Author Topic: I can't afford to be poor!!  (Read 29177 times)

dave3fl

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I can't afford to be poor!!
« on: October 20, 2015, 06:31:15 PM »
I saw this on my Google news feed today and I thought it was a joke at first but I think this guy is serious.  Possibly the worst complainypants article I have seen in a long time so I had to share it here...

http://lifehacker.com/being-poor-is-too-expensive-1736233505

He actually  complains about not being able to afford to repair his car so he can drive 1 mile to work.  Also how he had to eat hot dogs and Ramen and drink store brand soda because healthy food is too expensive, yet never mentions rice and beans.  Anyway, enjoy!
« Last Edit: October 20, 2015, 06:38:00 PM by dave3fl »

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2015, 06:39:22 PM »
Some of his points are better than others and I see what you're saying about his whiny tone, but the premise that it's expensive to be poor is not necessarily wrong.

Is it expensive to eat healthy? No, but it's time consuming. If you're a single parent with an hourly job who doesn't get off work until 6, getting dinner on the table for your three school-age kids with homework can be, ahem, a challenge.

And his point about the bank fees made sense. Yes, people should balance their checkbooks. That doesn't make it FAIR for banks to bleed them for mistakes.

What can I say--I'm a public librarian. I'm trained to serve the people who come in as I find them, not as I might think they should be.

MgoSam

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2015, 08:02:05 PM »
serve the people who come in as I find them, not as I might think they should be.

+1! This is what I love to hear. I think most people will find that becoming more frugal will lead to more enjoyment and less tension. I do fear that bringing up MMM will turn most people off. Instead of learning how to spend less, they hear about living frugally and it gives them the wrong impression where instead of doing so, they instead feel like they need to keep living as they are...as if there isn't a happy medium to strive for.

frogger

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2015, 08:15:22 PM »
Yeah, pick it apart all you want, but the author basically does that for you, if you get all the way to the end. And then there's this:

"That’s what makes being poor so tough. Sure, you can make choices that lighten the load on yourself, but the margin of error is much thinner. Meanwhile, the amount of extra work you have to do just to break even is much higher. You could spend tens of hours each week trying to optimize every dime in your budget, just to have one mistake ruin you for a month.

...

When the punishment for making a mistake or having an accident is so harsh, it can make it nearly impossible for even the hardest working people to break out of the cycle of poverty."

There is a massive difference between living on $25,000 because you can and want to and living on $25,000 because you have to. I have less cash flow than I'd necessarily like, and it looks like my margin of error is pretty small, but I have a lot of backup resources--including a lot of intangibles, like backup people--and I can shift my budget categories in a heartbeat if I have to. A sudden $2000 bill for something, predictable or otherwise, for me basically means I don't finish filling my Roth IRA for 2015 until just before the deadline next spring. The same bill for someone else is a trip into the red--with extra fees or interest to boot--that takes months to dig out of.

From personal experience I know the difference between not much extra money and no extra money (though fortunately not poverty, at least not as an adult), and I have only compassion for people making the only decision they can at the time to get to another day.

MgoSam

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2015, 08:20:22 PM »
A sudden $2000 bill for something, predictable or otherwise, for me basically means I don't finish filling my Roth IRA for 2015 until just before the deadline next spring. The same bill for someone else is a trip into the red--with extra fees or interest to boot--that takes months to dig out of.

From personal experience I know the difference between not much extra money and no extra money (though fortunately not poverty, at least not as an adult), and I have only compassion for people making the only decision they can at the time to get to another day.

Well said.

MgoSam

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2015, 08:26:27 PM »
In addition to bank fees, many workers are paid with Prepaid debit cards, which can hurt them even more as withdrawing money from an ATM can lead to fees.

WildJager

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2015, 09:07:44 PM »
Maybe I'm just not in the right mindset to be comforting, but is this really a concern to be debated?  Between the bitching about bulk food being too expensive (my hotdogs are too expensive on their own!) and the lack of commuting because you have to actually maintain a machine you purchased instead of your slight walk, I have no sympathy.  From spending outings to "network" to dropping cash on "wardrobes"... what are we really doing to ourselves?

I have no sympathy for those who could be responsible but aren't.  Being poor in the United States is a joke.  Go visit other countries.  Go see how others live.  We American's that can't figure it out are, frankly, pathetic.  Those who support the concept that the "rich" should support the "poor" because of "income equality" are also pathetic in my eyes. We don't have an income issue, we have a perspective issue.  Focus on your family and friends, not your money.


forestj

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2015, 12:04:27 AM »
A lot of the stuff that he says is very true... I don't like the tone of the article, and there are actually a lot of things he is leaving out, but I still agree with the premise.

 While I know more financially suicidal poor people than I can count, I also know many who are just trying to make ends meet, all the while spending much more frugally than  most of you probably do. When we say things like " Live in an LCOL area where you can walk to every store, and get a high paying job like me,  and btw, you shouldn't own a car" to someone who is already in the red, it's offensive. For me, it has costed about 1.5k spending with an additional 1.5k in cash flow in a month every time i've moved. I can't even imagine trying to pull that off if I had zero savings and already owed the bank. It's basic stuff like rent and deposit being due weeks in advance, while payroll is weeks delayed. What are you gonna do, sell your kidney for some temporary liquidity?  And what if it doesn't go as planned? As an employer, it is much easier to lie, manipulate, and gouge someone who is barely scraping by. I've seen how poor people are treated at work. It's  not pretty. For most people, moving for a job would be far from a sure thing.

It's generally accepted among people who study it (economists, sociologists, etc) that being poor is a dangerous trap. It might make you feel better to pretend that someone could save just as much as you if they had no money, car, connections, and couldn't pick where they lived. Unfortunately, there is no evidence to support it. We are all very lucky to have the options that we do.

« Last Edit: October 21, 2015, 12:21:16 AM by forestj »

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2015, 08:18:37 AM »
There's definitely such thing as a "poor tax".

First, the kinds of credit cards and financial instruments marketed to lower-income people tend to have big over-limit and late-payment penalties, and they don't necessarily feature the kind of points or cash back that is useful. In poorer neighborhoods, you don't see banks. You see payday or title loan stores and pawnshops. The interest rate is horrific. Also, you see a bunch of rent-to-own places that market aggressively.

Second, if you're quite poor, you most likely don't have access to a lot of living or storage space. Buying in bulk isn't an option if you have nowhere to put it. So you're more likely to be limited to small or single-serving packages of food.

