Back to October 2009 Newsletter

 Home Page

The Secret Garden Letters

October 2009


What To Do Right Now If You're Broke And In Need

© Copyright 2007 - 2009, Lisa Tyler


Follow These Steps  

1. Make a serious assessment of the situation  

When Iím in trouble, I have a bad habit of misplacing my bills and keeping my head effectively buried in the ďsandĒ of everyday activity. Instead, what I need to be doing is figuring EXACTLY what bills I have, what their due dates are and when my next money is coming available. 

List all the possible sources of income or loans, or things that could be sold, pawned or traded.  Keep these lists of assets and obligations in a 3-ring notebook or somewhere that is easy to remember and get to quickly. Remember, out of sight, out of mind.  

2. Find things that can be cut or put on hold  

Next weed out the ďHave To PaysĒ and the ďCould WaitsĒ, and make phone calls on any bills that might let you slide until next pay period. Those might be your utility companies, your mortgage (pay just the interest for a month or two) or your loan companies.   

There are companies who call your creditors for you and arrange lower monthly payments.  See if you're eligible.  Most of the time if you just stay in touch with your loan companies and try to keep your promises, they'll work with you.  There may be government programs now to help you pay mortgages, since everyone is in bad shape in that area.

You'll be surprised at how things you'd normally have to have, become a delicious luxury when you're faced with a rock bottom crisis.  Is there any way you can prepare your home to manage for short times without electricity, in case it gets shut off?  Remember that it's only been a relatively short time that your electric company has been in existence, and our ancestors lived just fine.  Today there are inventions that can put light and heat in your home that don't cost money to keep going.  Check out websites on how third world countries are bringing lights and cooking ability to their homes, even huts or yurts.

For the immediate need, though, call around to friends and family, and find room in their freezers for your food so it won't spoil.  Of course we hope that won't happen, but be mentally prepared and have your plans made just in case.

If you have to leave your home until you can get the lights back on, make sure to provide for the animal's care, or you can get in big trouble for leaving them behind or unfed. 

3. How to call for help (organizations and people to help)  

There are actually groups in most every town who handle indigent expenses and food vouchers.  Sometimes itís through church offices; sometimes thereíll be someone who works in the police station or dispatch office, who would handle these kinds of emergencies. They are usually people affiliated with civic organizations, such as the Lions or the Rotary Club.    Don't forget to ask at family and children's services, or whatever your area calls the office where you apply for medicaid and food stamps.  (They may also be able to direct you to someone who gives assistance with light bills etc.) 

Hereís a partial list of places to try, call them and ask for information about getting help buying food or paying a bill until your next money comes in.  

The chamber of commerce, the Rotary Club, Downtown Businessmanís Association, Lions, Woodmen of the World, Eagles, Moose, YMCA, Food Banks, Churches, Ministerial Association, etc.  Call local churches and offer to help around the church in exchange for some food or aid.

If you have to beg, offer to work in exchange for whatever you're asking for.  Churches really like it if you provide them with complete information on your family and need, while being willing to trade your services for their help.  There are many "real" churches that will help you without taking anything, but your offer to work says that you're really in need and not making a living out of freeloading.  

4. Take care of things by priority  

See if you can stop the outflow of money and use all your resources. You may find ways to increase your income without sacrificing too much safety or quality of life for your children, but most likely your best tactic will be to stop the outflow of money. 

It is easy for women to think they have to get an extra job, or get out there in the workplace at all, because itís possible to get some menial job quickly, but that may hurt you more than help youThere are times that earning just a little cancels out a larger program of help from the government, such as being eligible for medicaid or taking away foodstamps.  Make sure that what you're doing is really going to improve the situation.  

It also costs a great deal to clothe yourself for the workplace, arrange transportation and childcare. You may also spend more on foods and entertainment because you're not there with your family and taking care of immediate needs all day.  

The point is, take life one-step at a time, by the priorities you have. If you have children to take care of, see if you canít make extra money at home or while theyíre asleep. Or maybe your husband just needs more motivation to do better.  

Donít laugh, a good percentage of men today depend on women to support THEM, and they add to the burdens that a woman faces. If you have one of these situations, I hope youíll have the courage to make corrections, whether that means he has to leave, or he has to work and do his share. That doesnít mean his share for HIM. That means, his share of the total household, which is half.  

5. Finding something you can sell or a service to do to create an income  

You can do a search for ways to earn money, and there are work at home projects listed on my sites here:  

There are companies you can become involved with for sales that might help.  Find some ideas for making money online here:  

You can go over your list of assets and sell off an old car, or some sports equipment, or even extra jewelry.  

One word of warning, donít fall prey to the ads all around us, to work from home by assembling products for a company by mail. All that Iíve ever seen charged a fee up front.  

Once a nephew of mine paid the fee, bought the saws to make the product, and made beautiful wood products, but when he sent them in, they were always rejected for some vague reason. He never made any money, went into the hole and pawned his equipment.  

