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Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Beefy Phil, Feb 9, 2011.
It's good to know that if I sell my autographed Gary Carter baseball card, my VCR, a couple of books and my iron Maiden albums, I can fit 9 rooms of crap into an $800/month apartment.
Forties and toast. The calling card of any true G.
My favorite was the corner store that had a hood ass deli in it and served sandwiches up on wonder bread.
I spent 2 years living in Inwood in Manhattan (very northern tip of the island, and while not as bad as Washington Heights to the south, still very very ghetto), and I never had a problem getting staple foods. I had a grocery store about 2 blocks away that was shitty, but still a real grocery store, and another 4 blocks away that had a good selection, was fully stocked, had decent produce, etc.
When I moved to the Financial District, which was only recently becoming a residential neighborhood and didn't have a drug store that was open late, I had 2 grocery stores within 2 blocks.
I think bodegas are more for beer, lazy people, and people with a sort of institutionalized ghetto mindset. It's not hard for one person to live on $25 in groceries a week and have a fairly balanced diet. You just have to cut out shit you don't need (the cold 20z soda that costs as much as a 2 liter) and not let things go to waste.
The really bad places aren't the ghetto, they're the boonies, where the only grocery store within 20 miles is a gas station.
You know, I've been living since September on a budget of about $800/month (in the heart of DC no less), putting me technically below the poverty line. I'm a student so I work part-time, and I support myself financially almost entirely (I borrowed about $2K from my parents over the summer, but I am in the process of paying them back). What I can tell you is that day-to-day living is not that difficult. To be honest, I eat much more healthily when I'm poor because I can't afford to eat out or buy unhealthy things like cookies or chips. My typical grocery bag consists of milk, eggs, a couple pounds of beef, and frozen vegetables. I need to maximize the calories/vitamins per dollar, so I basically just stick to the healthiest food options available. Similarly, I haven't had a beer in my fridge since August since I can't afford it, can typically only afford to go out drinking once a month at most. It kind of sucks, but if you think about it objectively, it's really not so bad.
What this game doesn't capture is the frustrations of having to put up with all the "poor people" type of compromises. I share a very small studio apartment with a friend, so there's never much space. Our apartment rarely has heat or hot water because the boiler is old (for a couple weeks in December, we could see our breath because it was so cold, and we took showers at the gym nearby). To prevent theft, the leasing office locks the laundry room at 8p.m., so my roommate, who gets home at 6:30 after work, has a pretty short window to get his laundry done—if he gets home at 7, there's not enough time to get the laundry done. Since I'm technically sub-leasing, I don't have a key fob to get into the building, so I just have to stand outside until someone lets me in, which can be a while.
Not to mention, the frustration of having to work a shitty job at low wage because it's the only way to make ends meet. It's easily doable, but it fucking sucks and it's not very rewarding. Every once in a while I notice myself putting off long-term goals (such as exercise) because I need more hours at work. Luckily I have some student loans put aside, so I'm in the process of reorganizing this, but that's not the case for someone who is trying to make ends meet.
I can't afford a good mattress since my last one crapped out on me, and I'm certainly not going to get a used one on Craigslist, so I've been sleeping on the floor for the past couple months. (Really.)
My point being, subsistence living is not that difficult. The game doesn't really work because it just looks at the raw numbers of being poor. What it misses is that being poor fucking sucks—I can put up with it because I know I'm going to get a better job within a year or so, but if this is all I had to look forward to in life, I would probably do a lot of the stupid shit that poor people do also.
Now, if I had a kid, I would be so fucked.
Out of all the places you can be frugal you choose this one? really? Dude, you can get an AWESOME full size mattress for like $300, unless you're mentally retarded AND have been huffing paint every day for a few years straight you can cover this pretty quick. Priorities bro.
Edit- Worse comes to worse take an extra loan for this, it will pay itself off because you were able to graduate due to adequate sleep.
There's a really interesting book called The Working Poor: Invisible in America. The author spent something like fifteen years following different families and individuals who lived at or below the poverty line. While I wouldn't go so far as to call the book scholarly (it's more anecdotal) it provides some great insight into what it means to be poor in a Western culture.
I encourage anyone who's interested in this topic and wants to read some case studies to find this book. It actually goes beyond "making stupid choices." What if you're married and in a stable financial situation, and then you divorce and suddenly your spouse leaves with the high salary but lets you keep the kids? What if a sudden illness takes down one of the wage-earners in family? Or the worst one, IMO: what if you're from a household that has never had a strong role model for the kids to follow? What if they've never been exposed to sound decision making, common sense and work ethic? How do they turn around and behave in a manner that they've never seen?
This is coming across as a bleeding heart liberal post, and I can assure you I'm not. I just don't like to be dismissive of people who can't find a way out of the cycle by saying it's all their own fault. I also agree with what some have mentioned - that game is heavily biased to prove a point about how difficult it is to work at or below the poverty line.
Either way, the chronic stress that the situations described in the book and - to a degree - within the game have some pretty catastrophic health and social side effects. If I was a smarter person I'd have some idea how to fix the problem.
I don't get this. What happened to your last mattress that it is better to sleep on the floor? Did you literally crap all over it? You make it sound like your car died and you can't use it anymore. Do you not have a couch you could sleep on?
Edit: When I was in college dorms you got supplied a bed and mattress. I estimate 2,000 people had slept on that mattress based on the way it looked.
No couch, only a Target folding seat that's not appropriate to sleep on. My first bed was a futon but I ended up giving it to my roommate who also needed a bed, then I slept on an air mattress for a while but that got unbearably uncomfortable.
Sleeping on the floor is not that bad. My apartment is too small for a properly sized bed anyway. Eventually I'll have a larger apartment and nice bed, in the meantime this is not a bad temporary solution.