Third, if you're poor, you probably live in an area where there are a lot of other people who are poor. There's no one root cause for poverty (the immediate cause is not having enough money). Around you, there will be people who have addictions, felony convictions, and other situations that preclude employment. A few of them get into the habit of stealing to get by, and presto! No more bicycle for you. Your landlord most likely won't be too proactive about repairing your apartment, so expect to lose more belongings to damage, insects, and the like. If you're poor, you have to replace things more often.

In poor communities, people tend to rely more on their families and social networks than on their own resources. So it's not unusual for people to be supporting more than one household. It's an alternative to SSI or insurance./

Plenty of things about being poor suck monkey balls but it doesn't automatically make a person financially stupid.

FatCat

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2015, 11:28:27 AM »
It is hard to get out of poverty. Especially for someone who grew up in it. But at the same time I know plenty of people who grew up middle class ended up living in poverty by their own acts of stupidity and then complain about it constantly. Once you screw up you get stuck with fees forever. It's shocking how much money some people end up spending for what is essentially nothing but "financial service" fee. Overdraft fee. Cash advance fee. Pay day loan fee. Check cashing fee. Alternative banking fees for people who can't get a bank account. So you get to pay a check cashing fee every pay check, then pay a percentage to the alternative banking company every time you spend money with check or debit card. Someone I know pays to get his paycheck cashed, then pays all his bills with money orders because he can't get a bank account. Yes, they often got there by screwing up in an avoidable way, but now it's very difficult to get out of it.

And then the social situation doesn't help. If everybody around you is doing the same thing and complaining about the same thing then it seems normal.

It's also frustrating for an observer because people don't want advice. And they don't want to hear how to do things cheaper. When someone strongly feels like doing something in a frugal way is somehow degrading then there isn't much advice that can help. Something I learned is most complainers just want you to agree with them about how hard and impossible everything is. They don't want advice.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2015, 01:58:44 PM »
It is hard to get out of poverty. Especially for someone who grew up in it.
...
Yes, they often got there by screwing up in an avoidable way, but now it's very difficult to get out of it.

Kind of like quicksand, I should think: better to avoid it than to have to escape it, and when you're escaping it there comes a point when you're in too deep to get out without somebody else's help.

Overall I believe frugality, saving/investment, and the acquisition of marketable skills are among the best poverty avoidance strategies.

Quote
And then the social situation doesn't help. If everybody around you is doing the same thing and complaining about the same thing then it seems normal.

There are also very real social consequences for bucking the trend. Suppose you're the only person in the family who refuses to enable a spendthrift family member, or who doesn't want to participate in an expensive, debt-driven gift exchange.

MudDuck

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2015, 02:15:53 PM »
I'm trained to serve the people who come in as I find them, not as I might think they should be.

Word. I start every day with this attitude.

Unfortunately, I often end it with another attitude altogether.

honeybbq

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2015, 04:50:50 PM »
I saw this on my Google news feed today and I thought it was a joke at first but I think this guy is serious.  Possibly the worst complainypants article I have seen in a long time so I had to share it here...

http://lifehacker.com/being-poor-is-too-expensive-1736233505

He actually  complains about not being able to afford to repair his car so he can drive 1 mile to work.  Also how he had to eat hot dogs and Ramen and drink store brand soda because healthy food is too expensive, yet never mentions rice and beans.  Anyway, enjoy!



Have you ever read Nickle and Dimed? It's a lot better read and describes a lot better the seemingly never-ending cycle of poverty.

While many of his statements in the article WERE ridiculous and whiny, a lot of it is TRUE. The system IS broken for many people. And it's not just people who spend too much money on i-whatevers and cable.

Regarding food -- A lot of this is true impoverished neighborhoods where there IS NO GROCERY store. There is only 7-11 or a Qwik-E-Mart. Yes, they could hop on their bike (if they own one) and bike 20 miles to buy fresh food, but it is a real issue. I know even in my grocery flyer last week it advertised 3 frozen pizzas for $10. I cook home and from scratch almost every meal and I know I can barely get a single ho-made pizza with $10 when you include sauce, cheese, and toppings. It IS easier to eat cheap prepackaged crap. Which makes you fat. Which makes it harder to get on your bike to get to the grocery store that is 20 miles away. See how that works?

Also, just think of those Check into Cash places. Pretend your head gasket blows and you are one of the majority of people who drive to work. Where are you going to come up with $2000? You need to get to work to earn money, you need your car to get to work. Stop in at one of those places and get a payday loan, which can charge 30%++ interest rates.  So next paycheck you don't have enough money for rent. Or bills. So you get late fees. Etc Etc Etc.

Yes, there are alternatives, but there is also a current pulling them down the drain.

ducky19

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2015, 08:53:42 AM »
I cook home and from scratch almost every meal and I know I can barely get a single ho-made pizza with $10 when you include sauce, cheese, and toppings.

Yeah, I'm immature - but I chuckled a little to myself picturing this...

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2015, 09:11:16 AM »
I cook home and from scratch almost every meal and I know I can barely get a single ho-made pizza with $10 when you include sauce, cheese, and toppings.

Yeah, I'm immature - but I chuckled a little to myself picturing this...

I want a ho-made pizza but paying for out-call service is not at all Mustachian. Luckily, I don't live in Nevada or any other state where that's legal, so I'm seldom tempted.

partgypsy

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2015, 10:07:45 AM »
There are people who legitimately grew up poor with poor family situations and resources, and then there is my sister. She is always posting on Facebook long intellectual rants about financial disparity in the US, that poor people cannot afford to live, there are people in major US cities living off of $2 a day etc etc, when I know it is a thinly veiled complaint about her own situation which she feels is terribly unfair. This is a person who went to 2 different private colleges (paid by my parents) and dropped out of both of them, then for a long time had a job provided by my Dad. There were times she had decent money but then developed a shopping habit where she obsessively shops and spends. To the point when I visited there were unopened packages scattered about, as well as a closet stuffed with clothes still in bags that she decided didn't work but she didn't feel like returning them. She went through 3+ iphones in a year or 2 due to breaking them. But she NEEDS a smartphone for her job. Also compulsively buys stuff for my kids though I've asked her not to. On the other hand she complains she can't pay for medical care and saves no money to replace the car she need to. She is saying my Mom or Dad will just need to co-sign for her. Did I mention she is in her late 40's? She also works part time because full-time is too stressful for her. However she is able to make it because she basically lives for very little living with my Mom. When this inevitably will come to an end, I have no idea what is going to happen, because she literally cannot not save enough even for 1 month's deposit on an apartment.

cschx

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2015, 10:29:15 AM »
Regarding food -- A lot of this is true impoverished neighborhoods where there IS NO GROCERY store. There is only 7-11 or a Qwik-E-Mart. Yes, they could hop on their bike (if they own one) and bike 20 miles to buy fresh food, but it is a real issue. I know even in my grocery flyer last week it advertised 3 frozen pizzas for $10. I cook home and from scratch almost every meal and I know I can barely get a single ho-made pizza with $10 when you include sauce, cheese, and toppings.

