Why Do Poor People Have Two or More Flat Screen TV’s?

poor peopleWe’ve all heard that stereotypical story about being in line at the grocery store behind the woman who was paying for her food using food stamps while talking on her new iPhone. If you’ve ever encountered this ironic scene in person, than you’ve probably wondered how bad poor people really have it these days. And you’re not alone.

This post was inspired by a recent and interesting article on CNN Money entitled Are you poor if you have a flat-screen TV? In it they quoted a survey demonstrating how poor people in the U.S. (those making less than $20,000 per year) own just as many flat screen TV’s (2 to 4) as the middle and wealthy classes (62% vs 68%). What’s worse is that the survey was taken in 2009 – before prices started really coming down below $1,000 to the low prices we’re enjoying today!

So with the upcoming presidential campaign where jobs and the income gap will be a big deal, one has to ask the question – is social inequality “really” as bad as people are making it out to be?


Things That Poor People Enjoy:

By “really” that bad, I mean starving with no food and no place to sleep.  Not like “I don’t have a Blu-ray player” or “I can’t afford HBO”.

Contrary to what you may think about how the other side lives, some of the other amenities that were highlighted in this article as things that poor people enjoy include microwaves, air conditioning, dishwasher, cable TV, DVD players, video game systems, cell phones, Internet access, cars, etc.  How many of those things are part of your money design?

Now contrast these items against the type of poverty someone would have experienced say 50 to 100 years ago. Or contrast it to the poverty people are currently experiencing in other countries like China or India where they literally have no food to eat and live in make-shift slums. What does this say about poverty in the U.S.?


Possible Reasons for this Phenomenon:

To simply say poor people are being foolish and frivolously spending their money would be too easy …

Clearly there is more going on here than what is being seen on the surface. As I was reading this CNN article, I had a few ideas about what may be causing this type of behavior:

1) Is technology really becoming that affordable? For example, are some of these TV’s really just cheap, low-quality imports?

2) Are poor people simply victims of aggressive marketing? Are they an easy demographic for Walmart and Best Buy to go after?

3) Are recent Government tax credits putting money in the hands of the poor that they would have otherwise not had (and therefore being used foolishly)?

4) Are these items being bought on easy access lines of credit?  Seen any ads for 0% for 12 months? Is that going to open up another can of worms for possible credit defaults (similar to our recent housing market)?

5) Is there a social movement of “entitlement” where people, regardless of their income, feel they deserve such trophies like flat screen TV’s?

Readers – What do you think about this? Do you think that poor people are really doing that bad? What other factors are contributing to the phenomenon of social inequality?


Related Posts:

1) Yes, People Still Fall for Pyramid Schemes

2) Why Is It So Hard To Buy Something?

3) What is Happening to the Middle Class?

Photo Credit: People of Walmart


  1. says

    OH wow, this is a tough and loaded question!!! I just watched a show on MTV the other day (online, as i can’t afford cable-lol!), called True Life:I’m working my way out of poverty. In the show, there was a mom with 4 kids and they were just about to get evicted, and had to sell stuff to pay their water bill…pretty bad I’d say. Or at least much, much worse than me. They had to sell the daughter’s laptop, and she was calling places for loans on her iphone, etc. I was kind of thinking the same thing…how did they get that stuff in the first place?

    I know it’s wrong to judge but sometimes that is what you’re thinking. Yesterday I was in the laundromat and this cranky, negative woman called her 7 ish year old daughter stupid, lazy, and and idiot within a five minute conversation. I was appalled. I wanted to smack her. But I tried my best to not think that because maybe she was having a bad day? Maybe many things…I have no idea what led this woman up to saying those things.

    I guess the point is this, I have no idea what is really going on out there. All I can do is try to keep my side of the street clean. Focus on my own life and what I can do to better it.

    It’s interesting though….
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    • MMD says

      Ha – I know what you mean! My wife and I are watching Toddlers and Tiaras, and I’m noticing how much money these people spend on the dresses. Yet they live in a house the size of a closet next to the railroad tracks. What is going on here?? I think it just comes down to what people view as their priorities – or rather their lack of them.

      I would have probably said something to that mom at the laundromat. I kind of have a low tolerance for that kind of stuff – especially if kids are involved.

