Buying the Best
There are two strategies for buying that I recommend. First, meet your needs. You need shoes, you can get them for under five bucks at the Goodwill or Salvation Army thrift store. A second hand jacket, a junker car, any warm blanket, cheapest camping equipment, anything that will do in a pinch is great, but then what? You can gather so much trash into your life that instead of sustaining you, it simply adds to your burdens. When living in a car it isn't terribly easy to get at your stuff if there is too much of it. It all just gets jumbled, one thing on top of another. At some point, when your minimum needs are satisfied, you need to change your buying strategy. You need to shop for highest quality.
If you can buy two or three of something that will do, or one of something that is perfect, get the thing that is perfect. The advantages are many. The first I've mentioned, it's less to carry. Psychologically the benefits are huge, because you are sending a message to yourself that you are worth the best. It makes you feel good about yourself. When you feel good about yourself, that confidence is visible to others, and they will view you as strong, wealthy, and powerful. Your confident bearing is then reinforced by the stuff you are wearing. That public perception is golden. People only help people who do not need help. If you want good service, make an impression that says you can go somewhere else. Cops won't look at you as a potential problem. Thieves won't target you. Business owners will woo you. Feeling good is looking good, and you never feel better than when you have luxury in your life.
Payless shoes for ten bucks, or Pumas that literally love your feet for a hundred and nineteen? No contest. Buy the Pumas. You need them. They make you walk taller, happier, healthier. Sure, if you can't afford the Pumas this month, get by on the cheap stuff, but set some money aside, and when you can afford it, go large, go luxury, have fun.
I really can't overemphasize how important a survival element this is. I had a great business suit while I was homeless, and one day I was about to shower in a college locker room. I'd had a job interview that day, so I was dressed to impress, and I was taking my time, getting ready to undress for the shower, when an athlete, filled with exuberance jumped into the aisle I was in and gave a shout. Then he saw me. I am so sorry. Please, I'm so so sorry, he said. I explained he didn't need to worry, I was just another student, but my protest could not convince him. I am so so sorry.
He couldn't see past the suit.
When I was in school, people believed I was rich, though my income averaged about $600 per month. No one saw me as poor, not ever, and the thing is I didn't feel poor. I was rich in spirit, rich in time, and rich in luxuries. It really didn't matter that I didn't have a room to rent.