Your point about urban food deserts is well taken, but as a heavy consumer of homemade pizzas I have to dispute the impossible-for-under-$10 claim. Here are my costs for a simple 10" pizza topped with fresh leeks and raw muenster cheese:
  • Dough: $0.27
  • Sauce: $0.50
  • Cheese: $4.00
  • Fresh leeks: $0.67
Total cost: $5.44

Not as cheap or convenient as the $3.33 frozen pizza, but way more delicious and probably better for you.

honeybbq

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2015, 12:06:48 PM »
I cook home and from scratch almost every meal and I know I can barely get a single ho-made pizza with $10 when you include sauce, cheese, and toppings.

Yeah, I'm immature - but I chuckled a little to myself picturing this...

It's an internet thang. :D

honeybbq

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2015, 12:07:50 PM »
Regarding food -- A lot of this is true impoverished neighborhoods where there IS NO GROCERY store. There is only 7-11 or a Qwik-E-Mart. Yes, they could hop on their bike (if they own one) and bike 20 miles to buy fresh food, but it is a real issue. I know even in my grocery flyer last week it advertised 3 frozen pizzas for $10. I cook home and from scratch almost every meal and I know I can barely get a single ho-made pizza with $10 when you include sauce, cheese, and toppings.

Your point about urban food deserts is well taken, but as a heavy consumer of homemade pizzas I have to dispute the impossible-for-under-$10 claim. Here are my costs for a simple 10" pizza topped with fresh leeks and raw muenster cheese:
  • Dough: $0.27
  • Sauce: $0.50
  • Cheese: $4.00
  • Fresh leeks: $0.67
Total cost: $5.44

Not as cheap or convenient as the $3.33 frozen pizza, but way more delicious and probably better for you.

One topping?? NEXT!

MgoSam

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2015, 12:18:16 PM »
Regarding food -- A lot of this is true impoverished neighborhoods where there IS NO GROCERY store. There is only 7-11 or a Qwik-E-Mart. Yes, they could hop on their bike (if they own one) and bike 20 miles to buy fresh food, but it is a real issue. I know even in my grocery flyer last week it advertised 3 frozen pizzas for $10. I cook home and from scratch almost every meal and I know I can barely get a single ho-made pizza with $10 when you include sauce, cheese, and toppings.

Your point about urban food deserts is well taken, but as a heavy consumer of homemade pizzas I have to dispute the impossible-for-under-$10 claim. Here are my costs for a simple 10" pizza topped with fresh leeks and raw muenster cheese:
  • Dough: $0.27
  • Sauce: $0.50
  • Cheese: $4.00
  • Fresh leeks: $0.67
Total cost: $5.44

Not as cheap or convenient as the $3.33 frozen pizza, but way more delicious and probably better for you.

One topping?? NEXT!

I'm not a pizza maker, but adding mushrooms or most other things shouldn't be that much more costly.

Jack

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #20 on: October 22, 2015, 12:49:07 PM »

Regarding food -- A lot of this is true impoverished neighborhoods where there IS NO GROCERY store. There is only 7-11 or a Qwik-E-Mart. Yes, they could hop on their bike (if they own one) and bike 20 miles to buy fresh food, but it is a real issue. I know even in my grocery flyer last week it advertised 3 frozen pizzas for $10. I cook home and from scratch almost every meal and I know I can barely get a single ho-made pizza with $10 when you include sauce, cheese, and toppings. It IS easier to eat cheap prepackaged crap. Which makes you fat. Which makes it harder to get on your bike to get to the grocery store that is 20 miles away. See how that works?

"ho-made?" o_O

Anyway, 20 miles to a grocery store is a huge misconception of what the official definition of a "food desert" is. Some of the organizations talking about food deserts define them as anywhere more than one (measly) mile from a grocery store! Yes, my house is technically in a food desert because I "only" have two Krogers, a Publix, an IGA and an ALDI within easy biking distance (2-3 miles away) instead of within easy walking distance. It's ridiculous.

Regarding food -- A lot of this is true impoverished neighborhoods where there IS NO GROCERY store. There is only 7-11 or a Qwik-E-Mart. Yes, they could hop on their bike (if they own one) and bike 20 miles to buy fresh food, but it is a real issue. I know even in my grocery flyer last week it advertised 3 frozen pizzas for $10. I cook home and from scratch almost every meal and I know I can barely get a single ho-made pizza with $10 when you include sauce, cheese, and toppings.

Your point about urban food deserts is well taken, but as a heavy consumer of homemade pizzas I have to dispute the impossible-for-under-$10 claim. Here are my costs for a simple 10" pizza topped with fresh leeks and raw muenster cheese:
  • Dough: $0.27
  • Sauce: $0.50
  • Cheese: $4.00
  • Fresh leeks: $0.67
Total cost: $5.44

Not as cheap or convenient as the $3.33 frozen pizza, but way more delicious and probably better for you.

One topping?? NEXT!

I'm not a pizza maker, but adding mushrooms or most other things shouldn't be that much more costly.

How much cheese does a pizza need? No more than 8 oz for a "large," I'd think, and 8 oz of store-brand mozzarella is more like $2 (or better yet, go for the $3 / 1lb block and only use half). Also, swap out the leeks for a bell pepper ($1 / 20 oz), yellow onion ($0.79 / 3 lb.), and button mushrooms ($0.69 / 8 oz.) from the produce section and a can of sliced black olives (maybe $0.69?). Then you should have enough ingredients for several pizzas (all but one of which could be subsequently frozen), for less than the $3.33 / pizza the pre-made one would cost.

partgypsy

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #21 on: October 22, 2015, 01:23:33 PM »
I don't know how much cheese you put on your pizzas, but when I make pizza for our family of 4 it is 4-5 bucks for the cheese alone.

NorCal

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #22 on: October 22, 2015, 01:39:43 PM »
I fail to see the difference between the "it's expensive to be poor articles" and the "I can't afford to live on a $200K income" articles.  It's the exact same attitude written from a different perspective.

