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Once you start hemorrhaging money, it can be challenging to get your finances back in order. What once seemed like a controllable problem starts to feel like a helpless one.

It becomes difficult to get ahead and you may even feel like it’s too late. But there are steps that can help turn things around, so don’t give up just yet!

The bad news is that there are several behaviors that can cause you to lose money. The good news is that there are proven money habits to get back on track.

Let’s go over why hemorrhaging money starts and how to get it to stop.

What Does “Hemorrhaging Money” Mean?

People most commonly use the word “hemorrhaging” to describe blood releasing from a broken blood vessel. Hemorrhaging money means you’re losing substantial amounts of money or “bleeding” money.

Nobody wants to be overspending and hemorrhaging money. This can happen when buying a new car, going out too much or spending on projects that don’t make money.

Fortunately, you can quit hemorrhaging money by applying the powerful wealth building habits discussed in more detail below.

What Causes You to Lose Money?

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The main cause of hemorrhaging money is a set of bad financial habits.

These bad money habits all have one thing in common: ignoring the true costs of something.

For example, when you overspend on a new car and don’t account for monthly payments, taxes or any repairs; this will cause you to hemorrhage money because you forgot about those hidden expenses.

It might be an east thing to overlook but it can cost you dearly in the long-run.

Sometimes consumers are well aware they spend money faster than they make it, but still can’t seem to stop.

Others can’t figure out where their money goes and always feel as if they never have enough for the basics. Still others get hit with unexpected emergencies they don’t have enough money to cover.

The following list of money maladies, in isolation or aggregate, usually cause ongoing money hemorrhaging. Learn to identify them and then apply the information covered in the following section to stop.

→ Lifestyle Inflation

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Have you ever gotten a pay raise, but felt like you couldn’t afford anything more than you did before the raise?

Lifestyle inflation, sometimes referred to as lifestyle creep, is when you gradually increase your spending and former luxuries become considered necessities.

Usually, lifestyle inflation happens when your income rises over time and your spending rises at about the same rate.

After a raise, you might move into a larger apartment, start buying more expensive food, or decide you need to start dressing more expensively for your new role.

The problem is that people who increase spending at too high of a rate diminish their chances of reaching financial independence and other money-related goals. No matter how much money they make, some people still always feel broke.

By learning to delay gratification, there might be a list of things to save up for that motivate you to work toward a goal but defer spending until you’ve earned it.

Delayed gratification is actually an effective strategy for improving your finances, even if you feel like every penny is needed now.

→ Keeping Up with the Joneses

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Younger generations can equate “keeping up with the Joneses” with “keeping up with the Kardashians.”

The basic idea of financially “keeping up” with others is that people want to appear as if they have as much money as their peers, or even more.

Someone may see a wealthy neighbor mowing his lawn with a new lawnmower and buy the same one, even if they can’t afford to without getting credit card debt.

A teenager may spend her allowance on expensive clothing brands to impress her friends and have nothing left over to put towards college.

Keeping up with the Joneses is a surefire way to hemorrhage money.

People may also hemorrhage money by not being careful with their credit card use and spending more than they can afford to pay off each month.

They can also carry a balance on a credit card for months without paying anything extra towards it.

This is dangerous because the interest rates are so high that you could end up in debt and unable to climb out.

→ Lacking Better Wealth Building Habits

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Sometimes money starts hemorrhaging even if a person isn’t increasing recreational spending or buying luxuries for appearances.

Everyone needs basic financial literacy and constructive money habits. For example, a family may be paying all of their bills on time and feel financially stable, but they don’t have an emergency fund.

A medical emergency or natural disaster may strike and the family uses credit cards to pay the expenses because they don’t have enough to pay them outright.

The credit cards charge high interest rates and now the family gets deeper into debt without any idea of how to climb out of it.

If the family had included contributing to an emergency fund in the budget, the high-interest credit cards might have been avoided.

People hemorrhage money when they don’t have good habits around finances.

The most common problem, aside from not being able to save for emergencies, is not being able or knowing to save for retirement.

It doesn’t just come from overspending on nonessential things like vacations and clothes.

By setting and prioritizing your financial goals, you can begin to make progress toward ending the financial hemorrhaging.

How Do You Stop Hemorrhaging Money?

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Preventing money hemorrhaging is preferable to fixing it later.

Ideally, it would feel simple to live within one’s means and always have ample savings. However, this takes budgeting, impulse control, savings plans and goal setting. When done properly, it can allow you to live like no one else.

All of these are accomplishable and shouldn’t be seen as impossible feats. Consider each one of these items below for how to control your money and leverage useful skills, money apps and more to put your finances on the right track.

