23 Things I’ve Learned Being Broke

Let’s Start this off with the quote……

“There is a difference between being broke and being poor. Being broke is a temporary economic situation, but being poor is disabling frame of mind, and a depressed condition of one’s spirit, and we must all vow to never, ever be poor again.”

John Hope Bryant


 I am not poor, I am broke. Especially when it comes to achieving my goals, and helping others. The trials and tribulations I’ve been through has only made me stronger. It has built my character, and made me who I am today.


What I’m going to tell you comes from my own humbling experience.


23 Things I’ve Learned Being Broke..

1.  Tremendous Gratitude

My favorite word is “Thank You”

The attitude of the steward is gratitude. Being broke has made me more appreciative of the generosity of others. I tell people all the time, do not underestimate the value, and the impact that loving friends & family have on your life. I’ve never had problems accepting gifts and money from friends and family who are inspired to do so because I love them, I trust them, and I look at it as a blessing. But, when someone you hardly know is generous with you, while you’re in a precarious situation, sometimes you want to refuse such generosity. If you’re smart, and it’s the right situation, you’ll take it, and be thankful for it.

2.   Imagination is so powerful

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

        It forces you to constantly look towards the future. We won’t always be broke, and we’re dreaming about, and making plans for, that eventuality. To tell the truth, I’ve been through so much, it’s hard for me to speak in faith through the tongue these days. But I still envision it. Seem like that’s the only thing I can really hold on to. That imagination.

3.  Super Strong Desire

“ In your quest to not being broke, you launch a super strong desire to find your way out of being broke.

I’ve always had a strong feeling of wanting to have, so that always inspired me to hustle and try to get out of my current situation. And psychcentral asked the question,  “Is suffering created by desire itself, or how we relate to it?”  In my opinion, it tends to be both. When you choose to follow that desire, you will undoubtedly come to know the truth: Ok, I’ve mastered the collage of thoughts and techniques as far as making money. The only thing separating me from financial freedom now, is connections. And until I make those type of connections with certain individuals, I will continue to suffer. This isn’t necessarily my fault.  It just means I haven’t crossed paths with the right people yet.

4.   Have Belief

In a world full of people who will quit on you in a minute, be smart enough to work with the ones who are committed to sticking by you, and believing in you.” -Rob Hill Sr


Benefits of being Broke will open up your eyes to see if someone is truly there for you in the time of need.


In business, I’ve learned about the importance of relationships. Over the years, I’ve had so many business associates come in and out of my life. I’m at the point now where I’m not really worried about how much money I can make with you, or if you’re the best designer or top earner in an MLM company. I’m more so worried about character. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality when it comes to building my circle of relationships. Some associations are just a waste of energy. You have to be my friend before you can be my business partner. If I can’t depend on you in the time of need, and you don’t support my vision, you’re no friend or business partner.


And quite honestly, I’m happy I’m broke at this point and time because it’s putting potential business relationships to the test. Do they truly believe in me? Or will they just move on to the next prospect or customer. It’s nothing wrong with moving on, but I’m looking for people who have the same heart as me. I understand you can’t invest in everyone, but I truly believe there’s that one out the bunch you have to take a risk with. I don’t want to do business with you if you don’t believe in me. It has to be a deeper connection. Just like I have to believe in someone to help me reach success, they have to believe in me that I’ll be successful.


I owe so many designers money, but they just don’t know how much they’ve inspired me to keep going. My dreams were birthed through art (branding) and kept alive by visually seeing it everyday. Working with certain artists taught me that it’s not always about the exchange of money, but it has everything to do with the exchange of BELIEVING. I believe they can help me, and they believe that I can be a great success.

  1.  My True Passion
    “When you struggle to make a difference, you won’t struggle to make a dollar. The money will come eventually.”

At times, I feel guilty about doing things that do not bring in a steady income, or meet some responsibility of my life. As a society, we believe that doing nothing that doesn’t bring in an income is not a good thing. But to tell the truth, this has actually been the best thing for my life. Something about being broke (especially for what may feel like is perpetually) can take one to the place where a joyous life purpose is revealed.

