10 Unwritten Rules of Being Poor You’ll Only Know If You’ve Had Financial Struggles – New Trader U

When you’ve experienced financial hardship, you quickly learn that there are countless unwritten rules for surviving poverty. These rules are not taught in school or discussed in polite society, but they are essential to overcoming the challenges of poverty.

If you have financial difficulties, you know these rules very well. I experienced it all in the early stages of my life, both growing up and starting out on my own. These are the rules of being poor that you only know if you’ve been there yourself.

10 unwritten rules of being poor

Here are ten unwritten rules of being poor that you only understand if you’ve had financial struggles:

  1. Always prioritize bills: Ensuring payment of essential bills on time is essential to avoid late fees and service disconnection.
  2. The extent of food: Making meals last longer by using cheap ingredients and leftovers creatively.
  3. Drawing on community resources: Know where to find food banks, free clinics and other community support services.
  4. Everything second hand: Buying used clothes, furniture and appliances or getting them through donation programs.
  5. Making and mending: Repair items yourself instead of replacing them, be it clothing, furniture or household items.
  6. DIY solutions: Do things yourself, from home repairs to car maintenance, to save money.
  7. Creative transportation: Using public transport, carpooling or cycling as cheaper alternatives to owning and maintaining a car.
  8. Budgeting down to the penny: Knowing exactly how much money you have and where every penny goes.
  9. Sacrificing personal desires: Prioritizing needs over wants, often sacrificing personal desires and social activities.
  10. Living with uncertainty: Constantly dealing with the stress and anxiety of financial instability, not knowing if you can cover future emergency expenses.

Keep reading for a deeper look at each of the unwritten rules people learn through financial hardship.

Always prioritize the bills: Keeping the lights on and a roof over your head

When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, prioritizing essential bills is a constant act of juggling. You learn to carefully manage due dates, often making tough decisions about which bills to pay first. Hand to mouth is the way of life of the working poor who live paycheck to paycheck.

Late fees and the threat of disconnection or eviction loom large, adding additional stress to an already challenging situation. You become an expert at negotiating with utility companies, landlords and creditors, always looking for a way to keep the lights on and a roof over your head.

Lasting food: Making sustainable meals with creativity and resourcefulness

Food is one of the most important expenses for poor people, and keeping meals sustainable is an essential skill. You learn to buy ingredients in bulk when possible, freeze leftovers and reuse them in new dishes.

Creativity becomes critical as you find ways to turn inexpensive staples like rice, beans, and pasta into flavorful meals. Learning to cook from scratch saves money and provides a sense of pride and accomplishment in the kitchen.

Leaning on community resources: Finding support in difficult times

Knowing where to turn for help is essential when you are struggling financially. Community resources such as food banks, free clinics and housing assistance programs can provide a lifeline in difficult times.

However, navigating these programs’ complex application processes and eligibility requirements can be daunting. It takes humility and persistence to ask for help, but learning to lean on your community can make all the difference in getting you through a difficult time.

Second Hand Everything: Embracing Used Items

When money is tight, buying brand new items is often out of the question. Embracing second-hand shopping and accepting donations becomes a way of life. Consignment stores, consignment shops, and online marketplaces become favorite destinations for clothing, furniture, and housewares.

Rewards from friends and family are gratefully accepted and you learn to appreciate the value of pre-loved items. Not only does buying second hand save money, it’s also an environmentally friendly choice.

Making and improving: The art of repair instead of replacement

Low income people learn the art of making and repairing in a world of disposable goods. When something breaks, their first instinct is to find a way to fix it instead of replacing it.

They learn to open holes in clothing, repair broken appliances, and find creative solutions to extend the life of their possessions. This self-sufficiency saves money and instills a sense of pride and accomplishment.

DIY Solutions: Be Your Own Artist to Save Money

When you can’t afford to hire professionals for home repairs or maintenance, learn to become your own handyman. YouTube tutorials and online forums become invaluable resources for learning new skills.

You borrow tools from friends and neighbors and take on projects that may seem daunting at first. The satisfaction of completing a DIY project not only saves money, but also boosts your confidence and self-esteem.

Creative Transportation: Navigating the Car-Free World

For many poor people, owning a car is a luxury they cannot afford. Instead, you learn to navigate the world using alternative transportation methods, mastering public transit schedules, owning a bike, and embracing the benefits of walking.

While relying on these methods can be time-consuming and challenging, they also provide opportunities for exercise and new ways to explore your community.

Budgeting to the penny: Mastering the science of financial planning

When every penny counts, budgeting becomes a science. You learn to track every expense, no matter how small, and plan for future bills and unexpected costs.

Creating detailed spreadsheets or using budgeting apps becomes second nature, and you find peace of mind knowing exactly where your money is going. This level of financial awareness is a skill that will serve you well throughout your life, even as your financial situation improves.

Sacrificing personal desires: Putting needs before wants

One of the most challenging aspects of living in poverty is the constant prioritization of needs over wants. You learn to say no to social outings, delay gratification, and find joy in simple pleasures.

This constant self-sacrifice can be emotionally draining, but it also builds resilience and strength of character. You learn to appreciate the little things in life and find satisfaction in what you have instead of constantly wanting more.

Living with uncertainty: Coping with the ongoing stress of financial instability

Perhaps the most significant unwritten rule of being poor is learning to live with the constant stress and anxiety of financial instability. The fear of unexpected expenses, such as a car repair or medical bill, can be overwhelming.

Developing coping mechanisms and creating a support network are essential to maintaining mental health. Celebrating small victories, such as paying off a debt or saving a small amount of money, can help people find hope and motivation in the face of ongoing challenges.

CONCLUSION

Living in poverty shapes you in profound ways. The unwritten rules you learn along the way are a testament to your resilience, creativity and strength. While the challenges of being poor are important, they also offer opportunities for growth, empathy, and connection with others who have faced similar struggles.

By understanding these unwritten rules, we can work toward greater understanding and support for those living in poverty or use them ourselves at various stages of our economic journey.

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