I Have No Money

no money

It’s one of the worst feelings you can ever have. That moment when you see there is still a week left until you get you next paycheck and you have no money, little food and you have no idea how you are going to make it. Your mind starts racing trying to figure out where you might be able to get a few extra dollars and it’s not long before you hit full panic mode as you scramble to figure out what, if any, options you have. I was there years ago when I was just out of college and just after my fiance had moved in with me. I found out she had $80,000 in credit card debt that I hadn’t known about until then. While we scrambled and were able to make things work until the next paycheck came, we made the decision that the situation would never happen again and it was the steps we took to resolve the issue which were far more important than securing the money until the end of the month.

As soon as I realized we didn’t have enough money to last until the next paycheck, I treated it as a major emergency. It entailed a number of long nights with a lot of crying, denial and shouting before we came up with a plan that we both were on board with. We took some drastic steps that went far beyond what most people would do, but it did allow us to wipe out the debt in less than two years (and taught us the great importance of an emergency fund).

The first step was acknowledging that this was a major issue. My fiance had always lived paycheck to paycheck and that had become her norm. Even though we were in the process of planning the wedding, I said that I wasn’t willing to get married until the debt was gone (you can imagine how this went over at first). Once it became clear that this was not a negotiable point, we started to put together a plan to actually tackle the underlying issue of the debt that was causing the paycheck to paycheck problem.

In the end, we ended up making three huge sacrifices that neither of us would have chosen to do, but are sometimes the choices that need to be made when an emergency appears. This included moving out of the apartment we had into the basement of her parent’s house (something that I really didn’t want to do, but did to show that I was willing to make as much of a sacrifice as she was). We both also took on additional work, her doing a job that she didn’t especially like, but made a decent amount of money. We also cut things back drastically so that we were living on about 60% of my old salary, even while all the additional money was coming in.

To tell the truth, I don’t remember a whole lot about those two years and it seemed to go by in a whirlwind. With two jobs and doing some extra work on the side, I was working far too many hours which made the days all run into one another. They were tough, but somehow we managed through them and came out in a situation where we would never have to worry about facing the “I have no money” until the next paycheck scenario.

The lesson here is that while the fact that you have no money at the end of the month may seem like the emergency, it really is only a symptom of the true emergency — the underlying situation that created the issue of not having money at the end of the month in the first place. How that situation gets solved depends a lot on your particular situation and the options that you have (and are willing to take), but chances are it is going to mean disrupting the norm that you have had until that point and making some major sacrifices to change things for the better. Most of all, you are probably going to have to find a reason that will motivate you to make those changes (not being able to get married until the debt was gone was highly motivating to us) which will give you a reason to endure the tough times ahead.

While I was far from happy about the decisions that we had to make at the time, in retrospect they were a great learning experience. I know that I can do things that I had never imagined that I could do before then, and that has stayed with me until this day. Learning to make the difficult decisions, coming up with a plan to make the goal attainable and then following through are all lessons that apply to many other parts of life that has served me well, and although I would never wish anyone the situation of having to figure out what to do when there is not enough money at the end of the month, if you are able to lift yourself out of that situation, you will have given yourself a number of useful skills that can be used throughout the rest of your life.

(Photo courtesy of danielmoyle)

This entry was posted in Credit Cards, Debt, Frugal, Personal Finance, Relationships, Saving Money and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

75 Responses to I Have No Money

  1. Diane says:

    I can identify with this~ I had a similar ex and his creditors still call looking for him too! I’m now debt free, other than $42K owed on my mortgage and I have a great credit rating. He’s still living on a cash basis & dodging creditors. It was a hard lesson with 2 kids, but I’m glad to be past it!

  2. Rusu Alexandru says:

    My brother give me some money,aproximate 10$!

  3. I would definitely try to sell some old stuff on Kijiji. And I’d literally eat anything and everything in the cupboard instead of buying any more groceries.

  4. sandra says:

    ask a family member for help

  5. Bill Elliott says:

    I would ask a family member to help until I could pay it back

  6. Diane says:

    I would sell something on Craig’s List or have a yard sale.

