Poor Family Support Tribe- NO DEBATE - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 02:18 AM
 
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I've been watching this thread with interest and thought I should stop lurking and introduce myself. I'm Amanda, mama to Aravine, who will be three in May, and partner to Mark for 6 years. My family doesn't live in poverty, but we are lower-income and have to scrimp to afford or make-do without many of the things that are commonplace in the area in which we live. I will be nice to get to know other mamas in the same situation, since we only have one car and I can't make it to playgroups.

Being poor(er) has forced me to become more creative, so I can't see it as a bad thing. And it really has made me grateful for the things we do have. I grew up in a very wealthy home. It wasn't unusual for me to buy a Coach handbag every month, just because. But today, I treat the things I own with much more respect. I care for the things I want to last. I'm far more mindful now, and have to work hard to own something I want. I feel a pride in my $750 dollar a month apartment that I never did in my father's million dollar home. In that sense, I don't see it as a burden, but as a blessing.

On the flip side, I do worry about retirement and living in poverty in my later years. We can't save as much as we'd like, and although we know we want another baby we can't afford to get pregnant right now. We squeeze every last penny out of our budget so we have a small (and I do mean small) amount put aside for true emergencies (and a credit card in case it's something catastrophic), but I do remember the days of robbing Peter to pay Paul.

We don't use anything disposable, we shop at Aldi and Save-a-lot, get SHARE boxes once a month, we (I, my boyfriend can barely boil water!) cook from scratch. We haven't eaten out in over a year (this includes fast food). I'm so excited because for Christmas we were given a giftcard from my boyfriends boss for a dinner out. We're using it tomorrow to celebrate my birthday. We don't have cell phones because I despise them, but we do have cable. : (Boyfriend insists, and since he's the one working, I conceded.) I've also recently fallen in love with baking our own bread. Who knew it was so addicting?!

I'm looking forward to getting frugal tips from other low-income, creative mamas!
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#62 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 02:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Nursingnaturalmom View Post
I don't think anyone was being "high and mighty". I believe the ladies were trying to help by offering you some ideas and or options.

It seems you are the only one being defensive and downright angry. I understand that your situation isn't the best, I"m sorry for that, but if you didn't want any one to brainstorm with you for options and or ideas, what is the point of this thread??

Just trying to help, not being high and mighty

Chandi:
I'm not the OP but I totally understand why she's getting defensive, she started this post for SUPPORT from other mama's in the same boat over in FYT and a mod moved it over here for reasons beyond me since she was WASN'T ASKING for help, merely support.

Seriously?
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#63 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 02:43 AM
 
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I wasn't asking anyone to lay out their family income. I am not talking about Africa, I am talking about people in the US, for example in Appalachia, where people in poverty live without running water, basic necessities of life like electricity, children frequently go without eating (sometimes for days) or healthcare of any kind, and people sometimes freeze to death in the winter for lack of heating oil. There are examples of poverty like this all across this country. I was trying to point out that having to live in difficult financial times does not necessarily mean we are in "poverty," and that being able to sit on a computer and post to MDC means you are already better off than many people who are actually living in poverty.

I'm so not trying to knock anyone's experience - we are very low income, and my husband lost his job last year, putting us in an incredibly precarious position; further, we have no health insurance, no savings, and no particular "assets" - but I think it's disrespectful to call unfortunate and difficult circumstances "poverty," when there are so many who have so much less than all of us do.
I think that it's pretty hard, though, to really sort out where the line is. Poverty in America has a zillion different faces, and sometimes they're contradictory. It's just not easy to generalize about what it means to be poor in America.

I have a colleague who does a lot of poverty relief work in Appalacia, and I know the description you gave is definitely accurate. There are people in America, a LOT of them, who live without any running water or adequate food, who sometimes even starve to death. There is no question that is extreme poverty.

But poverty can include working people who might, for instance, live one paycheck away from homelessness, or who might have enough food for the week/month but who don't know where next month's pay is going to go. The fact is that living beneath the poverty line carries with it a whole series of risks (e.g., likely to die earlier, more serious health problems, more learning disabilities in the kids, etc.) that are statistically very similar regardless of where exactly beneath the poverty line the family lives. In other words, in terms of their life outcomes, the working poor are a lot closer to the extreme depravation in Appalacia and in other areas of the U.S. than they are to the middle class. That's why I do not feel it is at all disrespectful to use the term "in poverty" for people below the poverty line. It's accurate, not disrespectful.

