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Old 04-25-2007, 11:07 PM
 
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***Oh yah and I wanted to add that you could make streamers out of cut up plastic grocery bags and rubber bands.
My favorite thing on a bike was to put a plastic cable tie around the back frame near the tire - positioned so that the plastic tie makes noise in the spokes of the wheel. Little motor sounds! I really loved it. I had one on my bike until I moved up to a 26"!
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Old 04-26-2007, 12:49 AM
 
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Isn't it awful to have to sit there and realize that your entire day is only there thanks to others?

I mean it is wonderful to have them there.
I am so thankful for my family helping us as much as they have

but just once.
one day, I'd like to look back at all the good stuff and say it was my own doing, not someone else being nice to us.
I TOTALLY understand what you're saying here. Dh and I are blessed to have my parents and grandmother who have given us so much financial help over the past few years. They've paid for our rent and groceries when we couldn't. My parents even gave us their car when they bought a newer model. We never could have afforded a car on our own. And we're getting social assistance, and food from the food bank...even more than once some people that we don't know personally gave us food and clothes.

All this is wonderful and we're so thankful...but sometimes I REALLY wish that I could be the one giving to others. I HATE always being on the receiving end of others' kindness and not being able to reciprocate. I also hate not being able to take credit for the things we have. Looking around our house, the only furniture we have that we actually bought is our bed and computer desk--every single other thing was given to us or bought for us. It's kind of embarassing.

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Old 04-26-2007, 01:12 AM
 
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All this is wonderful and we're so thankful...but sometimes I REALLY wish that I could be the one giving to others. I HATE always being on the receiving end of others' kindness and not being able to reciprocate. I also hate not being able to take credit for the things we have. Looking around our house, the only furniture we have that we actually bought is our bed and computer desk--every single other thing was given to us or bought for us. It's kind of embarassing.
I can SO relate to this- except for the part about having bought my own bed and computer desk. Looking around my house, I don't think I can see a single item of furniture I've actually bought myself. Oh, the nursing stool DD that's under the computer desk. I bought it when DD1 was a newborn. Everything else was a gift or a hand-me-down.

I've bought a few smaller things myself- the telephone, the dish drainer- you know, the really exciting stuff.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 13(homeschooled)
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Old 04-26-2007, 06:32 AM
 
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dnw: Awww thanks. But her foot is anywhere from a 9-10 and usually a wide width, hard to fit her for shoes.
Sounds like exactly my size. I fit a 9, sometimes even an 8.5 if I can find WW, otherwise I wear a 10. I may have a pair that would work, if you want to PM me an address & description of dress.
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Old 04-26-2007, 08:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was just talking to my MIL about giving. How I wondered when it would be our turn to give and help family out. I'm just so thankful, but would love to return the favor.

And ya know, it's not just the lack of cash funds or the uncertainty of whether or not bills will be paid, but the stress our situation causes for all members of our family (Kailey included). When we get home we are just drained physically and we are so snappy toward each other, it breaks my heart. Thankfully we have the morning to cuddle and love and play (we are just so tired and a good night sleep helps).

Another bright spot exposed itself yesterday though. I found a paycheck from February that I had forgotten about. It was 51 dollars! So that was a big help.

We are selling both cars now so Mark can get something a little smaller and better on gas.

I drove the Toyota to school (39 miles each way) and when I got home I was only a fraction of an inch below a full tank.

Oh and there has been a change in me. I don't want to spend any money- ever again LOL.

Oh and ya know I have been driving with no insurance for years. No money to put me on cause I had points, but as of this past September my points were taken off so we added me to mark's policy. They gave us a marital discount (which was more than the teacher/student discount) and it is costing nothing extra a month to put me on! Oh and full coverage for two drivers and two cars is 81 a month so we might do that. Does 81 a month sound high? Mark doesn't have a great record.

