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Thread started 08/25/10 1:18pm

DesireeNevermi
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HAVE YOU EVER BEEN POOR????

Not homeless and living on the streets pan handling but the kind of poverty where you can't pay your utilities, can't buy new clothes, living in a ghetto/trailer park, getting government assistance kind of poor.

If any of the above have ever applied to you....were you still content?

I'm reflecting on a brief period in my childhood where I can honestly say our family was poor. My parents were divorcing and money was tighter than tight. What are your memories/experiences about being poor and are you a better person for having lived through it? Were you poor as a child or as an adult or was it both?

I'll start:

I remember mother buying food that didn't have labels on it. The cereal box just said "CEREAL", the bag of rice just said "RICE" and the gallon of milk just said "MILK" - no captain crunch, no whole milk label, no long grain/short grain - no nuttin'. I remember her coming home one day with the biggest block of orange cheese I've ever seen and it lasted about a week. Eating cheese everyday! Regular cheese sandwhiches, grilled cheese sandwhiches, cheese and crackers.

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Reply #1 posted 08/25/10 1:22pm

Nothinbutjoy

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Hubby and I lived on Kraft Mac n Cheese and bologna for 3 months. All our money went to child support/rent/utilities.

But, no, not poor like you're saying. We were broke like that because my husband would run up our phone bill to $350/month calling the kids and we lived in So.Cal so rent was HIIIIIIIGH.

...finished reading the thread lol

I remember being poor when my parents divorced. My mom worked 3 jobs to keep a roof over our head and food in the house. One of her jobs was a cocktail waitress and she'd leave her change tips in a jar that my sister and I could use as pocket change, so it was so incredibly stressful for her, but my sister and I didn't feel the brunt of it.

As an adult, my hubby & and were broke when we first got married. Our first "bed" was a pile of coats and towels on the floor. lol

Then the months of Kraft Mac n Chees & bologna.

Looking back, it was more than the child support/rent/utilities keeping us broke, but we did get through it.

What I learned was love does not equal $$.

You really need to cooperate with each other where finances are concerned.

rose

[Edited 8/25/10 13:27pm]

I'm firmly planted in denial
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Reply #2 posted 08/25/10 1:30pm

Genesia

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It's hard to say, really. There was a period in my 20s when, because of a couple years of unstable employment and subsequent underemployment, I had serious trouble paying my bills - defaulted on a student loan (which was ultimately paid), had my phone and electricity cut off a number of times, and was evading collectors on a daily basis. I ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, ramen noodles, Ragu and pasta, condensed soup. Wondered constantly how I was going to keep gas in my car.

On the other hand, the apartment I lived in was fairly decent and I had a new car (which, as it turned out, was good - because during that entire time, I never had a car repair). But the car was as much a matter of my dad being in the business as anything. It was the one way my parents helped me during all that (outside of eventually co-signing on a bank loan so I could get the student loan people off my back).

It was a very rough time. But can I say I was really poor? I don't know about that. I worked two jobs (one full-time, one part-time) trying to get all my debt paid off. Money was tight, but I was in no danger of starving. shrug

We don’t mourn artists because we knew them. We mourn them because they helped us know ourselves.
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Reply #3 posted 08/25/10 1:32pm

DesireeNevermi
nd

^ ah what a lovely lesson learned. your mom was a strong woman to not let her stress of having to make ends meet be felt by you and sister. she even managed to give you guys what could be viewed as an allowance (spare change).

I kind of find a pile of coats and towels on the floor oddly romantic when you put it in the context of a couple just starting out in married life. Heck...beds have never been affordable I don't think.

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Reply #4 posted 08/25/10 1:36pm

DesireeNevermi
nd

So Gen....financially poor but not poor in terms of family/friends/resources to help through the hard times.

I love thinking of poverty as relative but at the same time....your experiences of having to evade collectors and getting utilities cut off is very real and can be very stressful- it's an experience shared by poor people and not the financially well off. If the money isn't there...it plain isn't there. HOwever, now you are a better money manager right? You earn more so the collector is not likely to call any time soon. smile

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Reply #5 posted 08/25/10 1:39pm

Graycap23

Some of my peeps tell me that I'm poor right now...............

