Play along with me as I take you through a subject that is my life.
You are a single parent to a 3rd grader who just moved out of Section 8 [Government assisted] housing to a better neighborhood because you wanted your child to grow up in a safe area.
You are lower-middle class [barely] and you graduated from communitycollege with average grades. You often talk about going back to school but you simply dont have the time. You do not work minimum wage neccessarily, but you do work fulltime. You hate your job. Its thankless, grueling, you’re on your feet all night because someone to be home with your kid during the day- but you’ve worked there for quite a while now. As of now there really isnt too much you can do. You’ve still got another 10 years before jr is 18 so you tough it out and do what you gotta do for their sake.
With your full time job you bring home [after taxes] roughly $600 every two weeks [yay!].
Your rent for your 2 bedroom apartment, is $750.
Your car payment for the ride you finance in order to get to and from work is $200 a month.
Your car insurance, for the sake of argument, is also going to be $120 a month.
$1200 - $750 - $200 - $120 = $130
You have $130 left. “Well thats not so bad!”
ohoho, you’re forgetting some things.
Your electric bill is $100.
You, deciding to be frugal, do not have a house phone. You have a cheap prepaid “straight talk” plan for $50 a month.
$130 - $150 = -20.
"Oh, being $20 short isnt so bad." And you’re right, its not. But wait. There’s more.
In today’s world internet is essential. You’ll need to use it for your work, your kid for school in a couple of years, and driving all the way down to the library every time you need to check something online— is a pain. So you get a [cheap] internet plan for $35 a month.
Still not looking too bad?
Jr can ride the bus, but you’ve gotta get to work somehow. The car doesnt put gas in itself and its $5 for an all-day bus pass. You have a choice of either putting in $40 worth of gas to fill up the tank and only going where you “need” to go [$80 to fill up twice a month] or setting aside $100 a month for bus fare.
Since you have the car you’d might as well use it. there goes $80
And if you dont want social services to come knocking, you’d better get some food in that fridge. You “could” apply for foodstamps, but NOPE. That’d be LAZY. And LIVING OFF THE SYSTEM. You’re not a WELFARE QUEEN are you? After all, its not taxpayers responsibility to feed you and your kid lolamirite??? YOU decide to pick yourself up by your boostraps and live the American way. :3 [besides, since you constantly work overtime social services says you “make too much money” to qualify for government aide. All they see is the $1,200 a month. ouch.]
the kid eats lunch at school, so you really just need somethings for yourself and snacks at home.
Or you would, if the free/reduced lunch program didnt get cut. Aaah America. Taxpayer dollars are precious indeed. still, you decide to do the economical thing and get all your food from dollar tree.
You put aside $70 a month for food for you both.
You need an extra $205 a month just to break even. This is not including doctors appointments [co-pay], dentist appointments [co-pay], eye exams [co-pay], clothes.
Well now you’re in quite a bind now arent you? So you do what people do in this situation and start borrowing money. From friends, from family, and somehow you manage to scrape it together. Somehow, every month, you manage to work something out with the landlady [who charges late fees after the 5th btw]. You keep doing this. And doing this. And doing this.
You realize something isnt working.
Your kid never has any nice clothes, never has any new toys, never goes anywhere or does anything that isn’t free or cheap or on somebody else’s dollar. The other kids make fun of them. They start bullying them. You yourself arent doing too hot either. Every month its stress stress stress. You dont even get to SEE your paychecks. You dont even get to ENJOY your money, yourself, your child, or even your own life.
Something has to change.
You start looking at things and saying “what can I get rid of?”
Immediately you look at your car. Possibly the only nice/decent thing you own. You cant make the payments or the insurance so you just let them come and repo it.
This puts $115 into your wallet each month! Yay! Go you!
But now you have to take the bus for sure. So lets say you work about 21 days out of the month. $5 a day, 21 days, that’s $105.
which leaves you, after food and bills and everything else, with $10.
Which you spend on your child. Maybe on a new toy, or some ice cream or mcdonalds or just something nice for them every now and again. You start saving that $10 from each pay-period and lets just assume you always have that $10 because everything is consistent
One day, you’re out shopping, and you see something you really want.
You have not had anything nice for yourself in so. Long.
Even now you still dont even get to enjoy your money. Because something always happens. But you’re minding your own business and this thing catches your eye. Its nice. Very nice. You hesitate. You think of everything you’ve been through. You think of the struggling, the crying, the “final notices”, all the hell and fuckery and then you remember back in the day when payday used to be something you looked forward to.
You decide to get it.
And you get that, and you get it home, and you login to the internet while your kid is watching a DVD and the first thing you see is—
"how the fuck are poor people getting iphones and gucci bags? so this is what my tax dollars pay for? You know how I afford nice things? I get off my ass and I WORK for them. People like that are what’s wrong with this country."
and all of the comments are exactly like this. These are the people who dont want you to receive any sort of help whatsoever but then chastise you for being poor as if it were of your own volition.
I want you to think of how depressing it would be to do that for months. For years. Hell, think of how depressing it would be to grow up in that as a child and watching your parent do that. Believing nothing would ever get better. Struggling as hard as you can just to barely get by and opening the fridge tuesday night, seeing its empty, then going “all we gotta do is make it until friday” and fill up on water digging for change around the house.
Poor people buy nice things because they actually want to be happy sometimes too.
Which is apparently a sin. Poor people dont deserve happiness according to America.