I was listening to some NPR and they were talking about guaranteed income which I think is a very interesting concept and one of many possible ways to combat poverty. It also got me thinking about a related topic I think about a lot, how expensive it is to not have money. Some context on my perspective, I work for a credit union so I see a lot of people's financial situations daily. Our members while biased towards Massachusetts and New Hampshire are from all over the country (and a very small number outside that). A few examples that come to mind: I had a woman call in, she was expecting funds to have been wired into her account. After asking a few questions I quickly realized she had been scammed. Looking at her account she was notably behind on her auto loan, she also revealed to me the vehicle was currently impounded by the city of Chicago. Desperate for funds so she could get her car back she fell victim to a scammer who had her buy 2 $100 iTunes gift cards with the last of her funds and send them to him so he could "wire" her the funds. Key thing to recognize is the desperation factor. You and I would probably recognize the fraud right away but for her the realization didn't hit until I mentioned it. This kind of predator specifically targets those with little and takes the last of what they have. As you can imagine when she called later that week to have her car voluntarily repossessed I was not surprised. Another example comes from a friend of mine. She lived on a very tight budget so when her car broke down to get back and forth from work she would either have to get a friend to take her or get a rental because she couldn't afford the cost of the repair. if she had to get a rental she was literally paying everything she earned that day for it. When you can't afford surprise expenses the stop gap measures add up fast. On a more general note something that overwhelmingly costs those with little as opposed to those with money, fees. Specifically late or non sufficient funds fees. I see this a lot and where I work we are generally pretty generous about giving them back if it is remotely reasonable but most places are not. When you have to chose between making your car payment on time or having dinner you probably are going to choose dinner which adds up pretty fast. Same goes for when that automatic payment comes out a day early and you were not prepared for it. $30 here or there may not be a big deal for most of us but on a tight budget that is one person fed for a week. Payday loans. I will just leave this The big recurring trend is that people on the low end of the income spectrum get along fine until an unexpected expense comes along. The vast majority of people I have to send over to collections are not wildly responsible people, they are people who had a budget, were able to make ends meet but then something happened, usually either something with their car, a medical bill for themselves or a loved one. Most of the people I send down to collections we are actually able to make arrangements for (usually something like pay only interest for a few months) but most lenders are not as generous as the one I am at and even so sometimes that still isn't enough. I am curious to hear some costs that overly affect the poor that I forgot and opinions on best dealing with the issue.