August 25, 2011,
A.F. asks from Lees Summit, MO on August 16, 2011
Money Trouble, Buying Food, Etc. I Dont Know What to Do Please Help Us.
We have been having major money troubles, to the point where we literally have no food in our house. i dont have one single can of vegetables to offer my kids right now. Our pantry consists of lots of noodles, 1 hamburger helper, crackers, muffilns. and all i have for cans are kidney beans, tuna, and stewed tomatoes, peanutbutter.. i have no fresh fruits or veggies, and a few packages of hamburger.. no cheese, hardly any milk.. i can't feed my daughter, let alone myself or my husband. We have no extra money left over after our checks. not even for food and we don't qualify for food stamps because my husband makes too much. He makes 15/per and i make 7/hour.. however we have so many bills. our house payment, two car payments, full coverage insurance on both cars because they are both loans, cell phone bill, trash pickup, electricity bill, and gas. we spend a lot of money in gas because my husband has to drive 30 miles to and from work every day. his car gets decent gas mileage. but its still a lot. he also smokes which i can't get him to stop no matter how hard i try. so thats an extra 4 dollars out of our money every other day and it adds up. our bills are so high that we are completely broke and food stamps won't take those bills into consideration. i also go to school full time aside from working part time. what are we supposed to do. none of these bills are things we can give up. we dont have a choice but to have two cars. Im about to go crazy having to ask family if we can eat with them so my daughter can have a real meal. so she can eat healthy, we used to qualify for foodstamps until my husband got this new job and had to get a new car, therefore we always had plennty of food. i'm on the verge of a breakdown.you have no idea how it is to be a mother not being able to feed her kids and no where to go. please help.
2 moms found this helpful
So What Happened?™
K.M. answers from Chicago on August 16, 2011
Well looks like you still have internet and that costs us 30$ a month. There's money to be found but it looks like well you don't want to find it and are looking for a handout.
Sorry if my answer is mean but my husband has 1 full time job and 1 part time job and is looking at getting another, so I don't have to work.
So it seems like he doesn't really care if he is willing to throw that money around.
5 moms found this helpful
J.K. answers from Phoenix on August 16, 2011
Get rice and a bag of dry pinto beans. you can cook them in a crock pot all day, they're cheap and their is a zillion things you can do with them...
2 moms found this helpful
B.C. answers from Los Angeles on August 16, 2011
When I first read your post, I had to get up and leave the computer and watch TV for a while. It really made me very angry that your husband would spend $2 per day so he could put smoldering weeds up to his lips and be a butt sucker. To me, no adult can smoke and have their children go hungry and still be called a man or a woman.
Tell your parents and his parents and ask for help. Families are supposed to help each other out, no matter how embarressing it may be to tell them.
Read Sharon Z's post. Sounds like she's been poor too. On $2 per day, you can all eat. Don't buy hamburger helper, or rice a roni, or any prepared foods. (During one of the poorest times in my life, I ate one hotdog and four small potatoes per day. You aren't there yet.)
Its hard to know where to start. The first thing is to cut expenses.
Call your insurance comapny and ask how much your car insurance would be with a $500 or $1000 deductable. You can look up insurance companies on the internet. Then call the other insurance companies and ask how much their insurance is. Go with the lowest bid. You have a computer or you wouldn't be on mamapedia. Cancel any cable you may have. Cancel netflix. Cancel any magazine subscriptions.
Turn all the lights off in the house all the time. If you leave a room, turn the light off, even if it is for 60 seconds. If you have any room lights that have two or more lights in them, unscrew all the bulbs but one. Turn your waterheater down to the lowest setting, but not the "vacation" setting.
Turn your a/c off when you aren't at home. Turn your thermostat up to 80 degrees. The a/c will take the humidity out of the air and make 80 degrees more comfortable.
Your husband should be driving the car that gets the best fuel economy. Air the tires up to the maximum rated pressure. Its printed on the sides of each tire. He should be driving no faster than 55 mph even if the speed limit is 65 mph. I used to do fuel milage tests. I won a bet because I got 40 mpg out of a small chevy pickup. You do it by driving slow (45 mph) with fully aired up tires and you feather foot the accellerator and coast up to signal lights and catch them on green when ever possible. You do the same in your vehicle. I consistantly get 20% better fuel economy than my wife even though we drive the same speeds.
