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Low-Income, Debt, etc... Advice appreciated! Plus: Can I Sue for This?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hello, everyone!


I'm fairly new to the forum(just joined a bit ago), so, if this is not quite the right place for this, please let me know.


I'm a 19 year old soon-to-be first time mom. I had been working at a local organization for individuals with developmental disabilities. It was going wonderfully and I was really loving the job as it had good pay, good hours, and made me feel like I was genuinely enriching someone's life. I NEVER missed a day of work or came in late and everything was great until a situation came up. I was working with a client who required briefs and, when I was changing their brief, the client accidentally kneed my stomach. I ended up needing to go the hospital(still worked the remaining hour of my shift, mind you) due to contractions and was admitted and kept for 24 hours, having to have contractions stopped twice. After my 24 hours, I was cleared to go ahead and go back to work. I had no limitations or anything like that. This was early in the week. I ended up not going to two classes because they were both 2-part classes and, due to being in he hospital, I had missed the first day of them and had to reschedule, which, at the time, I was told wasn't a problem, at all. I was still well within my 90 days of getting all of my classes done and would have had no issues with the schedule to get my classes done within my 90 days. The following week, they decided to switch my department from working in-home with clients with severe disabilities to a much more part-time(same pay) job where I would just be responsible for driving clients to doctors appointments and such. All was good to go for that, and I had all of my paperwork done and read through all of the profiles of the clients I would be working with. I was all set up to go and was told I would be called with my training day to show me my new responsibilities on Monday. Come Monday, I didn't get a call by 1, so I decided to call them, instead. My manager told me to come in because there was more paperwork to do. So, I drove out of my way, all the way to the office, to be sat down and told that I was fired. At first, they said that it was because of the fact that my missing two class days showed unreliability. When I reminded her that it was because I was in the hospital, she said, "Well, we understand that things come up... But you're also not good with needles, and we deal with clients who have diabetes and things like that who need to be stuck daily." When I rebutted with the fact that I only don't like needles when they're for me, she cut me off and said, "Well, we just don't feel that you're a good fit for the company right now. Maybe try and apply, again, later on." I feel like they only fired me because I was pregnant and saw me as a liability, and were looking for any reason to fire me. I have no clue if I can sue for this or whatnot, but, because they fired me just before my 90 days, I can't get unemployment, either. So, I'm 19 with little experience and pregnant(and, thus, most people won't want to hire me), without any ability to get an income until /at least/ after my 6 weeks after childbirth. I don't know what else to do, as one income certainly won't cut it for us.


My fiance works through a temp agency and has been trying desperately to get a solid job through the temp agency, as well as through putting in applications himself and calling companies to check in on said applications. He was doing wonderfully at a job at a local meat factory and they were looking to hire him on, permanently. Well, unfortunately, one day while he was working, the conveyor belt caught his glove and pulled him in. He pressed the emergency stop button, so his hand didn't get horribly mangled, but it was still pretty bad. His hand was swollen up like a blue and purple, blue, red, black, etc. The temp agency automatically ended his assignment with the company and had him go through workmen's comp. Now, they've been giving him the major run around with getting his checks. He got his hand caught in the belt on September 21st. He was /supposed/ to get his workmen's comp checks starting on the 7th of October. When they didn't show up by the 20th of October, yet all of the correspondence checks were showing up, he called her back(note: she was also EXTREMELY hard to get a hold of, and never called back when he left a message). She said that the post office sent back the checks because he didn't live there anymore, which is obviously a lie, as the checks and the correspondence come in the /exact/ same packaging. Why would they send back only the checks, especially without being able to tell the difference, yet send us all the correspondence? He has permanent nerve damage in his hand, and, because of the issues with workmen's comp, he has missed well over a month of work. He only JUST got the checks on Monday. We're talking to an attorney tomorrow, but what do you think will most likely come of this? Do you think this is a solid case here? I understand it's not legal advice, but I'm just wanting to go in with some kind of idea of what will happen tomorrow.


The factory is still looking to hire Devon, so he applied directly there a bit ago. They haven't called him, yet, but, if they do, it will be $11.00/hr with 40 hours a week with optional overtime every other Saturday. In this area, about $10.00/hr is pretty average for a factory worker, so it's good for us.


