How to Overcome Poverty

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:08
Poverty is about a lack of money, but also about a lack of hope. People living in poverty often feel powerless to change their situation. They can feel isolated from their community. If you want to overcome poverty, you need a combination...
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Poverty is about a lack of money, but also about a lack of hope. People living in poverty often feel powerless to change their situation. They can feel isolated from their community. If you want to overcome poverty, you need a combination of financial planning, a positive attitude, and a willingness to ask for help.

Part 1
Part 1 of 4:

Improving Your Situation

  1. A diploma for a bachelor's degree next to a graduation cap.
    Educate yourself. Research shows that you stand to make more money if you have a higher level of education. If you want to get out of poverty and stay out, one of the best things you can do is get the right education and training.
    • Some careers only require a two-year degree, and offer $50,000-60,000 a year. Go to your local community college and see what programs they offer. They should be able to help you find careers in high demand.[1]
    • Talk to the financial aid office about programs to help you pay tuition. Depending on your circumstances, you may not need to take out student loans.[2]
  2. Step 2 Examine your housing options.
    Finding affordable housing can be difficult if you're living on or below minimum wage. If you're renting, try to find a roommate. Sharing the cost of housing can make things much more affordable.[3]
    • If you have a house, see if you can find a way to lease one of the rooms. Make sure to do a background check on any potential roommates. Be especially thorough if you have children.[4]
    • Consider moving to a state with a lower cost of living. If it is particularly difficult to find inexpensive housing, you may need to move. Do some research and compare the cost of living in different cities. If you do decide to move, make sure you have a job lined up before setting out.[5]
  3. Step 3 Look for better work.
    Chances are, if you're living in poverty, you already work multiple jobs. Working two or more jobs is not a permanent solution to overcoming poverty, and may cause more stress than it relieves.[6]
    • If you don't have access to the internet at your house, use the public library.
    • Make searching for a better full-time job part of your daily routine. If you have a few hours in the morning before you go to work, use that time to search for jobs.[7]
    • Don't apply to every job you come across. Be selective in your job search and find something that will improve your situation.[8]
    • Build a LinkedIn account to help you with your job search. Build your profile to attract potential employers. Include a professional photograph and a catchy headline. Fill out as much of the profile as you can. Treat it like an overflow for your resume. If you have a lot of volunteer experience but can't fit it on your resume, include it in your profile.[9]
  4. Step 4 Try to negotiate a raise.
    Depending on how long you've been in your current job, you may be able to persuade your manager to give you a raise. However, make sure you have a reason to ask for a raise before scheduling a meeting with your boss.[10]
    • Do a little research and see what other people in your field are getting paid. Don't ask your coworkers how much they make, but check online and see what the average pay rate is for your job.[11]
    • Don't demand more money from your boss because you think you deserve it. Stay calm and try to work with your boss to reach a decision that is beneficial for both of you. Look for ways to help your boss. You may have to take on more responsibilities for higher pay.[12]
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Part 2
Part 2 of 4:

