Why would anyone want to be broke? Aren’t we all striving to build wealth and the life of our dreams?
Here’s the lesson I’ve learned from having ZERO income for 6 weeks, being broke isn’t that bad.
I understand that we can’t live without money, and for those 6 weeks, I had my fiancé covering some of my bills, and well, all of the family bills. In your situation, you probably don’t have a spare person to help pay your bills and that’s why you’re here, you’re lacking in funds. Let me dive into it.
When I was single, working casual hours, I was tight with my money. I earned enough but I was always in ‘saving mode’ because I couldn’t afford unexpected bills. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t so strict that I restricted my luxuries, I still gave myself the ‘first-world country’ lifestyle, I ate delicious food and bought barista-made coffee all the time, but I didn’t upgrade things unless I needed to (phone, creative equipment clothes, doona covers). HAHA, it’s cheaper to buy yummy food than new gear!
I continued budgeting like this even after I met my fiancé- someone to share bills with (because life is always cheaper when you’re with someone), and thankfully this way of budgeting paid off.
When I got pregnant, I lost a lot of hours at work and right before bubs was born like A MILLION expensive bills all needed to be paid at once (car rego, a random $500 tax bill from 3 years ago, my blog, and more!). Half of these bills were expected and there had been money put aside, however the rest was taken from savings.
I was NEVER prepared for every single bank account to total $0.00.
I was never able to redeem myself after birth, having little saved and having ZERO income. I scraped my accounts to pay as much of my own bills as I could to avoid my partner having to pay them.
It forced me to practice the art of truly living economically.
So I’m assuming not many of you guys reading this have ZERO income or ZERO dollars in your account (unless you’re like me and just gave birth and are waiting on Centrelink), but maybe you have low income or are going through a rough patch with rising expenses and low-pay. So, this post might help. 🙂
I learned, apart from food, rent and council rates (which my partner was now paying for the family independently), realistically, my only obligations to pay were: my car loan and my phone bill, and these totalled $135 AU. And it was times like these I wish I had no ‘obligations.’ I’d never liked the idea of paying loans, I’d much preferred to save to afford what I wanted because of this exact reason!
If you can’t purchase it outright, you can’t afford it. In my opinion. Not to completely discredit loans; they’re handy when you have a consistent, steady income— that’s why I took the chance on my car loan. I wanted a reliable car and earned a steady income to support the decision. At that time, pregnancy had NOT been in my future vision.
After my partner paid my bills once or twice, my guilt urged me to return to work just to cover that bare minimum $135 AU– and now fuel to get myself to work (oh, and Spotify, hehe, I’d go mental without it).
But if you’re broke minimise your expenditures— more importantly minimise your pleasures!
The Fun in Being Broke
What inspired me to write this post was the value I got from spending the bare minimum– from negating pleasures.
My partner isn’t what we’d call in our society ‘wealthy,’ but he earns above plenty for an individual. With fluctuations in rates and mortgage percentages, you really can’t afford a family on one income. That’s truth, is it not?
Me off work meant, one, him barely able to pay my bills, and two, little for food.
I made it a fun challenge for me to live as cheap as I could. Haha! These challenges included:
- Seeing how far I could stretch food money, creatively (on a healthy diet)
- Walking instead of driving
I disciplined my eating; I ate simply, I ate cheap (still healthily) and I ate nearly the same thing everyday. Craaazzyyy. I know. It actually made my life a lot easier. I had less decisions to make everyday, and anyone who knows me knows I can’t ever make up my mind! I even wrote a blog post about it HAHA, you can read it here.
3 Exciting Low-Cost Recipes
So these are some random meals I made…
Quick note: I don’t exactly follow recipes, I add to taste and make things from what I’ve seen in cooking videos.
