Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How to be "poor" in America, and survive

And maybe even thrive. I've been listening to some tenants make excuses as to why they can't pay their full amount of rent. Really it's just excuse making, weasel words, to try to get some extra money for Christmas. I've lived on minimum wage before, because I HAD to, and I don't see why other people can't do the same when they must:

How to Live on Minimum Wage
It is possible to live on minimum wage.[1] For most people, however, it's not likely to be very much fun. Whether you're forced to live in this situation, or you want to know that it's an option, this article will show you how it can be done, assuming you bring home $1000 USD a month after taxes. [...]

It offers heaps of advice, and the advice is very good. The thing is, I've DONE most of this stuff, still do some of it. So why can't other people?

One tenant told me she couldn't pay all her rent, because she needed money for food. Why can't she do this:

[...] # Find the free stuff. In towns of any size, there are resources available for the impoverished, from free dinners at churches to food giveaways to soup kitchens. Look around for the free stuff and use it – it’s there for everyone to utilize. When you must spend money, be as frugal as possible. Ramen is very cheap, filling, and full of carbs, for example.

# Be Humble. Pride often keeps people from walking into a soup kitchen. Don’t let it. That kind of pride is an obstacle ground into you by a life in a consumerist society. People who are there to help you want to help you stand on your own two feet – give them that opportunity. Look for every opportunity to help you with your situation, from consulting to WIC to Medicaid to welfare. If you don’t know where to start, start off by asking a pastor or a clergyman for help. [...]

This town is full of charities offering such help. There is a soup kitchen offering free meals within walking distance. But she would rather try to to make ME feel like a parasite for asking her to pay what she agreed to when she moved it. And eating in a soup kitchen won't leave her with spending money to buy junk at Walmart.

I'm tempted to print the whole article for her, but she would probably say she's too depressed to read it, and then complain that I hurt her feelings by asking her to. Never mind how I feel when people try to use me as their bank by asking for credit.

I'm not in the loan business. Why can't people give more thought to managing their finances, and living within their means? I've done it, and I don't see why other people can't learn to do it too. Our accountant says that our business is one of the few among her clients that is not using credit to keep their heads above water. When you have to live on credit, you aren't living within your means. I can understand it as a temporary measure in an emergency, but it's not meant to be a way of life.

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