'Holding your head high' broke

Posted October 24th, 2013 by Penny Wise

When people talk about being broke I've discovered there are several different kinds. There's the 'not really broke' where you can afford all the day to day stuff, just not big things such as a new car or holiday. There's the 'whinging broke' where you can basically buy what you want but still think you're hard done by because you can't afford a $200 pair of shoes. And then there's the 'I'm actually quite scared' broke, where you genuinely can't afford ANYTHING. In nine years as a Simple Saver, this is the first time I've been here. Sure, there have been many times I've said I was broke and at the time I really did believe it! It's only now that I realise that while we had to be careful on many occasions, we weren't really broke at all.

But although the bank balance may be low, there is one thing which has remained high - my pride. I've got stacks of the stuff and it's not running out any time soon. And I can tell you where it's come from too - Simple Savings. Really truly. Because us Simple Savers know how to survive better than anyone else - and do it in style! But it really is those skills which are getting me through now and they are rewarding me every day. I'm proud as punch that I know how to make awesome meals and snacks for my boys day after day from scratch and from next to nothing. I'm proud that I can make my own cleaning products. I'm proud that I grow my own food. I'm proud that I can cut my own hair. I'm proud that the only make-up I wear is a $7.99 tube of BronZinc and that my only skincare regime is a microfibre face cloth for cleansing and macadamia oil for moisturising. I'm even more proud that people say I look the best now that I ever have! I'm proud that even though it feels like I owe everyone money, I am paying them off faster than other people can because I can manage on less. All these reasons and many, many more but most of all I'm proud of what my boys are learning through this time. I'm proud that they are seeing their mum doing all this stuff first hand so they can learn to do it too and I'm proud that they are handling the whole 'being broke' situation with grace and acceptance. I think they are becoming better people for it, I really do.

Because I realised yesterday during a long chat with Liam that 'no' is not a word my two boys have heard very often. They have gone through their young lives being able to do and have pretty much what they like. But when your choices are taken away, that's a bit of a shock to the system. Like when Ali gets told he can't go to stay at his friend's house an hour away because I can't afford the petrol to take him there and back. Or when Liam asks if he can have money to go and get Subway with his friends after school and I have to say I really don't have it to give to him. But they've never once got upset or angry, they just accept it and get on with it. It's not just them who is affected after all, we're all in it together. Going out has become a thing of the past because I just can't. I can't even have friends around for a drink because I can't afford the drink! But when you know it's just not possible it's OK. It's not a big deal, that's just how it is. If anyone told me that my favourite way to spend an evening as a fab-and-40 singleton was a hot bath followed by a Geordie Shore marathon on TV I would have said they were nuts! But I'm happy. My daily joys now are the little things such as feeding the bread crusts to the multitude of birds in my garden, or taking in a load of washing off the line and smelling the lavender oil that I added to the water in the clothes.

Just like the end of Bohemian Rhapsody, 'nothing really matters, anyone can see', (or if you're a Metallica fan, 'nothing else matters', I chop and change between the two) I'm finding the same applies to me every day. A few weeks ago I thought I needed new shoes because the ones I had were too scruffy. Then I had a proper look in my room and realised that I could actually SELL three pairs of shoes that I didn't wear or need! The boys are finding the same; the majority of the time the things you think you need, you actually don't. I find it crazy now how much money used to go on just stuff that meant absolutely nothing. I walked past some of my Hidden Gem shops this morning and felt awful that I hadn't seen their lovely owners or bought anything from them in so long - but I just don't need to go in there!

Mindset is a wonderful thing. Last week I was 'I'm actually quite scared' broke but this week, although my situation hasn't changed, my attitude has so I've changed the moniker to 'holding your head high' broke instead. I love the Forum and all the wonderful people on it and gain heaps of inspiration from threads such as 'How to look expensive on a shoestring budget', 'Skint but stylish' and 'Are you frugal out of choice or necessity?' We may not know all know each other but we all help to keep each other's heads high whether we need it propping up or not. One thing's for sure, when you're a Simple Saver you're never alone!

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