“When you’re really poor, everything you see is something you can’t have.”
-Patrick Duncan, late anti-apartheid activist
In the United States, poverty is, in most cases, eating Ramen Noodles, goes without HBO and has to take public transportation among other things. I am not trying to make light of those who are in desperate financial crisis, especially the children who are caught in the middle, but even some of the most poor among us would be considered well off by the worlds truly poor. For example, one study by the Heritage Foundation found overall, the typical American defined as poor by the U.S. government has a car, air conditioning, a refrigerator, a stove, a clothes washer and dryer, and a microwave. He/she has two color televisions, cable or satellite TV reception, a VCR or DVD player, and a stereo. He is able to obtain medical care. His home is in good repair and is not overcrowded. Regardless, here is a quick survival guide to those who are trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents.
First, cut out any unnecessary spending and this includes alcohol and cigarettes. For example, if you gross $17,000.00 a year and smoke a pack of cigarettes a day at $3.50 a day this turns out to be $1,277.50 a year or over 13% of your gross income a year, a hefty sum for someone who is in poverty. Also, fast food should be kept to a minimum as the value to cost ratio when compared to what you could get at a grocery store makes it a no contest as to where you will get the most for your money…unless you work at a fast food joint.
Secondly, if you don’t have a job…get one. Sounds simple enough but many people decide to try and benefit from every entitlement program available although they are able bodied to work.
Any job provides income and allows for money to be coming in which is more than zero which is the amount coming in if you are not working.
Next, hitting on the above paragraph, look into assistance programs. There are many assistance programs out there designed to temporarily help those in need. You can usually find them online and if you don’t have access to the internet at home (and you shouldn’t if you fall under poverty line) then go and look up the info at your local library where internet access is often available to the public, free of charge. Remember though, these programs are supposed to be temporary so try and not take advantage of them for any longer than you need them.
In ending, this article is meant for those struggling from day to day who are not addicted to a substance or have mental issues as these people need professional help not info from an article. In closing, just be glad you are considered poor in the US and not in India, Somalia or one of the other 70+ nations whose citizens have no government safety net and lack the most basic essentials such as access to clean water…I would guess that even the even the poorest in the United States have that.