30 Things That End Up Costing More For Poor People Than For The Rich
Did you know that some banks require a minimum balance and charge their clients a fee if they drop below it? Sounds absurd, I know. But that's just the beginning of the journey we're taking.
r/AntiWork is a subreddit with 1.3 million members who, according to the community itself, "want to end work, are curious about ending work, want to get the most out of a work-free life, want more information on anti-work ideas, and want personal help with their own jobs/work-related struggles." In other words, these folks have plenty of shared experiences regarding unemployment.
As more and more people shared their answers, the post went viral and now has 60K upvotes and 16K comments. Here are some of the (indirect) ways the system taxes the most vulnerable ones.
Image credits: Paratrooperkid
Rent vs mortgage. The bank says you're too poor for an $800 mortgage payment, so you have to pay $1500 on rent instead.
Well. Here's a good example of something that happens all the time. Daily. Single mom hasn't gotten her child support check on time. A water* utility bill hits her account that was supposed to be covered by that support. Bank account goes -$135.00 due to the utility bill. The overdraft then incurs a $45 overdraft fee. So. The mom is now -$180 and the electric company sends a letter saying her power will be shut off if payment is not rendered by x date. She knows she won't be paid until two days after the cutoff. So. Waiting for support and her check she's now scouring her floorboard for change to put in her tank to get herself to work and the kids to school. The electric cutoff day comes and goes and the support check doesn't show up. Because she's being paid a sh*t wage she has nothing left over for this emergency. The electric gets cutoff and now her $135.00 bill has incurred a $50 service restart fee. Now her electric bill is $185.00 and she still owes $175 to the bank for the water* overdraft. She is still waiting on the support check. But now because she had to pay the extras for the overdraft, and the electric, she can't afford lunch for the kids this week. So she again scours change to get a loaf of bread and peanut butter. Her kids are still hungry so they get lunch from the school. If the school isn't a*sholes they'll have an account for her kids that will now also be negative. This actually happened in my friends household. It was the most heartbreaking bullsh*t thing you'd ever hear. And it happens every.single.minute.
The hardest part of being poor for me, was the “cost” of time. My weekly grocery trip took almost four hours. Between the time spent looking over fliers and making a list of what I could afford, walking to the closest bus stop, transferring to another bus, an hour of shopping and tallying up my total to make sure I was within budget, waiting up to 20 minutes for a bus home, including another transfer and the walk home with all my groceries from the bus stop. I would often go without groceries because I didn’t have time to get to the store and was stuck making Kraft Dinner Mac and Cheese without butter or milk, because that is what was in the pantry. Now that I live more comfortably, I drive to the store in 10 minutes, spend 30 minutes shopping and am home and finished within an hour.
ETA: it’s been more than 10 years since I ate Sad KD and today I’m lucky to have a full cupboard, fridge and freezer. I am so sorry for everybody who can recognize themselves in this post. I never realized this was such a universal experience.
It’s cheaper to buy processed foods, leading to higher risk of cancer and other illnesses. Healthy foods are a privilege. I wish I could afford more fruit
Getting to and from work. Since you're poor, you cannot afford to live close to work and thus have a longer commute.
But you also cannot afford to own and run a reliable car, so you have a beater that breaks all the time and gets poor mileage.
When it breaks, you can't get paid because you aren't at work so you have a new bill PLUS halted income.
To compensate, you take out high interest loans to repair the car. But it breaks again later so you're always in debt for high interest loans on top of the car costs.
I see this a lot in the northeast.
You need good shoes to work in, but you can't afford good shoes so you buy ok shoes that break after 3 months.
After 4 pairs of ok shoes in a year, you've spent more than if you'd bought 1 pair of good shoes.
I can help you out. I worked with homeless folks in LA for a few years. The stories I could tell you.
One that was a recurring tale, all too common, were parking tickets. Rich people? Big deal. Pay it online, it’s an afterthought at its worst.
Now that same parking ticket issued to a homeless person living out of their car, trying to scrounge together money for a deposit on a place whilst working a sh*tty service sector job?
That’s devastating. It’s another 2-3 months of sleeping in the car. Or maybe it’s a few days worth of missed meals. Or maybe it’s skipping out on that expensive medication that your sh*tty insurance wont cover.
I could provide you endless examples of the way this country punishes the poor. People need a reality check.
I don’t own my home, I rent. My colleague owns. We make the same money and pay the same income taxes. The gov uses the taxes to upgrade the roads, and infrastructure in town. My colleague’s equity goes up, so does my landlord’s, because of our tax dollars spent. So he gets richer. My land lord gets richer.
Me? My rent goes up
I’ve never had the money to spend on regular dental work so now I’m spending thousands more to fix everything that was neglected
I would like to make an edit and add that a ton of you in the comments have suggested dental tourism and dental schools. Both are great ideas!
You meticulously maintain a high mileage used car that is totaled in a car accident that is not your fault. Insurance company will only pay you $1,000 for your car.
Many banks charge a monthly fee to have an account with a balance under a certain level (e.g. $1500). It's literally a poverty fee.
if you cant afford your own laundry machine or an apartment that comes with one it costs like $10 in quarters to do laundry. EVERY TIME.
I’m the opposite of poor and I see this every day. Because I have money to always pay my credit card bills fully on time I buy everything with them and wind up with a 2% discount/cash back on everything I buy. This adds up to thousands of $/year. There are tons of things that are discounted if you are rich. One of the sh*ttiest things about our economy
Attendance micromanagement at work.
