I feel compelled to start this thread by saying that I know that others have much less money than we do, no options for outside help, and are in much worse shape. I don't mean to offend anyone whose situation might be worse than mine.
I just did a new budget for our family (me, DH, and DD) and came up with a disheartening result: $143 a week after all of our expenses. That will have to cover food, clothes, and whatever else is needed for our day-to-day lives. We have been struggling ever since we graduated from college and we are exhausted. DH and I both work full-time and are, at least for now, not eligible for raises. I think we both want some outside help.
We are trying to decide if we should ask DH's family for financial help. I find it almost impossible to be objective about this issue, and I could really use some outside perspectives.
There are several factors at play:
1. We have been financially independent since 2009 (when we graduated), with the exception of a loan from DH's aunt for a down payment. We are proud of that accomplishment, that we haven't had to impose on others even though we have struggled. We have made all the right financial choices and even bought our own condo through a low-income housing program. We find the idea of asking for help deeply unpleasant, to say the least.
2. DH's family (specifically his parents, aunt, and uncle) have been throwing money at his older brother and his wife for eight years. Not a little money, a LOT. They bought them two houses, two new cars, a landscaper, brand-new kitchen appliances, vacations, endless classes for their three kids, paid $12,000 of their $20,000 credit card debt, and on and on. The brother and his wife have been in and out of work and have contributed little to their own existence. As DH and I continue to scrape by, the ugly feelings of jealousy are getting harder and harder to ignore. At this point, a big part of me feels that it's ok for me to say, "You give them so much help, we need help, too." I have NO desire for the kinds of luxuries they get, but help with even one of our bills would make a HUGE difference in our lives.
3. Because of the amount of money they spend on DH's brother, his family's money is rather tight as well. Asking them to help us would mean they have even less money for themselves, which makes me feel awful.
I would really appreciate some opinions and would love to hear what you guys do--have you accepted financial help? How did you deal with the guilt?
(My parents are not an option for help; they are in worse financial shape than us and actually owe us $2,000.)
Thanks in advance.