People Share The Best Examples Of 'It's Expensive To Be Poor'
It's actually really ridiculously expensive to be poor - an unfortunate truth that a lot of people are learning firsthand this year. There are even some among us who are too poor to be able to afford to work.
We know, it sounds like a complete contradiction; but it's a reality for a shockingly large number of people.
One Reddit user asked:
What's your example of "it's expensive to be poor"?
and yeah ... poverty is complicated.
Fees On Fees On Fees
Overdraft fees. Oh, you ran out of money? We'll just charge you more then!
My bank just switched our free checking to an account with a monthly fee. $7.00 a month if your account goes under $10. So if it goes under $10 they basically just help themselves to your remaining balance? It really chaps my behind.
While charging overdraft fees they also want to charge you fees for your debit payments failing - each one. But they failed cause the bank processed them started with the biggest payment instead of the order you spent and each fee lowers your balance till the last one also fails.
NSF fees too. Juggling bills becomes hazardous. If you guess wrong, or lose track, or have a sudden emergency, or someone cashes a check you thought they'd already done, or an automatic withdrawal (which got me the most frequently). The payment gets refused, which, sure, if the money's not there of course the bill isn't paid. But then the company charges you an NSF fee, and so does the bank, and the bill you already weren't able to pay just got 50-100$ more expensive.
In the past 10 years, I've gone from borderline poverty to being upper middle class. Here are some of the differences:
- An overdraft/late fee could be as much as 10% of my savings account. Now it's a drop in a bucket, and having white collar job, means I know how to effectively negotiate to have fees waived.
- When you're broke you can only afford cheap products that break easily, Now I buy quality products that are built to last for years.
- Expensive dinners are completely out of the question when you're broke. Now I frequently eat great (And healthy!) meals because my job pays for lunches and dinners.
- When I was broke I had to purchase expensive equipment to learn my craft so that I could get a job. Now I my job pays me to use my equipment.
- Broke people have to pay for an expensive education to get a good job. Many people with good jobs are encouraged to take classes at the expense of the employer.
- People with good paying jobs can be 10 minutes late for work without fear that they will lose their job. If I have a good excuse, like my car breaks down, I can literally not show up for work for the day, get paid, and receive a heartfelt message from colleges offering support.
- Things like expensive booze and other luxury items are something you want when you are poor. When you work a high paying job, these sort of things are frequently gifted to you from bosses/co-workers and sometimes it becomes a hassle of trying to get rid of nice things you don't need (I end up giving away, re-gifting or donating a lot of stuff).
- When you are broke, it's hard to find a good paying job. When you have a good paying job, you are seen as a valuable and you will receive multiple job offers.
A few things that are new to me that I find weird about having money:
- Expensive clothes fall apart so fast, like the fabric will start to dull after a 3rd wash. I had an Old Navy shirt that easily lasted 20 years and never faded.
- Expensive things take up so much time and can be such a hassle to care for. Like fountain pens, nice wooden kitchen utensils, Linen place settings, etc.
Better shoes last longer before they need to be replaced. But they cost to much for me to afford them, leaving me with sub-par shoes that need to be replaced more often.
It's not easy staying healthy on a tiny budget. I stay fat. Shoes wear out. It's expensive for my body.
Definitely true irl. I wear duty boots every shift I work. When I was new I couldn't afford anything other than a cheap pair of $80 boots. My feet froze in the winter, sweated in the summer, and they weren't really waterproof. That first pair lasted me about 10 months, and that was a stretch.
I managed to scrimp and save for a $300 pair of Danners and that pair lasted me nearly a decade, kept my feet warm in the winter, didn't make them sweat much in the summer, and kept my feet dry in standing water up to about 6" deep. When they wore out, I sent them back to Danner to be refurbished about about $120 and have gotten another 7 years and counting out of them.
Housing. The longer you commit to stay, the lower your monthly price. But poor people don't always know where they'll be in a few months time, especially these days.
Oh man, got a really good look at that recently. Me and my fiancee wanted to move to a new house, and we didn't know how long it would take to sell the old one and find one we liked, so we rented an apartment in the meantime.
They had really flexible leases, with durations from 6-15 months, different prices for the same apartment.
We calculated the cost of breaking the lease at different times together with the cost of each lease, and found that even if we moved at exactly 6 months, it would be cheaper to sign a 15 month lease and pay the penalty than to sign a 6 month lease.
