7 Things To Do When You're Broke

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If you’re broke. . .have no money. . .barely making ends meet or feel like you’re never getting ahead this teaching is for you.

Are you so broke that when you go to Burger King. . .you can’t even order the food your way.

Are you so broke. . .no thief wants to steal your identity.

Are you so broke. . .you spend more time praying in front of the ATM than you do church?

Are you so broke. . .that you’ve robbed Peter to pay Paul and now you’re hitting James and Andrew.

Just a little humor. . .to begin this teaching.

Before going any further. . .let’s define the wordbroke which according to dictionary.com it means:  “without money, penniless.”

Remember it’s not where you’re at. . .it’s where you’re going and that’s why I felt led to write seven things to do when you’re broke.

1.         Look for help in the right place

When you’re so broke you can’t pick up all the pieces. . .how do you turn to?

Matthew 11:28 in the Amplified Bible says:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened “, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]”

The scripture says that we are to come to Him. . .not go to the mall, our BFF (best friend forever) or some temporary diversion that makes us 'feel' better for a moment which will  only makes matters worse.

Doesn’t it just make good sense to spend time with the One who can solve ALL of your problems. . .not a few. . .not some. . .but ALL of YOUR PROBLEMS. . .financial or otherwise.

Who should come to Him. . .ALL who labor.  The Greek word for labor is Strong's G2872 – kopiaō and it means “weary, tired and exhausted.”

Worrying about money can definitely leave you “weary, tired and exhausted.”

That seems to be the definite pattern for folks whose money runs out before the month does. . .or those who’ve been laid off. . .or those who feel they’re so broke they can’t even pay attention.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened. . .”

If you’re behind on your mortgage or any other payments. . .that is definitely a load on your back and a burden you can’t carry by yourself.

“. . .I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]”

Buying something you can’t afford. . .with money you don’t have . . . won’t “ease, relieve or refresh your soul” . . . but He will.

Resorting to worldly relief philosophies won’t refresh your soul” . . . but He will.

He will give you rest which is the Greek word anapauō (Strong's G373) and it means:

“. . .to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labour in order to recover and collect his strength. . .to keep quiet, of calm and patient expectation.”

As I was reading this verse, the Lord said to me:

“Tell those who have an ear to hear that the children of Israel were in the wilderness because of the choices they made. . .but I did not leave them there.  I brought them out and took them into the land of more than enough.  Tell my children to focus on me.  Bring me their troubles.  Trust in me.  Patiently expect and anticipate their financial deliverance which is coming from me and not the world.”

Child of God, if you’re looking for solutions to your money problems. . .look in the right place. . .to the only One who can deliver you from every financial 911 you’re facing.

2.         Stop playing the blame game

The most dangerous game a person can play. . .is the blame game. . .where nobody wins. . .everybody loses. . .and you never solve the problem.

I want everyone to hear what I’m about to say.

The fact that you’re broke. . .unsuccessful or don’t know which way to turn.  Well. . .

It’s not your Momma’s fault.

It’s not your Daddy’s fault.

It’s not your school teacher's fault.

It’s not your employer’s fault.

It’s not your spouse’s fault.

“If you hadn’t bought that new truck. . .we wouldn’t be in this mess.”

“If you hadn’t gone overboard in buying Christmas gifts for every single member of your family . . .we’d be able to pay off this credit card.”

“I told you we couldn’t afford this . . .but no, you didn’t listen.”

“Won’t you ever learn . . .buying the kids everything they want will not buy you their love.”

“If you’d gotten that raise . . .if you’d put in for the promotion like I told you . . . we wouldn’t be having this problem right now.”

It’s not my fault . . .it’s yours.


Even if it is somebody else’s fault. . .GET OVER IT.

Proverbs 17:9 in the New International Version says:

“He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.”

If we let go of another’s mistakes. . .errors in judgments. . .faults or whatever you call it. . .you’ve done a scriptural. . .even godly thing.

I’m not saying the problem shouldn’t be discussed . . .but I am saying that harping on them. . .will separate friends and loved ones.  In fact, it will diminish the wisdom and effectiveness you may have in the person’s life.

Proverbs 17:9 in the Contemporary English Version says:

“You will keep your friends if you forgive them, but you will lose your friends if you keep talking about what they did wrong.”

3.         Figure out why you don’t have any money

Growing up in LaGrange, North Carolina, in a town of about 2,000 people, my parents owned a successful small business for 54 years.