Basically the government establishes a poverty line as a means of providing social services, and in my work I've found it a useful definition, because it's otherwise really hard to assess poverty. People have really contradictory aspects in their ways of dealing with poverty. Somebody might have an email address but be unable to afford the medicine he needs to live. There is a homeless guy who sits near my office that has a cell phone. A friend used to counsel a guy who had an internet connection but who regularly didn't eat on Sundays because he had no food by the end of the week. It's just not so easy from where we sit to say who is in poverty and who isn't.
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#64 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 03:15 AM
 
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I would be careful about using the word "poverty". Having to stretch sometimes beyond our means to pay our bills isn't the same as living in poverty.

If you really wanted to...
I find the criticism in this thread interesting and disturbing.

We have gone from um, "low-income" (is that better term?) to middle-class over the last 12 years of our marriage. Some of the hardest times we had were when we were just beginning to be "middle class". The low-income friends I have/had all have a cooperative spirit because we couldn't survive without helping one another. The middle-class don't have that. It's really sad actually. From my perspective it seems like they have very few true friends because they never have to depend on their friends. Although low-income friends (or friends who also grew up low-income) were still willing to help out, that point where you barely make enough to be out of poverty, but make too much to qualify for any help is really tough. Probably tougher than it was being poor.

I can tell you that if your relationships survive being poor, they will be stronger in the future.

If you can make it on less, you'll be better off in the future.

I know people with similar incomes to ours who max out their credit cards, buy new cars, and have their houses financed at 120% (I prepare taxes and you really get an interesting look at where people choose to put their money.) We still pretty much live like we did when we were broke, and knowing how to do so allows me to go to school, for us to live on one income, our kids to have some extras like playing baseball, and we refinanced our house not to pay off the credit cards, but to a 15 year loan at a really low interest rate so it will be paid off by the time ds #2 starts college.

What you are learning now can create the building blocks for a very healthy financial future. We still live hand-to-mouth, but with the knowledge that if anything dire were to happen I can go back to work, we have home equity, we have money in retirement accounts. (It can also mess with your head and cause you to spend too much going overboard after being "deprived" for so long, it's a balance. Be careful.)

So to you struggling with a light at the end of the tunnel, hang in there, it does get better.

To those of you who on disability or to whom things aren't likely to get better financially, just remember where your real wealth is. I have a friend with over $30,000 in the bank, working a dangerous job "just a little longer" until she feels secure. I told her, "Sweetie, your security is that if you took penny you had out of the bank in cash and walked across the street to put it in a different bank and were robbed on the way over, you have friends that would find a way to get you back home even if they had to hitchike cross-country to be by your side, and who would welcome you in their homes for as long as you needed. That's real wealth." Find your tribe. Cultivate it. Find what you have to offer, and share. Our group of friends has a non-official plummer, chiropractor, herbalist, mechanic, computer technician, babysitter, counselor, secretary... etc. The middle class and beyond will rarely know what it's like to be truly valued like we are to each other.
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#65 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 03:21 AM
 
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For those with an Aldi nearby, http://www.momadvice.com/aldi/ has an Aldi meal plan. I haven't used it, but it looks interesting. I'm sure it could be adapted to any grocery store with a slightly higher cost.
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#66 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 03:23 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Azuralea View Post
Basically the government establishes a poverty line as a means of providing social services, and in my work I've found it a useful definition, because it's otherwise really hard to assess poverty.
It's even crazier when you find out the origins of the so-called "poverty line"...

http://maroon.uchicago.edu/viewpoint...l_poverty_.php

This was just a site I googled, but it's consistent with what I've learned from other reliable sources. There's also a little factoid that if the "minimum" wage increased with inflation from it's inception it would be at about $12 an hour now.
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#67 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 08:50 AM
 
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I think poverty lies in the eyes of the beholder - if you feel desperate, with no hope, that's poverty for you. I think you should abandon the numbers and verification of poverty by your circumstances and just be there for one another when you feel desperate.

I was teaching in "Appalachia" (funny to hear people use that term like it's another country LOL) and knew a family who lived in a condemned trailer in one of the "hollers" near my school. I went there. They had no water or electricity. There were 3 children under 4. They ate moon pies and bologna and white bread. The water for cooking came from a stream across the road. They "relieved themselves" in a hole they dug behind the house - they moved it when it got full. The children were filthy.

