Category Archives: Low-Income

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Why I don’t Suggest Welfare

The stigma of using welfare benefits, because people make ignorant comments or give one dirty looks just because they need help feeding their family, there is also stress of dealing with the welfare system.

  • It is not enough that you are in a situation where your family needs help.
  • It is not enough that people put you down, whether they know you or not.
  • It is not enough that you cannot afford to eat the way you should for proper health, or even pay for your oil when it is needed.
  • And it certainly is not enough that you already feel as low as a person can feel becuase you cannot make ends meet.

But then you stand the chance of the welfare system messing with you, causing your benefits to be late or non-existant. Oh, how many times they send paperwork… you filling it out and getting it back to them as quickly as possible to avoid interruption, only to receive a letter telling you that you no longer qualify because they did not receive your information. Even when they just haven’t gotten to your file yet. A failure, on their part, that causes you to get penalized.

Or after calling your case worker to explain that your income has gone up and you are pretty sure you do not qualify for benefits any longer, they tell you that you still qualify after figuring the new income. Then you get chosen for some freak lottery where they audit you for a specific time period, only to find out that you indeed did make too much money. And that even though the proof is right in front of them that you made your case worker aware of your new income, YOU still have to pay it back. All of it. And you are not allowed to just send them a check and get it taken care of, or to have them take it all out of your next foodstamp payment or two. No. They will take so much out of your benefits each month until you get it paid off. You are beholden to them for a specific number of months, and still collecting benefits you maybe shouldn’t be getting because they need you to pay them back… But make no mistake. The case worker is not responsible for this fiasco.

There are so many rules and conditions it isn’t always easy to remember them all, and you really do not have much for freedom to speak of. You can get into trouble for any number of things.

If you get housing, their are even more rules. More freedoms taken away.

If your child receives a tablet or a computer from their grandparents for Christmas, rude people ignorantly inform anyone who will listen that you should be taken off welfare.

If you have a cell phone – even if it is the cheapest possible with the cheapest or a free plan – people complain that you are abusing the sytem. It is even worse if your parent or boyfriend buy you a nicer phone and pay for the service.

Oh, and if you happen to find your child some designer clothing at Goodwill, it is the end of the world!

If a friend of yours invites you and your children to their camp out of state for a week – and all you have to do is buy your own food – you risk the chance of angering the cashier becuase you go to the grocery store to buy food with your foodstamps. Even though you spend about the same you would have had you stayed home. Your family does not deserve any form of vacation if you are on welfare.

And that is not all. Even if you do not collect full benefits you are at risk of having to deal with the stigma. You can work harder than your neighbor but, because you make less money than he and receive $50.00 a month in foodstamps he will scrutinize every little thing about you.

These are abut a few reasons why I tell people to NOT get welfare unless they absolutely have to.  Then, I would likely try to keep it on the low-down. No one really needs to know. People simply do not need the kind of stress that receiving welfare benefits causes. It cannot possibly be good for them.

If you can possibly live without it, do so. Work odd jobs. Take on a second job. Let mom work from home while dad is working at the factory, to save child care costs. Have your teenagers work for what they want. Learn to live the most frugal life possible. Try to stay away from the stress of welfare as much as possible. Only take what is necessary, if you qualify for anything. And try not to let others know if you receive benefits, lest you chance the risk of humiliation.

And remember, no one is better than you even if you do need welfare.

Shannon

Low-Income and Living Deliberately

English: Homeless man, Tokyo. Français : Un sa...
English: Homeless man, Tokyo. Français : Un sans abri à Tokyo. Español: Persona sin hogar, en las calles de Tokio. Türkçe: Evsiz adam, Tokyo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Recently, I received correspondence from Fay Johnson, founder and editor of the new magazine deliberateLIFE. She inquired about my reading her magazine and sharing my thoughts with you, my readers. I immediately thought this was a good opportunity, and agreed to receive a free copy to read. I am pleased that I agreed.

 

I was amazed with the scope and content of the magazine, as well as with the writers. Fay has done a wonderful job putting this magazine together.

