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Old 08-09-2007, 07:50 AM
 
Location: VA
784 posts, read 3,049,253 times
Reputation: 932
Default Have you ever been totally broke? If so, share your stories

Now days fewer people go completely broke because there are more ways to make money and there are always Credit Cards to help tide us over if we run out of money. But in the old days, I remember being broke often.

I had no Credit Cards and was a struggling student. I ran out of money many times and struggled to pay the rent and feed myself. On occasion I ran out of gas and had to push the car to the side of the road for it to sit until I was paid. Other times I gave blood plasma to make a few extra bucks. I also checked the coin returns of payphones to see if anyone left money. I also use to walk up and down the street to find bottles to return.

Do you ever remember being broke?
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Old 08-09-2007, 11:39 PM
 
16,392 posts, read 10,570,459 times
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Not that I have a lot of money now... but in my late 20's-early 30's I lived alone in a teeny tiny studio apt. about the size of a small bedroom (and that includes the bathroom and kitchen and sleeping/living area). I could not afford to own a car, could not afford gas or insurance so I didn't have a car and had to walk everywhere. I could not afford a phone and walked a few blocks down the road if family was going to call long distance (we'd set up a time and they'd call the phone booth). I had a black and white tv where for some reason the screen was tilted. I could not afford cable so I just had 2 fuzzy channels. I had $20 a week for food. I had no credit cards and couldn't afford a checking account because I couldn't pay for the checks or monthly fee if it below a certain amount. I walked to the rental place and the electric company and paid my bills I lived behind a Safeway so I would walk over, food shop, bring the cart home and walk it back. I slept on the carpet in the apt. until a friend gave me a used double mattress which I had on the floor. I had cinder blocks and boards for my books. I had a dresser a friend gave me for my birthday. I had a chair I watched tv in that was so messed up I had a blanket over it so the staples poking through the torn upholstery wouldn't poke me. Despite all of this I almost miss those days, seriously. Those were very simple days. Days where I couldn't afford to make bills to have to pay. All I had was rent and food and a $15.00 electric bill. I only had myself to worry about in those days and life was simple.
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Old 08-09-2007, 11:47 PM
 
Location: Naptowne, Alaska
14,719 posts, read 23,815,850 times
Reputation: 12651
I was out of work one winter...living in an unfinished house. Burning wood for heat and cooking. Oil lamps. Visquene windows and an out house. My bill was oil for the lamps and food. It was like homesteading. I would get up in the am and go cut dead trees, split the wood and load it in my truck. Then sit in the gas station parking lot with a for sale sign. If lucky I made 65 bucks a day. I even paid for the birth of my child in cash that winter. It was rough a time or two...but it all worked out. And yes...I miss those days too.
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Old 08-10-2007, 03:27 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
404 posts, read 5,628 times
Reputation: 51
I've been out of work since 12-18-03, and I still can't say I am broke. I have no money, but I have people who support me. I get about 2 bucks a day from my mom, and 3 cartons of smokes every 2 weeks. She's even paid for my reservation at Yellowstone National Park for this Christmas, using B-Day and Xmas money.

My sister said she's willing to rent the car for me, but I still need 3000 miles worth of gas. I can go a week without eating no problem. It's all refundable should I not be able to find transportation. Then I will have some money. 2 years worth of B-Day and Xmas money.

I was homeless for 2 weeks in Denver, and yet, I was able to find support in a homeless shelter. I eventually gave up my free bed and board to someone else after I got a call from Chicago with a job.
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Old 08-10-2007, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Looking over your shoulder
23,311 posts, read 14,934,101 times
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The only times that I was without money was while being in the service. Seems the Army pay wasnít that much back then and Iím sure itís not enough today as well. I remember being out of money then, but I could always eat in the Mess Hall and live in the barracks. Other then making sure I had personal care products for the month and paying my car payment things seemed very tight.

I was always blessed to have a job and make some type of earnings. I started working at 13 years of age washing dishes in the summer at a restaurant, sacking groceries after school, delivering newspapers etc. always kept me in some type of money.

The military was good to me by providing technical schooling that I was able to use though out my lifeís career now after nearly 40 + years Iím unemployed (retired) for the first time of my life.

Can anyone spare a few bucks?
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Old 08-10-2007, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
404 posts, read 5,628 times
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Don't get me wrong, I just don;t sit around like a bump. I do some house work on the days the cleaning lady isn't here and help out when she is. My nephew just moved and I cleaned the room he was occupying, including the windows and mopping the floor. I also take out the trash, do her laundry, wash the dishes, make dinner from time to time, work out in the garden, do some of the shopping, and make the coffee. I'm no Marthe Stewart.
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Old 08-10-2007, 11:36 AM
 
5,254 posts, read 11,124,906 times
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Yeah when I was in college, most of my money went for train and bus fare. And mostly I had $1 in my wallet all the time.
And when we first married, DH went back to college because his job did not pan out, we had two junker cars (because one was always down) and once BOTH were down. That was bad.
Worst thing about being broke is not being able to go to the doctor when you are sick or you have a toothache and can't afford the dentist. Your working, but working poor... Not working, you at least get free clinics.
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Old 08-11-2007, 07:18 AM
MB2
 
Location: Sebastian/ FL
3,496 posts, read 6,532,024 times
Reputation: 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dingler View Post
Now days fewer people go completely broke because there are more ways to make money and there are always Credit Cards to help tide us over if we run out of money. But in the old days, I remember being broke often.

