What I Learned From Being Broke For A Year

What I Learned From Being Broke For A Year

When I came home from picking my son up from school, there was a letter waiting for me at the door.

When I saw our name scribbled on the outside in blue ink, my face flushed. I knew it was coming but you can never really prepare for it.

I texted my husband. We got our eviction notice.

In January of 2016, we drove down to Miami from our apartment in Delray Beach to check out a new church we heard about. We fell in love instantly and after our second Sunday there, we decided we were going to move.

We found an amazing apartment in a great neighborhood. By April, we moved in.

It was out of our budget. At the time, we weren’t earning that much. We didn’t care — we felt called to help build this church and we knew it would work itself out.

So we spent most of that year with no disposable income.

I wish I could tell you that during this time I was faithful. That I didn’t care about the money. That I was a pro at cutting down my spending and did so gracefully.

But I was miserable. I spent many afternoons crying. Despite being a part of an incredible community of people, doubt filled me.

Was this the right move for our family?

There seemed to be no end in sight.

It’s not that I hadn’t been looking for work. I had. I wasn’t having any luck finding online clients. Taking off work for most of the year prior to be with my son had shredded the confidence I had in my ability.

So I resorted to looking for a J-O-B. A job job. I hadn’t worked in an office for 10 years — and never thought I would again — but I was desperate.

We managed to scrape money together to pay our landlord before we were evicted. And the month after I got a job.

Looking back, there are so many ways that that period of time shaped me and forever changed the way I look at money.

Ugly Truths

Have you ever felt like you were one thing, and then an experience showed you how much you are not that thing and then been ungraciously humbled?

I always thought of myself as very non-materialistic. I backpacked for years with barely any belongings. Who’s less materialistic than me?

Yet I found myself fantasizing about all the things I would buy once we had money. I would spend hours on Pinterest, lusting after things, trying to mentally escape our situation.

Miami is a shiny city. The people are well-dressed and the cost of trying to keep up is high.

Accept Kindness and Generosity

I hate asking for help. I’m one of those people who likes to do everything for myself. But during this difficult time we had a lot of people helping us in big and small ways.

When I canceled my birthday plans (we could barely afford the uber, let alone drinks or babysitters!) my friends surprised me with a party at their house.

Our happy hour bills were often covered.

We were invited over and told not to bring anything.

I used to think that self-reliance was the only way to go. Now I see that too much of it can be detrimental.

We need community. We need others. And when we let others help us, we are giving them an opportunity to be kind too.

Don’t you like lending a hand to your friends and family when they need it?

Emotions Don’t Rule

I mentioned earlier that I was miserable a lot of that year. But in some ways it was one of the best years of our lives. We made a ridiculous number of friends. We built relationships. We created memories. We had a lot of fun.

There is an upside to most circumstances. I don’t have to let my feelings control me. I can control my mind. This is something I’m learning to do every day. It’s so worth the effort.

* * *

Have you ever been through financial difficulty? What did you learn from it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.