  7. JD says:

    When we have ran out of money in the past we went through our change jar and usually came up with $20 to $40 and used that. Once a year we take it to bank and add it to our savings account and we have between $80 and $120 to help the account grow.

  8. Chelle says:

    I’d donate plasma

  9. crazyliblady says:

    1) I would figure out if I have any other bills left that must be paid before next payday. If there are, I would call the companies and let them know I will be paying a little bit late. If it results in a late fee, so be it. It is better than a bounced check. Bounced check fees are pretty high these days.

    2) I would check the gas level in my car’s gas tank. I would use it to drive to work as long as the gas lasts and then walk to work.

    3) Then, I would check my food stash in the cupboards and fridge and figure out what I can make to eat for the rest of the month. I typically keep dried beans, peanut butter, rice, quinoa, oatmeal, etc. on hand. I try to keep enough available to get through a month or so. Beans and rice may not be exciting, but it is healthy, complete protein.

    4) I would also check my garden. It is December right now, so I don’t have a garden, but I would check to see if anything is ripe for picking. I would make my meal plan based on the food stash and garden.

    5) Those aren’t my only options, though. I do have money in savings, but I would hold off on using it until it is my last resort.

  10. crazyliblady says:

    Oh, yes. I forgot to add that I would also sit down and figure out a new budget. Obviously, something got me into that position and I need to figure out what it is. Perhaps, it is increasing food costs, gas, or just mindless spending. At any rate, I need to figure out a way to deal with it so it is not a continual problem.

  11. crazyliblady says:

    That is assuming you have something you don’t need that is valuable enough that someone would buy it.

  12. crazyliblady says:

    I wouldn’t loan money to family, so I would not expect them to loan it to me, either.

  13. Gloria says:

    Two months after I married I found out about my husbands $70 in student debt for a degree he never got and, his secret credit cards and his need for fancy dining out. It was a terrible year but eventually we worked on a plan. I thought we did anyways. He kept spending every time…he felt the need to. 11 years and 3 kids later we are divorced. He took most of his debt with him but he also left me with out a penny (almost a year later he was legally forced to pay child support) . Lucky for me all those years of pinching pennies trying to keep our heads above water I learned how to deal with money and saving it. Divorced I am much better off and the only debt I have is my emergency credit card and my house payment. I’m still struggling but I am making progress, progress I was never able to make while I was with him

  14. amber says:

    I would try to sell some things on consignment or pawn some items to pay the bill

  15. Deanna G. says:

    Get money from my mom.

  16. First I’d try to find something to sell. Second, I’d prioritize which bills could wait. Things that I need to work or live get paid. Credit cards can wait.

  17. Jill says:

    Borrow from family.

  18. Bryan Fryer says:

    It’s like that every month for my family. We end up selling things from our home.

  19. diane g says:

    I would ask around for help

  20. BlackAsphodel says:

    Ask a family member to lend me the money.

  21. Helene Tienda says:

    I would do the best I can at stretching what I do have left, find ways to come up with money other ways, like recycling. And if absolutely necessary, I would ask a family member for a short-term loan for only the amount that I need. I don’t want to borrow more than I can afford to pay back, or else I will just end up in the same situation that next month.

  22. JMK says:

    The first year we were married, he was in an entry level job and I was still in university. Most months we cut is close but managed. Once in a while an extra bill (like annual car insurance) would mean we had to scramble because we hadn’t yet learned to set aside a little every month to be ready for that bill. I clearly remember returning pop bottles (remember the glass ones that had a deposit on them) so we could fill the gas tank. Sometimes we would live for a week or two on only the food we already had on hand. It made for some weird combinations, but we learned to be creative. It never occured to us to borrow from family. I think we both thought that would be like admitting we weren’t adults and couldn’t take care of ourselves. We were never an unhealthy situation, but having to struggle now and then meant we learned early to plan for the future, spend less than we earned, and get creative when all else fails.

  23. Vette says:

    I will just make it happen with with what I have, For me borrowing is never the answer. How you going to payback something you already don’t have. Sell a item you have no need for anymore it helps.

  24. blah says:

    shes a bitch for hiding her debt. and who gets married when they’re poor -__-

  25. RUKiddingme says:

    Really? Your mom is still responsible for your debt? I think not.

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