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Reply #6 posted 08/25/10 1:55pm

Genesia

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DesireeNevermind said:

So Gen....financially poor but not poor in terms of family/friends/resources to help through the hard times.

I love thinking of poverty as relative but at the same time....your experiences of having to evade collectors and getting utilities cut off is very real and can be very stressful- it's an experience shared by poor people and not the financially well off. If the money isn't there...it plain isn't there. HOwever, now you are a better money manager right? You earn more so the collector is not likely to call any time soon. smile

Exactly. But you know what helped me get my house in order? The fact that I disappointed so many people and was forced to ask for help. I swore that I would get myself out of that situation and never go back, if I could help it. It took a couple of tries (I still had more unstable employment after that). But I eventually got it together. My parents never had to pay one dime on the loans they co-signed. (I'd've starved before I let that happen.) Before it was all over, I did three years working a full-time job, a part-time job and finishing my degree as a part-time student.

Since I finished school (1996), my income more than doubled, I bought a home, my bills are paid and I have money in the bank.

One thing - collectors leaving you alone is not just a matter of making more money. It's a matter of being diligent about paying your bills. Which I am.

Lesson learned, indeed.

We don’t mourn artists because we knew them. We mourn them because they helped us know ourselves.
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Reply #7 posted 08/25/10 1:58pm

Nothinbutjoy

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DesireeNevermind said:

^ ah what a lovely lesson learned. your mom was a strong woman to not let her stress of having to make ends meet be felt by you and sister. she even managed to give you guys what could be viewed as an allowance (spare change).

I kind of find a pile of coats and towels on the floor oddly romantic when you put it in the context of a couple just starting out in married life. Heck...beds have never been affordable I don't think.

Yep. My mom's the greatest!!!

And yep! My hubby and I find that to be one of our fondest memories.

biggrin

I'm firmly planted in denial
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Reply #8 posted 08/25/10 2:02pm

bboy87

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I'm broke right now lol

"We may deify or demonize them but not ignore them. And we call them genius, because they are the people who change the world."
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Reply #9 posted 08/25/10 2:10pm

squirrelgrease

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I grew up on government cheese, food shelf support, lay-aways and used clothes. But really, we coped just fine for the most part. It taught me to work hard and save every penny so that I could put myself through school.

If prince.org were to be made idiot proof, someone would just invent a better idiot.
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Reply #10 posted 08/25/10 2:15pm

Genesia

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squirrelgrease said:

I grew up on government cheese, food shelf support, lay-aways and used clothes. But really, we coped just fine for the most part. It taught me to work hard and save every penny so that I could put myself through school.

Back in the day, layaway was it! Folks didn't use credit cards like they do now. I bought most of my first professional wardrobe (when I was still in college) on layaway. It made me super careful about what I bought.

I wouldn't have had half the financial problems I did in my 20s if I'd just stuck to layaway instead of getting a credit card. disbelief

We don’t mourn artists because we knew them. We mourn them because they helped us know ourselves.
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Reply #11 posted 08/25/10 2:20pm

NDRU

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Not as a kid.

I have struggled as an adult and continue to struggle, I don't feel the looming threat of serious issues because I have always had family & friends if I needed anything (not to sy I am a freeloader, but if I had an emergency I knew they were there).

So I don't have money and have not had money for a long time, but I don't feel poor, it is more of a lifestyle choice I made.

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Reply #12 posted 08/25/10 2:29pm

NONSENSE

You're only poor when you want more than you have.

You will endure.

[Edited 8/25/10 14:31pm]

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Reply #13 posted 08/25/10 2:32pm

babynoz

DesireeNevermind said:

Not homeless and living on the streets pan handling but the kind of poverty where you can't pay your utilities, can't buy new clothes, living in a ghetto/trailer park, getting government assistance kind of poor.

If any of the above have ever applied to you....were you still content?

