Among the poor there is a particular group, which for various reasons, has a specific mentality. Essentially, they have a fixed income, usually coming in one check at the beginning of the month, and they do not save money. Under these conditions a variety of strategies develop for coping with life.
You can usually tell the smartest, or at least the most future oriented of this group by where they spend their money. The check will get cashed and the money spent, probably within the first week, but you can tell the smarter ones by the contents of their refigerator. The smarter poor go to the gocery store and buy as much stuff as they can.
It takes a higher level of discipline to handle money than it does to deal with the goods purchased. You can spend $200 in cash in one night, but you can't use up $200 in groceries that fast. The smarter poor convert the cash into usable goods in order to insulate themselves from their own weaknesses.