It's one thing when you're pinching pennies, but being extremely poor is no joke. Extreme sacrifices often have to made just to get by day to day, ones that those who live moderately or comfortably have no idea about. Those who have lived through such an ordeal have shared their eye-opening stories on Reddit, and while sad, hopefully they will help to put your own life into perspective, or even more so, give back if you're in a position to do so.
The Amazing Love Of A Mother.
"My mom would buy a small personal pizza for my brother on special occasions. Even though it was only like $2, she couldn't afford anything for herself so she would eat his leftover crust. She told me he would always tell her "Mommy are you hungry? Go buy one just for you" and she would just say "No I'm not hungry, I only want a little snack" She only just told me this a few years ago and I was shocked because by the time I came along my dad had gotten a good job and we lived just like anyone else… I had no idea that my older brother grew up like that."
Saving Bus Tickets.
"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. 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."
Female Hygiene Products Aren’t Cheap.
"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."
"Extended stay housing or motels/hotels. When you can't qualify to get an apartment because you don't have proof of income, you end up wasting more money to stay for a week at extended day housing or a cheap motel. It sucks a** having no home/being a transient, I promise myself never to be in the same situation again."
One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Food.
"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. 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."
Making The Most Of The Situation.
"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."
There Is No Money Tree.
"My dad would get a bag of Reese's miniature peanut butter cups after his monthly paycheck and he'd eat one a night and the bag would last the month. For his birthday, he wanted a cherry pie instead of a cake. Mom saved up for the pie filling. Yeah. She SAVED for what was probably a $2 can of pie filling. When I was helping her, I accidentally dropped one of the pies. We didn't have the money to make another one. Man, I learned that day that when the money's gone, the money's gone. Thank god we didn't stay that poor. That was horrible."
Children Always Come First.
"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 mom's dinner was the half I didn't eat and she would fill up on the free refills of soda."
A Small Gesture Can Go A Long Way.
"I had an old car in college and when it blew a tire, I went to the junk yard and found a decent set of tires. Bought all 4 for $70, which reduced my food budget to $16 for the next two weeks. Some lady in the grocery store saw me with a calculator trying to figure out how much ramen I could buy with $16 and handed me a $20. It made me cry. (I'm glad I'm not poor anymore. But I'll always remember that lady.)"
The Sad Reality Of Shopping.
"I have been both very poor and very comfortable. 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."
Making Meals Out Of Sides.
"After selling plasma I would walk to Wendy’s and eat the crackers and ketchup for dinner."
An Amazing Act Of Kindness.
"I had to move out on my own when I was 17. I had no money at all and drove an old clunker. I got a flat tire to match the flat spare in the trunk. I went to the Discount Tire to see if they could patch it. They said that belts were showing around the tire, in fact, all of the tires, and I would have to replace all four. I thanked them, went outside, sat in my car and started crying. The manager came out and knocked on the window. He said that he had a set of tires that would fit my wheels. I told him thanks, but didn't have any money. He told me not to worry about it and when I graduate, to come back and buy my tires from them."
Sharing What Wasn’t Meant To Be Shared.
"Until age 9 my family would have been classed as upper middle class. Then my father left and my mum went bat-sh*t crazy. From 9 to 18 we were dirt poor. I remember being 10 years old and our weekly treat was to go to the Littlewood's cafe and they did a 99p 5-piece breakfast. We shared that among my mum, brother, sister and me. One of us got the extra item; we'd take turns. As an adult I have made sure my children will never know poverty because of excellent memories like that. Nothing motivates you more than memories of fighting over a solitary sausage."
Helping Those Out Who Are In A Pinch.
"/r/randomactsofpizza saved my butt a few months ago. I had just switched jobs, just moved to a new town, my car was broken, my boyfriend and I just split up so I was trying to make rent on my own, and my dog had a really bad ear infection that ended up costing almost $200 in medicine. I had -$6 in my bank account for another five days until payday and had zero food in the kitchen. I posted there on a whim, and ended up with about $70 in Papa John's gift cards. Damn good people there."