Well more later time to get ready for school and take Kailey in- it's field trip at the zoo today!
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Old 04-26-2007, 09:30 AM
 
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$81 a month is great, IMO... but because of dh and my age, dh's horrid driving record, and our location... we were paying $325 per month when we had car insurance on 1 vehicle for both of us... THANK GOD that his work is now paying the car insurance because that $325 a month was what was killing us...
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Old 04-26-2007, 10:05 AM
 
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This morning is our food stamp recert - and while I'm sure based on Dh's income the amount may even be raised a little,if not stay the same - I'm hoping for a smooth appt. and all going well and we'll be in and out and there won't be any weird red tape thing to sticky us up. Our past experiences with social services have been really mixed - from expedient to a nightmare. The FSs have been such a blessing, I don't want anything to happen to them right now!

I'm pretty sure I'm being overworried for nothing, but well, Dh says I like to worry enough for the both of us
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Old 04-26-2007, 10:08 AM
 
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Car insurance: If we could get anything less than $100/mo for just Dh I would consider that fantastic. Dh has a squeaky clean record, is over 25 (almost 30), we drive a car w/ all the safety features - but our insurance stays on the high side because of his/our lousy credit :

I just realized having now finished my coffee that I didn't really intro myself... but the siggie says it all pretty much Potty Diva, what a stroke of genius to start a thread that isn't going to welcome the whole bootstraps/preservere debate, or whatever else I've seen before happen.

Oops, I'm late now! Anyways, hello everyone!
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Old 04-26-2007, 11:42 AM
 
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I'm here. Hugs to everyone else in the same boat....

I wasnt going to post but I need a hug, feeling very down lately.

Digging through the couch and loveseat and van to scrape up enough money for lunch for the kids this week. Have no idea how the electric bill that scheduled for cut off will be paid by Thursday, have no idea where 800.00 for rent will come from.....selling everything we own that has any value at all this weekend at a yard sale to pay the rent.

Oldest dd has prom this weekend and I had to return her shoes yesterday to buy dinner and breakfast stuff for today. Have no money to replace the shoes, no money for her other prom needs/wants, feeling crappy because this was supposed to be a special night, her first prom and her first date and shes a girl who is overweight and generally feels terrible about herself.
I so wanted it to be a special night for her even though I'm not really a fan of prom night......its a big deal to her and her friends.

Youngest dd had to have almost $700.00 worth of emergency dental work last month (no dental insurance) and an electric (heat) bill that tripled (even though it was still cold in here with the heat set LOW) last bill cycle did us in.

Stuck in that place where you dont make enough to really survive well and are always scrapping and praying to get by with just the neccesities yet make just a bit too much to get help. Been this way for years and its really draining on our marriage and family. Very stressful for everyone.
I have one more semester of nursing school, but not even sure I'll be able to afford the gas money to be able to go. I'm almost ready to say the heck with it and just go get a job as a cashier or something but I've been working towards this fulltime for over three years now and it would be a shame to not complete it with only having to get through til December.

Things will be better when I'm able to work as a nurse but it feels like the light at the end of the tunnel is sooooooooooooooo far away and out of reach even though it seems so close if we can just hang on a little longer.
Dh works 6 and 7 days a week every week, he's really wearing out physically and mentally, no matter how hard he works, still cant properly provide and he's at the top of his pay scale for the work he does.

The kids all need and want simple things that kids do and it kills me to always have to be telling them "no." To make matters worse, most of their friends are from wealthy families (lots of them in our area) and its hard on the kids. They are ashamed to have any friends over because our home and things are no where as nice as the friends. They get invited to do things all the time but cant....it just goes on and on. Money isnt everything but quality of life means a lot when you really dont have much of it.
My kids are good kids but are really growing resentful of being poor and broke, having to do without all the time, ya know? Its not about being materialistic, its about not having basic needs met. For instance all the kids birthdays are coming up and I'm dreading it.....how to break it to a child gently that there is no money for a party or presents, no matter how small?

Son has been hospitalized since Sept with several operations with more coming, very expensive driving back and forth all the time (40 mins each way) let alone trying to afford to bring him little treats every now and again. Everytime the gas price goes up again I have a meltdown.

Sometimes situations are just impossible and all you can do is hang on as tightly as you can to get through the day and pray that somehow tomorrow will be better......(except it sucks when you realize it isnt.) And when every door closes that you turn to over and over again, it gets very discouraging.
Especially when you are being as careful as you can and trying to do everyting right.

