Many of us have been in situations where the money was tight, and we took extreme steps to get by. When A user asked on the forum, “What’s the most broke thing you’ve ever done,” people came up with unique replies.
Here are some of them.
I BOUGHT SCRATCH TICKETS, HOPING TO WIN MONEY
“Brokest and stupidest thing I did. I bought scratch tickets hoping to win money to buy Christmas presents when I was 18. I didn’t want anyone to think I had money problems then, so I spent $10 on a scratcher and won $500. I don’t know how, but it was enough for car insurance and presents.”
I PAID THE BUS FARE IN PENNIES
“I was subletting a place and needed bus fare to get to work that day, so I searched every couch cushion and coat pocket in the hopes that I could find enough to get there. I found a ton of pennies, so I paid the bus fare in pennies. I was 30 cents short, but the bus driver just gave me a transfer and waved me in.
The day’s first customer tipped me like $5 on their coffee, and I’ve never been so happy in my life.”
I TOOK BAGELS FROM A MOBILE SYNAGOGUE
“In the early 2000s, the garment district in Manhattan had “Mitzvah Tanks.” It was a mobile synagogue for the devout to handle religious observation with a rabbi during the workday.
It turns out they had bagels in there. I was starting my career (I was 21 or so), and money was tight. I would go in 3x a week and get bagels. If no one were looking, I would stuff an extra into my suit pocket. I don’t at all look Jewish, and almost no one from my part of the world is Jewish. The Rabbi approached me after a month, and I told him, “I saw free food in a house of God and just figured since I am not a bad guy, God wouldn’t be too mad.” Rabbi laughed and said, “From now on, say hello. You don’t have to act like a thief trying not to get caught.”
In a few months, when money was less tight, I would stop by at lunch and chat with the Rabbi. It was a simpler time.”
I CALLED IN SICK BECAUSE I DIDN’T HAVE GAS MONEY
“I called in sick on Wednesday because I didn’t have enough gas money to drive to work more than once. I waited till Thursday to drive to work because that was payday.”
I MADE A CARDBOARD SIGN
“I needed three bucks for enough gas to get to work then to the bank (payday so that I would pick up the check), but I lived downtown, so I made a cardboard sign that said ‘need money for a new sign’ then like got it wet and rolled it in dirt and got like five bucks in a couple of hours.”
I WASHED DIRTY CLOTHES IN THE BATHTUB
“Washed dirty clothes in the bathtub with dishwashing liquid. Couldn’t afford quarters for the machine.”
I’D WEAR MY CLOTHES IN THE SHOWER
“I’d wear my clothes into the shower, wash them and myself simultaneously, remove them, rinse myself and the clothes, and then hang them to dry. I also ate once a day because I got a shift meal.”
I WORE A PLASTIC BAG ON MY SHOE TO PROTECT IT FROM LEAKING FLUID FROM THE CAR
“My car once leaked fluid from right above the pedals (luckily not brake fluid). I didn’t have money to fix it right away, so I’d have to wear a plastic bag on my foot to protect my shoes.”
I HAD COSTCO SAMPLES FOR DINNER
“Walked into a Costco with an expired membership card and had samples for dinner. I made the rounds a few times.”
I TOOK FOOD FROM A DUMPSTER
“7-11 throws unopened food out every night into the dumpster. The brokest thing I did was go in the dumpster and eat one of those subs.”
I USED TO EAT FREE BREAKFAST AT MOTELS
“I used to eat free breakfast at motels. As long as you don’t look homeless, it’s easy enough to pass as a guest.”
I COLLECTED CHANGE FROM A PUBLIC FOUNTAIN
“Collected change from a public fountain to buy something from the dollar menu when I was a teenager, starving and super poor.”
I SOLD ABANDONED TEXTBOOKS
“Went around my university finding abandoned textbooks to sell back to the store.”
I STOLE BABY FORMULA TO FEED MY SON
“I stole 20 gallons of baby formula to feed my baby son. Walked right out the door, and nobody noticed.”
I ATE LEFTOVERS OFF PEOPLE’S PLATES
“In my first job as a server, I ate leftovers from people’s plates. I was in high school, and a friend caught me once (her family was well off). Too embarrassed to admit I was hungry, I told her I didn’t care and that it was good food. She started doing it with me. IDK if she believed me or was just super chill and didn’t want me to be too embarrassed to do it anymore.
She is still my best friend almost 20 years later.”
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