What is my Income? Part 1

I was asked this morning if I wouldn’t mind posting my income, as a reference for others, here on the blog. I haven’t done so yet, because it varies from year-to-year, sometimes greatly.

For instance, last year my (work) income was about $10,000 after deductions. I do not include my daughters survivors benefits as income. I also did not count my other daughters child support in this total when she was living at home. This is just my income, what I worked for.

This income stems from anything that I can find to do. I had a back injury that prevents me from doing some things. I run a small daycare in my home. Usually no more than 4 children at a time. I also provide care sometimes during my off hours. I have also been known to clean houses and feed and take care of pets when owners were away. I type things for people. I have helped people pack when they were getting ready to move. I have also helped people to organize there homes. I do what I have to do, whenever I can, to earn money. I have sold bath and body products, and I sell scrapbooks and cards that I make – well, I am really just starting this one.

Another note: I also do not count the MaineCare(medical insurance) or the minimal foodstamps that I get as my overall income.

So, as for my (working) income, I have made anywhere from $4,000 – $10,000 a year (usually somewhere in the middle) for the past nine years.

I own my trailer (a cost or $14,000) only because my father helped me to get it. I do not have land, I have a tiny lot that I rent.

Plus:

I had been receiving only $9.00 per week in child support for Skye until she turned 18 in back in November. I only use what I have to of Zowie’s survivor benefits. They SS office wants to see that the money is helping with bills, food, cleaning stuff, her clothing, etc. I do what I have to do. Unfortunately, with prices rising on everything, I have to use more now just to do what I have to do for her. I want her to have plenty of money when she goes off to college, though.

Right now foodstamps equal $121.00 per month.

Bills:

$165.00 p/mo for lot rent

$9.00 p/mo for phone service

$79.00 (about) p/mo for DirecTV – Used partially for homeschooling my daughter

$30.00 (about) for internet access, etc – Used partially for homeschooling my daughter

$40.00 (about) for water/sewer

$126.00 (about) p/mo for electricity

$69.00 per month for oil (and we always have plenty leftover in the spring)

——

$518.00 (about) p/mo about 1/3 of which is paid from Zowie’s Survivor Benefits.

~ We each have a TracFone. I do believe that these are essential. We mostly text each other. She is a teenager now, and she is out and about a lot. We don’t live in the safest area, so we feel safer with our set-up. There are considerable fewer payphones around than their used to be, and they are not near where she hangs out. I pay for her units from her money. I pay for mine on my own when I can afford them. The TracFone is also useful in my business. I take the daycare children to the playground a lot, and their parents do not work the same exact hours each day. They can call me to see where I am, and pick their children up wherever that may be.

I also maintain a few websites and domain names that cost (total) under $100 per year. These are ones that I have set up to help low-income families, homeschooler’s, etc. As a sort of support for them. They are important.

In part 2, I will explain how we can afford to live on such a small income, what I am doing to lower bills and other stuff, and how I will still be able to live when my daughter is gone and I am no longer receiving survivors benefits for her.

Shannon

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6 thoughts on “What is my Income? Part 1

  1. I am very impressed with all you are able to accomplish on your income. It looks like you do not have debt which is very impressive too. You give no excuse to so many who live with so much debt because of their wants/desires.

    We live in a mobile home that is all electric. Winter bills are pretty horrible. I don’t think I would be able to get my numbers as low as yours but it is inspirational and gives food for thought. Presently I am trying to get the electric, gasoline and groceries lower. Seeing someone’s details on how they do it is so very helpful. Thank you for sharing this and I will be looking forward to Part 2.

    I’d like to ask a question if okay – are you ever able to put away actual savings? I can understand if you can’t, but was just curious. Savings for me is very challenging to do on a lower income.

    Take care.

  2. Thank you Lyn. Needless to say, it is nor easy to live this way all of the time. I do what I can.

    As for your utilities:
    If you haven’t already, you may want to call your electric company and get set up on a payment plan. All this will do will be to make it so that the payments are split up more evenly throughout the year, so that you are not saddled with $400 dollar bills all winter long.

    As for gasoline:
    I walk almost everywhere, or I can take the bus if I have to. How about doing things with others. For example, share responsiblity with a friend or family member. One week you drive for an errand day, the next week she/he can. I always go with someone esle, because I don’t have a vehicle. I have no problem giving them a few dollars for gas, but usually am not required to because I am along for a ride they would have taken anyway.

    I walk up to 5 miles a day. I just bring a canvas bag or two on days when I have to walk to get food or other supplies. This can be carried over your shoulder.

