I did not grow up poor, nor am I currently.
There was a time, many years ago, however, where – to borrow a phrase from Donald Trump – “Every homeless person on the street had more money than me.”
I was what they call “working poor.” I was in debt, and needed to work to get out of it.
I had a job (yay!), which cost me money to get to in gas, car insurance, maintenance, etc.
I had a roof over my head, which cost me money in rent, gas, electric, etc.
Just those things were more than my biweekly paycheck, and I hadn’t even accounted for food, water, and paying off my existing debt.
It just kept snowballing, making me miserable.
It would have actually made more sense for me to ditch the car, quit the job, leave the house, steal food, etc.
I stopped reading my mail because it was just the same things over and over again – a sea of pink and red notices asking for money that I couldn’t pay. I stopped answering the phone because it was just people demanding money I didn’t have.
I was always cold. I was distrustful. I was mostly sad and depressed because I knew what life had been like before, and while I knew how I was where I was, I couldn’t find any way out.
I started to clip coupons out of necessity – I actually became an Extreme Couponer. I learned how to function in society as best as I could by using only the things that were discarded, discounted, put aside, and otherwise ignored. I became extremely resourceful and – bit by bit – I gave myself a layer of security.
I remember the moment that I came out of debt. It felt like I had been being pressed to death, and suddenly the weight was removed from my body. I could breathe again.
I took stock of everything that I’d done, where I was, how I got there, and decided if I had any say in the matter, I’d never let that happen again.
I don’t care about money – it doesn’t motivate me at all, and never has. However, that feeling of utter desperation is something I never wish to experience again.
Originally Posted: https://www.quora.com/What-does-it-feel-like-to-be-poor
Originally Posted On: 2016-01-10