Let's talk about poverty.
I don't mean the kind you're talking about when your friends invite you to go shopping or for a night out and you say, "No, I can't. I'm poor right now."
I don't mean the situation when you'd like to get a nicer car but decide you should just stick to the one you have because you don't have a few thousand for a down payment.
I don't mean the scene at the grocery store when you decide to get ground beef instead of steak.
I'm talking about when you have already done the weird mismatched meals from your pantry that are made up of cooked rice, stale crackers, and a can of peaches, and you've moved on to wondering what on earth you're going to feed your kids.
Or when you get an eviction notice for non-payment of rent, a shut-off notice for your utilities, and a repo notice for your car and there's absolutely nothing you can do about any of those notices because there IS NO MONEY.
If you've never been this level of broke, I'm very glad.
I have been this broke. I know that it is soul-destroying when no matter how hard you work, how many part-time jobs you squeeze in, and how much you cut, you simply don't make enough money to survive in the world today. Being part of the working poor is incredibly frustrating and discouraging
It is a sickening feeling when you're just barely hanging in there and suddenly, an unexpected expense crops up and decimates your tight budget. Maybe your child gets sick and needs a trip to the doctor and some medicine. Perhaps a family member is involved in an accident and can't work for a few weeks. It could be that your car breaks down and you need it to get back and forth to work because you live too far out in the country for public transit.
We're going to see this more and more.
As our economy continues to crumble, these are the situations going on in more homes across the country every single day. Just recently, I wrote about the fact that nearly half of the people in America have difficulty meeting their basic needs like food and housing. That financial collapse bloggers have been warning about? It's not just coming. It's here.
It's simple to believe that the people suffering like this are just lazy, or not trying, or are spending frivolously. No one wants to think that these things can occur through no fault of the individual. Why? Because that means these things could also happen to them.
Every time I write about crushing poverty, someone adds the comments section a smug declaration about how people need to get an education, hang on to a job, buy cheaper food…there's a litany of condescending advice. I'm sure this article will be no exception, and please, if you're in the situation I'm describing, let the criticism roll off of you. People who haven't been there don't understand and somewhere deep inside, they feel that by being critical, they can assure themselves they will never find themselves in a similar situation.