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15 things that cost more for poor people than the rich, and remind us that the system is broken

Being poor is very expensive and many reveal ways in which society punishes you for being poor, widening the income inequality more.

15 things that cost more for poor people than the rich, and remind us that the system is broken
Male nurse showing digital tablet to mother by toddler in hospital - stock photo/Getty Images Insert: Reddit

It's no secret that the poor are constantly punished for being poor. For eg., some banks require customers to maintain a minimum balance and are fined for not doing so, which is basically a punishment for being poor. Being poor is very expensive and anyone who's struggled to make ends meet knows that. "I need examples of 'Being poor is expensive,' for my rich friends," one Reddit user asked and received a lot of responses that were an eye-opener. Here are some of the top posts that we came across: 

1. Access

There are no grocery stores in your neighborhood and you don't have a car. The Bodega you can walk to is under-stocked and extremely expensive. These are your groceries. There is no bank near you and they close at 4 or 5. So you can't take a bus to the bank. So you have to use check-cashing services that take a percent.
You have a mild toothache you can't afford to fix. So it becomes an outrageous expense when it turns into an abscess. -u/lipgloss_addict.

2. Overdraft fees

Chase $35 overdraft fees -u/justsomeguyfromny. Can't cover $2 for a couple of days? How about $37. -Reddit.

3. Dental work

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. -u/dayoldhotwing

4. Commuting to work

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. u/Yankeescourge

View of old car in garage with dusty hood dirty wind-screen with title SALE by finger and broken windshield wiper. Concept of sale pre-owned cars. - stock photo/Getty Images


5. Not being able to afford a car

 You can't afford a car at all and walk/take the bus for so many years (and can't afford good shoes) that it damages your feet causing chronic pain so you have to spend $500 on orthotics that are somehow deemed medically unnecessary. Every step I take for the rest of my life, I'll feel the pain of poverty and capitalism. The cost isn't always money, a lot of times it's your body. u/skidwitch

Black businessman using cell phone on city street - stock photo/Getty Images



6. Doing laundry

If you can't afford your own laundry machine or an apartment that comes with one it costs like $10 in quarters to do laundry. EVERY TIME. -u/falanian

7. The mental stress of not having money

The monetary burden of poor people is staggering, but the stress is just as bad if not worse. Owing money that you don't have is incredibly stressful, as is struggling to perform a sh*tty job just to barely scrape by. The mental burden of being poor also requires money to cope with, and since professional help is expensive, it often ends up being dealt with in an unhealthy way (inebriation at best, suicide at worst). Things like drugs can cause additional health issues, as well as potentially risking fines or jail/prison, so it's a slippery slope.- u/Throbbingserpent

8. High-interest rates

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. -u/JoeMayoParty.

9. Electricity

If you have a low credit score you have to pay a $300 deposit in order to get the power turned on at your place (In Las Vegas, Nevada). -u/cella80.

10. Cost of time

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. u/TwoBluetoes

11. Domino effect

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 shit wage she has nothing left over for this emergency. The electricity gets cut off 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 electricity, 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$$holes they'll have an account for her kids that will now also be negative. This actually happened in my friend's household. It was the most heartbreaking bullsh*t thing you'd ever hear. And it happens every.single.minute. u/TheFLAwoman.



12. Having good shoes

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. u/TheVantal.

13. Preventive medical care

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. u/Stoic-nurse.

14. Monthly bank charge

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. u/Thefractangle

15. 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" - u/RealCaseyBlack

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