Being Poor Sucks

Like it really, really sucks.

Whit Jackson
Aug 25, 2019 · 4 min read
Photo by Steve Knutson on Unsplash

Our 2007 Chevy Tahoe bit the dust this past week. It had 204,000 miles and we have driven it hard for the last 5 years. It started having problems a few months ago and after we put about $1,500 dollars into it we thought maybe it would last until we could get it paid off by this time next year.

It didn’t.

The transmission started slipping on my bi-weekly trip to Walmart last Saturday. I knew it had been leaking fluid (though I wasn’t absolutely sure what kind) and figured that because it was getting older a small leak wasn’t a big deal.

Turns out, it was.

We have been upside down in the Tahoe since the day we drove it off the lot 5 years ago. That is what a poor first time car buying experience will do for you. Anyway, we owe about $8,800 on the Tahoe, which is about 5 grand more than what it is even worth.

So, because the Tahoe died, my husband and I now had a choice. What do we do? Do we try to trade it in and suffer the hit of all of the negative equity? Do we keep it and try to buy something new? Or do we continue to throw money into this money pit that this 12 year old car has become and try to fix it, with no guarantee it will continue to work? Besides the fact that a 12 year old vehicle that has had its fair share of problems probably isn’t the safest option for a growing family with little children.

When money is tight it is almost as if some decisions are already made for you.

We didn’t have 8 grand to pay off the car, we didn’t have 3,600 dollars to put into a new transmission, we barely had the 1,000 bucks to put down as a downpayment on something new.

We really didn’t have any options.

If you took a look at our life you would see that we live pretty skinny most of the time. We don’t spend frivolously, we don’t eat out often, we have cut corners where we can. My sweet husband works 60+ hours a week so that I have the opportunity to stay home and raise our kids. But for some reason even though we make ok money we still struggle.

Everytime we get a little money in the bank something happens.

Our car breaks down. One of the kids needs stitches. We run out of all of our toiletries and household cleaners at the exact same time. There is a season change and everyone needs new clothes. Our dog needs to go to the vet. We need to make an trip a few hundred miles away for some unknown reason. A house repair pops up. An unexpected bill comes up and drains our account.

Something always comes up.


I have tried my damndest to save even just a measly 1,000 dollars, as financial gurus like Dave Ramsey suggests to do, so that we can have some kind of cushion. Something to fall back on if we need it. But we simply cannot get ahead.

And it sucks.

We live paycheck to paycheck in what feels like an eternal round. And I am not sure how to break out of it.

With only $66 in our bank account the 1,000 Dave Ramsey suggests seems out of reach and very near impossible.

So back to our Tahoe dilema.

We decided to buy something new and safer, and keep the Tahoe so that we could get approved for the loan on a newer car. (Because with the negative equity it would have never been approved.) So instead of one car payment we now have two, and only one driveable car. The interest rate on it is ridiculous and the loan life is also way too long, but that is what happens when you both have awful credit. And you have awful credit because of some shady shit that your parents pulled in the past, before you were even old enough to have credit.

But, with the help of Medium, teaching guitar lessons every week, and making and selling my artwork, we *should* be able to make it. I hope that we have enough extra every month to actually have a little in savings.

I only need to write about 500 well written, curated, amazing articles that get a ton of claps, views, and comments. Teach 16 hours of guitar each week for a year or two. Sell 350 pieces of my artwork. All while raising our kids, keeping our household working, and being a good spouse.

Time will tell.

Thanks for reading!

Whit Jackson

Written by

Wife, mom, artist, writer. Jack of all trades, but master to none. I know I could be someone if given the chance. I am here to learn and grow, will you join me?

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