Even if he gets the job, though, we will definitely be a low-income family. We will probably still be considered low-income if I get a job. What advice do you have for living on a low-income? Currently, we're living with his parents. When we were both working and getting $10.00/hr each, it was fantastic. We were saving money, paying off our debts(just under $4k due to student fees and various small things), and were getting back on our feet. We had originally planned on saving up for a few months, paying off at least most of our debts, and getting our own place. Now, that seems so much more distant as our savings has dwindled down to less than $500 and we're having a baby in a week!! We have all of the things we need for our son, but it's still very scary not knowing. We have loads of support from family and friends, but we really hate to have to ask anyone for anything. My freelance art commissions are few and far between and certainly won't provide an income, and he is trying so hard to find a job but so few places are hiring now.


I'm looking for support, so please do not be mean. The last time I asked a forum about our financial problems, people were throwing in my face that I'm a bad fit for a mother and I should place my son for adoption and things like that... I know we can get back on our feet, it's just a matter of when.



Since I've kind of jambled on here and there are various things in this post, let me be specific about my question... I have two of them.
1.) Do you live on a low income or on one income(don't feel that you have to answer this; it's just a curiosity, and I know it's personal and many may not be comfortable stating such a thing publicly), and what advice do you have for living on a low income and living frugally?

2.) If you are a work-at-home/stay-at-home parent, what do you do to make money on the side? Do you make enough to make up an entire second income?


Thank you in advance to anyone who answers!

post #2 of 8

Hi! It must be hard going through all this while pregnant! I don't have a lot to say to help, but I really hope your partners get the job!


We live off one income and ,make below average for our household size, but we have no debt, no car payment, rent a small house & budget, so we are doing well. Prior to having our third child I baby sat other kids for money and sometimes cleaned houses. At one point I was watching multiple kids full time and making a good amount. It was quit stressful so once I got pregnant I scaled back. I sometimes sale things on ebay for money for gifts & such.


I think the main things you can do is to budget what you have, no matter how much it is. Know where your money is going! Try and pay off your debt & have some savings before moving out. It is great that you have support. I wish the best for you and your family!

post #3 of 8

I am so sorry about your situation.  First, your student loans.  Contact your loan provider about income based repayment.  With your current situation, it should be zero.  Next, try to cut costs everywhere you can.  Cancel cable if you have it.  Switch to a cheap phone with a pay as you go plan.  Meal planning saves a ton on food costs, because nothing goes to waste.  Cooking from scratch with inexpensive ingredients is a great way to go.  If you need to, downgrade to a cheaper living arrangement, preferably close to a potential job to save on gas costs.  I would set up an account on something like Mint.com to track your spending.  One way to make extra money at home would be to sell garage sale and unused items on eBay or Craigslist.  We have made a lot of extra money doing that recently.  Also, check out the gigs section on Craigslist.  There are often little jobs you can do.  Another option could be to watch another child or two at your house while you are at home.  You will get through this soon enough!  Good luck

post #4 of 8

Hi there!  Thanks for posting and asking for advice.  There are some good ideas here already but I one other suggestion.  I heard a program by a lady named Jonni McCoy who had to cut their family's budget in half and made it work.  Here is a link to the program if your interested in listening to it online (it's about 30 minutes)  - http://www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.aspx?ID=%7BBFF87AF8-9284-46DE-808D-AE802E5C6806%7D        I have her book and it has been helpful with my family.  Take care!

Edited by FeeFee123 - 11/12/13 at 3:55pm
post #5 of 8

Childcare has always been my fallback.  When I only had 1 child, I was a nanny at the child's house.  Off and on since I had my first (who is now 13), and up till I got pregnant with my 3rd, I've offered child care in my home. 

post #6 of 8

This must be so stressful for you... there are many innovative ways to make money. I have friend who was a dog walker in a big city and then when he bought a house in the country he now took his clientele and runs a pet resort. All dogs have to be kid friendly because he has 3 home schooled kids. I think his current rate is 35$/day/dog or something like that... very close to child care i know that. Its not an easy job as animal behaviours are kind of wild sometimes and he can have up to 10 -12 dogs at a time.


You are young and artistic and creative, have you ever thought of making youtube videos. The adsense money can be ridiculous considering I had looked up how to make rainbow loom bracelet (the newest jewelry craze) and the views are into the millions = thousands of dollars in adsense revenue. Tutorials of any kind generally to very well - even learn how to draw, learn piano, learn to play this popular song, watch me sing videos etc. All you need is a camera, computer and youtube account.


