30 Things Broke People Say (That Keep Them Broke)

A few months ago I wrote a post called 10 Things That Broke People Do (That Keep Them Broke) that talks about the negative thought patterns and bad behavior that people engage in that leads them straight to the poor house. We talked about how they do things like shirk responsibility, never plan ahead for the future and how they would rather appear successful than actually be successful.

This past week I was reading an article over at DaveRamsey.com that takes a similar tack, where Dave asked listeners to his radio show to send in things that broke people say.    Tons of people did send in what he calls “loser language”, things that people say when they aren’t as responsible, or when they want to make excuses for spending money they don’t have.  Since it was similar to what I had posted previously, I wanted to share some of his listener submitted  list of “Things Broke People Say” today.

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Things Broke People Say

things broke people say

  1. If I earn interest, I have to pay more taxes.
  2. There’s no shame in being poor, just in dressing poorly.
  3. At my age, it’s too late anyway.
  4. Why save money? You can’t take it with you when you die!
  5. We’re only young once!
  6. But it’s only zero percent interest!
  7. I’ll pay it off next month!
  8. Old cars just aren’t safe.
  9. Whatever you want, dear.
  10. I’ll start my budget next month.
  11. It’s for the kids.
  12. I work hard so I deserve to have it!
  13. I’ll just keep paying the minimum payment.
  14. My rich grandparents are going to die soon.
  15. I want my kids to have it better than I did.
  16. It’s cheaper to eat out than eat at home.
  17. Always keep a house payment for tax purposes.
  18. I’ll save next year when I’m making more money.
  19. We’ll pay it off when the tax return comes in.
  20. You have to leverage debt to become rich!
  21. I need to invest in a car.
  22. Why save ? The Lord is coming back soon!
  23. If I make more money, I will lose my food stamps!
  24. If everybody got out of debt, the economy would collapse!
  25. You’ll always have a car note.
  26. Just put it on the card and we will worry about it when it comes in..
  27. Being debt free isn’t for everyone.
  28. It’s only money! We’ll make more.
  29. I must be able to afford this (car, house, etc.)since I was approved for the loan.
  30. I’ll just use a cash advance from my Mastercard to pay down my VISA.

I’ve heard more than one of these over the past few years, and I’m sure you have as well.  Question is, have you ever made some of those excuses to yourself?  I know I have!

To keep the ball rolling, tell us a few things that you’ve heard broke people say – or have said yourself!  Leave a note in the comments!

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I’m a thirty-something Christian Midwestern father of one son, and have been happily married for 9 years to my beautiful wife. I love playing tennis, shooting hoops, or taking part in the occasional flag football game. Of course, I love writing and financial topics as well, and that's how this site came into being! Check me out on Google +!

Last Edited: 15th January 2014


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  1. says

    I hate to say it…but yes I’m guilty of saying ‘broke’ things. Some of these are pretty funny..but some are sad because a lot of people really believe it! If people just did a little research and expanded their knowledge about finance (just a little) they’d see how these statements can lead them to a life of being broke!

  2. says

    I’ve heard broke people say
    1. It’s too hard
    2. I don’t know how
    3. I deserve it (even if they don’t work hard)
    4. Investing is too risky
    5. That makes my head hurt (about learning)

    • miguel says

      What about when people say: “Money comes and goes” when they buy something expensive or to justify for their loss of any kind,

    • pbrower2a says

      1. Arrange for automatic savings.

      2. See my answer to #1.

      3. But does it deserve you?

      4. Failure to invest is sure failure.

  3. says

    I suggest that financial literacy should be a graduation requirement for high school and college! Although I am in favor of education, common sense seems to be missing in some people. There are always people who blame circumstances or other people for their problems.

  4. says

    Regarding #6 (“But it’s only zero percent interest!”), isn’t that a great thing? I personally pay off my credit cards in full every month, but if I could secure a (permanent) zero percent interest loan, I would just put it in a CD. 1% easy profit for doing nothing…

    • says

      I think too often people focus on the interest, and not on the fact that they’re paying too much for an expensive item they don’t need. Debt is still debt, even if it is at a 0% rate. Of course I’m sure some people can take advantage of such offers if they’re disciplined like you sound to be, but a good number of people aren’t.

      • pbrower2a says

        There’s no such thing as a free lunch — even with 0% interest. You are probably buying something overpriced for the market, and the retailer is using 0% interest (other such gimmicks include “we pay your sales tax”, “free airfare (to the overpriced resort)” or “we will give you a flat screen TV with some furniture purchases”. Nobody is in business to lose money.

  5. says

    “We can always pay it back later”
    “I know they’ll start charging us but I won’t forget to cancel it”

    Some people have a habit of chasing bad money after good…

    • pbrower2a says

      Politics is no excuse. Voting Republican to suggest that you are successful is just as silly as going on a spending spree to show success.

  6. says

    Regarding the food stamps issue, earning even slightly more can sometimes bump food outside of the budget. Say a person earns $200 more than what they did previously, and have 2 kids at home, that extra $200 might cancel a $400 food card, so while the family could have been budgeting to the best of their ability, earning more could end up taking food off the table.

