Struggles The Poor Do Not Tell You
As more and more people become financially insecure, and drop below the poverty line, there are just as many untold struggles. Barry and I are no exception to this. But today, I will brave it up and share with you some of the more personal details of our financial struggles.
I’m telling you some of these details for 2 main reasons:
- to raise awareness to those more financially secure, that there are these challenges for many of us
- and to let those who are going through similar struggles—YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
It is important to speak out and join forces with our voices about these struggles. By facing the reality that you are not alone, you will be able to straighten your shoulders more and know that if others can make it through the day, so can you!
By identifying with others in similar situations, you are EMPOWERED towards a HOPE and a FUTURE.
People who struggle greatly with their finances usually have a huge challenge just paying the very basic bills. Bills such as:
- electricity bill
- water and sewer bill
- telephone bill
- cable or satellite services
- and even land taxes
For Barry and I personally, we have trimmed the expenses on this list of bills down to as tight as possible. We were blessed to be able to negotiate our mortgage down to about 2% interest. However, we won’t have the mortgage completely paid off until we are both in our 70’s. This is disheartening in itself to know that we will have to keep working at making an income to the very day we die. No retirement in sight for either of us.
We already are on the Ontario Electricity Support Plan which saves us $407/year on hydro. As for the water bill, we shower once per week, laundry every 8-10 weeks, and always hand wash the dishes.
Our telephone service is bare basics—no call display, no call waiting, and no long distance. When we have to make a long distance call, we purchase $5 phone cards to use. We do not have cell phones. Although we have some roam phones in the house, our favorite phone is the rotary dial in our front entrance.
We do not subscribe to the internet, cable or satellite services either. Internet services we access free WiFi at various locations within our community. As for television viewing, we get 2 free to air stations. This gives us the weather and the sometimes important local news information. Why pay for entertainment programming that we neither like nor desire to watch?
The Biggest Bill We Struggle With
The bill that we absolutely struggle with the most, year in and year out is the Land Taxes. No matter how hard we work, scrimp, and save—we can never get ahead on this. As the assessment on our property was increased by $42,000 last year, now we are left with looking at this gap becoming even greater.
When you have a monthly income of $1,000 to work with and your Land Taxes, if paid on a monthly basis, would be over 33% of that income, it is discouraging. Especially when the house in need of repairs.
We recently had a fundraiser and were able to put $1,000 towards our back owing taxes. Leaving us only $3,500 behind. But the next bill comes in 2 months time with the remainder of the taxes owing for this current year.
However, we never let this get too behind by more than a couple of years. We will probably try to pay it current by December 31 by paying it on our Visa cards. But that is a horrible option too. That just means that we only shifted the debt to another spot—it isn’t truly paid off yet.
Dealing With Health Issues
This is another huge struggle for families. Whether it is:
- dental care
- eye care
- and medical care
If you are on a Social Services program such as Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Plan, then you have better coverage than a minimum wage earner.
Barry and I have not been able to see a dentist on a regular basis. The last time I saw a dentist was over 6 years ago to have a molar pulled that was too far gone with a painful cavity. I’m currently “babying” another tooth along, but it hasn’t reached the painful stage yet.
As for eye care, both Barry and I wear glasses, but I can’t recall the last time we had an appointment. Not only is the cost of the appointment beyond our budget, but so is the cost of replacing our glasses. Mine currently are being held together with Scotch tape. Those Dollar Store eye repair kits are life savers. I’ve replaced every screw on my glasses as well as the rubber nose pieces.
We are blessed however that we do not appear to have drastic medical issues requiring constant care and medication. Yes, Barry suffers from a sleep disorder epilepsy, but we manage it to the best of our ability. And we haven’t even had a family doctor for 18 years now. So beyond buying occasional Tylenol, we are pretty healthy.
But not everyone has an easy medical history. Some people require extensive medications that are killing their budgets. To the point of interfering with paying their rent. But without the medication, they can’t work or function either.
Putting Food On The Table
Barry and I have always made putting food on our table a high priority. And not just traditional foods you would receive from a Food Bank either. We make sure we are putting real meat and vegetables on our table.
However, after paying for the bills previously mentioned, many families struggle with finding grocery money too.
Because it is a high priority for us, we spend a lot of time at Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs showing people how to put that real food on their table, even on a tight budget. First by trimming the previous bills as much as possible, and then teaching how to stretch your grocery budget as far as possible.
Have you joined our Free Stuff Community? Do so in the form below, and we’ll start sending you budgeting tips, and more special gifts to help reduce your financial struggles. Starting today. We’d love to have you join us.
After putting a roof over your head and food in your stomach, you are left with needing to put a shirt on your back.
With the abundance of Thrift Shops, Free Clothing Giveaways, and even Facebook Buy & Sell Groups, there are many ways to reduce clothing costs.
One way is to also minimize the number of outfits you actually own and need. You don’t need 50 sweaters, and just as many t-shirts. Even if you are only doing your laundry once a month. Find and buy clothes that are multi-purpose. Can the item be used for work, play, and relaxation? Then it is a good item to include in your wardrobe.
Even when it comes to under garments—just how many bras do you need? I, at the most, only have 2 at any one time. As this is an item to be hand washed anyways, it is all I need.
When you are on a tight budget, your first thought must not be, “Oh, that is pretty”, it must be “Oh, that is functional”.
Our Own Clothing Dilemma
Being in full time ministry and not knowing when I might be moving dirty, greasy appliances, to picking up a box of dishes, my clothes must be work style clothes all the time. This makes getting dressed everyday very easy.
Barry and I only have a maximum of $240 a year to use towards the clothing needs for both of us. That is 2% of our annual income. This year we’ve bought a $16 pair of shoes for Barry and a $17 bra for myself.
However, my clothing challenge currently is pants. I have one pair of jeans. The leg has gotten one hole in it already, which I’ve repaired. But now there is another hole. And there is an expression that you can’t pour new wine into an old wine skin. Well, that is what is happening to these pants. The material is just disintegrating, and sewing the holes is a poor fix.
But, and this is a good dilemma, I’m currently between sizes as I try to lose some weight. But the other problem is that even despite all of the free clothes that are coming through our ministry, Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs, right now, there are none in my size.
Generally however, we just get our clothes for free from the ministry. But it looks like I’m going to have to find some money and go find a pair of pants elsewhere very soon.
What Are Some Struggles The Poor Do Not Tell You?
Well, there are many more not even mentioned here. But here is a brief overview of the struggles mentioned today:
- water costs
- electricity costs
- telephone costs
- internet costs
- cable/satellite costs
- dental costs
- eye care costs
- and clothing costs
All of these struggles are just a brief glimpse into the lives of those who are challenged with low finances. There are many other struggles not even mentioned here, from depression and mental health issues to simply being able to put your children in extra-curricular activities.
The list of the struggles is almost as many as the people caught in these struggles. So, hopefully today you are:
- more aware of the struggles faced by people around you
- and if in these struggles, you know you are not alone!
Don’t Try To Keep Doing This Alone
If you haven’t yet joined our Free Stuff Community, again, we invite you to join us. Together we can help overcome the struggles of life. It is easier when 2 are working together. We’d like to help you get started by sending you some free gifts. So, complete the form below and let us get started–