→ Budget & Manage Your Spending

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If you’re hemorrhaging money, it’s essential to create a budget or adjust your current one because something clearly isn’t working.

  • Step 1: Tally your expenses.

Make a list of all the expenses you have had in the last six months and break them into different categories.

You may be surprised to find you spend more in some categories than you realized.

  • Step 2: Calculate your income.

Determine your take-home pay (what you receive after taxes) and subtract your expenses. Since you’re losing money, this is likely a negative number.

  • Step 3: Cut expenses where you can and increase your income.

Look at where you can cut expenses and set more strict spending guidelines. As discussed previously, your budget should also include savings plans.

Make setting money aside a priority. Hand and hand with budgeting is managing your spending.

Could you save money by packing lunch instead of eating out every day? Are you paying subscriptions for streaming services you rarely use?

If there is absolutely no excess money being spent after essentials, you may need to increase your funds or cut down on expenses in more drastic ways.

This might mean asking for a raise, looking for freelance work, starting a side hustle to make money while you sleep or moving into a smaller home.

Sometimes cutting expenses requires thinking outside the box and reevaluating your current living situation.

→ Use Cash or Tightly Control Your Credit

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It’s much easier to spend money with a credit card than cash, so consider using cash or debit cards for more purchases.

When you buy with cash, you can only spend as much money as you have with you, limiting your ability to overspend. The logic appears sound: if you only use cash, you can’t spend what you don’t have.

It’s easy not to notice how a bunch of small credit card purchases add up. Either just use cash or tightly control your credit.

→ Automate Your Savings

Don’t wait to see what money is left over at the end of each month and then move some to savings.

You need to pay yourself first by automatically routing funds into a savings or investment account.

M1 Finance’s all-in-one money automation system can help you to set financial goals and automate them into reality. M1 Finance allows you to make automatic money transfers on a schedule, for free.

M1 takes this to a whole new level with their Smart Transfers. M1 Plus members can set threshold-based rules. For instance, some members determine how much they need in an M1 Spend Plus checking account every month for recurring expenses.

Then, they have a Smart Transfer rule set up that makes sure the minimum balance always remains.

It invests this money or sets aside the rest before you have a chance to spend it on non-essentials. The stock app allows you to have multiple “investment pies” to send your money, such as one for an emergency fund, one for a home down payment and one for retirement.

Also learn how to get free stocks for signing up to your account. This can make getting started even easier.


→ Set Goals for Yourself

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Set financial goals to keep yourself motivated.

Rather than vague goals, you want Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based (SMART) goals.

For example, you may have a goal to pay off all of your credit card debt by a specific, manageable date. Share your goals with someone you admire as motivation and to hold yourself accountable.

You may also want to set numerical goals.

For example, you may have a goal of saving $400 per month from your paycheck for the next six months.

This will get you closer and closer to your goal of having enough saved up for that vacation or other big purchase. Be sure not to spend money on anything but necessities during the saving period.

You may want to take this a level deeper and also want to set a goal for how much you would like to save each day.

For example, if your bi-weekly paycheck is $1,000 and you have goals of saving 20% or more of your paycheck, you may want to set your goal of saving about $15 per day.

That would get you closer and closer to the monthly savings that you are looking for while also making it more manageable on a daily basis.

You can stop hemorrhaging money by setting specific goals with deadlines in mind or an overall percentage saved each month. By setting and holding yourself to SMART goals, you make the likelihood of financial success high.

Related: Success is the Best Revenge

How to Stop Hemorrhaging Money and Get Back On Track

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If you find yourself hemorrhaging money, carefully look over your finances.

Where is the money going? Reevaluate your budget, use automation services to your advantage, and set strategic financial goals.

For medical emergencies or natural disasters, look into services that can help.

Avoid loan sharks and any other quick fixes that may actually cause you to lose even more money.

Hemorrhaging money may feel like a prison, but there are ways to make it to financial freedom.

Further Reading:

About the Author

Riley Adams is a licensed CPA who worked at Google as a Senior Financial Analyst overseeing advertising incentive programs for the company’s largest advertising partners and agencies. Previously, he worked as a utility regulatory strategy analyst at Entergy Corporation for six years in New Orleans.

His work has appeared in major publications like Kiplinger, MarketWatch, MSN, TurboTax, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, The Globe and Mail, and CNBC’s Acorns. Riley currently holds areas of expertise in investing, taxes, real estate, cryptocurrencies and personal finance where he has been cited as an authoritative source in outlets like CNBC, Time, NBC News, APM’s Marketplace, HuffPost, Business Insider, Slate, NerdWallet, Investopedia, The Balance and Fast Company.

Riley holds a Masters of Science in Applied Economics and Demography from Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance from Centenary College of Louisiana.