November 2010 Low Income Support Thread - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 105 Old 11-03-2010, 12:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So, mommas, let's see if we can make this month better than the rest.


Single mama to DS8 and DD4. Feminist. Queer. Atheist. Poly. Full-time poli sci and econ student.
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#2 of 105 Old 11-03-2010, 03:52 AM
 
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November is the start of the Holiday season... I am going to try to enjoy it this year.... I usually dont like the holidays for a number of reasons but DS is 10 and he is really starting to enjoy the season.

There are some things we do that are free/low cost and he want to keep doing them - winter type stuff - as if there is winter in AZ LOL

DS also started a new drama session last satruday and he LOVES it. He seems to be making friends and fitting in well.

We are doing a low cost, few presents Christmas here and not really exhanging with anyone but DS.

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#3 of 105 Old 11-03-2010, 04:22 AM
 
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Looking forward to a postive month! Making gifts too!

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#4 of 105 Old 11-03-2010, 05:04 AM
 
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Can I join? We're a family of 3 (plus one on the way) living on $1575/month + a little excess from student loans. My husband is in his final semester of college and I am a disabled SAHM (multiple sclerosis).

Let's see.. this month:

We can pull the window units out and rely on just the central AC, or maybe turn off the central and just use the window units... hmm. (I have MS and live in a very hot climate). Either way, I bet the electric bill will go down! It's a big deal -- even though we're in a 950 sq. ft. apartment, our electric bill in the summer is about $350 and the vast majority of that is air conditioning. It was only $157 this month!

I've been offered, and have accepted, some work I can actually do. I used to be a very successful freelance writer and editor but MS killed my ability to do most of that. It's not a lot of work -- maybe a couple hundred bucks a month -- but even that sounds wonderful right now...

I'm trying to cook more homemade stuff this month to save money. I've been relying on frozen and boxed crap for a long time because cooking is rough on me, but my husband is washing the dishes now and I've found a few ways to make things a bit easier. (Chopping while sitting down with a lap table, for example.)

--K
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#5 of 105 Old 11-03-2010, 10:44 AM
 
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Hi everyone.. I didn't post a lot in the Oct thread, but I've got some new developments in my life and am going to be more active this month!

I'll post more later I have to get myself and DS1 ready for school.

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#6 of 105 Old 11-03-2010, 11:11 AM
 
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After ignoring the bills for the past few months (and letting DH pay them instead), I've finally gotten the courage to get back on them and figure out how to fix this mess we're in. And now I'm fighting off a panic attack - just to cover the bills we owe and get back up to date with everything (except the mortgage), we'd have to pay $1789. Yeah, that's a month's salary. So what do I do? Right now I've got $300 allocated this paycheck for bills. Do I give everyone a small but equal amount, or do I take the whole thing and pay off one bill, or two smaller ones? Do I concentrate on utilities so that they aren't cut off and ignore the credit cards until we have more money on the 15th? Help!!

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#7 of 105 Old 11-03-2010, 12:14 PM
 
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After ignoring the bills for the past few months (and letting DH pay them instead), I've finally gotten the courage to get back on them and figure out how to fix this mess we're in. And now I'm fighting off a panic attack - just to cover the bills we owe and get back up to date with everything (except the mortgage), we'd have to pay $1789. Yeah, that's a month's salary. So what do I do? Right now I've got $300 allocated this paycheck for bills. Do I give everyone a small but equal amount, or do I take the whole thing and pay off one bill, or two smaller ones? Do I concentrate on utilities so that they aren't cut off and ignore the credit cards until we have more money on the 15th? Help!!
I would definitely pay utilities first. Rent/mortage, groceries and utilities would be on the top. Anything left over can go to credit cards till you get caught up. They can wait, but you need electricity, heat, etc! Good luck catching up!! You could even call to see if anything of them are will to work with you.
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#8 of 105 Old 11-03-2010, 12:15 PM
 
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I'm hoping to continue slowly getting ahead this month but with a dying car it's not looking to positive!
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#9 of 105 Old 11-03-2010, 09:43 PM
 
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we are a family of 4 with an income of 955 every 2 weeks

I don't know what everyone considers low income, but we have a difficult time making a go of it.

we haven't had cable in forever (and don't miss it one bit) we get one local station with our rabbit ears and dh & I do a Monday night "date night" when we watch 2 1/2 men and Mike & Molly (which I think is hillarious!)