Meeting that family totally changed my perspective on poverty. The sad thing is that there were several families in that situation who lived in the "holler" too.
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#68 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 09:22 AM
 
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Maybe the OP should change the title to "Poor Families Support Tribe" or something like that? Clarifying the title should keep out the people who don't have anything to add to this thread and make it clear that we're primarily looking for support, not a semantics debate.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#69 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 12:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Azuralea View Post
I think that it's pretty hard, though, to really sort out where the line is. Poverty in America has a zillion different faces, and sometimes they're contradictory. It's just not easy to generalize about what it means to be poor in America.

I have a colleague who does a lot of poverty relief work in Appalacia, and I know the description you gave is definitely accurate. There are people in America, a LOT of them, who live without any running water or adequate food, who sometimes even starve to death. There is no question that is extreme poverty.

But poverty can include working people who might, for instance, live one paycheck away from homelessness, or who might have enough food for the week/month but who don't know where next month's pay is going to go. The fact is that living beneath the poverty line carries with it a whole series of risks (e.g., likely to die earlier, more serious health problems, more learning disabilities in the kids, etc.) that are statistically very similar regardless of where exactly beneath the poverty line the family lives. In other words, in terms of their life outcomes, the working poor are a lot closer to the extreme depravation in Appalacia and in other areas of the U.S. than they are to the middle class. That's why I do not feel it is at all disrespectful to use the term "in poverty" for people below the poverty line. It's accurate, not disrespectful.

Basically the government establishes a poverty line as a means of providing social services, and in my work I've found it a useful definition, because it's otherwise really hard to assess poverty. People have really contradictory aspects in their ways of dealing with poverty. Somebody might have an email address but be unable to afford the medicine he needs to live. There is a homeless guy who sits near my office that has a cell phone. A friend used to counsel a guy who had an internet connection but who regularly didn't eat on Sundays because he had no food by the end of the week. It's just not so easy from where we sit to say who is in poverty and who isn't.
You make a good point. I'm certainly not trying to upset the apple cart - I'm just trying to point out that we should remember that our situations can seem so overwhelming at times, but there is a difference between being in tough times and being destitute. i am also not trying to strictly define poverty - I'm just asking people to think carefully about their circumstances before declaring themselves impoverished.

I wasn't really trying to argue semantics, but I think we can all agree that when we start talking about our dire financial straits, it's important to maintain a sense of perspective.
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#70 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 01:16 PM
 
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Have any of you applied for assistance from Modest Needs? They can't help with ongoing bills, but they may be able to help get you out of a jam... I know they helped a dear friend of mine pay to get her brakes done, recently.

This same friend (who is a fellow MDC'er) works 40+ hours per week to support her 4 children. They are not destiute, but she has to be very careful with her money. (Even working as much as she does at her office job, and counting the $300 or so she recieves in Child Support every month, she is still well below the poverty line.) She lives in a small apartment (heat is included in her rent, so that helps), drives a 15-year-old (fully paid for) car, shops sales, thrifts, cooks everything from scratch, hand washes and hang dries some of their lighter-weight clothes to save money at the Wash & Dry, turns off the lights and uses candles (that she melts down and repours when they get too short to use), gardens, preserves surplus food, (and has even gone to the food bank on occasion...), and basically could teach Amy Decyczyn a thing or two about pinching pennies. The long and the short of it is, her family gets by, but only just.

She asked me this Christmas if I thought it would be wrong for her to apply to the MDC Holiday Helpers thread, because she didn't know any other way to provide Christmas for her children, but she felt guilty doing so, because her family (in her words) "are so blessed compared to others". I told her that may be true, but if she needs help she should ask for it, so she did. (I also did some "Secret Santa" stuff for them, but I can't get into it here; she'll know it was me!)

Just recently I (finally) conviced her to apply for Food Stamps, so that she can free up some of her cash for other things.

My point is that you should never be ashamed to seek out and ask for help when you need it, nor should you ever let anyone else make you feel like you don't need it, because your circumstances are not as bad as someone elses.

to you, mummas. Keep your chins up.
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#71 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 04:34 PM
 
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Subbing....we are poor too and I don't see it changing anytime soon. We live in Appalachia but are not anywhere near as poor as a lot of other families. We drive by a family every day, and can't believe the home they live in has not fallen down yet. Maybe it's because we live where there is still a lot of poverty, but we don't feel poor. I think the difference too is that we are poor because of choices that we've made and still choose to make. I could easily get a job paying 40k or more but I'm much happier being a SAHM. I know most people think I'm nuts but that's okay, we have to live for ourselves, not anyone else.
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#72 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 04:40 PM
 
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I think poverty lies in the eyes of the beholder

I see where you are going with this, I really do. The whole "man with no feet" concept. There is ALWAYS somebody worse off. It's a big world.

