Weekly Update- 1.15.16

This week had some good illustrations of how it’s expensive to be poor.

We paid rent a week late. There’s a $25/day charge for every day it’s late. We did not pay that. If they insist we pay it, I’ll get it to them when we get our income tax back.

We were late paying rent because car insurance was due and even then, that was late. There was a lapse in coverage. We were fined $72 for that lapse. We will be doing taxes muy pronto, so that can wait,too.

There’s some people who want to say this sort of thing is due to poor money management and lack of budgeting skills but nah. I have excellent budgeting and money management skills. I just need some money to work with over here.

Upcoming this week, we have a NYSEG & Time Warner shut-off. Thankfully, I talked to a nice person at NYSEG and I have until Thursday to pay the electric. I think Time Warner will let me make a partial payment.

Good news: The post-Christmas sales blahs are fading and my online biz is picking up. I should have enough money by Monday to pay TW so I don’t lose my Internets .Maybe buy some groceries.Gas for the car. Payday is next Thursday for the husbeast and we’ll be able to pay electric.  We have something like $30 until then. NOT negative $30. 30 whole dollars!

So, it’s not entirely bleak!

Really,it’s not. I swear.

My littlest guy was sick w/ an ear infection and nasty cough but he’s all better now. No one else has been sick *knock on wood*. Husbeast’s co-worker is selling us her beautiful pastel green,organic eggs for $2/doz (going rate is $4.50 here). I’ve been super productive this week with both writing and business stuff. I finished watching Making a Murderer without having an embolism. And Agent Carter comes back next week!

Also, Courtney Barnett released this song that’s an ode to instant ramen (not David Chang’s ramen) and hey, where would we be without ramen?

(Sorry,Courtney. I still would rather have Momofuku ramen)

Photo via Lucky Peach


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Jan 5: Yays,Boos,and Goals

Here’s what’s happening in our world.

Starting with the bad stuff….


  • We’re late with the rent because we had to pay car insurance
  • We had no water from Friday night until Saturday afternoon. I lived in a house without running water once and forgot how much I love running water and indoor plumbing.
    melting snow on the woodstove for toilet flushing

    Eventually, I figured out that it was a small issue with the pump and fixed the problem myself which was a super good thing since I called the landlord’s rental agency, left a message for the “on call emergency” person ( a person took the message, not a machine) and here it is Tuesday and never have heard a word back. I suppose I should have called them to say I got the water running again but I was honestly curious to see how well they respond to issues. I think they failed that test and now I don’t feel as bad about being late with rent.

  • THIS:   Ok, I LOVE my boys but I did not enjoy winter break at all. Not only was there never (well,hardly ever) peace, it’s so hard to work at home and have kids home from school. It’s not like you can really get a lot of work done, which of course adds to stress and frustration when you really have to be making money.
  • Winter showed up. I was just kinda boasting yesterday morning about how awesome I did at winterizing and how toasty warm it was inside but I didn’t wait for the temperature to drop low enough. Holy Elsa, it’s fuh-reeeezing in here. Wood stove roaring and the temp this morning inside is barely 60. It’s the wind. If the wind isn’t blowing, it’s fine.


  • Well, running water was welcomed back. I will never under appreciate it again  
  • I just complained about winter break but we actually did manage to have some good fambly time. We had some good movie nights ( thank you , library), baked( banana bread,of course), played games, and general fun stuff. We made these birdfeeders from my out of control dishes-to-craft-with stash  that I’ve acquired from free piles and yard sales to use for mosaics and various crafty stuff.

    the chickadees love it
  • Food pantry food. Seriously. What would we be eating without it? I guess a pluckier gal would use some of her thrifted tea cups to start an indoor garden!
  • The boys went back to school. I can get back to work. HALLE-effing-lujah
  • My ex (my twins’ dad) bought us a pallet of Envirobricks. With our wood supply running low, this will help a lot. So far, I think they’re awesome and I’m noticing that the bricks are definitely more efficient than the wood. img_1770