The same goes for the stuffing envelopes scam. The only legitimate envelope stuffing work is where you run a direct mail sales business and you produce and print the brochures. You generate the business, you make the sale with the clients and you reap the rewards.  

In years past, women washed and ironed clothes in the neighborhood, or helped do spring cleaning.  Now we also wash cars, run Momís taxi services and create kitchen table businesses.  Only you know which idea will work for you.

6. Get out from under the depression cloud so you can take action  

You probably donít need as much medication as you need something positive to DO about your situation.  This kind of depression is always alleviated by ACTION.  Inactivity is your greatest enemy. Make some kind of decision, even if you decide to change it tomorrow.   

The typical financial problem grinds a house to a standstill and the children suffer from guilt and depression right along with the parents. They also suffer abuse from parents who canít properly channel their anxiety resulting in one or both parents taking it out on each other or the children.  

Exercise is a very cheap tranquilizer. Use it. Get the kids outside, and go for walks with them.  Work twice as hard with the chores around home, at appropriate times, and fall into bed naturally tired from work. Donít give your mind time to worry.  

7. Put your problems, needs and guilt into the hands of the Lord  

Get out your Bible and begin to read. Youíll find that people from the beginning of time have suffered from the same things youíre going through, and they always made it through.  Youíll find words of encouragement directly from God, and as you read and pray, your burdens will be lifted.  

Sometimes supernatural acts occur. One day my mother was in need of a little money for food, and as she was praying a man knocked on her door. It was a stranger, giving her a cross and a small donation, who told her that God had sent him.  

Throughout my life, Iíve had the experience that as soon as I was able to turn the problem over to Him, and get my hands off of a problem, that God worked the solution in a way I never would have expected.

Don't scoff at this section if you're not a believer.  You don't have to be a Christian or any particular religion to know that there is a higher power, and your attitude on life determines where you get with it.  It's very hard to separate ideas on spirit and attitude from God, so you'll have to fill in your own brand of understanding in this section.  I do not apologize for my faith, because God proved Himself to me in person, and has been a constant companion to me with real help and rescues.  I hope you find such a great relationship with Him, but I accept whatever choice you make.  

8. Look for the easiest/cheapest way to go at the moment  

There are still ways you can cut corners and put other desires and activities on hold until the squeeze lifts.  

I'm sure people have told you things like making tea instead of buying soft drinks, but only you know where your cuts can and should be made.  The important thing is to use your intelligence and don't fall into a trap of depression and inactivity.  This situation WILL pass and things will be better soon.  Think of it as a game, or a contest of your survivability.  Make it fun if you can.

Are you going through this at a holiday time, or when you'd normally be buying gifts and rewards?  This would be the perfect time to begin making life "REAL".  Put Jesus back in Christmas and celebrate in ways that "make sense" not "take cents". 

9. Make short and long-term plans  

You should have goal sheets made up for short term and long term. Yes, you might plan to be a psychiatrist in 6 years with a thriving business on the west coast, but today you need to know what steps to take to get you one day closer to that dream. So divide up your goals and plans into bite sized, one day at a time chunks and then tackle them in order.

10. Keep site of your goal and your purpose  

If youíve forgotten what the focus is, remind yourself fresh. Keep the vision in your mind of where youíre going, so when the days are hard and your spirits dip low, you can cheer yourself by seeing how far youíve come already and know exactly what is left ahead to tackle.

Keep an optimistic attitude.  Be thankful for what you DO have today, so you can actually achieve some progress. 

11. Bible verses that bring power, meditation techniques to see results  

Go to and print some of these verses out. They are Bible verses worded as affirmations, which means you speak them out loud to yourself as often through the day as you can remember, and they become a part of your belief system.  

They will transform you from a frightened child into a trusting Child of God. Your world will start opening up and the blessings will be poured down on your head like rain.  

We used these verses to fight throat cancer, and my husband is still here today to testify that God can (and DID) take a T3 tumor and make it disappear in 3 weeks.  

12. How to handle your family, both inside and outside of your home  

Your children want you to buy things, your husband is pouting and making life miserable because he canít go buy what he wants, and your in laws are pointing an invisible finger at you as if everything thatís gone wrong on earth is your fault. Sound familiar?  

If you're being harassed at home, here is the truth. Houses, financial paths and marriages take two people to perform. You may be 50% of the problem, but youíre certainly NOT 100% of the problem. If you were, hubby would have gotten up and gone to work or the bank or wherever he would need to go, to rearrange his life to make it all work, and told you goodbye.  

He didnít do that did he? He just yelled and accused, and pouted like a child, right?  (Women do this as well, I don't mean to be sexist.)

Sit them all down individually or together and show them the situation. Let everyone know what is happening and what the solutions are. Let everyone know that THEY will have to play a part in the solution for it to work, and if they want things to get better they will have to cooperate.  That means hubby works every chance he gets. Children do chores and look for odd jobs in the neighborhood, with your approval. No one gets to fuss and complain about money and no one gets to sit on his or her duff and let you handle it all.  