One person may "need" to pay bay a bank overdraft fee the same way someone else "needs" to shop at whole foods for health reasons.

zephyr911

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #23 on: October 22, 2015, 01:47:13 PM »
I don't know how much cheese you put on your pizzas, but when I make pizza for our family of 4 it is 4-5 bucks for the cheese alone.
The example is a 10" personal pizza. We can all do math here. No problems, see?

There are people who legitimately grew up poor with poor family situations and resources, and then there is my sister. She is always posting on Facebook long intellectual rants about financial disparity in the US, that poor people cannot afford to live, there are people in major US cities living off of $2 a day etc etc, when I know it is a thinly veiled complaint about her own situation which she feels is terribly unfair. *snip*
Can I, as a six-figure earner in a DINK household with a 75% SR, make the same statements with more credibility? I've read the OP article as well as excerpts of Nickel and Dimed, I did door-to-door enumeration for shit pay in both the 2000 and 2010 censuses, everywhere from McMansions to the Brooklyn projects, and I read economic news regularly. I do think we do a shitty job of keeping the playing field level, and anecdotal rags-to-riches examples prove nothing about overall trends - economic data does. It says we have an extreme, and increasing, stratification of wealth that reduces economic mobility and weakens our nation as a whole. It says the primary beneficiaries of our "recovery" are the upper quintile, and the period from 2008 to the present has seen a massive upward transfer of wealth. That's why it boggles my mind when anyone bitches about socialism. If anyone is actually trying to turn our nation socialist, they're failing miserably.

Being poor sucks... as the joke goes, it sucks even more if you're stupid, but it sucks in general, and the fact that so many people want to just shit on the poor, reject the relatively small investments that could enable them to actually pull themselves up, and generally give the finger to all social programs, is a bad sign for our collective sensibilities. It's not just compassion, it's fucking self-preservation. Any nation that ignores the structural problems induced by a widening wealth gap is at risk of instability, a nice innocuous word that means rising crime and other systemic issues that ultimately affect everyone. The end state is small enclaves of wealth protected by armed guards keeping the have-nots at bay. I hope none of us actually apire to that. Conversely, teaching people how to do more with what they have - job skills, and yes, financial education - is a relatively small investment that can produce huge returns in overall health and welfare.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2015, 02:03:20 PM by zephyr911 »

zephyr911

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2015, 01:53:26 PM »
I fail to see the difference between the "it's expensive to be poor articles" and the "I can't afford to live on a $200K income" articles.  It's the exact same attitude written from a different perspective.

One person may "need" to pay bay a bank overdraft fee the same way someone else "needs" to shop at whole foods for health reasons.
You're joking, right?

If you don't pay the overdraft fee, it costs you even more money down the road. Credit rating shot, pending deposits eaten by more fees, you name it. If you're saying they shouldn't have spent all their money... well of f'ing course they shouldn't. The difference is the relative cost of failure. We think in terms of life energy here - if you make minimum wage, that $35 overdraft fee is the better part of a day's net wages. It's a universal penalty with a disproportionate impact.

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #25 on: October 22, 2015, 02:18:22 PM »
It is hard to be poor.

"Life is hard. It's even harder when you're stupid." - John Wayne

I make a lot more than most of the people I work with/around. It's a common theme on MMM. I also fix stuff that breaks. Like cars.

Someone who is paycheck to paycheck, works with me, making 1/5 what I do. They were complaining that they need new brakes and it's $400 they don't have. I told them I'd help them if they got the pads ($45). I have the tools, and the talent. The only catch is they have to help. No dicking around on their phone while I do it. No taking a siesta under the tree.

They said no, I don't have time for that. I told them I'd be less than an hour per axle. Nah, I got stuff to do.

Ok, sure.

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #26 on: October 22, 2015, 02:21:02 PM »
I do think we do a shitty job of keeping the playing field level, and anecdotal rags-to-riches examples prove nothing about overall trends - economic data does. It says we have an extreme, and increasing, stratification of wealth that reduces economic mobility and weakens our nation as a whole. It says the primary beneficiaries of our "recovery" are the upper quintile, and the period from 2008 to the present has seen a massive upward transfer of wealth. That's why it boggles my mind when anyone bitches about socialism. If anyone is actually trying to turn our nation socialist, they're failing miserably.

That is a great quote.

It's not just compassion, it's fucking self-preservation. Any nation that ignores the structural problems induced by a widening wealth gap is at risk of instability, a nice innocuous word that means rising crime and other systemic issues that ultimately affect everyone. The end state is small enclaves of wealth protected by armed guards keeping the have-nots at bay. I hope none of us actually apire to that. Conversely, teaching people how to do more with what they have - job skills, and yes, financial education - is a relatively small investment that can produce huge returns in overall health and welfare.

This! I mean, if you want to whine about how our society needs to be tilted even more in favor of laissez-faire capitalism than it already is then that's your right, but don't blame me when the proles shove your head in the guillotine...

zephyr911

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #27 on: October 22, 2015, 02:37:52 PM »
Someone who is paycheck to paycheck, works with me, making 1/5 what I do. They were complaining that they need new brakes and it's $400 they don't have. I told them I'd help them if they got the pads ($45). I have the tools, and the talent. The only catch is they have to help. No dicking around on their phone while I do it. No taking a siesta under the tree.

They said no, I don't have time for that. I told them I'd be less than an hour per axle. Nah, I got stuff to do.

Ok, sure.
Lest I be accused of promoting equal outcomes regardless of effort expended:
Some jackasses deserve to be broke.

NorCal

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #28 on: October 22, 2015, 03:43:59 PM »
I fail to see the difference between the "it's expensive to be poor articles" and the "I can't afford to live on a $200K income" articles.  It's the exact same attitude written from a different perspective.

One person may "need" to pay bay a bank overdraft fee the same way someone else "needs" to shop at whole foods for health reasons.
You're joking, right?

If you don't pay the overdraft fee, it costs you even more money down the road. Credit rating shot, pending deposits eaten by more fees, you name it. If you're saying they shouldn't have spent all their money... well of f'ing course they shouldn't. The difference is the relative cost of failure. We think in terms of life energy here - if you make minimum wage, that $35 overdraft fee is the better part of a day's net wages. It's a universal penalty with a disproportionate impact.

