My parents were dirt poor, literally we lived below the poverty line when I was a child and we 'lived' off of much less than a grand a month. My mother, being the shining example of caring motherhood, refused to work, leaving my not-even-high-school-educated but very hardworking father to earn whatever he could. Usually it was minimum wage, due to his lack of GED or equivalent. He worked upwards of 90+ hours a week just to make the bills (and often didn't, due to my mother's terrible habits with money), so he was never home, and I developed a whole host of relationship problems in my teen years due to the fact that I had 'daddy issues'. There were some days I remember going hungry. During school days, sometimes the only meals I would get would be at school. We were evicted from our trailers so many times I couldn't count. For some reason my parents NEVER got WIC or EBT, or asked for help from the Salvation Army or any other charity places. I'm not sure if it was from pride, but if I had been able, I would have gone just to assure I had a full belly on a regular basis. Plus, I was sick of constantly moving. We often had no working vehicle because we couldn't afford repairs or even basic maintenance, and we certainly never had health insurance or a savings account. Because of my family not being able to afford nice clothes and expensive haircuts, I was outcast in school for not fitting into the popular crowds and was painfully shy. I didn't break triple digits in my weight until I was -17- and had been working for nearly a year, making my OWN money for food and clothes.
Nowadays, I am a stay at home mother (only by request of my husband, since I've held my own regular job since I was 16) of a seven-month-old and live in the middle-to-upper-middle class income bracket. My husband is well educated and has a very good job, and I refuse to allow my daughter to live in the same conditions I was forced to live in. If something ever happened to his income, you're damn right I'd ask for charity and government assistance. My little girl will not go hungry, and she will not be teased and bullied at school because she didn't have the right clothes to fit in. As soon as she is old enough to go to school, I am going back to college to get my Masters' so that I have the opportunity to join in the income earning, and we will provide her the opportunities that my parents never could.
Now, my parents live with my husband and I, due to their advanced age, various disabilities and my mother's refusal to care for my father now that he can no longer walk. I watched my dad work himself into early disability while my mother sat by with a perfectly healthy body, and it made me realize as I grew up that one day, I would care for him the way he cared for me so that he wouldn't have to be forced to live in neglect because of my mother.
Our monthly expenses:
200+ electric (I work to reduce this daily, but with two TVs, two computers, video game systems and appliances running all hours of the day...well, that's not going to happen.)
115 Cable internet
90 for 3 cell phones (prepaid, to save money)
500 groceries (four adults and a baby, it's one of our biggest but one of the most necessary expenses.)
250+ entertainment (This includes XBOX Live subscriptions, going to the theater, shopping, dining out, haircuts, salon trips, etc.)
200+ for the baby (formula, diapers, juice, and baby food, clothes, baby wipes, and toys.)
40+ for the cats (food, litter, snacks and toys.)
135 car/home insurance
150+ misc. expenses (toiletry items, birth control, household goods, etc.)
That adds up to well over 2400 a month. But for four grown adults and a baby, with a mortgage and two vehicles, I think that's pretty damn reasonable.
I could not imagine living in a trailer that will not accrue value, unlike a home, living without insurance, or having no extra money for vanity's sake and other miscellaneous purchases. I feel deeply sorry for her children.