Friday, January 1, 2010

Poverty, anyone?

Imagine having to scour the paper for store coupons that allow you to save fifty cents or eight cents, or to get two items for the price of one. Imagine piling them up, then planning a trip to town to shop at three different stores to take advantage of those coupons. Imagine taking two very young, very active children with you, parking and then trekking around town on foot to three grocery stores to shop.

It is what we did and have done for the past 30 years.

Making 'ends meet' is not just a phrase. It is a way of life for many women. We are two of them. It has become a challenge to meet on a daily basis. We're not whining, just stating facts.

Make no mistake, we have worked throughout our lives, except a brief period when one of us was faced with cancer.

Over the years, we have managed to put nutritious food on the table, a roof over our heads and provide clothes for ourselves and our offspring, always putting them first, as is the case for most 'single' women raising children alone. And we have chosen a minimalist lifestyle to go along with that.

We have concluded that there are many tips we can share that show how to live well on a household income below the poverty line.

By 'poverty line', we refer to that measured by Statistics Canada's Low Income Cut Offs (LICOs). Statistics Canada breaks down household income into five categories; the LICOs delimit the lowest quintile.

For the purposes of this blog, we stress that our total household incomes are even lower than the line marking off the lowest fifth. Each of our households is in the lowest tenth income bracket. That puts us one step away from living on the street, in an automobile or couch surfing.

In some communities outside major urban centres, life lived at or near the LICO is equal, or comes close to a middle-class lifestyle. Where you live matters.

4 comments: said...

Looking forward to reading your take on living the low income life...currently following and sharing your blogs..

Chrystal Ocean said...

Appreciate it. As a new blog, economicus ridiculous will take awhile to become known. All the help we can get in spreading the word is very welcome.

Daphne and I want to help others in like circumstances, and to educate people about the issues and barriers we typically face and the solutions street people and other low-income people typically suggest. Those solutions are almost always cheap and often require no money at all. What they do call for, typically, is a change in attitude by others. That is a tougher nut to crack than finding people willing to spend big bucks (of taxpayers' money) on temporary, ill-conceived and ineffective projects.

Deb said...

Hi, I just discovered your blog and have put it on my roll (not that *that* counts for a lot! LOL) Because both of us inherited genetic muscle disorders we too lived a life of enforced poverty. Now in our dotage, with OAS and CPP, still well below the poverty level, we feel *rich*! We raised our two sons in a time when milk and bread were subsidized, food was cheap, homelessness hardly existed in families. Today's poor face challenges we hardly dreamed of, though we went hungry many times so our kids could eat. Now we live as lightly as we can so those few extra $ can go to help others, food bank, micro-loans. But we need fairness for all. Housing and decent food should be rights in this wealthy country. How do we make it happen?
Peace, Deb

Chrystal Ocean said...

Welcome, Deb! Hope you comment here often.