How to Cope With Being Flat Broke
As a single mother with 3 children of my own, I have learned a lot over the years about how to cope with being flat broke.
For the newly broke, or for those who have never experienced that life, I first think it is important to clarify that there are two different kinds of "flat broke".
The first kind is when you have all of your neccessities covered, but not a single penny left to your name, at the end of the month. This is the best of the two, because you have everything you need, and you know you will survive another month.
The second kind of flat broke is the more difficult kind. It's when you have shut-off notices for the phone and the electric, the rent is due, and the refrigerator is empty, AND you are flat broke. That kind of flat broke is a very frightening place to be.
Dealing with the first kind of flat broke is something you learn to do with time.
Every day that you wake up, you learn to thank God that He provided just enough for that day.
You learn to live by faith and not by sight.
You learn to take things one day at a time, and you learn that tomorrow will take care of itself.
You learn to pinch pennies at the grocery store, and to "float" your bills from one month to the next.
You learn that many things which you used to think were "neccissities" are expendable. You can, and you will survive without them.
You learn that God is good and life is worth living.
You learn to be thankful for what you have today.
The second kind of flat broke is more difficult, but you also learn to deal with that, over time.
When you are unable to keep up with the real neccessities, the rent, the heat, the electric, life becomes horribly scary sometimes.
One day you may find that you just can't pull yourself out of that hole.
You may find that you have to choose between heat and rent.
That is a difficult place to be, and I've been there, so the most important thing I can tell you is that you will survive.
You will learn that you are stronger than you ever knew you were.
When the worst happens, and you lose your electricity, you will discover that you can make the best of every possible situation.
You will learn to enjoy the candlelight, and the peace and quiet around your home, now that there's no tv, and no computer, radio etc...
You will come to realize that as long as you have your health, and as long as you have your family, you will find the stregnth to get through anything.
You will learn to be thankful for everything you do have, and you will learn not to focus on the things you don't have.
You will learn that life is not about money, it's about living, and it's about loving those around you, and learning and growing through the trials it presents.
Two weeks before Christmas we lost our electric. We had no lights, no heat, and we live in Michigan, where it can get below zero at that time of year.
We had no money for presents, and little food in our house.
Every morning I got up and went to work.
Every night I thanked God that we still had a house.
I had a gas stove, and I thanked God for that.
I also baked as much as I could, because it helped to keep our house warm, and it made it feel a little bit like Christmas.
We learned how to make gifts for our family friends, rather than shopping like we used to do.
We read books, and snuggled under blankets, and kept our food outside, in the snow.
For a whole month before our electric was actually shut off, I worried, and I worried, and I feared what would happen.
It was, to me, one of the "worst things" that could possibly happen.
When the "worst" really does happen, you realize that you can get through it.
You realize that it wasn't as bad as you thought.
You realize that other people look at you and wonder in amazement "How can they do that?"
You realize that you are stronger than most people have ever had to be, and you know that you can get through anything.
Just before Christmas I got paid, and had the money to turn our electric back on.
I went to the grocery store and bought all of the kids favorite foods- things we had been without for a long time.
I bought them each a few videos from our video store (they have a huge selection of movies you can buy for cheap.)
When the kids woke up, we had heat, lights, their favorite foods, and even a tv.
Having come from a background where Christmas meant hundreds of presents under the tree, I never really thought that a Christmas where you had simple things like heat and light and food would be very great.
It actually was the best Christmas I have ever had with my children.
We learned the meaning of thankfulness.