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It's really hard to be American and poor

Being American and poor is no walk in the park. In fact, it may be leading to a shift in the way we pay for things.
Herb Scribner, Deseret News Modified: June 5, 2014 at 12:33 pm •  Published: June 6, 2014

It’s really hard being poor.

Seriously. Take Melissa and Alex Kimmel, who were featured in Mandi Woodruff’s piece for Yahoo! Finance on Thursday and are in an upcoming documentary called “Spent: Looking for Change.”

While the Kimmels were against getting into debt — they paid for most things in cash and ditched the idea of credit cards — medical issues creeped up and soon they sought help from payday loans, Woodruff wrote.

But even that hurt the Kimmels. They were forced to pay fees on top of fees, making their financial situation even worse than when it had been, Woodruff wrote.

“Americans spend an estimated $7.4 billion every year on payday loans, a highly controversial form of credit that is doled out on the condition that the borrower will pay it back when they get their next paycheck,” according to Woodruff’s piece. “Given the fact that the majority of people using payday loans already live paycheck to paycheck, it’s often difficult to pay loans on time.”

So what can families do to help with their bills?

Vox’s Timothy B. Lee offered a guide on how to lower your cable bill. It mainly involves calling your cable provider, bluffing about cancelling your subscription and negotiating a new deal, Lee wrote.

“Starting out with a low introductory rate and then gradually raising prices helps Comcast get as much money as possible out of each customer,” Lee wrote. “As a long-time Comcast customer, I knew that if I called and threatened to cancel, the cable giant would likely offer me a discount. But I wanted to know more. How exactly does this process work? And what should customers do to get the biggest discount?”

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