(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you’ll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)
By the author of The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living and What to Eat When You’re Broke
Are you having money problems and don’t know where to turn for help? Maybe you want to discuss it with that super-responsible pal who has never paid a late fee in her entire life. Perhaps you want to talk to a professional financial advisor. Well, I’m here to tell you that your very best source of information might be a broke person or someone who has had a history of money problems.
A person who has gone through bankruptcy or lost a home or suffered terrible financial problems can not only truly empathize with your situation. They can also tell you about the mistakes they’ve made or how they recovered from these problems.
And what’s more, nobody ever asks them their opinions because most folks have written them off as “bad with money.”
Personally, I’d rather learn from the mistakes of someone else than talk to a person to whom money stress is merely theoretical. I know this from my own difficult experiences, from literally digging through a dumpster to feed my toddler – I can tell you how to survive being broke a lot better than somebody who has only read about being broke. And I won’t judge you, either.
Here’s what got me thinking about this.
Okay, confession time.
I freaking LOVE The Daily Mail. I know, I know, it’s not great journalism. It’s not serious. There’s a lot of fluff. But sometimes we need a little bit of fluff in our lives just to get away from the grim realities of the world. Shake your head and look at me with scorn, but it’s free and it’s not hurting a soul. And sometimes I get awesome article ideas from there.
Take today, for example.
Some “influencer” from Australia is now trying to tell people how to manage their money after it was revealed that she filed for bankruptcy several months ago. Here’s the article if you want to take a look. There was an all-out verbal melee in the comments and in social media as angry readers scoffed at the idea of taking advice from a bankrupt individual who still appears to live the high life in her online photos. But I immediately disagreed with those people in the comments section because I’ve been where Christie Swadling is right now. (Minus the awesome bikini bod.)
Now, is Christie’s advice great? Not that they showed in this article. In fact, she’s standing near some outrageously expensive blueberry like they’re a good idea. But would I write off everything she has to say? Absolutely not.
I bet you that Christie knows exactly what financial mistakes led to her bankruptcy. I bet she is eager to recoup her income and try to do better the second time around. And therein lies a source of wisdom just waiting to be tapped if everyone wasn’t gleefully mocking her for having money problems and seeming to be clueless.
Advice from a former flat-broke person
This is all a guess on my part. I don’t know the woman from the Daily Mail. She might be incredibly vapid and have no self-awareness whatsoever. But a lot of folks who’ve been down the dirt road of poverty can really be helpful.
If I were to give advice to people struggling with their finances right now, based on what I learned in the past, it would be the following.
1.) Everyone makes mistakes.
First of all, you need to let yourself off the hook a little. Everybody, everywhere, has made a financial mistake at some point in their lives. They may not have been as strongly affected by it because they have a healthy savings account or because it was a smaller error. But we’ve all spent when we should’ve saved, bought something frivolous and useless, or paid one thing when we should’ve paid another first.
Financial mistakes are financial mistakes, and they happen to us all. You’ll never move past if it you don’t a) forgive yourself – you’re human – and b) stop considering yourself as “bad with money.” Our thoughts can manifest into a belief that continues to sabotage us as time goes on.
2.) Do damage control.
Okay. You’ve made a mistake (or even a whole series of them.) Let’s take a look at your budget. Let’s see where you can cut, whether this is popular or not. Let’s see how you can staunch the financial bleeding and save what you can.
3.) Cut your losses.
There are some things that cannot be saved.
Take my house back in Canada, for instance, which I lost to foreclosure. And my car went right after it.
I was in a situation in which there was no feasible way whatsoever for me to catch up with these payments. By the time I was able to emerge from my grief (it was after the loss of my dad), it was too late. So I had to cut my losses. I had to stop making house payments and put that money toward a new place to live – after all, being homeless would be even worse. I had to stop making car payments and put that money toward a cheap used vehicle that probably wouldn’t last long but would get me to and from work. I had made terrible mistakes, but I could cut my losses and move on from them.
I had to let those things go in order to keep the situation from getting worse. Any additional money I put into it would be like spitting into a dry well. There were no benefits for my children and me. (Here’s a piece I wrote about what to do when you can no longer pay your bills.)
Who would you take financial advice from?
If you were looking for financial advice, would you consider taking it from a person who had lost everything or had suffered some type of financial catastrophe? Or would you rather take advice from a person who totally had their shizzle together? It’s a genuine question – where do you think the best advice comes from?
Let’s talk about it in the comments section.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.
Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.