Moving at pretty much any point would be cheapest to sign the 15 month lease and break it (I think at 10 months, it would be very slightly cheaper to have signed a 10 month lease). Funnily enough, we ended up moving after 6 months, but we still made the cheaper choice with the 15 month lease.
The Breakdowncar trouble vintage GIFGiphy
Not being able to afford routine car maintenance and then having to shell out thousands when it breaks down
Nothing like having to push your car off an intersection because it suddenly died and won't restart, never mind if you were on your way to school, work or similar. It's a great way to lose your job.
This. THIS! THIS THIS THIS. And having a flat tire every other week because you can't afford new ones. Spending ten bucks a pop to have your old tires patched when a new one (for your cheap little clunker car) costs $85 but you can't afford that because you've spent ten bucks a week for the last six months getting patches.
Coin laundry :(
I'm feeling this one.
My washing machine went kerplooey two weeks ago. I finally broke down and went to the only laundromat in my rural county.
$4.25 to wash each load, $1.75 to dry each load. I spent twenty bucks doing three loads of laundry.
That's $480 a year to load up my stuff and take it to a communal laundromat, during a pandemic. Holy f*ck I miss my washing machine.
Or to put it another way, and really drive home the "expensive to be poor" aspect, in a year you'll have spent enough money to buy a brand new washing machine, without getting the washing machine.
And that's not counting the time spent there. At home you can multitask while the laundry's going.
Can't Afford Health
So I'm in the US and it's "Open Enrollment" I've been looking at health insurance plans for a few weeks now. Here's my best option, as a 36-year-old single white woman with no health problems.
$235 per month (discount because I'm low-income) premium. $85 co-pay for normal doctor's visit. $145 if the doctor treats something in-office. I pay any in-office supplies that were used out of pocket. $13,000 deductible. Insurance pays 40% of hospital visits and overnight stays. Separate $7000 deductible for prescriptions. Zero dental or vision care.
Guys, I make between $800 and $900 per month. That's a quarter of my income as a premium alone. Which would be great, except if I pay the premium, I don't have any money left over for the co-pay, so I literally can't afford to both buy the policy and use it.
When I absolutely have to see a doctor I drive a couple hours to a clinic that offers huge discounts for people who self-pay. They are actually a god-send for things like sinus infections and strep throat. I had pneumonia a couple of years ago and not only did they give me the "self pay discount," making my office visit just $35, but they also found "office samples" of an albuterol inhaler and steroids, meaning all I had to buy was an antibiotic from the walmart $4 list.
I also drive an hour and a half to a Planned Parenthood clinic for my annual exam and things like that. They charge on a "pay what you can" scale. I figure out how to get by, mostly. But if anything big ever goes wrong or I develop a chronic health problem in the future, I'm gonna be so screwed it's not even funny.
I really need an eye exam as my glasses are giving me headaches, which means my prescription has changed again. And forget getting my teeth fixed, which is actually my biggest problem right now. There's no help for things like that. The healthcare situation just sucks.
Freebies For The Rich?
An inverse example is all the things rich/well-paid people get for free:
paid vacation days, gym/pool in your building, company cell phone allowance, commute reimbursement, retirement match and investing advice, paid lunches and travel, education opportunities, ability to participate in investment opportunities, references to even more highly paid jobs, etc etc.
It is definitely frustrating when I hear about rich celebrities getting giftbags with tens of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise in them. That is just silly.
Everyone always argues "it's cheaper to eat healthy! Buy X, Y, Z in bulk, check A, B, and C specialty grocery stores, meal prep and freeze for the week, grow your own produce!" But these sorts of solutions really require a base level of wealth to begin with. Not a ton of wealth. If you're lower-middle class but still ending up in the red because you eat out too much, you can probably (probably) use these tips to cut your food budget enough to make a difference. But to do these things you need:
to live in a place with easy access to many different places to buy food (conventional groceries, discount groceries, big box stores, farmers markets, ethnic groceries, and bulk retailers)
When you live in a food desert, like many inner cities and rural areas, pick-and-choose grocery shopping is not an option. When you don't have a car or live a very short distance from the store, buying more than an armful of groceries is not an option. When you work multiple jobs to pay rent, spending many hours per week on shipping or food prep isn't an option. When you live in an efficiency apartment, complex cooking and infinite food storage isn't an option. When you don't have a surplus of money this very minute, buying in bulk isn't an option. When you live in an apartment, or a desert, or an urban house with a concrete backyard, or a place that is a snowy tundra 6 months out of the year, growing a garden isn't an option.