What would you do if you weren’t paid to do it? I don’t get paid to write, I don’t get paid to inspire, and most times, I don’t get paid much to help people in need. It’s just what I love to do. And people don’t consider it valid because I don’t get paid for it. Really? I’ve been broke so long, I don’t even focus on making money anymore.

Everyone has a dream they want to fulfill, a service they want to provide to participate in the giving and receiving cycle of life. It does not have to be sought after, though, for it is within waiting to be discovered at the perfect time.

I’m happy looking after my elders and “working” by doing what I love. I refuse to work for someone and be a slave, no matter the outcome. I truly believe the universe will work in my favor and provide all of my needs and wants. I already see it. So, I shouldn’t worry.


  1.  No Amount of Money Excites Me

“I don’t love money….I love Freedom, Security, and Luxurious Toys.”

I guess being so eager to make money over the years, it motivated me to study and surround myself around successful people. I associate with individuals in real estate who make 50k+ a month. And when you surround yourself around people making that kind of money, it becomes the norm. So, I would never go out there and work for someone, bringing home a measly $1000 or less every two weeks, when I see individuals making that kind of money in one day.

No car is expensive to me, no house is expensive to me….NOTHING is expensive to me. You would never hear me say, “That’s too expensive.” I’m not saying I want all the money in the world, but what I’m saying is, “All the money in the world don’t excite me.” I don’t value money at all. I get excited over acquiring things with money, but not necessarily money itself (If that makes sense).


  1.  The Rat Race is a Curse (In my opinion).

“The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.” – Lily Tomlin

      Getting caught in the rat race is a slippery slope that far too many people unknowingly become trapped in, with little possibility of escaping. Working hard every day and not being where you want to be, or doing what you wish you could be doing, makes you feel like you need a magic genie to help you escape to your real life. It feels like a nightmare. The cons far outweigh the pros. As far as the pros, bills are getting paid (hopefully), you’re helping people, and building relationships with coworkers and customers.

       Here’s the unlucky part. It seem like when you’re stuck in the rat race race, bad things start to happen. You physically work harder or almost die of boredom, you attract more bills, you attract negative people, you sacrifice your physical and mental health, you spend less time with family, you’re constantly fighting time, and you become more greedy for money, so you work overtime or multiple jobs. And on top of all of that, you’re still at risk of losing your job. And if you stay on the job, retirement is slim to none.

I’m not getting stuck in that trap again!

   It is exhausting and depressing. You’re constantly trying to keep your head above water, but you’re drowning. And I must admit, leaving the rat race can be a lonely, scary, and challenging road. You have to also keep your head above water. But with a little faith, the universe will work in your favor.


  1.  I Have A Great Interest in Personal Finance

I am so obsessed with budgeting, I created a Personal Finance Notebook over the years.  I will budget five dollars! My dollars are people that have a home.

It seem like bills are the only things that could truly hurt my feelings these days. I don’t like to be in the negative at all. There is no difference between overdrafts and stabbing someone. They both hurt like hell.

Bills are like strict parents. They be like, “No! you’re not going out this weekend!” And they always show up, no matter how much they get on your nerves.

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  1.  Understanding

I gained a new respect and understanding for people living in poverty: It really isn’t a choice. I don’t judge people anymore because I know as far as the root of things, it’s not really their fault why they’re homeless. Their life was mapped out that way.


  1.  How to Negotiate/Barter

“He who wants to barter, usually knows what is best for him” (African Proverb)

Bartering has been an alternative for me to trade services, without any kind of money. I am a tit for tat person, so bartering has always been a good thing for me.  It develops a certain level of efficiency and equality.

Since it’s the new year, I caught myself catching up on my goals last week, by bartering a few times:

  • “If you edit this photo for me, I’ll update your facebook page for a week.”
  • “If you help me with my blog, I’ll post comments on your blog”


SN: Negotiating is a good skill to have, especially in parts of Asia where all items are negotiated. Failing to negotiate prices not only robs you of money, but also a fun interaction.

