28% of Americans Cannot Afford $10 Emergency

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Re: 28% of Americans Cannot Afford $10 Emergency

Postby Crazedwraith » 2017-05-19 01:59pm

Broomstick wrote:Some of it ties into the Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice (link in signature) - they buy cheap rather than quality.


Did they change this across versions or nationalities? Because I just checked my copy of Men At Arms and that's not what it's called. The version I mentioned is what I've got.

But, to be on-topic, it does explain a lot. I do wonder how uniquely american this is. Could more than 28% of Uk citizens afford a £7.67 emergency? I'd bet they could but how much more and how expensive an emergency they could handle would be interesting to know.
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Re: 28% of Americans Cannot Afford $10 Emergency

Postby Zixinus » 2017-05-19 02:15pm

A note about the Sam Vines theory: a key point is that it really ,really beats in there with big things like housing, utilities, cars, transportation. Situations where the lack of money forces you to end up in a sucky situation. Like inheriting a house that was badly-made, badly-cared for like a loam-based house rotting due to water leakage (I knew a guy whose wife was a building inspector, she couldn't take it because she was constantly forced to fine poor people stuck with bad houses), forced to buy a second-hand car that is constantly falling apart, forced to pay large transportation costs, etc. Situations where even if you know how to budget and save money, you are forced to spend.

It also deepens the cycle of poverty because you are forced to buy the cheapest big things, thus how you get stuck with bad houses, cars, utilities, etc in the first place.
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Re: 28% of Americans Cannot Afford $10 Emergency

Postby Napoleon the Clown » 2017-05-19 03:07pm

The tire part of Broomstick's experiences remind me of what happened when my uncle put a set of refurbished/used tires on his Ford Ranchero a few years back. He'd been slowly working on restoring it, getting it in good shape, etc. Driving down the freeway and one of the tires has the belt separate. Crashes, and an arguably classic vehicle gets totaled. He didn't get badly injured, thankfully. But he has since concluded that dropping extra on new tires is probably worth it. Tires are one thing I'll never cheap out on. I'll get the $13 a pair jeans at Costco, I don't do anything that's particularly hard on pants. And if I get a bit of acid on them in lab and it eats a hole in them? Oh well, $13 a pair.

Actually, car parts in general I tend to avoid going for the cheapest option. I'd rather spend a bit extra and have it last instead of having it crap out on me and spend money going to the mechanic again, having to replace a part again. I'm also in a financial situation where, when I've gotta, I can absorb an unexpected $1000. I really don't like it, and it very much means we end up with more money out than in for the month, but we've got enough in savings for it to not kill us. My wife and I both were able to build up savings, and without any kids we've got another advantage many don't. Having good financial advice from our parents helped, too.

I can't be excessively judgemental toward certain financial decisions, because often times they may seem counter-intuitive if you've never been taught otherwise. Or if you're in a situation where you literally live paycheck to paycheck, so "Buy the thing that's five times as expensive but lasts ten times as long" just is not an option. Income inequality in America is fucking extreme and does awful things to overall economic performance.
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Re: 28% of Americans Cannot Afford $10 Emergency

Postby K. A. Pital » 2017-05-19 03:11pm

I think that cheap stuff is underrated - it has a massive savings potential, too.

No-brands clothing can save hundreds of dollars. Exclusively wearing quality brand clothing, even with the smartest buying strategies - only through outlets on sale dates, - is hundreds of $$$ in expenses.

In the end, however, once a relatively poor person climbs out from the subsistence level, he/she has no desire to go back to this level, even if her/his ibcreased income is barely enough to afford decent food and clothing with zero savings.

It takes a strong will to start saving when your income has increased, and you no longer need to avoid the meat stand or think in terms of "what drink can I buy this week, beer or wine? i can only pick one".

Living on a small hard budget each month and each week is an experience that few would remembe kindly, so there is a desire to forget about it, and spend all you have to just live.

Another way the capitalistic surrounding warps the human mind.
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Re: 28% of Americans Cannot Afford $10 Emergency

Postby Crazedwraith » 2017-05-19 03:14pm

K. A. Pital wrote:I think that cheap stuff is underrated - it has a massive savings potential, too.

No-brands clothing can save hundreds of dollars. Exclusively wearing quality brand clothing, even with the smartest buying strategies - only through outlets on sale dates, - is hundreds of $$$ in expenses.