    The food assistance system needs to be more helpful to those who are trying to earn more money and do better for themselves, without putting undue hardship on the very poor.

    I agree with a lot of what you said, though.

    • P. Mizzi says

      same logic can be true for subsidized day care as well. I knew a busy young single Mom once who really actually turned down a pay raise because it would make her ineligible for the day care subsidy and still would not cover the new cost of day care! She was smart and hard working but trapped at a low wage until both her kids were in school full time.

    • pbrower2a says

      You are still better off to make more money. It looks better on your resume. The Earned Income Tax Credit might do you some good as an offset.

  7. hungoverbear says

    Buying alcohol is not a waste of my money!!!

    Basically i told my roomate if he wanted to save money he needed to stop pissing it all away on booze and cover charges at the bar, and of course that was his response.

  8. Jen says

    I can’t whittle it into a funny saying, but a friend of mine struggled to make ends meet by selling her art. $20 a day would be a big deal to her. Yet she would always ‘reward’ herself when she did get money. And of course rewarding herself meant spending money. AAAK! I’ve seen the same behaviour in people who are trying to lose weight. They ‘reward’ themselves for losing weight… by eating crap!!!

  9. Olivia says

    “I don’t have time to cook.” (or “It’s hard to cook for just one.”)
    “I can never find what I need at thrift stores.”
    “I just can’t save.” (otherwise stated as, “It”s easy for you…”)
    “It’s a once and a lifetime deal.”
    “Budgets never work for me.”
    “I thought I was going to get a scholarship.”

    very sad.

      • Bill says

        If you have a family its one thing, but for single people cooking for yourself isn’t going to save you much money and it will cost you a lot of time. Its usually healthier for you than lots of takeout or frozen/canned foods though. Its a common complaint among (usually older) folks that people who eat out alot or eat alot of canned or frozen food at home are wasting money they could otherwise be saving if they would prepare those foods from the raw ingredients themselves. But go ahead and try to make a cheeseburger (not twenty cheesburgers, just one) for the $1 McDonalds is selling it for. Go ahead and try to make your own burritos for cheaper than the frozen 10 pack from El Monterey for $3-4. The American food industry is one of the most efficient industries in the world. You can still save money cooking for yourself but it really isn’t that much money.

        • John says

          The American food industry is too heavily subsidized by the government to call it efficient or cost effective. Factory farmers receive many dollars in subsidies for producing corn and other crops. And buying the cheap food (read subsidized corn and beans) (i.e. Monterey burritos and McDonald’s burgers) is in no way healthy. Just because a fast food restraunt sells an item for under the actual cost to produce it does not make it a good deal. Sure, it’s easier to go through the drive thru than to cook rice and beans, but don’t do it under the guise of saving money.

    • Laura says

      “It’s too hard to cook for just one.” In all honesty, when I was single, it did seem like a waste of time to cook and clean up the kitchen for just me. When you are single, and especially if you have to travel a lot for your job (Thurs-Mon) and maintain a residence (home or apartment), it really doesn’t leave a lot of spare time. And I would usually end up throwing leftovers away after a week or two of sitting in the fridge.

  10. Tammis says

    My friend constantly says things like:
    “People like us can’t afford things like that.”
    “I’ll never be able to get ahead.”
    “Everything is so expensive.”
    “I can barely afford to buy food let alone make repairs to my house.”
    …and yes, all these things continue to be true in her life…what you talk about, will come about.

    • says

      I agree with your last point. When you say things like this, they have a way of being self-fulfilling prophecies. “i’ll never be able to get ahead” – yeah, with that attitude, you’re right!

  11. gh says

    I’ve heard my little 22-year old sister say that it’s okay if she’s broke, because Dad will cover her expenses for her. She just bought a pick-up that she has to make $500/month payments on for the next 5 years and she told my mom that she is going to live with them for the next 5 years so she doesn’t need to pay for anything other than the pick-up.

    I guess I’m guilty of a couple of those lines, but I hate being in debt, and I’d rather pay off some of my debt and have less in my savings because debt costs more since it has a higher interest rate. I know I’ve heard my friends and family say that they wish they could travel, since my boyfriend and I both like to travel, but we spend as little money as possible going out to the movies, shopping, and going out to the bars. In order to still spend time with our friends, we like to host a pot-luck board game night, so we can save the money for travelling. It’s also really easy to travel if you can get a fuel-efficient car, have friends’ places you can stay at on the trip, and have multiple people for a road-trip.

  12. says

    #25 You’ll always have a car note.

    I use to say this about buying a car. I thought I’d rather have an older car, that I can pay for in full, than a newer car that I’ll have a car note for the next 5 years. But I have learned not to look at that way. Now I have a leased car, but it is the kind of lease that is not as expensive as the traditional lease, but covers the repairs of absolutely any and everything that could go wrong on a car, including road side assistance. Whether the engine or transmission goes out, or it just needs wind shield fluid or an oil change, it is covered at no expense to me, plus they’ll loan me a replacement car for free while they repair my car. So even though, we have a car note, we never have to worry about the expense of a car repair or rental. And that’s a wonderful feeling! Now I don’t say “You’ll always have a car note,” any more, because sometimes that not such a bad thing.

