A person who used to live in poverty took to an online forum to say poor people’s spending habits shouldn’t be criticized as much as they are. “Just because someone is poor doesn’t give anyone a free pass to judge them for what they spend their money on,” they explained. People share their thoughts.
Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.
Can’t Do Anything Right
“It seems like no matter what a poor person spends their money on, it’s never the right thing,” the original poster shares from personal experience. “Pay medical bills? That should go towards rent. Pay rent? That should go towards food.” They say they’re tired of other people inserting their opinion.
One person says they agree, but on the other hand, people can be “brutally stupid” with their money. “I give money and food away on occasion. But if I see you purchased a Louis Vuitton coin purse, then I’m going to tell you to sell that first before asking people for money.”
There’s a Difference
“If it is small amounts here or there or for necessary things, that’s one thing,” one person observes about what people in poverty shouldn’t be criticized for spending their money on. “If it is on luxury items or vices like drugs or alcohol, that’s different.”
Cut People Slack
A common complaint is that poor people should quit spending money on “cancer sticks,” but it’s not that easy. “They’re addictive, so it’s not so easy to ‘just quit’ for financial reasons,” one person explains. “Especially if you’re in a bad mental state overall (which you probably are if you’re poor), it’s tough to overcome an addiction.”
Another agrees that some people need small vices to get through the day. “Yeah, it sucks, and there are probably more optimal ways to use resources, but going ‘you’re poor, you are not allowed pleasure’ is pretty crappy as well.”
One person says it depends on where you’re putting your money. Spending $40 on one meal at a restaurant is much less bright than buying $40 in groceries. “If you’re poor and doing whatever you can to be smart about spending, that is a lot different than being poor because you make terrible decisions with money.”
Mind Your Business
One person sympathizes with the original poster and says some people are too harsh. But they also add it’s hard to lend loved ones money and watch them frivolously spend it. “If it’s truly no one’s business, then live your life, but if it becomes someone else’s business because they are invested, I think some level of judgment is okay.”
If people spend all day complaining about how they’re struggling to afford to live when, in reality, they’re terrible with money management, another person thinks judgment is warranted. “If you want to be garbage with your money, by all means. But then don’t try and say we need to increase taxes to help these people out.”
“People who criticize poor people for their spending habits are more directed towards what they spend it on,” one person explains. The original poster agreed but said they also believe poor people should be allowed to live a little bit, too. “A poor person shouldn’t get crucified by their loved ones if they spend a little bit of money on a birthday gift for themselves.”
Spending on the Wrong Things
One person is fine holding back criticisms until they see parents and “their kid has no shoes, but they’re out here buying Starbucks and donuts every day.”
Personal Birthday Gift
Some said they believe poor people should be allowed to enjoy life, too. One commenter said that despite being broke, they spent $20 of their birthday gift money to get new knitting needles and a pattern for a hat they’d been wanting to make. “It’s okay once in a while. You’re allowed to enjoy life.”
An American thinks it’s funny when poor people shame and “scapegoat” people poorer than themselves. They say people always complain about their tax dollars being squandered on assistance programs as if that’s what the US spends most of its money on.
“Your situation is completely different. You’re spending money on something you need,” one person assures the original poster. “Unless you’re buying an absurd amount of food, whoever judges you for keeping yourself alive is a dummy.” They did add, however, that they have no sympathy for people who spend their money wrong.
Paid Off Eventually
One person says that when they were little, their mom was impoverished but went into credit card debt to give them a good childhood. “We went to Disneyland. We had a few trips here and there. And it was amazing. She has it all paid off now, with no regrets. No one should judge others for how they spend their money.”
Reaping the Rewards
One person thinks while it’s important to be responsible and budget, it’s also essential to have something to keep your spirits up. “So what, a Target employee spends a few dollars to treat themselves to Starbucks or a new pair of jeans? They deserve a reward for being responsible and working a lot in a possibly intense workplace.”
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