Thoughts on being broke.

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by goldenguru, Jul 5, 2009.

  1. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    We have been married 25 years. And never, in our whole entire marriage, have we ever been this broke. I worry that we may lose our home - soon. Partly, this is due to economic conditions in our fine state. Partly, it is that hubby lost his job in January. Partly it is due to the fact that his mental illness precludes him from jumping back into the job market.

    He has been having a really hard time with this. Partly, I think this is a pride issue for him. We live in an affluent town. We have affluent friends. We are feeling a little outside of the loop. I also think this is the 'death of a dream'. Neither of us foresaw this financial insecurity as a possibility.

    I hate not being able to do stuff for my (adult) kids. I wish I could buy my granddaughter a tricycle. Wish we could go out for dinner and a movie once in a while. Wish I didn't have to think to myself - I can't make that for dinner because I can't afford the ingredients.

    Hubby had a 'moment' today on the way home from church. He wanted to stop and get Subway sandwiches. I told him (as gently as I could muster) that after paying the bills yesterday, we just didn't have the money. Not even $5.00. He's in a deep funk. Came home and went straight to bed. Sigh.

    I on the other hand, came home and made a tuna sandwich on toast - and had some kool-aid. I chose to be thankful for what I did have. It sure beat hunger.

    I think getting through such lean times well is a choice. At the end of the day, when I lay my head down, I try to be thankful that I had 3 meals, clean clothes and a roof over my head.

    For those of you who are living lean, how do you cope? Or does it get you really down - like it does my husband?

    Thanks for listening. It helps to be heard.
  2. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    How great it is that you are able to be thankful for what you do have!!! It is definitely a skill and a fine art mantaining finances in tough times.
  3. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    We have been that broke for a long time. It is no fun, and gets us down a lot. We still own our home, but have to rent it out as we cannot afford to live there.

    In our area, you can get one month behind on your bills (utilities) without fear of them cutting you off. This is not the best, but I have been known to skip the utilities so we can go camping and then try to lower the food budget the next month and play catchup. We have a local movie theatre (mcminanans sp) where adults get in for $3 and kids for $1.

    I think that for us it is easier, as husband and I both grew up on the lower income side of things. With the kids, if I make it fun they have fun. I am fortunate that we can go fishing and do lots of outdoors stuff near the area we live and that we all enjoy that stuff.

    I think with you husband's mental health issues this will be harder for him to do, to realize the positives. I know my husband has more problems dealing with some issues due to his BiPolar (BP).

    What about taking a walk in a pretty park, and packing a lunch? There are all kind of recipe sites on the net with low budget recipes. If there are any musuems or such around you, check to see if they offer a discount every so often? I know that there is a zoo we are going to next month that offers $2 Tuesdays, and the 2nd Tuesday of every month admission is only $2. It is usually $10-$15. Many times you can check out videos from the library for free.

    I don't know if this would help husband or not, but what about volunteering at a soup kitchen or something similiar? Would that make him realize how fortunate he is?
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, I never did have any spare money, not with either of my two husbands :tongue:. Part of that is my disability, which makes it hard if not impossible for me to work. I can learn fine. I just can't put anything into practice, not even assembley work, cleaning houses or flipping burgers. I simply lack any ability to multi-task or figure out how to use equipment correctly--this includes equipment as basic as sweeping the floor without holding the broom backwards. A last-week neurology appointment (one of about one hundred) pretty much told me what I'd already known--that this problem is from birth and that it's just like people who can't carry a tune, only I can't figure out how to do anything visually and I ain't gonna change. One paycheck never goes far unless your hub is a doctor and neither of mine were. This is what I learned even though I am from an affluent family who values college educations and looks down at people like me who can't get one and who struggle from paycheck-to-paycheck. Take what you like, leave the rest.

    Out of necessity, I have had to learn about what is important in life. My family wouldn't have lent me five bucks to save my life--they felt I was lazy, so I had to learn to live without money. I found out that there are soooooooooo many things more important than money that I laugh that I once cared about having an old car or renting our home instead of owning it. Good heavens, the most important things in life are FREE. The love you receive and give to others is free. The beauty of life is free--everything around you that is most beautiful is free. Home cooking trumps Subway every time. Being there for a child or friend is so much more important than buying the child new furniture (in my opinion). Learning new things is free. Taking a walk is free. Reading at the library is free. In short, long ago I learned to value the simple things in life and to sort of smile sadly at those who worry about not having a nice car or big house or new clothes.