99.9% of what we own is second hand...and I don't mind that one bit either

Soooo glad my kids are still young enough to not care either.... well dh is back gotta run!

mom to ds '07 first day of a new year, dd '09 in the caul, and  ds '11 at home Oct 24th

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#10 of 105 Old 11-03-2010, 11:05 PM
 
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November is traditionally the month of harvest & giving thanks for the bounty so I am going to go with that and try to really focus on being grateful for what I DO have

Cheryl, wife to an amazing man, homeschooling SAHM to Gavin 12/03, Rhys 09/06, and Ian Aug 11, 2010.

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#11 of 105 Old 11-04-2010, 12:03 AM
 
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we are a family of 4 with an income of 955 every 2 weeks

I don't know what everyone considers low income, but we have a difficult time making a go of it.
I think it's really subjective because it depends SO much on where you live (cost of living) and what your fixed expenses are. I've lived on $800 a month (two people) in the early '00s and I think it was easier for us in a lot of ways than $1575/month is now. Our rent is higher now, electricity is a LOT higher (out of necessity, unfortunately), food is higher, etc.

Quote:
we haven't had cable in forever (and don't miss it one bit) we get one local station with our rabbit ears and dh & I do a Monday night "date night" when we watch 2 1/2 men and Mike & Molly (which I think is hillarious!)
I can relate! We don't even own a TV.. well, we *technically* have one but it's actually used as a monitor (it does both HDTV/VGA). None of us really care for TV but we do occasionally use Netflix Watch Instantly, which we pay $10/month for. We *do* have a lot of computers and high speed Internet access. No cell phones, either!

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99.9% of what we own is second hand...and I don't mind that one bit either
Really wish I could join you on that one, but second hand stuff is nearly impossible to get here unless it's practically falling apart (we live in a VERY low-income part of the country). So we do a lot of bargain hunting and are very, very minimalist about "stuff".

--K
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#12 of 105 Old 11-04-2010, 12:10 AM
 
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We haven't had cable in almost two years. I have a TV but use it for the Wii (which we only have 4 games for) for the kids to play. I make $800 a month at one job and $200 a month at another. It still is under minimum wage at full time hours, but I make it work.
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#13 of 105 Old 11-04-2010, 12:22 AM
 
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We haven't had cable in almost two years. I have a TV but use it for the Wii (which we only have 4 games for) for the kids to play. I make $800 a month at one job and $200 a month at another. It still is under minimum wage at full time hours, but I make it work.
The only time we ever had cable was when it was included in rent at a previous apartment. We didn't use it much at all, haha. We have a Wii, too, and that's why we got a combo HDTV/monitor instead of just a monitor for that computer. We actually only have one game that didn't come with the Wii, and no one plays that one, LOL.

I *was* making ... a whole lot more ... (middle class) and paying off debts before I was diagnosed with MS and my ability to work went into the shitter. Hubby was a SAHD at the time.

Now DH is finishing off college and mostly we're getting by on the stipend his mom pays him to help him through college. I work when I can but that isn't much at all anymore, though my hourly is still pretty decent. Our circumstances are such that there's not really any way for DH to have a job while he's in school (he has a LOT of other responsibilities at home because of my disability) and he has a ton of school work to do.

Luckily, if he manages to get a decent job out of college, we'll be back to our previous middle-classish income. But we're worried...

--K
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#14 of 105 Old 11-04-2010, 12:58 AM
 
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My son and I were lucky enough to be able to travel for Thanksgiving this year (I must be nuts) and will be visiting my cousin in the mid-west. Im hoping to get a feel for the job market out there and have DS test out the weather and see how his asthma reacts for the week we are there.

**Cousin- I LOVE YOU for sending us tickets and giving us a room and taking us places when we are out to see you....

I definately need to make her a blanket or something

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#15 of 105 Old 11-04-2010, 02:06 AM
 
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zebra15: yay for travel to family!

I haven't seen mine since the first weekend of September and they only live 3 hours away. Just can't afford the gas. I put away money I refuse to touch for gas for both Thanksgiving and Christmas so I will at least be able to visit. Luckily I live in OKC where the cost of living is so incredibly low that I can make it on $1000 a month and benefit.
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#16 of 105 Old 11-04-2010, 09:26 AM
 
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I agree it depends a lot on where you live. We live in a very low cost of living area, so we're a family of 6 living on about $2074 a month, and we scrape by.

We finally got dh's student loan plus a small settlement, so we're pretty much caught up on everything. Now the trick is STAYING caught up, sigh. Our house payment went up $90 a month because of escrow under payment (which I still don't understand how that happened, considering we've lived here 6 years and property taxes went DOWN last year). Stressed about the holidays. We do 3 presents a kid, we've got only got one for each of the girls so far.

