Smart ways to stretch your dollars on a very tight budget

My Story: Living on Disability Income

contributed by Vicki

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My husband is disabled, and needs my assistance, which prohibits me the opportunity to work outside the home. We live off his meager Social Security Income. It may seem frightening to most people that a family of 5 can survive on his income of $875.00! Our rent is $525.00. That does not leave much, and certainly not enough to live high on the hog. We have learned a few things we can do to help this situation.

Our teenage kids, do yard care which pays for their needs, and wants. I can do some craft type items, to supplement. I have a line of Infant Wear I can sell, and when income is needed, I make up a bunch and place them in local and area consignment shops. We have developed some crafty items that do sell well, so keep them in mind when more income is needed.

Then there are the holidays! I like that time of the year, because it means we can sell anything we can package, and present to people, as long as it is reasonably priced, useful and moral! We do yard care for our landlord, which they pay us for, and we turn around and give that money back as part of the rent.

People are always needing a quilt top sewn, a baby item made, repairs done, or something that adds income. Every little penny helps when it comes to adding to a small, fixed income.

Our biggest boost is the fact we do not buy on credit. If we cannot pay cash for it, we just don't need it as much as we may think we do! When it comes to birthday's, anniversaries, holidays, or any gift giving time, we make them, and usually from things we have around the house, or at least that do not cost much to purchase. By not costing much, I mean $5-10.00 MAX! We just don't have it to spend or to spare!

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Another thing we do is buy our food in the large family pack, or in bulk, then as soon as we get home I package it into single use sizes. For example a 10 pound chub of ground beef will be packaged into as many as 10 - 1/2 pound portions, and 5 - 1 pound. I just use a simple cheap sandwich bag, then place the individually wrapped bag into a freezer quality zip- lock. The zip lock can be used over and over again, because the raw food never touches it! We do the same with vegetables. I buy frozen, as we can't stand canned. The frozen tastes closer to fresh.

Growing a garden is also helpful, if you live in an area you can do it. This year we can't as we have a deer family living in the woods just outside our back yard! Buy when things are on sale! This is an important part of making the dollar stretch!

I bake our own bread, and make our own noodles for soups and stews. Only when I have not had time to make these things, do we purchase them, or if there is a special sale on pastas. When there is a special sale on them, or other things we use, we stock up. In the months we sell, or bring in extra income, we do stock up, so when the lean months come about, we don't have to put as much out on food.

We get along very nicely on this income and the restrictions that are imposed by my husband's disability. If we look for the "I CANS" rather than all the "I CAN'TS", we find we have a powerful source within ourselves, to come up with things to do! All we have to do is give it a try!

Another boost is we do not feel the need to go to the movies, eat out, or any of the things we see young people spending so much money on today! As long as we live within our means, we are happy and content. We have many things we do as a family that is entertaining, and creative that does not cost us money!

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Another thing is, don't forget to check out the Internet for recipes, and places to sell your arts and crafts! There are also lots of places you can secure a free web site that does allow you to sell your goods from. However, keep in mind that only about 3% of the Internet population is looking to buy. The other 97% is gleaning ideas, or just checking things out!

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