I’m sure at least most of us have been broke at some point in our lives, or maybe you just feel broke. When I was in college, we were living on a college budget. I didn’t make a ton of money, even though I worked full-time.

I spent a lot of money driving to work and then to my night classes right after. He didn’t make a lot of money either, as we valued him having great benefits, which we still don’t regret as they were needed.

When I think back about our budget back then, it was extremely low, and while we made it work, we also made some mistakes.

Deciding to live on our own wasn’t a mistake though. Neither of us really had a choice, so we really had to make it work. We did enjoy ourselves though, I should say that. Living on our own has always been great, but there were so many ways in which we were extremely frugal, and there were also some things that I wish I could have changed.

1. Change your living situation

Find a cheaper place to live if you can. Do you live in a place with a ton of unneeded room? If you can break your lease without it negatively affecting you and your financial life, then do so. If you come out ahead, then it might not be a bad idea.

We lived in a very cheap place when we first moved out and were broke. We were 18 and hardly had any money. Our rent was $350 per month, and this was for our rental house that we rented from a family member. We definitely got a great deal, but it was still hard.

2. Cut out the extras

If there are things that you know you cannot afford, then cut them out! Either lower these expenses or cut them out completely. If your monthly budget is $1,500, and you only make $1,000, then you really need to start eliminating expenses. Cancel your cable/TV, your home phone, gym membership and so on.

You most likely won’t miss these services/items and can do others things to make up for them. Read a book, use a cheap cell phone plan to get around, run outside and so on. There are plenty of other alternatives.

3. Eat at home and cook from scratch

Eliminating all of the processed foods out there can greatly help cut down your food expenses. Not going to restaurants of course helps as well. What is your food budget currently? Take a look at it and see how you can lower it. Meal plans and shopping when you’re full can help greatly. Also, knowing which stores offer the best deals and values can be beneficial as well to your food budget.

We have always been bad with our food budget, and our currently majorly working on this. Evenly when we hardly had any extra spending money, we still ate out a lot.

Whenever I look back, I always think about all the money that we could have saved by eating at home instead of going to our favorite Mexican restaurant down the street every couple of days (yes, seriously every couple of days we would go there).

Have you ever felt extremely broke?

What did you do?



Michelle Schroeder is the founder of Making Sense of Cents and Diversified Finances, a personal finance and lifestyle blog about budgeting, traveling, life, and student loans. Read further on her story and life.