The simple answer to that question is “Yes.” You think just because your income’s low you are excused from socking away money for a rainy day? You are not.
I understand there are people in this country who genuinely don’t have the means to save a dime. However, I seriously doubt that number is as big as indicated by the federal government’s definition of poverty.
Consider the fact that many of the nation’s poor receive governmental assistance on necessities such as housing, food, medical care, and child care. Certain localities even pick up the tab for transportation. I know people who’ve had their utilities paid by charitable organizations.
I have a friend who paid $110 a week to send her son to summer camp. It only cost her lower income counterparts $10 for the same camp!
Ever heard of Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)? IDAs are matched savings accounts that help low to moderate income earners save for the purchase of a home, to start or expand a business, or to acquire formal education. I know of an organization in D.C. that provides a 3 to 1 match on up to $1,000 of savings. That’s $3,000 of free money! (Find an IDA program in your area.)
After receiving all that monetary assistance, your financial situation probably doesn’t look so bleak. You may not be able to save up the recommended 3 to 8 months’ of expenses, but you can save something.
Now, before you beat me up, this blog post does not and will not include my opinion on how much poor people in the United States should receive as assistance or whether they should receive any assistance at all. So, simmer down if my opening statements have worked you into a partisan, wing nutty frenzy.
With that said, there’s a very specific reason I came out of hiding to write this blog post. After a recent weekend getaway, a friend of mine returned home from her trip with some new roommates – bed bugs. From what I’m told, these are not the type of folks you want in your house. It’s hard to get a good night’s sleep when you’re woken during the early morning by these blood sucking critters.
Fortunately, my friend has the means to resolve this unforeseeable and expensive situation. The final price tag is estimated to come in around $1,000. However, her neighbors across the street, who are suffering from the same predicament, do not. And as a result, they have to live with bed bugs. Given that they receive a boatload of governmental assistance and recently received a settlement check from a pending lawsuit, they are not given a free pass for being poor. They absolutely should have the money to deal with the infestation.
There are instances when government, charity, or family won’t come to your financial rescue. Be prepared by living below your means and giving up on a few of life’s little luxuries.
If you’ve searched high and low for every reasonable method to cut your expenses or bring in extra income and still can’t save. With the exception of “keep looking,” I dunno what to tell ya. Excuses aren’t very helpful when it comes to changing the world or your financial situation for that matter.
Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses. ~ George Washington Carver
What are some creative ways poor people can save money?