Why the poor can have “things” but can’t escape poverty



More: Changed Life of the Poor: Better Off but Far Behind


I don’t get the focus on what poor people own, anyway. Capitalism has worked it’s magic on those folks who care. They clearly believe the more things you have equal wealth. Things = Worth.

Beyond the affordability of “Things” now, I find that things  are easy to come by. I mean… I can go to a yard sale where they have a huge table full of quality toys I would never be able to afford brand new and because the parent does not feel like hauling all those toys back in the house and then have to figure out what to do with them, they might say, “Take that whole box there for $3”. It happens to me all the time. And because I know I couldn’t get these things for my kids new , I will take all of it. And yes…toys. My kids have toys,ok? Kids should have toys.  I usually save these thrift scores to give as gifts.

Or at a church rummage sale, near closing time… “Fill up a whole bag for $1”. I’m all over that. Big family, growing kids… we always need clothes and what I don’t end up using, I can pass on to someone.


I have a lot of things.

Most of them are nice things. Or at least…I like them a lot (which is all I care about).   I’ve had the troll types point at things in the pictures that were public on my Facebook profile, making a list of how much the contents my living room cost or what I could sell it for. Ha! I paid $30 for my couch second hand when my old neighbors moved out. The rest was free, handmade, scavenged,yard saled, gifted,thrifted,given, Craigslisted,Freecycled, keepsaked.  That flat screen TV? Won. I’ve always come by things in these ways, even when I have some financial stability (No, I haven’t always been poor)

How much could I sell all my possessions for? Honestly, probably half a month’s rent. It’s not worth much.And who the hell wants to buy my old crap, anyway?

And this weird poor judging lookyloo phenomenon isn’t just about who is receiving government assistance. Saying you’re poor seems to invite these people to figure out all the ways you were stupid enough to get poor. Homeless people get it. Oh,man…homeless people with cars. What are they thinking ,hanging on to that one thing that gives them shelter and mobility? Ridiculous in theory that a homeless person should sell their car.I know homeless people who knew homelessness was eminent, so they used what money they had to make sure insurance was paid and that they have money for gas. The car is the backup plan.
So, OK, what happens when they sell it? They have a wad of cash toooo…. do what with now? Security deposit & first months rent for an apartment, put food in the fridge? That’s about it. Then what? People assume “Get a job” is always an option. It isn’t always. People would know this if they think outside their own privilege box & become aware of more than their own business.

Can’t pay rent. Become homeless again and have to live on the street.

While it sounds like harsh judgment, I think some of that poor judging  is really the fearful panic of that person trying to figure out if it could be them someday. They tell you to sell this and do that because they think that’s what they would do if it happens to them …and then they get combative when you explain why that’s not a feasible plan because “Shit, then what will *I* do when it happens to me?”




3 thoughts on “Why the poor can have “things” but can’t escape poverty

  1. I heart you and your blog. Seriously, you get it and know how much of a crazy struggle it is being poor. I’m so happy I found your blog. I will definitely be an avid reader!
    Also, my husband thinks I’m a nut for being the food police. I monitor levels of milk, count apples and ration food like a mofo..
    Thank you for being so open, honest and real!! ❤

  2. I really hate the “Just sell the car!” gambit. My husband bought his car brand new. Because we were rear-ended when it was less than a year old, we’d get less than $1k for it now if we sold it. That would ABOUT cover 1 month’s rent while also making it impossible for my husband to get to work.

  3. Yep. Just got that from someone recently. Went on my blog, pointed to my pictures of “Stuff” and asked how I can be so poor yet have “Stuff.” They don’t get it, but the worst part is they don’t want to learn. They choose to remain ignorant.

    The notion that poor people cannot have their old possessions (e.g. most of my stuff is from before we fell into hard times) or that they must sell everything in order to be worthy is disgusting. Yeah, my kids have toys and I have cute plates from Ikea (gift!) and we have clothes. We’re human. We deserve to be happy, too.

Say what you need to say here! If this is your first time commenting, here, comments are moderated and will only be visible after I approve it .

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s