    • says

      Dave Ramsey says “poor people have big TV’s, rich people have big libraries.” I don’t know the exact statistics on that, but the few examples I have noted have come close. We only own one TV that’s over 10 years old and we are not rich by any means…..but that is way down on our list of priorities. They are definitely marketing to the poverty population especially when they have commercials that focus on financing, cheap monthly payments, no money down……advertisers know what they are doing.
      Nurse Frugal recently posted..$1,000 vs $10: Seeing your money differently while on a budgetMy Profile

      • MMD says

        I can get behind that logic! Investing in your own intelligence rather than “stuff” is always going to lead to greater wealth and better possibilities for you. I have also sadly noticed more commercials specifically targeting the poor and under privileged. They’re just going after an easy target.

      • Veronica @ Pelican on Money says

        I’ve noticed some of the same trends. Several of my friends whom I would call “well off” don’t even own a TV in the house. When I asked “why don’t you have a TV in your house?” the reply is always something similar to: “we don’t need a TV because we place higher values on … (other types of entertainment such as family time together)”. I think poor people make the best consumers and marketers know this all too well, creating aggressive marketing campaign for the gullible.
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    • says

      “I know it’s wrong to judge but sometimes that is what you’re thinking. Yesterday I was in the laundromat and this cranky, negative woman called her 7 ish year old daughter stupid, lazy, and and idiot within a five minute conversation.”

      it is my very personal (and not necessarily correct) opinion that one should not be tolerant of things like cruelty or disrespect … so perhaps re-consider the blanket statement that “judging” is always bad? If I have a bad day, does it justify me doing something bad to someone else? No. I don’t want to live in a society in which it does.

    • Voni says

      Wow reading through the comments its like are you serious. I am a poor person, and yes we have a flat screen tv that we bought at Walmart on Thanksgiving morning that opened at 5 a.m. We entered the line at 3 a.m. That is one way poor people get their flat screen. We saved up for ours and it was our Christmas present to each other. My kids get fat stockings every Christmas courtesy of the Dollar Store, and we eat a lot of rice and vegetables. I dont use food stamps now but I have relied on them in the past. I make 8.00 per hour at my fulltime job and because this is not enough I also work as a server in a local bar Friday and Saturday nights. Yup I’m poor but we get by. I don’t have an Iphone but I do have a Samsung Galaxy with Android. I dont pay the data plan. I don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for me because I consider myself fairly happy. I’m a hard worker and our idea of vacation is seven days of tent camping in the summer, but its fun. Are you so much better that you think every poor person is lazy and feels entitled? That is a load of crap and since I am poor most of the people I know are poor, but they all seem well adjusted, and yes some of them have Iphones and flat screen TV’s.

      • says

        No one ever said that low income folks don’t deserve nice things. You have to remember – at the time of the CNN article (2009), flat screen TV’s were over $1,000. For people with less than $20,000 and two TV’s as the survey points out, that’s over 10% of their gross income tied up in a rapidly depreciating asset. Beyond a mortgage, car payment, college tuition, and retirement savings, there are few things I can think of that make sense to spend 10% of your gross income.

  2. says

    Cable? A flat screen TV?! I don’t even have those. But I do have an iPhone and a $115 per month wireless bill to go with it. I don’t have a problem with poor people not living in squalor, but I also don’t want to subsidize LUXURY items for them that I can barely afford. I got my TV from a fellow Freecycler over three years ago. I thought it was about to die on me so I started plotting ways to snag a cheap, used one. I can’t speak for all poor people, but many of the poor people I know are able to afford big ticket items upon receipt of a huge tax refund at the beginning of the year.
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    • MMD says

      Everyone who has an iPhone knows you’ve got to have that $35 data plan to go with it! Every time I’m at Walmart and see people on those phones, I just think “how can they swing a +$100 per month phone bill?.

      There you have it – tax returns and stimulus dollars hard at work buying the big ticket items! Go economy!