But honestly, it's this sort of attitude that bothers me, and think the OP as well. When your life is just bone grindingly hard, and you are under a constant state of stress because just one little thing could cause it all to go terribly wrong, someone who *isn't* as poor saying, "Oh, you could be worse. Or you could do better with what you have," feels like a judgement. It sucks. It is disheartening and anger inducing.

With fixed expenses being what they are here in America (housing, utilities, transportation) poverty means something different. In most areas, if you try to live without things like utilities, you are going to lose your house. And I think we can all agree that homelessness is indicative of a state of poverty.

Daekini (or anybody else, for that matter), I'm not trying to hurt anyone's feelings. But it can be hard to hear what another person is saying when they are coming from a place of economic priveledge. And when you are living three people plus tution on $13,000 a year in America, virtually everyone you encounter is more priveledged than you.

Trying to turn hearts and minds toward universal healthcare, one post at a time.
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#73 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 05:15 PM
 
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I am Suscribeing to this one!!!! This is me!!!!

WE ARE POOR! wE ARE STRUGGLING, ONE INCOME AND HAVE BEEN SINCE HE LEFT THE ARMY. sorry for yelling but it's a real pain to be so poor and have everyone tell us we're not using our brains when we are!!!!! I'm starting school next month and he is struggling to keep a decent job...70 weeks and we still are having issues..

So glad you guys are here!!!!!
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#74 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 05:34 PM
 
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I see where you are going with this, I really do. The whole "man with no feet" concept. There is ALWAYS somebody worse off. It's a big world.

But honestly, it's this sort of attitude that bothers me, and think the OP as well. When your life is just bone grindingly hard, and you are under a constant state of stress because just one little thing could cause it all to go terribly wrong, someone who *isn't* as poor saying, "Oh, you could be worse. Or you could do better with what you have," feels like a judgement. It sucks. It is disheartening and anger inducing.

With fixed expenses being what they are here in America (housing, utilities, transportation) poverty means something different. In most areas, if you try to live without things like utilities, you are going to lose your house. And I think we can all agree that homelessness is indicative of a state of poverty.

Daekini (or anybody else, for that matter), I'm not trying to hurt anyone's feelings. But it can be hard to hear what another person is saying when they are coming from a place of economic priveledge. And when you are living three people plus tution on $13,000 a year in America, virtually everyone you encounter is more priveledged than you.
:

I think it's pretty unsupportive to "remind" people that other people have it worse. People living in poverty are hyper-aware of how something could go wrong, some little setback that a middle-class family could absorb easily, but in a poor family it would mean that suddenly everything IS much, much worse. Believe me, they already know that things could be a lot worse.
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#75 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks mamas.

Let me expound on this a bit.

Currently we have 80 to our names. That is from checking and savings, cash on hand. We actually spent Kailey's savings of 150 dollars. We have not paid rent for April. We paid electricity and water.

If one of the cars was to break down, how could we get it fixed?

Tell me this? 80 is for gas, we could not afford to get it fixed. There is no public transportation in rockingham. We have taxis (but to Pembroke 45 minutes away?).
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#76 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 06:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Leta
I see where you are going with this, I really do. The whole "man with no feet" concept. There is ALWAYS somebody worse off. It's a big world.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Azuralea
I think it's pretty unsupportive to "remind" people that other people have it worse. People living in poverty are hyper-aware of how something could go wrong, some little setback that a middle-class family could absorb easily, but in a poor family it would mean that suddenly everything IS much, much worse. Believe me, they already know that things could be a lot worse.
I didn't mean to be condescending, honestly.



That was my clumsy way of saying that if you feel like you are in poverty, then you are. No one has a right to judge your right to claim you're in poverty based on your "numbers" - if the amount of money you have coming in is not enough, then you are in poverty. I think you misunderstood my intention. Don't worry, I won't post here again. I was trying to be supportive.
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#77 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 06:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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huh? I wasn't referring to you

Ok this must be the day for misunderstanding.
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#78 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 07:19 PM
 
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I'm not the OP but I totally understand why she's getting defensive, she started this post for SUPPORT from other mama's in the same boat over in FYT and a mod moved it over here for reasons beyond me since she was WASN'T ASKING for help, merely support

I get that. My train of thought was that the ladies here were trying to give her suggestions to maybe make her situation a bit better. To me, that is support in some ways.
Some of the other posts were pretty harsh.

