why do poor people buy expensive things

I teach low income students and they shop for clothes and shoes more often than I do (not low income); while they wear labels I wear generic, no label clothes and shoes. One of the them claims to have a closet that cannot accommodate all of her clothing and is constantly bragging about her new finds. Others will splurge on name-brand clothing while their food budgets suffer. After watching this for one year I have come to some conclusions:
Poor money management and and a lack of long-term planning skills lead them to make poor choices. Most cannot budget their social assistance cheques well and panic for the week before the next one because it s all gone, but their kids still need food. This leads to panic, resulting in guilt and extreme penny pinching, resulting in a splurge later on when money becomes available again. They are fully aware of their poverty and seek to overcompensate by obtaining lots of stuff.


Perhaps it s the knowledge that I can get what I need when I need it, while they don t know when they ll be able to afford a new pair of shoes next. They have this idea that showing wealth means name brand. Some of my students have purses worth more than their bank accounts yet rely on support programs to feed their children. Is getting name brand worth giving your child malnutrition? They and their family suffers from their poor choices. Two of my students have had anemia, caused by a poor diet; others children are constantly getting ill, getting infections, and being hospitalized for what would normally be minor things. Instead of focusing on their diets and health, however, they buy their kids new toys and cute clothes instead of what they really need. I don t have the link any more, but there was this great read about how being in poverty negatively affects one s long-term planning abilities because they essentially stop caring, they give up.


Having lived the poor university student life for 6 years I can appreciate the challenges of poverty, digging to the back of the cupboard to the long forgotten bag of rice to make a somewhat sufficient dinner. Because of this I also know that there is a way out, but it s a long, inconvenient road with many personal sacrifices. You must post a clear and direct question in the title. The title may contain two, short, necessary context sentences. No text is allowed in the textbox. Your thoughts/responses to the question can go in the comments section. Any post asking for advice should be generic and not specific to your situation alone. Askreddit is for open-ended discussion questions. Posting, or seeking, any identifying personal information, real or fake, will result in a ban without a prior warning.


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