Rock Bottom Finances: A Blessing in Disguise?

When you’ve hit rock bottom and are absolutely certain your financial situation can’t get any worse, what should you do next? Today I’m chatting about five lessons, blessings you might call them, that we learned from our rock bottom finances. So, if that’s the type of encouragement you need to stay the course, well then, you’re in the right place. Let’s get started.

So You’ve Hit Rock Bottom, Now What?

Well hey there and welcome to this episode of the Financial Fix Up Podcast. I’m your host, Sarah Brumley, and I’m really happy you’re here with me today. Now, I don’t know about you, but as a young adult, I really believed that having more money would solve my problems. Not only would I be able to pay for all of the things I wanted and needed, but I’d be able to help others, and people would look at me with interest because, after all, I had a lot of money.

And yet, more money wasn’t in the sights for us during those early years and, I have to say that, despite the frustration of having debt and making our way back from rock bottom, I’m thankful for the lessons I’ve learned along the way. And I’ve actually come to believe that that season of hitting rock bottom with our finances was actually a blessing in disguise.

Now, I know that it’s not always easy to see the blessings, especially if you are in a dark period of life at the moment. If that’s you, I just want to remind you that, while the challenges you are facing right now might seem unbearable, the lessons that you learn as you go through them might just be priceless in the long term. So many situations we’ve been forced through over the years, including medical, family, and financial, have proven to be incredibly fruitful in later years.

So, knowing that you yourself might be sitting at or close to rock bottom, I wanted to take some time today to share a five of the blessings we experienced with hope that they will encourage you to keep moving forward.

So, without further ado, let’s get right to them.

Blessing #1: Understanding Wants vs. Needs

The first lesson I’m thankful for from our time as completely broke, just out of college young adults is understanding the difference between wants and needs. The truth is that when you don’t have any extra money above and beyond the essentials, one of the natural perks is that you don’t have to worry about spending that money on things you don’t actually need. In fact, it’s more likely that you will rationalize each and every purchase to determine whether it’s necessary or whether you can leave it behind.

As our income has increased, this idea of more carefully considering needs versus wants, has also helped prevent lifestyle creep, or the idea that because we have more money means we need to spend more money or live a grander lifestyle.

Has our lifestyle grown to some degree with the increase in our income? You bet. We’ve purchased a home, bought a new car, and have actually gone on vacation. And yet…with that growth has also come a proportionate growth in our giving, debt payoff, savings, and planning for retirement.

None of that would have been possible if we hadn’t become really clear on the difference between our wants and our needs.

Blessing #2: Little Waste

And that brings us to blessing number 2 which, thanks to our early years of no money, is that of a waste free lifestyle. To the best of our ability, we go out of our way to make sure the things we have in our home are used for their intended purpose and that, when they are no longer useful, are passed off to someone else.

When it comes to food, we make a huge effort to prevent leftovers from going to waste by eating them until they are gone or freezing them for a meal in the future. This “thrifty” perspective has saved us hundreds of dollars just this year alone.

I’m going to say that if we’d started out with a lot of money in our early years, this would have been a lesson we might never have grasped. Instead, we get the opportunity to carefully allocate our funds to groceries, but then use the money in such a way that doesn’t result in overspending or wasting the products that we’ve purchased.

Blessing #3: Opportunity to Teach

The third blessing we’ve experienced is the opportunity to teach our kids using examples from our own lives. Obviously, we learned all things “financial” the hard way. But they don’t have to.

Not only do they get to see how the pattern of debt can be broken, but they will graduate from high school with practical skills including how to manage a grocery budget from start to finish, keep track of their monthly and yearly expenses, and navigate their own wants and needs.

Sure, they might not always make smart choices, but it is such a blessing to know that they will have a good foundation to fall back on if they ever need it.

If money situations had come naturally to us in those early years, there wouldn’t be nearly as much emphasis or excitement on our part to share our knowledge and (hopefully) prevent our kids and others from making the same mistakes we did.

Blessing #4: Value What We Have

Another blessings that’s found its way into our lives is the fact that we value what we have. Due to the fact that we don’t make purchases lightly, especially big ones, we take great care to make sure the things we have remain in good shape.

While we might have spent a little more to have a new car, we make sure that it gets oil changes and routine maintenance on the recommended schedule. We spend a little extra to have our home kept free from pests (especially carpenter ants) and to ensure that our plumbing and electrical units are checked yearly. Not only does this save us expense in the long-term, but it allows us to plan ahead for the expenses that might arise.

When it comes to clothing and furniture, we purchase quality items when we can and do our best to use them only as they were created to be used. For example, a chair isn’t meant to be climbed all over, but rather to be sat in. A blanket isn’t meant to be dragged around the house as a cape, but to be slept with.

By taking care of the things we have, we save a lot of money in the long term and have less desire to purchase newer items just for the sake of having them.

Blessing #5: What Really Matters

The final blessing we found (although I’m sure there were many more) came in the form of knowing what really matters. Thanks to the phase of having no additional income and loads of bills piling up, Justin and I learned quickly that what really mattered above and beyond the stuff we could accumulate or the foods we could eat, was the time spent together.

We allowed ourselves to dream big about the future, but in the meantime, found contentment in spending time together doing things that didn’t cost a lot of money. Not only did that time strengthen our relationship and our friendships with those around us, but it also gave us a place to springboard from when our income increased.

To this day, those dreams we came up with are still our dreams. Through careful planning, some of them have come to fruition, while others are still in the works for the future. The truth is that the journey to get there hasn’t been easy at all times, but it’s been completely worth it and I wouldn’t trade a moment of those years because, without them, we would not be the people we are today and we would not have the same appreciation for what really matters.

Rock Bottom Finances – Now What?

So there you have it. Five blessings that we found as we navigated our way out of our rock bottom finances. Even if you too, find yourself at rock bottom, your story is likely much different than mine. You’re likely starting from a different place financially than we did AND you may even have different goals. But what I want to do here is to encourage you to take a closer look. Because while it might feel horribly uncomfortable at this minute, my guess is that you’ll start to see the blessings that you wouldn’t have had if you didn’t have a financial situation to dig yourself out from under.

And, if you are just starting out on your financial journey and can’t quite see the light at the end of whatever tunnel you dug yourself into, then I want to gift you my Monthly Family Budget template to help you get on the right track. You can grab your FREE copy by heading to or follow the link in the show notes.

Whatever you decide, just know that I’m cheering you on! You’ve got this! Have an amazing day and I’ll chat with you again next time.