Sour Cream Chicken
- 1/2 500ml tub sour cream
- 2 chicken breasts
- 3 TBSP worcestershire sauce
- salt, pepper
- 2 garlic clove or 1/2 TSP minced garlic
- chives/parley/whatever herbs you have
- 1/2 C rice
- 1 zucchini thick sliced
- handful chopped nuts
- 3 TBSP flour to thicken
- 2 TBSP butter
- pan-fry cubed chicken breast in butter
- whisk all other ingredients
- add to pan (low heat)
- whisk flour in water (usually 2 TBSP or more for thicker)
- add to pan
- simmer down for 6min or so
- steam zucchini slices
- toast chopped nuts in honey (oven-bake or pan-fry)
- 1 tin tuna (I eat the flavoured ones)
- 1/4 diced capsicum
- 1/2 tomato, quartered
- handful spinach/ rocket
- 1/2 avo
- handful grated cheese
- handful sprouts
- Kewpie mayo 🙂 (my fave)
- salt/ pepper
I think you know how to make a salad…
- chop and mix in a bowl
Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff
- 2 chuck steak/ cheapest steak
- 1/2 packet spiral pasta
- 1/2 500ml tub sour cream
- 3 TBSP dijon mustard
- 1 diced onion
- parsley/ whatever herbs you have
- salt/ pepper
- 4 C beef stock (stock cube + water is cheapest)
- chop beef into chunks
- chuck into slow cooker with all other ingredients EXCEPT pasta and sour cream
- cook on low for 8 hours
- add pasta and sour cream an hour and a bit before serving
These recipes are SUPER simple, finesse them in any way that makes you satisfied.
Some other quick and basic meals I often made:
- toast- avo/ nut butter/ banana
- fried egg sandwich with Kewpie mayo (what I eat nearly every morning actually)
- meat + veg
- pasta + veg
- cheese, tomato sandwich
- oats (instant is more expensive! Make it yourself)
- apple crumble!
- Vita-Wheat crackers + avo/ tomato/ cheese/ tuna
I cooked with sh*t I had in the fridge and cupboard– we all have a pantry full of sh*t we need to eat down, don’t we? This included (or see in images below):
- tinned beans (kidney, white, chickpeas, lentils baked)
- quinoa, barley, rice, pasta
- Asian sauces (fish, soy, oyster, tamari)
- Asian noodles
- coconut cream, coconut/oat/almond milk
- white chocolate (not my fave… that’s why it was/is still in the cupboard!)
- bakery ingredients (flours, sugars, baking powder/soda, molasses, cocoa, etc)
- stock cubes
- nutritional yeast
- all the nuts, dates, sultanas
Do you have these too? I don’t buy things like packet soup or instant anything. I prioritise eating as fresh as I can, regardless of my circumstances.
Two great tips if you’re buying meat; it’s always cheaper to buy in bulk (you can freeze it); and buy whole chickens and cut them to pieces!
Put in the comments what you make on a budget!
Feel Better About Being Broke
No one wants to be broke, and in the long-term it’s not viable unless you live in a van, or on the streets, but we’re all poor financially at some stage. Imagine if you lived like you were poor but earned rich, you’d be bathing in freedom. I’m clearly not a financial advisor or anyone of that means, I’m just your general gal having a life experience, so take from this post whatever you want.
No one ever benefited from getting everything they wanted.
With limited means, negativity may linger or drag like a dead weight behind you. I make myself feel better by comparing myself to worser places and situations I could be in– literally anything. Even just the fact that I can breathe on my own or that I can have a hot shower, is enough. And it should be enough! To have all your basic needs met is simply incredible, not everything in nature gets that pleasure. Nature is brutal, and us humans are lucky we have a brain to be able to avoid/ minimise the wrath of it!
To see the consequences on nature as an effect of our pleasure indulgences, keeps me motivated to be a good human, to be content, and to just be. I don’t know. Too large a portion of society is over-spending, in debt, over-stressed, over-striving, over, over, over. And I guess, in conclusion, I don’t want to feel that pressure to be the same and prove that I have wealth of stuffs. Most stuffs are either landfill or the contamination of the Earth or human body.