The “Broke-Ass” Society: Why You Shouldn’t Be Ashamed Of Having Money Troubles (And How To Seek Help)

Current Vibe:

  • 8/1/17
  • Art by Unknown (if anyone else knows, feel free to let me know!)
  • 1:10 P.M.
  • Mood: defeated.



Man, oh MAN, am I feeling beat up today.

I know you’re probably like, “Already?? It’s so early in the afternoon!”. But, yes, I do already feel like a puddle of fails.

My day started off with a rude-as-hell awakening of what it truly means to be “broke”.

I had to stop and get gas to be able to make it to work without having my car go dead (it’s broken down enough already). So, I stopped by a gas station on the way, went inside, and asked for $20 on pump whatever. I was confident as all get-out that things would be fine, and that I had plenty of money to cushion me until I got paid again. I swiped my card and waited for the lady behind the register to give me the receipt, but there was a pause. UH-oh. “Uh, ma’am, it’s showing that your card was only able to cover $16.61, and you still owe $3.39 for the gas”, said the tired-looking cashier lady. I tried retaining a calm demeanor, but on the inside, I was thinking, “ARE you fucking KIDDING ME?? You’re telling me, in front of this line of impatient people behind me, that I only had $16.61 left on my card??”. I was fully aware that I didn’t have the right to get upset at the woman, and proceeded to try to see if I had the rest of the money in cash. I felt embarrassed, overwhelmed, and debilitated. I had avoided looking at my card balance for a while for this exact reason. I wanted to avoid feeling so deflated when I found out that I wasn’t able to save as much as I thought I could. But, I very well should have checked up on that, and, in that moment, I was sucker-punched and bloodied up by this dose of reality. Some dude stepped up (probably because he was tired of waiting on me) and offered to pay off what I owed on gas. I timidly asked him, “Are you sure?”. He shot me a quick “yeah” without really looking at me, so I shot him a thank you, and quickly scurried out of the gas station. I was definitely running late for work at that point.

Now, I didn’t necessarily believe that I was beyond being broke, so much as I used to think it was some sort of myth. When I was a kid, I had that child-like mindset that when I saw something in a store that I wanted, I was supposed to have it right then. If there were any if’s, and’s, or but’s about it, I was irritated as hell. Such a little brat, I was. But, when my mom (or other adults) would tell me that I couldn’t get what I wanted right then because they didn’t have the money, I felt that, maybe, they were bluffing. In my head, the fact that they were working automatically meant that they had money for decades, and I felt that them saying they didn’t have money solely meant that they were just trying to keep the money they actually had to themselves. Something like that, at least. So, that mindset kinda stayed with me. I thought that an adult always had to have some spare money left to be considered an individual that “had his/her shit together”. And, I mean, I used to be that adult when I first got an actual job. However, though that job paid more and was full-time, I was miserable at best there. I never wanted to be there, and it showed in my attendance (please don’t follow in my footsteps). So, I split and got a part-time job that paid an okay amount. I was stoked about having more free time and not having to be at the job I worked previously. However, the money I had left over from my last job went *poof*, and my paychecks started coming in with less money than I was used to. That’s when I was left to look at the fact that, while the new job paid an okay amount and was less hectic, the hours that I worked made the wage I was paid amount to very little.

Now, I’ve hit a point where my name could be sold to someone for a dollar or less. And it’s not a bluff, as I thought before. I’m actually in this situation, experiencing it for myself, and it’s a lot different than I could have imagined. Though I know this isn’t the case, I feel like the only working person who has hit this point, and like I’ve lost control of my life because I have hit it. Logically, I know this situation only means that I can’t grab quick bites to eat until I get paid. But, it just feels like so much more than that (probably because it’s not hard to get me overwhelmed, anyway). It feels like I’ve either failed at being an adult, or….

That this is just a PART of being an adult.

The truth is that, unless someone’s rich, most people have gone through this situation or a similar one. They’re struggling to make it, think that they have more money than they do, and then end up feeling dead inside when they find out how much money has actually slipped through their fingers. They have to start calculating in their heads if they’re going to be able to make it until they get paid next, and crumble when they realize how much they may have to be willing to put on hold because they just don’t have enough. They feel embarrassed, overwhelmed, and debilitated, and…..holy SHIT, I’m not the only one.

