“When the money runs out we stay in and make do with what we have," one woman told Cramer-Krasselt. "I know what bills I can put off — like they’re not going to turn off my gas, but I've got to get my phone bill in.”
As with low-income families, these hard-working class mothers were also more likely to buy food items that could stretch across meals, such as rice, pasta and ground beef, instead of fresh produce.
Most families did not qualify for government aid, and weren't necessarily interested in handouts, Colletta-Sapp said.
"They're not looking for a way out," she said. "They're looking for opportunities."
The hard-working class mothers are generally proud of what they have accomplished on their own, Colletta-Sapp said, and most said they would not return to old habits should their financial situation improve.
"All indications show this group will be forever changed," Colletta-Sapp said. "I think these people are so dramatically changed — they've seen the smarter side of things."
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