The Stress of Moving In Poverty
"You Said Rent Is Gonna Be How Much...?"
If you, like myself and (more than likely) millions of other people, have had this thought at least once while looking for a new place to stay then you'll probably relate to this Hub a little too much. Now, I'm not looking for any sympathies or, "poor baby," comments, but hopefully some of you more "privileged" individuals reading can get a grasp on how real the struggle is if you didn't have to grow up poor. Every day there are people that go through the ever-spinning joyride down the drain that is moving when you are dirt poor, and it pretty much sucks. In it's own personal way it is a hellish carnival of stress, anxiety, desperation, and just a touch of pure insanity. Hopefully this will bring some insight, or, at the very least, give someone a little ease in knowing they are not alone.
What, You Thought Boxes Would Be Cheap?
Other than the good, old-fashion dumpster dive competition everyone in your household does every year to find still intact boxes to prepare for the inevitable D-Day of moving day, boxes and supplies can actually get kind of pricey. And by pricey, I'm of course talking about in the realm of, "Do I buy food, or do I buy tape so that the kids can actually keep all their crap together when we get everything on the truck?" Sure, Walmart (the holy land for all peoples impoverished and down on their luck), will have moving supplies for sort of cheap, but when you have about $50 to your name for the next three weeks that $3.50 roll of Scotch tape starts to look a whole lot more like, "Honey, tell the kids it's bread and pickles again tonight. No, we can't have any koolaid this time, that would require buying koolaid. What, you think you can just buy supplies from the same place you rent your moving truck at (assuming you can even really afford a truck)? Almost every independent moving or rental company has a huge mark up on supplies designed specifically to trap those last minute packers into paying more than they really need to (I'm just saying, your local strip mall probably has tons of perfectly sized and durable boxes just calling your name...assuming you don't live in a wet state like Florida). When you're trying to run everything on a really tight budget, buying supplies can feel like chopping off your arms and feeding them to a lake of piranhas with your face.
Speaking of Moving Trucks...
How many people can actually afford a moving truck, anyways? Some of the more popular truck rental places can cost anywhere from $20 to $40 a day, so if you need a truck for more than that I hope you can find a tree that grows money or someone that can crap out gold on demand. Let's also no forget, mileage is also charged, and it's not a fun price. You can think that anything under $1 a mile is cheap and affordable, but when you're moving to the other side of town, or god forbid out of state, when you're racking up 20+ miles for the day, that $0.79/mile will make you want to drive your rented debt-collector off of the nearest bridge. But wait, what happens if you're all alone and need to rent a hand truck for that 700 lbs antique mahogany dresser with the rusted off drawer handles that your wife insists on keeping, "Because it was my grandmother's and I want it in the family even though I didn't know her that well and only went to her house for money and hard candies!" Well bud, you better dig deep in those pockets and pray that the value of lint and corn chip crumbs went up 4000%, otherwise you're gonna be tacking on some nice fees for renting equipment and vehicle add-ons.
How many times have YOU moved?
In your lifetime (however short or long it has been), how many times have you personally moved for any reason other then, "for the hell of it?"
"Again...You Said How Much?"
So we've looked at the price thing a little, but just showing you a few prices from scam artist companies doesn't really put any of this in true perspective. When we think of moving, we usually assume that all of the expenses ( for example security deposit, first and last month's rent, pet deposits, truck rental, supplies, etc.) are going to be handled all together, or at least at first we do, until we get down into the dirty water and realize how far up the creek we are before we finally realize we've been paddling with a toothpick rather than an oar. By the way, that creek? Yea, it's actually a waterfall. So how much does it actually cost just to move? Well, according to the American Moving & Storage Association, the average cost of moving within your state is around $1,170 and around $5,630 if you're planning on moving out of state (all of this based on a 7,100 lbs load). That's $1,170 just to move around your home state. Now factor in all of the expenses for rent, or buying a home, and insurance and all of that other fun junk that keeps us awake at night. That's a lot of money that, like me and too many others, don't readily have. Just as an example, according to MIT's Living Wage Calculator, the average annual cost of living in Pinellas County, FL (where I may or may not be from) is $21,478 before taxes for a single adult. Now let's say you can somehow manage to get your moving expenses paid for and you've gotten your first and last month rent in to the new leasing people on time without selling your body on the street for 4 months straight, just for that month you're planning to move you'd still need to have roughly $1,789.83 stashed away just to survive (again this is relative to Pinellas County, FL). If that doesn't make you lose a little sleep then I'm pretty sure your soul is dying.