Do  you have a facebook account? You can get an amazon account and get affiliate links through them for products that interest you. Anytime you mention that product, give your opinion on it and why you liked it, why you think your friends would benefit from it, and why it is a superior product. You do have to mention it is an affiliate link though and read through the terms and conditions.


An example message would be....

I love these new low fat tortilla's... They are delicious and taste amazing with my new tomato pesto recipe. Try them out and prove me wrong, lol!  ((affiliate link)) www. amazon. lowfattortillas. com


you would get a commission from the sales generated through the the affiliate link. Its not much but it all helps. And don't be too spamy to often or else you wont have any friends left, This can be done on twitter and other social media.


I have done lots of things... pm me if you want some more help.

post #7 of 8

First of all deep breaths!!! I know it's stressful. I was 19 when I had my oldest and at the time we luckily had a paid for place to live (although run down and old :( it was paid for) but I only worked weekend nights part time making little money and dh worked full time but construction work so sketchy for money planning at times. I don't know how at times but we always made it somehow. We now have 3 kids are things aren't great all the time but we've made it and our kids have survived our mostly low income life just fine. You'll get through this too!


Here are a few ideas I'm tossing out off hand:

-Apply for state assistance. If you don't already have it you should get medicaid for your child and to cover delivery/after birth care if you haven't already. You can also get family planning medicaid to cover birth control/pap smears for you as well. Food stamps will help immensely. Even without it WIC can supply your baby's needs and a little extra food each month (formula if bottle feeding, more food plus pumps and supplies if nursing - they even have breast pads and milk storage bags if you ask!) You don't need to claim your fiancee's income either because you aren't married to him.

- Do either of you plan to go to school? If you do this may be something to consider starting now. You should qualify for grants and if you use community college should get some of it refunded as well that would be a little cushion to help. Not the greatest idea but you can also sometimes get student loans, to be paid back after graduation, that can help cover living expenses while in school.

- To make money: in home child care and cleaning houses or businesses (I've done small salons & tanning places). Mystery shopping can be helpful especially in a large area, if not it doesn't give you any real money but can be a tiny help or at least gain you a free meal out once in a while. In-store demos - I've done these and they pay decent and are only a few hrs work at a time and you make your own schedule. If you are willing to do it bartending or waitressing at a bar can bring decent money and might work well around your fiancee's schedule for now. (This is what I've done for years to avoid childcare costs!) 


There are tons of ideas on how to save money here also. I'll especially mention cloth diapers and wipes are a BIG saver with a baby and worth doing. I bought used diaper covers for less than $5 each on diaperswappers.com or new Dappi ones cheaply when I started plus a dozen pack of prefolds at Walmart for about $10. Nursing will also save you a ton of money and is highly suggested but if not you definitely need WIC. Feel free to pm me for more ideas on making/saving money if you'd like. I know it's overwhelming and stressful being a young new mom with financial woes but many of us have been there before you and have made it out to tell the tale, you will too!

post #8 of 8

Oh I didn't address the legal issues but just speak to the attorney as this varies by state. I think you could get something done with FMLA and pregnancy law type stuff but who knows because you'd have to prove it and fight it in court and it might not even be worth it unfortunately. For your fiancee I hope his lawyer can help but these things can take forever. My mother had a back injury from work and it took awhile to get worker's comp going and it was a few years before she saw a settlement. These things are difficult. My dh was laid off year before last and never got unemployment because he worked out of state and the work state and our home state both denied saying the other state owed it. It wasn't even worth fighting :(. 


You were doing in home care... are you a licensed CNA? If not check into this for your state as it can be a big help. If you have a CNA license you should have no trouble getting a job once the baby arrives. Some of these jobs even do educational assistance if you want to go further in nursing. If you are licensed you can try looking for independent in home care jobs as well. Some families that may need help with a family member's care while they work may actually not mind you bringing your baby although I'm not sure if this is allowed??? Just an idea if it is. Care.com is a great website to look for all kinds of care jobs like pet sitting, elder care and child care. You might can find something good there. If you decide to try in home child care advertise at locals colleges and schools as some college moms may need help or school moms may need after school care. I wish there was an ad at my school board for someone in my district!


And of course... :w

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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Frugality & Finances › Low-Income, Debt, etc... Advice appreciated! Plus: Can I Sue for This?