Sharon Astyk has a series on how to survive after your power goes out. It is MUST READ information. She writes, "Right now, in the very early stages of a Depression, most people are able to work out a deal with the power company, to put it on a credit card. That will not last forever - the credit will dry up and the ability to get funds will too. Please, start thinking now about how you will deal with extended utility outages - this is one of those things where your level of suffering is directly related to how much in advance you plan for."
Multiple posts about what to do when the lights go out:
Many of us here on this board are just a paycheck or three away from not being able to pay our utility bills. That means, if our income ends (job loss/es or other reason), and we can't find a new source of income right away, many of us would stop being able to pay our bills immediately, and those "lucky" ones with savings mostly could only make it a few months before they ran out of money for bills.
I don't think we can afford NOT to plan for the possibility that our income source might end. The economic path our country is on appears to be an increasingly challenging one. More people are losing their jobs or having to tighten their belts. Companies are downsizing and new jobs are harder to get, even for really smart/qualified people. I would personally rather have thought these things through before crisis hits my family, than wait until we are in a crisis situation and have to figure it out then.
baileyandmikey, I hope you don't mind that the conversation here has evolved into more than just tips for your situation. What I most want you to hear is that there is no shame in finding a nonorthodox solution for your family when times are tight. Of course you would not be considering this unless it felt like a last resort. I am convinced that the people who might be saying or thinking, "OMG, I would do anything and everything before shutting off my electricity" really would look at the situation differently if they were in it themselves. You are managing your family's resources, and it's not fun and it's not easy and it's not even comfortable, but you'll get through this.