I saw a social media post today entitled “Financial Advice doesn’t work when your Poor.” I started to type this comment; however, it seemed a bit too preachy and judgey for a Facebook reply, so I thought I’d include it here.
From what I see in the poor today, they still need a lot of financial advice. We lived below the poverty level for the first 15 years or more of our marriage, yet chose to stay off of public assistance after the first year.
Here are a few ways we saved money that I believe people today need to learn:
1. We only had a phone when we could afford it (often we didn’t – and I don’t mean a cell phone – those didn’t exist – we didn’t have a land line.)
2. We didn’t have cable or internet
3. We didn’t smoke or drink
4. We limited our eating out to a splurge once or twice a month at McDonalds or Pizza Hut (one pizza for the whole family) – we never ever ate at a place like the Roadhouse.
5. We never took a vacation
6. We never had new furniture
7. We didn’t have a car payment. We drove junk. and when we did get a car payment, it was minimal
8. We didn’t buy much for Christmas or Birthdays and everything we bought was very practical – PJ’s – clothes – one toy max (and we didn’t apply for assistance from help organizations – not that I think less of those who do, but by just living within our means we taught our children a great lesson)
9. School supplies were 10 cent notebooks, folders and bulk pens and pencils. When we got a bit more money each child got one new pair of pants and one new shirt.
10. We went to work everyday no matter how we felt or what else was going on in our lives.
11. Our kids didn’t play sports (maybe you think that’s not fair, but teaching your children to live within their means is the second greatest lesson they’ll learn)
I see too many folks who get their electric turned off yet they spend that amount or more on cell phones and internet. The library has free internet.
I talk to people who don’t have enough money, but they call off work once a week. Employers can’t find employees because they can’t pass the drug tests.
I know there are those living in poverty who are struggling and really are trying, but the majority aren’t. They need financial advice . . . not on how to set up a 401K or a savings account, but how to live within their means, how to cook nutritious meals on a budget and how to keep bettering themselves by showing up for work and going above and beyond to make an impression.