    Anyone who values money too much is setting himself or herself up for disappointment. There is no guarantee that it will always be there, and many are learning that now. And those who cling to those values that money is important will not be happy and there is nothing that will make your hub happy if he can't get past that. But YOU can be happy. Hey, one of my kids got married suddenly and I didn't have any money for a gift. We gave him one when we got our tax refund. His father has money (he didn't when we were married, but he inherited from his mom). He got $5,000 from his father, however who do you think the kids call the most often and cling to the most? Me, the poor one.

    Anyway, if you're religious your spirituality or faith is also free. Try to remember that the best things in life are and always have been free. This is a lesson I learned very early and I feel sorry for even some people in my family who can't understand that. They are so miserable now that the economy is sliding!
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I am probably a whole lot like your husband. Being poor really bothers me. Of course, I have been poor for a very long time now do to very poor choices on my part. I grew up in an upper middle class home with parents who grew up in the depression. They were extremely frugal and pinched pennies until they screamed. I know they didnt believe in debt. They saved for their first house until they could pay half down on it and then paid it off in 5 years. No 30 year loan for them! Their second home they bought for cash when they sold the first home. They only bought cars they could pay cash for. They always had savings in money markets and CD's. I do know that they did have a charge card but it was paid off every month. I remember mastercard when it was Mastercharge. Or is it the other way around...whichever.

    Then I became a difficult child and I did stupid things and threw away my opportunity for college that they would have paid for and got pregnant at 18 and married a no good loser, had the baby, dumped the loser, did more stupid things, finally met Tony, started getting my life straigthened out, had two more kids....but Tony is only a construction worker. Life is extremely hard. We are the working poor. There have been many times that we didnt have money for food and ate oatmeal for days on end. Or pbj. I bought the kids clothes at goodwill. I looked so forward to the beginning of school because my dad always went out and bought the boys 5 new outfits a piece for starting school. And a new winter coat.

    Things are a bit better for us now because our kids are grown and now I have social security disability. That little bit of money makes a difference to us. I dont get very much but it makes a difference. It allows me to buy a pair of pants if I need them or to buy the grands an outfit or two if I want.
  6. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    Well, I've been through times where I had plenty of money and could do pretty much whatever I wanted (within reason) and I've been through times when I hardly knew where the next meal was coming from. I'm not sure I was a lot happier with money than I was without. Less worries maybe but not happier.

    When my kids were little and the child support didn't come, if we had enough money we packed a lunch and went to the lake. Sometimes we didn't have enough for gas to get there so we'd have the picnic in the back yard. I think a lot of it is mental attitude but I'm sure that if you have other mental issues, sometimes one more thing is the straw that breaks the camel's back. When my kids complained, I could always look around and find somebody worse off than we were - not to be happy about their misfortune but, merely to see that we weren't so bad off after all.

    Having been both with and without, I know that with is better but without can be pretty good too if you let it.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    My husband gets very depressed about money. I don't. We have food, and a house, and one car that runs well. One car that doesn't, but that is OK.

    I choose to look at being broke as a game. What can I make with these ingredients? What can we do with no money in the city? When we go to the city for doctor appts (the good docs are NOT the ones who come to our little city, we get the ones who are NOT good.) I often do garage sales, or parks. We pack lunch or plan to get it somewhere I have coupons for. Drinks are purchased at Quik Trip convenience stores where 32 oz drinks are 49 cents, or 69 cents for the smoothies - even the cappucino ones! We also look for deals. There is a $1 theater that has 1 first run movie at a time in a town 30 miles away. For saving $6 per person we can all drive to the town - even with gas at $3, we get over 30 mpg, so it works out cheaper to go there.

    When you can fit it into the budget, get a copy of "The Tightwad Gazette". It is a book about frugal living. Great ideas, awesome tasting recipes (even one for a bulgar-lentil casserole that you would SWEAR was meat and not a cheapie casserole!), ways to recycle, how to figure out wear the best bargains are, etc.... It is an AWESOME book.

    There are 3 volumes that are out. There is also a volume that has all 3 in one book. I bought the 3 -in - 1 book for $19.99 a couple of years ago. The individual volumes were $15.99 each. If you check out you can probably find them used for cheap.

    With those books I make saving $$ a game for the kids. We also do a lot of things from "The Out of Sync Child Has Fun" by Carol Kranowitz. There are ways included to make many of the things free or very cheaply. They truly ARE fun, even if you don't have sensory issues.

