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I recently finished “More Than Just Making It: Hope for the Heart of the Financially Frustrated” by Erin Odom of The Humbled Homemaker. Before delving into my thoughts about the book I want to mention that if you pre-order it before the release date of September 5, 2017, you are eligible for some amazing goodies. Some of the best goodies (in my opinion anyway) is the free gift package from Free Reign Farm, access to the first 3 chapters while you wait for the book and a printable gratitude journal. If you are going to order this book, pre-order it now to get all of these goodies plus a ton more! Visit MoreThanJustMakingIt.com for more details.
One of the hardest struggles I’ve faced while in poverty is the stigma. I love how Erin addresses the stigma she felt while in the trenches of barely surviving. She is honest with her feelings that she was above the stereotypes. She was educated and a hard worker. Then she goes on to say “None of it mattered. So instead, I told the truth.” That sentence gave me chills. I shared my introduction into poverty in an earlier post and had many of those same thoughts. And just like Erin, none of it mattered. Poverty is humbling but it does not define you.
The stigma of poverty is hard to rise above. Especially when our families and friends contribute to it. Sometimes, we contribute to it ourselves. I’ve heard so many comments from wealthier people about low-income families. Maybe you have heard the comments too.
“Poor people shouldn’t breed.”
“If you only worked hard, you wouldn’t be in this position.”
“Learn how to manage your money and you’ll be fine.”
“Poor people are lazy.”
“My tax dollars pay for your family.”
“How dare you enjoy any luxuries, you should be eating rice and beans. Meat is for the better people.”
These comments can hurt even the strongest of us. Every so often on social media, a picture of a fridge full of junk is posted beside a picture of a fridge with barely anything in it with the caption “The difference between a working class fridge and a food stamp fridge. Implying that those on food stamps can afford a fridge full of junk food.
I need to jump on my soapbox for just a moment. The idea that those struggling with poverty can afford a fridge full of food bought with food stamp dollar is absurd. Now, someone with food stamps may be able to stretch those dollars by using coupons and fill their fridge that way.
Social media often brings the worst in people out. Hidden behind their screens, they feel they can say anything they want, regardless of who they hurt. And yes, it hurts. Even comments by complete strangers can make you feel small.
What the people making these types of comments don’t realize is that they could easily find themselves at the other end with one major health problem or loss of a job. Yes, there are some people who abuse the “system” and that is sad. But, the majority of low-income people are hard working folks facing hard times.
Erin has a whole chapter in More Than Just Making It titled “Eating Well on a Rice and Beans Budget”. That chapter shows the reader how to stretch the money they have (whether it’s food stamp dollars or not) and feed their families well. Yes, it is hard work but it has great rewards.
What I love the most about this book is that Erin shares her story while giving hope to those still just barely surviving. She shares how she helped her family make it through hard times with practical advice and ideas. Throughout the book, hope is found.
If you or someone you know is struggling with poverty, this is the book for you.
Being poor is nothing to be ashamed of.
If there is one thing that you take away, I hope you learn how to stop being ashamed of being poor. Learning that poverty doesn’t define your character is so important. Believe me, I get it. I’ve struggled with low self-esteem because of poverty. I wish I would have realized earlier that the amount of money I have is not equal to my self-worth.