Redefining ‘Poor’

The economy is a mess.  Are we in a recovery?  Or simply waiting for the other shoe to drop?

People are living in tent cities and underground tunnels.

All it takes is one sentence spoken by someone ‘in the know’ to set the stock markets soaring….. or sinking.

Housing foreclosures.  Huge job losses across every sector.

Now the press is bemoaning to us the horror of having to eat at home more often, shop at second hand stores, and lowering our Christmas expectations.

Because these are things that only the poor do.


But how is it being poor when you choose to eat a purchased -on-sale-roast covered in potatoes, garlic and onions harvested just that morning from your garden?  Being able to enjoy such fare while sitting around your own dining room table with the ones you love the most isn’t how I define  poor.

Are you poor when you choose to leave all the holiday clutter in the store and instead  create seasonal beauty from items you already own?

Should you really consider yourself poor when you choose to spend the weekend setting up shelving for your bought-on-sale-using-coupons stockpile instead of trolling the mall for yet more stuff we simply can’t live without?   (puh-lease)

Am I really poor because I choose to make do with my totally unfashionable ‘fat screen’ t.v. instead of rushing out to buy a flat screen?  Because really, the shows are the same on either set.

Is it considered being impoverished to choose to stop adding new debt, decide to pay off the old debt, and leave that new ‘must have’ (cause that’s what all the ads are telling us) item on the shelf?

Are people really going to notice that you are wearing last year’s Fall wardrobe?  Cause I promise, your old coat will keep you just as warm as a new one.

Poor isn’t choosing not to buy.

Poor is spending more than you earn.

On stuff that you really don’t even need.


See these beauties?  This morning they were in my garden.


Tomorrow they will be homemade marinara sauce.

And yet the news would make me think that putting up my own red sauce means that I am poor.

Giving your family the gift of living within your means is  worth far more than any stuff you could give them.

Try and remember this because the ads are already beginning.  Telling us that to have a real home we need all. new. stuff. That for our kids to really be happy come Christmas morning we need to buy! buy! buy!

Because what self respecting teenage girl could really hold their head up in public unless their butts are covered in $200 jeans?

I’m by no means an expert, but it seems as though debt and living beyond our means is what got the economy into this mess to begin with.

It’s time to redefine poor.

And discover the wealth found in family, friends, and simplicity.

About Tammy and Parker

Special Needs Blogger, and homeschooling Mom, heavily involved in advocacy for all kids with special needs in Utah.


  1. Michelle and Elliot says:

    Beautiful, Tammy! The attitude, the photos of your garden fare, the dinner and the way of life. You’re rich beyond words! Oh, and send me your recipe for homemade sauce. I have an abundance of stuff left as well. xx

    Tammy says: I’m actually using one from a site I visit. I’ll try and link to it!

  2. Devon says:

    Good stuff. We need a return to simplicity…

  3. Annie Hodson Nording says:

    I understand the ‘real’ meaning of poor. We don’t have loads of extra cash, ritzy cars, ect. but we are wealthy people! We don’t have a lot of debt, haven’t gotten into any more debt, have a great foodstorage going, my kids are involved in sports and other activities and I get to be a stay-home-mom. Now tell me how that’s poor? We’re simple but live life abundantly! Love the message… Love you

    Tammy says: Love you more beautiful girl. Love you more

  4. AMEN SISTER!! If this is “poor” then I am at the bottom of the totem pole and proud of it!! :D

  5. Well said, Tammy.

    My Hubby regular line when starting a sumptous homemade meal (what we do mostly) is: I wonder what the poor people are eating tonight.

    My definition of poor is the inability to earn enough to sustain oneself by legal means.

  6. You are completely spot on. Living a life of frugality and wise decision making is much more fulfilling than buying every thing you look at. Beside, is that what God really wants? A bunch of materialistic boobs? Don’t think so.

  7. Beautifully written. I have shaken my head at some of the newspaper articles about “tough times” and not going out to eat as much and clipping coupons. For my family of 6, that has always been our way of life. And I consider us blessed abundantly. Blessings consist of more than a new car and all the latest toys. That’s why I loved your post; you defined it so well!

  8. Adrianne says:

    I came to your website from pinching your pennies. I love this post. I hope you don’t mind if I share it with others. It is something we all need reminding of and you say it so well. I read a few of your other posts and you write really well. You have great tallent at seeing things and having a great understanding of them. Thanks for letting me blogstalk you. Wishing you, your family and Parker the best.

    Tammy says: Feel free to share it! I read an article like this a little while ago. I took the idea and put my own heart into it. Even as I type this I’m watching a segment on GMA about a woman who is $280,000 grand in debt for ‘stuff.’ Several pairs of the same boots in the same colors.

    It shares how shopping has become a way for Americans to find their self esteem. Even as they are filing for bankruptcy.

  9. That’s funny, that is my definition of rich. I must be really out of touch from staying home with my loved ones and enjoying every minute of it….

  10. Wendy says:

    Hey Tammy,

    Can Parker use a box of gently used boys winter clothes size 3T? I am cleaning out closets and getting ready for winter and my little guy shot right past this size. Please e-mail me at waitingforahren (at)


    Tammy says: Wendy! YES! Emailing you now! :D

  11. beverly says:

    great post! love your garden goodness!

  12. hehe, I have a “fat screen” tv, too!!! Love this post. I think people have forgotten what “poor” means. And I think there’s a lot of people out there who have caused their poverty by their overindulgences & greediness and their got-to-have-it-now-itis. What happened to saving for something?? What happened to living within your means?? I had a friend who wondered why in the world I would go to a flea market. Well, because I can decorate my house with used stuff that I fix up for just a couple bucks, that’s why. And it looks good!

    A lot of people have no idea what it means to be truly poor. To be truly needy. Totally agree with your entire post.

  13. Yay! and my friends and I trade clothes/maternity clothes because it always seems that one of us is pregnant or post and the other one isn’t. It’s fun!

  14. AMEN!

    I defined this is my motto, “Deprevation births appreciation.” My husband lost his job Friday and I asked him. “So what’s the worst that can happen? We go bankrupt, live with family, and have less to worry about.” :) Poverty is relative. We are not in the streets of India prostituting our children to survive.

  15. EXACTLY Tammy!!! You could not have said it better!!!!

  16. cindy moreno says:

    I just love your posts, and that food looks wonderful! We are finding our way to the “poor house” as they say. We get to buy our clothes at Goodwill, and we got to downgrade our “smart” phones to the regular old school cell phones. I am actually excited for these changes because these changes will in fact pay for our food bill for almost a full month for a family of four. My teenage daughter is horrified, but this will teach her a lesson. The only suffering we are enduring is a crabby 14 year old girl. lol. Stay well! Hug your kids!

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