Everyone who wants to be broke, raise your hand!!! I can almost guarantee no one raised their hand for that. Lol. The reason is pretty simple: No one wants to be broke.
Everyone wants to make a lot of money and be wealthy. That's great, but the truth is... that's not everyone's reality. As an adult, there was a time where I fell on hard times. Some of the hardest times I've ever experienced. I had just filed for divorce & I had lost everything that I'd worked so hard for. I had no money, I had to give up my apartment, I didn't even have a bank account. I had to start over.
It was difficult, but during the process of starting over I learned some valuable lessons that have stuck with me. So here they are:
HOW TO SURVIVE ON NECESSITIES & PRIORITIZE
This is a lesson that I found the most difficult to learn, especially because I’m one of those people who simply just want what they want. I really had to only focus on the things that I needed instead of what I wanted or THOUGHT I had to have. And LAWD, it was difficult. But a little focus goes a long way!
When you don’t have any money, the most important lesson you learn is that you don’t NEED everything. You learn to stick to what you actually need to survive. Things like food, toiletries, shelter, etc. should be at the top of your list of priorities. Things like a new purse, dining out frequently, going clubbing, etc. should be at the bottom of your list. Unfortunately, when your pockets have nothing but lint in them, you have to force yourself to be responsible. The best way to avoid linty pockets is to start this practice as soon as possible.
Make sure your necessities have been met BEFORE you wine & dine, party, or shop. Here’s a good way to do that:
- Get a calendar.
- Write down your recurring bills on the days their due & how much they are.
- Mark your pay days (if you work a FT/PT job).
- Add up your bills for the month, & which pay period you will be paying them.
- Use the leftover money from one pay period to save (do not touch this money), use the left over from the next pay period for the fun stuff.
This way, you’re making time for fun, saving money, & also making sure your absolute NEEDS are met. You may not be able to hang out with friends every weekend, but your shit will be together, & that’s what’s important, right? You should be able to see where every penny is going.
*If you’re trying to start a business: Use 50% of your “fun stuff” money to invest in your business. However little it is. You can save it for something you really want/need for your business or start out getting the small stuff. This is not to be confused with your actual savings (don’t touch that, lol).
HOW TO LOOK GOOD & BALL ON A BUDGET
Balling on a budget is basically doing the things you WANT to do, but within your budget. So with this lesson, I kinda cheated. As a teenager, I had already taught myself how to do my own hair, & I did a so-so job with painting my nails. So when I had to cut back on trips to the salon, it wasn’t a big change. It was time consuming and tedious, but it was definitely worth the money I had begun to save.
Keeping yourself up and looking good should be on every woman’s list of priorities. However, when you’re budgeting and prioritizing, spending $100+ dollars in the nail salon or hair salon is just never a good idea (unless it’s in your “fun stuff” budget, of course). But listen, YouTube is your friend honey! There are billions of videos on how to do salon-quality styles on your nails & hair YOURSELF. Another way to go is to have a beauty themed slumber party for you & your girlfriends. Get some tips from friends and perform beauty services on each other. Free & Fun! Sometimes you have to be cheap, that’s okay!
WHO MY REAL FRIENDS WERE
Another hard lesson. I had a huge group of friends that I partied with, traveled with, and did all the FUN stuff with. But when I fell on hard times, I could count on one hand the number of people who were actually there for me. I began to be referred to as the friend who was always broke. It went from me having to explain that I don’t have the cash to hang out with, to them simply saying “I’m not even gonna ask her to go, ‘cause I know she doesn’t have money.” But then there were the few who helped me get through my struggle, bought me lunch just because they knew I really didn’t want to eat Ramen Noodles (lol), paid me to do their hair, put me on their phone plan when I couldn’t even get a cell phone in my name, the list goes on. There were girls who really stuck by me. And the others, the ones who only called to hit up the club or go to the next big event, were nowhere to be found.
The truth is…when you’re up & doing well, there will always be someone there. You’ll have plenty of people to hang out with. But when you’re down and out, you will learn who was only there for the party. This is not something that should discourage you. The best part is that you’ll also learn who was there for YOU. The people who stuck around, stood behind you & supported you are your real friends. And what’s better than separating the real from the fake?
THE AWESOMENESS THAT IS THRIFTING, REPURPOSING, & DIY
Okay…thrifting is awesome and I don’t care what anyone has to say! Lol. I mean just imagine having $20 and coming home with 4 things instead of 1 cheap thing. Nothing beats it. I started to frequent the Good Will and other local thrift stores when I didn’t have money to splurge. Anything that I could repurpose into something better, I went for it. Anything that was clean, no holes, no tears or loose thread, I went for it. Because I was broke but I still had to look good. This was right around the time that thrifting had become a “thing” and literally EVERYONE was doing it. So it definitely worked out.
I know what you’re thinking…but thrifting is a great way to look good and save money. Because:
- The prices are everything.
- You get to go through a huge variety of items.
- You’ll walk out of there with something you probably won’t see anyone else wearing.
*Remember to wash EVERYTHING you get before wearing, and if you have a great tailor in your area pay them a visit to make the fit just right.
Listen Linda, you don’t have money for clothes! But if you’re not into thrifting, you know who’s also your friend (and mine)? Pinterest! You will find sooo many pins on how to repurpose your old clothes into something new & on trend. There are also DIY (do-it-yourself) projects and tutorials for you & your home. Awesome stuff!!
THAT I NEVER WANT TO BE BROKE AGAIN
Knowing how to budget and get yourself into the habit of saving money is always good. It’s actually great and every adult should be doing it. However, you should never wait until you’re in a terrible financial situation to do these things. Although I learned some valuable lessons from being broke, the biggest lesson of all lessons was that I didn’t ever want to be back in that position!
Take it from me, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and if you’re in a financial rut right now, know this: The only person who can turn things around for you, is YOU. Set goals for yourself, encourage yourself, and challenge yourself to stick to your budget. Trust me, it will pay off. Something that I saw on Instagram (I always “like” it when I see it) is a quote that says: “You ain’t missing out on nothing when you’re getting your shit together.” Aside from the grammar, you get it. The parties will always be there; Vegas will always be there; focus on you & come back stronger than ever!
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