Lately I have been reading a few (okay more than a few) articles on Facebook, MSN, and various money sites that talk about how not to be poor. As if anyone really wants to struggle from one day to the next, never knowing if they will be able to pay a bill, or eat.
Many of the ideas they come up with are, well good if in fact a person can afford to do some of them. If you are one of the working poor, there is no money left over to move to a less expensive city and hey paying under $600.00 US a month for an apartment, including utilities seems a bit far fetched (that cost would work out to be around $1,440.00 Canadian...Kris has a one bedroom apartment that costs $200.00 more a month with utilities). I suppose I could be wrong, after all I really don't know rental prices in the States.
Most of the articles go through the regular frugal things we did when we first started out. You know coupon clipping, only buying groceries on sale, buying from second hand stores, using public transport or buying a used bike to get back and forth to work, mending your clothing. Just the usual stretching your money as far as possible.
What these articles don't take into account is having medical problems, riding a bike in winter is not advisable, living on ramen (yes one article said ramen had enough nutritional value that you needed nothing else), and if you are raising a family, living in a one bedroom apartment might just not work.
Working at a job that only pays minimum wage does not give you much leeway in how much money you have to work with. Government cut backs and cost of living going up and up are just two of the ways a persons money is eaten up. Then of course add in taxes and what someone brings home could end up being negligible.
My family has been lucky, sure there were times we lived pay cheque to pay cheque when we first started out. Living near family sure helped when Harvey was laid off from the job he had when we first married. His parents farmed, raised chickens and cattle so we were lucky enough to get meat, eggs, and poultry during this time for very little. We had a garden that supplied our veggies and his mom had fruit trees that she allowed us to plunder to our hearts content. While we had very little at that time, we had enough to get by until something opened up.
However, there are lots of people who aren't that lucky, who have no one to rely on, and who live lives of "quiet desperation". This is why I always take food to the food bank, donations to the Salvation Army, and spend money at our church rummage sale. It is my way of saying "I am here, I will help."
Everybody have a wonderful evening.