I'm reflecting on a brief period in my childhood where I can honestly say our family was poor. My parents were divorcing and money was tighter than tight. What are your memories/experiences about being poor and are you a better person for having lived through it? Were you poor as a child or as an adult or was it both?

I'll start:

I remember mother buying food that didn't have labels on it. The cereal box just said "CEREAL", the bag of rice just said "RICE" and the gallon of milk just said "MILK" - no captain crunch, no whole milk label, no long grain/short grain - no nuttin'. I remember her coming home one day with the biggest block of orange cheese I've ever seen and it lasted about a week. Eating cheese everyday! Regular cheese sandwhiches, grilled cheese sandwhiches, cheese and crackers.

You guys had to buy that stuff? It was free from the guv'ment. We used to get it for a few months back in '67 when my mom was looking for work. We'd go downtown and they'd give us a box with all that stuff in it.

Guv'ment cheese is the best cheese in the world, lol

Prince, in you I found a kindred spirit...Rest In Paradise.
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Reply #14 posted 08/25/10 2:33pm

psychodelicide

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bboy87 said:

I'm broke right now lol

Me too, shoot, it's the story of my life.

RIP, Prince. A legend has left us, and you will be forever missed. cry

"She probably found her vagina". lol
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Reply #15 posted 08/25/10 2:38pm

NONSENSE

sad

[Edited 8/25/10 14:50pm]

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Reply #16 posted 08/25/10 2:51pm

ernestsewell

Been poor, and been broke. Lived in a shelter for a year in 1991 (which explains my lack of interest in Diamonds and Pearls). Got myself together, went to cosmetology school, and rocked the shit outta doing hair for years.

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Reply #17 posted 08/25/10 3:09pm

DesireeNevermi
nd

babynoz said:

DesireeNevermind said:

Not homeless and living on the streets pan handling but the kind of poverty where you can't pay your utilities, can't buy new clothes, living in a ghetto/trailer park, getting government assistance kind of poor.

If any of the above have ever applied to you....were you still content?

I'm reflecting on a brief period in my childhood where I can honestly say our family was poor. My parents were divorcing and money was tighter than tight. What are your memories/experiences about being poor and are you a better person for having lived through it? Were you poor as a child or as an adult or was it both?

I'll start:

I remember mother buying food that didn't have labels on it. The cereal box just said "CEREAL", the bag of rice just said "RICE" and the gallon of milk just said "MILK" - no captain crunch, no whole milk label, no long grain/short grain - no nuttin'. I remember her coming home one day with the biggest block of orange cheese I've ever seen and it lasted about a week. Eating cheese everyday! Regular cheese sandwhiches, grilled cheese sandwhiches, cheese and crackers.

You guys had to buy that stuff? It was free from the guv'ment. We used to get it for a few months back in '67 when my mom was looking for work. We'd go downtown and they'd give us a box with all that stuff in it.

Guv'ment cheese is the best cheese in the world, lol

falloff somebody else asked me that too. I don't know how young I was but I have this vision in my mind of going to the store with mum and there would be all these yellow boxes marked "rice", "crackers", "cereal" and what not.

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Reply #18 posted 08/25/10 3:33pm

BklynBabe

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I ain't mad at gubment cheese! nod I always say it's the only thing the gubment did right!!

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Reply #19 posted 08/25/10 3:37pm

ZombieKitten

as a college student I could not afford alcohol, not once. There were weeks when all I had to my name was 60 cents in the bank. It was crap.

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Reply #20 posted 08/25/10 3:38pm

DesireeNevermi
nd

ernestsewell said:

Been poor, and been broke. Lived in a shelter for a year in 1991 (which explains my lack of interest in Diamonds and Pearls). Got myself together, went to cosmetology school, and rocked the shit outta doing hair for years.

sad an actual shelter or one of those group homes? there was a group home in my old neighborhood and it looked like all the other 2 story homes with nice lawns. nice on the outside anyway.

Hey...doin' hair is a damn good living. Lord knows I pay my stylist a mint!