It does depend on why exactly the goods are more expensive. The ideal is more expensive because better quality. In a lot of cases, like clothing more expensive is just getting you the brand name logo.

As almost everyone has made clear, there are somethings you can go cheap on and somethings you can't.
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Re: 28% of Americans Cannot Afford $10 Emergency

Postby General Zod » 2017-05-19 04:13pm

I'm not saying all cheap stuff is bad. But there's some things where the difference between cheap and expensive is Night and day. Steel toe shoes for example. I don't abuse buying the heap $20 shit from Walmart.
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Re: 28% of Americans Cannot Afford $10 Emergency

Postby Zixinus » 2017-05-19 06:10pm

And how can someone tell what will last and what won't? Especially with planned obsolescence in today's consumerist products?
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Re: 28% of Americans Cannot Afford $10 Emergency

Postby mr friendly guy » 2017-05-19 06:58pm

Zixinus wrote:And how can someone tell what will last and what won't? Especially with planned obsolescence in today's consumerist products?

Most likely from experience. I know Hush Puppies shoes last me for a while for work. Interestingly enough those cheap Chinese sand shoes I purchased in Guangxi in 2008 have lasted me until now before I am considering need to change them. LOL.

Also I know those cheap Singaporean T-shirts for tourists, where you can buy 3 for $10 lasted me for close to a decade. :D
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Re: 28% of Americans Cannot Afford $10 Emergency

Postby Broomstick » 2017-05-19 11:45pm

Also things like Consumer Reports and the internet, where you can research products.
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Re: 28% of Americans Cannot Afford $10 Emergency

Postby Lord Revan » 2017-05-20 04:59am

K. A. Pital wrote:I think that cheap stuff is underrated - it has a massive savings potential, too.

No-brands clothing can save hundreds of dollars. Exclusively wearing quality brand clothing, even with the smartest buying strategies - only through outlets on sale dates, - is hundreds of $$$ in expenses.

I think the point is to buy good quality (which can be done with off-brand or smaller brand products) rather then buying only expensive brand products. Essentially you want to hit sweet spot where you're not paying for just for a logo but at same aren't buying trash because "it's cheap", so you get decent enough stuff that will last but isn't overpriced.

this is also what my maternal grandmother meant when she said "it's expensive to buy cheap" (well she said it in swedish as that was her first language but still the point stands), you want to pay for quality not a logo, if there's cheaper off-brand product with similar quality by all means get the cheaper one, but don't buy something just because it costs less without any consideration towards quality.
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Re: 28% of Americans Cannot Afford $10 Emergency

Postby General Zod » 2017-05-20 08:08am

Zixinus wrote:And how can someone tell what will last and what won't? Especially with planned obsolescence in today's consumerist products?


Partly from experience. With shoes the difference in construction quality is readily apparent. Poor quality shoes use lots of glue rather than stitching for one.
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Re: 28% of Americans Cannot Afford $10 Emergency

Postby Raw Shark » 2017-05-20 02:05pm

You know what else is cheap? Super glue and duct tape. I kept a $20 pair of shoes together for five years of hard use (walking to work in the snow, working on my feet, general clumsiness, etc) once. My grandfather on my mother's side was an oldschool cobbler, and used to look down, up, and roll his eyes every time he saw me.

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Re: 28% of Americans Cannot Afford $10 Emergency

Postby Simon_Jester » 2017-05-20 04:51pm

Broomstick basically takes the same approach, as I understand it, only with actual cobbler's tools.

The problem is that a lot of people are... frighteningly un-handy when it comes to improvising repairs to their own belongings. This may be one of the reasons for the rising cost of living, and Stas isn't wrong to call it a flaw of consumerist society. The idea of replacing things rather than repairing them adds a LOT to expenses, and the shift of our society's emphasis has created a situation where even the people who would very much benefit economically from repairing damaged clothes and so on... don't know how, don't think of doing it, et cetera.
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Re: 28% of Americans Cannot Afford $10 Emergency

Postby Raw Shark » 2017-05-20 05:33pm

It's amazing what people will throw out. I was just talking to the trash guy (want some free life advice? Befriend the little people. You might be one of us someday) about this yesterday. There was a 4' oscillating fan in good working order and a slightly ripped-up box spring just sitting there. I kept the former and donated the latter to the homeless.