Managing Your Money

  1. Step 1 Pay off any outstanding loans.
    If you have any debt at all, pay it off as soon as you can. You cannot afford to be in debt if you're making minimum wage or less.[13]
    • Getting debt-free should be your top priority.[14]
    • Credit card debt is arguably the worst kind of debt. Sometimes the interest rates are as high as 25%. Try to pay those back first and, if possible, change to a 0% credit card, which is going to charge you 0% interest for some time. This might help you get debt-free sooner.
  2. Step 2 Look into banking alternatives.
    Some banks charge fees if you don't have a minimum amount in your account. This can make it difficult to save money. However, there are banking alternatives that may help you get on your feet.[15]
    • Services such as American Express Bluebird are almost completely free. While Bluebird does not help you build credit, it does prevent you from paying any fees for not carrying a minimum balance.[16]
  3. Step 3 Start a budget....
    Start a budget. Without a budget it can be hard to keep track of your expenses. You're more likely to overspend, and less likely to set aside money for savings.
    • Examine your income, your bills, and how you spend any extra money you may have. Make goals and keep track of your spending. The sooner you learn how to budget, the quicker you can reach financial independence.
    • Make a list of your needs and your wants. Needs are things like food, clothing, shelter, and medicine. Wants are things like pets, entertainment, computers, and TV. Some things may be harder to give up than others, but it's important to determine what you can and can't live without.[17]
    • As soon as you pay your debts, try to save enough to cover your expenses for three to six months just to deal with any emergencies.
  4. Step 4 Don't rely on payday loans for emergency funds.
    Payday loans can be tempting, but they are never a good idea. Relying on payday loans will only make your financial situation worse.[18]
    • It may be difficult, and will likely take some financial creativity, but try to start an emergency fund. A good goal for a starting emergency fund is $500. That may seem like a lot of money, but start small. Try to set aside around $10 per paycheck.[19]
    • The best thing you can do to avoid turning to payday lenders is to stick to your budget. If you stick to your budget and you still come up short, don't immediately turn to lenders for help. Try to work out payment arrangements if possible. See if you can delay payment until your next paycheck arrives. However, be cautious when working out late payments. Ask about any fees for extended payments, and don't get behind. Continual late payments can hurt your credit score.[20]
  5. Step 5 Avoid shopping at rent-to-own stores.
    Rent-to-own stores are appealing on the surface. You see something you want to buy, but can't afford, and they give you a way to afford it. But, if you shop at these stores you will end up paying far more in interest than the item is worth.[21]
    • Rather than shop at a rent-to-own store, wait until you have the money for the item in question. If you find a TV for $400 and decide to lease it from a rent-to-own store, you could end up paying over $1000 in interest.[22]
  6. Step 6 Shop for used goods.
    There is no reason to buy everything new. If you have a little extra money, it can be tempting to splurge and treat yourself to something nice. However, if you do this too often, you run the risk of creating bad spending habits. If you can find it used, take that route and save yourself some money.
    • Clothes, tools, books, and even fitness equipment are all easy to find used. Buying your large appliances and cars used can also help you save some money.[23]
  7. Step 7 Find ways to pay for health insurance.
    Health insurance is not always affordable, but there are ways to get coverage if you are living in poverty. Maintaining your health is important, especially if you are living in poverty. People living in poverty are more susceptible to health problems, and medical bills can be devastating.
    • If you have health insurance through the federal or state government, you may be eligible for a subsidy. The requirements for eligibility are usually based on household income and family size.
    • can help you determine if you qualify for a healthcare subsidy.[24]
    • If you have outstanding medical bills, try to negotiate with the hospital. Review your bills and look for any charges that don't belong. Sometimes errors will slip through the cracks and you may find yourself overcharged.
    • If you can't pay any of your medical bills, and you've talked with your doctor, try looking online for support. There are plenty of crowdfunding resources available for people living in poverty.
  8. Step 8 Save your change.
    Starting a change jar isn't going to make you rich overnight, but it will help you save small amounts that you can add to your savings account.[25]
    • Put your loose coins into a jar at the end of each day. When you fill the jar, roll your coins and put them into a savings account.[26]
  9. Step 9 Learn to barter
    . You can barter for goods or services. If you have a particular skill set that you feel comfortable advertising, try using it to barter for things you need.[27]
    • To start bartering, decide what good or service you need. Then, think about what goods and services you can offer. You may be able to trade an hour of housekeeping, or a small household repair, for example. Find a partner you're willing to trade with, and negotiate the terms of the agreement.[28]
    • Don't feel pressured into taking goods or services that you do not need. You can always walk away from a barter if you don't like the terms of the agreement.[29]
  10. Step 10 Save as much as you can.
    You may not have a lot of extra money if you're making minimum wage. Even with a second job, most of your money is probably going towards paying bills, or paying down your debt. Still, if you have any extra money at all, put it aside.[30]
    • Find small ways to save money by cutting back on your utilities expenses. Turn off the lights when you aren't in a room. Seal any leaks you can find in your doors and windows. Rather than turn the heat up when it gets cold at night, throw on an extra blanket. These tricks may only save a little at a time, but it could add up.
    • Any extra money you get, whether it's through a tax refund or a gift, is money you should save. It will be tempting to spend it on something new, but until you're in a better financial position, avoid the temptation.[31]
    • Avoid the temptation to spend by thinking through the purchase. Is it something you can live without? Do you only want it because it's on sale? Depending on how you answer these questions, you may be considering an impulse buy. Don't give in to impulse purchases.[32]
    • Consider waiting 24 hours before making the purchase. If you wake up the next day and your first thought is about buying the item in question, wait a little longer. See how long you can go without the item.[33]
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Part 3
Part 3 of 4:

