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How Do I Start a New Life With No Money?

How Do I Start a New Life With No Money?

Life has gotten you down to the point where you are finally asking yourself: how do I start a new life with no money?  It’s never a happy situation when you realize that your best bet in life is to completely start fresh, but it doesn’t have to be an entirely unhappy one.  Luckily, life has a way of handing as many second chances as you need, as long as you know how to look for them. 

Starting over completely fresh without any money isn’t an easy endeavor by any means, but it isn’t necessarily an impossible one either.  It takes is some grit, hard work, and a willingness to really examine what specific issues brought you to this point.  

Before you attempt to rush headfirst into a new life, you should first take a moment to stop and examine what you can do to really make this second work.  In this article, I’ll be discussing what steps you can take to build a successful life from the ground up!

Examine How You Got Here

Let’s be real for a second: if you’re looking for a completely new start, chances are there’s a problem at the root of this decision.  Before you do anything else, stop and examine what this problem might be. Take what steps you can to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Common issues that might lead people to start a new life include:

  • Relationship issues
  • Substance abuse problems
  • Mental health issues
  • Medical debt
  • Poor budgeting skills
  • Difficulty maintaining a job

For most people, the reason they might be trying for a fresh start might be any complicated combination of the factors listed above!  Regardless of what brought you here, it’s important to be realistic about what you can control in order to make the best of your new start.

For example, you may not be able to control medical debt, but you can take steps to ensure that whatever your new life holds, health insurance is on the list.  Substance abuse problems run deep, but by being realistic about your issues now, you can take steps that your future self will thank you for later. 

Being realistic about your financial and personal decisions doesn’t have to be wrapped up in shame; you don’t have to beat yourself up for the mistakes of your past!  However, you do have to acknowledge and accept them in order to move on into a happier future. 

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Don’t let fear of change keep you from a fresh start!

Consider Low-Cost Living Options

One of the greatest expenses that American families face is housing.  As you rebuild your life, be sure that you are doing so in a place that allows you to do so without breaking your budget.

Before moving to a new area, use the Living Wage Calculator to get an estimate of how much you’d need to make an hour in order to build a life there.  Through this handy online tool, you can get an idea of what life in an area would be like prior to making the leap.  For example, you can easily see how great a financial difference exists between the cost of living of a major city like New York versus a smaller county in Mississippi.

Another low-cost living option that more and more families seem to be taking advantage of is the freedom offered by living in a camper or RV.  Unlike trailers, which often require hefty fees to relocate, anyone with a truck rated for towing can easily carry a camper from one place to another, allowing your family to move with into new opportunities.

Before investing in an RV, be sure you understand any hidden fees associated with this lifestyle.  If you don’t already own a truck, this major investment alone will be enough to offset the money you stand to save on rent.  While many truck stops and businesses allow overnight parking, you’ll need to pay for a campground spot in order to have access to reliable “plugged in” electricity. 

Repairs in a camper can be expensive and require special knowledge.  While this lifestyle can help you save up quickly, it may be best if you already have a certain amount of savvy and basic handyman skills!

Start with a Strict Budget

When you are attempting to rebuild a life from the ground up, it’s important to make sure that whatever you’re spending money on is truly necessary.  This is crunch time; slash that monthly budget down to the bones until you’ve had a chance to rebuild some solid savings!

As you realign your budget, keep these tips in mind:

  • Know where your money is going: According to Donna Freedman, a finance expert and writer, by tracking where every bit of your spending goes, you can identify cracks in your budget you might have otherwise missed.
  • Avoid spending too much on housing: As we will discuss later, overpriced housing can be a major roadblock to your savings goals. 
  • Stick to the basics: There’ll be plenty of time for you to splurge on entertainment later.  Even though that grocery bill can be expensive, it’s far less expensive than eating out!
  • Don’t spend more than you make: In this stage of your life, it’s best to avoid taking out any loans or opening up any new credit cards.
  • Build an emergency fund into your budget: Even as you live paycheck to paycheck, be sure to set aside money for your emergency fund.  It’s not a matter of if your car will break down or your air conditioner fail; it’s a matter of when!

Building and sticking to a budget isn’t easy work.  It can feel draining, discouraging, and sometimes even pointless.  When you feel as if you’re just treading financial water, stay the course!  Remind yourself that this is all for a greater purpose. 

Reach Out for Assistance

If you’re looking to start a new life with no money, chances are you could use an extra leg up.  The best action you can take to help yourself recover is to research how to get that extra assistance, and then take advantage of what you find. 

Being honest during the first step of this journey can greatly help you in this next step.  By being specific about what your needs are, you can better find the help you need to fill them!

For example, if you’re looking for help paying rent, look for programs that target rent payment in your area. Are you worried about how to feed your children?  Make sure to take advantage of free or reduced lunch programs!

When it comes to government programs, don’t be afraid to look up whether or not you qualify for any specific programs. Whether you are looking for assistance with healthcare bills or hoping to join the SNAP program, it never hurts to check and see what’s out there for you!

As you’re looking through programs, you may find that many require proof of employment.  If this is the case, it’s time to move on to the next step:

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By looking online for job opportunities, you build the solid foundation you need for your new life.

Apply for Jobs

Once you’ve decided where your new life will begin, it’s time to put in the effort to make it work.  The second you’ve gotten settled and reached out for the assistance you need to get started, apply for jobs.

Unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily the time to start getting picky.  Apply for any and all jobs for which you may be qualified!  While most jobs in the past required that applicants arrive in person, the majority of employment options today can be found through the power of the internet.  Using your phone, computer, or even the public library if necessary, polish up your resume and begin your search online.

Popular websites for job postings include:

  • Indeed
  • Monster
  • ZipRecruiter
  • GlassDoor
  • Recruiter

Other strategies include visiting local job fairs or inquiring directly with businesses listed as the largest employer in an area.  Whatever it takes, your best bet at starting a new life with no money is to immediately begin shopping around for the job to make it happen!

Begin Budgeting for the Future

As you budget, remember that you shouldn’t just plan your life day-to-day.  By looking at your greater long-term goals, you can slowly expand your opportunities so you never need to start a new life with no money ever again!

Slowly Build a Savings

At this point in your life, unfortunately, there’s not much room for error.  For at least a little while, almost anything extra you make should be immediately transferred into savings.

As you organize your money, be sure you are doing so wisely.  Choose savings accounts that offer a larger amount of interest.  If you’re willing to face more risk, you can talk to your financial advisor about potentially earning money with your savings by moving those funds into the an index fund, mutual fund, bonds or stock market. 

Even in a relatively safe, slow-growing account, you should be able to see your money increase over time.  As you do, resist the urge to treat this growth as “fun money!”  By leaving it where it is, you’ll be able to take advantage of compounding interest.  For example, if you are able to scrape together fifty dollars per month into such an account, you stand to own over three thousand dollars in just five years!

Play around with online tools like this interest calculator to find out exactly how much you need to save per month to reach your goals. 

Consider Long-term Goals

Once you’ve achieved a form of stability in your new life, it’s time to look into the future.  Chances are, whatever job you snatched up in your eagerness to start off isn’t what you hope to do forever!

What do you really want for your future?  Ownership over a home for your family?  Any particular career?  Enough land to adopt larger animals?

Whatever your goal happens to be, now is the time to start making it happen.  If you’re hoping for a new career, consider signing up for the classes you need.  If you’re hoping to own a home or land one day, start a new savings account specifically for that down payment.  Make sure that whenever you find even footing, you’re setting yourself up for the “later” as well as just the “now”.

Final Thoughts

A fresh start is difficult, but with hard work, dedication, and the right ambition, it’s entirely possible to start a new life with no money.  Never be afraid to reach out for help when needed, and make sure to plan with your long-term goals in mind.  Be sure to take advantage of our other helpful articles on as you figure out how to start a new life with no money!

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Jessica Richburg is a freelance writer and educator. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, she's located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where she passes the time reading, writing, and trying not to be eaten by her feral cat.


Saturday 1st of October 2022

I have a full time job, my rent is about to be raised I won't be able to pay for my car payment and rent at the same time I was offered a place with the co-worker and his family that met me and my dog would have no privacy which I'm a little discouraged by but I am appreciative I'm thinking about giving up my car so I can save $600 a month because the place where I'm going to be living is right across my work do you think that's a good idea

Catherine Marucci

Sunday 2nd of October 2022

Hi Tammy. I would sit down and figure out how much alternative transportation will cost you each month for things like groceries and medical appointments. If it still makes sense, then getting rid of the cost of a car might be wise for your budget.


Thursday 4th of August 2022

I am very surprised that you didn't mention paying off debt, such as credit card debt. Also, a person should have an emergency fund, not for things that break down but to pay 3 months worth of expenses in case of illness, job loss, etc. I don't remember seeing that here. A good place to start, after finding a place to live and getting your bills current, is having $1000 in an emergency fund. This is NOT a car repair fund or for home maintenance. This $1000 should never be touched. I noticed that you mentioned having a financial planner and investing in indexes, etc. I know of no one who is living on the edge who is at this stage. smh. They need to pay off credit card debt and get three months of expenses in the bank. If you have a lot of credit card debt this will take a while.

Catherine Marucci

Friday 5th of August 2022

Thanks for the input! Here's an article we have on reducing debt:

KeOsha Henley

Sunday 26th of June 2022

I need help starting a new life..


Thursday 4th of August 2022

@KeOsha Henley, I don't know where you are located or the situation. My first recommendation is to contact your church or Salvation Army or Catholic Services to get some immediate assistance. I've had to start over a few times, and it can be done. So first, safety. If you are not in a safe situation that needs to be a priority. If you need police help, get it. Call your local women's shelter and ask for help. Try not to sleep in a car and never, ever go to a stranger's house for a place to sleep. Sometimes if you tell family members what you need specifically, they will help you. "Aunt Judy, may I sleep in your basement for 3 nights? I'll use the side door and I won't disturb anyone." Also, if you have a tent, some people will let you camp in their yard. There are also some parks (make sure it is in a safe area) that will allow for free or low cost camping. Sit in your car outside of a fast food place and surf the net for info. Use Free groups on Facebook and other social media. Ask for Camping gear if you need it. Ask for a job. Ask and you'll receive! Never tell anyone, not even a kid brother, where you have your money or where money is hidden. Where are you getting your mail? You will need a place to get your mail. I highly suggest wearing a money belt every single day of your life until you feel life is stable again. You get used to it. That where you keep your passport, ID, etc unless you have a safety deposit box. Don't leave important things like that locked in a car, etc. Last, prayer. Go to church. Talk to God. Call your family and love on them, even the crazy ones. Take care of you. Volunteer - there are lots of places. Soon you'll find your way. <3