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March 29, 2017

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Very true. There's a difference between legitimately not being able to afford a $500 emergency because you live at the poverty level. It's another thing entirely to not be able to cover an expense because you're blowing all of your money on unnecessary luxuries. I used to be in the percentage of people who couldn't pay for an emergency. But once I adjusted my spending habits and got serious about eliminating debt, I have peace of mind.

My wife's grown son was constantly calling her and asking for money or to pay his cell phone bill, etc. Always seemingly broke. It caused many arguments between us. She made an arrangement with him to match a dollar for every dollar he saved(money in her possession). Amazingly, he saved thousands of dollars in a few short months. Made sense to me, I knew how much he made and I knew his basic expenses. It's been several years and he doesn't ask for money or help anymore, and all our relationships are better.

I agree about TV since many people can get free over-the-air channels, and we haven't had cable in over 10 years.

I have to disagree with you about smartphones and computers. The internet is as much of a utility now as electricity, gas and water, and expecting people near the poverty level, especially those with school aged children to live without it is unrealistic and puts those children at risk of dropping out.

Many families use smart phones, tablets and computers for their own or their children's school work and communication. The high school a friend's daughter attends posts their announcements via Twitter, and the high school where my daughters recently graduated sends updates via text message and emails--no paperwork is sent home, and parents have to rely on technology or their children to get information about the school.

Much of my children's homework involved watching lesson videos at home and doing projects with other students on Google docs, and students with no home internet are at a severe disadvantage. Some teachers allow class time for computer work, but it depends on how many computers are available and what else is scheduled for the day. Students without computer access outside of school have a much harder time completing their work.

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