Hear me out.
I am currently at a much higher paying position. It’s salaried. My boss has the mindset that she doesn’t care when things get done just so long as they get done. She’s flexible on when I clock in/out and doesn’t feel the need to track if I’m hitting exactly forty hours a week. (Again, salaried position).
Contrast to past jobs that paid less than half as much. Many of my coworkers took public transit (couldn’t own a car). I could have easily taken public transit, it was one bus and short walk from my house. However. I opted to drive because we would be disciplined for being more than two minutes “tardy” clocking in.
The bus is NOT that reliable, y’all.
So we have multiple workers showing up 10-20 minutes early to sit around with unpaid time so they don’t get docked for being tardy. And the policy was such that three tardies mean you get written up, then it escalates to action, then to termination. It’s real easy to lose your job because your bus route is not reliable. But most of the people taking the bus to work are in the low paying positions that micromanage if you’re two minutes late (even if it’s out of your control).
Bosses keep their thumbs on the low earners and it keeps them there.
Only being able to afford the small jar of mayo (or whatever), even though the larger jar is a better deal.
Overdraft fees that charge you money for having no money.
Late fees for not being able to afford your bills.
Having to go to the closest grocery store, even though it may not be the cheapest, because it's on the bus route or within walking distance.
Rent to own stores where you have to pay a ton of money for a couch, but pay weekly
And you spend so much time just trying to survive you have little time to improve yourself
When I first lived on my own (escaped a bad situation), I bought a splurge...$100 of groceries. I meal prepped, made dozens of bags of frozen prepared veggies etc. I was eating healthy and I felt like I actually just did good for myself. I thought it was a smart move.
I was literally set up for almost two months.
The power went out. My insurance couldn't cover it. I lost so much food. I just saved a few items that were frozen solid.
I cried until I threw up. I eventually had my dad drop off some leftovers but I never told him what happened, I was too embarrassed.
Not being able to afford preventive medical care leads to huge medical bills later. I’ve seen it numerous times where people put off routine exams/procedures, and then come through the ER and end up with an amputation, or even death, because the illness had progressed so far before they sought treatment.
40,000 per year before taxes
35,200 after taxes
Rent 1100 × 12 = 13200
Car note 400 × 12 = 4800
Car insurance 200 × 12 = 2400
Utilities, gas for the car, internet 400 x 12 = 4800
Food 400 × 12 = 4800
These are nice round numbers and I live in one of the "lowest cost of living" states in the US....this also includes 0 entertainment expenses like Netflix, going out with friends, taking a vacation etc.
5200 bucks left over to save for the year easily gets decimated by just 1 or 2 car issues, maybe 1 or 2 doctor/dentist visits, God forbid you have 1 of each Car issue, doctor visit and dentist visit in the same year...
Imagine working 40+ hrs a week just to be able to work 40+ hrs a week and stay alive....nothing more.
For me, it was moreso the fact that everything was a choice. The mental strain of trying to figure out how to budget $100 when you realistically need $150...it's f*cking horrible.
It leads to bad decisions over time too. I smoked cigarettes because I was always so stressed and cigarettes are expensive. I knew I was wasting money and couldn't really afford it, but it was one of the only things that got me through shifts of hell at work
I overdrafted my account by $.27. The bank charged me $35. My credit score was bad so my interest was worse when getting a car. My credit sucked so I couldn't buy a house so I had to rent for almost double.
Just some of my past examples.
College loans: spend thirty years paying interest on a college degree because you don't have rich parents. Also if you don't have a college degree, you'll be excluded from nearly all jobs that pay decently.
Freedom of "choice"
Not me personally but my best friend recently got an unpaid internship at a hospital because he needs the experience as an upcoming graduate student in an MPH program.
The hospital required him to be fully vaccinated and to get a sh*t ton of shots. However, they won’t pay for it and if you don’t do it, you will lose your spot. Since he has no insurance, he ended up paying $280 out of pocket to go work for free just so he can build his resume. SMH !
How abput depression and anxiety caused by financial pressures being 'treated' by a therapist and being charged $75 copay per visit. Then, if the anxiety is bad enough that you don't go, you get a $45 cancellation fee unless you cancel 2 days+ in advance. Self-fueling system.
If you have a low credit score you have to pay a $300 deposit in order to get power turned on at your place. (In Las Vegas Nevada)
In Vegas there's only one power company NV Energy
We're in the New England states where it's gotten to 15 degrees Fahrenheit overnight. We've been without heat for three weeks now because it will cost us $800 to fill our K1 tank. We don't have the $350 for 100 gallons either. We're currently jacking up our electric bill, risking fire, and risking the safety of us and our cats by using the oven to heat the house. We're also risking our pipes bursting.
All because we can't come up with $350 upfront.
Higher interest rates any time you borrow. Lack of assets to borrow money against. Lower paying jobs are generally harder on a person’s body and lead to more doctor visits and medical bills. Driving a cheap old car means shelling out more money for repairs and fuel than a person driving a newer model.
Friend broke his glasses today. Insurance wants a reeval of his eyes to get new ones, so now he's out a couple hundred for the script and can't work until they're replaced. Also can't drive until he can see.
Poor people can’t pay for childcare. The wealthy rely on underpaying people to take care of their kids. Meaning it’s easier to have two income households without the penalty of being a parent. Perpetuating the cycle of poverty
Note: this post originally had 71 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.