I've been poor my entire life. I just didn't know it. I was raised by a single mom and it wasn't easy and I went without sometimes. But never on food etc.
We aren't doing so great these days ourselves. My DH is self employed and its been a struggle since Jan. Bills are getting paid but only the essential bills.

Its tough..
Chandi

: :Mama to 4 girls and Michael is here 9/11/09 We love :::
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#79 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 07:43 PM
 
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just to add my two cents -

someone has already said that there's a difference between having very little and being happy with it and feeling impoverished. my whole life i've gotten by on very little and been happy with it. i've never had expensive anything and i've never gone on fancy trips, but my life has been rich and i've (usually) never minded the things i haven't had.
but since having my son things have changed. all of a sudden i need to have the money to buy all sorts of stuff that i didn't worry about before. (for example, vegetables. i can't let us run out and i can't go dumpster diving with a baby strapped to my back, that would be a great way to have him taken away.) and i need to have some cash on reserve in case something terrible happens. if an emergency occurs i can't just go work an extra job for a few months to pay for what's needed, since my son needs me with him. i need to be responsible and provide for him consistently. all of a sudden i feel my poverty. i've been going to the food bank and getting every handout i can, because this boy (and the one on the way) need more than i can provide with my two shifts a week earning minimum wage. i'm doing everything i can to avoid debt, but the most important thing is that my family has its needs met.
i make less than i would on welfare. i think that counts as poverty.

oh, and for the people talking about conditions in appalacia (sounds like conditions on some native reserves here in canada) that's the difference between rural poverty & urban poverty. as a city dweller you can tell i'm poor because i have no car and can't afford to take the bus most days. if i lived in the country i'd be worse off because i wouldn't have so many services & agencies helping me out. but i would have a bigger space to garden in...
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#80 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 07:55 PM
 
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i can't go dumpster diving with a baby strapped to my back, that would be a great way to have him taken away.
Is there someone you trust who could watch your baby while you go? Maybe you could offer them half of whatever you find? (Or watch another mama's baby for the same deal?)

Also, is there a Food Not Bombs organization near you? If so, check it out. They use the food they find (through diving and scrounging) to make nutritious meals for anyone who wants/needs them.

It's difficult.
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#81 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 08:03 PM
 
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I'm not sure what Mark is claiming. He does have he and Kailey on his insurance.

I cannot take him and drop him off because I take Kailey to school at 8 and he leaves here at 6:30. Kailey goes to a school out of our district and cannot ride the bus.

We are responsible for paying on the loans each month, we have consolidated but cannot defer. We cannot defer his loan.

We have reapplied for the NC health check health insurance and do not qualify. We makes too much This is what we were told.

We have no income coming in for the summer. Both of us will find jobs. No biggy there. We won't do jobs where one is day and one is night. Mark would end up working the night shift since he is a nightowl, but he would sleep all day, ignoring Kailey. I cannot physically stay up all night- impossible. I have tried to work night shift before and after 5 months still was unable to cope and nearly caused a wreck.

It will all work out in the end. I just need to get through 2 summers and 3 semesters.
I am here in NC, and I hear you about the insurance! It kills you, and the state funded is very stingy about giving it out. We moved from IL for the insurance and now IL has allkids. Of course.

Dh is a professor (comm college), and I hear you about the summer income! Can your dh maybe teach summer school or some college courses?

And cats are forever, I agree. And don't give up school. You should not have to defend yourself here.

Noone here should. I used to barely make it with 2 little ones as a single mom on $800 a week. It can be done! We certainly did not eat very healthy and we did without a lot, but you can make it! I worked nights 70+ hours a week. I honestly do not remember those months. It is so not worth it.

I don't think that we are considered *poor* anymore, but we are certainly barely paycheck to paycheck and I have had my share of living in the car and being dirt poor.

Have you checked out an Aldi's or something of the sort near you?

Maybe some gardening-indoor or out. You can plant some tomatoes, salad greens, etc. inside since those are usually a bit pricey. That definitely helps. You can ask local gardeners for their thinned plants and get some scrap produce from the grocery for compost (sometimes you can find some good eats, too).

