Still, despite the hand to mouth living, he has never, and probably will never know what it is like to truly go without necessities in life. Maslovs hierarchy of needs will have that stable base in place. He and others in similar income brackets and above average costs in certain areas, might juggle bills, dine creatively, and make due mending or patching as needed to get to the next paycheck, but if things became truly dire, he has a safety net of family and friends. He is living the trade off of picking a career and trying to make a go of It in a highly competitive and inconsistent paying work field of the arts. He has three roommates, no furniture and an 11 year old car that he cares for like a baby as he has no resources for a new one. If he had to, he could pack the bulk of his belongs, minus his bed, and relocate to wherever work is available. He is young, single, and has no obligations to anyone but himself. and of course Sallie Mae.
I've been reading a lot reading a lot of blogs lately about personal financing, and stretching dollars to not just save for vacations, new houses, and retirement, but stretching dollars to survive. Some are the result of living a more indulgent life of plenty in younger and more lucrative days, but now facing a mountain of debt. They blog about how they have now embraced the art and science of frugality, after digging themselves in pretty deep and are struggling to get out. Others are the result of health crisis or job loss or reduction when the job already barely covered the bills.They have children and spouses that they are supporting, and are looking for anyway to stretch the money coming in, and finding ways to increase those dollars if only pennies at a time. Regardless of how the blogger got to the situation they are in, it is so commendable that they are sharing their journey, giving very sound and realistic advice, even if the advice is just couched within their story.
One thing in common amongst these bloggers is a spirit of hope. Sure, mistakes may have been made by some, and yes, children are expensive to raise, but despite the obstacles, the bad days, and the still unexpected expenses, they are not ostriches and working whatever magic they have to get to tomorrow. I am very appreciative of the "haves' in my life, and so am striving to live in ways that will allow me to live smartly-not wasteful, give back, donate generously when I can, but also be a safety net to my love ones should it be needed. I was not smarter than any of these other bloggers, as I too made spending mistakes younger, and had unforeseen financial knocks that could have easily pushed our financial circumstances to the bottom most limits had it not been for some much needed intervention in the form of a job lead, a loan, and timely gifts.
Poor bashing has seem to come back in style. When the recession hit, it seemed like people were in it together, sharing ways to save money, looking out for each other a bit more. That seems to have changed again, or maybe I am just more tuned to these discouraging behaviors. You only need to read a sensationalized account of a "welfare queen" to read the hateful and judgmental messages on many social media threads that suggest the most heinous of hateful "solutions" to what is portrayed as the abuse of taxpayer dollars. What the bashers often fail to take in is that one, these are over the top anomalies cultivated without the full context to inspire anger against the poor and two, anyone of us or our family members could be in the same situation. In many cases, the difference between being poor and not poor, are the safety nets a person has in their life. If those around you are equally struggling, there is no safety net of support, and the hole just gets wider.While this is my not so humble opinion, there are a slew of studies related to generational and geographical poverty. UC Davis has a center that studies wide causation of poverty. What about you? Could you survive if your income fell in the poverty range below? What would you do, or have you done to make ends meet in the worst of times?
2015 Federal Poverty Guidelines