My Dad didn’t graduate from high school but is respected in our community as an honest, decent and hard-working man.

I will always remember the conversation he had with an older gentleman who also owned a small business there. One day, the gentleman stopped by our store and asked my father to examine his financial records. He said he was having a problem with his business.

Out of a crumpled brown paper bag, he pulled an old ledger. As he opened it, my Dad noticed the words: “Tuck In” written on the upper corner of each left-hand page. The words “Tuck Out” were written on the upper corner of each right-hand page.

As my father tells the story, the old gentleman said, “Brother Harold, I think my problem is that I have ‘tuck out’ more than I have ‘tuck in’.”

Almost everyone who lives in financial bondage got there because they “tuck out” more than they “tuck in.”

In our effort to figure out why you don’t’ have any money. . .let me ask you several questions.

Are you spending more money that what you’ve got?

Are you living today off money you expect to receive tomorrow?

Are you spending money you don’t have to compensate for stress in some other area of your life. . .such as a hurting marriage, troubled or chronically-ill children or a difficult work situation?

Are you a victim of Parkinson’s Law?  Parkinson’s Law says that expenses will always rise to meet income.

For instance, when we first moved to Texas. . .money was tight.

When we’d went out to eat. . .we’d go to Pancho’s Restaurant which at the time had a $3.99 buffet and I believe kids were $1.99.  When you want more to eat. . .you just raise the flag.

As our income grew we moved from Pancho’s to Golden Corral or Ryan’s, also a buffet which at the time was $7.99 per person.

As our income continued to raise. . we started eating at Pappadeaux’s and Abuelo’s.

We went from driving used cars. . .to new cars we leased every three years.

Income went up and so did expenses. 

But often if salary diminishes for one reason or another, we don’t want to let go of the lifestyle we once had.

We keep thinking, “things will change; things will get better” so you put that new dress or new golf club on the credit card even though it’s ‘iffy’ that you can pay it off like you used to.

Did that happen to you?

Just a couple of more questions.

Were you laid off?  If so, why?  Was it something you did or didn’t do?  Was it something you didn’t know how to do?  Do you need a different skill set?

4.         Start doing something. . .regardless of what it is.

Every moment you spent talking about how broke you are. . .is a moment you’re not doing something positive to change your economic environment.

I love the music of Ray Charles. . .but I can tell you that you’ll never hear me singing his song “I’m busted.”

You can be broke, busted. . .but never get disgusted because as long as you have the Word of God, you can find a way out.

Not only that. . .we’ve got the mind of Christ to come up with creative ways to prime the blessing pump.

Here’s a list of 35 ways to increase your income or get seed to sow.

•           Wait tables on weekends

•           Volunteer to work overtime on the job

•           Pick up a paper route

•           Get a job at a fast food joint

•           Turn your hobbies into a job

•           Learn to make jewelry and sell it at local fairs

•           Put up and take down other people’s Christmas lights

•           Teach cooking classes

•           Do freelance work in your vocation

•           Sale “stuff” on eBay and yard sales

•           Referee for sporting events

•           Start a lawn-care business

•           Teach piano lessons

•           Babysit

•           Help coach a local sporting team

•           House-sit

•           Clean houses or office buildings

•           Refurbish furniture and sell it to consignment stores

•           Do Handy-Work for others

•           Makes meals for sale

•           Teach private swim lessons

•           Sell homemade rolls or treats around the holidays

•           Repair cars

•           Sell gift baskets

•           Breed animals for sale

•           Grow plants to sell

•           Become a dog walker

•           Become certified to teach aerobics, water aerobics, Zumba, pilates or yoga

•           Teach language lessons

•           If you are good at photography, start a small business

•           Look into credible multilevel marketing opportunities

•           Deliver phone books or door ads

•           Become a sales person in-home

•           Check the local want ads to determine if they are market/research projects looking for part-time help

Ask God. . .what He would suggest you do.  Think beyond your imagination.

5.         Determine what you can live without

Have you ever tracked your money to see where it’s going?

Our youngest son, Jamie recently starting tracking his money and he was surprised where it was going.  If you aren’t keeping up with your money, it will find places to go and you will end up short.

For over 20 years, I’ve taught people to get a spiral-ring notebook and for the next 31 days track where you’re spending every single penny of your money.

However, technology has made things easier. . .if you have an iPhone download the free app “Easy Spending Expense Tracker.”  If you have an Android phone. . .download the free app “Expense Tracker.”

