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What do you! class as being poor??

(58 Posts)
bikergran Fri 22-Jul-11 09:58:21

My friend (osh friend) were once chatting about people having different ideas of being poor....( I dont mean the third worl countires etc, I mean just our own day to day family living) friend remarked that when they first got married many moons ago..she remembered not being able to afford "strawberries and cream "" for pudding!! lol...

I then told her that I remember having to choose to buy some potatoes or loaf of bread (couldnt afford both)!! I choose the bread and chopped the roots off the potatoes I had and we had chip butties for tea....and my daughetr used to be in what they called the Tuesday club (bit liek a youth club ) I sent her to the shop to take some milk/pop bottles back to get enough for the 10p that she needed to go to the Tuesday club....(im going back abou 28 yrs now) lol......

bikergran Fri 22-Jul-11 09:58:43

ermm "posh" i meannot osh!!!

bikergran Fri 22-Jul-11 09:59:09

oh my gosh my spelling tut tut .....

Baggy Fri 22-Jul-11 10:17:39

Going back the same number of years, biker, we got a rate rebate and free milk for the kids. The window-cleaner got huffy when I told him to only come every two months, but I needed the money for other more urgent things. I thought I was being kind to him not telling him to never come! Now I clean my own windows .... about once a year!

glassortwo Fri 22-Jul-11 10:57:08

I remember my Mum and Dad when we were away in the Air Force checking down the sofa on a Wednesday to see if any loose change had gone done the back, they had one of those money in the back of the TV's and so my Mum could get to watch all of Coronation Street she had to turn the TV off in the adverts so the money didnt run out before payday.

I remember having to be very inventive with meals when my husband was made redundant,we had just bought our first house just before the bank rate went from single figures ( 7% I think to 15%) in the 70's we had budgeted on the lower rate but it is amazing what you can do when you have to.

crimson Fri 22-Jul-11 11:35:56

I was just going to mention about checking down the sofa! I'll never forget the look on my son's face when he opened his piggy bank and iou note. I think I felt my life was on the upgrade [financially] when I realised that, if I went out somewhere, I could actually afford to buy a coffee. Strangely enough, it was when we suddenly became more financially secure and had money to spend on nice things that the marriage fell doctor said that was quite often the case.

bikergran Fri 22-Jul-11 12:40:07

Baggy I also clean my own windows ! lol I look like some absailing hanging on for dear life! as I reach to get to them awkward places ! im sure the neighbours think (tightbottem) lol...they have window cleaners ...

crimson Im sorry to here your marriage broke down when you were more financialy better off...I suppose we would think that it worked the other way round!

glassortwo you ahve now inspired me to go and clean my bedroom its getting a little dark in there these days through lack of light!!

Baggy Fri 22-Jul-11 12:42:12

crimson, the DD who is still at home still gets IOU notes in her piggy bank but now it's because I rarely pass a hole-in-the-wall.

Joan Fri 22-Jul-11 13:01:56

When we earned reasonable, but not great, wages and were bringing up two lads, we were not classed as poor by any means, but life was a struggle and every purchase had to be justified. For instance, I never ever had coffee at the cafe with the other women, just before work, as I could not justify a bought cup of coffee in my own mind, when it was free at work!

Now the lads are educated, long independent, and settled in careers, we are retired, and supposedly below the poverty line, BUT we feel quite well off. We save cash for any purchases we need - and I have a coffee and snack with my mates at U3A, or with old friends, whenever I feel like it. We are comfy at home, warm in winter, cool in summer, have all we need to eat, and have the means to follow hobbies and interests.

Of course, we can't afford tickets to the Grimethorpe Colliery Band at Brisbane, (minimum A$80 each), but that doesn't matter as my husband is agoraphobic and wouldn't manage it anyway!!

helshea Fri 22-Jul-11 14:04:27

As long as I can afford to eat, and pay the bills I consider myself lucky... not well off, no spare cash, but not what I would call on the breadline either. Good friends and family make me rich!

greenmossgiel Fri 22-Jul-11 14:26:34

We had good training when we were first together and the children were growing up. Later on when we moved to Scotland, my partner got a job as a lorry driver for a poultry firm. We were allowed a free tray of eggs every week, so we used to buy a 56lb bag of potatoes and we were well fed for the week! There were leaner times in earlier years when I used to pretend I'd had my meal, though, when he came in from work. The children and he all used to sit at the table together, and I would busy myself around. Yes, we were really quite poor when I think of it! I used to go to jumble sales and buy old dresses which I cut down to remake dresses for my girls. I've since learned that they hated them! I think that was as great way of doing things though, and can still dress myself quite well from charity shops and ebay! At the time of the Winter of Discontent,(1973?) I remember that we had to chop up and burn the dining table(!) as we couldn't get coal -and if there was any available, we couldn't afford the price of it. I also used to dry dandelion roots to make 'coffee' -foul!!! We aren't rich now, either! However, we can pay our bills and can afford to eat nourishing food. No spare cash - what I do have tends to go to the family who are struggling themselves now. I clean my own windows too! Why pay someone when you can do it for yourself? Actually they're filthy just now......but it looks like it might rain grin!