Not joking.  I don't care how little you make, overdraft fees are piss poor planning.  It's a simple expense to avoid by not spending more than is in the account in the first place.  Or telling your bank not to allow you to overdraft.  By law, they have to give you that option.  Or just switch to cash.

I saw this in the Army.  18 year old Soldiers that didn't make much (but lived in the barracks and ate in the mess hall) would overdraw their accounts and owe money all around town.  Then they'd bitch about overdraft fees and ask for AER (a fund for Soldier's in financial trouble).  Having been in the military and volunteered in food banks, I know for a fact that people can always find a way to get some type of food on the table.

This isn't to say that there aren't people with legitimate financial hardships.  I have some family and friends that do have legitimate financial struggles and are living paycheck to paycheck through no fault of their own.  But I also know these same people would never ever pay an overdraft fee. 

cschx

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #29 on: October 22, 2015, 03:48:37 PM »
How much cheese does a pizza need? No more than 8 oz for a "large," I'd think, and 8 oz of store-brand mozzarella is more like $2 (or better yet, go for the $3 / 1lb block and only use half). Also, swap out the leeks for a bell pepper ($1 / 20 oz), yellow onion ($0.79 / 3 lb.), and button mushrooms ($0.69 / 8 oz.) from the produce section and a can of sliced black olives (maybe $0.69?). Then you should have enough ingredients for several pizzas (all but one of which could be subsequently frozen), for less than the $3.33 / pizza the pre-made one would cost.

Hmm, obviously I need to come back here with more data. I can't even tell you how much my pizza weighs, but that will have to wait 'till next week because I already ate this week's. (Damn... that was tasty.) I can tell you it's more than enough for two meals, usually supper followed by next day's lunch. I bet the frozen pizza weighs much less.

Yeah, I could buy generic mozzarella instead of the raw milk Muenster and pay a lot less. Cheese is one of those (few) things I don't skimp on.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #30 on: October 23, 2015, 09:24:48 AM »
Point of clarity:  urban food deserts is a neat catch phrase, but not especially meaningful.

http://m.nydailynews.com/opinion/food-desert-myth-article-1.1065165

Where there's a sufficient number of customers, there'll be a retailer to meet their wants. This is capitalism at its best.

Not true, because of city zoning rules. You can only put a retail establishment in where there's zoning for it. Residential developers strongly resist allowing zoning laws to permit anything but residential housing, due to the perception that higher traffic makes a new subdivision less desirable.

People would love to be able to put their businesses closer to where they work, but retail or office space simply isn't available. A large retail space like a grocery store takes far too much parking space that could otherwise be used for McMansions. So, because of the developer lobby, iIt's not unusual to see literally mile after mile of suburban housing without even so much as a gas station in a 3-mile radius.

There are occasional developed intersections featuring the following mandatory businesses:
- One to two gas stations, one of which may have a convenience store attached
- A drive-through McDeathwish type restaurant
- An anchor business that is an automotive parts store or drugstore (generally one or the other)
- One hair or nail salon
- One hole-in-the-wall family restaurant
- One dry cleaner (affluent neighborhood) or laundromat (poor neighborhood)
- One financial or office-type business (a bank or accountant in affluent neighborhoods; a pawn shop or payday loan place in a poor neighborhood)
- A specialty store (generally liquor but sometimes comic books, shoe repair, or something else)

That's simply all that there's going to be for several miles, and there generally isn't public transit support even if the community is twenty to thirty years old, because cities don't want to fund public transit. You can drive or walk along to the next island, and see the same kind of businesses, but if you want groceries you have to take the prepackaged stuff from the drugstore or convenience store, because that's all that is available. There will seldom be any fresh produce available, and because a convenience or drugstore really isn't designed to store or display produce, there's far more shrinkage and spoilage, so what fresh food there is will cost three to five times as much as it would in a grocery store.

MgoSam

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #31 on: October 23, 2015, 09:35:18 AM »
Point of clarity:  urban food deserts is a neat catch phrase, but not especially meaningful.

http://m.nydailynews.com/opinion/food-desert-myth-article-1.1065165

Where there's a sufficient number of customers, there'll be a retailer to meet their wants. This is capitalism at its best.

Not true, because of city zoning rules. You can only put a retail establishment in where there's zoning for it. Residential developers strongly resist allowing zoning laws to permit anything but residential housing, due to the perception that higher traffic makes a new subdivision less desirable.

People would love to be able to put their businesses closer to where they work, but retail or office space simply isn't available. A large retail space like a grocery store takes far too much parking space that could otherwise be used for McMansions. So, because of the developer lobby, iIt's not unusual to see literally mile after mile of suburban housing without even so much as a gas station in a 3-mile radius.

There are occasional developed intersections featuring the following mandatory businesses:
- One to two gas stations, one of which may have a convenience store attached
- A drive-through McDeathwish type restaurant
- An anchor business that is an automotive parts store or drugstore (generally one or the other)
- One hair or nail salon
- One hole-in-the-wall family restaurant
- One dry cleaner (affluent neighborhood) or laundromat (poor neighborhood)
- One financial or office-type business (a bank or accountant in affluent neighborhoods; a pawn shop or payday loan place in a poor neighborhood)
- A specialty store (generally liquor but sometimes comic books, shoe repair, or something else)

That's simply all that there's going to be for several miles, and there generally isn't public transit support even if the community is twenty to thirty years old, because cities don't want to fund public transit. You can drive or walk along to the next island, and see the same kind of businesses, but if you want groceries you have to take the prepackaged stuff from the drugstore or convenience store, because that's all that is available. There will seldom be any fresh produce available, and because a convenience or drugstore really isn't designed to store or display produce, there's far more shrinkage and spoilage, so what fresh food there is will cost three to five times as much as it would in a grocery store.

The NIMBY Doctrine!

FatCat

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #32 on: October 24, 2015, 10:22:10 AM »
I don't care how little you make, overdraft fees are piss poor planning.


There are definitely OD charges that are due to some company screwing something up or overcharging the customer. I have had an overdraft fee and it was because I always pay my credit card in full and one time that charge went through twice due to some mystery error. The bank refused to refund the OD charge because they claimed the credit card made the screw up so they should pay it. The credit card company refunded the double charge amount but refused to pay the OD charge because they claimed the bank's error made it go through twice.

NorCal

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #33 on: October 24, 2015, 02:48:11 PM »
I don't care how little you make, overdraft fees are piss poor planning.