  1.  To think outside the box.
    ‘’Just Use Your Brain!”

Being on the receiving end of receiving so many gifts for christmas, I always feel the need to reciprocate. So, what do I do? I regift! I always have a pile of gifts that I will never use, so when someone hands a gift to me, I kindly hand it to someone else. There are a thousand ways to give back without having money. Why waste a gift?


  1.  Perception is Good
    “Fake it till you make it!

I’m famous for this. It’s hard for me to let the world know that I’m having a hard time. Especially when it comes to family and friends. I look at myself as the leader of my family, so I never want them to see me struggling.

Often times in business, I talk as if I’m already successful. Ask me what I do, and I may tell you I’m a professional real estate investor, An internet marketer, a writer, an owner of two clothing lines, etc.

And I’m so knowledgeable about my passion, you would really believe me! Don’t get confused, I do have experience, but the way I talk, you would think I was in the game for 20+ years and made millions of dollars. One of my business associates contacted me today and asked if I could help him to get started in lease options. By the time I was finish explaining everything, he said “Wow, you should teach a course! Thank you!”  I have never done a lease option deal in my life. I mean, I’ve assisted in lease option deals, but I have never done one myself. You should hear the conversation I have with these companies who call my phone everyday, asking me to invest in oil drilling and pharmaceutical drugs. I talk to them like I’m about to invest some serious money, but I don’t have one red cent in my pocket. It’s a high for me because it tests my knowledge and keeps me focused on where I’m trying to go, and what I want to be. The more I fake it, the more I learn!

People seem to think I have a lot of money, but I don’t. People have come to me and said,” When I look at you, it gives me confidence to get money like you.” I want to respond, “Really? Get money like me? I’m broke af!” But I keep my mouth shut and enjoy the compliment. I just know how to make broke look good that’s all. And I never complain about being broke.  I realized it’s not necessarily about having money, it’s all about having taste and keeping your mouth shut. I love luxurious things. I believe in good quality. I will buy from the second hand store, as long as it’s good quality.

“Fake it ‘til you make it.” is the normal phrase, but you know what? I prefer to say “Act as if.” Act as if you already have what you want, and the chances are you’ll get it. Life is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and with the right attitude and determination, you’ll eventually get what you want. You won’t have to “Act as if” anymore.


  1.   Less is More.
    “This Remains My Mantra.”

When I brought a lot of food, I felt like I didn’t have a lot of food. Now that I have to buy less food, I feel like I have more food. When I brought a lot of clothes, I got rid of them fast. Now, I buy less clothes, but there’s always something to wear. It’s weird, I know!


  1.  Struggle makes good art.
    Art is the triumph over chaos.” ~John Cheever

Sometimes this is true. The stress of tough times, poverty, poor living conditions and bad company can produce some brilliant material. My struggle was the motivation to write this article.


  1.  To Swallow my Pride, and seek help.

“The truest characters of ignorance are vanity, pride, and arrogance.” -Samuel Butler


 I’ve always been the one to provide for others. But since not having income anymore, I had to rely on welfare. As a black woman who didn’t grow up poor, this was a big deal since I didn’t want to become another statistic. Plus, a lot of people in my family are college graduates, so they taught me about hard work, and not depending on a handout. However, I had no choice but to humble myself and head to the social services building and apply for food stamps. I had to do what I had to do. I believe in divergent thinking, and tapping into my local resources was option D for me.

You have a lot of people out here who are against individuals who seek public assistance, but who do you know who have made it on their own? And most of the people that are against public assistance are the ones who never had to go through the experience. Yea, you will always have your bad apples out of the bunch, but all people who receive welfare are not lazy and greedy. Maybe they’ve exhausted all possibilities.

You don’t know their story.

People are quick to say poor people take advantage of the system, but you have the rich who take advantage of the system also.

  1.   I’m Patient
    Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” -Joyce Meyer

I will never forget the time I had to visit this non profit organization to receive free health care. The place was filled with wall to wall people. It was an interesting and life changing experience to converse with people from all walks of life, such as drug addicts, and prostitutes (just to name a few). I sat there from the time they opened up, until the time they closed. After waiting 8 hours, I realized I was the only one left in the room. I wanted to walk out numerous times, but this was the only way to receive free health care. Even a majority of the employees left before me. One of the old women that worked there said, “Oh my gosh Ms! I cannot believe you’re still here. You have great patience and you will be blessed.”