  3. says

    It is an amusing situation. People do feel entitlement to have things like a big flat screen tv. Those people are likely spending way less in other areas such as food, vacations, vehicles, housing, etc. They are probably saving and investing a lot less too. So I’d be more worried about the consequences down the road when all of those people are suddenly needing a pension plan to survive.
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    • MMD says

      I actually think the whole “entitlement” aspect is what plays into this the most. I feel like reality TV and social media has warped everyone into thinking they’re incredibly special and deserving of whatever they want. Has our society just became more spoiled?

      You and I will be sponsoring those people’s pension plans! In the US, we call that Social Security and Welfare!! I hope they enjoyed their TV’s and appreciate how much I saved so that I could get extra-taxed later in life to take care of them!!

  4. Justin @ The Family Finances says

    I read that same article and was amazed. I thin it’s a combination of all four of the things you mentioned. Our house has one flat screen tv and one tube tv from 2002, so a lot of those “poor” people have more TVs than we do. We don’t have cable either. I think a lot of it gets bought with people’s tax refunds. I know this is a generalization, but many poor people have a lot of kids. This means a $1,000 refundable tax credit per child along with receiving the Earned Income Credit. We’re talking big tax refunds, which make those big purchases quite easy.
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    • MMD says

      Justin, I don’t doubt it! It’s an unfortunate statistic that money in the hands of these people won’t go towards debt or anything of value. Nope, it goes towards junk!

      I’m glad you and I both read CNN often! :)

  5. says

    I do know that when growing up, we waited for that once a year magical time where we got a huge amount of money (well my parents did) and that was typically where we could get a luxury item. Or we’d save for a year to get a microwave–we did that for my mother once. It was her only Christmas present but a well used one. And depending on when they went poor, it might be a remenant they haven’t sold yet. Or a handmedown-I know I had a lot of things like walkmans, portable cd players (a luxury item when I was growing up but wow has the time changed)that were given to me.
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    • MMD says

      Ahhh, Christmas was a great time for me as well. I remember finding things in March and putting them on my list. But you had to choose carefully – there was really only room in the budget for one big ticket item like a Lego set or Nintendo set. Fortunately my parents worked all year to save for this special occasion.

  6. Nell @ Housewife Empire says

    This is a loaded question! Lol. I actually HATE that thing about the lady with the iPhone and the food stamps. In the 80s, the story that got people fired up was the Reagan thing about the “Welfare Queens” who drove Cadillacs.

    Disclaimer: I’m a bleeding heart liberal. That aside, I think it’s hilarious that people get all self-righteous about the iPhone thing when there are so many other glaring injustices in the US.

    Here’s some of the people getting on their high horse about the iPhone carrier in the grocery line: Middle class people leveraging more debt than they can handle and then declaring bankruptcy. Rich people who can afford accountants to find every loophole possible to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. People who have plenty of retirement savings but still use Medicare (and, ironically, b*tch about Obamacare).

    I don’t judge those who use food stamps. How could I? I don’t know anything about their personal situation. Nor would I knock on their door or audit their possessions, just as I’d expect then not to do for me.

    Ok, sorry… hahah…. I’ve seen that iPhone thing on Facebook a lot recently and it really burns me.
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    • MMD says

      The iPhone thing was just something that I put in there that I felt the readers could identify with. I actually think there is a lot more at play here than what we see on the surface. Yes, there’s probably some bad spending habits. But are the poor (and even the middle class) being targeted for these kinds of purchases? Are they being lead astray into more and more debt? The housing market was just the kid in the classroom that got caught being bad. I think there are a lot more similar bad credit offers going on than we know about. How else could people afford them?

      • Nell @ Housewife Empire says

        I agree with you. There are lots of bad credit deals going on right now, you’re right. But the iPhone analogy specifically just rubs me the wrong way because someone on food stamps could have easily received a hand-me-down from a friend or relative, snagged a good deal on eBay, bought the phone before they got in a situation that required they go on food stamps … who knows?

        My point is that it’s no more our right to judge them than anyone else’s right to judge us simply based on appearances. It’s a symbol of the times that people like to cling to, I guess. Lots of people are on unemployment, too, and I don’t think any of those people are going to give up their flat screens because they receive a temporary check from the state.

        This was a great post though, and a really hot topic today! Great for discussion!! :)
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        • Elle says

          I was thinking the same way, Nell. We (including myself) are sometimes too quick to judge others based on appearances. We have no idea how people are getting these possessions or paying for the ancillary services. BTW, those flat screens could be rent to own (these stores are prevalent in lower income communities).