We have satellite and I hate it, honestly. It's a waste of money that we don't have, but dh gets hysterical if I mention getting rid of it, and it's just a fight I don't want to deal with anymore.
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#17 of 105 Old 11-04-2010, 09:30 AM
 
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November is traditionally the month of harvest & giving thanks for the bounty so I am going to go with that and try to really focus on being grateful for what I DO have
Very true, I try to do this when ever I get down about our finances.
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#18 of 105 Old 11-04-2010, 09:49 AM
 
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Really wish I could join you on that one, but second hand stuff is nearly impossible to get here unless it's practically falling apart (we live in a VERY low-income part of the country). So we do a lot of bargain hunting and are very, very minimalist about "stuff".

--K

trust me our second hand stuff is crap
we just bought a couch with a big rip right in the middle of it...we try to cover it with blankets, but the kids keep tearing it of...lol

we live in central Ontario...lots of people seem to be well off and sell everything...even Goodwill is outrageous!!!


the only time I get down about our crappy stuff is when we visit other people....see how nice their homes are...and then invite them to our home...

the kids are needing my attention

mom to ds '07 first day of a new year, dd '09 in the caul, and  ds '11 at home Oct 24th

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#19 of 105 Old 11-04-2010, 11:01 AM
 
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OK, so in my world...

We were already low income, but now DH and I are getting divorced, and I'll be even more low income! I am planning on taking to the LDS church in my area and see if they will help me with bills until my lease is out, and I've already told my landlord. My lease ends in May, and the plan is for my sister to come up here and find a house with me.. her lease ends in May too. DH is moving out soon, and I am not going to be getting much, if any, money from him until he gets on his feet with the move (I agreed to this, because I want him OUT). I'm going to stay in school, and keep living off my student money.

.. so I am a little overwhelmed here! But, also hopeful that I can make it work and be happy again.

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#20 of 105 Old 11-04-2010, 02:11 PM
 
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We're still here, still poor, still have a hole in the roof.

Roof is going to cost $8k to get it replaced, can't be patched, and I think squirrels have moved into the attic thanks to the hole. I've only got around $1500 saved up and can't seem to get any further as things keep coming up.

No idea what's we're doing for Christmas - I'm debating signing up DD for Tots for Tots in hopes that maybe she'll get something new and nice. She's been looking at the toy r us toy book and picking things out, and I don't have the heart to tell her that there is no chance this year. All she really wants is either a swing set - the big kind with a fort and playhouse that is so expensive or a Thomas train table. Neither of which I can even remotely afford.

But I am thankful for what we have. We've got plenty of food, warm clothing, a home, and each other. DD has her Girl Scout stuff to keep her happy {She's a Daisy Girl Scout} and busy. I've been able to find me clothes at our local thrift in nearly new condition which is hard in my size, so I'm set for winter except for a coat. And we even won a free turkey in an online game, so Thanksgiving is covered even if we run out of FS before then.

On a related note - Has anyone used The Book Samaritan to get home schooling materials? DD has gone through her Kindergarten level stuff way faster than we thought she would, and I don't have the $150 for the rest of the stuff we need for first grade. A friend online told me about it, but there doesn't seem to be much information about it online really.

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#21 of 105 Old 11-04-2010, 02:56 PM
 
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I am trying to be positive as my ability to work is being challenged by low work in my industry as well as interference by my land lady as I work from home. I just got my family on LIHEAP and was excited to find out about LTAP for the phone.
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#22 of 105 Old 11-04-2010, 04:38 PM
 
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Feeling really down. Cna not seem to get dh on same page with anything. Just want to take a long nap. Oh...and off to work now....only half of homeschool got done today. Dh is out of town til Sun.

On overload and really needing a hug.

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#23 of 105 Old 11-04-2010, 05:58 PM
 
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Feeling really down. Cna not seem to get dh on same page with anything. Just want to take a long nap. Oh...and off to work now....only half of homeschool got done today. Dh is out of town til Sun.

On overload and really needing a hug.
Hug


Afm: feel better reading all the posts! Not so isolated

mom to ds '07 first day of a new year, dd '09 in the caul, and  ds '11 at home Oct 24th

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#24 of 105 Old 11-05-2010, 12:59 AM
 
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I am trying to be positive as my ability to work is being challenged by low work in my industry as well as interference by my land lady as I work from home. I just got my family on LIHEAP and was excited to find out about LTAP for the phone.
I just got my preapproval letter from LIHEAP in the mail. Looks like they will be paying $130 towards my electric bill in Dec like last year. I also get LIAP which take $10 off each month on top of that. It helps tremendously.
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#25 of 105 Old 11-05-2010, 01:28 AM
 
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DH got fired last weekend from his crappy restaurant job. That leaves my part-time big box store job as our sole income.