If they wonít cooperate, remember where the door is, my friend, and walk right out of it. Even if you only begin walking down the street, and come back later, sometimes a scare like that will get everyone working together.  

13. Dozens of ways to make money, you choose  

Again, from above, start here:  

14. Getting your will and legal info in order  

This is the perfect time to tie up loose ends, make that will youíve been putting off, (even if it has to be handwritten, but make sure it has 3 witnesses to the signing, in front of a notary.)  

Take care of your bank and credit cards, the records keeping and even your own health. Do whatever you can while youíre waiting.  

15. No failures or losses, only fluid changes  

Life isnít about failing and succeeding. Itís about living each day as it comes, making the best plans but being flexible enough to roll with the punches. So when it seems like you didnít accomplish your expressed goals today, relax. 

There are millions of people worse than you are who are lazier, more crooked, fatter, less attractive, etc. And of course, there are people poorer than you are. Just be thankful to God for all that you have, and take time to notice each thing.  

In fact, spend some of your time now, praying for others, hearing about their problems and your own will seem less severe.  While you're busy thinking of others, your own problems will work themselves out. 

16. You must not lie. Lies destroy, truth builds  

This is a very simple principle, but so true. Avoid telling lies at all costs. Be honest, humble and up front. Ask for help, ask for advice. Donít seem to be a smart aleck. Donít pad the truth to make yourself sound better.  

17. Centering on your own family, focus and rebuild  

Instead of going off in all directions, or placing blame, or even planning a huge remodel of your house when you have time, donít overlook the children who are really the heart of your home.  Do for them, take time for your family, and time to rest. 

Bad times can be turned around to be good time for taking care of things youíre usually too busy to get done. They can also be learning and growth times. We donít have to think of ďbrokeĒ financially as anything more than temporary circumstances. Itís all in your attitude.  

You may be able to schedule a weekly visit to your home by the book mobile of your local library.  What a treat!  Play with your children and make a ďfortĒ with a blanket over a table or some chairs.  Help them have a mini picnic in your living room, or create your familyís first ďOlympicĒ games with sofa cushions, or outside yard races.   

18. Web sites to glean information from  

Here are some web sites that you should look over for frugal inspiration. You can find how-to items by category, coupons, support etc. You may decide to start a new business from something you learn here, or change significantly some of the products you normally buy.  

Many things you spend money on can be eliminated by simple changes in lifestyle that will make you healthier and save money. (Such as by using the Masterís Miracle soap in place of all your detergents, shampoos, toothpaste and cleansers.)  

(Note:  The Masterís Miracle product is no longer the original formula, so you need to look for ďMiracle IIĒ which is the original, wonderful, healing product.)  

Here are some sites that sell it.  (appears to be cheaper?)  

Money Saving Tips, great information:  

19. Finding a family coach to help you through the bad times

Turn to a trusted older relative who has survived bad times, or who is very good handling money. Make friends with an accountant, they have great information to help us and are usually very humble people.  

The year after my husband died, I went to H&R block as usual to get my taxes done, and was told I needed to pay $16,000 in taxes, on the life insurance money I had received. They also charged me $98 to figure the taxes.  

I refused their advice and took my W-2's to an accountant, who charged me $45 to do both state and federal returns, and told me that I didnít have to pay taxes on life insurance policies that we had bought.  I saved much more than the preparation fee in that deal, and made a good, knowledgeable friend.  

There are people in your town who help others for philanthropic reasons, without charging.  Locate them through your ministerial association, or businessmanís association. They might be teachers at a college, or even a commissioner on your local council. Make sure you pick people you can trust, who have set good examples and who records show are doing a good job with their OWN finances.  

20. Then when things are better, keep on the right path  

When the next money comes in and things seem to be getting better, donít get into a comfort zone yet!  

Life is like a roller coaster ride, and there are constant ups and downs. Life is like the weather; another new storm is on its way across the country as YOUR weather has just turned sunny.  

Stick to your frugal lifestyle, keep on saving those pennies and put them back for the next calamity. I guarantee you itís coming, and if you save now, youíll be prepared for later.  

You should try to have a month or twoís wages put back to live on in case a job is lost, and enough food in your cabinets to last you half a month. Of course if you can do better, save up 6 monthís wages and a whole monthís food supply, but for most people just recovering from a crisis, this will seem impossible.  

We all have a tendency to spend what we have and believe tomorrow will bring what it needs, and usually it does. But life would be so much more pleasant if we were prepared just a little bit for the things weíll face tomorrow.  

Those things include: nursing home care for the elderly, medicines not covered on Medicare, or house repairs that must be done to stay warm or cool, or keep your house from deteriorating.  

For more ways to prepare for the future, get free things flowing into your home and get a handle on the holidays, read ďHoliday Magic - Free Gifts All Year LongĒ.  Available here:

Copyright 2007 - 2009 Lisa Tyler

 Secret Garden Letters Archives

Home Page   Stories    Artwork   Money   Health   Relationships

© 2000-2009 Lisa Tyler

Some artwork and written material © 1980