If you rent movies or have entertainment money, we have saved a lot by getting the cheap netflix subscription and getting bulk popcorn kernels that you can even make just on your stove.

And I *love* resale shops. Only take in as much money as you want to spend. If I don't have the cash for it, it won't come home with me (I am bad about that if there are really good deals I can stock up on).

School books you can find really cheap online, or put up fliers around campus for used ones.

Dh started claiming 5 on taxes and that brings in a little more money for us.

In the summer, maybe the kids can have a yard sale or you can grow some things for them to sell like tomatoes or make some crafty things to sell? You could also do babysitting or housecleaning/yardwork if you need fast money.

I like to have yard sales, but really can't in this neighborhood (WAY out of town). That brought in $500 last year, though.

I am going to get my CNA again when we move (free tuition is a plus of dh's new job!!!) via night classes and work on the weekends. THat will really tie us up with dh's schedule and mine, but we need the money for the student loans! They are eating us alive!

Dh's income is such that on the surface we can not get any social services help (here at least in NC), and people roll their eyes when they see our income. But that doesn't take into consideration COL, student loan debt (so that we were no longer literally homeless), healthcare costs (health probs in the family-diabetes, allergies, etc.), and moving expenses. Dh's jobs are erratic and we have had to move 1-3 times a year just for him to be employed.

Speaking of dumpster diving, really, it can be worth it. A few of my friends have found some gems in there. Working TVs and DVDs and stuff they can resell and that way it also doesn't end up in the dump (recycling!). If you live near a University, it really can be worth the time and dirt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Azuralea View Post
Actually, if you go by the government's definition of poverty, there are at least a few people here who easily meet that definition. Furthermore, I do not think posters here need to lay out their family income in order to post as a poor family.

It is true that poverty in the U.S. is not financially the same as, say, poverty in Africa, though there are certainly a lot of similarities in other ways. But what good does that do to point that out? It's not helpful. We don't live in Africa.

Also, things that used to be considered luxuries are now necessities for anybody who is trying to get out of poverty, not just resign her and her children to a permanent life of poverty. Sure, in other parts of the world, they would be luxuries, but that doesn't help struggling families here.

Take, for instance, a cell phone. Somebody up above said something about how none of us used to have cell phones and they're luxuries poor people should forgo. It is true that cell phones were once luxuries, but that's not the case now, and employers and other business contacts expect people to be reachable on cell phone now. Pay phones have largely disappeared where I live. Nearly every person I know who works is expected to provide his or her boss a cell phone number. I do not believe that someone trying to work, especially a poor person who will typically have more rigid schedules and more emergencies than a middle class person, can make much employment progress without a cell phone. Therefore, somebody trying to get out of poverty, really trying hard, would be hard-pressed to give up her cell phone where I live.

For the record, we are not in poverty, something for which I am tremendously grateful. I am, however, very familiar with American poverty, both personally and professionally, and I get really irked by some of the assumptions I read about the American poor.
:

We have a cell phone as our only phone. We went without for awhile, but with medical issues in the family, living long distance from family, and dh's job and job search, we *have* to have a phone. We have a very basic cheap plan and no land line (that was $80 month for land line no additions, our cell phone is *much* cheaper). Some of us need internet for school.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaWindmill View Post
I wasn't asking anyone to lay out their family income. I am not talking about Africa, I am talking about people in the US, for example in Appalachia, where people in poverty live without running water, basic necessities of life like electricity, children frequently go without eating (sometimes for days) or healthcare of any kind, and people sometimes freeze to death in the winter for lack of heating oil. There are examples of poverty like this all across this country. I was trying to point out that having to live in difficult financial times does not necessarily mean we are in "poverty," and that being able to sit on a computer and post to MDC means you are already better off than many people who are actually living in poverty.

I'm so not trying to knock anyone's experience - we are very low income, and my husband lost his job last year, putting us in an incredibly precarious position; further, we have no health insurance, no savings, and no particular "assets" - but I think it's disrespectful to call unfortunate and difficult circumstances "poverty," when there are so many who have so much less than all of us do.
My family are the poor, Appalachian, KY mountain folk. Grandma has a 3rd grade education and had 7 kids as a single mom. I know all about dirt floors and floods. That doesn't mean that someone who has it relatively better *isn't* in poverty or poor. We shouldn't negate someone's experience because some people have it worse.

