MoneyFalling in love, partying, falling out of love, drinking, being drunk in love – pop music covers such a wide variety of topics these days, it’s hard to find a common thread between it all. A disturbing trend has emerged, though: pop songs with horrible financial advice.

To be fair, we can’t blame top-40 artists for not having a realistic grasp of finances. They make gigantic salaries, people buy magazines to read about their lavish lifestyles (perpetuating said lavish lifestyles) and they live in a dream world where money isn’t a finite resource. Considering these factors, you can’t blame them for having bad financial lessons in their songs. But you should still avoid their spending habits, because odds are, you’re not a celebrity/musician if you’re reading this. Let’s take a look at five songs that don’t give sound financial advice.

“Tuesday” by iLoveMakonnen, featuring Drake

Questionable Lyrics

Workin’ Monday night, on the corner, flippin’ hard / Made at least 3,000 on the boulevard / I’ve been workin’ graveyard shifts every other weekend/ Ain’t got no time to party on the weekend

Lesson: Get a Job You Love

Makonnen seems to have a terribly specific job, one with a high yield but terrible hours; who knows what it could be. Regardless, the only club night he can afford to go to (with his expendable income) is on a Tuesday. It sounds like he wants out of his job so he can enjoy the club during normal, weekend nights.

Getting a new job after being on your current grind can be stressful, especially in today’s competitive markets, but you can abide by these tips to give you a leg up on the competition. Start with the obvious: your resume. Make sure you’ve updated it to reflect your current credentials, see if there are any new items you can add to it, and have a friend proofread it! Grammar mistakes are hard to spot when you’ve been staring at the same document for a while, so have a word-savvy friend take a look at it. It doesn’t hurt to have different types of resumes if you’re looking at a variety of jobs – for example, a creative writing resume and a technical writing resume will showcase different things. Don’t assume one resume covers all job types.

Next, focus on building your skills and preparing for interviews. Think about it from a recruiter’s perspective: their job is to screen people. Odds are, most of the people they meet blur together in their head, so work on making yourself memorable. If you have relevant and unique features to show in your resume, do it. If you have time and resources to take a class or workshop that will benefit your dream job, do it. It will help sharpen you for the interview, which you should also prepare for. If public speaking or articulation isn’t your thing, ask a friend in the field to hold a mock interview for you. It’ll help get the jitters out and give you an idea of which questions recruiters might be asking.

“Hot Boy” by Bobby Shmurda

Questionable Lyrics

Running through these checks ‘til I pass out…I swear to God, all I do is cash out.

Lesson: Get Your Bank Accounts in Order

If you’re getting paid like 2014 breakout star Bobby Shmurda, you’d pass out, too. But Bobby is only 20 years old and, from the sounds of it, doesn’t have much experience in good banking habits. If we were to give Mr. Shmurda some advice, we’d tell him to start with technology. Almost every bank or credit union has an online app to make your banking easier. Mobile deposits, bill payments and transferring funds are practically a given in 2015, so check your bank’s website to see what their app has to offer for your finances. You could be saving time and money using what is already at your fingertips. If you’re looking to up your app game even further, check out Mint’s personal finance app. It can link between multiple bank accounts, break down your spending habits and help you boost your savings account if you want. The app goes into even greater detail than that, so give it a look through to see if it’d help you out.

If Mr. Shmurda was looking to share his financial responsibilities with a spouse or partner, he could always consider doing joint checking accounts or credit cards. Some don’t prefer it because it has some complexities, but if you and your partner are entrepreneurs, freelance or contract performers (e.g. Bobby Shmurda) it can work in your favor. Regardless of your angle, it pays to analyze which options work best for you.

“Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson, featuring Bruno Mars

Questionable Lyrics

Take a sip, sign a check / Julio! Get the stretch! / Ride to Harlem, Hollywood, Jackson Mississippi / If we show up, we gon’ show out / Smoother than a fresh jar of Skippy

Lesson: Buy or Lease the Right Car for You

“Uptown Funk” is full of wonderful party lyrics, but the thought of driving a stretch limo across the country, like Bruno Mars suggests in the lyrics, is downright foolish. A stretch limo is not and ideal vehicle to drive from New York to California to Mississippi, nor is that a logical route to travel. For us in the average income bracket, we need to choose an affordable vehicle that’s right for our budget and traveling needs.