Sorry, just stressing out about a lot of things and trying to figure out how to feed the family for the rest of the week, just needed to vent.

And yet, I feel like we have so much more than so many families in the US, not to mention the world. I should feel grateful that I scraped up the change to get the kids lunches for another day.

Its just a sucky way to live.

Wow, 8 kids! I grew up in a family of 5. I'll say right now that maybe we didn't appreciate each other enough growing up, but now it's great having so many people around. 1 boy, then 4 girls. We hang out together all the time. And I love how noisy it gets at Christmas time when we all go home and bring SO and kids!

I can totally relate to your kids. We lived in a small 4 bedroom house. Not the pretty kind that you see in magazines. But you know what? We had home cooked meals, a huge yard and woods to play in and parents who loved us. We didn't get to have the newest and coolest toys. We didn't get money from parents to go hang out in malls with friends. But we got over it. The newest and coolest toy is only new and cool for 5 mins. I'm GLAD we didn't get into the whole buy buy buy mentality. We had a couple new toys and they were special to us. We had tons of second hand toys. (My parents got some great deals over the years!) Tons of space to roam around. We were happy.

One time I had a friend over. She said our house was nice (she sounded kind of sad when she said this). I guess her parents worked a lot and she only had one brother. She said that sometimes she went a week without seeing any of her family. (She was 18 at the time). I'm glad we didn't live like that.

And about your family's birthdays. I don't know where you live or what type of things your kids are into. But you should really think outside the box. Would a BBQ be possible? Go to a local park for a picnic? Go on a nature walk? (We have nature trails/network of bike paths that are beautiful and free just outside our small city.) Have friends over and play soccer (or whatever sport they're into if any). Check out the Complete Tightwad Gazette from your library. I'm reading it now and it's fantastic. Completely changes the way you think about using things etc.

I know you posted again saying that you have to drop out of school, but I really think you should stick to it. DH and I were in a similar situation. We didn't have a lot of money for the longest time. DH was worried about being laid off so he decided to take the plunge and go back to school. He took a welding course and now has a great job. In a matter of months, we went from being scared of not being able to pay our rent, having $0-10/week for food, getting free garden food from my parents, having our car breaking down and borrowing money from my parents to fix it, not having enough money to pay for anything so we'd pay the min amount due on our CC just so we could keep using them. Not being able to pay our utilities. Getting phone calls asking when we were going to pay our bills. It was really scary.

We felt in over our heads. Couldn't sleep. Feeling physically and emotionally drained. Feeling helpless. Fighting. DH got his new job and within a matter of weeks we were caught up. It only took us ONE MONTH TO GET BACK ON TRACK. If felt like a miracle. We're still paying down our CC debt though. That was last fall when things got really bad and it still scares me to think about it. But it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. I haven't told anyone this before but as it was happening I had this feeling that it was right, that it was going to happen and that we would be ok. (Not during the poor part, I was scared $hitless then, I mean when DH was applying for the job!) It wasn't easy. DH learned that this was a good company. He got the name of the HR woman. Called and left messages with her. Took 2-3 weeks to get a hold of her, but it happened because he decided that he deserved that job and he was going to get it! (See, I'm totally not like that and would have given up )

How about you have a family meeting. Explain that things are tight right now. You all need to make sacrifices. But that next Dec you should be able to get a good paying job and things will be going a lot better. There is an end in sight. I hope you don't mind me saying this, but it looks like your kids are older. They should be able to get part time jobs (apply now for summer!) to have extra spending money. Sounds harsh, but I tell you, they'll appreciate it a lot more if they're the ones earning it! And my parents had a rule that if you're living at home but not going to school (during the year), you pay 'rent'. Again, sounds harsh, but they didn't charge a lot and that money went in to help pay groceries. Whey would we mooch off our parents when we could see they were struggling?