    • MMD says

      Actually it has to do with perception. The Millionaire Next Door does a good job of debunking what “real” rich people actually buy (which is not a lot!). The hilarious part is that people from the middle class who try to “act rich” will spend to no end pretending to be from the Upper class.

  7. says

    It’s definitely entitlement! TV’s and cell phones are not a necessity. And my parents waited to get a flat screen until just last month when the old TV died.

    I don’t have an iphone because I don’t want to pay the data plan. And I have a perfectly good 6 year old apple computer at home that I won’t replace until it dies. (Yes I back up a lot on an external hard drive). And I’m not buying on credit, I saved up for a new computer so I could pay cash when this one crashes.
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    • MMD says

      I’m leaning towards entitlement too. I think too many people see a bunch of nonsense on TV that they think is real and they want to emulate what they see. And although all of the classes are guilty of this, the poor get targeted the most because they are lower educated and naturally the most susceptible to making a purchase.

  8. says

    I think in some situations it’s okay. It’s pretty hard to get ahead these days without internet access. And really, the internet (at least in my area) without a cable package is only $60 a month without any special deals. Cell phones are something I see as a necessity. And a lot of people don’t have landlines. A lot of them are given out by the government, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Iphones…I can understand your complaint. But maybe they got a really good deal on it. Maybe it was a gift from a family member who was better off. Maybe they’re on their cousin’s family share plan or something. Andrea at So Over Debt/This had a great article on this a couple of months ago that I completely agree with.

    I don’t know about the flat screen TV thing. I’m sure there’s people that spend their money unwisely. But maybe it’s really low-quality. Or maybe they scored an amazing black Friday deal. I just don’t know so I’m not going to judge.
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    • MMD says

      I’ll admit its hard not to judge what other people have when you know how much it costs and can clearly recognize their financial situation doesn’t appear to be in the best situation. For sure people get great deals all the time – I know I do!! But something isn’t adding up. How can people simply “afford” these things more causally these days? I think the more ironic part and point I was hoping to make is that if this is truly now normal behavior, than being “poor” really isn’t that bad when you compare it to people in other countries.

    • MMD says

      I actually think poor people have become the primary target for consumerism. We’re being breed to believe that we’re all “entitled” while being offered 0% financing for 12 months for everything from tires to flat screen TV’s. Unfortunately those who do not know any better will be victimized.

        • MMD says

          And I actually think this trend is only going to continue unfortunately. I read a great book last Summer called Aftershock that was making the same claim with alarming details. The middle class seems to be getting cut out!

  9. says

    I agree it’s pretty crazy that people who complain that they have no money have lots of stuff and expensive technology at home. I think a lot of it has to do with too easily accessible credit. Almost anyone can get a credit card or pay day loan, so I think most of the time the flat screen tvs they are buying, they don’t pay with cash, but use credit instead and are most likely drowning in debt.
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    • MMD says

      I really think credit may be the culprit here. How many times have you been offered 0% financing on just about everything? I see it all over the place! And if you don’t know what you’re doing or terrible at paying your bills, you’re going to get caught in their web – which is right where they want you!

    • Veronica @ Pelican on Money says

      I have to disagree. Payday loan qualification isn’t as easy as you describe it. In fact, most lenders won’t lend any money to a person with bad credit. Lenders are in the business of getting their money back, not giving it away.
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  10. says

    I think if people have the money to buy consumer electronics rather spending that money on food and shelter then they are probably doing alright and are not that poor. Personally I would rather put my tax refund into a basket of blue-chip companies and receive a dividend while others want to have a tv in each room in their house. Maybe they just have a different value system than me lol. To each their own, but the good thing about this place is that we’re all free to choose our own values and decide our own fate. Most people have the means to obtain both passive income AND multiple flat screen tvs, if they are willing to sacrifice the time, blood, sweat and tears.
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    • MMD says

      Your first sentence is entirely the point that the CNN article was trying to make – do you really have it that bad if you can afford both! I do agree that the possibilities of passive income and enjoying nice things are closer than most people think, but as you said it will take a great deal of effort to obtain them.