The van we bought with DH's financial aid at the beginning of the semester has problems. It now won't run, some kind of idle air valve is broken. That's on top of the transmission problems it's been having. We've got to get that valve fixed before the tags expire on our little Kia in December--which has zero chance of passing emissions so we're going to sell it for scrap. Its problems are legion (blower, transmission, etc. ad nauseum) but for now it still runs.

DES wants proof that DH was fired. Hopefully when he files for unemployment tomorrow, we'll be able to get something from them, because his former employer sure won't. It'll be pulling teeth just getting his last paycheck out of them. On the up side, unemployment might be as much or maybe a little more than he was making at the restaurant, thanks to past several years' job history being factored in.

Hopefully I get a promotion at work soon--I've put in for a full-time supervisor position. Not that I want to work those hours, but we rather desperately need the money. Sigh.

Frugalmama, what kind of stuff were you looking for? We used a free downloadable phonics program, there are free math programs available online... I didn't spend much on first grade for DD (2nd either, actually).

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#26 of 105 Old 11-05-2010, 05:18 AM
 
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November is traditionally the month of harvest & giving thanks for the bounty so I am going to go with that and try to really focus on being grateful for what I DO have
Yeah, we had a really rough October (JUST paid the house payment and now the next is due, OUCH!) but the kids got a visit with their grandma, and we managed to stay current on all the bills. I am reading a really good book called Debt Proof Your Marriage. (I can't remember where I heard of it, maybe here, if so sorry!) and while not everything would work for us (can't save 10% of income if you don't have enough to start with....) but it helps me remember to take a more active role in planning and not just paying each bill as its due and hoping the next paycheck gets here before the next bill. Even if I can't change anything I need to not pretend its all okay and just ignore it.

My husband is started a web design business in September, and we didn't get a chance to do much last month, but he is doing some websites for a friend who is also a web designer and didn't have time to take it on. I can't wait until he can start doing this full time and start working from home.

Oh and I got a $30 gift card to Amazon for cashing in my Harris Poll points. Soon DH can get new shoes since his toes are poking out of the ones he has now.

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#27 of 105 Old 11-05-2010, 05:33 AM
 
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Bills are all caught up. Feeling stressed though with the lack of consistent income. Tomorrow is "benefits review day". A nice wait up at DHS to make sure my paperwork goes in properly.
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#28 of 105 Old 11-05-2010, 09:43 AM
 
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Frugalmama, what kind of stuff were you looking for? We used a free downloadable phonics program, there are free math programs available online... I didn't spend much on first grade for DD (2nd either, actually).
can you post some links?

mom to ds '07 first day of a new year, dd '09 in the caul, and  ds '11 at home Oct 24th

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#29 of 105 Old 11-05-2010, 10:29 AM
 
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can you post some links?
I'm not Ravin, but here are some of the free and cheap things we use for homeschooling. DD is in 1st-2nd-3rd-4th grade (asynchronous learner):

IXL Math (free, optional membership): http://www.ixl.com/

TumbleBooks - we go through this link to get access through a library:
http://www.portlandlibrary.com/kidsp...umblebooks.htm

EdHelper.com - I LOVE LOVE LOVE Edhelper, it's not just customizable worksheets, but tons of reading materials, puzzles that cover areas not addressed in traditional curricula (critical thinking, logic, visual-spatial skills, etc.) It costs $20 for a full year.

BrainPop/BrainPop Jr. - I subscribe ($15/month) but there are quite a few free videos/activities.

Heifer International has a great (free!) Social Studies add-on curriculum/lesson planner you can order, along with a free book.

The Florida Center for Reading Research has tons of awesome printable hands-on activities for reading skills for K-5. Click "Instructional Materials for Teachers", select a grade level, and scroll down for the printable versions. http://www.fcrr.org/

There's some good stuff here:
http://www.owen.k12.ky.us/trt/firstinternet.htm

Lots of articles on the history of music, etc., from Silver Burdett:
http://www.sbgmusic.com/html/teacher/reference.html

Custom worksheets, free: http://www.worksheetworks.com/

HTH

--K
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#30 of 105 Old 11-05-2010, 10:46 AM
 
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Hey everyone,
We make about 1100 every two weeks. It seems like a lot but we live in the DC/Baltimore corridor and it is very expensive.
I look forward to seeing what kind of great advice I can get from you ladies!

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