I bet your kids are proud of you for going back to school. I think that you should try to stick with it if at all possible. Or if it's not possible right now, make plans to return SOON. You've already invested 3 years and if you hold out just a bit longer you can get a great job. And your kids are old enough to help out around then house with laundry, cleaning, cooking etc. Please for the love of God, teach them how to do all that stuff! Even the younger kids. One of my younger sisters can't cook because it was always us older kids doing that stuff.

Ok, I've written a BOOK, but just one last point. When I look back on my childhood, it's not how much or how little money my parents spent on me that I remember. It's how TIME they spent with me. Just thinking about things in the long run.
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Old 04-26-2007, 11:54 AM
 
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Ok, I've written a BOOK, but just one last point. When I look back on my childhood, it's not how much or how little money my parents spent on me that I remember. It's how TIME they spent with me. Just thinking about things in the long run.
I feel bad already for writing this. I know that when you're struggling to make ends meet it's frustrating to have people say this. That you're worried about keeping your kids feed and clothed and in their right mind. But it's true in the long run.


Also want to add:

Growing up, my parents had an acre of land surrounded by woods. We had a garden, laying hens and meat chickens. I know it saved my parents a lot of money. Plus a lot of our entertainment was free. We played in the woods, went to the library, swam at the lake nearby, set up a 'tent' in our backyard, played games with siblings and neighbourhood kids. I'd so much rather be poor in the country than the city.:
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Old 04-26-2007, 12:20 PM
 
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We're looking to move out of the county to the city
gas is so expensive now and there are no neighborhood kids for my kids to play with
and we can't get to the homeschool activities
and and and

but yeah--broke in the city and your stuck....broke in the country and you can scavange from the garden

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Old 04-26-2007, 12:32 PM
 
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I prefer being poor in the country but that's just because I love the country. What I really hate is being in the country and having all this 'progress' coming towards us. For me it's easier to be poor when everyone else around me is poor too , but we have a bunch of subdivisions popping up everywhere with 200k and up houses.
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Old 04-26-2007, 12:50 PM
 
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To me being in the country and poor, like how I grew up... is so different than being poor in a city. We have no garden to get food from. No places to walk to swim. No fields to play in. No grass to roll in. No hills to slide on. No woods to play endless games in the trees.

Animals were my play companions and still today the best kinds of friends I have ever had. They listen and never judge, even on your bad days.

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Old 04-26-2007, 02:20 PM
 
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I grew up in a rather rural area that just touched on the outside of a small villiage, and while my family didn't have lots of extra money for entertainment, we had a blast entertaining ourselves. We could ride our bikes anywhere within five miles, we swam in the creek, hunted for crayfish, tromped around the woods, played hide and seek in the cornfield when it was high, swung like monkeys on the playset we had...ahh thanks for the trip down memory lane

Today's appt. we had to recert for FSs was a no-go...we left the house on time, but the car would not start. : After chilling at the side of the road for 40 minutes with two antsy kids, we finally got it started, turned around (we rolled down a hill) and came back home for me to reschedule.

So now we have to hope that when we do have extra to fix the car, that it will just be a very minor problem and (I'm assuming we need one) cheap part. If we do it tomoorrow, we won't be able to pay our overdue garbage bill in full. Sigh.
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Old 04-26-2007, 02:30 PM
 
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your landlord doesn't cover garbage?
holy cow

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Old 04-26-2007, 02:31 PM
 
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Jesse

I'm so glad I was able to have a telephone interview for FS recert here. Is that an option in your area?

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 13(homeschooled)
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Old 04-26-2007, 02:41 PM
 
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Jesse

I'm so glad I was able to have a telephone interview for FS recert here. Is that an option in your area?
I was just about to write that. They LIKE to see you in person, but if you can't get there they usually are okay with a phone interview here.

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Old 04-26-2007, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm glad so many mamas are able to take advantage of this thread, and I am also glad that it has not continued on the path it was going.

My intentions were to create a thread just like this, where families could come to seek comfort and not necessarily advice on what they should be doing, even when they are doing all that there is to do.

This isn't a case of "oh no I can't get my nails done" or "oh no I can't pay the electricity because I just got my nails done", but a case of "oh no there is not enuogh money after we bought food for this week to pay the electric bill. Maybe we should have skipped groceries and just paid the electric bill."

