Do you always wonder why you have a negative balance in your bank account? Can’t figure out why you haven’t broken out of the paycheck to paycheck rat race? If this sounds all too familiar then chances are that at least one of these following ten reasons will apply to you:

1.) You keep dipping into your savings- In some way or form you’ve made it too easy to access your savings. Maybe your checking and savings account are linked, so every time you check your balance online, you’re able to see and access your savings as well. Maybe you have cash stashed away at your house in case of an emergency but somehow that honey pot is slowly but surely dwindling. When you keep your spending money and emergency money in the same place, it makes it much easier and more tempting to dip into. You have to eliminate some of the convenience of accessing your money. If it’s harder to get to then you’ll really think about going through the process of withdrawing it. One alternative is to consider automating your savings. An online savings account (separate from the bank that houses your checking account) should make it harder for you to access and transfer your money. Most online savings accounts like Capital One 360, usually take 2-3 business days to transfer the money to your checking account. Segregating your finances and keeping your checking and savings in different places will help you save for emergencies, get you closer to your goal, and make it a lot harder to access on the weekend or during a night out with friends.

2.) The club keeps calling your name – Maybe you don’t know how to say no to your friends or you flat out have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). The only thing going out will do to your bank account is help you to stay broke. Now I’m not saying you should never go out or have fun with friends but breaking the paycheck to paycheck cycle does require some short term sacrifice. Try cutting back or minimizing your cost by pre-gaming at home or trying to make it to the club before they charge a cover. Yes, I know, it’s not always the coolest thing but having your credit card declined isn’t the coolest thing either. Learn how to say no or learn how to cut back a little while you’re getting on your feet.

3.) You don’t have a budget! Have you ever had one of those months or weeks where you just got paid and then by Sunday or the following week you have no idea where your paycheck went to? Having a budget allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of your personal finances at all times. A budget outlines exactly where you want your money to go and also gives you a roadmap to future financial goals. Telling your money where to go rather than trying to figure out where it went, just makes common cents! A budget will not solve all your problems, but it will help you get started in the right direction. This is one simple, small, interactive step that will help you break the cycle.

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4.) You’re wayyy too impulsive – Have you ever heard of the saying “everything that glitters ain’t gold” or “buyer’s remorse”? Perhaps you suffer from the “I have to have it NOW syndrome.” Pick your poison, but being impulsive can cause you to back track in your financial goals and leave you with regret. If you’re an online shopaholic try letting the items you just “have to have” sit in your cart for a few days before you press purchase. This will give you time to really process the purchase, forcing you to “sleep on it.” This way you can see how you really feel about those items a few days from when you place them in your cart. I’m guilty of having spontaneous impulsive moments, but this trick definitely allows me to curb my spending impulses. Generally when I go back to the cart the next day, I element one or two things I thought that I “needed”. Give this trick an honest try and tell me how it works out for you!

5.) You don’t have a budget! (Did I say this one already?) I cannot stress the importance of a budget enough. Knowing where all your money is going is the key to not being broke. There are plenty on apps out there that will help you create a budget. Do it while you’re sitting in front of the TV or sitting in bed one morning. A budget will not only help you track your finances, it will get you thinking differently about your finances all together. A budget is like a blueprint, it gives you a visual of what you are trying to create. Don’t like what you’re making? Then change it, reallocate, and re-organize.

6.) You invest in clothes and shoes and not stocks and bonds-  These items will not appreciate in value or stay in style forever but if you find yourself wondering why you’re still living paycheck to paycheck or you’re always broke at the end of the month, this could be a contributing factor. Just take a look in the closet! Do you have more shoes or purses in your closet than you have money in your bank account? Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate nice clothes and things but because I’m on a budget, I’ve outlined what’s important to me and I’ve learned that certain “things” suck the life out of my wallet. Wait for sales, carve out room in your budget for clothing. This will help you to not binge shop and totally destroy your budgeting and financial goals for the month.

7.) You’re only focused on the here and now- “You Only Live Once” is a great mindset for some people, but wouldn’t you rather retire sooner than later? If you’re hustling, saving, and making healthy money decisions, just like karma it will all come back to you. Wouldn’t you rather have your “financial house” in order so you can truly enjoy the moment instead of getting anxious about  splitting the bill at the end of a nice dinner? Remind yourself over and over that short-term sacrifice is for long-term gain! Once you put in all the hard work you’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor but you can only reap what you sow. If you’re busting it and saving and making healthy money decisions, like karma, you’ll get that all back. Just requires a little sacrifice.

8.) You’re lazy- You are that person that knows all about budgeting, saving money, and making all the right financial decisions, BUT let’s face it, you’re lazy. You have all the knowledge of what you SHOULD be doing, but you’re too lazy to put action behind the thoughts. Saving money and being in tune with your personal finances takes work, time, and dedication. Eventually, your desire to stop living paycheck to paycheck and struggling every month has got to be greater than the comfort of sitting back and watching this cycle repeat itself over and over again. Unfortunately this isn’t something I can fix for you, if you don’t have the motivation for change then it will never happen. You have to want it for yourself!

9.) You’re trying to keep up with your friends.- Don’t make the mistake of ruining your financial future by trying to keep up with your friends. They may be at different places and stages in life than you are, that doesn’t make you any less successful if you don’t have mortgage, two cars, or high-end accessories. You have to prioritize what is right for you right now and in your future. Do not let your friends become the model of what success looks like to you. Figure out that image for yourself and then get out there and go after that.

10.) You feel overwhelmed – Living paycheck to paycheck can be overwhelming and is a reality a lot of people face. Seeing your account go into the red and having more bills to pay can be paralyzing, stressful, and depressing. I totally understand and know the feeling, but you’ve got to keep pushing against these feelings to move towards a permanent lifestyle change. Once you break the cycle, after some much needed hard work and dedication, the overwhelmed feeling will dissipate! Remember that you have to start somewhere and not to be too hard on yourself. A budget will empower you and help you to start changing your situation around for the better.

Chances are you’ve been able to relate to at least one of the 10 reasons mentioned.  Maybe you’re still broke for completely different reasons and this article just helped widen your perspective a little. Either way, things can always be different, as soon as you recognize your reasons why! Knowing why you may still be broke or why you’re living paycheck to paycheck is half the battle. Be patient with the process and remember you are not alone, but it’s on you to start turning it around.

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Written by Carmen

Creator of www.makerealcents.com, a blog dedicated to all things personal finance and money. Crushed over 38k in debt in less than 18 months and I’m on a mission to help others achieve financial freedom.