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Poor Family Support Tribe- NO DEBATE

post #1 of 832
Thread Starter 
This is a new tribe for mamas and their families who live in poverty. We are one of them.

Although I id EBF until Kailey was 5 years old, cloth diapered, and boycott nestle, we still are forced into mainstream purchasing at times. I'm not happy about that is for sure, but we do it for cost and convenience.

I for one am tired of others judging me for this and then having to explain to death our resources or lack thereof just so they can get it.

We are a three person family living on my husband's first year teachers salary. I attend college full time and Kailey is in afterschool care in the afternoons.

In total we spend 150 a week in gas for our 2 cars (our insurance just ran out and we cannot afford to renew it right now) and 300 a month for rent (which wecould not afford this month).
I feel like we are running on empty much of the time.
post #2 of 832
hi!
i'm married to a man taking a 150% courseload so he isn't able to work at all. i was working 70-80 hours a week but my ds got sick so i had to cut downt o 2 shifts a week. since then i've picked up a few more hours, but not anywhere near the cost of living. i'm also pg with #2, we didn't know that ds would get sick when we planned this one. if we'd known we would have waited, but it's too late now and i'm thrilled to be pg.
money isn't everything, but but sure helps when buying groceries.
post #3 of 832
Thread Starter 
oh and I am supposed to take the PRAXIS in May and we cannot afford it. I need to be admitted to the school of ED before Fall or I cannot take one of my required classes which could force me to prolong graduation until Spring '10. My financial aid will not last that long.

Both cars are close to falling apart. The engine light in mine keeps coming on (has for the last week) and we cannot afford a mechanic. The kitchen sink cabinet is rotting through because the sink keeps leaking, the stray cats have busted threw the screen on our new porch door, DH hates his job and I just lost someone I thought was a friend over 35 dollars. People I used to work for are gossiping about me, which could affect Kailey and any job prospects I may have for the summer (in this town) and my boss is not hiring me back for the summer lie she said she would.

I am feeling snappy and pissy. I have a 15 page conference paper due by the end of next week, a 6 page paper due tomorrow, and finals to study for. Plus Kailey needs to be played with and loved on the weekends but isn't getting it, or she gets it and my work suffers. I was on campus until 11 pm 3 nights last week and will be up all night Monday night and on campus all week until 11 this coming week.

I need to look for a job this summer as Mark was unable to sign a 12 month contract whe he was hired on. After June we will have no income for the summer months. Kailey will be in day care every day ALL day long and it breaks my heart. What in the hell can we do?!

We have no money so I can't even take her o the park. Oh we have 65 dollars to our name. I may not be able to go to school for a couple of days nxt week.
post #4 of 832
Thread Starter 
hi joysbear. You've got a load on your plate as well. Congrats on your pregnancy and heres to getting more stable soon. No money isn't everything, but when money stresses arise, discontentment does as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by josybear View Post
hi!
i'm married to a man taking a 150% courseload so he isn't able to work at all. i was working 70-80 hours a week but my ds got sick so i had to cut downt o 2 shifts a week. since then i've picked up a few more hours, but not anywhere near the cost of living. i'm also pg with #2, we didn't know that ds would get sick when we planned this one. if we'd known we would have waited, but it's too late now and i'm thrilled to be pg.
money isn't everything, but but sure helps when buying groceries.
post #5 of 832
Praxis offers fee waivers, if you qualify. (As I don't know the specifics of your situation, I don't know if you do or not)

http://www.ets.org/portal/site/ets/m...0022f95190RCRD

Have you checked into teacher/public service discounts for your rent? They offered it when I was teaching...it wasn't much, I think it was 5%, but, that's still something.

Your landlord is responsible for repairing your sink. Put it in writing. I don't know specifics, but you might be able to get him for sub-standard living conditions for it (I don't know specifics, I'm not a lawyer).

Any possibility of sharing child care with someone? ie. You watch their child on teh weekend, and they watch Kailey for two days during the week, or something along those lines? What about you and your husband doing opposite shifts during the summer (ie. you work 9-5, he does graveyard) or something to that extent so there's as little overlap (ie. Kailey in care) as possible. Another possibility is a job where you bring Kailey (summer baby-sitting, perhaps? I nanny and bring my daughter with me)

Look at SHARE programs...or angel food ministries. It's not the best food in the world, but it's fairly cheap. There's a thread somewhere around here with a link on how to feed a family of four on less than 40 dollars a week or something like that. Also, it won't be great fun as far as taste, but, buy a big bag of rice, and a big bag of beans, and, well, it's almost a complete meal, and you'll be able to eat for a long time.