    • MMD says

      Oh, I’m sure there’s a little bit of that going on as well. Does anyone remember the story last year about lottery winner who was still using food stamps?

  11. says

    Very tough question. Most of the reactions from poor people is usually that society is keeping them down and how dare we question what they do to get a little bit of joy from their lives. I’ve also heard inner city families that use the tv as a means to keep their kids inside where it’s safe. I guess it’s relative.

    • MMD says

      And that’s fine. I’m sure there’s nothing wrong with owning a TV no matter what class you’re in. I just hope they’re keeping their finances in perspective.

  12. says

    This is a challenging question. I have often wondered this same thing. I have no clue how they are able to afford such things. Maybe they are buying from discounters/pawn shops.

    • MMD says

      That’s entirely possible. I’m sure there are lots of ways to get them at a discount or buy lesser quality versions.

    • MMD says

      Until about two months ago I had the same setup! What’s funny is we listed the tube TV on Craigs List for free and still no one wanted it. We just recently unloaded it!

    • MMD says

      Agreed, and that is one of my theories as well as something they discussed in the CNN article. Its unfortunate, but usually people who receive assistance don’t spend their money very wisely – hence why they need the assistance in the first place.

  13. says

    “Is there a social movement of “entitlement” where people, regardless of their income, feel they deserve such trophies like flat screen TV’s?” — Absolutely. Our entitlement programs are causing a generation to rely on the government rather than motivating them to work hard for their money. It’s the culmination of our political tactics to take money from one pocket and hand it over to another.
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    • MMD says

      Exactly – I think there is a lot of that going on as well as social entitlement where people “think” they deserve these types of luxuries regardless of whether they can actually afford them.

    • MMD says

      Thanks Sam! I’m honored to have you on the site. Ironically you can neither buy a new non-flat screen TV in the stores nor sell a used one for $20 on Craigs List. It took re-listing ours for free before anyone was even interested. I’m sure if that survey were redone today (rather than in 09 as they cite), it would be very skewed since you can buy a flat-screen for practically nothing now.

  14. says

    “Now contrast these items against the type of poverty someone would have experienced say 50 to 100 years ago.” – or go further – many of the poor in America live better than royalty from hundreds of years ago. Higher life expectancy, more technology, running water, climate control indoors, microwaves, the internet… A rising tide really does lift all boats.

    I only have one flat screen TV currently. What does that say about me, haha?
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    • MMD says

      PK, welcome to the site! What does having one flat screen say about you – that you’re the same as me! Up until about two months ago, I also only had one. It was time to switch, and I got an unbelievable deal on my next one ($300). Nowadays, I think it doesn’t matter because of how incredibly cheap they have become. But the survey was done in 09, so they were quite a bit more I remember. Sometimes I think if a rich person from 25 or 50 years ago came to our time that they’d be in shock over what poor/middle class people enjoy!

      • says

        I asked my wife “what if we sent our Plasma back in time”? When discussing the relative prosperity gains of everyone in the United States. Many poor today live a much better life than royalty used to. Rising tides, ships, and all that…

        I’m going to get another one, but it just hasn’t been a priority, haha. I’m not a huge consumer of television until football season.
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    • MMD says

      Ha – I only had one flat screen too until about two months ago. No, I don’t think the number of TV’s you have necessarily makes you poor or not. You’re right that it has more to do with your income level and (in my opinion) the amount of debt and consumption you have. The definition of being poor is definitely changing, but perhaps that is just a sign of time and all the improvements with technology.

  15. says

    My DH’s new job is working for the city and often they have to go into a house to fix something. He has noticed that almost all of the ‘poorer’ houses they go into have massive flatscreen TVs. He’s seen no doors on cupboards, rips in carpet, holes in walls, beaten up furniture but always, the massive 60+in TVs
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    • MMD says

      Hi Jolie. Thanks for commenting and welcome to the site. Exactly the point! One has to question whether these things are really just becoming affordable or if poor, poor decisions are being made about priorities. There’s plenty of arguments either way.

