The beginning of my downfall happened while I was living in an exclusive Country Club Penthouse. I had the entire floor to myself including an elevator that opened to my own private lobby.
Life was carefree. However, I had a serious bad habit of spending money as fast as it was coming in. I was never taught how to save money while growing up. I was only taught how to spend. Guidance from God flowed into my mind countless times to save twenty percent of my earnings and put it aside and to stop all non-essential spending. I, of all people, didn’t listen to that inner guidance.
When times were easy, I never dreamed it would come to a sudden halt. First I slipped and fell and broke my foot. The pain was terrible and I was not able to work as usual. Then female bleeding 21 days out of every month left me so drained that I could do next to nothing – but spend.
My weaknesses were watches, hand bags, boots and jewelry. I thought I was savvy when I learned how to shop wholesale. Spending $19.99 instead of $500 on items I did not need, but had to have. My ego was running the show, certainly not the higher wisdom I was repeatedly given.
I had been to the hospital as a result of my bleeding only to return home to find an eviction notice on my door. I ran out of money completely and was evicted. Without a place to stay, my car was my only option.
I was alone and scared. I had never been in this situation before and it lasted for ten months. When some money flowed in from book royalties I was able to go to a motel and spend a few nights. Then when I had no money left to rent the motel room, I was back in my car.
One night I decided to park in the back parking lot of the motel. I felt safe there and literally slept behind the wheel. I heard a knocking on my driver side window and saw a bright flash light. It was a police officer along with the motel manager.
I opened my window and told them I had just fallen asleep. The Officer flashed his light inside my car. It was jam packed with as much of my belongings that I could fit inside. He looked at me and asked me one question. “Are you living out your car?” The deepest humiliation and degradation filled my entire being. I could not even look at him and I felt so ashamed that I could not even answer him. So he asked me again, “Are you living out your car?” I looked down consumed with shame and shook my head with a silent yes.
He was extremely kind to me when he explained that the motel did not want people to sleep in their parking lot, but I could drive somewhere else that was safe and park my car there. I said, “Okay” and then I started my car and drove off in the middle of the night to an old neighborhood I used to live in and parked my car there.
The seasons passed from winter to spring to summer. I felt sub-human, left without any trace of dignity. When the temperature in my car read 103 degrees I almost died from the heat twice. I then spoke with a gentleman who worked at a 24 hour store and told him I was homeless. He said he knew someone who had a room to rent in his house. I felt like a lit Christmas tree inside. Hope at last! The next day I went to the house and rented the room. The house was horrible, but it was far better than my car.
I was still bleeding, and then months later the doctor who delivered my children gave me a procedure that stopped the female bleeding completely. He told me, “I am not charging you one penny for this – my number one patient.” Words cannot express the gratitude and love I have for this Doctor.
I was still quite shaken up inside from my living, or rather existing experience. Anxiety and fear consumed me. Yet in the following months, I started to slowly come back to myself.
During months of reflection on the whole experience I learned a lot that I am now going to share with you.
- As money flows in, ONLY pay for your essential basic living expenses.
- Take as much of your earnings as possible and put it aside. It does not matter where you put it, either in a shoe box or a cereal box, just put it aside and NEVER touch it!
- When you go food shopping or to any store buy ONLY what you NEED. Now I literally look at every item and in my mind I think just one word, NON-ESSENTIAL. So I breeze by the isles and get only what is completely necessary and nothing else!
- Stop eating in restaurants. Stop ordering food to be delivered. Do you have a stove or a hot plate? Cook old family recopies. Chances are the ingredients are low cost as far as food prices go.
- For household items, go to a Dollar store and buy them there!
For cosmetic items buy the lowest price ones. They work and look just as great, sans the high prices.
Now, I want to share with you about fancy expensive living.
When I lived in that exclusive penthouse condo, it was not all that it’s cracked up to be. The walls were paper thin, and I heard EVERY noise the couple who owned the condo that backed by bedroom wall made.
I heard them pee! I heard their telephone ring as if it was right next to my own bed. I heard their television.
Then at 4:00 AM, every single morning, I heard the loud noise of the machines that prepared the grounds of the golf course for the residents who played golf.
At the time of this writing I rent a room from another very nice home in an entirely different area. I know my life is back on the upswing and finances will increase again. My goal is to buy a nice but humble home for cash, so I have zero mortgage.
With the home foreclosure nightmare in the United States, there are literally millions of homes that are priced as they were twenty five years ago, which translates to LOW. Never again will I pay expensive rent.
The term “minimalist living” resonates with me now because I lost all I owned in my penthouse condo. I gave away my huge library of books, and donated thousands of books to charities because they were all in storage and the fees were extremely high. So I thought to donate to those in need before the storage company auctioned off almost the entire contents of my home, which they did.
What hurt the most was seeing my children’s toys being loaded onto the truck that was owned by the couple who paid at auction. However, my children were away in college, so that eased the blow. Storage companies are inhumane! My God, the least they can do is allow children’s items to remain. But they don’t give a damn about anything except money.
Although I lost nearly everything materially, I gained so much. What did I gain? I gained freedom from feeling the need to buy material things and acquiring possessions for no reason.
Life is much simpler now. With simplicity comes ease. No financial burden. I gained a higher perspective on spending with new wisdom that I will only spend on what is essential.
I have not used a credit card in twenty two years, so I have zero credit debt. I highly suggest if you have credit cards to cut them up and consolidate any debt while you learn how to live below the financial means you have.
I had to share this experience with you because I felt like it was a dark degrading secret I have been holding inside. I needed to let it out and I pray that it helped you in any way.
There are still positive rippling effects of my experience that I implemented to serve and help humanity. I lowered the prices of everything on my website, all book, live recorded seminars, and love offering buttons for live seminars for people who cannot afford the regular registration tuition.
It feels GOOD to care about humanity and do all I can to help to ease the financial burden for anyone who needs it.
My feelings of shame, humiliation and degradation are behind me. I feel much more humble – and this is a good thing. My life’s mission will continue as a soul who is one with humanity for humanity. This is what is most important in my life’s work and it does bring the greatest joy.
I wish YOU every joy life can offer. I am here to serve and help you. This is what ignites my heart and I hope what I have shared ignites something positive in yours.
© Copyright 2013, 2019 by Barbara Rose, PhD All Rights Reserved. Based on the book The Rush to Spend: How to Save Yourself Before Your Ego Destroys Your Life.