BROKE STORY CONTEST ONLINE WINNERS
Congratulations to all who entered our contest and for those of you who live in cities we’ll be visiting on book tour (http://deberryandgrant.com/DGTours.html) please be aware that you can STILL ENTER the Tell Us Your Best Broke Story Contest at your local participating book store! Please see website or bookseller for details.
We know our Judge, finance expert, Deborah Owens had a tough choice to make but we are pleased to annouce the Winners!!!!!
(Imagine drum roll here)
First Prize goes to Stephanie Carter —read her story below:
The Best Broke Summer of My Life
By Stephanie L. Carter
In January 2000, my husband landed what we believed was the perfect job. He was making more money than he had in years and we could finally be comfortable. We were able to make rent without struggling; we purchased a new car and the bills were paid on a regular basis. This lasted for exactly one year until the company lost all their government contracts and my husband was without a job.
He fought to find comparable employment, but it just wasn’t happening. Being disabled, I was basically of no assistance because his meager wages, while not enough to support our small family of 4; were too much to qualify me for Supplemental Security Income. But we held on as long as we could….which was exactly 7 months.
In June, we realized that we would have to leave our rental property because it was totally unrealistic to think our landlord could continue to let us stay there without being able to come close to the monthly rent. But we had nowhere to go and no family that could offer us shelter. We attempted to reason with our children (my 11 year old son and 12 year old daughter from a previous marriage) and have them stay with their grandmother, but they didn’t want to be separated from us.
As the deadline for our move grew closer, we prayed for an answer….and as usual…God delivered. With a loan from my mother, we purchased a 3-bedroom tent and some basic camping gear; and on July 4, 2001, we claimed our independence from fear of the unknown.
My husband, daughter, son and I moved all of our belongings into storage; packed up our personal necessities and pitched our tent at the Groveland Oaks County Park in Holly, MI. We simply knew that God would move before it became too cold for camping. After 3 expensive weeks in Groveland Oaks (at $23 a night); we became worried because funds were running low and another temporary job had gone bust for my husband. God still hadn’t found us a place, but he did point us to the Holly State Park, which was only $11 a night.
Yes, we were homeless, but we swam, barbecued, nature walked, and enjoyed the peacefulness of being together the entire 45 days we were there. I have to admit that we haven’t been camping since, but we talk about it fondly even now.
Yes, God did deliver us from the camping experience, but there were still more trials we had to endure before we finally had affordable housing and there have been many struggles since, but the one thing we have always held onto was that if God saw us through 45 days living in a tent, He can see us through anything else that may come upon us in this life.
Second First Prize goes to C Cooke-- read her story below:
KAROLYN'S KLOSET, LTD.
MY STORY OF MAKING IT THROUGH MY "BROKE TIME," PROBABLY MIRRORS THAT OF MANY OTHER PEOPLE. HOWEVER, MY STRENGTH WAS IN MY DETERMINATION NOT TO ACCEPT BROKEN-NESS.
DURING THE EARLY 70'S I FOUND MYSELF, AT THE AGE OF 28, DIVORCED WITH 3 CHILDREN, ONLY AN ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE AND RECEIVING $45.00 PER WEEK IN CHILD SUPPORT, ...THAT IS WHENEVER IT CAME. LORD HOW I REMEMBER GOING TO THE BANK WITH KNOTS IN MY STOMACH, PRAYING THAT THE CHECK WOULDN'T BOUNCE. ALREADY I WAS SUPPLEMENTING MY MEAGER INCOME OF $7,500 A YEAR BY DOING SMALL CATERING JOBS, WHEN I REALIZED MY GROWING CHILDREN WOULD NEED MY HELP WHEN THEY WERE READY FOR COLLEGE.
IT WAS ABOUT THAT TIME I REALIZED I HAD TO FIND A WAY TO GET MY 4 YEAR DEGREE, WHILE WORKING FULL TIME. THEN THE IDEA CAME. I ENVISIONED STARTING, KAROLYN'S KLOSET, LTD.
WITH ABSOLUTELY NO FUNDS OR EXPERIENCE, I APPROACHED MY SON'S FOOTBALL COACH, WHO OWNED A WOMEN'S CLOTHING STORE, AND CONVENCED HIM TO GIVE ME CLOTHING ON CONSIGNMENT TO SELL. HE AGREED. SOON, I HAD RACKS OF CLOTHES IN MY GOVERNMENT SUSIDIZED MIDDLE INCOME HOUSING APARTMENT. MY BUSINESS PLAN BEGAN TO TAKE SHAPE.
I RECRUITED A FEW FRIENDS WHO WORKED IN FACTORIES, HOSPITALS, SECRETARIAL POOLS OR ANY SETTING WHERE THERE WERE SIGNIFICANT NUMBERS OF WOMEN, AS SALES AGENTS. I ALSO CAREFULLY SELECTED WOMEN WHO WERE, THEMSELVES "CLOTHES HORSES".
EACH AGENT WOULD ARRIVE AT MY HOME EVERY SATURDAY AFTERNOON TO TURN IN HER RECEIPTS, PICK UP NEW STOCK AND SHOP FOR THEMSELVES. (EVEN WITH THEIR 30% DISCOUNTS THEY USUALLY SPENT MOST OF THEIR EARNINGS PURCHASING NEW CLOTHES FROM ME.) MY BUSINESS BEGAN TO GROW AND I APPROACHED ANOTHER SHOP OWNER WHO MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR ME TO GAIN ENTRY INTO THE MARKET. THIS WAS A REAL STROKE OF LUCK BECAUSE I WAS ABLE TO DO BUSINESS BY SIMPLY PAYING CASH FOR SMALL ORDERS, OFTEN CHOOSING 1 OR 2 ITEMS OF A PARTICULAR STYLE. AT 6:30 EVERY SATURDAY MORNING, I COULD BE SEEN IN MY LITTLE PINTO, DASHING OUT OF WESTCHESTER COUNTY TO THE GARMENT DISTRICT IN NEW YORK CITY. I MADE FRIENDS WITH AN ATTENDANT AT A PARKING LOT AND FOR A FEW EXTRA BUCKS AND AN OCCASSIONAL GIFT OF JOHNNY WALKER BLACK OR
TANGERAY, MY PURCHASES WERE SECURE, AS I DASHED BETWEEN SUPPLIERS, RUSHING TO BE HOME BY 12: NOON.
IN TIME MY CHILDREN WERE RUNNING THEIR LITTLE BUSINESSES AND KEEPING THEIR OWN FINANCIAL RECORDS. MY 2 SONS WERE SELLING MEN'S SOCKS, WHILE MY DAUGHTER SOLD PANTIHOSE AND HANDBAGS THROUGHOUT THE 70 UNITS IN OUR APARTMENT BUILDING. THE WORD BEGAN TO SPREAD AND SOON MY BUSINESS HAD EXTENDED TO THE 2 ADDITIONAL BUILDINGS ACROSS THE STREET AS WELL AS LOCAL BEAUTY PARLORS, BARBER SHOPS AND CHURCHES. WE HAD ABANDONED OUR BROKETIME FOR GOODTIMES.
WOW, IS IT POSSIBLE WE WERE THINKING..., "YES WE CAN?"
We did not change, edit or otherwise alter either story in any way. Look for them on http://deberryandgrant.com, along with the other finalist entries by the end of the week.
And if you’re in the mood—feel free to keep sharing your Broke Stories with us and we’ll post them on our blog and website.