There are definitely OD charges that are due to some company screwing something up or overcharging the customer. I have had an overdraft fee and it was because I always pay my credit card in full and one time that charge went through twice due to some mystery error. The bank refused to refund the OD charge because they claimed the credit card made the screw up so they should pay it. The credit card company refunded the double charge amount but refused to pay the OD charge because they claimed the bank's error made it go through twice.

Fair enough.  Many banks do suck like that.  However, there is a world of difference between someone who routinely pays OD fees and a one-time bank error.

I would personally change banks if they refused to refund a fee in that case.  It's just not a company I'd want to do business with.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #34 on: October 24, 2015, 06:54:05 PM »
Where the poor are actually miles away from grocery stores without mass transit is in rural areas.

Or suburban areas, or poorer cities, or small towns, or any city with distributed locations of employment.

The city I live in, Albuquerque, has mile after mile of residential zoning but buses seldom run in the evening or on weekends. There's a grand total of one (1) way to cross the river by bus in the evening or on a Sunday. Population of the city and the immediate surrounding area is over 1 million, but half the city does not have sidewalks. There's no such thing as a subway or a light rail system here. But it's situation normal throughout the West and the South.

The only places in the USA that have actual non-trivial mass transit outside the downtown core are in cities or states that are either very wealthy, or have been wealthy in the past.

A person doesn't have to be miles from a grocery store to find it physically difficult to get there. Even one mile through a neighborhood with no street lights and no sidewalk is dangerous and physically challenging to an able-bodied adult carrying groceries. They are not physically navigable to someone who relies on a wheelchair or crutches, or who is burdened by small children, especially in bad weather.

Quote
But broadstroke use of the term food desert is a misnomer.  It isn't the cause of obesity among the poor, not even close.  Particularly the urban poor.  Good food options abound for them.
And I know this because in the 1990s, I worked on the technology to migrate from paper food stamps to EBT cards.  The distribution system to get food to where people are and to transport people to food has never been as good as it is today. 

There are definitely other contributing factors. The type of food that is available when a person is growing up tends to be what they select when they have a choice. Presently, what's available in schools is pretty much mall food court food: extremely greasy, fatty, salty, oversweetened, and loaded with preservatives and other things that make it easy to prepare in large amounts and hold indefinitely. Anyone who grows up eating slop like that tends to prefer it as an adult. We also market to kids using the TV, and children's cereals and other food tend to be unhealthy, over-sugared rot. Poor people are exposed to more TV and more advertising, and it does have an effect.

Logistics-wise, food quality was phenomenally better in the 1950's when backyard gardening, home canning, and family farms were common and when many commodities were delivered free of charge. Ever since people started relying on commercially manufactured and distributed food, they've had to go outside their immediate surroundings to get it. They've also have to pay for layer after layer of oversight, inspection, packaging, and "safety" features that make food more expensive to deliver unless it's mass produced glop.

Homemade food or fresh food doesn't scale well enough to be commercially viable in a neighborhood distribution system. One thing that can be said about shelf-stable processed food is that it does scale and transport well.

There are also all kinds of hoops to jump through in order to sell food to the public. For one thing, it's illegal to produce it in your own kitchen: you have to have a whizbang commercial kitchen that you don't do your own cooking in, there have to be all kinds of inspections and licenses, and you can't just set up a hot dog stand on a street corner. It's illegal. If you get caught, the police can and will physically take your inventory and shut you down. Unlike a drug dealer, a person who makes their living selling food needs an onsite way to store, prepare, and distribute it.

Quote

So yes, where there is sufficient customer demand, there is a supplier.  Insanely easy to buy H, probably in your own neighborhood.  If the demand is for apples, kale, rice & beans, the guy on the corner will sell that, too.

And promptly get shut down by the FDA for not labeling and packaging the produce properly, or by the local city authorities for not refrigerating the product at the right temperature. If something goes wrong and a person gets sick from eating the product, expect lawsuit after lawsuit until the seller goes bankrupt or out of business. These are things I'm no drug dealer has to worry about. Unlike illegal drug dealers, food sellers who don't jump through the hoops and follow the rules get physically shut down. There's far more interest devoted to making sure people don't sell homemade burritos on the street corner than there is in making sure people don't sell sex or pot.

There are substantial barriers to entry if you want to get into the food selling or distribution business. I looked into it a couple years ago because people are very fond of my homemade jams and jellies. So I ran an analysis. It turns out that if I complied with all the packaging and preparation laws, I just can't get my production costs low enough to compete with commercial glop unless I either subsidize the purchases out of my own pocket and run at a loss, or do exactly as the commercial producers do and sacrifice quality.

libertarian4321

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #35 on: October 25, 2015, 01:04:30 AM »
"Plus, my shoes wore through every three months from walking on pavement all day. And not just “they look ratty”—my toes were literally touching burning pavement a few months after getting new shoes."

BULL CRAP!

You can go to Payless and buy a cheap $20-25 pair of crap shoes, and you couldn't possibly "wear through" them in "a few months."  Hell, you couldn't "wear through them" in 20 years.  They might have holes in the top, they might look like crap, but you won't "wear through them" even if you run a marathon every day.  Even cheap shoes have thick, rubber soles.  You could wear them for years and never wear through them.

I dare say most of you have NEVER "worn through" a pair of shoes (unless you are aged 80+ and remember the days when shoes had thin, leather soles).

libertarian4321

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #36 on: October 25, 2015, 01:18:29 AM »
I saw this on my Google news feed today and I thought it was a joke at first but I think this guy is serious.  Possibly the worst complainypants article I have seen in a long time so I had to share it here...

http://lifehacker.com/being-poor-is-too-expensive-1736233505

He actually  complains about not being able to afford to repair his car so he can drive 1 mile to work.  Also how he had to eat hot dogs and Ramen and drink store brand soda because healthy food is too expensive, yet never mentions rice and beans.  Anyway, enjoy!



Have you ever read Nickle and Dimed? It's a lot better read and describes a lot better the seemingly never-ending cycle of poverty.

"Nickled and Dimed" is one of my favorite examples of how a CLUELESS, RICH, WHITE LIBERAL WOMAN PLAYING "POOR" will fail at being poor.

The author grew up well off, attended all the right schools, was wealthy, well educated, and soft.

She went out and "played poor" for a couple of months.  And failed, miserably.

Well, duh. 

She was utterly unprepared.  She'd never had to manage money, or "make due."   She was  a rich brat who'd had everything handed to her on a silver platter.  It's no surprise the couldn't "play poor" effectively.