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Reply #21 posted 08/25/10 3:42pm

SCNDLS

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As a child: Nah, but my mom worked hard and struggled as a single parent to make sure I had a roof over my head. None of our utilities were ever turned off and we never wanted for food.

My mother and I came to the states from Panama for a two week vacation with literally one suitcase each. She decided, at the age of 40, she'd have better opportunities here. So I went from a life of comfort, with a maid and private schools, to being a latchkey kid while moms worked two jobs to put herself through school and got her bachelor's and master's. She never got child support from my dad or welfare but managed to keep us in a very comfortable home. She also taught me the value of independence and self-sufficiency by making me get a job at 14. She never bought me another stitch of clothing or paid for anything else for me after I got a job and continued working throughout high school. I've been on my hustle ever since.

As an adult: I put myself through college without ANY parental assistance, graduating at 21. I was broke in that college student way but I lived on campus and had a meal plan so I didn't have to worry about bills or food. I worked since day 1 of college so I always had SOME change in my pocket. After graduation, I moved into my first apartment, 5 years later into my first house, 7 years after that into my current home which I've been in for 4 years. In the 16 years since I've graduated from college, I've never had a utility cut off, missed a rent, mortgage, or car payment, or even bounced a check. I've often held down two jobs even when I didn't need to because I LOVE to see my bank account grow and to be able to take care of business and indulge myself however I desire. I've been very blessed that I haven't been poor in the way you describe but I've been self-sufficient most my life and never had to ask anybody for a thang.

[Edited 8/25/10 15:57pm]

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Reply #22 posted 08/25/10 3:54pm

JustErin

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Growing up things were tight when I was very young, but I wouldn't say we were poor. Plus that didn't last long, by the time my youngest brother was born we were upper middle class.

But, there was a time in my early 20 when I was on my own and poor, dirt poor. I slept on the floor at my friends' and often went a day or two with no food. It led to me getting very sick. But thankfully, that too was only temporary...about 4 months.

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Reply #23 posted 08/25/10 3:58pm

CarrieMpls

Ex-Moderator

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I was poor for a summer, but it was basically by choice. I quit my job and moved to Madison for the summer the year I turned 21. I paid my rent for the summer up front and had a little left over to live on. I had already defaulted my student loan (and wouldn't catch that up for a couple of years). I looked for work as soon as I got there, but had gotten there too late, all the summer jobs in that college town were already taken by the few students who weren't going home for the summer.

So I lived on PB&J and ramen noodles and occasionally was cooked dinner by friends or roommates who liked to share.

I sold my plasma when things got really bad and I could stretch $25-30 out for a couple of weeks at least.

I went home for my bday on a greyhound and my parents sent food back with me when I returned. I still managed to go out dancing a few times a week and had a lovely summer.

I'm glad I went through it, though. While I've never considered myself truly poor (I've never been homeless, never really gone hungry - I've always found a way) I have gone through long periods of time where I didn't have a lot. I lived paycheck to paycheck until just a couple of years ago. And while I make more now I'm happy I have the skills and creativity to live with less if I need too.

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Reply #24 posted 08/25/10 4:04pm

JowiiCoco

Yes, but luckily I was too young to remember and fortunately it didn't last too long. I'm glad I don't remember, cause if I hear those stories of when I was 2, 3 years old...let's just say it's really bad.

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Reply #25 posted 08/25/10 4:20pm

DesireeNevermi
nd

I've never had a utility cut off, missed a rent, mortgage, or car payment, or even bounced a check. I've often held down two jobs even when I didn't need to because I LOVE to see my bank account grow and to be able to take care of business and indulge myself however I desire.