So if families are unable to pay the utilities, how is a suggestion to move to a less expensive place even helpful?

Keep talking and loving each other. If help is asked for THEN we can dish out our advice, ya know?

I am really thankfully to you mamas. You are such an inspiration and a reminder of how good the people of the world can be.
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Old 04-26-2007, 03:14 PM
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I prefer being poor in the country but that's just because I love the country. What I really hate is being in the country and having all this 'progress' coming towards us. For me it's easier to be poor when everyone else around me is poor too , but we have a bunch of subdivisions popping up everywhere with 200k and up houses.
Isn't that frustrating? I've noticed more subdivisions popping up on the road toward my house. The funny thing is, these people complain about the smells Hello? You're in the country--it smells like cow poop out here! Deal with it or move. I live on 240+ acres and a guy down the road own the property right across the road (uses it for hunting) and some guy we never see keeps cattle on the property next to us. On the other side, we (meaning Grandma) own the property far enough up the road that we never actually see or hear our next door neighbors unless we go to visit them. It's nice. Hopefully, when Grandma dies and Dad inherits the property, he won't be greedy enough to sell it. It's worth a lot of money but I think it's better to leave it alone, undeveloped, for the wildlife.
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Old 04-26-2007, 04:12 PM
 
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Jesse

I'm so glad I was able to have a telephone interview for FS recert here. Is that an option in your area?
Just call your caseworker and talk to her/him. My dh is a caseworker (and we still qualify for foodstamps, Medicaid and he is usually willing to work with people who will work with him. He has a lot of people come in another day, or have someone else drop their stuff off (like I do for my mom), or call in.
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Old 04-26-2007, 04:27 PM
 
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Isn't that frustrating? I've noticed more subdivisions popping up on the road toward my house. The funny thing is, these people complain about the smells Hello? You're in the country--it smells like cow poop out here! Deal with it or move. I live on 240+ acres and a guy down the road own the property right across the road (uses it for hunting) and some guy we never see keeps cattle on the property next to us. On the other side, we (meaning Grandma) own the property far enough up the road that we never actually see or hear our next door neighbors unless we go to visit them. It's nice. Hopefully, when Grandma dies and Dad inherits the property, he won't be greedy enough to sell it. It's worth a lot of money but I think it's better to leave it alone, undeveloped, for the wildlife.
I would love to live on 240 acres! We live right in front of a wildlife management area, so I'm hoping and praying that the county doesn't sell that land. They aren't supposed to but it happens.

I know what you mean about people moving out in the country and then complaining about it...it's silly. Sometimes the farmers clean out the chicken houses and it stinks sooo bad, but that's what you get!
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Old 04-26-2007, 04:29 PM
 
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TY mamas : I just looked closely at the paperwork and it said in office interviews can be waived in certain events and transportation difficulties is one of those events listed. I think the car not starting would definately qualify!

I assume we will have to send in copies of paystubs, etc. Still cheaper than the cost of gas to get there and back. This may be doable - thanks for making me look!
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Old 04-26-2007, 05:03 PM
 
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Just call your caseworker and talk to her/him. My dh is a caseworker (and we still qualify for foodstamps, Medicaid and he is usually willing to work with people who will work with him. He has a lot of people come in another day, or have someone else drop their stuff off (like I do for my mom), or call in.
Wow, Jenna. I wish your dh was my caseworker. My daughter and I have Medicaid and it's not uncommon for me to call my caseworker daily for a *month* before I finally reach her. She never returns phone calls. I'm supposed to get a notice of decision every month to let me know that we still have coverage, and I get it maybe once a year (we moved here in May of last year, and the only NOD we've gotten was March of this year). It's so aggravating and whenever we have to take our daughter to see the pediatrician, I'm holding my breath the whole time because I'm not sure if we're still active or if we'll have to pay. I really dislike my caseworker and wish I could get another one.
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Old 04-26-2007, 05:25 PM
 
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One thing I want to mention. Walgreens has items every month that are free after rebate. You can get the first rebate sent to you on a giftcard, and every rebate after that added to that same card. You can also use the giftcard to buy other items that have rebates, so you can get a LOT of free stuff. My family has a three month supply of shampoos, conditioners, toothbrushes, mouthwashes, etc that only cost us sales tax. Earlier this month I got several free lipsticks too. That's always nice because I can't justify spending money to pamper myself when it's needed elsewhere.

