10 Things That Make You Poorer

things that make you poorerCNNMoney recently posted an article about 10 Things That Make You Poorer. The list includes:

10 Things That Make You Poorer

  • Smartphones
  • Cars
  • Credit Cards
  • Rent-To-Own Anything
  • Money Market Funds
  • Lottery Tickets
  • Cigarettes
  • TV
  • Collectibles
  • House

I think this is an interesting list. I agree with all of the items on the list. I like the inclusion of money market funds as most people think that they cannot lose money in these funds. While this is correct in terms of not losing principal, you do lose money due to the effects of inflation.

TV is one not many think about. Instead of plopping down in front of the TV every night or on the weekends, find something better to do. Read a book. Take class and learn. Make yourself a better person. Or, just stop and find out what really makes you happy in life.

One other thing that many fall victim to are collectibles. We get caught up in the rush of the moment that we forget to realize what makes an item a collectible in the first place. A mass produced Beanie Baby will not hold its value over the long term. There is too great a supply and not enough demand. I fell victim to this collecting baseball cards in the mid to late 1980’s. The baseball card companies mass produced so many cards that most of the cards from that era are worthless. I’ve been trying to sell my collection for years with no takers. (If you know of anyone looking for a card collection, let me know!)

Additions to 10 Things That Make You Poorer

If I could add anything to the list it would be these two things:

Not negotiating your salary. By not negotiating, you are leaving money on the table. That money you could have had would compound upon itself each year. This means each year of 3% raises is a larger dollar amount because of the higher salary. Of course, not everyone is in the position to negotiate. But if you are, I encourage you to do so.

Having a negative attitude. Look on the bright side of all situations. It may take some time find the good in a situation, but it is there, even if it is a small thing. I feel that many of the things that have happened to me are a result of me having a positive attitude and looking for the good in every situation. I try to learn from everything. This helps me to avoid making the same mistakes twice, even if I still sometimes do!

Be sure to also check out 15 Biggest Wastes of Money for more things that make you poorer.

Readers, what are your thoughts on this list? What would you add?

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  1. says

    Good list. I agree with many of them. I would disagree a little bit with the credit cards being listed though. Of course, I think you need to spend on them only what money you actually have. That said, I think they can be a great way to earn money through and don’t make you poorer if you use them wisely.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..Is a College Degree Worth it?My Profile

  2. says

    Those things will definitely take your money. Along the lines of inflation, I’d say its the cost of just about everything around you that will make you more poor. The median income in America has been stagnant for many years. But yet healthcare, education, and energy costs continue to rise. Without spending a dime, we’re already worse off.
    My Money Design recently posted..Using a Flexible Spending Account to Get Another Tax Break in Your PaycheckMy Profile

    • moneysma says

      I too think that credit cards are good, as long as you use them correctly. Unfortunately too many people get stuck with buying too much and making minimum payments each month.

  3. says

    I think smart phones are to blame. I read an article in the USA Today (I think that was the paper) that talked about how families went from spending $25 on a landline to $200 or more for smart phone service. $200 a month is a lot for middle-income people.
    Sam recently posted..Don’t Pay Mutual Fund Load Fees!My Profile

    • moneysma says

      I agree that $200 is a lot for phone service. I have the bare bones text and data packages and feel that my bill is too high. I couldn’t imagine spending $200/mo for phone service.

  4. says

    I don’t understand the TV argument. Cable, maybe? After the initial cost of the television itself, how is it costing you money? Using your comparison of books, both are essentially free. Books are free at the library and TV network programming is free via antenna. The only difference I see here is the initial cost of the TV.

    Your argument against TV seems to be geared toward emotionally poorer, not financially. That people who watch lots of TV are missing out on life. Instead, you suggest reading a book? I never understand this book argument. As an extremely avid reader, I don’t see how the HOURS I spend on the couch reading fiction is any different from someone else spending HOURS on the couch watching a sitcom. How does that make me a better person?

    • moneysma says

      I was trying to get at watching hours upon hours of mindless reality TV does nothing for you whereas reading a book can help you learn and makes you think. I should have been a little bit more clear when I wrote it.

      • says

        @moneysma: So you’re comparing reality TV to non-fiction books? Then I’ll compare mindless genre fiction to documentary programming and say that TV actually teaches you about things where as books just have you living in some fantasy world.

        It’s not fair to compare apples to oranges. Everyone says “books are educational” when they’re really just talking about non-fiction. Unless you have an argument how romance novels are educational.
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  5. Jackie says

    I agree with everything that was listed but, I think college degrees that aren’t trade specific should have been included. A lot of people are in debt because of worthless degrees that aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

    • Cat says

      Wrong, wrong and wrong. Despite the jaundiced view many anti-schooling activists bitterly espouse (“har-dee-har, all them high-falutin’ learnin’ done be a waste a time!”), schooling remains – demonstrably and provably – one of the smartest financial moves you can make. Right off the bat, “college graduates aged 25 to 32 who are working full time earn about $17,500 more annually than their peers who have only a high school diploma” (taken from http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21600131-too-many-degrees-are-waste-money-return-higher-education-would-be-much-better). That’s just in the first few years out of school. Over the course of a lifetime, a degree literally makes a difference of hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars (see, for example, http://howtoedu.org/college-facts/how-much-more-money-do-college-grads-make/). That’s just the cold hard cash value of the degree alone (we’ll leave aside the many intangible but invaluable social and intellectual benefits that college provides).

      Now obviously, there’s a colossal difference between a degree in basket weaving from Buttf***nowhere University and an MBA from Harvard – just as there is between a PhD in Engineering and an undergrad in sociology. There are simply too many variables to be able to say “all degrees are immediately profitable” or “all degrees are inherently useless.” But there is one thing that can be said across the board: the same person, with the same work ethic and circumstances in play, will make more money with a degree than without. Period.

      What I’m confused by in this article is #10: house. How on earth does this “make you poorer” (I mean unless you’re sinking way too much money into a terrible situation, but that’s hardly the norm when it comes to investing in real estate) – ??

  6. Alicia says

    About the TV comment: I assume that part of the problem is the price of cable/dish subscriptions. We cancelled our cable in 1999 when the company raised our rates – they refused to believe we weren’t going to a dish! We were just done with it. We now spend $20/mo for streaming Netflix and don’t have the commercials – you pick what you want and can avoid reality tv (all of which is rigged anyway). We will shortly be cancelling that. If you want news, there’s the internet, where again you can pick and choose. If you don’t want media propaganda, cancel the cable and read a book – ANY book. Language is getting lost, spelling is gone, and grammar is now a dinosaur. I blame texting for most of that. Books, even fiction, at least exercise the mind, which is far more than most TV programs do.

  7. Donna says

    Credit cards are dangerous unless paid off every month. One of the best decisions I made was to buy a house–not only do I love my home, I was able to refinance a few years ago and pay off $20,000 in credit card debt. I had been trying for ten years to pay that debt down; I always paid more than the minimum and often paid well over the minimum when I had extra money–and my balances NEVER fell below $20,000.00. Now I live free of credit card debt and will never (hopefully) carry a balance again.

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