We’ve all succumbed to the pressure of our neighbors or friends flaunting their shiny new things. And suddenly, our car, outdated smartphone, or tiny apartment feels like an embarrassment, right?
One Redditor asked, “What screams, “I make poor financial choices”?” thousands of users commented on this post and we have made a list of the top 20 responses for you.
1. Zero Car Maintenance
A discerning Reddit user commented, “Driving a very expensive car with tons of body damage because all their money is going to their $800 a month car payment, and they can’t afford to fix the damage they caused with their bad driving.”
Someone else added, “I had this exact conversation with my friend today; if you can’t afford to fix your car, you probably shouldn’t be owning a 2022 60k Mercedes.”
Taking care of your car isn’t just about avoiding breakdowns- it’s also about saving money in the long run. Regular maintenance might seem like a hassle, but it’s a small price to pay compared to the hefty bills that come with major repairs.
2. Blowing up the Inheritance
Living large might seem like the coolest thing ever, but when you’re burning through that inheritance like a forest fire, you’re setting yourself up for a massive financial crash.
One said, “My wife’s siblings each just received a 117k disbursement from their mothers’ trust. So farp, one brother, who doesn’t own a home nor a pension plan and is 55 went out and bought a brand new Harley Davidson Full bagger bike.
The other brother, who was homeless three months ago is shopping for a Dodge Charger. He is 65 and can’t afford to retire. Her three sisters haven’t made any big purchases yet. It is tough to watch, knowing how hard my in-laws worked to leave a little money for the siblings.”
Another added, “I’ve seen this so many times in my life. People inherit significant sums of money and blow through it. One guy I knew got around $500k from one of his old friends. He was in his mid-60s, didn’t have anything. I tried to convince him to invest the whole thing and turn it into a monthly paycheck for the rest of his life.
He didn’t listen, went out and bought a $100k RV, started traveling all over the country. I asked him what the hell he was doing. He said, “This is the first time in my life people think I’m successful.” I was like OK, enjoy it while it lasts cause when you blow through all that money everyone is gonna think you’re a dumb**s.”
3. Expensive Baby Clothes
Sure, those designer outfits might look adorable, but let’s be real here—babies don’t care if they’re rocking Gucci or a hand-me-down. They’re more concerned about being comfy, clean, and having a fresh diaper!
A Reddit user wrote, “Designer shoes and jewelry on your infant.”
Another person pitched in to say, “People always act like I’m weird for giggling at their baby’s J’s like where tf are they running”
Someone else replied, “I have so many friends whose infants only wear expensive bamboo clothing meanwhile, I know several of them who are swimming in credit card debt. Like >$10k in consumer debt (hidden from their spouse). I literally don’t understand 😭”
4. Expensive Jewelry
One Redditor stated, “Wearing a $900 Gucci belt with your Mcdonald’s staff uniform.”
Someone on Reddit said, “Something I have noticed in my area is that lower-income people tend to have flashier/gaudier engagement and wedding rings than higher-income people. Not sure if it’s just my area or even all just in my head, but it sure seems that way.
Edit: Jewelry styles also seem to be different between income classes. Lower-income people tend to go for “crown jewel” style or what they perceive royalty and stereotypical rich people wear (like on TV and movies) styles, while higher-income goes for more understated, simple, and modern style jewelry. Again, just my perception, and it might be just me or my area.”
Expensive jewelry might make you feel like a boss, but it’s just a fleeting status symbol. It won’t pay your bills, put food on the table, or secure your future.
So, you’ve got dreams of owning a castle, and what do you do? Scrape together every last penny for a down payment, right? Wrong! Putting all your eggs in the down payment basket can leave you broke and vulnerable.
Someone commented, “Unfortunately, it is a hard one to answer. I used to work in the banking/mortgage industry in Canada 18 yrs ago, and this one stuck with me, and I have seen both sides of the coin.
Example 1- early 30’s married couple both doctors. Finally making some money but large student debt. A nice, big rented house with 2 nice cars (Porsche and Lexus, leased). No kids and multiple vacations every year. They tried to get a mortgage, and they didn’t qualify for anything.
Example 2- early 30’s married couple with a child. Both working decent 60k jobs. Currently renting a modest place with 1 car. No vacations and had some savings. They qualified for a 500k mortgage and were ecstatic. While in the process of telling them that that was their maximum threshold, they stopped me and said, “We try not to live beyond our means so we can hopefully own one day”.
It was at that moment that I realized that because you have something, it doesn’t mean you own something.”
Someone else couldn’t agree but say, “I was in the mortgage game for a while too. It’s crazy how many peoples finances didn’t match what you would assume by looking at their life from an outside perspective. The amount of people who were doctors/lawyers and felt they deserved the good life but really had too much debt to live like it was noticeable.