I read her ridiculous book "Nickled and Dimed" and found myself yelling at the utter STUPIDITY she displayed (note:  I actually grew up poor, so I could see what a foolish twit she was).

Yes, it is hard to be poor.  But it's far harder to be "poor" if you are a silly, middle-aged rich girl who "plays poor" for a couple of months. 


kasey21

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #37 on: October 25, 2015, 04:45:35 AM »
"Plus, my shoes wore through every three months from walking on pavement all day. And not just “they look ratty”—my toes were literally touching burning pavement a few months after getting new shoes."

BULL CRAP!

You can go to Payless and buy a cheap $20-25 pair of crap shoes, and you couldn't possibly "wear through" them in "a few months."  Hell, you couldn't "wear through them" in 20 years.  They might have holes in the top, they might look like crap, but you won't "wear through them" even if you run a marathon every day.  Even cheap shoes have thick, rubber soles.  You could wear them for years and never wear through them.

I dare say most of you have NEVER "worn through" a pair of shoes (unless you are aged 80+ and remember the days when shoes had thin, leather soles).

I wear ladies flats for work (and when I leave the house for errands or social events) and literally wear through 2-3 pairs a year. Admittedly they cost about $20 a pair, and I thrash them, but it is definitely possible.

plainjane

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #38 on: October 25, 2015, 05:28:36 AM »
"Plus, my shoes wore through every three months from walking on pavement all day. And not just “they look ratty”—my toes were literally touching burning pavement a few months after getting new shoes."
BULL CRAP!
You can go to Payless and buy a cheap $20-25 pair of crap shoes, and you couldn't possibly "wear through" them in "a few months."  Hell, you couldn't "wear through them" in 20 years.  They might have holes in the top, they might look like crap, but you won't "wear through them" even if you run a marathon every day.  Even cheap shoes have thick, rubber soles.  You could wear them for years and never wear through them.
I dare say most of you have NEVER "worn through" a pair of shoes (unless you are aged 80+ and remember the days when shoes had thin, leather soles).

I've worn through rubber soles on black dress shoes sufficiently to rip through on the heel when I stepped on a small pebble.  I kept on wearing them until the rubber on the ball of the foot cracked and let in water.  It took less than a year, and I wasn't wearing them every day. 

While the shoes I'm talking about were sturdy-looking, I'm assuming the type of shoes being described in the quote are "ballet flats", where the sole itself is quite thin, and doesn't go up and over the toe. 

Unfortunately, my foot structure and amount of walking is such that I've found that I can't wear most shoes for more than 6-8 months before they start giving me ankle, knee & back pain - at a point when they look fine, but obviously have lost an internal component I need.  And since I like being able to walk up stairs without pain, I've had to put replacing good runners into the budget.  (Good dress shoes can be resoled, but that also costs more than $25.)

Abe

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #39 on: October 25, 2015, 06:20:01 AM »
Regarding food deserts: one of the USDA criteria for idem the my a grocery store is the number of cash registers, purposefully excluding small corner stores that sell produce (which is common in Chicago - at least where I have lived). Yeah, most of them sell more liquor than food, but it is available if people desired it. I looked at a food desert near my workplace on the south side and identified two such stores that I know sell groceries. Thus I question the accuracy of the data used; though I'm sure there are such deserts around the sizes may be overestimated. They should have a public website where one can mark stores that sell produce, helping keep the data up to date. Also, they define in some cases a food desert as more than 0.5 miles from a grocery store. Really? Taking a bus/walking 0.5 miles is that difficult?

sunshine

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #40 on: October 25, 2015, 07:26:50 AM »
Yeah, pick it apart all you want, but the author basically does that for you, if you get all the way to the end. And then there's this:

"That’s what makes being poor so tough. Sure, you can make choices that lighten the load on yourself, but the margin of error is much thinner. Meanwhile, the amount of extra work you have to do just to break even is much higher. You could spend tens of hours each week trying to optimize every dime in your budget, just to have one mistake ruin you for a month.

...

When the punishment for making a mistake or having an accident is so harsh, it can make it nearly impossible for even the hardest working people to break out of the cycle of poverty."

There is a massive difference between living on $25,000 because you can and want to and living on $25,000 because you have to. I have less cash flow than I'd necessarily like, and it looks like my margin of error is pretty small, but I have a lot of backup resources--including a lot of intangibles, like backup people--and I can shift my budget categories in a heartbeat if I have to. A sudden $2000 bill for something, predictable or otherwise, for me basically means I don't finish filling my Roth IRA for 2015 until just before the deadline next spring. The same bill for someone else is a trip into the red--with extra fees or interest to boot--that takes months to dig out of.

From personal experience I know the difference between not much extra money and no extra money (though fortunately not poverty, at least not as an adult), and I have only compassion for people making the only decision they can at the time to get to another day.

You Make an excellent point. As a family that broke out of poverty I can say there is a huge difference. I understand where a lot of this article is coming from. Not everyone hits the right resources or knowledge  to break out. Getting a book club offer in the mail  and joining to read the Tighwad Gazette books was a life changer for us.  I will never ever forget once I learned to budget and realizing we had $12 for groceries for 2 weeks. The kid got the most balanced we could do and Dh and I ate oatmeal and nothing but oatmeal and water for 2 weeks. We had to do this several times to start building things and getting it right. I never knew you could buy bulk anything before that point.   Had I not stumbled upon that book club offer all those years ago who knows when the light bulb would have went off.  Most of the salaries on this forum are huge compared to ours. However learning let us get in a nice secure position.

I have a friend in this cycle  because of bad decisions and basic not knowing how to budget etc. They are not living on poverty wages but it is the same cycle. I am beyond thrilled and blessed that her family is letting me teach them how to break the cycle. I feel really blessed that that crazy book club offer Came across my path years ago.  Basic financial knowledge and frugality is not common knowledge for many people. I think too many of us assume it is.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2015, 07:44:00 AM by sunshine »

Abe

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #41 on: October 25, 2015, 10:37:40 AM »
I walk around 4 miles a day (not including running, use separate shoes for that) and stand for around 10 hours at work. I wear through the actual soles of the shoes in about a year. The except are SAS shoes, they last for at least 3 years before needing new soles.

MgoSam

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #42 on: October 25, 2015, 07:12:07 PM »
I walk around 4 miles a day (not including running, use separate shoes for that) and stand for around 10 hours at work. I wear through the actual soles of the shoes in about a year. The except are SAS shoes, they last for at least 3 years before needing new soles.

