5 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Poor

This AWESOME piece of writing is by John Cheese, originally publiched on cracked.com.

#5. You Get Charged for Using Your Own Money

McDonalds jobs…Let’s say you’re running late for work and hurriedly stop to get gas, paying with a bank card. In your haste you forget to write the $55 down (gas being $4 a gallon, you know). So while you spent the last week until payday thinking you had $50 in your account to absorb minor purchases, you actually were $5 in the red.

The bank can hit you with a $35 fine for every charge that comes in while you are in minus territory. The bank will not tell you they charged you this money. You will have no idea anything is wrong.

#4. There is an Industry That Profits by Keeping You Poor

Think you’re too smart to ever use one of those shady “payday loan” places? Well, you should know that nobody thinks they’re a good deal.

Say the gas bill is a month past due, and they’re threatening to turn it off (if so, it’s $150 to get it reconnected). […]That is when you find yourself swallowing your pride and heading to the payday loan place.

#3. No Credit Can be Just as Damaging as Bad Credit

…you’d think that the next step up from being overdue on a bunch of bills would be to have no bills at all. Don’t buy it if you can’t afford it, right?

It took me six months to find a place to rent after applying for every property that appeared in the paper across five towns. I was denied each time. It was my lack of credit due to years of me and lenders deciding to just stay out of each other’s hair

#2. Your Next Expensive Disaster is Always Around the Corner

Shit happens, always at the exact worst time. A tire blows on my car and, without a spare, it instantly becomes a paperweight. There’s $80 for a new tire, $50 for a tow.

You get the same domino effect with sudden financial disasters as you do with the bank fees. For instance, I worked a shitty service industry job, which meant I got paid by the hour, and didn’t get paid unless I showed up — no paid time off. But I couldn’t physically get to work because of the goddamned flat tire. It’s a rural area, no subway or buses. So it’s double penetration — not just lost work time, but lost time that is spent paying for a tow and a tire. And if I didn’t happen to have that money sitting around, it meant waiting until payday, and missing work until then.
Which meant my next paycheck would be short. By the time I get it fixed and add in the missed work time, that $80 tire just turned into a $250 enema. That’s life in a world with no financial margin for error.

#1.You’re Always in Survival Mode

There’s a phrase in the working world that drives me crazy. One guy says, “The money’s not great, but I love my job.” And somebody responds, “Hey, happiness is all that really matters.”
To be clear, that’s probably true for people at a certain level of income.
But down here, at this level, you take what you can fucking get. Fantasies about holding out for that dream job will ruin you.

A huge chunk of this economy runs on shitty jobs now.

These service jobs pay hourly, they give you little or nothing in terms of benefits and there is nothing in the way of security even from week to week — your hours could get cut at any time, for any reason. Sure, you can take a second part-time job. Though, that’s assuming you can find one that works around your primary job’s schedule — just mentioning that you have another job in an interview is often enough to stop that interview mid-sentence. Why hire you when there are 30 guys in line behind you with completely free schedules?

Like that? These are just snips of the original thing (which is AWESOME). The full post has hillarious pictures (and some pretty adult language).

Read full post here: http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-things-nobody-tells-you-about-being-poor

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2 thoughts on “5 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Poor”

  1. There are several interesting points here that make differences between US and BG:

    1. Health insurance – in Bulgaria we all have some kind of health insurance. Even the non-working and the children have some. Yes, healthcare is not very good, but is generally ok. You and your employer are obliged to pay health and several other insurances as taxes. No matter if you work on hourly wage or on regular salary.
    There are bad jobs and there are working poors, but still they have some very basic security.

    2. Credit history is not widely used in Bulgaria. Only banks loans get affected by your credit history. And generally it’s not an easy task to check someone else’s credit history.

    3. Credit cards are still not widespread, although banks do their best to make you have one. Credit cards are the worst bank product in my opinion. Usually they don’t have a dedicated account for your card, but a common account for all cards of given type. This makes it difficult to track your balance and charges. If you are very conscious and clever, you may track your buys and charges. But usually you are not able to do this and you have to pay more interest and taxes than you wished to.

  2. There are still people who are paid in cash “under the table” so not everyone has health insurance. And whatever health insurance you do have, usually covers only very basic stuff like routine examinations or maybe a blood test or two.

    Credit history is still a new thing here, and it might take a while before it’s common. That’s because there are too many fiscal operations that go unrecorded (no cash receipts, no labor contracts, even in real estate there are people who don’t have the full set of documents on their homes).

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