A spectacularly middle-class kind of broke.


“Some people are money-poor and time-rich. Some people are time-poor and money-rich. Some are rich in both. Some are poor in both” – The Statistician, in the pub, the other day.

I am broke. Broooooke. Super-trendy-recessionista-broke. Paying the bills for the next couple of months is gonna be tight. I am forced to learn to budget with an iron fist, and I don’t like it one bit.

At the same time, my quality of life has gone through the roof.

I may be broke, you see, but I’m simultaneously privileged up the wazoo in so many little ways that make this possible.

Let’s start with time. I have a job four days a week. This, once I start getting paid for it, will give me just about enough money to pay the bills and have nice things every so often as long as I’m careful. I also have a bicycle. I can get to and from work for free and in a reasonable amount of time. I have three days off every week.

I live in a city where I have easy access on that bike to fresh, tasty produce. As long as I keep it seasonal, it’s also incredibly cheap. I have tupperware and a (small) freezer. I have access to the internet, and I’ve had access to this kind of fresh food all my life, so I know how to make it delicious. I can spend a tiny amount of money and eat very, very well.

I used to have more money than I do now, so I have things. I have my laptop. I have a couple of nice cameras. I have a giant pile of yarn, an e-reader, a ukulele. I have stuff. It may not be incredibly new stuff, but it’s the kind of stuff that I can have fun with.

My job may not be in my field, but I was able to get it. I was probably able to get it so easily because I was able to go to college, and because I look and act like the middle-class arts grad I am.

If push came to shove and I wasn’t able to pay my rent, I have a stack of family and friends who have enough resources that I know I could call on them to help me out if I needed. I know that I could get that help from somewhere, if I needed it. I have no need to fear being homeless or destitute. I sleep well.

Being broke sucks. However I’ve gotta say that this spectacularly middle-class, urban kind of broke-ness? This kind of broke-ness that means I’ve gotta be careful with money and I only have an old Xbox to play video games on? As broke-ness goes, it’s pretty fuckin’ sweet.

7 thoughts on “A spectacularly middle-class kind of broke.

  1. And if you have a laptop and internet access then that means you can also play dwarf fortress and browse reddit. However together these will make you very time poor.

  2. Exactly how I feel (though I’m not nearly as time-rich as you!)–and exactly what I need to keep in mind. I get so, so worried about money sometimes, but it would take some Huge, Catastrophic life changes before I had to worry about being homeless or destitute. We are so incredibly lucky.

  3. Precisely how I feel as well! Having just broken up with my bf (whom I was living with) I’ve had to move home for the next couple of months, until I finish my studies, but really, I’m still incredibly privileged and fortunate.

  4. Yup.. I’m a single parent of two, but I’m employed full-time at what is probably the only company in my town that is growing. My house is tiny and all my furniture is at least 15 years old or more, and yes, occasionally we have to survive on chicken hot dogs and kraft dinner for a day or two while i wait to get paid, but I can be glad that I know where and when that next paycheck is coming. My bills are consistently late, but still getting paid, nonetheless.

    It’s kind of nice to be this poor.

  5. Pingback: Broken screens, the lotto and how exhausting it can be to be broke. | Consider the Tea Cosy

  6. Pingback: Broken screens, the lotto and how exhausting it can be to be broke.

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