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I just read a post in 'Important announcement' that has got me thinking.

I hope this isn't offensive to anybody (it certainly isn't meant that way) but I'm wondering about being frugal and/or 'poor' in different countries and what our differences are.

Here are my reasons:

Firstly part of the post read as follows:

I use the support to deal with the fact that my financial and sometimes my emotional situation is so dire. I cannot afford "extras" I don't pay for web service (I access at work) I can't afford clothes or presents to myself etc... Most of the times I depend on the kindness of others for groceries just so we can survive.

I KNOW that we DO have differences for example straight away ~ We don't have to pay for medical care unless we WANT to. We do pay a prescription fee for medication but that's it.

Here is a bit about my own personal situation (and that's all I can talk about with knowledge!)

Neither I or my husband have employment at the moment and he 'did' have a very good job so things are quite hard for us, compared to what we are used to,

I have five children and we recieve approx £179 per week (which eBay tells me (LOL) is approx $300 US)

I am lucky that I have been bought up to save both money and 'things' instead of buy, buy, buy.

I NEVER buy new clothes for myself ~ they come from car boot sales or charity shops. And luckily so far I can't remember the last time I HAD to buy my kids new clothes.

We don't have coupons here so we 'just' budget and buy shops 'own brands' etc.

But neither I or my kids have gone without anything (except maybe cable TV, expensive named trainers, computers and all the other over the top things kids CAN'T survive without LOL)

I drive a car (second-hand) we have animals, I pay for the internet etc etc etc. (I can give loads more details obviously but I don't want to be boring lol)

I'm just wondering how 'help' varies from country to country and 'what' we spend our money on as it may be pig-headed of me but I honestly can't see any reason to be 'seriously' poor.

Don't get me wrong there is loads I 'want' that I can't have, I sometimes worry about where the bill money is coming from and I have had days when I've wondered what we will eat even.

But I don't use a credit card so luckily I'm not actually 'in debt' we just either have spending money (or not as the case might be)

But my 'needs' have gracefully ALWAYS been met (even at the last hour ;) ) and if my kids were starving I KNOW there is still more I could cut out on to save even more.

Drastic things (to me) maybe ~ out the mobile phone and the car, sell the computer :eek: and if really necessary everything else I own! I just 'choose' not to go that far at the moment ~ but I could.

I don't in any way want to get everyone 'heated' :fuming: I'm just being nosey I guess and I'm interested now in whether we are actually watching the money out of choice or because we have to or because we CAN'T even EAT! :(

Sorry to go on and on ~ I just had to justify why I'm so nosey.
 

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I know that I am from the U.S. but I think it's a very interesting topic. I know that we are in a similar situation here,our income is less than the bills right now! I think it would be great to compare and get ideas from others as to how we deal with things the same and in different ways!:)
 

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This could turn into one of the best money saving and sharing about how to get through rough times threads yet! I found this site today explaining what the U.S. Federal Poverty Guidelines are for 2003.

http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/03poverty.htm

According to thier calculations, our family is right at what our government considers the poverty line cut off for a family of 5. My children are covered under our state's health care for low income children and my husband and I pay for our health coverage under Washington State's Basic Health care plan (your premiums are based on your income, we have doctor copays and medical copays for medications covered under the plan). According to our case worker, we also still qualify for food stamps and other assistance. Years ago, we voluntarily left the foodstamp program because we were/and still are able to feed our family without the foodstamps. Our case worker said she had never seen anyone voluntarily take themselves off the rolls.:) Please don't get me wrong, I was very thankful for the foodstamps when we desperately needed them and I am glad they are there to help others who may find themselves in a bad situation like we were in at the time. We also have housing assistance in the United States for people that meet certain income guidelines, but there can be a long wait to get that assistance (sometimes years). Many of the electric companies have assistance programs and so do some local community action programs. My children and I volunteer each month for a program that delivers food commodities to the elderly and also distributes it to families who qualify under certain government guidelines (and the income levels are quite high on that). We also are recipients under that program. It's not a lot of food, but every little bit helps when your budget is tight. I hope this is the kind of information that you were looking for Bev.:)

I think that everyone has their own personal definition of what "poor" means. For some it is truely that they cannot afford to provide the basic needs for their family; food, shelter, clothing, medical care. Even within this area, there are differences in how people perceive their "needs".

Example: Our family lives in a smallish older manufactured home with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. Our house payments are about 1/2-1/3 of what rent would be in another comparable home in our community. We don't have cable tv, subscribe to the newspaper, or have many paid magazine subscriptions (we have 2 of them, both homeschooling related). We go out to eat once a awhile, but not on a regular basis and it's usually somewhere cheap, but it's still a treat. We have a tight budget and have to be very careful how we spend our money. Both our vehicles are paid for and we try to limit our driving. We are right at the poverty level according to the federal guidelines. Funny thing is that I don't feel "poor". We have everything we need and God meets those in some miraculous ways at times! We have also been blessed with many of our wants.:) We could live in a smaller home and our need for shelter would still be met (we'd be cramped, but we would still be sheltered). We could have only one vehicle and our need would still be met for transportation (it would make things a bit "interesting" since DH and I each need a vehicle on the same day). We could even lower our food budget, but we our menu would not be as varied and we'd be eating a lot of oatmeal!

