What does it mean to “feel broke”?

Lately I’ve been feeling stressed out, and largely because I keep going over personal finance projections. When friends or family ask why I’m so stressed out, I’ve caught myself saying it’s because I feel broke.  Now this commonly used phrase probably means a lot of things to different people, but here’s what it means to me:

…a relatively depleted emergency fund that means any appliance breaking or other disaster could put me in credit card debt

…an uncertain tax situation, so I don’t know how much I will owe in July

…an uncertain mortgage refinance, so I can’t guarantee a lower monthly payment and much less interest overall

…an uncertain roommate situation, so I don’t know what extra income I can budget for the rest of the year

…and finally, no chance of increasing my income, because I am still in graduate school and not allowed any outside employment.

When I look at all of these factors causing me to feel stressed and to feel broke, the common denominator is uncertainty.  Not being able to plan ahead is driving me crazy because I can’t let myself spend any unnecessary money now, in case I might truly need it later.  

In the weeks and months ahead, I need to take significant steps forward in resolving these uncertainties by 1) calling my tax office frequently to confirm my appeals, 2) talking with my current roommate about the upcoming school year, and 3) resolving my refinance with my parents and mortgage lender.  Hopefully I will be blogging some happy news soon!


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