Plus, everyone gives this advice assuming a single adult or a two-adult, no kids household. But not everyone eating dollar menu and ramen noodles is a broke single college kid in a dorm blowing their allowance on beer then crying poverty. Children complicate all of this even further. So people end up buying dollar menu because it's Tuesday, payday is Friday, and they quite literally have $10 to their names to feed themselves and their kids. They could buy apples, but apples won't keep the the hunger pains away.
I used to think that Costco was good for bulk sales
My son founded a food charity and we started applying for business licenses. Guy mentioned a wholesaler to me.
My son and I went to the wholesaler and he had 200lb pallets of pork shoulder for pulled pork- which my son needs- for $140! 200 lbs of food, which my son uses to feed like 500 homeless people- for $140.
Or like 1000 chicken legs in cases for $0.29 per lb. something like $80 for 1000 chicken legs.
Can you imagine if you were dead broke and spent $80 on 1000 chicken legs- you could eat for 6 months. Working with real food wholesalers is so much crazier than anything I expected.
It's the set up for all of that - the ability to move pallets, have a huge deep freezer that all has to be there first. You're not going to have that if you're poor.
I remember there were these cabbages, like $20 for 40 cabbages. A guy was buying like 80 cabbages to make cole slaw for his restaurant. He could spin that into profit and make money.
I just felt like buying them and giving them to poor families. People have no idea how much more they're really paying than what food actually costs.
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June is a happy and exciting month for the LGBTQ+ community, being Pride Month.
Where people can proudly celebrate who they are and who they love.
And the crowds at these events seem to only grow bigger every year, as more and more LGBTQ+ allies also partake in the celebration.
Some of these allies might be late to the party, as it were, owing to the fact that they once held homophobic views, and only recently became more educated and changed their minds.
Redditor aestheticbear was curious what exactly it was that led former homophobes to change their previous views, leading them to ask:
"Former homophobic people of Reddit: what happened that made you stop being homophobic?"
It was what they were taught.
"Like many here, I grew up around people where homophobia was the norm."
"I come from a Latino, Mexican, background and I'm really ashamed of how much homophobia/hate in general there is in our culture."
"Since most Mexicans are Catholic, I grew up around the church a lot, especially since my father had once been a Catholic priest, long story."
"Growing up, and to this day, I was surrounded by lots of hate towards the LGTBQ+ community."
"My parents would often make remarks making queer people seem almost as if they were crazy."
"They would often say that they were crazy for wanting 'gay rights' and even saying 'yuck' if they saw a movie scene where 2 people of the same sex where kissing."
"As a kid, I was sort of brain washed into all of this."
"As I grew older, I learned more about the world around me especially learning from friends who had come out."
"I especially owe a lot to a teacher of mine who had opened my eyes up to many issues of our world."
"Now I'm a proud pansexual."- davvaz62
By simply getting to know them.
"I met some gay people."
"As it turns out they were just people"- moolord
By witnessing unjustified judgment.
"Not homophobic, but I woke up at about 10 when my mom said my uncle was banned from coming to our vacation condo by my father because he was gay."
"Before then I kind of let the arguments and both sides bit wash over me, but that was a crystallization point where I started noticing it as pure bigotry."
"I'm sorry the nicest dude in the family full of domestic violence and white collar drug abusers cant come to Christmas because he's gay?"
"You're both cheating on each other, sanctity of what marriage now?"- Robin_games
My mother knocked some sense into me
"My mom slapped me and told me everyone has a right to be happy."
"That was in 9th grade 13 years ago."- Bloodllust
"Homophobia was the norm when I was growing up."
"Then I got older and the political landscape changed which made me question my belief and I came to the conclusion it just didn't make any sense to be homophobic."- LuciferIsFallen
"Realized that, fundamentally, being gay is just 'what' you are. It’s not 'who' you are."
"I came out as gay."- pethal
"Stopped listening to my homophobic family and left their religion."
"Oh and also realized I myself was pretty gay."- Raidden
Just one moment of clarity
"I wasn't super homophobic, just a 'love the sinner, hate the sin' kind of guy."
"On my last day in high school, someone said 'Why do I care? They're not hurting me'."
"Cured me in three seconds."
"I still remember how magical that moment was for me."- Dirgonite
"There are 20 years between myself and my youngest brother."
"I, and my SO, was raised in an explicitly homophobic/biphobic/transphobic fundamentalist religion, that I left with my SO in my early 20s.