 

The magazine is geared toward inspiring readers to live life well (one of my focuses!) and to do good for others. It guides readers in making wise spending choices, living within their communities, and understanding what is going on in the world around them.

 

Of note was a series of articles based on how specific communities are deal with homelessness issues. It was very interesting to read about communities in other areas of the world, how they live with homelessness, and aid the homeless.

 

The magazine deals with some of the same issues as this blog: Upcycling and greening come to mind. There are how-to articles and ones dealing with food. Much information for someone living deliberately. I came away with some tips to help in my living low-income goals, and ones that I might not be able to afford enacting but none the less enjoyed reading about.

 

This magazine is put out every other month, and costs $4.99 per issue. A discount is given if you order for an entire year – $20.00. It is published through iPad Newsstand. This would make a great gift.

 

Shannon

 

 

 

Guest Article: 5 Frugal Outings for Your Family

contributed by Melissa Cleo

With school almost out, kids are going to want to do some fun things this summer. Money may be tight, but that does not mean you cannot have fun. All you need is a little creativity and to stay local. Save your money for your vacation. While at home, take advantage of free events or take picnics. There is so much you can do with barely spending a dime. The following list offers you some suggestions to get your mind rolling of what you can do with the kids this summer.

Kids Watching House Burn Down
Kids Watching House Burn Down (Photo credit: Kiwi NZ)

1) The Park
The park is the number one place to go with kids during the summer. It is free and it has jungle gyms! The kids can run around after a delicious picnic. You can sit in the sun and read a magazine. This is self-entertainment at its best.

2) The Beach
If you live near the beach, then go! Go! There is nothing better than a day at the beach. You can soak up the sun and the kids can play in the sand. This is just like the park, only better. The only downside is it can get too hot. No beach? Head to the lake or a friend’s pool. Same idea and still free.

3) Home Sweet Home!
If it is raining outside, why not just stay home and do some art project? You can even make a giant fort and watch movies. Play a rousing board or card game. You can even bake cookies! There is so much that you can do at home that will keep the kids occupied and not in front of the TV. If it is hot outside, t

hen turn on the sprinkler and let them run around until they pass out. Home can be fun if you have imagination!

4) Discount Movies
Most movie theatres have discount days or they give you a cheaper rate at a matinee. Take advantage of this and take the kids to the movies! Sometimes movie theatres have special programs for kids during the summer where they can get a special movie pass or free snacks. Ask your local theatre what events they have planned for the kids. A movie is a great place cool down during a hot summer ‘s day.

5) McDonald’s

OK, this probably would not be at the top of your list. However, there is no denying kids love McDonald’s. It is a cheap meal and there is a playground. Plus, there is free wifi for you! Take them there so you can get some work done. Once again, this is self entertainment at its best. Just make sure they order apples instead of fries, and milk instead of pop!

All of these fun summer time activities are sure to entertain your kids during the summer. Just think of things you loved to do when you were young. Create treasure hunts around the house or go on a hike through the woods. Be creative and your kids will have an awesome frugal summer!

 *****

Melissa Cleo writes about saving money, personal finance & visiting www.healthinsurancequotes.org.

Why I do not Allow Certain Comments to Post

Main health effects of sleep deprivation (See ...
Image via Wikipedia

While I believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion, I also believe that pointing an opinion out in a rude manner is immature and wrong. I believe that there are better ways of saying things than by making people feel two-feet high; than making them feel like dirt.

Due to these beliefs, I have always monitored comments for this blog. I refuse to send through anything that sounds like a child throwing a fit because they are not getting their own way. Intelligent conversation, respectful in manner , is good – even if you are not in agreement with a post or idea here. Fly-off-the-handle disgust or anger for others is not. Voice your opinions in a mature, non accusatory, manner and your posts will go through even if you do not agree with me or other people who comment.

As of the past month or so, I have been not putting many comments through on this blog even though the authors of the comments have brought up valid concerns. I have not allowed these to go through for one reason: The people sounded like abusive jerks. I don’t need that kind of thing, and neither do my readers.

