We Can’t Afford Being This Poor

Living in unprecedented times sucks a$$

Judith Victoria
8 min readJul 7, 2022


Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

“Yeah, but I don’t mind paying extra for fuel if it helps Ukraine.”

Dumbfounded, I stare at my co-worker. “You do understand that this money isn’t being sent to Lyudmyla and Volodymyr, who are getting bombed to smithereens in Sievierodonetsk, right?”

He doesn’t respond, so I continue. “Fuel is expensive again because oil has gone up, and the Euro has gone down. A lot of people are making money right now, mostly oil execs. The war isn’t the main reason prices are up, and the extra money we’re paying isn’t being sent to Ukraine.”

He shrugs, “well, I still don’t mind paying more,” he says and walks away. It is hard for me not to throw a stapler at his head. He’s okay, but I — and many other people — can’t afford to be this poor.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not poor poor. I’m Western-European poor. I have a job, a house, and a car — for now. If I lose my job, I’m eligible for government assistance. They might force me to sell my car and eat up my meager savings first, but I’ll get enough assistance to pay my mortgage and buy food.

Even though our economy is in shambles and inflation rises every time I blink, I’m still lucky to live in The Netherlands — although it is hard to grasp that six months ago, I didn’t have to worry about sticking to my budget while I can barely make ends meet right now.

My salary has remained the same, but most of my expenses are going through the roof. And it is too easy to blame Putin; prices were already rising before he decided to be a massive mumpsimus.

Fortunately, I’m lower-class bred and born — I know how to make money last. So I wasn’t worried about amping up my frugality again — but that was when I thought I had to be extra frugal for a couple of weeks, and now it is dawning on me that things are getting worse instead of better. My frugality isn’t a temporary solution to financial setbacks; it is a collective new way of living if we don’t want to start raking up massive debt.

We’re all forced to make permanent lifestyle changes

I drive an old diesel car. I am a big fan of electric and hydrogen vehicles, but I’m not…



Judith Victoria

Essays on life, love, and other lousy stuff. Otherworldly flash fiction & romantic short stories. Failing forward. Perpetually amazed.