1 JULY 2015 - Budget highs and lows

I saved money today... I didn't leave the house!  :-) 

Actually, I got busy in the beginning of the day with creating a new budget for July and it took longer than I expected.  I have been on a quest to find the least time-consuming way to budget and track my life... financially, physically (diet and exercise), and with calendar events.  Today I revised one of my previous forms to try a new way to budget the week.  If I knew how to share it here, I would.  It turned out pretty good.  If it works out well, I will create a blank version and list it for sale at my Etsy shop (work2gather.etsy.com) and/or maybe my fiverr shop (fiverr.com/work2gather)  and/or maybe my eBay shop (ebay.com/usr/work2gather).  This is just one of the digital products I am trying to get finished to sell online.

I am sure I have told you before, I don't do well in the summer heat.  My aging body and health issues haven't made that reality any better.  :-)  With the temperatures in the 90's by noon, I decided to stay home and get some other things done.

I didn't have anything earth-shaking or mandatory planned.  I have just been trying to get some of the household items I need and stamps for mailing letters.  To get better mileage out of my expensive daily bus pass, I was going to go to the Salvation Army's weekly 50% off Sale Day at its Thrift Stores.  The Wednesday sale is one of my favorite times to shop for things I might need -- or discover while I am there.  Normally, my budget can only stretch for one of their weekly sales each month, so I will have to set aside time and money for a different Wednesday this month.  Tomorrow I will try again to leave early and beat the horrible heat wave we are having here.

Working on a budget always make you conscious of what you are spending. 

It prompted me to print off my pantry inventory form to catch up with my food supplies and decide which food items are the most important for me to buy this month.  (This is another digital form I hope to sell one day, after I get all the major "bugs" out of it and can write the text to go with it [instructions]). 

You have to remember that the maximum food stamp allotment for a single person is approximately $200/month.  Each recipient's amount is decided by a government formula that adjust their income by their basic needs expenses like housing and utilities.  I currently live with my son, so my very small retirement income reduced my food stamp allotment from just under the maximum amount to $126 a month.  I am currently up for review, but nothing in my financial status has changed, despite all my efforts, so it will probably stay the same.  It was hard to live with the $200 per month amount... it is getting progressively harder to survive with the reduced amount.  I am learning even more about cheap food again...and trying to find the healthier versions this time around.  I will share what I learn as I can.

Another food goal on my as-I-can-get-it-done list is creating a disaster supply kit...because I know how difficult it is to survive without food and money at the same time.  In a disaster, if you still have a place to live, all the supplies you may need will be gone by the time you get to the store.  If you live on food stamps, especially if you have children, you won't have anything left to buy those things anyway.

Over a long period of time, I have been gathering different lists of the items that are suggested for these kinds of situations.  I think I have discovered lists from FEMA, the Red Cross ( I just found a link for households and one for business disaster prep), and maybe other websites or materials, including survivalist websites. I recently discovered information for disaster prep for your pets, which is something I never really thought about before.

The main item I want to try to get is the hand-crank emergency radio (find a sample here) because power always goes away in disasters, but it might be good to have around for other circumstances.  I didn't know they existed until I started looking for my lists of suggested supplies.

Fitting all this into a food stamp budget is a MAJOR challenge!  :-)  Emergency supplies are also a real emergency need for low-income households.  People with houses have space and money to make these preparations...people who are homeless, living in small apartments, or with relatives and friends, don't really have a way to get ahead of unexpected events.
Once I figure out my disaster supplies, I will share my adventure with you.

I often think I should share my thoughts on the events of the day, but I am not yet ready to comment. I think it is more important to share the daily trials of poverty because most people have no idea what it is like...they just assume we are leeches that devour the tax-life of the country.  We are really just people struggling to survive, just like everyone else, but we don't have the ability to overcome our obstacles as easily as others.

My JUNE Twitter campaign is over.  It seems strange to not to be posting, but I know I will one day make another effort sometime in the future. 

In the meantime, you can always go to one of my sales sites to purchase the items I have listed.  The choices will increase as I am able to increase them so keep checking back.  Every purchase will help me, but it will also help build resources for the future.