Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It's Expensive to be Poor

I read a pretty compelling story online today called "The High Cost of Poverty: Why the Poor Pay More", written by DeNeen Brown for the Washington Post. It raised some issues that you might never think of, sort of "hidden taxes" on being poor.

Having grown up in pretty modest means myself, I am pretty familiar with the amount of time you waste when you don't have much money or your own house. Poor people have to spend time at the laundromat waiting for clothes to wash and dry every week (I have done this) and time waiting for multiple public transportation connections to get to work every day (I have done this too). But the article points out that it is sometimes impossible for poor people to go to the big grocery stores where the middle class shop for discounted food. They have to buy their milk and butter from the local corner store, costing them significantly more.

The article also points to high rates charged by check cashing places as a cost of being poor, but I'm not as convinced that they are a necessity. For example, a man quoted in the story pays a fee to have the check cashing place pay a bill for him... it seems to me that fee (at least) is avoidable).

In any event, this article is an eye-opener (and includes a pretty memorable exchange between a man and the checkout person at a grocery store) that I think is worth a few minutes of your time. If you are in this situation- you're not alone. If you're not- be thankful for what you have.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this is why I strongly discourage people from being poor.