Ask grocery stores when they get rid of produce and if they have a dent area (cans that have been dented, but are otherwise ok). Often, you can get food very cheaply there (we have that in our commissary).

You need to get insurance on your car. Either share one, and use public transport, or find a way to pay for it. You're going to be in trouble down the line, anyway, b/c they will see a break in your insurance coverage but not your registration. Better to fix it up now.

Make sure you apply for everything you can. WIC, medicaid, food stamps, etc. I know tons of people (military, again), who thought they made too much money for "X", and found out they were eligible.

Good luck.
post #6 of 832
Thread Starter 
whoa! Good ideas Kathee.

Ha not heard of the teacher break in rent- will look into it.

Don't qualify for PRAXIS waiver- dang!

No SHARE programs- dang!

Will apply for everything on Tuesday (no class)

Mark will pay insurance on the 30th and pay the 50 fee for the lapse.

Our rental agreement is that we can have the cats but in exchange for minor repairs (like sink and such). Big things landlord will cover.

I was having a crappy day- stressed about life. Feeling ok since I have made a budget, meal plan, a frugal saver, and are waiting for a phone call from MIL about the farmer she used for in season produce. Found out we hve a farmers market downtown on saturdays and a food ministry in rockingham somewhere- will find out from MIL.
post #7 of 832
Well, this is my tribe!

I've been disabled for years, thus finding (and keeping) employment is quite difficult. I receive public assistance. I get approximately $250 in food stamps, which does the trick. All my rent, save for $23 is covered a month. My gas bill is covered as well as electric. I have to pay $10 for water/sewer. It costs $20 to put minutes on my phone, and sometimes I have to do that more than once a month. My high speed internet, which I use as my main form of communication (sending out resumes, contacting family, friends, etc), instead of the phone, is $30 a month. Sometimes I forgo getting minutes on my phone, but if I've applied for jobs, I have to have some minutes on there for them to get ahold of me.

So, that's at least $83 a month in bills. Plus, I'm paying on an old electric bill, and I'm still paying on my security deposit. I get approximately $200 a month cash. I currently have $13 cash, and I get more money in two days ($100, twice a month).

If I have to go anyplace, I walk, or take the bus ($2). Rarely, I'll get a ride from a friend (give them $5), or take a cab (at least $5.25 each way).

My BFs mom lets me do laundry at her place every week, so I don't have to worry about $$$ for the laundromat. When I needed clothes after the baby was born, I got a voucher from DSS to use at a thrift store for clothes. They gave me a voucher for $20, which did me well for a new wardrobe. DSS also paid for me to get my permit, and will be paying for the 5 hour course, which I'm taking in a couple weeks. They'll pay for me to get my liscence as well. I'm really trying to get on my feet.

In return for this assistance, I will have to work for DSS. My "pay" will be this assistance. I'm supposed to start shortly, but I haven't gotten a start date. They'll pay for childcare so I can work, too.

I reapplied for college, too, and I'll get grants for that. Honestly, I'm not sitting on my butt refusing to better myself... I'm trying. I get frustrated when people moan about those on public assistance. I'm embarassed about it, and I want nothing more than to be off the system.
post #8 of 832
I just looked at where you were...

We used to live in Spring Lake (near Fayetteville)!

There's an angel food ministries in Pinehurst, which isn't *so* far from you. Look into it, and see if it would be worth it for you. http://www.angelfoodministries.com/

Found the hillbilly housewife link. This assumes you have NOTHING in your pantry, so, you might be able to go a bit further. http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/40dollarmenu.htm

I'm trying to figure out other things I did when we were prettPy low on cash...we didn't have internet or cable...local libraries almost always have internet connections, so, even if you do online bill paying, you can do it once a week and be done...your college would have it as well...

half.com is great for used college textbooks. I also spent my last two years of college asking for the booklist ahead of time, putting the books on reserve at the college library, having a friend put in on reserve right after me, and then reserving again right after her, so I'd get it when her time was up (not sure it was ethical?, but it covered the semester for me). Saved money that way...check local libraries as well, including InterLibraryLoan(ours had where you could ILL out of the system for 1.00 a pop, which is a lot cheaper than 54.00 for a book you'll use for 3.5 months)

At one point, I didn't allow any electricity during the day...no tv, no cooking, etc (we were hurting. LOL). Some regions have "off-peak rates" (I know my college roommate and grandma have this) for electricity and water...if it's possible, you could always run your washer/dryer/crockpot/etc. at those hours.