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Re: 28% of Americans Cannot Afford $10 Emergency

Postby General Zod » 2017-05-20 09:57pm

Raw Shark wrote:It's amazing what people will throw out. I was just talking to the trash guy (want some free life advice? Befriend the little people. You might be one of us someday) about this yesterday. There was a 4' oscillating fan in good working order and a slightly ripped-up box spring just sitting there. I kept the former and donated the latter to the homeless.


You want to be careful with discarded furniture. It's really easy to pick up unwanted parasites that might be along for the ride.
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Re: 28% of Americans Cannot Afford $10 Emergency

Postby Mr Bean » 2017-05-21 01:08am

General Zod wrote:
Raw Shark wrote:It's amazing what people will throw out. I was just talking to the trash guy (want some free life advice? Befriend the little people. You might be one of us someday) about this yesterday. There was a 4' oscillating fan in good working order and a slightly ripped-up box spring just sitting there. I kept the former and donated the latter to the homeless.


You want to be careful with discarded furniture. It's really easy to pick up unwanted parasites that might be along for the ride.

Around my old place if you see furniture on the curb it's got bedbugs, to the point at which city garbage men would not touch furniture unless it was plastic wrapped.

Leading to some areas having entire living rooms when the landlord tossed their stuff to the curb and left it there for weeks, sometimes months.

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Re: 28% of Americans Cannot Afford $10 Emergency

Postby Gandalf » 2017-05-21 07:48am

General Zod wrote:
Raw Shark wrote:It's amazing what people will throw out. I was just talking to the trash guy (want some free life advice? Befriend the little people. You might be one of us someday) about this yesterday. There was a 4' oscillating fan in good working order and a slightly ripped-up box spring just sitting there. I kept the former and donated the latter to the homeless.


You want to be careful with discarded furniture. It's really easy to pick up unwanted parasites that might be along for the ride.


Indeed. That's why many local charity places refuse to take mattresses, because of what can accrue in them which can't be easily detected.
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Re: 28% of Americans Cannot Afford $10 Emergency

Postby Raw Shark » 2017-05-21 08:17am

Yeah, I don't take things like mattresses home with me usually, but if you're sleeping rough, a mattress with bugs is better than the pavement with bugs. The shelter has bugs, as well as thieves and rapists, but also a roof and sometimes food (of widely-varying quality; I knew a guy who got an entire party platter there once that was donated because it was expired that day, just for being first in line. It actually got him laid, after he shared it with one of the girls there), so it's kind of a trade-off. The box spring that I found seemed clean. I gave it to the Vietnam vet who lives in my alley.

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Re: 28% of Americans Cannot Afford $10 Emergency

Postby General Zod » 2017-05-21 09:05am

Bed bugs are experts at hiding in the tiniest cracks. Plus there's the nearly invisible babies.
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Re: 28% of Americans Cannot Afford $10 Emergency

Postby Napoleon the Clown » 2017-05-21 11:58pm

Clothing is easy enough to purge of bed bugs. Just stuff it in a ziplock bag and put it in the freezer for two weeks or so. Kills 'em all in that sort of time frame. Unless you've got a walk-in freezer, furniture doesn't have this option.
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Re: 28% of Americans Cannot Afford $10 Emergency

Postby LaCroix » 2017-05-22 07:55am

General Zod wrote:Bed bugs are experts at hiding in the tiniest cracks. Plus there's the nearly invisible babies.

No problem for homeless - the first hard winter will clean the matttress thoroughly.
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Re: 28% of Americans Cannot Afford $10 Emergency

Postby Elheru Aran » 2017-05-22 05:13pm

LaCroix wrote:
General Zod wrote:Bed bugs are experts at hiding in the tiniest cracks. Plus there's the nearly invisible babies.

No problem for homeless - the first hard winter will clean the matttress thoroughly.


Not an option if you don't live in an area with 'hard winters' on a regular basis... but as Shark said, mattress plus bedbugs beats no mattress.

Anyway I have to wonder about the methodology they used here, but then I think about it and it's easy enough to figure that that 28% probably covers pretty much everybody that's been long-term unemployed and living on the dole, plus those working shit-ass jobs with no spare money. I can see a quarter of the population being the guys in blue vests stocking shelves at Walmart, the waitress scooping up half-eaten burgers at the greasy-spoon so her kids can eat, the guy who brings a jar of pennies to the grocery checkout...
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