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Old 08-23-2013, 02:15 PM   #1
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Ugh. Sick of being poor.

This is mostly a vent, but feel free to advise or comment.

DH and I chose a simple lifestyle. The problem is, it is becoming less and less "voluntary simplicity" and more and more "involuntary poverty". We have grand plans of self-sufficiency that just don't seem to work out. I could go on giving all the details but it suffices to say we keep ending up stuck with little options and little money.

Right now I am a SAHM with 4 kids at home and one on the way. We meet our basic expenses for food, clothing, shelter, and power but we have NO money left over for anything else. No money for insurance copays, no money for holidays or birthdays, no money to maintain or even register our vehicles. We recently qualified for WIC, free lunches, state insurance for the kids, and supplemental SNAP that covers around 1/2 our grocery budget. We also just qualified for help with our utilities. Please no flames, we are just trying to get on our feet so we can get some real needs covered (like paying back medical bills, buying shoes, and registering our vehicles whose tags expired!) and DH works his butt off at the highest paying job he is qualified for. And his job is not super stable and sometimes his hours are cut back without much notice. We are constantly on edge and felt this was necessary to avoid potential disaster.

But I hate it, I hate having to use assistance. Filled WIC checks at the store today and the cashier wasn't outright rude, just impatient and less "courteous" than she'd been with the girl ahead of me. Anyone who thinks WIC is "free" is not counting the emotional costs, especially to an educated woman who wishes things were different.

For example, our 4 yr old is going to Head Start this fall and I could teach that class! I am college educated with a strong background in Early Childhood, taught Pre-K in a school district program for 4 years and was a certified Parents As Teachers Educator. I feel totally out of place putting my own kid in Head Start, but we can't afford the $200/month for private preschool. Not to mention other extras like soccer or swimming lessons. Just buying some clothes for the fall is a huge expense for us. I have to do it little by little so our budget doesn't collapse. Its exhausting, and since we only have one working car, I can only go on DH's days off so I feel like its not just money we are constantly short on, but time. Doctors appointments, shopping, errands, everything must be done on days off, and they vary so much we can't plan much in advance. I NEED a second car but there is just no way to make it happen. And that is what I mean about "involuntary poverty". Voluntary simplicity would be choosing one car because its good for the environment and saves you money. We tell ourselves that is what we are doing, but its a lie, really. Because when you really need another car and you can't afford it, that is just plain being poor.

I will be very honest, this pregnancy was not planned and its thrown me for a loop. I was planning to go back to school next year and finish my teaching degree so I could work as a certified teacher. My youngest would be three and my older guy would be in K. We had a plan. But now we'd need to put an infant in FT care too. The costs are beyond doable on our own. We'd need more help from the state. I am ok with a preschooler in daycare but a one year old, that would be really hard for me. Its probably better for me to hunker down a few more years but I am really struggling with maintaining this lifestyle. I feel like DH and I carry this huge weight around 24/7. He is such a good man, but he's been really short with the kids lately, and I know why. All around us is constant reminder of things that need attention but we have no means to take care of it. My car is embarrassingly loud! I have had strangers tell me to put oil in it because the engine is knocking. Its not knocking, its just old and noisy. If it fails on us, we have no options at all. We have not a smidge of savings and DH works 30 miles away. That hangs over our heads all the time. We have a trip coming up in month for my sisters wedding and we will need to travel 1600 miles on this thing. I am scared it won't make it! (though we said that last time too LOL) But we have no other options at this point.

We lost our home in 2010 with the market crash so our credit is shot. Which I guess is a good thing because it makes us stay out of debt, but it limits our options. I would love to open a preschool at home but I'd need to find a proper rental and an understanding landlord and I am worried about that too. Our current place is too small. DH has noticed perfect set ups around the neighborhood for sale for much less than we pay in rent but we can't qualify. The only way I can see us getting back into the housing market is if I finish school and our income doubles. That will give us money and time, the two things we need if we want a bank to overlook our past history. Even then, its not sure.

I just feel really stuck. Its so similar to where I got myself 10 years ago with three little kids and not enough money. I am older and supposedly wiser now, but here I am with soon to be 3 little kids, stuck at home with no money and feeling trapped without options. I just don't know what the answer is. Trying to find peace with what is but I am really having a hard time with it.

