, telling them to cut out every form of home entertainment all at once is a recipe for a.) sending them out to spend even more money on entertainment outside of the house and b.) quitting on trying to be financially responsible because it’s too much all at once (and some of the recommendations are ridiculous: cut $10 on Netflix! Many a frugal person I know forgoes the cost of cable and going to the movies for the inexpensive Netflix alternative). Like Ramit Sethi says, people should focus on big wins such as #10, saving money by living in a smaller place, as well as focusing most on where they are personally wasting money. Is it eating out (which you didn’t even mention), wasting money on designer clothes as you said in #4, etc? If people focus on a few major areas to cut down on, they can change their financial situation and mindset without feeling the sacrifice in every pleasurable aspect of their home life. This will in turn make their sustained financial health more likely in the long-term. More like telling people to eat sweets in moderation, as opposed to telling them they’ll never be able to taste sweets again, and they are brainwashed and entitled for liking sweets. All that’s going to do is send someone straight to the freezer with a “to heck with healthy living (or healthy finances)” attitude.

Derek September 1, 2011 at 3:25 am

First of all, thank you for your comment Nancy. I realize that my list would upset a few readers, and I appologize for that, but it’s mainly for those that are constantly whining about their financial state, and then they whip out their iPad to check the weather…. It simply shouldn’t be! If you are financially strapped, then it’s time to grow up and get rid of the luxuries in your life.

Evan September 1, 2011 at 10:59 am

Granted some of Derek’s recommendations are extreme, but I don’t think going down to a $70/month phone plan vs a $120 for the iPhone is like going on a “cucumber diet.” Or if you are buying a game or two a month…leading to both the outflow of cash and the purse wasting of time.

I am not sure getting rid of the internet is the answer though lol

Think you forgot a leased car

Harri @ TotallyMoney August 31, 2011 at 6:54 am

Amen to that Beth! Men are just as guilty (if not more so) of big designer ‘status’ purchases. Let’s face it, men are more conscious of what that watch on your wrist says about you than us ladies ever will be.

Derek September 1, 2011 at 3:26 am

Haha, yes, Beth got me on that one! Men sure do love their gadgets! And, they can be extremely expensive, and yet worthless in a year or so (because of changing technologies).

Beth September 1, 2011 at 3:54 am

Again, why does it come down to gadgets? 😉 It’s okay for men to splurge on manly things like sports gear and , but we can’t acknowledge that they spend on designer clothes and shoes?

I enjoy your writing, but these double standards are getting annoying.

Derek September 1, 2011 at 4:04 am

Haha, wow…. I just used gadgets as an example because I relate to it. I am not a hunter, but this would clearly be an example of overspending if you were having money trouble.

As for sports gear, did you read #8?? I’m not really seeing the double standard… 😉

Thanks for keeping me in check though Beth.

Beth September 1, 2011 at 6:16 am

Thanks for listening! I meant the double standards in general, not you in particular 🙂

Alex | Perfecting Dad August 31, 2011 at 7:59 am

I’m a man and I’ll second that men buy brands too — not me, but those others 🙂 I’ve seen people who have no savings spend $700 or$800 on a coat, and I went shopping with the guy at lunch once for watches that cost over $500. Even my brother buys bikes for hundreds of dollars, which are all about the brand name and how many ounces can you shave, etc. Very expensive hobbies.

Derek September 1, 2011 at 3:29 am

Good examples Alex! I used to be caught up in the tech stuff, like big screen TVs and surround sound. That sure was expensive! Luckily, I’ve grown up and realize that I don’t need those luxuries anymore. Without them, I have now become more successful and have developed better relationships.

Little House August 31, 2011 at 8:10 am

This list could be used as the reasons that one is broke as well! 😉 I’m a very simplistic person, so I don’t need much. However, I do want an Android phone now that my smartphone is really old. Oh, and I need the internet and Netflix, but that’s all.

Beth August 31, 2011 at 8:52 am

Agreed! I have basic cable and internet, but take a pass on the rest. Cable is an indulgence I allow, and the internet is a necessity for me for work.

