Broke ass blues
Being broke sucks.
I recently moved and subsequently paid a massive chunk of change in bond and rent.
Five days out from being paid, I have a zero balance.
What’s interesting is that I am neither starving nor particularly worried. Why? Because I am surrounded by immense support. I have food in the pantry, I have a safe, warm place to sleep and there is always the catering-sized Nescafe coffee tin in the work kitchen for my hefty caffeine needs.
What this short-term experience highlights for me is two things: 1. The universe really does provide. For all the times I’ve bought other people coffees, shouted them lunch or paid for cabs, all that goodwill comes straight back to you when you most need it. 2. You definitely don’t need to buy optional things like clothes or drinks in bars or Thai takeaway. You can easily get around spending money if you have to when you have a tiny bit of back up.
A stint of compulsory financial austerity is an interesting exercise for someone lucky like me but it must be absolutely devastating for people with no support. The current Abbott government budget has changed the waiting time for Newstart (aka the dole) to six months so there’s about to be a lot of people in this broke ass boat.
The only antidote to this diabolical policy change is community. We need to look after each other. There are plenty of examples of fiscally poor communities that maintain a reasonable standard of living through kindness and collaboration.
My flatmate and I have a running joke where we ask, ‘Is this the month we become prostitutes?’
Hopefully for all of us – students, unemployed people, the elderly and disabled – that month never comes.
Have you ever been super broke? How did you get by without bin-diving freeganism or back alley blow jobs?