No Admittance Except On Party Business
Now, is it just me or does it seem nearly impossible to find an open place to live? I've moved probably close to 15 times in my life, and it seemed like everyone in my city was moving at the exact same time. Luckily, my family always found a place to live and when I had started living on my own I always had roommates to help alleviate some of the pressure of trying to find a single bed to sleep in, but it always just took so much time to find a place. Imagine every ant in a colony trying to cram themselves into the same 3 room ant trap. That was basically my experience. This made it just so much harder on myself and my family what with trying to balance the checkbook, keep food on the table, and avoid going past the term on the lease and possibly being legally evicted from the property (nothing ices the cake quite like having an eviction on your record).
You Are Freaking Out. Man.
Since we've already discussed all of the physical aspects of moving, I want to remind everyone reading that money and labor aren't the only aspects of being poor and trying to relocate. There's also time. Some of you might be thinking, "Well, just schedule a day or two off work and you'll be fine." Okay, sounds like a great idea, but you're wrong and no one likes you. Kidding, (well maybe kidding) but that's not always the easiest thing. As I've tried to remind all of you more privileged readers, moving costs money. Money is not something that we Plebes really have. We make money by slaving 30-40 hours a week at work. When we don't work, we have no money to move. See where this is going? Most of us will just try to do all of our important business, like packing and leasing office visits, between work shifts or on days off. Also sounds like a good idea, right? Not so much. If you're like me, you're often working too far from home to go back on your lunch breaks and pack a little, but you're also getting off of work too late to visit your new rent overlords because the office closes at 3:30pm for some god forsaken reason and you close 4 out of 5 nights a week. So what happens? You visit the office on your day off between the mountain of other chores and errands you need to do (because this is your first day off in 5 days), and then you're up until 5am chugging energy drinks and assembling boxes with that crappy little roll of tape that was sitting on your desk because you forgot to go to Walmart and buy real tape. It's a viscous cycle that puts you in a perpetual loop of sleep deprivation and crazy LSD-like Red Bull trips where you think your heart is literally screaming.
"Hey Dude, Can I Borrow Your Truck For Like...3 Days?"
Another part of time management while moving your poverty plagued self out is finding the right times/days to get your clan of friends together so you're not trying to move that 150 lbs sofa by yourself down a flight and a half of stairs. Usually you can count on your good friends to swing by with a case of beer and help you out, of course after some coaxing and offering them free food (because that's how friends, especially lazy ones, barter their time), but anyone else you ask is typically already predesignated to never show up. People hate moving, and you know who hates moving just as much, if not more, than you? Your friends. Some of them will stop at literally nothing to avoid helping you move. And when they aren't actively trying to avoid you like you're a registered sex offender that lives just outside the legal limit from a playground, they also need to find the time to take off from work or settle their own affairs so they can come help you. Most of us know, 9 times out of 10 this is virtually impossible. Wrangling a litter of puppies that are doped out on cocaine is easier than getting your friends over to help you move.
Finally Moved, Now I Need To Start A Cam Site To Pay For Food
All in all, moving while you're poor (and in general, honestly) is not easy or fun. Many of us have done it or currently still have to. If you happen to know someone that's down on their luck and is about to pack up and skiddaddle to a new crib, help them out. Lord knows that it's hard enough just trying to get the energy to figure everything out. At the very least, give them a pat on the back and tell them they can make it through.
© 2016 Mike M