This sounds like my life except for the bouncin' check. I've done that twice in my life. Once by accident and once on purpose. The on purpose time was hilarious even though it was rather silly of me. I had some bummy relative naggin' me for money to hold and other family gettin' on my case about being selfish and what not (when ur a single female with no chirren you are often deemed selfish). So anyway...I wrote him a check then moved the money to another account that wasn't linked to my checking. I was mostly tryna humiliate his broke ass. WTF I care about a $30 overdraft fee. hmph!

hah! his ass deposit that $500 check then his bank gonna take the money right back cuz the check didn't clear. Oooh wee I was on his shit list. Still am! biggrin

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Reply #26 posted 08/25/10 4:24pm

SCNDLS

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DesireeNevermind said:

I've never had a utility cut off, missed a rent, mortgage, or car payment, or even bounced a check. I've often held down two jobs even when I didn't need to because I LOVE to see my bank account grow and to be able to take care of business and indulge myself however I desire.

This sounds like my life except for the bouncin' check. I've done that twice in my life. Once by accident and once on purpose. The on purpose time was hilarious even though it was rather silly of me. I had some bummy relative naggin' me for money to hold and other family gettin' on my case about being selfish and what not (when ur a single female with no chirren you are often deemed selfish). So anyway...I wrote him a check then moved the money to another account that wasn't linked to my checking. I was mostly tryna humiliate his broke ass. WTF I care about a $30 overdraft fee. hmph!

hah! his ass deposit that $500 check then his bank gonna take the money right back cuz the check didn't clear. Oooh wee I was on his shit list. Still am! biggrin

spit Chile you are too much comedy! lol

I know what you mean about family talking shit cuz you're single, child-free, and financially stable. I'm confused as to why ya'll muhhfuckas strugglin' with TWO incomes but mad at me. whofarted

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Reply #27 posted 08/25/10 4:26pm

PunkMistress

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Some of you have gone to "Poor Camp" - which is different from being poor. lol

The difference is the horrible buildup of physical, mental and emotional stress that comes from having no, I mean no light at the end of the tunnel in terms of being able to fulfill your physical needs and material comforts. And, if you choose or are forced to apply for assistance, the degradation and abuse that gets heaped on you any time you apply and each time they make you re-certify (which means trek down to the office every three months with no car and bring every piece of paper you've ever had with your name on it while they look at you like you're a rat in the subway), which is hardly worth the pittance you eventually receive.

It's what you make it.
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Reply #28 posted 08/25/10 4:32pm

SCNDLS

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PunkMistress said:

Some of you have gone to "Poor Camp" - which is different from being poor. lol

The difference is the horrible buildup of physical, mental and emotional stress that comes from having no, I mean no light at the end of the tunnel in terms of being able to fulfill your physical needs and material comforts. And, if you choose or are forced to apply for assistance, the degradation and abuse that gets heaped on you any time you apply and each time they make you re-certify (which means trek down to the office every three months with no car and bring every piece of paper you've ever had with your name on it while they look at you like you're a rat in the subway), which is hardly worth the pittance you eventually receive.

"Poor camp" lol

What you describe is closer to what I think of as really being poor. Meaning that one doesn't have any options and is more or less mired in the cycle of poverty without any REAL tools for improving their situation on a long term basis.

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Reply #29 posted 08/25/10 4:34pm

PunkMistress

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SCNDLS said:

PunkMistress said:

Some of you have gone to "Poor Camp" - which is different from being poor. lol

The difference is the horrible buildup of physical, mental and emotional stress that comes from having no, I mean no light at the end of the tunnel in terms of being able to fulfill your physical needs and material comforts. And, if you choose or are forced to apply for assistance, the degradation and abuse that gets heaped on you any time you apply and each time they make you re-certify (which means trek down to the office every three months with no car and bring every piece of paper you've ever had with your name on it while they look at you like you're a rat in the subway), which is hardly worth the pittance you eventually receive.

"Poor camp" lol

What you describe is closer to what I think of as really being poor. Meaning that one doesn't have any options and is more or less mired in the cycle of poverty without any REAL tools for improving their situation on a long term basis.

Exactly.

There's a difference between having a period of struggle in your life, and actually knowing poverty.

Poverty sucks, and there's nothing romantic about it. Yeah, it builds character, blah blah kiss my ass. I'd trade some character for organic vegetables and air conditioning any fucking day.

It's what you make it.
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