I will keep thinking of things that might work for you.
post #9 of 832
Thread Starter 
awesome! And (don't know why I didn't think to look) there is a wesave site for state employees so I signed up for a free savings card.

I'm doing searches fro assistance programs for NC teachers now.

Could you help me out with this rent saving programing? Who does this? the college, state, landlord?
That would be helpful, thanks.
post #10 of 832
Gosh...I'm not sure. We did it by asking the landlord.

The way i found out about the rent discount was looking on my school districts list of benefits (we already got a military discount which cancelled out the teacher discount). You could always just ask your landlord.

I know this isn't much of a help....
post #11 of 832
Quote:
Originally Posted by katheek77 View Post
half.com is great for used college textbooks. I also spent my last two years of college asking for the booklist ahead of time, putting the books on reserve at the college library, having a friend put in on reserve right after me, and then reserving again right after her, so I'd get it when her time was up (not sure it was ethical?, but it covered the semester for me). Saved money that way...check local libraries as well, including InterLibraryLoan(ours had where you could ILL out of the system for 1.00 a pop, which is a lot cheaper than 54.00 for a book you'll use for 3.5 months)
Another trick which I have used the past year is to buy the previous edition (say 8th instead of the 9th the teacher wants, really works when the book is less then 3-4 years old) of the book for like $3 online. So far its worked fine and none of the instructors have said anything.
post #12 of 832
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I know my landlord wouldn't know about it. He didn't even know about landlord tenant laws, and he's a family friend so I trust his word on this.

But I will look for info on school district benefits. It may be that you have to live in the district in which you teach, or so I am guessing. And Mark works in a district other than where we live.
post #13 of 832
Hi there... we are broke, too.

Last year, when DD was born, I was in school full time, and DH made $13,000. Lean times, I tell you.

Now the good news: DH recently got a great job. By the end of the year, he'll be making $30K, the health coverage is free, and it is at the university I attend, so (drumroll please) my tuition is free! (It is free for our kids, also, when their time comes, so the psychological impact of having our kids college taken care of is HUGE.)

We are still playing catch up. DH has only gotten one paycheck so far, but I was able to buy a new blender! Hooray!

But the point is, I understand how hard it is. And I really hope the lessons of early marriage stick with me. We have been incredibly frugal as a matter of survival. People have acted like I'm nuts when I've said things like "We can't afford gas". They really don't understand. People didn't know how really broke we were, so they acted like we could just do better with what we had. Ha! I should like to see anyone else try to pay tution and pay off a car while keeping body and soul together for three people on eight hundred dollars a month.

You know what the saddest part is? People who work the hardest make the least money.
post #14 of 832
You are some amazing mamas!

A couple of suggestions:

1. Definitely sign up for WIC, Medicaid, food stamps, etc. Most of the programs now offer aid to families where there is income (e.g., working poor). It's hard to do it sometimes but that is what the programs are for and you've paid taxes for it so you might as well benefit!

2. If your area has a Freecycle list, join it and if you see something you like, be upfront in your first response that you can't afford gas to pick it up, but you could walk somewhere or you have to go to work at someplace. Sometimes people will just ignore it and go to the next person on the list but other times they'll say that they have to be in the area anyhow and could drop it off.

3. The hillbillyhousewife site is great. She really knows how to count every penny. The only thing with her that I don't like is that I think some of the ingredients could have healthier substitutes that are not more expensive, but it has good ideas to start with.

4. If you need clothes for yourself, call your local women's shelter and ask them for a list of referrals for clothing donations. Sometimes they know better sources than Goodwill/Salvation Army, etc.

I will see if I can think of more ideas.

It's so true that the people who have the least work the hardest. It makes me soooo angry to hear rich politicians imply the poor are lazy. : As if they have ANY idea!
post #15 of 832
Have you created a budget to try to figure out where your money is going? From what I can see, a brand new teacher in NC with just a B.A. would be making $28,510, or $2,851 a month for 10 months. Even after taxes, that's quite a bit, because he should be claiming a lot of dependants, because you'll be eligible for lots of tax credits (child care, education, etc.). If he takes home, say, $2300 a month, and your rent is $300, gas is $600, that leaves $1400 for food, utilities and after school childcare. That seems doable... what am I missing? I'm assuming you're taking out loans and/or getting grants or scholarships to cover school tuition.