I forgot to say it earlier, but I thought this was a great list. Another things I would add:

– a large book/music/video library. (Two words: library card)
– a gas guzzling vehicle.
– brand new furniture (most of mine was previously loved)
– big stereo system.

Radios are also better for weather warnings as you can rely on them when the power goes out — get a solar powered or hand cranked one 🙂

Derek September 1, 2011 at 3:30 am

That’s true. Buy enough of the items on this list and you’ll be in the poor house in a hurry! Good luck getting the Android phone. I know you are financially wise (love your blog), so if you get one, it’s because you can afford it.

krantcents August 31, 2011 at 10:38 am

Good points! Getting people to think about what they are doing to destroy themselves is good. It is the first step to making changes in you life.

Derek September 1, 2011 at 3:31 am

Glad you liked it Krantcents! It’s a pretty bold list, but someone had to say it. 🙂

Hunter @ Financially Consumed August 31, 2011 at 10:44 am

I like this perspective.

@ Kay Lynn – the site redesign is awesome!

won August 31, 2011 at 11:10 am

I do not like or appreciate such black and white thinking.

I like to think more in shades of grey.

Derek September 1, 2011 at 3:32 am

I believe that gray thinking gets us nowhere in life. If everything we do is OK or acceptable, then what rules do we live our life by? How do we know if we’re doing right or wrong? I say, if you have absolutely no money, yet you have a big screen TV and 50 video games, it’s pretty black and white that you need to just get rid of them.

Maggie@SquarePennies August 31, 2011 at 1:19 pm

I may be travelling in the cheaper circles as well, but I don’t see expensive jewellry much anymore. The frankly fake, tribal looks, crafted looks seem to be more popular. Not to mention that real gold jewelry can be ripped off your neck if someone really wants to. I buy jewelry on sale and/or with coupons. My earrings usually cost about $4-7 a pair & I get compliments on them. My ddil only buys earrings when she gets a $10 coupon in the mail from Penney’s. Then she finds a pair that costs about $10–nearly free earrings. Pretty smart way to update her work wardrobe!

Derek September 1, 2011 at 3:34 am

Wow! That sounds nice and cheap. I think we tend to gravitate toward expensive crowds or something, because somehow, one of our friends always recommends these $40 pairs of earrings to my wife… It’s not completely outrageous, but that $40 could really be used for something more productive than a couple of earrings….

Maggie@SquarePennies August 31, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Wanted to add that my mom has a ton of costume jewelry. No she’s not in any financial trouble. But she’s started buying costume jewlery at garage sales. She gets clip-on earrings for 25 cents! And she gets compliments on them.

Derek September 1, 2011 at 3:35 am

I love it! Give your mom some kudos for me! 🙂

Squirrelers August 31, 2011 at 3:13 pm

You’re right about these things, and others like it.

Another example would be an expensive car. Nobody needs a luxury car, or sporty car. Some lucky people in highly urban areas might not even need a car, period. For the rest of us, what’s truly needed is a reliable vehicle that gets us from point A to point B. You don’t need the BMW. A used Hyundai will work fine. Not that I have one, but I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to it.

I might classify internet at home as something that’s becoming more of a need – it’s not something I’ll get rid of. But cable, netflix, etc – not really necessary.

Derek September 1, 2011 at 3:36 am

That is true. No one really needs a luxury car, but many people life to feel like they are a success. With a fancy car, many of their friends begin to envy them, which is exactly what they wanted…. it’s sad really….

cashflowmantra September 1, 2011 at 6:33 am

Amen. As a landlord, I have to deal with this list constantly. The tenant who is always having trouble paying rent but has a bigger TV than me. That pissed me off. As did the tenant who was bragging about her new iphone on Facebook but couldn’t pay the rent. Sometimes, I think anyone on food stamps should have their cell phones confiscated.

Derek September 1, 2011 at 7:01 am

Oh man would that be frustrating!! I can’t imagine not being paid the rent, but having to listen about a new big screen TV…

Maybe you should send them this article! 🙂

Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter September 1, 2011 at 8:04 am

Great article Kay. I wonder if people would actually admit to owning this stuff if they were having money troubles. It all comes down to priorities if you ask me- what is more important to you- being debt free or owning x. Many people have such a hard time determining this- they get tempted with the instant gratification they can get.