On your going to school. Go to your school's employment office and see if you can get a better job. If you are this hard up for money, you should drop out of school and use the gas you save to feed your child first and you and your husband second. You can go back to school when you get your budget in order. Start a garden. You have just enough time before the first frost to grow some squash for winter meals and maybe some pumpkins to grow and sell for Halloween. You can grow some swiss chard for greens and it will produce until the first hard frost. Spinach, carrots, cabbage, broccoli and peas are also good cold weather crops
Food wise, NO more bottled water or beer or soda, or wine. Water from the tap and milk for your child. Buy a 5 lb bag of rice or a 10 lb bag of potatoes, which ever is cheaper. Buy a pound or so of hot dogs or chicken leg 1/4's or a whole chicken, which ever is cheaper, price per pound. Boil the a part of the chicken or hot dogs with the potatoes or rice for flavor. After your child has eaten, then you and your husband can share the rest. Use two or three hot dogs per night or a chicken leg 1/4. That way you make it last You should be able to get 4, maybe 5 meals out of a 5 lb frying chicken if you are careful. Or three meals out of a package of hot dogs. You can cook an apple with a little sugar and cinnimon for desert.
Will it be difficult? Of course, but then you have an obligation to make your way in this world and make sure you child is taken care of. If your husband is hungry, have him give you his cigarette money so you can have a better meals.
If you will list your bills, I'll try and help you some more.
FOR MAM-PEDIA MOMS reading this, she wrote me and I suggested ways she can actually save (put money aside) about $200+ each month and still feed her family.
Good luck to you and yours.
17 moms found this helpful
T.N. answers from Albany on August 16, 2011
I'm sorry A., but there is no END to the things I could make out of the ingredients you listed you have.
I mean, hamburger AND tuna?
I DO know what it's like to be piss poor babe, most of us have been there.
I hope you can hold it together and make FUN and cleverness with your daughter about what's for dinner.
You will get older, you WILL get through this. Times WILL get better. Don't let the sucky stuff make it impossible for you to see the GOOD stuff.
14 moms found this helpful
S.Z. answers from Reno on August 16, 2011
First, let go of the idea of what you think life "should" be like. Most people I know, myself included, have gone through extended periods of time in which meals are mostly instant noodles or mac and cheese (made with powdered, not fresh milk.) "Variety" meant having the chicken flavor for lunch and the beef flavor for dinner. Is it ideal? No. Is it normal? Yes. Will your family be malnourished and unhappy if you don't have a picture perfect meal every day? No, unless it goes on for many years at a stretch AND you make a big deal about how "poor" you are.
I grew up in a time and place where having friends over for dinner was common, and might happen several nights a week. In our household, though, we had to check with my mom well in advance, because we could only have friends on spaghetti nights. When we had anything else, there was just enough for us. When we had meat, we would have only 1 burger, pork chop, hot dog or whatever else per family member, so we couldn't have friends over on those nights. The only leftovers we ever had were boiled potato quarters - I thought it was so odd when my friends complained about leftover nights, because we never had that much food. Yet I never, EVER worried about going hungry, because I knew my mom would have something on the table every night.
You may have to re-learn how to cook. Hamburger Helper and a can of fruit cocktail is a complete meal. Sandwiches, hot dogs, pork & beans and corn bread may not be anyone's idea of the perfect meals, but no one will starve eating them! I have some great casserole recipes that I originally used because they were cheap, but my family loves them, so we keep eating them even though we can afford something pricier.
Google recipes from the Great Depression - I have a great cake recipe that uses no eggs, butter or milk.
Are you signed up for Freecycle.org? Post a notice asking if anyone has extra produce from their garden.
Even in an apartment, you can plant pots of tomatoes, carrots, onions etc. In a yard, you can plant more. Even if you can't grow any this year, make sure you get seeds (and pots, if needed) for next year.
Many food banks will not ask about your income. Call around and find out what's available near you. Our community has Kids Cafe serving places (parks, schools) where anyone under 18 can get a free dinner, no questions asked. It might not be your idea of a great dinner - it's likely to be pasta or sandwiches - but it's food.
On the flip side, it's SO aggravating to food bank workers when people say, "I'm so desperate, we'll take anything" over the phone, then show up at the food bank and wrinkle their noses in disgust and say, "I only use name brands," or, "I wanted fresh food" (most food banks only have access to cans and boxes). I've seen it happen, and it's always made me want to say, "You can't be very desperate if you won't accept this. Please leave it for someone who really needs it."
Hang in there. People who've lived through hard times are more resouceful, compassionate, capable and helpful than those who haven't. Learning how to "make do" is a good life lesson. I know it feels like you're letting your kids down, but what you're really doing is giving them skills they'll need as adults.
11 moms found this helpful
S.M. answers from Kansas City on August 16, 2011
You can find some local pantries to help. But in the meantime I thought of several ways to use what you have. I've certainly had to take what I have and make something of it. You said you have noodles, tuna, and a can of tomatoes and beans. I'd put all that together. It may sound like a crazy mix, but it's healthy and I don't think it will taste bad at all.
As far as husband goes... If I were you I would break his smokes into a thousand pieces when he's not looking and tell him to either stop or get out. You will find a way to survive or you could go to a shelter. Cigarettes before your child's meals is not cool.