"So I had a lot of internalized, conditioned, toxic beliefs about the LGBTQ that needed to be deconstructed."
"My little brother was obviously either gay or bi and it was obvious from the time he was six imho."
"He came out to my sisters, SO, and I as bi when he was 11 and we were like 'tell us something we don't know lol'."
"I think watching him just grow up, it was obvious that he hadn't chosen to be that way, it was just how he was."
"This false narrative that LGBTQ are somehow defective or sinners became more disgusting to me over time."
"I can't remember exactly when it happened but my SO and I were like 'if our future child happened to be LGBTQ, could we teach that child the things we were taught about the LGBTQ?'"
"'We were like 'no, that would be evil'."
"Now, we have an 18yo niece that recently came out as lesbian and we feel honored to be the only family that she trusts enough to introduce to her first GF."
"Spending time with her just reaffirms the fact that there is nothing wrong with the LGBTQ, it was our upbringing that was defective."- Jormungandr91
It's amazing how so many ignorant people don't realize that all one needs to do to see a little more clearly is to open your eyes.
Here's hoping that they help others who remain as ignorant as they once were to open their eyes as well.
People Explain Which Completely Normal Things They Find Absolutely Disgusting
Everyone has unusual phobias.
Things which they simply can't bear the sight of, and are forced to turn away when they find themselves in the presence of it.
More often than not, these things are usually habits or behaviors which one normally wouldn't do in polite society.
But, have you ever been repulsed by something that the majority of people might consider "normal"?
Something that's just an everyday occurrence in life?
Redditor Allthelights011 was curious to learn what "normal" things fellow Reddit users were disgusted by, leading them to ask:
"What’s a completely normal thing you find disgusting?"
Fun to do, not to watch.
"Watching people eat."- elladeighthecat·
Just not my style
"Gauged ears, or is it gaged ears?"
"I don't know."
"Big gross holes in people's ears gross me the f*ck out."- alienanimal
Blood? No problem. Saliva on the other hand...
"I was a nurse for 6 months before I found a better paying job and I could deal with blood, feces and urine no problem but if someone is drooling or spitting it grossed me out."- sayziellwatching arrested development GIFGiphy
Just because it's nature doesn't mean it isn't gross.
"When animals are 'doin' it'."- Colonelfudgenustard
"I know it's completely normal but just the initial cramps and mood swings honestly suck."
Mmm, that's good.
"Licking fingers while eating."- scapstickoscar isaac eating GIFGiphy
Not pleasant to watch or do.
"The feeling after you puke is terrific."
"It's all the sh*t you feel beforehand and the act of throwing up itself that weirds me out."- geico_fire
No one needs them or needs to see them.
"I know people can’t help them and they’re painful to remove but they make me physically ill."- Stealthnt13
Wash your freakin' hands!
"Dirt in your nails"- dejavuthrills
If I didn't actually have to, I wouldn't...
"Pooping!"- stormwaltzToilet Pooping GIF by Alberto PozoGiphy
Perhaps what's most difficult about these particular aversions, is that ignoring or avoiding them, or simply looking the other way might not be possible.
Leaving one no other choice than to grin and bear it.
And maybe occasionally withhold the vomit you feel coming...
People Break Down The Best 'Don't Knock It 'Til You Try It' Experiences
Chances are, you've been told to try new things ever since you were a little kid. I know I was.
Sometimes, certain activities or experiences seem crazy, and you don't even want to give them a chance.
This could be true of some things. For example, there is no reason to ingest tide pods.
Sometimes an activity or experience that seems crazy only seems that way because you haven't tried it yet.
I thought nothing good could come of mixing buttery popcorn with Swedish Fish, but now it's my favorite snack!
Redditor TheUnthinkableVids wanted to know about other things that seem crazy, but should be given a chance.
"What’s a “don’t knock it till you try it” experience that you would weirdly recommend?"
Having Fun Doing You
"It has a bad reputation of power tripping nerds deluding themselves in public with seemingly no self awareness, but give it a go."
"I found it was more like sparring with a stunt troupe. It was harder than it looked, and everyone was having fun doing their thing while ignoring the haters, which was pretty cool I must admit."
The Perfect Sauce
"Balsamic glaze on pizza."
"Have it on Vanilla ice cream. Amazing."
"Basalmic on watermelon is refreshing!"