    On weekends, I bring a few bags and walk up to 12 miles yardsaling. I can’t bring back anything heavy, but if I find something that I need to go back for, I will pay for it and they will hold it for me.

    By the way, I love to walk. Can you tell?

    As for food:
    Prices are rising at alarming rates. My best advice is:
    * Purchase on sale.
    * Purchase generic/store brands whenever you can.
    * You can use small eggs instead of large in any recipe. If it calls for 3 large eggs, use three small. Also, when bulk baking, you can delete one of the eggs.
    * I am learning to pay closer attention to sering sizes.
    * 1 serving of milk is 1 cup, not one glass. 8 ounces. You only need 2 or 3 servings a day.
    * Eat less meat is my best advice.

    As for savings:
    I do not have any. I cannot afford to save any money. Maybe when Zowie moves. I have resigned myself to always work and, when I no longer can, I have two daughters whom I raised, and they know that I expect to be able to live with them each 6 months out of the year. But, that is only when I am too sick to be able to work. And I promised to be useful while I was there, if at all possible. I put a lot of work into raising them, so it shouldn’t be too hard for them to help me out during my last few years, LOL.

    Honestly, I’m hoping for savings before then. I do not want to be a burden.

    Hope this helps.
    Shannon

  3. Hi,

    I have a question for you. I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m judging you, because I’m not. I’m just curious.

    Why do you choose to homeschool your daughter and earn only $4,000-$10,000 per year? Even at minimum wage you could earn $14,560 per year working full time and, depending on the job, you might get health insurance and other benefits out of it too. Likely, you’d make even more than that soon enough, as employers don’t tend to keep a worker at minimum wage forever. Plus, if you didn’t homeschool, you wouldn’t need the DirecTV, which would save you $948 per year. Is your back problem bad enough that you can’t work?

  4. Why do you choose to homeschool your daughter and earn only $4,000-$10,000 per year?

    This was a personal choice that I made back when my children were little, after I watched the school mess up my older daughters education. Without going into too much detail, it was not at all a good situation. I sent a very smart, top of her class child to kindergarten, and brought home a soon to be fourth grader who cared nothing about school and thought that she was stupid. Not good, and finally realized that the school did not have her best interests at heart.

    I will not subject my other daughter to such abuses. She is so smart, and working toward going to college and majoring in psychology. Homeschooling is not for everyone, but it is best for us. And no, not all schools would do something like this. Ours did, and to more children than just my daughter.

    I will gladly sacrifice many things for my daughters well-being. I am very proud of how hard she has worked to get as far as she has.
    ***

    Even at minimum wage you could earn $14,560 per year working full time and, depending on the job, you might get health insurance and other benefits out of it too.

    No, I could not get the insurance. I could not afford to pay for that as well as regular bills. By the way, I do work full time – 30 to 40 hours+, depending on the week.

    ***
    Likely, you’d make even more than that soon enough, as employers don’t tend to keep a worker at minimum wage forever.

    Not necessarily so. Many employers deliberately are keeping you under full time so that they do not have to give you benefits or pay you more.

    ***
    Plus, if you didn’t homeschool, you wouldn’t need the DirecTV, which would save you $948 per year.

    I do not *need* DirecTV to homeschool, but it was so beneficial. Children can learn so much with the proper programming, and she is a little old for the educational stuff on PBS.

    At any rate, if you read through the blog more, you will notice that we no longer have DirecTV. We will no longer see the benefits of the programming, which was a major way that was used for her to learn many non-school topics that she wants to learn about.

    ***
    Is your back problem bad enough that you can’t work?

    The doctor said, no more cleaning hotel rooms (which was my job when I hurt my back), and no jobs where I have to sit or be on my feet for long periods of time. Oh, and no lifting anything over 10 pounds. LOL. The grocery store is supposed to pack groceries to 13 pounds.

    ***
    But yes, I do work full time. I provide childcare, which is slow business right now. I may also be typing for extra money, if all works out well. I care for a couple of my nephews right now.

    I am crafty, and will be making things to sell but, with the economy the way it is, it will not likely do me much – if any – good.

    Also, it used to be that there were a good many pages of job listings in the Saturday paper, but not so much any more.

    Thanks for your comment, and I hope that I answered all of your questions successfully.

  5. Hi. I happened upon your website while I was searching for something else. While I do not agree with some of what you posted we do have similar viewpoints by and large. I’ve bookmarked your site and will visit again in the near future to see what you’re writing about in 2010!

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