11 moms found this helpful
E.D. answers from Seattle on August 16, 2011
###-###-#### Hope Center of Pike County (food bank/soup kitchen)
200 S 9th St, Hannibal, MO 63401
http://www.marioncountyhealth.org/ Your children under the age of 6 should be illegible for WIC.
((Side note: Liked the suggestion of sitting down and looking at child care + insurance + car payment = enough to justify being at work.
Also, we often have items of worth sitting in our home collecting dust. Record collections, rare books, nice clothes, pricey furniture, antique furniture...I know it's hard to part with but those things can bring in enough to eek by.
Also, buying the "right" kind of food (food that will stretch) is helpful. Use the scraps to make stock. I like to buy whole chickens. 1st night will be sweet potato, potato, mushroom, celery, carrot, roast. 2nd night I drop the chicken carcass and left of celery/carrot/mushroom/onion/other veggie "scraps" into a big pot of water and boil stock. Viola, chicken broth. Chicken noodle soup for dinner! Left overs for lunch. Just an example. I like power-punch veggies like broccoli and spinach. More bang for your buck. Combine with starch and a small amount of a protein. Tasty cheap meals! They exist...takes practice, and I'm still learning.
Be persistent! Don't give up! Get on the phone and keep calling and asking for resources. Explain the situation and ask if the person on the other end can direct you to a place that will have what you need.
Scale dooooooooown (if possible). Keep the heat lower, the lights off, the AC lower. Cut 2nd lines, cut car, move into a smaller space...
Take as few trips into town as possible (I go into town 2x a week because it's expensive and a pain in the rumpus - but I also stay at home with the kids so that is possible)
Ask for help. Like you're doing. No shame in that! Lot's of folks are experiencing financial hardship...we've got to help each other out ;-)
Good, good, good luck!))
10 moms found this helpful
M.C. answers from Cincinnati on August 16, 2011
I am a vegetarian but even my mom liked this when she visited... It sounds a little weird but its really good and something you have on hand ...Beans/Pasta/Stewed Tomatoes (I actually use cut up whole tomoatoes but stewed is close to the same thing). Beans are an excellent source of protein and will fill you up. Also, my mom used to make us cold tuna mac when we were kids....do you have a couple teaspoons of mayo? With your noodles and tuna there is another meal. Good luck.
Edited to Add...this is not a bash against smokers at all..but I seriously do not see how he is willing to spend at min $60 a month on them instead of food for his daughter. He needs to get his priorities in order. I even smoked several years before getting pregnant so I do understand the additction but choosing a cig instead of your daughter eating is a bit ridiculous.
9 moms found this helpful
L.M. answers from New York on August 16, 2011
Start with this website. There are hundreds of post on this website about ways to save money.
I think you really need to take stock of the things you have and the things you need. It's obviously you are living well beyond your means.
You have food in the house you just need to be creative. Ask for family for some food. They probably give food to the local food bank or food drives, I'm sure they would rather help you. Eat a few meals a week at a soup kitchen, Get some food from the food pantry. Grow your own veggies.
What are using to access the internet? You do not need internet access. Cell phone??? Do you have a land line? You only need one.
Two car payments? Are you kidding? Sell one of the cars and buy one you can afford.
Look into ways to bring more income into the household.
I'm sorry for not being more compassionate, but to me this reads as "poor me, somebody please solve my problems". No, I don't know what it's like not to be able to feed my kids because I've never allowed myself to be in that position. When necessary I can be very frugle. You can do the same, just be creative.
9 moms found this helpful
T.C. answers from Dallas on August 16, 2011
After all your bills, and the cigarettes, is there ANY money left over? If so, is it solely spent on food?
For long term solutions...
Is your daughter going to daycare while you work or does she go to school while you work? Thought being, you might want to see if the cost of childcare is more than what you're making. You might potentially have more money if you stop working/paying for childcare and stay home with her (not sure how old she is).
If you did stay home, you could then try doing something from home to make money...even watching other kids. If you charge $30-35 per child per day (I think that's a pretty appealing rate!), you could make more per hour than your making if you watched two kids. Plus, you'd be saving on gas. I know it's not the most appealing idea, but depending on how many kids you decide to watch, you could bring in a considerable amount of money. My neighbor had to do this when her hubby was hardly bringing anything in. I don't know if you could do this, but if you ended up staying home, you could get rid of the second car...one less car payment and insurance cost. We did that at one point. It did make us stuck at home, but we saved money.
Also, make sure you create a budget if you haven't already. Track your money really closely. The cigarettes are frustrating because that's literally taking money from your family for food.
Other comments have had great ideas in them... Hope things look better soon.
7 moms found this helpful