I had no Credit Cards and was a struggling student. I ran out of money many times and struggled to pay the rent and feed myself. On occasion I ran out of gas and had to push the car to the side of the road for it to sit until I was paid. Other times I gave blood plasma to make a few extra bucks. I also checked the coin returns of payphones to see if anyone left money. I also use to walk up and down the street to find bottles to return.

Do you ever remember being broke?
Yup...been there as well......broker then broke.
I was in divorce proceedings with my first husband, and with a toddler (age 3 at the time).
No car, no furniture, staying with a co-worker for 1 month, until I was able to get the rent money together.
I was keeping a full-time job, had my son in day care ($$), and when I had to work weekends had to hire a babysitter ($$) all with a $6/ hour job.
I received WIC for my son, and that's what we lived off....cereal, peanut butter, bread, milk.......
I didn't receive child support (he didn't want to pay, and it was held up in court), and in the meantime while all of this was going on, my ex ruined my credit with having the car he drove repossessed (I co-signed)
The ending balance of it all......nuns gave me some used furniture, I received raises at work, my ex had to pay support current PLUS retro active, I moved in with my boyfriend, established my credit rating again and was able to buy a cheap car....but ending up with over $15,000.00 worth of lawyer bills.
Yeah, life is interesting, indeed !
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Old 08-11-2007, 07:43 AM
 
180 posts, read 717,039 times
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oh my gawsh! I remember two times I was mind altering broke!
Once when I was young, ran off and got married, had a baby and HE was not working... faked a job... but couldn't fake the payday. I collected soda bottles in my baby's stroller to buy his formula. I even supplemented his food with jello water to help him feel full. I worked part time at a restaraunt and got one meal per shift free 4 days a week.
My mother finally realized what was happening and came into my house, packed up my baby and said "come or stay but this baby is coming with me." I weighed about 93 pounds by this time, had discovered my husbands subterfuge and so I went.

The last time, just about 5 years ago, I got sick on the job. I was a truck driver. I was 700 miles from home. They thought I had SARS. I didn't, I had a viral pneumonia that nearly killed me. My boss picked up my truck my third week in the hospital. A dear and precious friend drove 300 miles to get me and took me to his house. While I was recovering I was dead broke. I kept thinking I would get better soon and go to work, but scar tissue in my lungs left me with COPD. I finally filed for and recieved disability. But in the meantime, I went hungry to buy my meds.

I don't miss anything about either of those times! Simple living it may have been - but I'll take the complications of comfort anytime!
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Old 08-11-2007, 12:16 PM
 
1,214 posts, read 1,029,811 times
Reputation: 868
Default It makes you realize that there are angels on earth

Being broke...It's always driving your car around on empty...Even to the point that you pray that you at least make it home...It's selling whatever you own, and finding out how quickly things become of no value to others...That stereo you bought a few years ago is outdated, all those nice watches you have can't even be sold to a pawn shop, that nice gold jewlery will only get you the net value of any gold that might be in it..

The worse thing is that everything becomes more expensive when you're poor...If you have a check returned, you are charged the maximum fee by the bank, and a fee by the store that you wrote it to (So a $50 check will end up costing you $110)...If you want to get an advance or loan on something, you pay the maximum fee...

It's learning to buy the most practical food when you shop...And, for this I thank God for the economy that we live in...There are stores and sales that you can put together a weeks worth of basic food for $35 - $50 if you really get practical about it...

And, you do realize that there are indeed angels on Earth - Your friends and family that do help as much as they can...Shop owners and others.

I learned that many Pawn Shop people are really good people...I dealt with a few of them that really felt for my situation...Even one that took something from me that we both knew was of little value...But, it was New Years Eve and they wanted us to at least have money for food..

And my landlady...She is a religious woman...And, she has the patience of a saint...And, I firmly believe that she is an angel on Earth.

It's difficult to live day by day...Being poor actually makes you less productive, because you spend too much time of the day worrying about and trying to get together a little money for that bill that is due today, otherwise they will shut off your electric, or your water...Or, you need $10 or $15 to get some gas in the car, so you can try to get some work the next day...So, you become consumed with dealing with little problems, rather than focusing completely the big issue that would solve all your problems...

The worse part is trying to make the best of the situation for those that depend on you...They rely on you, and have confidence in you...But, like yourself, they have to deal with the reality everyday...And, even though they smile and tell you that you will get through it, you know that they are heartbroken and worried...They can't even have simple things that they may need...And every morning that you walk out the door with new enthusiasm for that day, they are there supporting you...And, then you have to go home in the evening to tell them that it didn't work out for that day, or someone is thinking about it...

So, if anyone finds themselves in this situation...My advice is always focus on the big issue...It's hard to do, as you are being bombarded with little problems...But you have to get organized, set a schedule for each day, and resolve it business-like...

And to remember, there are people that will help you the best they can...But, you always have to be honest with them about your situation...And, you will find out just how good people are in this world...All types, all religions, all races...
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