Money was tight last year. My husband was unemployed and actively searching for a job for half the year. He’s a full time graduate student as well. So here he was studying hard and trying to find a job while I was wondering how we are going to pay for everything. I don’t even want to think about the school loans we will be paying once he’s done in a few years. My father was helping us out for a few months. But we didn’t want to keep on asking him. He already pays loads of taxes and encouraged us to use some of the programs that he is helping to fund with his taxes.
I started by going to a grocery drop off for those with low incomes. I was so embarrassed to be accepting charity. I was raised to work hard for your living. So it was difficult to accept the fact that working hard was not enough. I remember hoping that I wouldn’t run into anyone I knew. What would they think of my parents? When I got home though I was really excited at what I found in my bag. I had eggs, bread, lots of veggies and fruit, and two pounds of frozen ground beef. We began eating way better then we had. I only had to buy pasta and a few other items which were cheap. We did that for a few weeks until I realized that we needed ongoing help.
So I applied for food stamps and medical. We have been receiving $300 a month. Now we were spending $200 a month and eating pretty well until we had to make budget cuts. So getting $300 was like hitting the jackpot. We could stop skimping on the meat and eggs, get all the veggies and fruit we wanted and eat very well. We could even afford to get juice and nuts and a few other treats. Only Toddler Girl was eligible for medical. Now we don’t have to pay cash for her checkups.
My husband recently got a part time job at the same time unemployment ran out. We are hanging in there. I try to make the most of the money we do have. I’m thankful that our government has programs to help people out like us. We won’t need help forever. I’m thankful to be humbled by accepting this help and being reminded every time I pay for groceries using my food stamp card. We’ll pay it all back and more with all the taxes we will have to pay in the future.