13 ways being broke can be good for you.

Stef Hill
5 min readMay 6, 2019


Empty pockets. It’s the capitalist nightmare. No cash. No ability to buy things. The idea that your attempts to make money have failed. That’s almost like not even being a real person.

Clearly, no one wants to be broke. That said, running out of money or losing your job unexpectedly doesn’t have to spark an existential crisis. It might actually help you develop some valuable skills and insights.

Photo by Jonathan Brinkhorst on Unsplash

You are more than your bank balance.

Thinking your net worth is your human worth is not conducive to good self-esteem and all the benefits that brings. If someone is talented, loving, popular and intelligent, would all that go up in smoke if their cash reserves got wiped out?


Getting down to a zero balance in the bank makes you appreciate how much you have in life. Whether this is friends and family, contacts you have built up or skills you have it sometimes takes a set back to see what was there all the time.

Welcome to the revelation that you don’t need half your stuff.

When you start using eBay, boot sales or selling groups to raise some quick funds you will realize that you have a lot of unwatched DVDs, unplayed games and barely worn clothes. You didn’t need or even really want that stuff and yet you bought it anyway, you’ll think twice in future.

Financial freedom is an almost universal goal. You’ll never attain it if you constantly buy things you’re never even going to use because you THINK you need them.

I get that you want things, we all do, but if you confuse that with necessity you’re setting yourself up for a very unstable life.

Parring down is a life skill.

In business or in life you have to cut the dead weight. Knowing what to keep and what to drop is a vital skill.

There is great freedom in trimming your life back to the basics, it helps you focus on other things. It also brings choice back into the equation. There are many high earning people around who never have a spare penny because everything is accounted for before they even get their hands on it. It’s possible to do a lot more in life on a lot less money if you’re more aware of your outgoings.


Food that is cheap and quick to make (freeing you up to do other things) is generally healthier for you. Just like all the unnecessary possessions you might be questioning the wisdom of purchasing, buying food also fits into this category. How much crap do you actually get through without realizing because it’s a habit?

Dinner time is gratitude time.

If you usually serve up gourmet grub to a table full of critical connoisseurs this point is for you. When you’re hungry and you’ve had to think and shop smart in order to scrape something together it tastes GOOD. How many meals do we eat without thinking or appreciating that, hey, we actually have food to eat everyday.


When you’re broke you end up selling stuff in your home, learning to whip up a mean dish from the stuff in the back of the cupboard and taking whatever work you can find.

This process is always enlightening. You start out wondering what on Earth you’re going to do and before you know it, you’re making things happen. This shows that most of us can do more all the time, not just when we have to.


People are always yearning to attain tranquility. In the middle of rushing around earning money to buy things you don’t want or need you can buy more products to help you be peaceful and chill out. Or, you know, just chill out. It’s free.

Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

Leaving your comfort zone.

We all have our own comfort zone. It’s nice and cosy and we know what to expect. It’s fine to like your comfort zone but stepping (or being shoved) out of it now and again stops you getting complacent.

“Nothing in the world is more common than unsuccessful people with talent, leave the house before you find something worth staying in for. ”
― Banksy

Break your consumer shackles.

Consumption is not always bad but being a conduit to funnel money into other people’s businesses is not a good way to live. Food, clothes, working out, travel, things for your home… all these contradictory purchases compete to keep you chasing greener grass. You don’t need to buy things for every aspect of life. How many of us always look for a product to buy in any conceivable circumstance? It’s not always necessary.

People not things.

Time is the most precious resource available to each and every one of us. Money comes and goes. You can always make more money but your time is priceless.

If you ended up broke on a special day for someone close to you, a birthday or anniversary, would you be at a loss for what to do? So many people would think of this as a disaster. However, maybe that’s just the unfamiliar worry of what to do for the person if it isn’t to buy something.

Photo by Sergei Solo on Unsplash

Maybe your friend, relative or partner would enjoy your time and undivided attention more than anything else. Sometimes buying and handing over a gift without thinking is the easy option.

Socializing and hobbies.

Speaking of people, when the cash runs dry two things happen. Firstly you realize you would never see some people unless money was involved. You can now think about whether you still want to define these people as friends.

Secondly you’ve probably been going out and spending money on socializing and not really enjoying it some of the time. After you’ve spent a few candlelit evenings playing board games for free it really hits home that having a mediocre time that costs as much as it does to feed your family for a week is not very appealing.

Refresh your outlook.

When you have no money at all and things need paying for you totally overhaul your approach to earning. It’s easy to become inefficient and waste time, even when working. Being at ground zero makes you aware of what earns and what doesn’t, what’s worthwhile and what isn’t.

Photo by Jeff King on Unsplash

Being broke is not a pleasant feeling. However, once you get yourself going to resolve the situation you can really change your perspective on life. Most of us need to make money to live our lives but you can easily become beholden to it and let your life slip by in the process.



Stef Hill

Writer in business, mental health and feminism. Darling of digital. Self-raising Lazarus.