I"m assuming you are a male. I stand all day at work (standing desk) and walk a lot and am needing to get new shoes. Any recommendations? I currently wear tennis shoes, so they don't need to be dress shoes.

partgypsy

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #43 on: October 26, 2015, 08:15:13 AM »
"Plus, my shoes wore through every three months from walking on pavement all day. And not just “they look ratty”—my toes were literally touching burning pavement a few months after getting new shoes."

BULL CRAP!

You can go to Payless and buy a cheap $20-25 pair of crap shoes, and you couldn't possibly "wear through" them in "a few months."  Hell, you couldn't "wear through them" in 20 years.  They might have holes in the top, they might look like crap, but you won't "wear through them" even if you run a marathon every day.  Even cheap shoes have thick, rubber soles.  You could wear them for years and never wear through them.

I dare say most of you have NEVER "worn through" a pair of shoes (unless you are aged 80+ and remember the days when shoes had thin, leather soles).

Not true. I have worn through multiple shoes and it doesn't take 20 years (maybe 1-3years depending on softness/design of sole). Typically what happens is the soles develop deep cracks. When it is wet/rainy your feet get wet at which point they are useless. Also have worn a hole in a pair of favorite shoes but again the sole was on the soft side. Also most shoes the way they are designed, cannot replace the sole, so into the trash they go.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #44 on: October 26, 2015, 09:51:07 AM »
"Plus, my shoes wore through every three months from walking on pavement all day. And not just “they look ratty”—my toes were literally touching burning pavement a few months after getting new shoes."

BULL CRAP!

You can go to Payless and buy a cheap $20-25 pair of crap shoes, and you couldn't possibly "wear through" them in "a few months."  Hell, you couldn't "wear through them" in 20 years.  They might have holes in the top, they might look like crap, but you won't "wear through them" even if you run a marathon every day.  Even cheap shoes have thick, rubber soles.  You could wear them for years and never wear through them.

I dare say most of you have NEVER "worn through" a pair of shoes (unless you are aged 80+ and remember the days when shoes had thin, leather soles).

Not true. I have worn through multiple shoes and it doesn't take 20 years (maybe 1-3years depending on softness/design of sole). Typically what happens is the soles develop deep cracks. When it is wet/rainy your feet get wet at which point they are useless. Also have worn a hole in a pair of favorite shoes but again the sole was on the soft side. Also most shoes the way they are designed, cannot replace the sole, so into the trash they go.

Or the gravel tears through the soles. Or the soles separate completely from the uppers and simply fall off. I've worn through several pairs of shoes. The kind of shoe needed, and the terrain, are two important factors. If you have to walk through water at all, it's going to be a challenge.

Overall, I don't mind taking my leather soled dress shoes in to have the soles replaced every year or two. It costs less than a pair of ill-fitting disposable shoes from SquallMart.

teadirt

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #45 on: October 26, 2015, 09:53:27 AM »
"Plus, my shoes wore through every three months from walking on pavement all day. And not just “they look ratty”—my toes were literally touching burning pavement a few months after getting new shoes."

BULL CRAP!

You can go to Payless and buy a cheap $20-25 pair of crap shoes, and you couldn't possibly "wear through" them in "a few months."  Hell, you couldn't "wear through them" in 20 years.  They might have holes in the top, they might look like crap, but you won't "wear through them" even if you run a marathon every day.  Even cheap shoes have thick, rubber soles.  You could wear them for years and never wear through them.

I dare say most of you have NEVER "worn through" a pair of shoes (unless you are aged 80+ and remember the days when shoes had thin, leather soles).

Also interested in which particular shoes you are buying. I wear through the soles on $30-$40 pairs of sketchers tennis shoes in 6-10 months. Of course, when I say "wear through" I mean "wear 98% through" because I get new shoes before my socks literally touch asphalt.

BlueMR2

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #46 on: October 26, 2015, 09:57:38 AM »
"That’s what makes being poor so tough. Sure, you can make choices that lighten the load on yourself, but the margin of error is much thinner. Meanwhile, the amount of extra work you have to do just to break even is much higher. You could spend tens of hours each week trying to optimize every dime in your budget, just to have one mistake ruin you for a month.

That part is true.  Example:  This weekend we got in the car to go to Wally world for our once a month big shopping trip.  We took our own fabric bags.  However, when bagging them up, my wife stuck all our soaps into a plastic bag.  I was unaware of that and gathered up all the fabric bags and put them in the car...  So, all our soap got left behind at the store.  Since we're pretty well off, a few dollars in wear and tear on the car to run back to the store and get them wasn't a big deal.  Even if we hadn't noticed soon enough to retrieve them, the $20 wouldn't kill us.

Now, take someone living on the edge.  Transportation may be hard to arrange to get back.  If they had to walk the few miles someone else may well have taken their stuff by the time they get back.  That $20 hit could be really hard to absorb too.

marcela

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #47 on: October 26, 2015, 10:38:21 AM »
So much truth the the cost of living on the margins. No matter how much we coupon/buy groceries on sale, it doesn't change the fact that I just got a $1000 repair bill for my car (airbag issue). Luckily this isn't a problem for us, we just won't put as much into savings this month, but if we were in a different financial situation this could be the thing that puts us over the edge. If you we had had to scrimp and save and struggle so hard to build up that $1000 cushion and see it get completely wiped away by one stroke of bad luck, it would be incredibly disheartening.

rocketpj

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #48 on: October 26, 2015, 12:11:19 PM »
Poverty sucks.  Growing up poor sucks.  i have particular empathy for kids who grow up poor and/or marginalized and end up on the streets with no life skills.  Balance a bank account?  They don't even know how to do a load of laundry, and don't have the cash for a laundromat anyway.  I used to work with homeless youths in Vancouver, and those kids are truly screwed over by everything - starting behind a large and hostile series of 8-balls.

That is one extreme.  There are many at almost every other spot on the bell curve who need to whine less and focus more, but as a society we sure could do a lot better at teaching financial literacy.  And we could also do a lot to stop predatory lending and exploitation of the poor.

plainjane

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Re: I can't afford to be poor!!
« Reply #49 on: October 27, 2015, 07:14:17 AM »
So much truth the the cost of living on the margins.

I was reading a fascinating article in a trade magazine the other day where the argument was that grocery stores shouldn't discount so much, because the people who really take advantage are the ones who could afford to pay more.  But instead we stock up when it's on sale because we have the cashflow (and storage) to do it.  And the people who actually live close to the bone are only buying one because they're out, so they're less able to wait until the sale.