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Old 08-23-2013, 02:29 PM   #2
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Where you are now is not where you will be forever. Raising little ones is hard. And swallow your pride and be thankful for the assistance. It's there for a reason. It doesn't mean you will need it forever. Any family or friends that can babysit so that you and DH can get a break? Even if it means staying home or having a picnic at a park? Hang in there!
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Old 08-23-2013, 02:32 PM   #3
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Re: Ugh. Sick of being poor.

Is there any way for you to bring in some extra income from home? Sew? Knit? Crochet? Watch some kids? Clean houses?
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Old 08-23-2013, 02:59 PM   #4
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Re: Ugh. Sick of being poor.

Thanks for the encouragement. I am trying to keep that in mind. I think we just need a plan so I can see some light at the end of the tunnel. Years ago I used to have this saying on my fridge that said, "We are sorry but due to current economical conditions the light at the end of the tunnel has been shut off." It used to make me smile, but its not funny anymore!!!!

As far as going out, we have a built in babysitter - a 15 yr old. We pay him $5 to do it for around 2-3 hours to help him earn money for a bike. But usually we are doing it for appts and such. It would be nice to do it a little more for fun stuff. That is a good idea.

Job ideas - I have made some cute appliqued shirts. Hand dyed, then appliqued with my own designs. I have only made them for my own kids but I have gotten complements on them. I am also pretty artistic and could do children's wall art, etc. I have thought about doing our local farmers market next year. But how can I manage that with three little ones and a DH that works random hours. Those are the challenges I often face. I could do online though, I am just a little overwhelmed on how to market, handle payments, etc. It would be a learning curve but I am open to the idea! And I definitely am qualified to watch kids, but I just feel pretty stretched with my own right now. I am always tired with this pregnancy! I have a plan to open a preschool (if we can save enough and find a house with some space for it) next fall. We have a local Montessori charter that starts at 1st grade so I was hoping to do a Montessori-inspired primary school for 3-6 yr olds. I will have both a 3 and 6 yr old that year so it will be great for them and for us, income wise. I have been told my local moms and teachers that it is a real need. People here are wild for preschool and there are never enough spaces.
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who are the love of my life and the bane of my existence all wrapped up in one wonderful wacky package.
And wife to my amazing DH who supports me in all I do!

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Old 08-23-2013, 03:07 PM   #5
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Re: Ugh. Sick of being poor.

Would your income be more than dh's? Could you finish your degree while working if dh stays home with the kids?
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Old 08-23-2013, 05:30 PM   #6
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Re: Ugh. Sick of being poor.

Could you get a job in a daycare/preschool that could include fees for your kids and still bring home some extra $?
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Old 08-23-2013, 06:26 PM   #7
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Re: Ugh. Sick of being poor.

I would look into going to school anyways... the daycare assistance you receive would be worth accepting so you can eventually get off all assistance. You may qualify for grants to help with tuition. And sometimes the family housing offered by University is less expensive than comparable housing elsewhere. If you can get your degree done while your littles are little, then when they're older and in school you'll be done and ready to go to work. Many of the students in my program had young families.
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Old 08-23-2013, 06:54 PM   #8
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Re: Ugh. Sick of being poor.



What does your husband do for a living? Is it possible to move for him to get a better job? Just a thought...... not an easy one, but still an option. Job hunting is hard when you have a job - but since you are home you could do all the legwork online. (eg apply, write the cover letters, etc).....

I totally get feeling like you are in a wheel just running and running getting nowhere......
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Old 08-23-2013, 07:08 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Mags462 View Post


What does your husband do for a living? Is it possible to move for him to get a better job? Just a thought...... not an easy one, but still an option. Job hunting is hard when you have a job - but since you are home you could do all the legwork online. (eg apply, write the cover letters, etc).....

I totally get feeling like you are in a wheel just running and running getting nowhere......
I was thinking similarly but I was wondering if he could just find a closer job. 30 miles is a big commute that must be eating up your money.
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Old 08-23-2013, 07:21 PM   #10
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Re: Ugh. Sick of being poor.

Or could your dh take some certification classes that can get him a better and different job?
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