At the same time, over on FaceBook I have heard many things as well, some of which is posted by people I know. Things that have the tendency to make a person feel real crappy about themselves. I vented on their yesterday morning about the comments I have been reading there as well as here, in a not-so-nice manner. Then, once calmed down, I felt like crap. I felt mean. I think I had just heard enough for a while.

Later, when I was in a better mood, I tried to make light of the whole situation. Whatever. I usually just ignore it all anyway, but I have been sleep deprived of late. I think that may be the reason why my normally calm demeanor concerning such things was, well, non-existent. Who knows. Maybe I just finally got angry.

Rather than fly off the handle here as well, I have decided that I  will write a series of posts addressing the concerns that people seem to have about welfare mothers – or fathers as the case may be. If you are one with a concern, and are able to voice this concern in an intelligent manner, please leave a comment and let me know. I will address the concerns as I have time.

The next six or so posts will deal with this topic.

Shannon L. Buck

Feature Article: 5 Affordable Summer Activities for Children

By Sheila Buck

Parents sometimes find it hard to keep their children occupied during the summer months. Many summer camps and other programs cost money that families may not have. The following are some ideas for summer activities that are affordable, and the children will have fun doing them.

  • Summer camp is an activity that most kids want to participate in. These types of camps can sometimes cost a few hundred to more than a thousand dollars. They are still worth looking into because some summer camps offer reduced rates or scholarships if the family meets the income guidelines.
  • Some areas offer summer recreation programs for free. Children are able to enjoy socializing with other kids from the neighborhood as well as crafts, swimming and other fun activities. The school sometimes sends home notices about summer recreation programs. The town or city hall may also know of such programs. You can also check with the library.
  • Your child’s school may have a summer reading program for him or her to participate in. If your son or daughter loves to read, this is a good program to look into. There is often a certificate or prize awarded for program completion.
  • A trip to the local playground is always fun. Your child will be able to play with other children. Have your child pack a lunch and have a picnic. Some of the local playgrounds may have a sprinkler or pool. If so, be sure your child brings a towel and change of clothes in order to get wet.
  • If your child is seeking a good time with friends, but doesn’t want to leave the house, allow for camping in the back yard. Set up a tent and let your child invite some friends over for a camp out. Make sure they have plenty of blankets in case it gets cold. Let them make sandwiches and other snacks for them to have on hand. They can tell ghost stories and have a good time.

There are many ways to keep your children busy through the summer months. With a little searching, summer camp may be an option. If it’s not, brainstorm with your child to help find fun and creative ways to stay busy, that are also affordable.

*********************************************************

Sheila Buck is the single mom of two teenage boys. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. Sheila is a freelance writer, and also writes books and short stories in her spare time. Sheila also writes for Frugal Recipes.

By jppi on morguefile.com

Curbside Pick-Up

Here is a topic from one of Amy’s readers, which you can find on page 193 of the Complete Tightwad Gazette.

We have picked up many great items using this system. Each spring, communities have this roadside pick-up thing that they do. This helps us to declutter our homes.

One benefit to doing this early and setting things out on the road is that people in need can acquire some necessary items.

Another benefit is that less stuff goes into a landfill.

Here are some treasures that I have acquired over the years by using this system:

  • A barbecue grill
  • A nice bike for my daughter
  • A bean bag chair for each of my daughters
  • Clothing for all of us
  • Books and school supplies for all of us
  • Stands
  • A dresser
  • Shelves
  • Planters and other gardening needs
  • Kitchen items

Shannon

This and That

I am currently working on what I will be giving at the holidays. It won’t be much. I have been bringing steadier income, which is great. I am starting to get caught up on bills.

I wanted to share a couple of articles that I came across with you:

Have a nice day!

Shannon

Rebates

I do not do rebates. I remember beginning the rebate process many times an not finishing. Here is what I learned:

  • I get bored with it easily.
  • I am a packrat, so all of those UPC’s and whatnot just sort of hang around for months…or a year.
  • They also take up much needed space.
  • I never mail them in.

Rebating is not for me. However, rebating is a great way for others to save money. We would like to here about your rebating successes. Please share.

Shannon