What, you're not going past a grocery store on the way too or from work/school either? It might take 3 or 4 days to do your full grocery run, but a backpack full of groceries on your way home will ultimately get you there. Also, god gave most of us parents so that we can mooch their cars when ours breaks down. Most people know someone they can borrow a car from long enough to get groceries.
I don't get this either, I would do without a lot of stuff if it meant having a decent bed. Of course I am a bed snob and a have a really nice pillow top queen size mattress, 1200 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, and a down comforter with a 1200 thread count Egyptian cotton duvet cover.
Give me shit if you want, but my bed is amazingly comfortable.
I'm living off of roughly 600 dollars per month pretty comfortably, so fuck these poor people.
Interning in China though, so I'm practically a millionaire
I haven't played this game on the computer but I'm pretty sure I've played it in reality.
Being poor - eh. I've been broke. I've been DAMN broke. I've been grow your own food and pull the eggs from the henhouse broke.
Like I said before I've been homeless...through no generally 'bad' decision of my own. I'm not an alcoholic, on drugs, or anything like that. I don't go out and party, and when I spend my money, I buy things that will last, so I don't ahve to worry about breakage/replacement.
Being poor isn't black and white. Being broke isn't about you do this or you do that...there's a LOT of gray area.
Thank God for resilience, good kids, and a small support network. I got NO help from my parents last year when I was on my ass. The only thing they could do to help me was take two of the kids. The third stayed with me. Everything else, financially, I had to figure out on my own.
Yes, I've got a car to drive, but I live in Texas and I have to have it to work. We do not have public transportation here, and my car payment and insurance are covered by child support. Aside from the car, I don't really have any 'debt' per se. I just happen to have three fairly young kids for whom I'm trying to give as much as I can with as little as I have. The 'living expenses' (food, rent, cell phone bill, and cable bill) outside of transportation are what I work 55 to 80 hour weeks for. They're why I'm here at work right now, and have been at work, since 5:30 yesterday morning. They're why I'll sleep about 6 hours, wake up, do 3 hours of laundry, and then get ready to work all day Sunday.
I guess my point is, yeah. Being broke sucks. It sucks more if you haven't got anyone. But I'm still hopeful...I'm not sure what it is exactly I'm hoping for, but I *have* to believe something good is going to come out of running myself ragged like I have been, otherwise, that'd be damn depressing...and aside from only making 22k a year and feeding 4, I'm pretty fucking happy right now.
I live on about $900 a month myself and it really isn't that tough. My rent eats up $450 of that. The only other monthly bill I have is my cell phone which is $60 a month leaving me with a little less than $100 a month. I'm pretty lucky in that this town has a free bus service that anyone can use and goes to campus as well as the surrounding downtown area and neighborhoods. I still go out pretty much every weekend and it's fine. Food is dirt cheap in this country if you buy groceries and can make some basic shit. My apartment came with furniture so I didn't have to worry about that, and water, gas, and electric are all included too. It's easy to live and have a fun life being poor if you don't go shopping or eat out all the time. Of course, having a family or any dependents at all would be all but impossible on such meager funds, but for a single person it is really not bad.
My biggest complaint is that you have a shit job making shit money and still have to commute several miles to work??? Surely there is a shitty local restaurant where you can earn $8/hour somewhere closer in the 25 mile commute that is the default halfway point. And perhaps I am spoiled by living in a city with a lower cost of living, but a shit apartment for $750/month 25 miles from your job (that is going to increase to $900/month shortly)? I think by shopping around you could find a better deal. And what everybody else said, their are more options than those presented if you dig a little.
I think the biggest problem I have with this game is that the message it gives is a mixed message. On one hand, it wants to show how quickly your life can snowball into utter madness, and that this organization is there to help.
On the other hand, logically, anybody with half a brain can survive for a short period of time under these circumstances. It's not immediate failure. It's having a bad month like this, and never being able to recover that is the main issue. For example, by taking out a payday loan in this game, there are no consequences to this action. Just a stern warning. In real life, your next paycheck is due to the payday loan company. What are you going to do for money that week? Why, you take another payday loan! The cycle continues, and now you are paying a company for the work that you do.
This was a decent idea for a flash, but it needs to be expanded for a year. Teach the positives, like banking money (no matter how little) will allow you extra wiggle room when emergencies happen. Teach the people not to let all their bills sit around for a month, and try to pay them in one lump sum (and, thus, not have to choose electricity over gas). Teach them that even though you have your cell phone cut off in February, it will ultimately save you $75 a month to not carry it (Use a prepaid).
Seriously, I can't believe they glossed over this, payday loans are a HUGE driving force in keeping people poor by allowing them to spend beyond their means (thus never having to save) while charging them ridiculous interest rates (some of them over 1000% APR). They never get paid off and they continue to borrow more and more.
I managed to finish with $1583 after realizing what a crock of shit this was.
If I can't walk to work when paying more, then just move far away? No consequences to loans or IOU's? Then I'll borrow everything. My kid? Fuck em. He can go without.
Worst of all, I've been fired twice doing this, yet they are still giving me work consequences and problems after I've been let go.
Do payday loans and credit card companies hold a gun to your head?
Aside from your Nanny State idealism, closing payday loan companies won't fix people's financial situations. It starts with financial education, a point the government treats taboo like religion. In reality, personal finance doesn't have so many shades of gray that religion does. Outside of investments, there are correct and incorrect ways for money management. Yet the government feels parents have the right to instill their personal financial management onto their kids, no matter how wrong they might be.
Then again, I can't think of anyone worse to teach personal finance than our government so we're screwed either way.