Walgreens rebates are listed at http://www.walgreens.com/store/rebateclub.jsp

I've heard Riteaid and CVS also have programs like this, so check the drugstores in your area.
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Old 04-26-2007, 05:26 PM
 
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I really dislike my caseworker and wish I could get another one.
You probably can get another caseworker. Have you called and asked? You can ask to talk to the casework manager or whoever and tell them you want someone else. It happens all the time at dh's work, but we are in a different state than you so I don't know how much is the same.
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Old 04-26-2007, 05:45 PM
 
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You probably can get another caseworker. Have you called and asked?
I've asked three times, twice over the phone, and once in writing.

The last time I had to "renew" my app, it was missing several pages. I called that caseworker for almost two months before I filled out what was there and wrote a letter detailing exactly why so much was missing. In the letter I asked for another caseworker- for the third time, as mine refused to return my calls. Three days later I received a phone call from the manager who promptly got everything straightened out. She said I wouldn't have that problem with my caseworker again. I haven't called since, because I've gotten used to not getting the notice of decision letters. At least the manager acknowledged there was a problem, the first two times I complained I was told that there were problems with the phone system. :P (If that were the case, you think it would be on the voicemail message the caseworkers change daily.)

The worker I had before this one was great. I really get the feeling she just doesn't care, and I wonder why she chose this line of work.
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Old 04-26-2007, 06:01 PM
 
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ok, i need some help prioritizing here, ladies.
we have 45$ in the bank. tomorrow is payday, i'm expecting around 300$.
i just got a 550$ credit card bill in the mail. i know that a 75$ internet & phone bill and a 150$ utility bill are coming any day now. dh and i need to buy bus passes this weekend so we can get to school & work in may. (wow, it's may already?!?!!) and tomorrow i'm scheduled to see the chiro, which is 30$. my poor preggo back is killing me so i really, really don't want to skip that.
usually we can get 5-7 days worth of food from the food bank every 2 weeks, but this coming week i can't go, they gave me an extra shift at work and i'm not passing that up; they hardly ever give me extra work and never will again if i say i'm not available. the food bank is only open that one morning and won't let me send anyone instead of me. i also need to pay my babysitter for the day i'm working...
so what's the priority?
food?
credit card?
phone & internet?
utilities?

i keep swearing that we're not going to use the credit card any more when we run out of cash, but then things come up that we really need, like food...
i have a feeling that the next two weeks are going to suck.
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Old 04-26-2007, 06:26 PM
 
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I am so psyched! I just checked out my county extension office to see if they offered anything cool and I found out they rent gardens within the city. I can rent a 900 sq ft plot for a year for only $25! And it's only ten minutes from my apartment too.

I've never gardened before but now seems like a good time to learn. Guess I'd better go borrow some gardening books from the library. Now I don't feel so bad about not being able to afford a CSA subscription.

This might be a good solution for other people as well, if their county does something like this.
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Old 04-26-2007, 06:26 PM
 
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okay...
I'm totally giddy cause I just got news that we got the apartment we applied for

and since I'm in a celebratory mood, I'd
put food, phone/internet, and utilities on teh CC and then pay the CC

and then I would wonder wtf was I thinking for the next 7months as I paid the new higher CC payment

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Old 04-26-2007, 06:33 PM
 
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I am so psyched! I just checked out my county extension office to see if they offered anything cool and I found out they rent gardens within the city. I can rent a 900 sq ft plot for a year for only $25! And it's only ten minutes from my apartment too.

I've never gardened before but now seems like a good time to learn. Guess I'd better go borrow some gardening books from the library. Now I don't feel so bad about not being able to afford a CSA subscription.

This might be a good solution for other people as well, if their county does something like this.
Thats awesome!! I wish my area did something like that.

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