Tips on giving the readers hints that a character is poor

So the main character i’m writing is poor and is living in a trailer park. (I’m still debating if she’ll live alone or with someone) and I don’t want the audience to find out until around chapter five or so. What kind of hints I can give the reader that she’s poor without telling them

Are you showing her trailer at all up until that point?

It could be small things such as a friend inviting them out for dinner and MC panicking about going because they cant afford to.

A friend asking why MC never lets them come to their house.

If you do any home scenes always zoom in quite a lot on MC so you cant see any background shots.

Clothes that are considered more basic clothing, no accessories.

Hope some of those ideas help :slight_smile:


Here are some more things you can also do.

  • You can show the character lacking in basic amenities like water or electricity.

  • The character should wear simple / outdated clothing, it could be baggy or patched together.

  • You can show the character doing things that indicate that they are trying to save money e.g repairing broken items instead of replacing them, eating simple meals and even skipping meals, or having a bunch of self-made stuff e.g they may be using an upside-down bucket as a stool.

  • You can make them frequently talk about money or express worry about paying bills. They can be hesitant to spend money on something they need or always try to find the cheapest option.

  • Having multiple jobs, a part-time job that pays low or doing jobs that they normally wouldnt be doing.

  • The character might walk to far distances, or take a bicycle, indicating that they don’t have a better means of transportation that they can afford.

  • Ignoring health issues because they can’t afford treatment or check ups.


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