    I am sorry your husband chooses depression. Don't baby him with this. He needs treatment for the depression (as he is out of work a generic medication might work, or he can ask the doctor to fill out the form from Partnership for Prescription America (search the name or montel williams name) and he can get name brand medications for cheap.

    It is awesome that you appreciate what you have. Maybe husband will learn from you if you point things out.

    Being broke is not the end of the world. People in poverty in the US usually still have more than people in poverty elsewhere. There are lots of things to be thankful for. Heck there are days I focus on being happy I can breathe.

    Enjoy the little things. It gives you a greater spirit!
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I've lived pretty much my whole life as poor, at best on the borderline of poverty level. (I'm back to poor by the way)

    mother in law didn't do well with suddenly finding herself broke. I honestly thought she'd have a mental breakdown over it.

    I kept telling her, all you can do is do what you can and let the rest go. No sense in beating yourself up over things that can't be changed or worrying over bills and the like you have no means to pay.

    That's how I do it. I let go the things I have no control over/can't pay ect, and focus on what I can do and ideas to make things easier. Yes I have bill collectors calling. I also have caller ID and screen my calls. They can't get blood out of a stone. They'll just have to wait their turn.

    I get groceries on average once every 2-3 months. I don't have a choice if we want water, lights, gas, phone, and a roof over our heads. I buy what I can in bulk (usually cheaper), and stretch the rest for all it's worth. Nichole often helps out as well with her child support. Fitting as Aubrey eats here as well.

    Once Nichole and Aubrey move out the bills will make a dramatic drop. Once Travis leaves for college it will drop again. Then maybe if we're lucky, husband and I will be able to afford day to day living. lol

    Look online or call local theatres and see if they have free movie showings. Alot of them do this over the summer. Then you can sneak in snacks and still catch a show and have a day out. :)

    Hugs I know it's hard. It hoovers. Nichole killed my brand new 300.00 vacuum and we had to turn to freecycle to replace it. sheesh
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I could ditto a lot of what MM said. I agree that it's great that you are thankful for what you do have. My guess is that since your husband was the bread-winner, as is typical, he is dealing with some guilt feelings and negative feelings that you might not have. Of course it isn't his fault that things are so tight and the economy plummetted, but a lot of men still feel like they have failed if they can't maintain everything all the time. Oh so I hear.

    As far as being broke and fearful of what's to come- I'm right in there with you!
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Out of curiosity I went to abebooks (It is now but it will redirect you from the .net version they used to be.) and looked for the Tightwad Gazette.

    Individual books are started at $1 with $3.95 shipping. The version that is all three in one book is called "The Complete Tightwad Gazette" and starts at $3.57 with shipping of $4.15 . So under $10 for a good copy. I have bought from many sellers through and never had a problem. Here is a link to the complete tightwad gazette at

    Amazon has it for $15.61.
  11. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    There is a saying, I can't quote it exactly, but it is something like- "It's not the value of the things you have that matter, what is of value are the things you enjoy." A good book on my deck, laughing, working out,good health, some things that don't cost money are truly priceless. I take my supermarket circular and l by things that are half price, that I can combine with a coupon, and that's what we eat. You can get alot of things free that way, sometimes they even pay me to carry the items out of the store (by using coupons).
  12. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    For us, it was the change in circumstances that bothered Hubby more than the actual "being broke." He was very proud of earning enough so that I didn't have to work, I could pretty much get what I needed/wanted (within reason), and when he was laid off (this was about seven years ago), it really hurt him. After a few months of struggle, I went back to work and convinced him to go back to school, and he didn't really like me being the primary wage earner.

    He had previously been diagnosis'd unipolar depressive, and I was afraid that the job loss, coupled with his family telling him he should forget school and just get any old job, would push him over the edge. Then I was working all the Occupational Therapist (OT) available, 6 days/58 hours a week, and he felt guilty about that. It took a while before Hubby realized that going to school was his job, and he needed to be successful at it to be more successful later.

    Many hugs to you. The unsettled feeling is awful.
  13. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I am so very sorry. I recall years ago during a Recession making it as "fun" as possible...making things a "game." Seeing how much fun we could have making "elegant" food dishes for low cost, for example. husband and I would make going to Kmart a "date night."

    I would SERIOUSLY consider applying for SS Disability for your husband. Talk with him about his illness and the problems of the job market.

    Does he have any skills? Explore those...can he make some money at home? Ebay, for example? Don't let him just collect that check if he has marketable skills.

    If he can work part time from home and collect disability, it will help you guys make ends meet.

