Finance | The Saturday Weekly Review

Why People Think You’re Rich When You’re Flat-Broke

Estimated reading time: 16 minutes

Just because you’re rich doesn’t mean you have to look like you are, and the same when you’re flat-broke.

People believe what they see on the outside first.

Today, I will discuss why people might think you’re rich when you’re flat-broke.

 7 Reasons Why People Think You're Rich When Youre Flat Broke
7 Reasons Why People Think You’re Rich When You’re Flat Broke

Don’t Go Flat-Broke Trying To Look Rich

You’re not looking for sympathy or hand-outs when people think you’re flat-broke when you’re not.

Their perception, not your influence, guides their belief and how they choose to act around you regarding financial status.

This isn’t bad if you don’t want people to know about your oversized bank account and investment portfolio.

One thing we don’t typically do is talk about our finances with family, friends, employers, co-workers, or strangers.

They don’t need to know how much money we earn, where we’re spending it, and how much we’ve accumulated in the bank.

Have you ever heard of people who become rich because someone in the family passes away and leaves them part of a fortune in their Will, which no one knew about?

It happens because not everyone shares their success with the world and values money the same.

Then, some hopeful people think they will become rich because Grandma Suzie was loaded, only to find out she was flat, leaving them a family heirloom instead of money.

Money Talk

My friends have no issue with blurting out how far their retirement savings are and why they are financially set because of how much money they earn.

Some are cocky about it as if they are well-off and deserve recognition for their hard work.

That’s one way to piss people off, promote jealousy or motivate people to ask you to lend them cash.

Then other people legitimately don’t care what people know about their lives, nor do they care what others do or don’t have.

We aren’t the type of people who run with the rich, so we don’t want to be those people around those we know.

Sometimes, being on the same playing field is better than trying to belt a home run in your area while everyone watches.

Mrs. CBB’s good friend, who has no money in the bank, has told us many times about her financial troubles.

She has said she wishes she were rich and had no credit card debt.

It’s sad to hear, but it’s hard to say, well, we’re debt-free, and life is good even though you’d expect a friend to be happy for you.

It doesn’t always work that way, and in some cases, opening up may create a wall because they feel that they don’t belong or aren’t good enough.

Let Them Think You’re Flat Broke

I remember once, and just earlier, I mentioned how much money I made at my first job in Canada to someone, and my wife nearly knocked me out with her eyes.

She never talks about personal finance with anyone because she says it’s easier for them to believe you are struggling than to have them think you are rich.

When I asked her why she was like this, she explained that when she let someone know how much money she had, they thought she was the National Bank.

She has loaned money to a friend but still hasn’t gotten it back.

She learned from that lesson never to expect money back from someone you loan it to and never loan out big bucks.

You may smack yourself if you do.

Even if you take someone to court for failed repayment, it will cost you time and money.

So there’s no point; just let them believe you’re flat broke.

Related: 5 Simple Rules we live by to stay debt free

Let People Teach You About Money

It’s incredible how often we are educated on saving money and paying off the mortgage from people who think we have debt.

There must be something about having a baby and automatically having people believe you are flat-broke or young.

We often get mistaken for being parents in our late twenties or early thirties.

The feeling we get knowing that their perception is incorrect is beautiful because we enjoy hearing what others have to say.

Sometimes, it’s OK to let your financial guard down.

My wife has many mommy friends, but one in particular is much younger than we are, but our sons are the same age.

Money seems to be the topic of conversation with her friend, and my wife doesn’t mind discussing it with her, but she has taken this young lady under her wing.

She wants to genuinely help her little family become happily wealthy by their definition.

She confided in my wife about their money situation.

My wife started to talk about using a budget and how it helped us to become debt-free before we were 40.

She said, “You both don’t look or act like you are rich” to my wife.

Then Mrs. CBB knew that she had opened the door a crack.

Now, she had to figure out how to explain to her young friend how to focus on what she has and not others.

One of the ways she explained it was to make people think you are flat broke when you are not.

This helped us grow our savings and not worry about people thinking we had money or feeling we needed to live up to certain expectations with family and friends.

They likely won’t bother you if they believe you’re hard-up for cash.

If you’re serious about becoming wealthy, find other ways to enjoy life without spending money on experiences you can’t afford.

Growing Up Poor And Understanding Wealth

Although the words Rich and Wealthy get tossed around so much, there is a clear difference.


Being wealthy or affluent equates to a personal definition, as we all have that “number.”

How much money will make your life stress-free from the money monsters?

In other words, whatever makes you happy.

Related: Are you wealthy because you are debt-free?

Flat-Broke And Wealth Are Personal

They were ecstatic when the young girl’s fiance started a new job as an apprentice, earning $20 an hour.

Apparently, for a twenty-year-old, that’s big bucks, and she said it’s the most money either of them has earned per hour.

They are happy but now want to save money to buy a house, pay off their new car, and cash for their education.

The only problem is they weren’t sure how to go about it.

