If you are new to the series and you want to read the beginning of the story, see HERE.
*First off I want to say that this post may be a little controversial. I want you to feel free to comment, but please be respectful to others beliefs and opinions. If I see any comment that is talking down on anyone it will be deleted.*
I want to be clear that this post is not necessarily what we do, but just information that I think is important to making a small budget work, especially when living in a high cost of living area. It is important that you look at all aspects of your abilities and things you can do when you are trying to live without debt. Some people make a choice not to use these things, but I believe they are there for a reason and there is a time and a place for all of them, it is up to you to judge if you are in that place at any time in your life and I respect that even if I don’t agree.
Using all your resources is an important part of living without debt no matter what you think is a resource. I want to highlight a few of the most important ones that are available to everyone. I also believe they should be used in this order as this is the order that will benefit you the most and help you to get by with the most possible.
First is using Family and Friends for help as needed– I put this first as I think everyone will have times where family will be there when no one else is. I think any help a family gives should be a gift, not a loan. Service amongst family is of the highest importance and sometimes that means financial or some other type of service. Sharing food with family is a great resource. whether you do a potluck type of dinner every so often or you use them for baby sitting so you can go to work if needed. Family and friends can be a HUGE money saver when used correctly. Sometimes it is a give and take type of thing like trading baby sitting.
If you as a mom have to work to make ends meet, then try to trade baby sitting with someone to help cut costs so you can work less and be home with your family more. Trade food from your stock pile that you got free or nearly free for car repairs or other thing that you need done. Sometimes you can trade or share kids clothing. There are tons of things that you can do to use this resource that can’t be done in any of the other categories.
Second is using your Church for help if needed– Most churches have something set up for it’s members to help them when they are in need. My church has a very extensive welfare program which includes food for those who don’t have it, shelter and clothing if times get really touch and just about everything you need to survive. Other churches may not provide quite so much, but they usually have something set up so those within the church are helping each other.
When using this resource it is important to note what may be required of you to get the help. Some churches don’t require anything in return for help while others require that you give back through service in the church or for others who are suffering in some other way. I think this resource is a very powerful one that lots of people forget about and don’t use. It is important to use this as much as you can as you don’t know what type of help you will be able to give to others until you are in that place yourself. I think this resource is one that helps your perspective along with your wallet.
Third is using the Government programs if needed– For some this isn’t an option. They have decided in their family that they are not going to ever use this no matter what happens. It is my belief that the Lord is always in charge. He knows what is needed and I think these programs, though they have been misused by many over the years, were set up for a reason. The spirit of support and helping others was definitely there when they were first set up.
There are many Government programs that you can use, again I think they should be used in this order:
WIC: Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) is a program that helps those who are pregnant nursing or children 5 and under who can’t make ends meet, get food. The items that are available are the same for every person and you qualify based on income. Those receiving WIC get milk, bread, produce,beans, and cheese. They give you enough that if used well should make you enough food to last you through the month. They don’t give you everything however so you still need to buy things, but they do give you enough supplement of the essentials to last you through some of the hardest months.
Subsidized housing: The government has lots of different scales of housing opportunities. This includes rent help for a couple months, a partial rent that you pay while the government helps with the rest, or section 8 where the government pays the full amount. The options and availablility of these types of help differs by state, so be sure you look into your local opportunities if you are looking for this type of help.
Government Health care: This also has varying degrees based on state, but most states offer some kind of help to those who qualify financially. These programs are usually very strict to who you can see and what type of procedures you can get, so be sure to look into that when applying as well.
Food Stamps: These are now a card and not stamps in most places, but they have the same purpose. there is a certain amount given to you based on your family size for anything food related. If you are really in a bind financially this can save you a few hundred dollars. And to sweeten it even more, you can use coupons with the food stamps. So you money should go a LONG way. I recommend that if you do use these to use as little of them as needed. don’t just spend them to spend them as it is wasteful.
Each of us are at a different stage in life and has different needs. it is important to think about each of these resources seriously and use them when they are really needed. Try as hard as you can to do it yourself, but if you can’t, don’t be ashamed to get the help you need. That is why these things are there and using them only when needed ensures that they are being used properly. There are stages in our life when we will ask for the help and stages where we will be able to give freely to others in need. By using these we are able to accomplish that goal of giving. Be sure you are keeping your goal of giving in mind as you climb the ladder to financial freedom.
photo credit: therunnersays