Jumping in here, a little sheepishly. I struggle with this general subject, because we really shouldn't be low income, but for so many reasons we are struggling. DP still has his job and everything, but in the last year he hasn't been allowed to work overtime, and that made a huge difference in our finances. I think we pay close to 50% of our income on our housing expenses now, when that number is supposed to be around 30%. When we moved in, it was a lot closer to that, otherwise we wouldn't have rented this place.
On top of it all, DP had a heart attack earlier this year, and between missed work and continuing medical expenses, we're down to living paycheck to paycheck and it's really freaking me out. I finally went to the food bank today, and while I waited around in the freezing cold for four hours, it still was a pretty amazing experience. A whole cart full of food, such a weight off my chest.
I kind of wish we could move elsewhere. The cost of living here is so high, our food bill just kills us. I'm trying to get it down as much as I can, but it's a process. I can't eat gluten and dp has to eat for diabetes and heart disease, which really doesn't help. Cheaper food is always the worst kind of food. Our electrical bill is at least $250 every two months, and our gas is about $100/mo. Part of it is again the COL of this area, and this old house. I can't seem to get it down any further.
DP spends a fair amount of money on gas, because we can't live any closer to his job. The cost of living the closer you get to that area just soars through the roof. A 1br apartment would be well over a thousand dollars, even $1300+, let alone a 2 or 3br, enough to fit us comfortably. Public transportation isn't an option despite the fact that we live right next to a Park & Ride, it just doesn't go where we need it to. His company is so dingy that they won't even hire him-- he goes through a contracting company and gets screwed out of decent medical insurance (would have helped immensely with the heart attack), a better wage, and some freakin' holiday pay.
We make just a little too much for government programs, but not enough to stay on top of things. It's the lower middle class slip through the cracks, I guess. I am on medicaid now, but only because I'm pregnant, otherwise I'm screwed.
I buy everything we need at Goodwill. If that's impractical, and something I really need, then I'll buy it off of Craigslist. Or I'll mooch off of the stuff friends and family don't want anymore. I've dumpster dived. I thankfully owe no money on our vehicles, mostly thanks to my parents, but they still seem to suck out so much money. I can't imagine how I'd afford a monthly payment on top of that.
We don't smoke, aren't drinking right now, only buying what we need, try not to be wasteful, get creative with what we have, and so on... but we keep falling further and further into the hole.
I cannot WAIT for tax refund time, because we always get enough back to relieve me for awhile.
Anyway, thanks for listening. I'm just... tired.