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Being Broke: a Blessing in Disguise?

If you’re a self-proclaimed broke person, you might say that your situation is anything but a blessing; this is typical. But does it have have it to be that? Before you click to the next article or say ‘this chick is crazy,’ let me explain.

First of all, when I use the words ‘broke people’ I’m not referring to poverty or the inability to acquire necessities, such as food, clothing and shelter. I’m talking about people who go to work and earn enough money for rent/mortgage and other expenses, but nothing more. They may not have funds to take vacations, buy the latest fashions or gadgets, or build their savings account.

If you’re like so many living paycheck-to-paycheck with no cushion, you might look for any opportunity to boost your income because, let’s be honest, the more you earn the more options you have in life. But increasing a salary is much easier to say than do, and sometimes, we have to accept our situations for what they are.

I was moved to write this post after a recent conversation with a friend who just happens to be a self-proclaimed broke person. She doesn’t live an extravagant life, but as a single person residing in a city with a higher cost-of-living, it gets tight from time to time. Yet, her outlook proved that being broke isn’t the worst thing in the world. Here was her outlook.

Learn How to Be Content

It seems like most people are never satisfied with what they have. They might already live in a big, beautiful home, yet they’re not happy until they move into an even bigger home. Or maybe they’re not satisfied with a $40,000 luxury car, and they’ll work extra hard to upgrade to a $60,000 car. To each his own.

But as my broke friend puts it, “when you don’t have the resources to constantly buy new things, you learn how to be content and appreciate what you have.” She makes the best of her situation. For example, she doesn’t have the income to sell her small condo and buy a bigger home, but she’s slowly redecorating and finding inexpensive ways to spruce up her space, and she’s not bothered when others purchase new homes and take expensive vacations. If she’s able to get something bigger in the future, great — but if not, at least she has a place to call home.

More Time for Others Things

When you don’t have cash, you might turn down social invitations that involve spending money, but this doesn’t necessarily mean sitting home bored every weekend. You can look for cheap or free entertainment, or as my friend says, “being broke frees up time for other things.”

When her budget doesn’t allow hanging out, she’ll stay home and read a book, complete a home project, or simply relax and get ready for the workweek. As a divorcee, she thought back to her married days — when cash-flow wasn’t an issue. She and her husband would go out every Friday and Saturday and spend money just because… yet they didn’t give themselves any downtime for home projects or rest.

Learn the Art of Hustling

If you’re broke, you may not have a savings account, which can be a headache when you run into an emergency. But there’s one thing I can say about some broke people — they will hustle when their back’s up against a wall. Take my friend, for example, she only has about two week’s worth of income in her savings account. Last year she was hit with two big unexpected expenses only months apart. Rather than panic, she put on her thinking cap and drummed up enough cash without touching her savings. She started side hustles to get through the rough patch. She sold old, broken gold jewelry, planned a yard sale, and offered part-time babysitting services on the weekends. She did what she had to do without complaining.

The point is, being broke isn’t necessarily always a bad thing. Yes, we all strive to be financially comfortable to the point where money isn’t something we fret over from day-to-day. But there are many lessons to be learned through being broke. These are lessons that will stick with you into financial freedom and beyond.

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