Two weeks into living as “poor” and I’m already tired. I have a newfound respect for those living on minimum wage because being on the low end of life is not easy. At all. And I don’t think people realize this fact. With another five and a half months to go I’m learning a whole new skill set.
If you’ve ever read the amazing article “Poor People don’t plan long-term. We’ll just get our hearts broken” by Linda Tirado you’ll understand a little better. True, it is indeed one perspective and I’m sure many don’t agree but she points out many important factors that I tried to play into my life as I did research.
- No car. Check. Ok so I never had a car as I hate driving but…when you’re poor, you can’t afford one.
- Second job. Check. I was lucky the last few years to pick up a second (optional) job right across the street from me, but now I looked at it from a realistic view. Very few people I know got handed jobs to work at colleges and engineering firms, so I took a job that paid less on the other side of the city. It’s been a good swift kick into reality about how other people live their lives when they’re not so privileged
- Severe reduction of budget. Check. I now live on $1000 a month with over half going over to housing. It is estimated that you should spend around 30% on housing but in today’s society that rule is useless. Most people spend much more on that as rent continues to rise. Many people I know spend over 50% alone on housing.
- There are no luxuries. Check. Being poor means a severe reduction is the small things that people take for granted. The Starbucks coffee (which I never drink anyways), the new clothing (also…) and going out with your friends on a regular basis. Sure I see my friends still but now that I work more, I’m tired at the end of the week and have other stuff to do that relates back to living.
Even with those four changes (big or small depending on how you see it) this is a huge impact and currently not for the better. However, I always think that the first month is the hardest and then after that things will become easier. And with ease comes learning more things as I focus on what life is like on the other side.
And so many more questions. So many.