As well as the blue-collar types who saved and saved and never really change their lifestyle at all. It’s also crazy how bad at personal finance doctors were. Whenever I heard “we are both doctors” I would wince. One of them was gonna have a bananas credit score with every card maxed out. Or anyone with a new fully loaded Nisan titan.”
6. Payday Loan Places
The world of payday loans is a financial minefield. Desperation might push you towards that quick cash fix, but trust us; it’s a path you’ll regret taking.
One said, “This should have been the top-voted answer. Payday loan places are so bad that you can basically use them as a barometer for the neighbourhood you’re in if you look around and see a lot of payday loan places, you are in a bad neighbourhood.”
Another Redditor couldn’t agree more and said, “Wouldn’t say bad more like poor. Payday loans are predatory loans and would be forbidden in almost every other country. It’s basically a loan shark business. But sometimes poor people need money for emergency purposes like the car broke down and they need to get to work.”
Imagine this: you’re scrolling through Instagram, and boom, there it is—the most stunning beach you’ve ever seen. FOMO hits you hard, and you think, “I gotta be there!”
So, what do you do? You whip out that credit card or take out a loan faster than you can hashtag “vacay mode.” But here’s the thing: living for the moment can lead to some serious financial regrets.
Someone wrote, “People who refinance their home in order to take a vacation. You took a week off and only thirty years to pay for it. Brilliant idea, bozo.”
Another person added, “Guy I know took a 25k loan on his house to go on vacation for a month with his family. Said you only get to live once. the thing is he went on vacation back to his birth country and wanted to live large so people think he’s successful.”
From diapers to college funds, parenthood is a financial marathon. So, it’s important to plan ahead and budget wisely to avoid drowning in debt.
One user shared, “Having more kids than you can afford to raise.”
Another person stated, “This. I know four different people that had five kids by age thirty. All four wound up getting divorced and live in severe poverty. It’s sad.”
Let’s talk about the cold, hard truth- tattoos can be pricey. Sure, that intricate sleeve might look killer, but it can empty your bank account!
A Reddit user wrote, “I met a woman on a dating app once that had a number of tattoos. She had a low-income job, so I wondered how she could afford them. Turns out she was on a payment plan with the tattoo studio….I was like yeah, no thanks.”
Someone else replied, “Other than Mike Tyson, I can’t think of anyone whose life got better after getting a face tat.”
One Redditor stated, “They are called “job-stoppers” for a reason.”
Someone on Reddit said, “Timeshare and a pyramid scheme? We’re diversifying our portfolio.”
Another person said, “I had a roommate fall for both. She paid money to someone to sell the timeshare later – which of course, didn’t sell. Also got sucked into a scam where they were looking for people with good credit to buy homes under their names, and the company would give like $10k up front then rent it out. Never was rented, and head guy ended up running off with millions. Her credit was toast having that mortgage not getting paid.”
Timeshare salespeople are smooth talkers. They’ll make you feel like you’re missing out on the vacation of a lifetime if you don’t buy right then and there. But here’s the reality check: timeshares can be expensive and come with a slew of hidden fees.
11. Multilevel Marketing (Mlm)
Now, don’t get us wrong, we love a good hustle as much as the next person, but let us tell you, MLM can be a recipe for a series of poor financial choices.
Someone commented, “One of my wifes old school friends got deep into a few different MLMs. She was in 2 of them very early on, and as is the nature of pyramid schemes, her getting in early meant she actually made a lot of money in them. She was being flown out for ‘business’ conferences, she was given lavish gifts by the management, she was being told she was a Boss Babe constantly.
However, she did this by basically getting everyone in her social circle to join these MLMs. Most of them ended up losing a ton of money. One was a 20-year-old single mother who couldn’t afford childcare to let her work a full-time job; she blasted the woman on social media for basically abusing their trust and making her already rough life so much worse.
But the MLM woman just would not hear it. She blocked all the ‘haters’ as she called them; she then started whining about having a whole room in her house full of unsold stock (which was all paid up, no debt) and how she was no different than all the other people complaining about how the MLM had trashed their lives, she was a victim too!
It’s just surreal, watching someone go to such extreme lengths to avoid self-reflection or admitting that they maybe did something wrong even out of ignorance.”
Another Redditor agreed to say, “They’re only dumb if they actually buy into the whole thing. I reckon there’s plenty of people who know full well it’s a scam and are just using suckers to make money.”
12. Borrowing Money
Now, we know sometimes we all need a little extra cash to get by, but constantly borrowing money can lead to a serious financial mess.
One said, “”Hey, can I borrow $15? I’ll pay you back next week when I get paid.” With the above happening every other week.”