  13. mikemax says

    That lease Jacqueline discussed should go at the top of the list of “Things Broke People Say.” I have no idea what it costs, but I can guarantee you that it is too much. And, at the end, she’ll have NOTHING to show for it. I own an 8-year-old American minivan with 114,000 miles on it and I have NEVER had a repair, except for brakes…which are basically maintenance. I have spent less than $2,000 on it for tires and brakes and transmission service at 80,000 miles. I have an AAA membership that covers emergency service. I’ve used it for a flat tire, but mostly when I am stupid enough to leave the lights on and come back to a dead battery. Owning is always cheaper than leasing–how do you think the leasing companies make a profit?

  14. Chris says

    I don’t say any of those things and I’m broke. But then I live on under $1,000 per month, so I don’t know how to not be broke. It’s not as if I’m on a shopping spree.

  15. says

    I have heard a lot of people in England say that they can’t be bothered :-
    Shopping around
    Watching their money
    and worst of all…Not interested….just say..I’ll never be able to retire because I don’t know anything about money…and don’t want to either!!
    Sad really!

    Good article

  16. John says

    #20 You have to leverage debt to become rich!

    That is something the richest investors in the world say. Anyone who would argue otherwise does not understand ROI (return on investment).
    Example assume we purchase a home for $100,000 with a NOI of 10%
    A 100,000 dollar all cash purpose would yield the full 10k return aka 10%ROI
    A 10,000 dollar down payment and 90,000 financed yields a $7,927 yearly mortgage payment. Net income after mortgage payments = $2,073 or 20.7%

    Dont have to be a math nerd to understand that your ROI is over double with in this example using high leverage.

    (This is financing with %8 for 30 years… which is very conservative for this day in age.)

  17. says

    The things you listed in the post, I believe have been spoken by some broke people, however I have heard some of those things come out of the month of some people that seem to be doing fine financially.

    Sometimes people say things out of habit or simply because others around them say it. But I don’t believe that those comments determine whether someone is poor or not. Neither do I believe those comments will keep you broke. But I do believe its the things you do and the things you don’t do that contribute to you being either poor or rich.

  18. Dawn says

    “If I make more money, I will lose my food stamps!” is a legitimate concern for a very small percentage of people. I was one of them, the first few years out of college when I was working minimum wage and paying more every month in student loans than I was bringing in, and that was before food and gas costs factored in, let alone rent. We went on food stamps for nearly a year, and during our preliminary interview we were told that even though we were in the red by $300 each month, and weren’t getting any help from family, and were in danger of defaulting on the loans… we weren’t eligible for medical aid and were -barely- eligible for food stamps.

    If I’d made even $100 more per month, we wouldn’t have been able to eat and the bills still wouldn’t be paid.

    Granted, that’s not the situation for a lot of these people, who are spending on more frivolous things than student loan payments. But be aware that welfare programs, despite their reputation as supporting a bunch of lazy jerks, are still failing some very good, hard-working people, and that there’s a gap between “welfare eligible” and “able to make ends meet”, where a lot of people struggle daily with the choice to pay their gas bill or put food on the table.

  19. andy says

    from the post and from the comments I can see that this is targeted to middle class people, hard workers who ‘save’ money…

    For example, stuff like cooking doesn’t really save you money, it just makes you waste hours (again because this post is targeted to workers, who only earn money at their 8-5 job, and don’t understand that time = money is not a metaphor, time REALLY means money). If instead of spending hours a day cooking you hire someone, eat out or call the delivery, you can use those hours to work in businesses, ideas or anything else that I’m sure should give you more money than the $10 you are ‘saving’ from cooking.

    Hence, many of the items in the list will make you stay poor. If you spend hours a day cooking, going through every clothing store to find the ‘best’ deal for a new shirt, etc. guess what, you are wasting way too much time to ‘save’ $10.

    I rather eat out, buy nice (i don’t care if they are expensive, they are usually worth it) clothes, don’t spend too much time, have nice things, and then use my time to make more money while most people are wasting time in these mundane tasks.

    • pbrower2a says

      What is wise for a millionaire (hire someone to do the domestic work) makes little sense to someone in the working-poor class. So if you are making a million dollars a year it makes sense to hire people to do domestic work so that you can have more time to do what makes you the money or enjoy the take. For the working poor, the largest class in the plutocracy that we have, one must do more oneself. .

  20. says

    I also have been listen more than 10 points shared above. However knowing to rest is really interesting for me. I most liked “My rich grandparents are going to die soon.” and “Why save ? The Lord is coming back soon!”

    Some things broke people say:

    1. You can become a millionaire in forex trading
    2. It is very easy to make money in trading business
    3. Loosing has become my habit so now I am happy with my loss

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