In What Ways Is It Expensive to Be Poor? Here’s What People Had to Say.

I know that it sounds kind of puzzling, but it really is expensive to be poor.

Life can just be more difficult when every little task is a challenge and every little penny has to be stretched to the limit.

Folks on AskReddit discussed the ways that it’s actually expensive to be poor. Let’s have a look.

1. Nickeled and dimed.

“I saw a lady coming out of a laundromat, loading her baskets of clothes into a taxi (there is zero other public transport where I saw this happen and only a few taxis).

Not being able to put enough money together at one time to buy a car or a washing machine (she probably rented so this maybe wasn’t even an option) was costing her a fortune. Just being nickeled and dimed to death.”

2. What do you do?

“My car has a leaky seal on the transmission.

It’d be about $250 to replace the seal and flush the transmission. I don’t have $250, so I keep topping up the fluid and keep driving it because I’ll never get $250 if I don’t get to work.

But, in time, that’s going to destroy the transmission, which will be about $1200 to replace.”

3. All kinds of charges.

“There are late fees for everything.

Overdraft fees at the bank. Sh*tty jobs usually don’t have good healthcare plans. If you’re poor, you need credit cards just to survive, but interest rates are higher for those with low credit scores (see late fees above).

Sh*tty cars are always breaking down, and that’s expensive…”

4. Good point.

“If you’re well off, you buy 1 pair of boots for $150 and they last a lifetime.

If you’re poor, you buy boots for $30 and they last a winter.”

5. It adds up.

“Renting to own anything is really bad.

You pay 4x the value of whatever it is you’re renting to own. And if you miss a payment they repossess it. Not only that you very well might be paying 4x the new value for a used item.

And only low quality items are sold rent to own. Ashley furniture, sh*tty used cars, the cheapest big screen tvs available at wholesale. Houses might be better, but rent a center, and JD Byrider are worse than loan sharks.”

6. Quicksand.

“If you’re ever desperate enough to take out a title/payday loan you’ll discover you just stepped in financial quicksand.”

7. A great example.

“Not having in-home laundry is a great example.

Say it costs you $4 to do your laundry each week (which I think is very cheap). In 5 years you will have spent over $1,000 on laundry.

For $1,000 you can get a good washing machine that would last you through those 5 years, then another 5 years, and maybe a lot more. And that doesn’t count the time saved doing laundry at home, and any transportation costs.”

8. A big one.

“Healthcare. That’s the big one.

If you don’t have a healthcare plan, or have a sh*tty one you don’t go to the doctor unless it’s life or death.

That means small problems that could have been caught in the beginning become hugely expensive problems later on.”

9. Horrible.

“If you can’t maintain a minimum balance or don’t have a bank in your neighborhood or were raised to be suspicious of banks and don’t have a bank account, you’ve got to pay fees to cash your paychecks.

Then there are fees to buy money orders to pay your bills– or the cost of getting TO the utility office or car dealership or wherever to pay in cash.”

10. Hard to get out of it.


Basically if you’re poor you need to borrow some money to either get a house or buy food and after a while the debt keeps getting bigger and bigger.”

11. Tire problems.


Used tires cost 1/3 price and get about 20% of the life of a new tire. Also you are paying mount and balance every time, plus worry about blow outs. Even a new tire at $80 with a 30K mileage expectancy or a $100 tire at 65k mileage warranty.

Over twice the life, little more than 20% in extra charge.”

12. Caught in the system.

“The justice system.

If you can’t pay a fine, the state will make things more expensive by adding fees on top of fees on top of fees, then they will incarcerate you for not paying the inflated fees.

Then you have to pay the parole officer who is keeping an eye on you while you care unable to get a job that pays enough to pay him.”

13. All about power.

“When you have less money the power relationship is flipped in nearly every financial interaction you have.

When you have money, banks and companies compete to get access to your reliable spending, be it with low interest rates on borrowing or better deals for early payment. They have to compete because you have the option to go to someone else who will gladly take your payment history and stable income.

You’re a safe bet, so you have the luxury of choice.

When you don’t have money institutions know you have nowhere else to go. So they happily gouge you knowing agreeing to horrendous loan terms is your only option.

I teach econ and always remind my kids that commercials boasting about “no credit, low credit, no problem!” know exactly who they’re getting in the door.

People who have nowhere else to go.”

How about you?

Do you know some more ways it’s expensive to be poor?

Talk to us in the comments and let us know what you think!