How to Climb Up When You’ve Hit Rock Bottom

rock bottom

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was in the Wal-Mart check out line, and I handed over my card. Declined. I nervously grabbed another card and handed it over. Declined.

In the bagging area was $100+ dollars worth of supplies for our return to Grenada after a summer back home. Bug spray, shampoo, and tons of other items we couldn’t get on the island. I turned to my mom who was behind me in line and asked if I could use her card. It was the ultimate embarrassment for me. Looking back, it was my rock bottom.

I got in the car feeling so stupid and emotional. I cried on the way home. After a nice pout-fest and mini pity party, I decided to get serious. I needed to take control of my financial issues instead of letting them control me, and fill my life with stress and fear. I know I’m not alone in this experience of hitting a financial rock bottom and thought it might help to recount what I did to climb my way up, and out.

1. Start the Climb


A lot of people sit at rock bottom for a while, making excuses and wondering why oh why things happened to them. We’re all responsible for the mistakes we’ve made. Sure, some people have been dealt a bad hand, but it’s up to us how we react to it. Make up your mind that you won’t be the type of person who sits at the bottom waiting to be rescued. Start climbing.

2. Sell Your Junk


We all probably have hundreds to thousands of dollars worth of stuff just sitting around our houses. If you really are at rock bottom with your finances and are having trouble paying your rent, you shouldn’t have a TV in your house or a coffee table or anything fancy really. Sell everything you can. You can always buy replacements later when your finances are on track.

3. Work Another Job


My big solution for climbing out of my rock bottom moment was to get some more online work. At the time, I was brand new to the freelancing world and had only one client who was paying me the rockstar price of $10/post. Three years later, things have definitely changed but hitting that rock bottom was what got me motivated enough to start making changes.

4. when you hit rock bottom, Get Support


Support is a necessary stop for many different financial problems. I had my husband with me, who was just as bothered by our financial situation and our reliance on his loans. With his help, we worked together to pay of all our credit card debt and reduce our expenses.

Ultimately, if you find yourself at rock bottom, know you’re not alone. Even some of the world’s wealthiest people have lost it all only to get it back again. All you need is some serious motivation, a bit of support, and an awesome work ethic.

Trust me, if I can do it, you can do it. Say goodbye to the debt and money problems that are weighing you down, and start climbing. It might be a long way up, but you’ll never get out until you take that first step.


Have any of you ever hit rock bottom? Did it resemble my rock bottom moment in any way? What helped you make the climb up and out?


Photo courtesy of: Jeremiah John McBride

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Catherine Alford is a personal finance freelance writer and blogger. She received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. When she is not writing for other websites on all topics frugal and fabulous, she enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog,

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