Someone else couldn’t agree but say, “I had a friend who constantly hit me up for $40 every other week. He paid me back every payday. One time I told him not to pay me back until he was sure he could go without asking for money. He was feeling really guilty 2 months later… paid me back $50… a month later asked me for more money… I didn’t have extra that time… I felt kinda bad. Long story short… I haven’t talked to him in a few years.”
One user shared, “Calling yourself entrepreneur but having nothing to show for it. These days it’s usually code for crypto and NFT Bros.”
Another Redditor couldn’t agree more and said, “Nobody who’s actually an entrepreneur calls themself an entrepreneur. They just say what their business does like “I sell flooring” or “I’m an electrician” or whatnot. And then it turns out they own the biggest flooring retailer in the tri-state area, and they’re worth tens of millions of dollars.”
Starting a business requires financial responsibility. It’s about managing your money wisely and avoiding unnecessary debt. So, before you go all-in on your entrepreneurial journey, ensure you have a solid financial plan.
14. Wedding Debt
The pressure to have a picture-perfect wedding can be overwhelming. The Instagram-worthy venues, designer dresses, and lavish decorations all add to a financial nightmare.
Someone said, “Going into debt for a wedding.”
Another person stated, “This is so true. A close friend is still paying off her wedding, but the marriage ended last year.”
Another added, “Weddings are probably one of the biggest scams nobody seems to want to address. Businesses surcharge their services/goods for no legitimate reason. It can very easily consume your life for months and months and can add all sorts of unnecessary stress/tension/bitterness. Even if you try to keep it small/diy, it can still easily cost thousands. And at the end of the day, it’s just a party, mostly for other people, and let’s be real, many that are not worth/deserving of the $X you’re spending per head.”
15. Replacing Tires
One Reddit user wrote, “People who buy big *ss wheels and tires for their car but then don’t replace them even when they’re clearly bald.”
Another commented, “I’m talking about the people that buy 26-inch wheels for their car, buy the cheapest tires, and then don’t replace them when they’re bald (because they’re expensive). Or those people who put 40-inch tires on their trucks but never replace them either. Big difference between being poor and making bad financial decisions.”
The “I can push it” mentality is a slippery slope. Those worn-out tires are like time bombs waiting to blow, and when they do, it’s going to be a costly mess.
The cost of cigarettes adds up, man. Packs upon packs, day after day—it’s like watching your hard-earned cash go up in smoke. So, before you light up that next cigarette, ask yourself if that short-lived buzz is really worth the financial hit!
Someone said, “Buying Marlboro 100’s every day and smoking every last one. I have someone at my work that does this while he’s got asthma and uses a nebulizer 3 times a shift. I can’t imagine he’s got his finances in order all too well.”
Someone else agreed and said, “I had a coworker who smoked, and so did his wife. They quit for three months and had enough money to buy a used car (at the time, probably $3k). The crazy thing is they went right back to smoking.”
17. Lottery Tickets
A Redditor wrote, “Poor people: we can’t afford to send our kids to college. Also, poor people: buy lottery tickets in Georgia and pays for my kids to go to college.”
Someone said, “My high school math teacher called the lottery a tax on stupid people.”
Buying lottery tickets can be a step toward gambling addiction. It starts innocently enough, with a few tickets, but before you know it, you’re chasing that next big win like a moth to a flame.
Another person shared similar thoughts and mentioned, “I’ve seen people spend hundreds on lotto. Like elderly people spending a whole checks worth on lotto tickets. My Mom used to, yes, she’d win a few times, but Dad said you’re spending more than you’re winning, and stopped it.”
18. Eating Out
Eating out all the time might be convenient, but it’s also expensive. Those fast-food chains know how to make your wallet cry for mercy.
One user said, “I’ll go you one better – eating out every night. The amount of $$$ you will spend on the same quality of food you could make yourself is INSANE – even if it’s just fast food.”
Someone else added, “I can’t justify (or understand) how people eat out more then 1-2 a week.”
Trust us; your bank account might prefer a home-cooked meal every now and then.
Constantly buying new phones is like chasing a never-ending cycle of upgrades. Just when you think you have the latest and greatest, a new model hits the market, and you’re left feeling outdated.
Someone else added, “always having the latest iPhone.”
Another user added, “It’s absolutely insane how much new phones cost. I’m probably going to have to replace my Note 20 in the next few months or so, and I’m already dreading it.”
20. Claw Machine
Here’s a harsh truth- those claw machines can be addictive. That adrenaline rush when you get close to grabbing the prize, the excitement of a potential win- it’s like a rollercoaster of emotions. But this addiction comes at a cost!
A discerning Reddit user commented, “I spent over 80$ tryna win a giant pikachu and failed. Could have bought that thing for 34$, but it was well worth it.”
Another wrote, “I once spent £40 beating time crisis 3 in an arcade. Totally worth it to teenage me.”
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