      • Veronica @ Pelican on Money says

        I have a feeling most of the money earned / collected simply goes to the best form of entertainment there is = Television. I have heard stories from a friend that worked at RAC who said most houses he visited had huge flat screen tv’s yet they rented all of their furniture. I found that very amusing.
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        • MMD says

          I can believe it! The TV has become such a focal point in the household; and a trophy for some people. It’s too bad that some people have their priorities all out of order!

  16. says

    While I have seen those who say they are poor is more of a result of poor money management and a desire for the Jonses large screen TV, I can not speak for them, but only for myself.

    We would be considered poor and I am actually very grateful to be more of a “modern” poverty enjoying a few conviences.

    To give a picture though, we are a family of 6 living in a 750 square foot 2 bedroom trailer in a rural area for it’s cheap rent. No air conditioning, no shade trees, just a couple of fans purchased cheap at garage sales and an occasional root beer float to beat the heat.

    I typically only spend $220 to $300 a month for food, I also grow a garden and forage wild foods.

    We went without any furniture for 4 years and recently bought 2love seats and 1 chair with ottaman at a thrift store( you ever have to sit on a floor in a trailer in the winter? COLD)

    Our microwave my sister found on a curb for free ( she always finds things like that) and gave to us.

    We have an old box TV my Dad no longer used and gave to us with the converter box where we enjoy 1 channel for free.

    Our XBOX was given to my son from his dad along with with his lap top computer.

    We have no cell phones, no cable tv, and yes I do have internet for $15 a month which I use to try to create more income from online pursuits.

    We enjoy fishing, hiking and board games for free family entertainment.

    Everything I cook is pretty much from scratch, I do not even waste money on cold cereal but maybe once or twice a year!

    I have NO government aid,no food stamps or anything.

    We have once vehicle and will bike or walk the 5 miles to town when neccessary such as last summer we had to for 3 months as our car died beyond repair and we had to scrimp and save enough for another.

    we have no credit cards, and our income is around $14,000 a year.

    I dont even have an excess of clothes, I keep a minimalist wardrobe for a woman with 2 jeans, 2 t-shirts, 2 sweat shirts, 1 pjs and 1 pair of shoes oh and 1 winter coat, I do not wear make up and cut my own hair.

    I have had many friends complain they never had money and it usually was a simple matter of wasting a lot of money

    but that is not always the case :) we really do not waste a whole lot of anything!
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    • MMD says

      Wow, you have really have been through quite a lot! And after reading your descriptions, I’d have to say that having low income is still not all its cracked up to be (as the CNN article makes it sound). But you are also more unique than others by not taking handouts or getting yourself into debt. It is very inspirational how ambitious, resourceful, and patient you are with the means that you have.

  17. says

    This is something my mom commented on when I was young that has always stuck with me… it was in regards to a specific family, but also talking about others she had viewed. In her experience, many families who complain of being poor, or have “trouble” covering basics also have a myriad of “stuff,” especially quickly devaluing electronics. This family in particular had a solid income, in the top 10% in Canada, as the wife was a nurse in the same union as my mom, so wages are very observable. Yes, you may have other financial obligations, but when you’re pointing out the “new XXXX” that you told me you bought….!
    In other news, my lil bro and his new spouse are poor (graduate school) and the owners of a brand new 52″ because it came free with a family member’s vehicle purchase :-)
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    • MMD says

      That actually leads to such a greater and more broad discussion! Things don’t make you rich! The ability to take care of your family on any income level is what makes you rich! We could go on and on about it! ….

      Ha! Good job for your little bro! I think there’s a big difference between TV prices now and what they were when they did this survey back in 2009. They’re practically giving TV’s away in cereal boxes now! The last two pieces of furniture we’ve bought had a new TV as one of the “extras” you could get. We just chose the immediate discount. We finally traded up from the old tube box for a flat screen this year and only paid less than $350. What a steal when you compare it to my other TV of comparable size that I bought only 4 years ago for WAY more!

  18. says

    I personally think that people receiving my money as a hand-out should not be using it to purchase things that are not necessary. This is obviously a controversial opinion.

    However, to add some objectivity, the census bureau says that the median income for *households with zero income earners* is roughly 14,500 in 2010 dollars (http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/historical/household/2010/H12AR_2010.xls); this is more than the total of all of my “core” expenses (housing, food, transportation, internet, communication, gym membership) for an entire year.

