Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Poor me

Poverty is not something I've ever had much personal experience of. I've been broke, sure, had periods in my life where I've earned very little and if you looked at my bank statements right now you could see that my credit card is one big bill away from being maxed out, I owe money to my parents and my parents-in-law and usually run out of money about two days before pay day. But this is middle class poverty and if I go on to mention that the reason my financial circumstances are so shit just now is that I'm covering one mortgage on my own and a lot of bills so my husband can cover the mortgage on the new place we just bought, I can't imagine I'd get - or deserve - much sympathy. I have to watch my money but I can still afford to have dinners out, buy the odd pair of gorgeous (and gorgeously costly) Alannah Hill stockings and pick up a glossy magazine on my way home after a bad day in the office. 

Moreover, I have well-off parents who I know will be there for me in a pinch and a husband who - although also up to his eyeballs in debt - can come up with money in a crisis. I am by no stretch of the imagination poor.

Even so, I have experienced how depressing it can be not to be able to buy what you want because you want it or to put off paying a bill by a few days when you're waiting for your pay to come in. All of which can only hint at what it's like to be properly poor and not have enough money to pay the bills - an experience journalist Amy Gray has articulated rather nicely here. You should read it: it's free.

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