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Living the life



Poor in American means something so much different than poor in other countries. The government classifies me as being poor. However I have a car (albiet unpaid for), a microwave, televisions, air conditioning, a stove, refridgerator, clothes washer and dryer. I even have a DVD player. A Computer with INTERNET access! An educations past elementary school. Medical care is provided by the government for myself and my children. The church provides my food for two weeks of the month. Overall, I live comfortably.


Most of the things I have though have been given to me. On my own, I could not afford to live like this. Freecycle has provided me with a microwave, bookcases, chairs, computer, bird and cage, even food on occasion, my parents paid for my dryer, paid for a car for me, that was later vandalized and totaled by the insurance company, and I had to replace it. My church has provided beds for my children. My church has already said that if I lose my income (due to government budget collapse) they won't be able to help me out much more than they are already doing. All of the money I have comes from the US government. After bills are paid, I have a little left for food, the rest is supplied by the church. I still have SOME food storage, but it would be a VERY poor diet.


What have I done to help myself out of in this mess? Well, I am planting a garden so it will provide me with fresh produce that I can't afford on my own. I have stored food (beans rice, wheat, sugar, honey, flour, canned vegetables etc0 and been able to live off of that for most of 6 months now, with some help (about 1-2 weeks worth) from the church each month. I buy things on sale, when they are close to free. I have cut back almost everywhere I can. I am learning to waterbath can again, and I have made cranberry juice and canned tangerines from my parents trees. I have squeezed lemons and frozen lemon juice, and I am going to try canning some.


There are some things I haven't done. I haven't gotten rid of the housekeeper. Being disabled, physically, I am still unable to do all of the things that need to be done here in the house, though I am getting more 'able' as I lose weight and my medications are adjusted (the ones that put me to sleep 16-20 hours a day). If I don't have a housekeeper, I would lose this house. It gets inspected often, and has to be kept fairly immaculate and clutter free. I have bought a car that I probably shouldn't be affording. I can't afford to repair a car, so I bought the best car I could budget for (at that time). Now it is hurting us financially since we lost our child support payments.


However, there are things I haven't been able to provide my children with. Clothing. I have only been able to afford clothing by the grace of God and the help of friends. My son needs shoes desperately, he has holes in the bottoms of his shoes, and the sides are split out, and they don't fit him, he broke his toenail at the base of his nailbed, because he tripped and the shoes were too tight. I told him on the 28th we can go and get shoes. (We get paid the 27th)


I can't afford birthdays. Katy is turning 12 on Monday and there isn't money for all the frills. So she is getting a sleepover on Friday the 27th with me doing the best I can to make it fun, for little money.


I shouldn't have pets. I can't afford them. I am out of cat food and I am using human food to feed them for the next two weeks until I can get more cat food. I thought we had another bag of cat food in the garage -- turns out we didn't and we ran out. If our pets were to get sick, I couldn't afford vet fees and that is just unfair to the animals. We selfishly keep them because we love them.


Clothing for myself. I am wearing clothing that is way too big for me, because I have lost a lot of weight. However, I can't afford to buy more. I was able, thanks to a Mrs Survival Angel to buy a new bra that actually fits and some underclothing. Clothing is a luxury, and since the clothing I have still covers me, not a priority.


The US Government puts absolute value to poverty. Quote: " The "Absolue poverty line" is the threshold below which families or individuals are considered to be lacking the resources to meet the basic needs for healthy living; having insufficient income to provide the food, shelter and clothing needed to preserve health.The 2007-2008 poverty threshold was measured according to the Poverty Guidelines "


For a family of four, in the contiguous US anything below 21400 a year is considered poverty. That is roughly 1893 dollars a month for my family. We are below that level by a good bit. In a study in 1993 of low income single mothers that was titled Making Ends Meet, by Kathryn Edin showed that the mothers spent more than their reported incomes because they could not "make ends meet" without such expenditures. According to Edin, they made up the difference through contributions from family members, absent boyfriends, off-the-book jobs, and church charity. No absent boyfriends here, but I have family, and friends, and church who have helped me a lot.


There are things I am doing to reduce my outgo, especially this past year. I cut back on expenses. The cell phone went, long distance calling plan, I lowered my high speed internet to "OMG is this thing working?" speed. All driving is condensed into one trip when possible, routing it the best way to reduce gas use. I am going to be cutting back on the housekeeper so that she comes once every other week. I am having a hard time with this one for two reasons -- will I be able to do this? and am I going to hurt Nellie's (my helper) bottom line, because so many people have already canceled on her that she is losing HER house. I have helped her out with food when I go through my pantry or come back from the food bank, because she is in the same boat I am -- low income, single Mom. I am couponing, which has enabled me to get sanitary supplies, shampoo, razors, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes free or almost free. I have cut my spending at the grocery store in half -- more than half. I barter for things we need or want.


What is all this for? What does it all mean? Just a Daily Wine. or Whine. However you want to spell it. Not a particulary good vintage, but there you have it.










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You are inspiring! More like daily inspiration....and no whining whatsoever. May God continue to bless you in ways that really matter, for you are a beautiful soul!

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Hang in there Angela...God will keep blessing you if you keep making the efforts. Somehow, it will work out. Remember, it has so far....

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Hang in there Lady....it is so inspiring that as you are struggling to feed your own that you are concerned about sharing what you have with another. I hope that things will change...and get better. I'm glad that you were able to get what you needed to garden. Have you got all of your seeds?

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Have seeds. Enough to plant 2 acres! LOL I just need either the money to have someone rototill my yard, or a friend of mine has said he will rent a rototiller to do his yard, and he will do my yard next. I am praying that will happen -- and soon, because it is time to plant here! Spring has sprung as my allergies will tell you....sniffle sniffle, cough cough, wipes away a few tears.


Thank you for the good wishes!

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