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We live in a world where resources are limited and too often, those with the most power benefit disproportionately from this scarcity.
There is no denying that inequality runs rampant throughout our societies, socially, economically, and otherwise, as already vulnerable communities constantly struggle to survive.
To make things even worse, many of the basic needs that we take for granted on a day-to-day basis continue to be denied to those less fortunate than us.
Now it’s time to explore 14 essential needs that systemic barriers have denied and highlight what must become a reality if any real change is ever going to occur.
So, let’s dive into what these fundamental needs are so that together, we can start demanding action!
Table of Contents
#1. Home Cleaning Services
For the most part, you don’t see many poor people hiring cleaning professionals.
While home cleaning services aren’t necessarily costly, they aren’t that budget-friendly or wise to invest in, especially if you’re capable of cleaning your home on your own.
But some people found once they had more money to spend that hiring a professional cleaner allowed them to maintain a better-looking home while also benefiting from extra time because they didn’t have to clear out a whole day for chores.
If you’ve received a pay bump, it may even become necessary.
#2. Clean Water
When you think of clean drinking water, you think the United States has this one covered.
But sadly it doesn’t.
Close to 46 million Americans don’t’ have access to running water or water that is safe to drink.
#3. Healthy Food Items
If you’re someone who doesn’t eat out all the time, you know how much more expensive groceries have become in just a matter of a few years.
Unfortunately, this means that some lower-quality foods have become much more affordable for poor people.
But it’s not just that you’re getting low-quality food. You’re also negatively impacting your health, lowering your quality of life and making it harder to stay properly nourished and energized.
With greater spending power, those who have gone from poor to middle-class have prioritized healthy foods in their budget to feel better and meet their basic needs.
#4. Being in a Clean, Safe Environment
Poverty isn’t always a pretty sight.
There are a lot of people who live in poverty and have to deal with terrible conditions as a result.
Those without money often have to put up with run-down properties, bug infestations, and other environmental hazards or undesirable conditions.
With more money, however, those who have gone from impoverished to middle class have upgraded their living situations to something much more comfortable and livable.
Once you’ve left those living conditions, you would do anything not to have to go back.
#5. Repair Services
Being poor isn’t something that gradually gets better unless you make substantially more money.
Being poor means dealing with a host of never-ending expenses, which often stem from things you own breaking down all the time.
This can take a big chunk of your paycheck or savings, putting you further back as you struggle to keep up with everything (especially if you have a car that can’t seem to keep it together).
Those who have transitioned to the middle class have found that it’s no longer a struggle to be able to pay for things when they inevitably break down.
When they need to tackle something, they can easily get it repaired or replace it.
#6. Dental Care
Most people get healthcare coverage from their employer.
That’s a different story.
Dental care is often quite costly, and the longer you wait, the more expensive the care becomes when you can get the work done.
Thankfully, many have been able to get the cash they need to go to the dentist.
Now it’s crucial to them to make sure that they schedule their regular check-ups and cleanings so that they’re no longer looking at dental bills that cost them thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.
Therapy has been significantly pushed in recent years as education surrounding mental illness has grown.
That said, therapy costs money, and not all low-cost services offer the care that those living in poverty need.
Some therapists charge exorbitant amounts of money and might not take insurance if you have it.
But when you’ve moved up to the middle class, seeing a therapist, getting diagnosed, and getting the mental health support you need to thrive becomes much easier.
Healthcare is far from affordable, especially if you lack insurance or currently have coverage that doesn’t offer you what you need to manage your health effectively.
Unfortunately, this makes it a luxury for many who don’t have the funds.
As they’ve managed to generate more income, healthcare has quickly become something they can’t live without.
#9. Filling Up the Car With Gas
Inflation has affected the price of everything, including gas.
Even those who aren’t necessarily struggling have found it challenging to keep up with gas prices and keep their tanks full.
However, those on the lower end of the wealth spectrum have to pinch pennies, filling up as much as possible with their budget and hoping it will get them where they need to go.
Those with more financial padding have found that being able to pump without worrying about how much you’re spending is one of the joys of life and a necessity for them now.
#10. Pet Care
Pets are expensive.
Many people recall how they were younger or even older and, without money, couldn’t give their pets everything they deserved.
This can cause significant distress, mainly if they deal with health issues that could’ve been addressed with proper care and enough funds.
Now that some people have moved up the ladder and made more money, they’ve been able to invest in better pet care, ranging from the food that they eat to the veterinarian that they see regularly.
There’s no amount of money people wouldn’t spend to help their furry friends.
Vacations can be relatively inexpensive, but they’re still often out of the question for most who need to work consistently to afford everything they need.
This is why you’ll often hear about staycations if someone has any time off.
Those who have more cash in the bank prioritize traveling and taking time off for themselves at least once a year, even if it’s just a hop and a skip away from where they live.
Once you discover the feeling of freedom and relaxation, you’ll never want to go back.
Close to 31% of kids growing up in poverty never get their high school diploma.
Worse, 32 million of American adults are illiterate with 21% reading below a 5th grade level.
#13. Spending Time, Not Budgeting Time
The luxury of having enough time to enjoy the day is not something that everyone can afford.
For those living in poverty, much of their days are spent budgeting every minute and penny to get by.
Things like taking a break from work or going out with friends on weekends remain a distant dream for many people who often have to juggle multiple jobs just to make ends meet.
#14. New Clothes and Apparel
For many people living in poverty, buying new clothes or apparel is a distant dream.
It’s often more cost effective to repair existing clothing than it is to purchase new items; leaving little room for fashion statements or trend-setting looks.
Signs You Grew Up Poor
Some of us grew up in a situation with financial struggles.
As much as we don’t want to admit it, some of the lessons we learned as kids still stick with us today.
This is good and bad. Good because we can be frugal. Bad because it holds us back from living the best life.
Here are some things you still do today that show you grew up poor.
Get Free PayPal Money
If you have a PayPal account, there are countless ways you can get free money.
Here is a look at the easiest ways to put some cash in your PayPal account today.
Steps To Building Wealth
We all want to have enough money that our finances are no longer a stress in our lives.
But with so much financial advice out there, building wealth seems impossible. Not any more. Here are the simple steps you need to take.
How To Save Money When You’re Broke
When you have no money, the idea of saving sounds impossible. In fact, for many people, the idea never crosses their mind because they are only focused on getting money to survive.
But there are steps you can take to actually save money even when you are broke. Doing so will help you change your financial life faster than you thought possible.
Turn Coins Into Cash
Do you have a pile of spare change laying around? Maybe you collect it in a jar.
Instead of letting it just sit there an collect dust, do something with it.
Here are the best ways to turns your coins into cash.
This thread inspired this article.
I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
Visit my About Me page to learn more about me and why I am your trusted personal finance expert.