It can sometimes seem as if there is a veil separating poor people from the rest of society, and the only way to begin to bridge it is for the middle and upper classes to understand what life is like on the other side.
These 15 people try to do just that by sharing things they buy that would be mysteries to their richer counterparts.
15. Nothing goes to waste
“I was so poor once that I would go to Long John Silvers and order a water and crunchies (which used to be free) then sit there and watch the people that would dine in.
It was amazing how little they ate. And then they would leave without dumping their tray off in the trash.
Fries, hushpuppies, chicken, fish… all untouched. No I didn’t eat a piece that was bitten off of.
I once saw a woman order a 2 piece fish and more for her kid, that ate 1 hushpuppy and a few fries, and then left the rest of it there. It was the best I had eaten in weeks.
Glad that’s behind me now.”
14. Generic Spam
“The generic version of Spam is called Treet. You learn that sorta thing as a kid.”
13. Tricks of the trade
“Learning the times of the day when meat, bakery, fish, vegetable and misc. items are reduced to 75% at the local supermarket.
I’ve been learning for years, but it’s a good day when you find 400g of fresh mince for 99p, and you have warm filling food that you used to take for granted when living with parents.
One thing Ive noticed about being poor is that you become almost vegetarian because meat just costs too damn much. Frozen or fresh.
Another thing would be buying the cheapest large container of yoghurt, and mixing in jam for fruity yoghurt. But that’s not about being poor, that’s just a good idea.”
12. Animal medicine
“I knew a guy that would go to a livestock feed store and buy antibiotics and some other meds there that were meant for farm animals when he got sick. There was another med he’d get at pet stores too. He’d just cut the pills into smaller pieces to try to guess what the proper mg amount was. It’s apparently crazy cheap for certain meds and doesn’t require a prescription or govt. oversight like it would at a normal pharmacy.”
11. Grocery store castoffs
“Rotten bananas, stale bread, gray meat, and anything else the grocery is about to toss in the garbage. Giant bags of rice, beans, grain, or flour. Canned vegetables. Dried milk.”
10. No such thing as a free ride
“Growing up my family had it’s moments of struggle. Our public transport system at the time had tickets which were simply hole-punched with the date and month, not the year. So we’d save them and store them neatly in envelopes marked by month and concession or full fare. After a few years of saving tickets we pretty much had free train and bus travel for the next 10 years… until they changed the ticketing system to electronically stamped tickets with bar codes.”
9. Super Dad
“Lots of school systems do free lunches for kids under 18 during the summer. When I was a kid I remember my dad taking us to get lunch at the school then go play disc golf, soccer, or do something else free and fun, it was a blast and I had no clue it was because we were poor.
Dollar theaters, and sometimes they have a free afternoon/evening show for kids with the purchase of a parent ticket. Many movies were seen by the three of us for $4 with a shared popcorn and coke.
My dad was amazing at making us feel rich on basically nothing.”
8. They pay more
“I have been both very poor and very comfortable. A lot of very true statements already posted here, but here’s what I have noticed. When you are broke, you can’t plan ahead or shop sales or buy in bulk. Poor people wait to buy something until they absolutely need it, so they have to pay whatever the going price is at that moment. If ten-packs of paper towels are on sale for half price, that’s great, but you can only afford one roll anyway. In this way, poor people actually pay more than others for common staple goods. Edit: Holy cats! Thank you for the gold!”
7. Home surgery
“At home surgery. Used a pair of needle nose pliers, a razor blade and some anti septic super glue to remove a cyst on my forehead. The secret is to cut it in a “cat’s eye” shape, quickly push the skin back after you pull the cyst out (don’t let it pop) and get the glue on fast. Burn like ten bitches on a bitch boat, but it bleeds a lot and you have to get it on quick to stop the bleeding.”
6. Another racket
5. They should be free
“My office only has a unisex bathroom so it has the facilities for men and women. Naturally there’s a tampon machine, and tampons are only 5 cents. Once a month I’ll work late, get a roll of nickels and fill up a grocery sack with tampons for my wife.”
4. A mother’s love
“When I was child, Burger King ran a special kids meal where it was two mini Burgers that were attached to each other like a weird conjoined burger experiment. Sometimes we would go. My dinner was 1.5 of the mini burgers, my moms dinner was the half I didn’t eat and she would fill up on the free refills of soda.”
3. Not what it looks like
“Sold so much plasma in college folks thought I had track marks from drugs.”
2. It comes in powder?
“powdered milk. I once worked in a call centre and an old lady called almost in tears that cable went up by $1.50. Her line that she repeated more than once was that she couldn’t afford fresh milk and had to buy powdered milk. Unless it’s due to a lack of refrigeration available or some sort of allergy, only the very poor would buy powdered over fresh milk.”
1. Potatoes are the perfect food
“In university I used to buy a 10-20lbs bags of potatoes, freeze dried chives, and gravy mix in bulk (not the supermarket packs which are $1 for 2 cups of gravy, restaurant sized packs that make 8 liters)
That was often dinner, usually at the end of the month when money got tight. Sometimes I had even saved enough that I could have mashed potatoes made with some sort of dairy, or bacon grease.
I also had a cheap tub of protein power for weight lifters, it was gross. But I would blend it up, usually with water hold my nose and gulp it down. It was actual protein, and slightly more healthy then a week long diet of potatoes.”