That's an awful lot for gas. Even with gas at $3 a gallon, that's 200 gallons of gas - and gas actually seems a bit lower than that were you are. If your cars get 20 mpg, then you're driving 4000 miles a month, between the two of you, or 1000 miles a week. That's a daily 100 mile round-trip commute for each of you, in different directions. If you're really driving that much, you need to have a fuel efficient vehicle. I love Ford escorts - you can get an older one in decent shape for $1200 or so, and they get around 35 mpg.

This board is pretty good at helping people with their budgets, if you wanted to try that...

Dar
post #16 of 832
Hey, I used to live in Cameron and then moved onto Pope AFB. My hubby was stationed at Pope. I LOVE the children's section at the Spring Lake libary!

Meg
Quote:
Originally Posted by katheek77 View Post
I just looked at where you were...

We used to live in Spring Lake (near Fayetteville)!

There's an angel food ministries in Pinehurst, which isn't *so* far from you. Look into it, and see if it would be worth it for you. http://www.angelfoodministries.com/

Found the hillbilly housewife link. This assumes you have NOTHING in your pantry, so, you might be able to go a bit further. http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/40dollarmenu.htm

I'm trying to figure out other things I did when we were prettPy low on cash...we didn't have internet or cable...local libraries almost always have internet connections, so, even if you do online bill paying, you can do it once a week and be done...your college would have it as well...

half.com is great for used college textbooks. I also spent my last two years of college asking for the booklist ahead of time, putting the books on reserve at the college library, having a friend put in on reserve right after me, and then reserving again right after her, so I'd get it when her time was up (not sure it was ethical?, but it covered the semester for me). Saved money that way...check local libraries as well, including InterLibraryLoan(ours had where you could ILL out of the system for 1.00 a pop, which is a lot cheaper than 54.00 for a book you'll use for 3.5 months)

At one point, I didn't allow any electricity during the day...no tv, no cooking, etc (we were hurting. LOL). Some regions have "off-peak rates" (I know my college roommate and grandma have this) for electricity and water...if it's possible, you could always run your washer/dryer/crockpot/etc. at those hours.

I will keep thinking of things that might work for you.
post #17 of 832
Count me in.

I'm a recent single mom to three kids. Their dad calls once a week or so and we get $288 every two weeks (taken directly out of his paycheck and deposited into my bank account) from him. The jerk ruined my credit, so the only places I can live are ones with landlords that don't bother checking credit. I lucked out and got an awesome apartment in a small town without a whole lot of people moving in... but I bit off more than I could chew. I pay $750 a month for three bedrooms, less in the summer as heat is included. I should be able to manage my rent better when it goes down next month, but I haven't paid on time for the last six months... always a few weeks behind. i get a little under $300 in food stamps a month, but I don't qualify for cash assistance. We get 15 items from the church food pantry once a month. We used WIC for a while, but being mostly vegan and not huge juice fans, it doesn't help much. My expenses are rent, electric (they have a new low income program), internet & phone (which I need for work). My car insurance got cancelled for non payment back in November, but I can't afford to pay it yet. I know it's important, but rent and food and the electricity/phone/internet that I need for work come first. I am slowly getting caught up though. I homeschool the kids and am trying like hell to keep it that way and to keep my littlest out of daycare. I am trying to budget so that I can hire a mother's helper so that I can work more. I almost never end up working the full 20 hours a week because it is damn near impossible to work uninterrupted on the phone with a needy toddler. I am tired of having to borrow money, worrying about getting pulled over, paying with food stamps... bleh.
post #18 of 832
I don't have much to say since I am having a hard time myself but good luck and you will pull thru!
post #19 of 832
Here is a link to a breakdown of the limits for poverty in 2007 in the US.


http://www.sustainable.doe.gov/profi...7/popstate.htm

When I was a child, my family was often on public assistance. From age 9 until I left for college. That is the main reason I support drastic changes in the law to help families more and also the main reason I like working where I do since I get to work with a lot of families on or formerly on public assistance.
post #20 of 832
I was in the same boat when I was in my 20's and just out of school. (Although I was actually living in Russia at the time).

It got to the point where I couldn't keep my two little fur friends, Hezekiah and Gwynedd. : Is there any way you can find someone to adopt them and take the financial burden of pets off of your plate for the time being? Maybe someone who would give them back when you're more financially stable? I was able to do this. Just another thought.

Keep your head up, though. Things will get better. It's just a temporary rough spot and you'll be stronger in the end. Hope some of the pp's suggestions work out for you!!
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