We’re in a broke-ass society, people. Even the ones who work the hardest get paid less than half of what they deserve for it. We’re all trying to reach a better place in life, and we know that, while money can’t buy happiness, it does play a pretty important role in reaching it. We want a luxurious life of travel with our SO’s, to be able to get our kids absolutely everything they could ever dream of having, or to give ourselves the best lives we deserve. But we…just can’t afford it right now.

This doesn’t mean you’re failing. This means you’re trying to live your best life in this economy, like the rest of us. 

This isn’t meant to invalidate how others may be feeling right now. My words won’t erase how hard things are when you don’t have money. This is actually a rough reality for me, and I’ll still feel beat-down about it for a bit. But, I needed this to learn to not only get better about keeping track of my money (even if it’s disheartening to watch it go), but to realize that being broke doesn’t equal being an actual “puddle of fails”.

It means you’re alive, and thriving with the necessary skills to survive trying situations. Stop being so hard on yourself. 

Also, if anyone needs help (but hates asking their family or friends for it bc pride), I’ve found some websites that could at least start the search for help with finances and well-being:

(Also, if you’re a college student, don’t forget to ask if there are free counseling services for attending. Unrelated, but you can also call 2-1-1 for looking into assistance programs in YOUR area within the US or Canada.)


2 thoughts on “The “Broke-Ass” Society: Why You Shouldn’t Be Ashamed Of Having Money Troubles (And How To Seek Help)

  1. I will try not to go off on a pitty party or off point, but I have never seen any support offered to older ex-spouses that are in my situation. I am a 53 yr old single mother. My 19 yr old daughter lives with me and is currently in college. My son has moved to another part of the state and I help as much as I can. I gave up my family, career and pretty much my life 20 yrs ago to move to a small town where my now ex-husband is from. I stayed home for the first 5 years to take care of my children. My son had severe asthma and attempts to have someone take care of him while I worked ended up with him in ICU and he almost died on more than one occasion. My ex-husband has a really good job and makes a lot of money. I have been at my job for 12 years but make very little. I supported my ex-husband while he went back to school and got his degree. That helped him get promoted at his job. As soon as he got his promotion he informed me that he wanted a divorce….after 20 years of marriage. To be honest there was no love lost there because he was very controlling and abusive. I stayed because I had nowhere to go and I new on my salary I couldn’t support myself and my children. He doesn’t help financially with the kids even though he can more than afford it. I went through my share of my 401k to buy a small 2 bedroom home, pay off my car and most of our debt and support my kids. I thought I would be good financially. Well, I get no spousal support because my ex’s family is friends with the judge and he said he didn’t see the need. Are you kidding me?? I still have $15,000 in debt. If I could just pay that off I would be fine. Not rich, but I would be able to get by on what I make. I am afraid of losing what i have worked so hard for on my own. I don’t want to end up homeless. I don’t have anyone to ask for help from. Is there anyplace I can go for this kind of help? I don’t think I would qualify for government assistance and I have never even considered that option before. I have worked so hard all of my life, well since I was 18 and only less the 5 years while taking care of my children. I have been looking for another job, part time for extra income, but this is a small town and there is nothing.. Any suggestions?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey there! I’m sorry I took so long to reply, and thank you for commenting! While I’m not really an expert in this field, I do still suggest seeing if you COULD qualify for governmental assistance. Even if you don’t, you may be able to find other options in regards to charities and organizations that help support single mothers. I might have included some links about assistance for single moms in the post, too. I’ll keep researching, though, so I hope you’ll stay in touch. Also, another idea that I had, in regards to your husband’s faulty support and the judge’s despicable behavior, you might check out the page r/legaladvice on a website called Reddit. That may not sound the MOST helpful, but I’m suggesting it because I’ve seen people who are either qualified in the field or have experience with these sorts of situations come out of the woodworks to help people find out what they can do. There’s no way that judge can get away with taking sides just because he’s friends with your ex-husband and his family. There HAS to be some way to report that, too, as I feel that unethical behavior. Your ex husband also shouldn’t have been able to get away with not providing child support. I’m sorry for being harsh, but your ex husband is REAL shitty, and I am glad you no longer have to deal with his abuse.

    I’m INCREDIBLY sorry you’ve had to go through all of this. Which, saying sorry doesn’t really help much, but I do want you to know I understand, in a sense. You’re an incredible woman, and I’m sure your kids appreciate VERY much all the hard work you’ve put into raising them and helping them thrive as much as possible. I’ll put a post out on my Instagram blog, too, to see if I can find more resources on supporting older, single mothers.


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