  1.   How to prioritize
    When I get money in my hands, it’s time to take care of business!”

Having so little money has shown me how to spend my money wisely. Having a clear sense of my priorities and being able to label my needs and wants constantly helps me make good financial decisions.

Often times, I pay the few bills I have (if I can), and I use the money to do for others, and spend time with others.

  1.   To be a problem solver.
    Well, if it can be thought, it can be done, a problem can be overcome” ― E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly

I eventually reached a point where my funds became so low, I was unable to pay my half of the rent when I moved into my first apartment. I sat back and asked myself, “How can I solve this problem?” So, what did I do? I sold everything on craigslist. I even found a roommate off craigslist. I did any and everything I had to do to keep the rent paid. My best friend would come home from work and be like, “Where the hell are the dishes? You sold them didn’t you?”


  1.  Look for things to do that don’t cost money.
    “Allow the bounty of our Universe into your being and you will find that there is plenty to “do” that doesn’t cost a thing.”

Searching out resources for no cost fun will take you to the true beauty of our world, if you let it. Nature, the wonder of children, and public places offer more entertainment value, than many paid excursions. Take some time to be with the cloudy sky, let the wind whistle along side your face, take a walk, and feel the crunch of the leaves under your feet. It’s crazy because my nephews and godsons enjoy free entertainment, more than paid entertainment. They’d rather go to the bookstore, the playground, hike, and play sports. My nephew asked if I could take him to the library, instead of the trampoline park for his 5th birthday. And then for his 6th birthday, I took the boys to a free Irish Festival and they had a blast playing in the moon bounce for hours. They didn’t want to leave.

20.  You Don’t have to pay full price for anything.

“Most people buy on impulse, so I’ll gladly be the treasurer of your trash”

Just as fast as people buy things, they give it away. I get so much free stuff off craigslist and freecycle. I shop at the local thrift store, consignment shops, and the Habitat for Humanity.


  1.  How to handle anxiety
    I don’t know how many times I stood in the grocery line with balls of sweat on my forehead, and butterflies in my stomach because I was scared I would go over my grocery budget. Overtime, I learned to prepare carefully by putting the most desired food items on the belt first, and the least desired food items at the end. Besides that, I get a subtotal, and take a VERY deep breath.
  1. It has shown my strength as a woman….

I am a hard worker, and I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty. You have some people who walk around with their hands out, looking for favors. They haven’t even taken the initiative to get their hands dirty. I walk around with dirty hands all day, and if someone kindly asks to clean them, I’ll gladly accept it.  I strongly believe in “HELP AFTER HARD WORK”. When I’ve exhausted all the possibilities….That’s an independent woman! Someone who knows how to accept when the time is necessary.

  1. It’s Been a Beautiful Struggle

All of these little experiences taught me some valuable life skills. It has shaped me, molded me, and humbled me – BUT I’m ambitiously tired. I think I’ve learned enough lessons in my lifetime to be a great success. I’m tired of being broke. I needed money like yesterday. Right now, I have bills to pay lol



My current circumstances is the motivation for tomorrow’s success, and I’ll take what I’ve learned last year to make the new year better.

“If you want to feel rich at this point and time right now, just count the things you have that money can’t buy.”

– Proverb


Money is a LIE, but get it anyway. Money plays a part in my freedom, just as much as spiritual transcendence does.


Being Broke is a great motivator



When you are full, it is easy to forget how you felt when you were hungry. Whether I have 20k or 20 cent in my pocket, I’m never going to change.

If you’re in a season of poverty, I hope for your sake and mine, it will be brief. But regardless of how long it lasts, know that it can bring you down or it can bring you insight. It can be a downslide into despair or a stepping stone into maturity. I hope you can embrace the benefits of being broke, with the understanding that poverty of the pockets doesn’t mean poverty of the soul, and the best things in life are free, anyway

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