  1. pay rent ,obviously
  2. Figure out how to not have garbage. Not even kidding. We have to pay $18 a month for garbage plus $10 for a sheet of garbage tags that go on each garbage can. We barely have any garbage. We compost and recycle everything we can so all of our actual garbage is packaging and the few things that cant be reused or recycled somehow. I want to cut that $18+ out of my budget entirely (I didn’t even pay that bill last month,actually)
  3. Stay warm. Keep stalking all the drafts with non-expanding spray foam and scraps or rags. Make some more draft dodgers for along the floorboards? I don’t know what else I can do. Doorways are covered with drapes or blankets. Windows sealed with vinyl. Just so much ugh
  4. Figure out what to make with this.img_1944 Garlic Piastra? Even Google didn’t help me much. I asked my oldest son because he knows a ton about food plus works at a food bank in another city and he had no idea either. The best I can figure it it’s a dry seasoning for a rub or marinade?  Yay,flavor! I’m nearly out of every herb and spice in my pantry. My Taxmas shopping list looks ridonkulous. I will buy a year supply of ginger if someone doesn’t stop me.
  5. See if we can do our taxes ,like,now. I need Taxmas to be here.

Pantry Goods to Buy in Bulk to Save Money


Pantry Goods to Buy in Bulk to Save Money via Mom Prepares

I also write another blog (which will be a book) about Post-Apocalyptic Living…or Prepping. You’ve seen Doomsday Preppers? Well, I haven’t because I don’t have TV but I’m told that this is most people’s reference point for what a Prepper is. Not to be confused with Preppies (an entirely different animal), Preppers  are people who are preparing for the day when the world as we know it ends.

Quite a few things that  I will share on this blog come from Prepper sites. There are a lot of  similarities between trying to figure out how to live in poverty and preparing for a world where resources are limited . The difference is that when Preppers talk about preparing for emergencies and when the crap hits the fan, that’s real time concern for the poor person.


The link above has some great tips on what you should be buying in bulk to save money. When you’re living on a limited budget or food stamps, this feels like a leap to take…shelling out a bunch of money at once on one thing. Bulk foods is something you can add to your pantry stockpile gradually, one at a time and it will make a difference over time. If you come into a lump sum of cash (income tax returns,selling something major like a car you can’t afford to feed gas and pay insurance on any longer,etc), use some of that money to invest in a few bulk items.


Meal Planning 101

For those who need help figuring out how to meal plan, check out Meal Planning 101.

The one area I tend to be the most organized in is my meal planning. I have found that  being really fussy and detailed about meal planning helps tremendously when working within a small budget.  There is a lot less food waste , money just tossed in our compost heap when I stick to a plan.



The McBudget

This is a sample budget given to McDonald’s workers . McDonald’s is openly saying, “You are going to have to get a second job.” At least they are recognizing how impossible it is to live on minimum wage in the U.S. That’s where the realism ends.

$600 for rent? I live in an itty-bitty small town and you can’t find a place to rent for that. Forget about the city.  I see they did include a car but no gas money. This hypothetical employee lives in a tropical climate where you don’t need heat but they must not be using the A/C too much. Not with that electric bill.

McDonald’s, for its part, charges employees $12.58 a week for the company’s most basic health plan.That’s if they’ve been with the company for a year.  But somehow, this employee has a $20 healthcare plan. I suppose at least they’re not using the Walmart health care plan (telling employees to go apply for Medicaid ). However, they are absolutely assuming that all their employees are going to be receiving food stamps. This is why they didn’t bother budgeting for food. They neglected to budget for groceries that SNAP will not pay for, like toilet paper and personal hygiene items. Clothing is optional,as well. Yay, nudist employees at McDonald’s!

Fighting the Urge has broken this down well.
(slightly adult language at the end of the post)