People Break Down The Things Only Someone Who's Been Poor Will Understand

People Break Down The Things Only Someone Who's Been Poor Will Understand
Photo by Steve Mushero on Unsplash

When you have no money, you have no other choice than finding ways to survive.

It can be sort of like a club.

Only people who understand being poor will recognize other poor people.

There are things you learn about stretching every penny that some will never be able to comprehend.

Of course right now in the throws of this ridiculous inflation problem, pennies are useless.

But that is a different conversation.

Let's make some notes about lacking funds.

Redditorcannonstotheleftofuswanted to hear from people who have struggled with the coin. They asked:

"What’s something people don’t know unless they’ve been poor?"

Rewashing clothes and reusing the same clothes for months. You ignore the fade.

Noodle Away

noodles GIF by PusheenGiphy

"How to make $20 last a week."


"The magic word is Ramen."


“pay us now”

"You have a couple of months from when you get those 'pay us now' letters until they actually care enough to get bailiffs involved."


"I am currently in that stage and boy if that doesn't just make the next payment even worse. It's and endless cycle of higher and higher catch-up payments till you die or someone finally helps you."


Reading is Fundamental

"Poor people know the importance of a good library. They are one of the few remaining public places where you can simply exist without the expectation of buying something. Books are free to check out and provided entertainment when my family couldn't afford internet/cable. The library in my town is a safe, well-lit, air conditioned/heated space that has clean water, free access to bathrooms, and free wifi."

"Not everyone has all those resources at home. Some people have no home at all. It's a valuable resource for homeless people and it's a safe space for poor kids to do homework or hang around while parents are busy working. Nowadays libraries even offer free passes to museums and zoos, free adult education classes, and have tools or sewing machines you can borrow. Libraries are great."



"That everything takes twice as long to do because you have to take public transportation, and have to go to the laundromat; many things are a huge hassle like limiting how many things you can get at the store because you have to lug it all on the bus; basically things that many take for granted require a load of planning and time."


Good Night

Tired Go To Sleep GIF by bluesbearGiphy

"Sleeping not because you're tired but because you're hungry and can't grab a bite because whatever might be left in the fridge gotta last till the 15th."


Food is always the biggest issue. Making food last is a skill.



"How expensive being poor can be. When you're living paycheck-to-paycheck, you can't often plan/save/budget as well as you could if you had some money to fall back on."


The taste...

"How a black bean and rice burrito tastes when it's all you've been able to afford for the better part of the past year. No cheese, just beans and rice and tortilla, sometimes with Lowry's Seasoned Salt or peanut butter when available. Cheese is the most expensive part of a burrito."


Cheap parts...

"Being poor is expensive. You’re forced to buy low quality s**t that needs to be replaced constantly, which in the long run causes you to spend more money. This is why poverty is so hard to escape. For example, when I was poor as s**t, I was forced to learn how to fix my own old a** car and buy cheap parts, because I just couldn’t afford to take it in, buy quality parts, and/or get something more reliable."

"Because of this, sometimes I didn’t know what I was doing and created other issues therefore causing me to spend more money. Cheap parts need to replaced way more often causing me to spend more money in the long run as opposed to buying a quality, long lasting part initially. And the car itself just broke down way more frequently, causing me to spend money more than I would with a more reliable vehicle."

"But the problem is when you’re poor, you don’t have the option to buy that quality starter that will last years. You have to buy the cheap piece of s**t one and replace it yearly because you literally don’t have the money for the quality one as a one time expense. Although I do love working on cars now as a result of this, so in a weird way I’m grateful, but the point still stands."


Pain in the A...

"Medicaid is a pain in the a** to understand and sign up for. It's like the state actively fights you trying to sign up."


"I remember the one time I was briefly on Medicaid. It was such a pain in the a** to get going and the end result was that there was no point in having bothered because nobody took Medicaid and Medicaid didn't cover any of my diabetic supplies. The healthcare system needs a major overhaul and anybody who says otherwise can go suck a lemon."



Sipping Tea Time GIFGiphy

"You can infuse your tea more than once. It goes well with two times and it's acceptable with three. More than that... You can't afford tea."


"My grandma wasn't poor by a long shot, but she made those teabags last at least 5 times!!! They would be standing in the kitchen, all dried up on a little plate, ready to be reused!"



"Once your water is turned off, you’ve got one good flush left. Use it wisely."


"Save your gallon milk jugs and 2 liter soda bottles, And just keep them in the corner of the closet all filled with water. It doesn’t take much to flush the toilet. If your water is turned off, don’t try to fill up the back tank with water and then flush, you just dump the water into the bowl itself,"

"And that will cause the toilet to flush with much less water, and if you can toss the (cleaner) paper in a garbage can instead of trying to flush it down. And if there is ever a snowstorm or a hurricane and people lose water, you can always drink your water in the jugs or sell it for a billlllion dollars!"



"Shame at not being able to participate in many aspects of society. Especially as a kid."


"Sport teams, club memberships, Disneyland, heck hanging out with buddies on the weekend costs money too! You need to pay for a meal or snack, admission if it's a movie or park, gas money, spending money."



"When I was poor one of my part time jobs was in an accounting office. This was back in the 1980’s. I learned that the machines that read checks only read black and blue ink. Need to pay a bill, send in a check written in read ink. Has to be inputted manually. Gives you an extra week before it clears."


Bless Me Money

ben affleck jesus GIFGiphy

"Resenting your parents because you watch your mom still put that 20$ bill in the church donation pan every Sunday yet there’s no food in the fridge and you’re close to being evicted."

"I see a lot of people in the comments shaming the church for pressuring for donations from poor attendees. This wasn’t the case in my situation. My mom genuinely believed if she gave that $20 to 'God' that God would return the favor someday. It was of her own decision making not from pressure of the church."


'red beans and rice'

"I grew up poor and people think it's weird that I can eat the same thing for a week straight."


"In one particularly rough month my father happened across a sale of near-expired boxes of 'red beans and rice' in Aldis. I forget the exact amount, but he bought every box they had and we ate that for the entire month. Breakfast was Oats, lunch and dinner were red beans and rice. Occasionally we mixed it up and had rice with red beans instead."


Catch Up

"3 paycheck months. When you work and get paid every other week, most months will have 2 paychecks. Basically, you'd see there's 4 Fridays in the month, thus two paychecks. However, every so often in the year, there's a month with 5 Fridays, and sometimes, those Fridays line up such that that the first Friday, third Friday, and fifth Friday are all paydays. This month, since your bills come in monthly, you seem to have gotten a 50% raise towards your bills. This is a catch up month."



potato GIFGiphy

"A bag a potatoes can feed 3 kids and a mom for a week. Now as an adult I hate potatoes. Sh**ty step dad. Mom got on her feet and made it better, but it was a long year."


“maybe next time”

"Knowing that your parents saying 'maybe next time' really meant 'sorry, not gonna happen' or that if you came across some birthday/Christmas money from grandma and then mom asks to 'put it away for you so you don’t lose it' was pretty much the last time you’d see that money."

"Showing up to birthday parties without a present. Pijamas are fancy. You have 'sleeping clothes' which used to be 'house clothes' that got old. Before that they were 'going out clothes' Need anymore?"


"Hunger. I had to go without food in my apartment some years ago. I had to pay my rent, and my car broke down. Once those were paid, there was no money left. I ate what little food I had left, then subsisted on coffee and water for the next 10 days until my next paycheck came."


How do you use tea that many times? I love it anyway.

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