"Climbing onto your roof"
"I like how most of the responses in this thread are "try psychedelics" or "go skydiving" or "see a therapist" but you're like, "have you ever been on your roof?""
"Gotta admit though, I've been on my roof and it's strangely satisfying. You get a vantage point to see something that you see everyday, just a little higher up."
"A lot of computer noobs think that they would never use more than one monitor, and they don't see the purpose behind it. Bruh. It's magical, trust me."
"I could use a third tbh"
"I was one of those computer noobs for the longest time. A second monitor changed my life. Then I eventually got a third.... And I can't lie if every now and then I didn't tell myself "a fourth monitor would be quite convenient in this situation....."
Cheese And Everything
"Fresh Mozzarella and honey"
"Or really any cheese and honey. I love eating sharp aged cheddar with hot honey."
"Cheese and jam on toast"
"Cream cheese and grape jelly sandwiches! (On toast)"
Pampering Is Always Good
"Pedicure for men."
"My mom made me get one with her when I was a teenager. It rocked. Adult me gets a pedi at least once a month now. $25 to sit in a massage chair while someone cuts my toenails and massages my feet/legs? Yes please!"
The Magic of Salt
"Black pepper and salt on watermelon"
"Salt on pineapple!"
"A little sprinkle of salt in your coffee"
"Salt in Fanta"
"Draw a bath, turn the shower on, turn the lights off, prop up an umbrella, have a headlamp, a beverage and a good book."
"You look crazy, but try it, you’ll like it."
Be Your Own Best Friend
"Go to a restaurant on your own. Cinema on your own."
Jumping Out Of A Plane...Safely
"Skydiving. I did a tandem for my 60th I wish I had of done it when I was younger and learnt to do it solo."
"Tandem skydiving instructor here - I wish everyone would try it at least once, it isn't as bad as most people expect, and is much safer than the general public is willing to admit! Glad you had fun :)"
You don't even have to try something if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, but sometimes pushing boundaries and stepping out of your comfort zone can be the best thing for you.
Give seemingly crazy things a chance, and who knows what could happen? You could end up finding a great new hobby... or at least something delicious to eat!
Wise people tend to glorify the past for good reason. Simpler times seemed to indicate just that. Less life drama.
While many technical advances have also made our current life easier, it certainly has come with its share of complications that never existed prior to another time.
Curious to hear from strangers online, one Redditor asked:
"What was actually better in the past?"
People found traveling, particularly flying, was less dramatic back in the day.
"This is true. We used to go to the airport to go to the cafe within the airport, watch the planes take off, people watch."
Comfort In The Skies
"Flying in general."
"More seat space, meals included (and a choice of meals), actual metal utensils, luggage included, no need to get to the airport 2 hours before your flight..."
A Proper Send-Off
"And you could say goodbye to your friends at the gate. Get there early before the flight and grab a leisurely meal with them. Man, airports used to be fun."
"In the 90s airport security took half as long."
Many Redditors believe living in the present is a huge economical inconvenience.
"Prices vs earnings."
"Psh. Try childcare. Our childcare cost for two children is more than our mortgage. When I was the same age, it cost my parents about $50/week. Today that would be roughly $135/week per kid. We’re paying $500/wk and still don’t have full time care for both kids. Sh*t’s crazy."
Criminals seemed to have a field day once upon a time.
"Being a criminal. If there was a security camera, it was too low resolution to make your face very identifiable."
"also DNA analysis and fingerprinting wasn't as good, no Internet to track you."
Leaving The Country Undetected
"It used to be that it was possible for someone to commit a serious crime, move across the country, and never be caught. As communications technology has improved, that’s no longer feasible."
How people occupied their time in the past seemed to be more favorable.
The Life-Line Device
"Smart phones too, Reddit is the only social media I use and still I stare at this f'king thing 5 hours a day. I know I’m addicted to it and I’d love to punt it but unfortunately it’s also my phone, my map, my camera, my tape measure, my dictaphone, my Walkman etc. etc."
The sentiment that the past was better stems largely from nostalgia.
Aside from accessing our Gameboys and Tamagochis, my friends and I would ride our bikes or skateboard out in the cul-de-sac.
We would scrape our knees from falling, get knocked to the ground playing freeze tag, and come home with dried mud on our clothes from a day of roughhousing.
It was some of the best times of my childhood, and I feel for today's youth who still have the option of playing outside but choose to live on their iPads and iPhones instead.
They don't know what they're missing, TBH. Maybe it's just me.