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How To Be Poor- What To Do When You Lose Everything

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Lose your job? Lose of a loved one? Divorce? Health Issues? Life Emergency?
We never plan for life crisis and yet, they always find us- when we are completely unprepared. Whether it is our own doing or no fault of our own we end up in a crisis situation, desperate and poor.

Most Americans are one paycheck away from poverty and over 63% of Americans could not handle a $500.00 emergency.

If you find yourself in the middle of a life crisis, remember you’re not alone and there is help out there.

How to Be Poor- What To Do When You Lose Everything

But maybe you were one of those people, the ones that looked down on Food Stamp recipients.

Or think  why don’t they just get a job when you pass by someone holding a “Will Work For Food” sign, and now you feel guilty because you need help.

The truth is, we all have a story and the only story you really ever know is your own, so try not to be quick to judge others.

Yes, there are those that abuse and use the system- the system is flawed, but there are thousands who are hurting and are truly needing help.

How to Be Poor: The first steps to getting help

  • Don’t feel embarrassed.
  • Let go of your pride.
  • Don’t feel ashamed to ask for help.

While working for a non-profit helping those in need, I realized that most people don’t know how to be poor. Let me explain what I am talking about.

Say you’ve been financially blessed your entire life, you have never really been told no you can’t have something, you have never truly been hungry, you have never had to come home to find a notice they were turning off your power. Then it happens- the life crisis.

You have nowhere to turn, no one in your circle of friends that understands (because they have all lived the same financially blessed life as you) and you don’t even know where to start if you wanted to ask for help.

The first key to moving forward and past your financial and life crisis is to forget about the way you were used to living.

Try (as best you can) to let go of all the material ties and modern comforts you have grown accustom to living with.

How to Be Poor: What do you need to live?

Let’s get to the bare bones, what do humans need in order to sustain life?
We all think we can’t live without _____.

In reality, we only need three important elements to live:

  • Air
  • Water
  • Food


Air is the easiest one to obtain, just inhale- exhale and repeat.


If your water has been turned off and you need water, there are many public places you can get free water:

  • parks
  • public restrooms
  • public water fountains
  • gas stations
  • rest stops on the hwy
  • beach access places have water hoses free for the public to use.

If you have a working smart phone there is an Android App called WeTap that you can download and find all the places that have free water in your area. Learn more about WeTap.


The most daunting resource to find is food. When we open the fridge and it is bare, an overwhelming panic sets in (especially if we have little ones to feed).

This is where your community will come together and help you through this part of your crisis.

The most important thing to know about trying to find food to feed your family is that your community will not let you go hungry- IF you let them know your situation.

Friends, neighbors, churches, organizations, nonprofits, food banks, soup kitchens, grocery stores, and government agencies can and will help you- IF you let them know you need help.

You do not have to be a member of a church to call and ask them if they have food for outreach ministries.

How to Be Poor: What Do You Need To Live by The Law?

Did you know many cities across the nation are basically making it illegal to be homeless?
In order to receive government assistance during a crisis you need to have a couple of requirements to qualify.

  • Insurance (health)
  • An address- A roof over your head
    • In order to receive Government Aid you will need an address.
  • For insurance, contact your local Department of Social Services and ask them about applying for medical insurance
  • Prepare to bring proof of:
    • Income
    • House payment or proof of rent
    • Water payment
    • Tax bills
    • Child or elderly care proof of cost
    • Driver’s license and or social security card

You may need additional paperwork but if you arrive prepared it can cut down on your waiting time.
Many cities also offer free medical clinics, a local pharmacist should be able to tell you where to find one.

If you have a home and you are struggling with making the payments, consider renting a room or your home monthly or weekly for a vacation home and moving into something cheaper or in with someone to share expenses.

How to Be Poor: What do you need to make your life easier?

  • Electricity
  • Phone
  • Transportation

You may think electricity is a necessity to live, but it’s not. Contact your local electricity provider and ask if they have any assistance programs, you can also contact Red Cross, Helping Hands, DSS and local churches to inquire if they have assistance programs.

A friend from Homestead Honey and her family live without electricity, you can follow her and be inspired by their journey.

You may have to give up all the bells and whistles your current phone has but you can get an affordable phone to use from your local drug store, Dollar General, Walmart, and save money.

If you are unable to afford a phone at all you can apply for a free phone with limited access from a government program.

Transportation When Your Poor

Do you have a car payment? Sell it. What do you really need? The answer is a safe and dependable vehicle to get you from point A to point B.

Talk to the dealer where you bought your car and see if they can help you sell your vehicle. Save the money that you would normally be spending on a car payment until you have $1,000.00 – $3,000.00 to buy a used vehicle outright.

Make sure you take the used vehicle to a mechanic to look at it before you buy it, it will cost you around $65.00 but it is well worth it in the end.

During the time you are saving for your used car you can: ride a bike, take the local transit authority, carpool, walk, ask for rides from coworkers, or ask a family member to help you with transportation.

To find out about carpool opportunities in your area, contact Ridefinders.

How to Be Poor: Luxuries You Can Live Without

  • Internet
  • Cable/TV
  • Dryer
  • Shopping
  • Going out to eat
  • New Anything.