Getting Help

  1. Step 1 Ask for help with child care.
    If you have kids, talk to your local community center about their drop-in programs. Some Community Centers offer low-cost or free programs for kids.
    • You may even be able to find free activities for your kids to attend, as well as support groups for people struggling to make ends meet.
    • If you can't find any programs, ask a family member or close friend if they are willing to help you with your kids.
  2. Step 2 Get help from a Financial Opportunity Center.
    If you're struggling with changing your financial behavior, seek help from a Financial Opportunity Center (FOC).x
    • An FOC will help you increase your income and decrease your expenses. FOCs work with low-income individuals to help them overcome poverty and secure financial independence.
  3. Step 3 Surround yourself with positive people.
    Don't let poverty isolate you from your community. It's important to be a part of a supportive community when things get tough.
    • Being a part of a community will encourage you to stay on track and meet your goals. Find ways to engage with your community in a meaningful way, such as through support groups, social events, and learning circles.
  4. Step 4 Get credit counseling.
    If you're struggling with getting out of debt, it may be helpful to get some financial advice. While getting help from a credit counseling organization may not be free, they may be able to help you get on your feet.[34]
    • When searching for help, avoid scams. If you find an organization that you want to do business with, make sure they are legitimate. Pay attention to any contracts or paperwork involved.[35]
    • Check with your state Attorney General to verify the legitimacy of any credit counseling organization. You can also check with local consumer protection agencies. If consumers have filed complaints with the organizations, look into them. Just because you can't find complaints, doesn't mean the organization is legitimate.
    • Conduct an interview with any potential candidates. Ask what services they offer, what their fees are, and what qualifications they have.
    • Make sure that the organization provides resources for you to get out of debt, such as debt management classes and budget counseling.
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Part 4
Part 4 of 4:

Staying Strong

  1. Step 1 Try the "shift-and-persist" approach.
    It's no secret that living in poverty is stressful. Studies have shown that people living in poverty deal with higher levels of stress, but have fewer resources to fight it. One method, known as the "shift and persist" method, may help you deal with stress.[36]
    • The shift-and-persist method of dealing with stress is a way to examine your stressors and find ways to cope with them. Rather than trying to get rid of the stressor, accept your situation and adjust your outlook.[37]
    • The key to making shift-and-persist work is to keep working towards future goals. Don't become resigned to the situation you are in, and don't give up.[38]
    • Practice self-affirmation. Recognize that you have value and don't let poverty get in the way of your feeling of self-worth. Think of times in the past when you were successful. Remind yourself daily that you have what it takes to solve your problems.
  2. Step 2 Follow a healthy diet.
    Living in poverty is often associated with a poor diet and unhealthy habits. Processed foods are inexpensive, but contribute to poor health.[39]
    • Find foods you can use in multiple meals. By buying a select few staple ingredients, you can ensure that you're always able to make a meal. Keep things like flour, spices, garlic, and lemons on hand.
    • If you can, buy items in bulk to save money. You may not always be able to afford to stock up on certain pantry items, but when you can, it's worth it. Try setting aside a little money each month for more expensive pantry items.
  3. Step 3 Find time to exercise.
    Along with a proper diet, exercise is one of the best ways to defend your body from stress. You may not have the resources to join a gym, but you can still find ways to stay active at home.[40]
    • Go for walks. If you have a pet or kids, this is a great activity. Walking is a good way to increase your heart rate, not to mention get out of the house. If you're stressed about something, take a walk to clear your head. You can also use this opportunity to catch up with your family members.[41]
    • Try to spend at least 30 minutes a day doing some kind of physical activity. Jog in place while you watch TV. Do push-ups or sit-ups during commercials. You don't have to spend a solid 30 minutes exercising. You can split it up into two 15 minute segments if you need to.[42]
  4. Step 4 Set personal goals...
    Set personal goals. Think about what you want to accomplish in life, both short-term and long-term. Write your goals down, and remind yourself daily why you're pursuing them.[43]
    • It can be easy to lose sight of long-term goals, especially if you know it could be years until you reach them. To avoid neglecting your long-term goals, set aside time to work on them. Don't let your short-term goals get in the way of your long-term goals.[44]
    • Develop good habits to help you reach your goals. Wake up early, read books related to your goals, and pursue activities that will benefit you. You may have to replace some bad habits that occupy your time, such as watching too much TV.[45]
    • Remember that real change is slow and incremental. For instance, your goal would be to run a marathon, you wouldn't be expected to run your first marathon in a week. Make little bits of progress. Slow little baby steps toward cutting your spending has a big impact. It's not a race.
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The Takeaway: Getting Out of Poverty

Stick to a budget that cuts expenses, saves as much as possible, and prioritizes paying off high-interest debt quickly. Consider working with a reputable Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) or credit counselor for guidance. Set personal goals and maintain healthy habits to stay optimistic and protect your health.

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