Whether it’s a minivan or a luxury vehicle, used or new, you have to set your budget before making any decisions on your new car. Going in and purchasing a new vehicle blind will not end well for your bank account, so be realistic about what you can afford. You also need to be realistic about what you need out of your car: the number of seats, miles per gallon, standard features needed, and the number of miles on the vehicle before you purchase it should all be considered beforehand.

Here’s another question you need to ask yourself before shopping around: Is buying or leasing a car best for you? If you plan on putting a ton of miles on the car, you might be better off buying. If you’re on a tight budget, then leasing may be better, but a heavily used car may require repair costs down the road. Consider all of these factors before you dive in.

“Money to Blow” by Birdman, featuring Drake and Lil Wayne

Questionable Lyrics

I am on a 24-hour Champagne diet/ Spillin’ while I’m sippin’ / I encourage you to try it / I’m probably just saying that ‘cause I don’t have to buy it / The club owners supply it

Lesson: Practice Frugal Living

The opening lyric to this 2009 jam from the Cash Money Records crew belongs to Drake, and at least he’s honest about his excess. He’s aware of his lavish lifestyle, and he lets the listener know that wasting Champagne isn’t worth it unless it’s free. Regardless of his admission, a literal 24-hour Champagne diet shouldn’t be attempted by anyone for health and financial reasons.

If you truly want to have a night where you can liberally spill champagne without worry, you’ll have to practice frugal living and tighten your budget to make it happen. Start finding ways to cut your expenses: If you have cable, consider opting out and using Netflix and streaming devices. Pour over your grocery list and see what items are non-essential or could be downgraded to cheaper brands. Turn off lights and unplug devices when they’re not in use to lower your energy bill. There are many ways we can lower our monthly expenses we don’t take advantage of because it’s easier not to. If you start taking the harder road, in a few months you might have enough to pull a one day, 24-hour Champagne diet.

“Time of Our Lives” by Pitbull, featuring Ne-Yo

Questionable Lyrics:

I knew my rent was gon’ be late about a week ago / I worked my…off, but I still can’t pay it, though / But I got just enough / To get up in this club / Have me a good time, before my time is up

Lesson: Start Saving Money

Look, we all love a good time at the club or the bar, but you’re supposed to be having that good time with expendable income! You never gamble, purchase or loan money that you absolutely need – that’s common sense, Pitbull and Ne-Yo. Bad spending habits – like the ones detailed in the chorus of this shamefully catchy song – are typically a symptom of poor money saving.

Here’s a shocking statistic from the United States Census Bureau: 25% of Americans have no savings at all. This was reported in an earlier Zing article called Setting Up a Weekly Savings Plan in 4 Steps, and if you have trouble saving your money, you should give it a quick read. The four steps in the article are identifying a purpose for saving (e.g. getting into a swanky club), setting a goal and a method to your savings (e.g. working overtime to get said club money), contributing to your plan (e.g. moving your savings to a bank account or a secure location) and making it automatic (e.g. setting up a direct deposit so you club funds go straight there.)

Saving money and frugal living go hand in hand, so look for ways to cut corners and save your money. You can go old school and cut some coupons out, or revert back to your old college habits and save some money like a student. Saving money can be a pain if you’re used to your lifestyle, but you have to change at some point if you want to build a solid bank account.

Those are all the songs we have for our first stab of bad financial songs. If you have a song we might have missed, or have any questions at all, please post below!

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. I also came here to see if anyone else agreed that Pitbull’s lyrics were terrible advice. Much better to listen to J Dash, in “Wop”: I made a little bit of money / I paid my bills / I paid this cover /
    I ain’t here to stand still.

  2. I am wasted and I am listening to Time of Our Lives. And I googled it to find out if anyone else diagreed with their cavalier attitude towards paying rent. I’m glad you guys agree .

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