Both of their parents struggled financially in and out of the welfare system and bounced from apartment to apartment, city to city.

They want to change that revolving door so their son lives better than they did.

Generational Finance

Now that my wife is helping her create a budget, she also discovered that she doesn’t know how to cook well.

Coincidentally, nor does she know how to save at the grocery store apart from flyer savings.

Mrs. CBB has gone grocery shopping with her and shared some of our secrets to save money on food and other household items.

She knows about the scanning code of practice, reading receipts, keeping receipts, and following up on prices to ensure nothing goes on sale or cheaper from a recent purchase.

You can get the difference back from most retailers, so it’s a huge money saver if you’re watching your dollar bills.

Although she’s told Mrs. CBB that it has been a lot to take in, she wants to continue learning about money and wants my wife to teach her.

My wife told her she doesn’t usually tell anyone about our financial situation when the young mom says, “But you’ll teach me how to budget and become rich, right?”

Mrs. CBB laughed and told her she’d do her best, but ultimately, it was up to them.

Although we appreciate her enthusiasm, it’s important to remember not to focus on becoming rich and not creating debt.

The other primary concern is ensuring that her fiance is on board with budgeting as much as she is, or it won’t work.

You Don’t Need To Act Flat-Broke

After the money conversation, my wife told me what her young friend had said about us not looking or acting like we were rich.

It made us happy that we did what we set out to do: live below our means and save for a stress-free financial future.

That got us thinking about how we create the illusion to the outside world that we don’t have extra cash kicking around when we do.

Oddly enough, we don’t do it intentionally; we’re just being ourselves.

Many rich people become rich because they hustle like a flat-broke and save where possible.

Brilliant if you ask me, provided money doesn’t take over your life and lifestyle.

Below are seven ways we go about life that might make people think we’re flat broke when we’re not.

Shop Second-Hand

Oh man, the minute you tell some people that you shop at Value Village, Goodwill, or any used shop, they think you’re flat broke.

Some people would never get caught dead in a used shop because it’s a big no-no to be seen buying stuff that others have worn or enjoyed.

Living a second-hand lifestyle is NOT a sign of being poor; however, some people believe that to be true.

Rent Or Buy A Small House

If you rent, you must be broke, and if you buy a tiny house, you must not make enough to afford something bigger in an upscale neighborhood.

It amazes me how people create a picture of someone’s life based on what they have or don’t have.

Buying a house is not for everyone, and renting may be a more economical or secure option for someone whose reasons make sense to them.

Just because you don’t buy the new big house with brand new appliances and modern furniture doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t afford to do so.

Let them believe you can’t because the less they know, the better off you are.

Just Say No

You don’t have to be anti-social to become rich, but you have to know when to say no to people who want you to spend money on things you haven’t budgeted for.

If your friends and family don’t know about your financial situation and think you are struggling, they may back off instead of thinking you’re well-off.

Sounds sly, BUT this is the golden ticket to having the upper hand when opportunities are on the table.

Frugal Mindset Keeps You Debt-Free

People will think you’re broke if you ever talk about saving money, couponing, and other shocking things you do to keep money in your pocket.

I don’t know why people feel like this, but for some people, going the extra mile to save money is a waste of time and something only poor people do.

I like to think of it as part of our master plan.

So when non-believers sell their houses because they NEED to downsize, we’ll be enjoying our mortgage-free world because we aren’t embarrassed to be frugal.

Low-Key Lifestyle

Keep your job and what’s happening below the radar so you don’t become the talk of the town.

Don’t post everything you do on Facebook or other social media.

When you open the story to your life and invite people in, they see what they want to see and believe what they want to think.

Keep your life private, but don’t block out the world. You don’t have to show everyone if you buy a $5000 camera.

No one needs to know if your boss just gave you a $10,000 work bonus.

You Own A Used Vehicle

We will likely never own a new vehicle as they are a waste of money.

A vehicle is a depreciating asset, so there’s no point investing a fortune into something brand new when you can buy used.

Even settling for a vehicle that is a few years old will save you money you can put towards something else.

Deal Seekers

We are always searching for a bargain, whether used or brand new.

Negotiating with people selling items and price matching is the way to save.

Taking advantage of superficial online research before we buy products or outsource services has saved us thousands of dollars over the years.

If we can DIY it without hiring someone to do the job, we’ll save the cash and get it done ourselves.

Balance Your Lifestyle

Just because you have money doesn’t mean you have to flaunt it.

It also doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy it either.

Discussion: Have you ever met someone you thought was broke who ended up rich?

Please leave your comments below.

The Saturday Weekend Review

Find out what happened on the blog and behind the scenes at our house this past week.

On The Blog And At Home

I kept busy on my day off this week because I had and still have a long list of jobs to do around the house.

I repaired the three-seat swing we bought earlier this summer off Kijiji.

Some straps broke due to wear and tear and sun damage.

