LIVING BELOW THE POVERTY LINE IS EXPENSIVE
Feeding America said 45.3 million Americans (or 14.5% of the overall population) were living in the poverty line. Those living in poverty earn less than $12,000 annually. An average family of three takes home less than $19,600. As a result, individuals turn to high interest loans, or they pay bills late, which may result to late fees and penalty charges.
Food Do you remember Gwyneth Paltrow? The American actress made waves when she accepted the $29-a-week #FoodBankNYCChallenge. The food stamp translates to $1.38 a meal, hardly enough for an individual to survive. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the average weekly meal cost (under thrifty plan) is $90.00 for a family of four between the ages of 19 and 50.
In Dayton, Ohio, over one-third of residents are more than one mile from a supermarket and do not own a vehicle. Hence, they are forced to utilize poorly stocked neighborhood stores that often provide unhealthy, expensive options. Small local stores have insufficient buying power unlike huge supermarkets such as Wal-Mart. In other words, the challenges when it comes to food continue. The poverty-stricken people could save money on food by going to groceries, but most of them may not be able to go to shops back and forth.
Transportation For example, in a 20-mile commute, driving a personal vehicle would amount to about $12 a day (or $240 a month) if driven five days a week. Not to mention an all-access monthly pass. In South Florida, a Miami-Dade Transit offers a full fare regional monthly pass for $145. If you think public transportation is easier than driving your own car, think again.
Public transportation makes commute longer. Especially for people who work on a considerable distance from their house, they may need to take several buses to and from workplace. Multiple stops could be equivalent to spending more than two hours per day just for commuting. What makes traveling to and work more troublesome is the unreliability of public vehicles.
Healthcare Low-income families put a prime on healthcare. Having inadequate employer-sponsored health insurance and potential medical debt from healthcare services without insurance, can dent a family’s finances in the long run. Medicaid, CHIP, and other healthcare programs aid low-income families, but if they have trouble understanding their rules, compliance with them can prove difficult. Plus, they may need to visit its offices personally to apply and/or renew the service since may do not have Internet access.
Financial Services Let’s face it. Direct cost of money is one of the largest expenses low-income people deal with. Payday loans still charge high interest rates. Car title loans incur up to 300% interest rates. And since most of them do not qualify for a bank account, they may need to pay to cash their salaries. They may also need to pay for money orders to pay bills. Granted they are eligible for a home loan, interest rates are much bigger. In California, poor people pay higher ATM fees, and many pay ATM fees to access their funds.
Working adults belonging to low-income bracket seeks to go back to school. However, they need more money to study in a college or university. Also, taking care of a family and the amount of time spent on commuting alone make it harder to obtain a degree. They do not have the luxury of time and flexibility to gain additional knowledge, which can help them get out of poverty.
Most people think being poor saves more money, but that is not the case. Almost every decision they make entails a lot of difficulties, as it takes more work and effort to overcome the poverty trap.