What Do Most People Not Understand About Being Poor? Here’s What Folks Said.

I’ve been broke at various times in my life, but I always knew that if I needed to borrow some money, I could turn to a family member.

So I don’t REALLY know what it’s like to live in poverty.

And if you haven’t been, neither do you.

What do most people not understand about being poor?

AskReddit users shared their thoughts.

1. Exhaustion.

“Being poor is exhausting. It’s draining. Mentally. Physically. It’s just exhausting.

Everyone needs a win sometimes. Sometimes that win is finding a way to just afford a meal out or a movie. Yeah, you do have bills to pay and s**t to do. But everyone needs a breath of fresh air sometimes.

A struggle needs a break every so often.”

2. Always behind.

“There’s never enough-of anything, everything is last minute. Always behind on everything – bills, haircuts, car repairs, house repairs.

Not taking someone up on an invite because you can’t afford to bring a decent bottle of wine, I could go on and on, just thinking about it makes me tired.

I was laid off for 10 months during COVID, and was slowly sliding into poverty I was quietly terrified most of the time.”

3. Hustling.

“Everything is a hustle. Every day is a hustle.

What do I have to do to make it to the next thing? This payday loan is going to be expensive and difficult to pay back but at least I can get breakfast for the kids now.

It takes 2-3 times longer to get anywhere on the bus than in your own car. That means leaving for work earlier, coming home later. In many places, the buses don’t run as often on the weekends. Grocery shopping on the bus means just getting what you can carry which means going morf often which means more time wasted waiting.

If you have a bank account, you probably have to pay a monthly fee because your balance is too low. If you overdraft, they charge your broke ass another $35 even though they can see you ain’t got s**t.”

4. Sad.

“When your parents are lying to you saying they’re full when they’re not so you can have the last bite.”

5. Afraid.

“The fear. Of something unexpected you haven’t budgeted for. Of a knock at the door from a debt collector.

Having to choose which of your children can eat more than once today.

Having to choose which days you go hungry so your children can eat at all.”

6. A big one.

“I am going to the dentist today. I haven’t been in about a year. I’ve got stuff that should have been done ages ago, but I just didn’t have the money.

Now I’ve got a decent income and have saved a bit, I can go without too much worry, but the damage is much worse than if I just went regularly. With that, the cost of the procedure will be higher. Six months ago, I couldn’t have afforded the x-ray they do at the start of the exam, let alone a procedure.

I’m just lucky nothing went too wrong in that time. I looked at insurance. Basically nothing but minor stuff is covered by anyone. One bad tooth infection/abscess and I would have been totally wiped out.”

7. Never a good sign.

“They should rename the check engine light.

It’s the “ you’re going to be hungry” light.”

8. No time.

“It takes up all of your time.

I remember not being able to stock up on necessities. So I would have to run to the store a lot more frequently. I couldn’t afford a car so I would either have to bus or walk.

All of these little things eat up so much time.”

9. Don’t answer the door.

“My mom would always skulk around the house anytime there was a knock at the door.

She’d tell me they were debt collectors but since we never answered the door I have no idea if that was even true.

What this did though was make it impossible for me to answer the door as an adult.”

10. Keeps adding up.

“Everything you buy has interest attached to it, because you’re NOT using that money to pay off debts that you definitely have.”

11. Try to stay healthy.

“Don’t forget the fear of going to the doctor – even a free one – and being diagnosed with an expensive-to-treat illness.”

12. Hard luck.

“Years ago I lost my job, my apartment and car. I lived in a suburb of Dallas with only one bus line into town.

Luckily I had a place to stay with my then 5 year old daughter. When I got on food stamps and back you had to go to one office by bus to pick up your voucher, then take a bus to a different part of town to get the actual stamps, then a bus to the grocery store and then walk 3/4 of a mile back home.

All if the offices were at least a 20 minute walk from the bus stops and there was always a long line. At the end of the day I’d feel exhausted and demoralized. Today that process is streamlined with EBT cards that get reloaded.

But if I was a single mom on stamps today, I’d be required to spend the day at the Workforce office and have to figure out transportation and childcare so I can sit up there waiting to apply for jobs.”

What are some more things most people don’t understand about being poor?

Talk to us in the comments and let us know.

Thanks a lot!