We have friends make a lot more money than we do, but also have a higher standard of living than we do. Some of them have house payments that are the same amount as my husband's paycheck for the entire month! There are others who are "trapped" by the rental market and have to pay twice what we do for our house payment for rent on a tiny 1 bedroom apartment. They pay outrageous amounts for daycare. They cannot seem to ever get ahead and barely make ends meet.:(

That being said, I think there are some people who are truely poor and are unable to even meet their basic needs. For others, I think it's an "attitude" of being poor. For us, as defined by the US government, we are at poverty level (i.e.poor), but we don't feel that way at all!
 

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Master Dollar Stretcher aka AngeleeBob
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Hey Debbie we are at the poverty level too! hehehe. We are working hard so that my dh can leave his factory job and we can be poorer! LOL. We want the freedom more than the money. He has to work 70 straight days every summer with no day off and we want away from that and the freedom to live anywhere in the US. Anyway as far as assitance goes for the US. It's crappy. My friend used to get about $500.00 a month in cash assistance for her and 5 kids then they give her $650.00 a month in food stamps. Now who in the world spends more on food than monthly bills? She is a great shopper and could do on half that, but the cash is a huge problem. She does get housing help, but it took 18 months. It is just so used here, that they can't give out much cash because it would not go for what it should. I am happy to report though that she managed and got her ged and then a college degree. She is still struggling due to the economy, but is no longer on the cash assistance. I am very proud of her can you tell.
 

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Well.... according to that site poverty level for us is $15,260. We receive $532 a month from the state... that makes $6,384 a year. WELL below poverty level.

We don't pay rent, but by the time we pay the elect./phone/gas/water bills, buy diapers, and fill our cars' gas tanks we are just about broke for the month. We have no cable TV, no newspapers, no magazines. We do not rent movies. Everything we do have is from the "curbside mall" or the thrift store. We do not eat out.
We do get food stamps, which help alot. We always have food to eat... maybe not what we would like, but food nonetheless. I try to use as many coupons as possible... but we live in the land of NO doubles. Alot of times I don't have anything available to trade for coupons, but you guys have always helped me out when I need it. :) We receive free health insurance through the state as well... which is a blessing. Thanks to CJ I can borrow library books and movies through the mail for free. That is a wonderful program here.
We do pay for internet, but its our only entertainment and I think we would go nuts or kill eachother without the "escape" it gives us.

I feel poor. Even though we have the necessities of life. I can't afford to do the things for Tyler that I would like to. I can't take him to the Zoo or the Childrens Museum... I can't buy him nice things. Alot of months Dave's parents have had to buy us diapers. We make due... we go for walks, play in the yard, and paint pictures. We ride the ATVs. We have fun, but I wish I could treat him to a special day once in awhile. I need a haircut very badly, and can't afford it. Right now my van has an expired registration, and the insurance is past due. I can't afford to pay to come here to the Village. The site I have been making graphics at is paid as well... the lady that "hired" me is letting me use her old account, which expires this month. So that will be gone too. Our bills are going to be doubled up this next month, we had to put them off to get tires on the Jeep last month.

I started selling Avon... and can't get any orders. Dave has applied at every job he can find without driving 40 miles into town. Its hard to apply when you don't have gas to drive that far. Not to mention making it in this little town is very much about who you are and who you know. And we are no one and know no one.
The state requires you to do "job search" for 55 combined hours a month... which is VERY hard to do in such a small town. They are threatening to "sanction" us, and will eventually cancel us all together for not doing what they ask.
Alot of people do side jobs for money... which is hard to do when you don't know anyone in town.

Sorry to go on and on. So all in all... we are well below poverty level, which I think makes us poor. Moneywise anyways. We are rich in alot of ways too though.

We actually decided yesterday to move back to PA soon. The cost of living is low there. We have been checking out the housing and jobs online and there are actually quite a few in the areas we are thinking of moving to. Plus my family is all there, which would help my sanity.

As for getting rid of other things we don't need. I feel we are at the bare minumum now, and to get rid of anything else would try my sanity even more. I get so depressed at times because I can't go somewhere or do something. I feel "stuck" at home.

Sorry to bore ya all.... but you asked, BEV. :p LOL
 

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:hugz: Sherry,
I'm truely sorry that you have found yourself in this situation. I know how hard it can be. We've been without jobs before and the time that it took for DH to find another one that would even pay the bills was extremely tight and stressful. My children were still very young, with 2 still in diapers. It put us in the hole financially for about a year afterwards. I too cut everything to the core, did the foodstamps, medical and also visited the food bank just to keep this family fed. My husband was able to pick up a few odd jobs here and there during this time which did help out quite a bit. People in town here (we had just moved in) felt sorry for us because the job he lost was not his fault. The people that had been employing him were well know for their underhanded and illegal dealings (we didn't know this at the time when DH was hired) with others in the community and the government. Luckily, we didn't lose our home, but we know of another family that did because of these same employers.
I pray that a good job will come through for your husband soon wherever it is that you want to live. If there are any coupons that you are needing, please let me now and I'll see if I have any.:)
 
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