    Chances are very good...your husband can get disability for his disorder.
  14. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    It made me really sad to read your post. I think this is the first time that in the US the next generation will be unable to climb higher up the ladder than we have. That was always the American dream for our children.

    I will venture to say that your affluent neighbors are not as affluent as they once were. My neighbor is trying to sell her Florida home. This beautiful house was featured in Better Homes and Gardens Mag. She has had to cut the asking price in half. We were well off until the criminals on Wall St. plundered our collective nest eggs. We are carrying two mortgages. My husband is always the one to collapse when things go wrong and I have to be the strong one. I told him I am tired of wearing the phallus in this family. He is BiPolar (BP) and does not know how to cope. He will never go back to work because he no longer trusts his judgement.

    My difficult child mother and my difficult child sons are truly responsible for my determination to survive this economy. If they couldn't kill me, nothing could. I learned how to coupon with a vengance.

    I can show you how you can have food on your table AND have enough to give to your local food bank. I was asked to teach a couponing class but I am scared of public speaking. If you are interested I will copy and paste what I wrote to the community org. which contacted me.

    It has become the thrill of the hunt for me. If I ever win the lottery I don't think I would ever go back to my old shopping ways again.

    I'm so sorry that your life has little peace.
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My problem with couponing is I have never been able to find coupons for food we eat. Or for stores we actually have here. I hear about stores that double or triple coupons but mine dont. I dont even know where stores are that do.
  16. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I know the feeling only too well.

    A running joke between me and husband is if I hadn't met him, I'd be rich. Due to the amount of my own $ I have spent on the kids - not just stuff, but their well being.

    But I would have found somewhere else to spend it, I'm sure.

    Now that husband is working full time, things will get a bit easier. Poor guy has been in and out of work since I met him, mostly due to the kids' mother. But in the week since he started working - the depression has lifted. It's not gone, but it's better. He still hasn't gotten his first check, but the improvement in his mood means I don't have to do as much around the house, which makes me willing to do what I need to.

    The Subway thing struck a nerve. difficult child 1 has been begging for Subway for a couple of weeks. And I am working on that. We all love it... But it's hard.

    About coupons - I can't find many for the stuff we need, either. Name brand with a good coupon is usually still more expensive than the generic...
  17. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    {{{GG}}} You may want to start attending free events in town. Our town has tons of festivals and concerts that are open to the public. We're not struggling you are at this point, but it's refreshing to spend an evening listening to music and consuming nothing more than a bottle of water from home. As for husband and his mental health issues; he may need some guidance on how to go about a new job search. And GG, don't hesitate to file bankruptcy if you truly fear losing your home. The best thing you can do for your adult kids is not be a financial burden because you and husband lose the house and have nowhere to live.
  18. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    This is our first real experience not having enough money to buy what we want. Thankfully, we can still buy what we need on a paycheck-to-paycheck basis. We are trying (again) to do the Total Money Makeover. If we don't get our debt down and husband loses his job of has to take a pay cut, we will lose the house.

    It is very hard to make the psychological switch from middle-class to working poor :(
  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The best thing I did...and I could do it only because my mom got sick and had to live with me, was buy my doublewide outright. She had the money in her bank account and I had her poa. Right or wrong, my feeling was she had to come live with me and my singlewide didnt have enough room for her to come so I had to buy a larger trailer. I knew we were going to be taking care of her for as long as we could so I used her money to buy this one. Now I have a home that is paid for. I feel it is the least she could do for me after all she had done to me. Even if she didnt know it. At least I have a place to live that I dont have to worry about.
  20. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    With my husband losing his job effective this coming Friday, and his cavalier attitude about finding new work just because he got a good severance, I worry that we'll eventually be back to living the way we did 20 years ago... paycheck to paycheck, despite both of us working full time, no savings, in debt up to our eyeballs with maybe 50 cents in the checking account by the time the next payday came around. And it will be worse now than before because we have so many liabilities: a mortgage, way too much credit card debt, three kids, a multitude of health problems, and only one of us likely to get a high enough paying job to cover it all (I've been out of the job market for nearly 15 years).

    I am the money worrier. He definitely is not. That worries me even more. And although we look pretty good financially TODAY with his severance and the wee bit of savings we've managed, we still have mountains of debt that could easily bury us if he doesn't find work soon.

    It's a fine line we are on. And I don't think he grasps that.

    I've already shifted into uber-frugal mode -- and all I get from him is rolling eyeballs and pleas to stop being so severe. My realism and pragmatism seem to be ruining his fantasyland! Somebody has to be the grownup, I guess. :(