Assign a category to each entry, such as, eating out.  If you’re married, both spouses should be a part of this process.  You know where the big money is going but you will be amazed at where the small money goes.

Once you do your “expense tracking”. . .you can determine where to stop or reduce the amount of money you’re spending.

Until. . .you get on your feet financially. . .here are several suggestions for you.

Cable TV. . .gone

Eating out. . .gone

Newspaper and magazine subscriptions. . .gone

Generic brands. . .in

Macy’s. . .even WalMart. . .off-limits

Dollar General only with a list.

Generic brands. . .in

Ask yourself. . .what you can sell, swap, trade, rent, down-size or do without.

Here’s your new shopping philosophy.

Proverbs 4:25-26 in The Living Bible says:

Look straight ahead; don’t even turn your head to look. Watch your step. Stick to the path and be safe.

The Message Bible says Proverbs 4:25 this way:

Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions.”

6.         If you’re in a hole stop digging.

Mark Twain was both humorous and wise when he said:  “If you’re in a hole, stop digging.”

Proverbs 21:20 in The Living Bible says:

“The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.”

Why do so many good people . . . born-again Christian people . . . have trouble controlling their spending?

Compulsive spending isa common substitute for temporary happiness.  Due to pressures at home (generally, financial in nature) or conflicts on the job . . . many people spend money as a diversion to make them feel better.  But make no mistake . . . spending money you don’t have may bring you a momentary high but watch out for the financial hangover . . . some of those can last for years.

Spending money you don’t have will not ease the pain of loneliness and rejection. . .only trusting in God and His Word can bring the changes necessary for that kind of peace and well-being.

Still others spend money because they put themselves in the way of temptation.

There are people who say they just enjoy walking the mall and window shopping. If you have a problem or challenge not spending money when you go window shopping, then my advice to you is simple. . .STAY HOME.

I feel prompted to also warn folks about shopping at home.  Make a definite commitment to immediately take those unsolicited catalogues straight from your mailbox to the recycle bin.  Don’t use the shopping channels for entertainment and unsubscribe to email solicitations from merchandisers.

Don’t give any place to addictions.  Even addicts know they must never put themselves in a place of temptation.

Do you think it’s wise for an alcoholic to visit a bar?

Is it smart for a drug addict to stop by to say hello to drug carrying friends?

The scripture says AVOID temptation.

Jesus was continually warning His disciples about temptation.

Mark 14:38 in the New Revised Standard Bible says:

“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Luke 22:39 in the Message Bible says:

"Pray that you don't give in to temptation."

Matthew 6:13 says:  “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

The enemy of your soul is a master a dangling seductive bait hoping that you’ll take a bite and get hooked.  Don’t be foolish and give him the satisfaction of making you look stupid.

But God has given us a guaranteed remedy to use every time.  It’s found in 1 Corinthians 10:13

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

7.         The one thing that guarantees a return.

What do you do if you’re broke. . .out of money and going through tough times?

Let’s see what the Word says you should do.

In Genesis 26:1. . .we learn there is a famine in the land.  The next few verses reveal how everyone is heading out of town going to Egypt.  Isaac was going too. . .BUT GOD said STAY. . .and he did.

There’s a powerful revelation in Genesis 26:12 as to what Isaac did in the midst of the famine.  The verse says:

“Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him.”              

When Isaac sowed in hard times. . .he received a hundredfold return AND the Lord blessed him.

The devil will use fear and doubt to keep you from doing the one thing that can turnaround your finances.

The devil will try to convince you. . .that you don’t have the money to give because times are tough. 

Kingdom giving is the one and only thing that offers you a guaranteed return that will never fail.

Ecclesiastes 11:1 in the Message Bible says:

“Be generous: Invest in acts of charity. Charity yields high returns.”

Psalm 126:5-6 says:

”They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.  He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”                                   

The Message Bible 5-6 says:

“. . . So those who planted their crops in despair will shout hurrahs at the harvest,  So those who went off with heavy hearts will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.”

Did you see that …  “armloads of blessings.”

What’s the first thing you should do. . .when you’re broke. . .SOW.

Keep listening and I’ll explain why and how you can sow even when you don’t think you have any money.

Pastor Doc Murphy from Longview, TX told me that when and his wife came to the area to start a church they only had .28 cents in their checking account.  Doc said they prayed and asked God what to do with it. . .He said sow it into the Debt Free Army.

Within three days someone had unexpectedly given their ministry $1,000.

When you're broke. . .do whatever is necessary to get seed to sow.