I also agree with Squirrelers. Internet these days is more of a need but cable etc can go.

Derek September 1, 2011 at 7:15 pm

I’ve heard of people owning these items even when they have money problems! In their mind though, each of these items is necessary. 🙂

anotherhousewife September 1, 2011 at 9:16 am

Is there something on your list we couldn’t do with out? YES! Cable. It is the reason why we are able to stay sane while sticking to a slim budget. Really it is only needed for Fox Sports AZ and ESPN but you can’t just purchase those. We gave up cable when we first started to get serious about our money because it is on the “list” of must do’s. It was the worst decision, FOR US. We spent more money going to the sports bar to catch the game and it didn’t help that it was playoff time!! Sports are part of who we are as a family. It is our time to relax, bond, and LIVE. Shallow? Eh-Maybe. At least we know ourselves. We know that to others it may be “irresponsible” spending, but in reality it actually helps us save more and accomplish our goals!

For the record we do own a X-Box bought by the kids grandma and we have never bought them any extra games for it. We have a flat screen TV courtesy of my husband’s work point reward system. My husband has a smart phone paid for by his work-including his monthly bill. Old Navy with a coupon is the only name brand clothing I own. Netflix-no, Cable-yes. Internet is bundled w/cable. We have a pair of twenty year old golf clubs that get used once a year during my husbands work golf tournament. The only expensive jewelry I own is my wedding ring and are kids share bedrooms!

Derek September 1, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Sounds like you know what you can live with and live without. Nice work!

Elle September 1, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Great post- this is something I was guilty of while I was in college. I complained about how broke I was, but I still had needless expenses in my monthly budget.

It was amazing that when I started cutting back I had some money to pay down my credit card debt 😀

Derek September 1, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Yep. Once you understand that these items aren’t really your needs, then it becomes a whole lot easier to find some money! 🙂

Kelley September 2, 2011 at 11:49 am

I’d cross Internet off our list of expenses, but the Internet is A. My work and B. my social life and C. My entertainment.

We did just cut out cable TV and cable phone. I am required to have a plain old telephone for work so that has to stay.

We don’t own gold jewelry, I never buy name brand when I can avoid it, my car is falling apart.

And our cell phones are also our only point of contact for jobs, friends and family.

Derek September 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Sounds like you’re good! I think I’d be able to walk in your house. 😉

101 Centavos September 2, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Great post. It’s amazing to see how materially affluent the American “poor” are compared to say, the average Somali or Burmese.

Derek September 2, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Very true! Every time I look in my house, I realize how fortunate we are, even though we don’t have 3,000 square feet of marble on our floors. Just the fact that we have a car, running water, and a roof over our heads makes us fortunate.

Barb Friedberg September 2, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Guilty, I certainly have a few of those items. Fortunately, never went into debt to buy!! Also make saving and investing the first priority!! I guess I’m okay!

Derek September 2, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Well, if you don’t claim to be poor, then you’re fine. But if I hear that you’re saying cash is tight, then it’s time to get rid of some stuff. 🙂

Kevin@OutOfYourRut September 3, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Hi Derek–Excellent post and I agree with all of them–especially the empty bedrooms! There are a host of other expenses that follow that one, including higher property taxes, insurance and utilities. Then there is the more expensive car the NEEDS to be in the driveway of the bigger home (that holds the extra bedrooms).

It’s one of those domino affect factors that causes a chain reaction affecting nearly all other spending.

Derek September 3, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I’m glad you agree! I know that if my wife and I got into financial trouble, we would be quick to get rid of all of the things on this list!

Khaleef @ KNS Financial September 3, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I can’t count how many times my wife and I see someone who willingly pays a lot of money for a luxury, but then complains about not being able to afford necessities.

Crystal @ Travel Insurance Comparison September 3, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Cigarettes. It drives me absolutely nutty when someone complains about finances and breaks out a $7 pack of cigarettes…

Beth September 4, 2011 at 5:16 am

And alcohol! When I was in university it drove me crazy how many people complained about how broke they were and how much money they needed in student loans, but they could always afford to party. (I don’t drink, so admittedly I’m biased!)

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