You know how when you were a kid and complained about something, your mom always said “It could be worse. You could be so and so down in such and such land!”? Well, now whenever I hear that phrase I think of Tim who once left this comment down below on my blog.
Every now and then one of you says something that really sticks with me (and pops up in random times, like today!) and I always try my best to re-share it in hopes it’ll affect you in the same way. Or at least give you something to think about for a few minutes :)
This guy, Tim, was a brave soul for telling us about it originally, and every time I re-read it I get inspired again to really appreciate what I have and not take everything for granted. At one point he was living off of 50 cents a day (to eat, drink, everything!!) and was even forced to HUNT for his food eventually. That’s crazy. I can’t even fathom that… I literally spent $130 at the grocery store today, and it’ll last us 7 days max! It just goes to show how drastically different our stages in life can be sometimes…
Here’s Tim’s story (which he thankfully overcame!). It was in response to a guest post on the poorest times of our lives:
My worst time was in college. I came from a working poor family. Both my parents were teachers so they made just enough that I didn’t qualify for financial aid, but didn’t make enough to actually help out any with school. I had to pay for college out of pocket. I would work through the summer and one semester, and go to school the next semester. I could only afford to take classes one semester a year. I was managing ok this way until my car died at the beginning of a semester and it cost every cent I had to get it fixed, including cashing out my tiny IRA. Living without motorized transportation in the South West is just not an option with the huge distances involved. I could not work and be a full time student at one of the toughest engineering schools, as I was already spending 10-12 hrs a day on course work.
At first I swallowed my pride and tried getting food stamps which sent the ladies there into a tirade. “See here you are trying to better yourself and they won’t even help you out while any (expletive! *shouting at everyone else in line*) can sit on the couch and don’t even have to show they are trying to find a job!” Wow sorry I asked. Turns out any full time student needs to be working 20 hrs a week minimum first before they qualify for food stamps. If I was working that much I wouldn’t need money… I tried finding a food bank, but there was none in the area.
After being without food for a week I broke down and pawned some very old sentimental tools that had been passed down 3 generations, and after bills I had $50 to buy groceries to last for the next 3 months… I bought 50 lbs of pinto beans and 40 lbs of rice and some soy sauce. I already had a well stocked cupboard with spices, otherwise I wouldn’t have lasted near as long as I did. I ate rice and beans for the next 90+ days and lived off of less than 50 cents a day. When the loose change I would find would be enough to buy a packet of Ramen it was a day of pure heaven. One day I found a dollar and was able to get a pack of hot dogs to cut up and cook with my rice and beans. OMG! When you are starving, even a small piece of hot dog tastes like the best T Bone you’ve ever had.
Whenever I would get low on gas I would have to drive 180 miles round trip into the city to donate plasma for gas money, which would not get me that much after the 1/3 a tank it cost to drive there.
About a month and a half in I couldn’t take it any more and was dying for just a taste of anything. My kingdom for a soda! I kept my Grandfathers old 30.30 Winchester in the toolbox of my truck, and scrounged up anything left of value I could find to pawn. I bought one box of ammo – 20 shots only to put some food on the table. I know exactly how you felt with the the donuts. Everyone around me seemed to happy without a care in the world while I was secretly depressed any time they ate around me. Here I was a student at a prestigious engineering school having to sneak out and hunt my own dinner to survive. In five hunts I only got 3 rabbits which yielded very little meat – a 30.30 is not good for rabbits. I later decided that the energy spent was not worth it. After the trip for plasma/gas money, and the effort to find them and dress and cook them after, I was probably spending more calories than I was getting.
Throughout all of this nobody knew. Nobody knew how horribly malnourished I was. I was a long distance runner and pretty thin to begin with, but ended up growing a pot belly like you see in those African charity commercials and I guess they thought I was drinking a lot of beer or junk food.
If you’re still reading this blog, Tim, thank you so much for sharing this with us when you did! It took balls laying it all out there like that, and it still inspires me to this day :) I’ve never heard of anyone stretching their money to that extreme before! Freakin’ incredible man, and I think it’s a great lesson in doing WHATEVER it takes to make things happen for ourselves. Wherever you are, I hope things are a thousand times better for you bro. I imagine once you accomplish that, you can overcome anything :)
For those who weren’t around when this was first published, what was YOUR poorest moments of your life? Did any of you have it just as bad? (I hope not!)
(Photo by Like_the_Grand_Canyon)
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!