I’ll be blogging about how it cost me nothing but time to repair the damage where it should have cost me at least $200.

Most of our free time has been spent with our son, working on his tidying-up skills, communication, and education.

We had a successful week with him, and he’s getting better, but it will take time.

Next, we will slowly work on potty training but let him go at his own pace.

It will all fall into place, hopefully.

Next week, it’s all about more Fall clean-up around the yard, and I’ll start packing away some of the boy’s summer toys and the pool for next season.

I also bought brakes for our vehicle but won’t do them until I swap over to the winter tires.

A fantastic ending to the week included fresh homemade banana bread, hot tea, and painting with leaves and other crafts to create some Fall artwork.

Our son loved it…and so did we.

Have a great week!!


Published This Week

If you have a question that you would like to ask Mr.CBB, fill out the Contact Mr.CBB form on the blog home page, and I’ll do my best to reply.

Top Post This Week: How to make money fast!


Reader Budget Brags

Send me your Budget Brag, and you will automatically be entered into a yearly draw for a surprise gift card.

Open to Canada and USA residents. email:


Here is a brag for you, Mr.CBB, and Readers!

I scored some Fry’s Cocoa. The regular price here is $6.89, and I paid only $1.99 each, so I bought all four containers.

Also, Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate is at a regular price of $6.59, and I paid $0.99 each.

The total cost was $$11.92, which meant a saving of $42. I love chocolate.

-Colleen K.

Wow, Colleen, I’m in awe of this deal because it’s not every day chocolate like this goes on sale at such a reduced price.

Thanks for sharing with us.

Frugal Recipe Pick


Food is a big part of any budget and a struggle for many, so it has been vital for me to create frugal recipes for my fans.

We all have to eat, but just because we have a budget doesn’t mean we can’t eat delicious home-cooked meals that are drool-worthy.

I have a second Facebook page called The Free Recipe Depot, where I exclusively share recipes from Food Bloggers worldwide.

Check out the Free Recipe Index on CBB, compiled of frugal recipes 100% tested and accepted by family and friends!

These Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies from Natasha’s Kitchen are to die for.

Just look at how gooey they are and filled with chocolate.

This is a chocolate lover’s dream cookie, and I’m that person. I’ll be making these for sure.

Cool Pinterest Find


Dancing Lawn Ghosts are PERFECT for Halloween and so easy to make.

The best part is the cost because you don’t need much to make your front lawn stand out…literally!

Check out this easy DIY project at Listotic and 15 other cool DIY Halloween Decor Ideas.

Editor’s Choice


Editor’s Choice

This week goes to Kimberly Haydn over at Station Seven, where I read Knowing When To Say No and How it Can Transform Your Business and Your Life.

“When it comes to business, no is the most empowering word we can use.”

If you’re serious about your business, keeping your life on track, and keeping it there, read this.

Spotlight On Finance


You don’t need to box yourself in from the world just because you are in debt or have high expectations of becoming rich.

Balance is essential, so find ways to save money and still enjoy your friends and chatting with strangers.

You never know what you’ll learn or who you will meet.

Google Search Giggles

kermit the frog
Google Search Terms for Canadian Budget Binder

Always begin and end your day with a SMILE!- Mr.CBB

Every week, thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they searched online and found my blog.

If you notice any spelling errors below, I share how it was typed into a search engine query to land on my blog.

Most times funny, Sometimes serious.

  • Safeway refused to cash my check, but they cashed my four other cheques on the same date four months ago- Is it just me, or does this sound fishy? The same date? Maybe that’s why they stopped cashing them.
  • Dollarama Paint Roller Review– One-time use only, haha! You get what you pay for.
  • Does Food Basics sell pregnancy tests?– Sounds urgent, or maybe that is the only store available.
  • My cheapness means no home renovations– You get to live in it, so do what you want with it.

That’s all the fun for this week; thanks for dropping by, and we’ll see you all again next Saturday!




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  1. I think keeping your income close to your chest has it’s merits but I don’t think there is anything wrong with sharing the information with those you trust. Even if you are asked for money you don’t have to say yes. It is easier when they don’t know so they don’t ask.

  2. Very interesting article. The concept of bring “rich” is different for everyone. I am now retired at 59, and I was more than happy to leave the working environment of women who were materialistic, and had lots of “things”, big houses and new cars. They thought I was just being “cheap”. I was a lower middle class earner, my husband is self-employed, sometimes low ,sometimes high . No benefits or employer retirement pensions. However, we raised 2 children to become responsible (and yes,frugal) adults, managed to buy an income property, and have put some away for retirement. Although our budget is tight,and probably always will be, I have the freedom to live my life the way I want; gardening,baking, creating things, walking my dog, coffee with friends and many , many more wonderful, stress-free , activities. That is what I call “rich”!

  3. Let them think that you’re flat broke, and you know yourself that you’re not and that you have more savings than them. It’s really cool to get the “likes” and congratulations message when you shared something new that they got surprised.

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