Poverty wears on Dicey and her family like nothing else in the novel. Throughout Dicey's Song, our heroine implies that they lost their mother to poverty, and are in danger of losing each other to poverty, too. Nevertheless, with Gram's help, the family manages to trudge through the difficult times, and to accept help when it's offered by kind friends.
Momma’s life might have had a much different outcome if she’d been wealthy.
Pride is more dangerous than poverty, and that's a lesson Gram sorely needs to learn.