    This is paid for via my tax burden of 64% above these “core” expenses. If I can live modestly, why should people receiving hand-outs get to live my lifestyle without working? Just another disincentive for me to keep working. And I won’t have to work much longer considering I can invest 70% of my after-tax income.
    greg recently posted..Clinically Studied IngredientMy Profile

    • MMD says

      Hi Greg and welcome to the site! Very intriguing scenario! Before many of my colleagues were married, we use to have a joke that America loves to tax the hell out of single hard-working middle class Americans. And as you earn more, it just seems to get worse. That’s just the way our government works because they know there is no point in taxing the poor – there’s no money there! If you simply tax the rich, they’ll gladly pay on account of their integrity and character, and your chances of seeing the money are much greater. And the ultra-wealthy don’t have to put up with it because they make the rules and back-doors that allow them to pay at lower rates. So the middle class carry the burden for funding the programs that promote hand-outs. Its a huge disincentive for honest workers because it borders on socialism.

      I’m thoroughly impressed you can invest 70% of your after-tax income. May I ask if you are single or providing for a family? Even though I support my family, I’d love to be in a position similar to yours where I am investing at least 50% of my income.

  19. spiffi says

    Everyone has a story about the family using their iPhone and driving the fancy car, using food stamps – but it’s too easy to make a snap judgement.

    If you’re a middle class family, making decent money, it’s reasonable that you start to accumulate some nice things – flat screen tvs, iphones, etc.

    Now – something happens – you lose your job and the economy is in the toilet, so you haven’t found work. You get sick and lose your job, and lose your health care. You need to feed the kids, and you qualify for food stamps.

    Is selling your iphone going to help long term? You’re probably locked into a phone plan – and chances are you’re using your phone to try to find work. Selling a used iphone isn’t going to bring much in – and anything you get for it will probably be wiped out by the cancellation fee for canceling your phone service – and now you might miss the call back for the interview.

    I’m not saying that everyone is making perfect choices – or that I agree with the choices that a lot of people make – and there are probably a lot of families that choose to spend money on “frivolous” things just to make life a little better for themselves, because paying the water bill isn’t a lot of fun :)

    • MMD says

      Very true! I’m sure there is much more enjoyment out of buying something fun than paying the rent or water bill that month. And, no, we certainly don’t know the story behind all the things people own.

  20. says

    If you wanna get rich sell to the poor. All the richest companies in the world’s biggest consumers are poor people. Nike, cable companies, Coke, Pepsi, cigarettes, and alcohol. Look at the immigrants that come here and open businesses in poor neighborhoods, within one generation they become wealthy.

  21. says

    The poor, in America, are the easiest consumer segment to leach off of, because they tend to be the least educated (from a variety of standpoints, including role models). “A fool and his money are soon parted”.
    Snarkfinance recently posted..Debits and CreditsMy Profile

  22. CA says

    Honestly I can vouch for being a ‘poor person’ who’s typing on i7 computer, but that’s because these are one-time purchases vs. the monthly bills we have to pay (i.e. we bought our HD TV last Christmas). Outside of that it’s paying off the usual.

  23. Gretta says

    People aren’t “poor” in the United States. They’re short-sighted, entitled, envious little breeding rabbits. They blow all their money on garbage and then blame other people when they’re ignorant and in debt.

  24. says

    It seems that they do not know how to prioritize. How sad that they do not know how to save first. If they really need two televisions, maybe they can buy a cheaper one. Some of them want to experience the gratification soon. Even at the expense of borrowing money. They should think about it because they might end in debt.


  1. […] Why Do Poor People Have Two Or More Flat Screen TV’s? at My Money Design […]

  2. […] Why Do Poor People Have Two or More Flat Screen TV’s? – My Money Design […]

  3. […] Money Design writes Why Do Poor People Have Two or More Flat Screen TV’s? – Poor people in the U.S. own just as many flat screen TV’s as the middle and wealthy classes. […]

  4. […] in an area where it is very difficult to make a profit anytime soon.MMD @ My Money Design writes Why Do Poor People Have Two or More Flat Screen TV’s? – Poor people in the U.S. own just as many flat screen TV’s as the middle and wealthy […]

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