Ironically when I was homeless I had “too much money” according to Social Security. I could only have $2000 in my account, otherwise I’d lose my supplemental income.
Now, I have an apartment, and my money goes to paying my rent and bills. I have about $100 left and that goes to food. Then two weeks later, I’m broke until the next month.
Rice and Beans
Rice and beans, beans and rice… I never thought I’d get so sick of eating this. But it’s cheap, and when you have no money, it’s rice and beans with vegetables. What kind of vegetables? Whatever is left.
I found out that dried beans are relatively easy to make. Soak them overnight, cook them on the stovetop and then add them with the brown rice to the rice cooker, add some vegetables and some spices and I have myself a meal. Freeze the leftovers, and I have enough to last me a month.
Do rice and beans get boring? 🥱 Yes! I’m sick of this staple, but when I don’t have enough money for chicken or ground turkey, then it’s back to the rice and beans.
When I was living paycheck to paycheck, I thought I was poor. I had no idea what being poor was like until now. Being poor is NOT being able to afford anything! Take my snow boots for example: I needed a pair of snow boots for this last past winter of living in some seriously cold weather. I don’t have enough money to buy shoes, let alone a pair of $80 snow boots. But on Amazon, I can get the goods upfront and pay $20 per month until they’re paid off. One can only do this for larger expenses. I’m doing this again with a much needed carpet cleaner. Of course, when I make payments on Amazon, that’s $20 less for food, but something has to give.
My friend wanted me to go to lunch with her, but I cannot afford that! I can’t even afford a store-bought pizza.
Californians have it easier
I know this is true because I lived in California when I had a job and a place to call home and also when I was homeless during the Covid pandemic. SNAP (food stamps) was giving everyone who had this card money ($200-$300) regardless of whether they needed it or not. One of my friends had $800 in SNAP benefits! Plus, the state was handing out money left and right.
It’s not like that in South Dakota. People are constantly asking for help with food and toiletries. I know because I, too, feel the pinch.
On the Bright Side
I’m very lucky to be living in an apartment. I’d rather be dirt poor and living in a place than homeless with money. I’m very thankful for everything I have and if that means eating rice and beans, then so be it! At least I have food to cook, a place to cook said food and it’s nourishing.
I still have my Etsy shop and although sales are sporadic, I’m not throwing the towel in just yet.
Have you ever been poor? Leave a comment. And God bless you!