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#82 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 08:10 PM
 
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My family are the poor, Appalachian, KY mountain folk. Grandma has a 3rd grade education and had 7 kids as a single mom. I know all about dirt floors and floods. That doesn't mean that someone who has it relatively better *isn't* in poverty or poor. We shouldn't negate someone's experience because some people have it worse.
I wasn't negating anyone's experience, and it's unfortunate if it came across that way. I also didn't suggest giving up school, cats, or cell phones.
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#83 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 08:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaWindmill View Post
I wasn't negating anyone's experience, and it's unfortunate if it came across that way. I also didn't suggest giving up school, cats, or cell phones.
I didn't say *you* did. It's hard to get out who you are talking about, especially when you are speaking in generics.

Othe people did, and I still hear it almost every day about my own situation, and I am sure others do, too.

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#84 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 08:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dnw826 View Post
I didn't say *you* did. It's hard to get out who you are talking about, especially when you are speaking in generics.

Othe people did, and I still hear it almost every day about my own situation, and I am sure others do, too.
Okay, gotcha. Thanks for clarifying.
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#85 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 10:03 PM
 
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I didn't mean to be condescending, honestly.

That was my clumsy way of saying that if you feel like you are in poverty, then you are. I was trying to be supportive.

Please DO NOT feel like you can't post here anymore! I sooo was not trying to run you off. And I get what you are saying, because what I bolded is 100% true.

Us broke asses can use all the support we can get.

Trying to turn hearts and minds toward universal healthcare, one post at a time.
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#86 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 10:12 PM
 
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You've got mine.

I'm honestly not rich - soooo far from it. We have very modest means but I'm not poor. I agree you need your own support group here so I will bow out. After I say this, though! I've sent dozens of brand new cloth diapers to mamas here who couldn't afford them, when I needed some for my own babies. I've given extra clothes and other items to mamas in need who buy one or 2 things from me on the TP; once I learn they're in need I do all I can with my meager means to help. I think that this is a community where you should be able to get support and not be judged. Why's everyone so ready to jump on everyone here lately? Is it just this frugality forum? I know that money is a stressful issue, but I never read so much bickering on MDC til I started posting here - and I'm guilty of it too!
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#87 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 10:49 PM
 
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I've sent dozens of brand new cloth diapers to mamas here who couldn't afford them, when I needed some for my own babies. I've given extra clothes and other items to mamas in need who buy one or 2 things from me on the TP; once I learn they're in need I do all I can with my meager means to help.
Hmmmm.....Thats a great idea. We could have our own swap in this thread!! LOL
C

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This is a great idea! For my part, I just thinned Aravine's toy box and closet and have a ton of stuff to get rid of. I had thought about Freecycling it but I'd rather pass it on to someone who *really* needs it. (Not that there aren't people on there who might, but I had gotten rid of a few things only to find them listed on Craigslist a few days later for $30...grrr! No more Freecycling for me.)
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#89 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 11:23 PM
 
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It took us about 4 yrs to get out of being so dang constanly broke after college, and we were only able to do it because of my Inlaws, who are to this day incredibly generous. (Although my FIL is now dead).

ETA-- I am only here to offer hope. . Our educations, and the help from my inlaws made a huge difference later on for us.

Edited because our i don't think our youthful struggling is the same as actual poverty.
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#90 of 832 Old 04-23-2007, 11:51 PM
 
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Sortof weirded out by the "you're not all that impoverished" stuff in a support/tribe thread... wrote a big old rant about it, because frankly, it upset me a lot. I erased most of it, but I will say a few things.

No, I don't live in a dirt floored trailer. Yes, I am in POVERTY. I also happen to be clever, particularly good with money, and can provide my three children with a decent home and good food with my < 18,000 a year income (and that includes child support)- well below the "poverty line" if it matters. I work very very hard at providing my kids with something that resembles normalcy, in spite of the enormous emotional and physical and financial upheaval that comes with a sudden divorce and with the (for all intensive purposes) total disappearance of their father. I was a SAHM before my ex took off (with his 50K salary) and I'm a SAHM now. I homeschooled my kids before I was the sole custodian of my children, and I am homeschooling now.

I don't think the title of the thread needed to be changed. It is what it is. It is not a matter of opinion.

for all my sister mamas in poverty.

And I love the idea of a swap, and I will be PMing the mods about moving this back to FYT.
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