Part 1 Of How Can Anyone In The UK Possibly Be Poor? – Eating Well Or Starving To Pay Bills?

These posts have stemmed from a debate that was started accidentally elsewhere, and although it had started getting a bit personal there, it has raised some interesting questions, and some further areas I would like to explore, and I feel the subject deserves an airing here. I will make it fairly easy to respond to any section that you wish to by numbering various points that were made,do feel free to add your views but do try to keep them general and free from swearing please!

Most of these unless otherwise stated are my own personal views and I will NOT take it personally if you disagree, in fact that would make for a healthy all-round discussion. I would like to add here that I was one of the privileged high-earners and big spenders myself untill the UK’s industry took a huge nose-dive, so I do know what it’s like from both sides of the fence!

I will happily approve all comments that follow the above remit, whether you agree or disagree with any comments made here! 🙂

And any tips you may have, even if you are NOT from the UK, may well help somebody somewhere so do feel free to join in, wherever you are based!

Part 2 is      It’s All Your Own Fault 

Part 3 is      Get Off Your Backsides And Get A Job

Part 4 is      Do Not Have Children Until You Are Financially Ready To!



1 – The debate starts with the general cost of food and living, what do you consider to be poor, not being able to afford to eat out/order a takeaway?

Or simply not being able to put food on the table?

There were those who thought that simply not being able to enjoy a meal out now and then anymore placed them in the realms of hardship, and others who really and truly don’t have enough money left after paying out for mortgage/rent, bills etc to be able to eat well every day.

Some came up with suggestions that poorer people must inherently have more time on their hands to shop better, trawl around looking for mark-downs and bargains, and surely in a better position than most to make use of these.

That’s great if you do indeed have time spare in a low-waged hectic life, AND happen to live in an area where large supermarkets and other likely mark-down establishments are plentiful and local, or even where public transport is cheaply and readily available. This idea doesn’t work for those not living in or near a large city, nor for those with small or school-aged children as reductions do tend to be made past most kiddies bedtime, and having dragged my little man off to the shops late at night on what is where I live quite expensive public transport only to find there were no mark-downs that evening so money thrown away, that idea is sadly not really an option for me. I myself used to live in London, Birmingham and Sheffield, and yes great bargains can be found in large built-up areas, but alas not in the “sticks”.


2. Another  suggestion was that the poor should help themselves by baking cakes and selling/swapping them in local shops for vegetables etc to help themselves out. I have priced up what it would cost me to make, say, 10 apple pies, which on my budget equated to 2/3rd’s of my total weekly income left after rent and bills, and then today I made an effort to walk to the few local shops we have left here to see if they would be interested in swaps, and if so what for?

Their response?

Unsurprisingly, most said they wouldn’t be able to consider this as it would contravene some rules on food safety and traceability, not that they doubted my cooking prowess, but if a food poisoning outbreak should occur, then they wouldn’t want to be taking that risk, also that aside, I would have gotten in return goods far less in value than my original outlay!

So, great suggestion if you live in an old-fashioned local village, not so great for the majority who live in urban hellholes.

3.  Another suggestion was that the poor should grow their own, again not a very well thought out idea. Great if you happen to have a garden you can do this in, but if you are in a high-rise flat not so easy. I myself don’t have access to the garden, although it is supposed to be a shared one, (don’t ask), yet this year set up a lot of things growing in pots, all given to me through Freecycle ( well worth checking out in your local area) or bought very cheaply here and there, but even so, my total outlay on seeds, pots and soil this year represents well over a month’s income for me BEFORE rent, and thanks to a combination of the weather, some hungry wildlife eating most of my plants, and an unsympathetic landlord ( the pots were considered to be unsightly!) my rewards foodwise are NOT going to be worthwhile financially, although the pleasure my son has gotten out of the exercise and the seeds I have cross-germinated will be fantastic for my small-holding plans next year.


To be continued……………



Filed under Broken Britain, General Daily Blurb

6 responses to “Part 1 Of How Can Anyone In The UK Possibly Be Poor? – Eating Well Or Starving To Pay Bills?

  1. Parents have always had their children’s future in their hands every day and should teach them how to housekeep, raise children and create a good family life. This is not generally considered a worthwhile career and is not publicly recognised and applauded. So women go out to work to gain that recognition and ‘be somebody’. They may say they have to in order to meet family outgoings but they should weight the cost of childminding against the wellbeing of their family. Stop me before I ……….

    • It’s trying to find the balance in this modern world that proves to be so hard…..

      I am personally really struggling with the idea that I go out to work, and have to pay a total stranger ( who is no doubt disinterested) MORE than I earn per hour to look after my son….something has definately gone wrong somewhere, you feel free to rant hun, you’re not alone, I bet there are thousands who feel exactly the same way!

  2. Me again. I used to help a friend who taught a class to teenage mums on how to budget and shop within their means. They didn’t have a clue how to budget, don’t know what they had been taught by their parents, but it seemed not much.
    We would work out their income and outgoings to pay all bills that they might have then work out what was left. With that we would go to the shops and teach them how to shop very cheaply (these weren’t girls that were going to do gardening or bartering). It was really difficult because they would constantly complain about having to spend money on food when they wanted mobiles, cigarettes, drinks, clothes, shoes cinema, nightclubs etc etc. They moaned about the sort of food we would show them , they always wanted better food or quick and easy food. We would show them how to cook things from scratch but they wren’t interested. They were relatively poor but didn’t have a clue how to make things better for themselves and didn’t appreciate the help. They only attended the group as they were paid £10 in benefits to attend.

    • That story doesn’t surprise me one little bit, when BabyMibs was very little I tried going to a couple of the local Surestart groups, had to stop as I was the oldest mommy there and the only one not in the least bit interested in clubbing etc. They seemed to have their kids purely as either fashion accessories or as a means to more cash!

  3. Hi there, I know where you are coming from having read the thread that led to this post.
    My opinions on being poor are very different from my friends and work colleagues because I have lived abroad, in developing countries, for many years and have seen true poverty. People in England aren’t really poor compared to some people in others countries. People only consider themselves poor here when they don’t have what they see others having. One colleague was complaining about being really poor, having no holiday this year just a few days out, not being able to have take away every week, only going to pub once a week etc etc. In my opinion she is RELATIVELY poor when comparing herself to others but in reality she is not poor.
    I live a very frugal life because i have to to be able to pay the bills, i don’t complain about the things i don’t have, because i live within my means. The people that complain are not living within their means and wanting things they can’t afford and when they don’t have them they call themselves poor.
    Anyway i’m rambling now back to your points, I agree you can’t sell homemade items very easily because of helth and safety rules but you can set up a proper barter system with other likeminded individuals. I can’t remember the site name but there’s a site like Freecycle for bartering, very local though. I have made cushions, curtains and other sewing things for food items and a handyman to fix a few things around my house.
    Garedening does require space and time but once set up and it gets going with a bit of love and attention is a great source of extra fruit and veg and surplus can always be frozen.

    • Hi there, many thanks for taking the time to respond here, I thought I’d continue the debate as it were as there were some interesting points and useful advice being offered, and if it can help others then it’s all good!

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