Divawithattitude Fri 22-Jul-11 15:43:01

I remember my dad taking a third job to pay for my uniform to the posh grammar school, and the telling off I got when I lost my PE kit in the third week of term!

goldengirl Fri 22-Jul-11 17:38:13

I was brought up to be careful with money and didn't overspend when I was at college. When we got married we lived on research grants and didn't know if they would be extended each year so had to be careful. I used to make the children's clothes and raid jumble sales for toys. Holidays were difficult because I HATE discomfort but my children still remember our efforts with affection which is lovely smile

ElseG Sat 23-Jul-11 09:45:00

Sorry to add a truly yuck thought but I should feel poor if I had no friends.

maxgran Tue 26-Jul-11 13:50:04

WHen I had my daughter we lived in a rented flat - I remember we got £1 per week family allowance on a Monday and I was first in the queue at the post office because I had no money left. I would buy some veg and lamb neck chops from a local butcher who would always add some extra on at no charge, and make a stew. I never felt really poor though

GillieB Tue 26-Jul-11 18:58:56

We have been fortunate because we have never not had some money, if you see what I mean; however, things were very tight when we were bringing up our family and only eased when they both left home. My husband was neurotic about being made redundant and consequently our spending was curtailed when things were easier because he always worried about not having enough money for retirement. In common with a lot of people of our generation we bought our own home when we were first married. When we moved to the north east from the south east we were able to buy a really nice house - much better than anything we had previously had.

I was talking to an elderly friend the other day and she said that, when she and her husband were first married, it was a treat if once a month they could afford a tin of mandarin oranges with some evaporated milk! How times change.

susiecb Tue 26-Jul-11 19:09:14

We were also lucky that we were always both in work but it was tight. Nurses didnt get paid much and my husband worked at the town hall in admin. We are thankful now that we paid into pensions although they are nothing like the press would have you believe and we could have done with the money at the time. A book called 100 ways with Mince helped me and we always took sandwiches and drinks with us when we went out with the children- still do sometime - motorway cafes are a complete rip off.

Notsogrand Tue 26-Jul-11 19:11:59

I used to buy adult jumpers & cardigans from jumble sales green, unpick and wash the wool, then use it to knit jumpers etc for my girls. Also chopped up furniture to burn on the fire. I remember gathering paperback books from home and trailing round second hand shops who would buy them for 6d to feed the children. Too many other memories really, it wasn't great, but we got by. No benefits in those days, so you needed a good imagination!

greenmossgiel Tue 26-Jul-11 19:21:29

I remember feeling so sad when I saw my DH going off to work with his hair too long, because we couldn't afford for him to have his hair cut. That was in the very early 1970's. His shoes were quite down at heel too, and he was so (and still is) very particular about such things. Telling the children that they could have an ice cream 'tomorrow' when they got excited at the van's chimes. Although I know all this did no harm to us, and that we all learned from it, it still hurts me when I think back on it. sad

Notsogrand Tue 26-Jul-11 19:33:53

My sister used to tell her children that if the ice cream man was playing his chimes, it meant he'd run out of ice cream. grin

greenmossgiel Tue 26-Jul-11 19:36:08

That's cheered me up again, Notsogrand!! grin

mumontherun Tue 26-Jul-11 20:10:55

We're a young family and have chosen that i'll stay home and DH will work. We have a pretty low income so things like clothes, shoes, haircuts, the car have gone out the window. I've been home full time for just over two years now and I'm learning fast about economising! Some of these posts really strike a chord with our life now, it is funny how times soon come around again!
I would say we are poor economically, I couldn't have imagined it was possible to survive on what we live on a few years back BUT we are a very very close and loving family and really enjoy the time we spend together which of course is all for free!

If anyone has any tips on Frugal food they'd be VERY welcome!

em Tue 26-Jul-11 21:58:46

mumontherun - what a brave decision you've made to stay at home with your children when you must be under a degree of pressure to be out at work. We did the same and had several frugal years with 4 of us living on my teacher husband's salary. We coped - very basic holidays, clothes bought because they were needed not just because we fancied something new, one car of course and making the weekly food allowance last the full week with no treats or takeaways! I don't regret it for a moment and I am so happy that I was there for all the milestones. My children tell me that they never felt deprived and have all done well. Once they were at school I went back to work and my primary teaching post was ideal for obvious reasons. We got on to the property ladder in a very modest way but that too was well worthwhile.
You will have to make some sacrifices but in time to come, you'll look back and have no regrets (I sincerely hope).

wisewoman Tue 26-Jul-11 22:20:21

Thirty years ago I was a stay at home mum and my DH was paid monthly. Whenever there was a five week month we used to have a soup and bread week during the last week of the month. Big pots of homemade soup and homemade wholemeal bread for tea every night. It was very healthy (and tasty too) and I don't remember the kids complaining.

grannyactivist Tue 26-Jul-11 22:43:57

As a child my mum left home for two years, leaving myself and three siblings aged 3-7 with our dysfunctional father. By the time she returned we all had malnutrition (along with lice and impetigo). The years following were hard; there was very little money and what there was disappeared as soon as my stepfather reached the pub on pay day. We really were very poor.
Fast forward, and when my husband and I got married 25 years ago I was a divorcee with three children and he was a student (10 years younger than me grin). I had a full time job and waitressed part time (and produced 2 more children) and he studied and also worked part time; when he completed his studies five years later it was my turn to go to university while he took a full time job.
They were really tough years financially, but we had a fantastic church who provided us with a food parcel every week and we never bought anything that we couldn't afford. My early experiences stood me in good stead and we didn't felt 'deprived', rather we relished whatever little treats came our way.