How To Have Internet When You’re Broke

We all love how ‘connected’ we are, instant gratification and the world of information at our fingertips.

Let’s be honest, you wouldn’t be reading this article if you didn’t have internet. BUT- you can live without it.

I have lived without it or most of my life and did just fine. The libraries have FREE internet to use and computers.

If you still have your smartphone you can go to almost any coffee house or public building and get free wifi. If you have a good neighbor, they may even share theirs with you during your crisis.


We decided to cut the cord almost 7 yrs ago and haven’t looked back since. Our cable was almost $200.00 a month and had gotten out of hand.

After installing an old fashion antenna we are able to get almost 40 channels and the reception is better than we ever received through cable. The best part? It’s FREE.  365- 24/7!

Your Clothes Dryer

Depending how much your power company charges for kw hours where you live, you can save up to $30 a month off of your electric bill by line-drying your clothes.

How To Save Money Shopping

I am the spender in our family, I love a good deal and can never resist a sale. We recently decided to change things up and I started sending hubby to the store for our shopping needs.

In twenty-six years of marriage we have never been able to save money, we have always lived paycheck to paycheck and never had anything for a rainy day- it was raining all the time. 

I soon realized my shopping and impulse buying was costing my family and my sale-seeking personality was actually hurting our financial bottom line.

If you are like me (maybe you are and just don’t know it) consider asking someone else to go to the store for you, take advantage of the online shopping services many grocery stores now offer, or make a list before shopping and stick to the list- no exceptions.

Another way to save money while shopping is to order online and get only what you need. This will eliminate the opportunity for impulse buying.

How to Be Poor: How to Treat Others Who Are Helping You

When you are in the middle of a life crisis, you are doing good functioning from minute to minute- the last thing you can focus on is showing appreciation to those that reach out to you.

From someone who has been on both sides of this situation, it is very important to know how to respond to those that are trying to help.

  • Don’t be late for appointments
    • If you are running behind call and notify the person.
  • Never take the donations for granted.
    • Sometimes people think because you are in need you will appreciate anything- a broken toy, torn clothes, leftover food, it is a tough situation. The donors really need to understand if something is not good enough for their family, don’t donate it to someone else.
      BUT, sometimes the donor is giving all they have. Sometimes the giver is actually going without to give you their donation so always show appreciation.
  • Respect their time
  • Don’t take what you won’t use
  • Remember no one owes you anything.
    • Did you ask for the life crisis? No. Should people have empathy and sympathy for your situation? Yes. Does anyone owe you anything for what you are going through? No.
      If someone reaches out to you, it is not because you deserve it, it is because they want to.
  • They aren’t getting paid to help you
    • Volunteers aren’t paid. They are taking time away from their families and loved ones in order to serve their community.
      Their gifts, no matter how big or small, are precious. Be mindful in your time of crisis to remember this.
  • Pay it forward
    • You won’t always be in this situation, there is light at the end of the tunnel. When you are back on your feet (and you will be) remember what it was like and try to meet the needs of others in the future and help as many as you can that are in the situation you were in. Pay it forward.

We All Need to Reach Out To Help Our Fellow Man

Do you have any advice to offer someone who has lost everything?

FREE FOOD! How To Get Free Food That’s Healthy!

Sometimes desperation is the mother of invention. When you are on a tight budget, or are facing hunger, you look outside of the box.

That is exactly what my friend Leia did when she needed food and found out about gleaning the fields.
Gleaning the fields not only provides free food, but it’s healthy!

Sharing is caring!


Sunday 5th of June 2022

America 1. Spends the most money in the world on health. 2. Has the lowest life expectancy in the developed world. 3. Has the highest rate of suicide in the developed world. (White people lead on this). Question…. Why would any one live in a country like that?

Wow. Ann Boleyn left a comment. She that heralded in the “Anglican church” in Blighty. Anglican = Armed to the teeth (nuclear) So agree with them

Amber Bradshaw

Monday 6th of June 2022

Some of us were born here.

Shut up

Saturday 1st of February 2020

This article is so misleading. “All you need is air to survive” what if the damn air is below freezing? Numerous issues with this article, this is just one example. The real problem in this world is that there are people doing very well because they rape people of their money by not paying them fair for their hard work.Living expenses outweigh income. As far as government assistance is concerned, they don’t help you at all!! They think you can live on 50$ a month for food. If your credit is bad, your bank will not loan you money but you can get a payday loan with loan sharing interest, providing you have a job and proof of income. Then you get buried in that further. The bank can clearly see when you do payday loans and can see where you pay it successfully but will not give you a long term loan to get monthly payments affordable at a reasonable rate. Society wants you to fail because that’s how they take advantage of hard working people that are not getting a fair payout. You have to have an address to get government assistance , we’ll what about people in the streets that do not have an address? I mean I could go on and on...

Maryann Bolen

Monday 28th of January 2019

Interesting, but as I hav been, there. I didn't learn anything new. Thanks.

How to Get FREE Food That's Healthy! By Gleaning The Fields - My Homestead Life

Friday 17th of November 2017

[…] We are here to help our brothers and sisters, we are a community. If you have found yourself in a situation where you’re struggling or need help, read our article “How to Be Poor- What To Do When You Lose Everything.  […]