Did (when did) the Orthodox pastoral position on laity reading the Holy Scriptures change?
If you read some of St. John Chrysostom's sermons, he was nearly on his knees begging people to read the scriptures. He also didn't leave many excuses for anyone.
If you couldn't afford a New Testament, consider how much money you spend on the tools of your trade and make better priorities in your life.
If you really couldn't afford it, then buy just one Gospel.
If you couldn't afford one Gospel, then borrow someone else's.
If you didn't have time, consider how much time you waste watching horse races and entertainment and make better priorities in your life.
If you could never remember anything, consider the statistics you remember about your favorite sports star or the lines from your favorite theatrical show and make better priorities in your life.
If you didn't understand what the scriptures meant, then read them and go to church to hear them explained.
If you couldn't read, have someone read to you.