How to Survive When You Can’t Pay Your Bills

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you'll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

Author of Be Ready for Anything and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course

Let’s talk about poverty.

I don’t mean the kind you’re talking about when your friends invite you to go shopping or for a night out and you say, “No, I can’t. I’m poor right now.”

I don’t mean the situation when you’d like to get a nicer car but decide you should just stick to the one you have because you don’t have a few thousand for a down payment.

I don’t mean the scene at the grocery store when you decide to get ground beef instead of steak.

I’m talking about when you have already done the weird mismatched meals from your pantry that are made up of cooked rice, stale crackers, and a can of peaches, and you’ve moved on to wondering what on earth you’re going to feed your kids.

Or when you get an eviction notice for non-payment of rent, a shut-off notice for your utilities, and a repo notice for your car and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about any of those notices because there IS NO MONEY.

If you’ve never been this level of broke, I’m very glad.

I have been this broke. I know that it is soul-destroying when no matter how hard you work, how many part-time jobs you squeeze in, and how much you cut, you simply don’t make enough money to survive in the world today. Being part of the working poor is incredibly frustrating and discouraging

It is a sickening feeling when you’re just barely hanging in there and suddenly, an unexpected expense crops up and decimates your tight budget. Maybe your child gets sick and needs a trip to the doctor and some medicine. Perhaps a family member is involved in an accident and can’t work for a few weeks. It could be that your car breaks down and you need it to get back and forth to work because you live too far out in the country for public transit.

We’re going to see this more and more.

As our economy continues to crumble, these are the situations going on in more homes across the country every single day. Just recently, I wrote about the fact that nearly half of the people in America have difficulty meeting their basic needs like food and housing. That financial collapse bloggers have been warning about? It’s not just coming. It’s here.

It’s simple to believe that the people suffering like this are just lazy, or not trying, or are spending frivolously. No one wants to think that these things can occur through no fault of the individual.  Why? Because that means these things could also happen to them.

Every time I write about crushing poverty, someone adds the comments section a smug declaration about how people need to get an education, hang on to a job, buy cheaper food…there’s a litany of condescending advice.  I’m sure this article will be no exception, and please, if you’re in the situation I’m describing, let the criticism roll off of you. People who haven’t been there don’t understand and somewhere deep inside, they feel that by being critical, they can assure themselves they will never find themselves in a similar situation.

How do you prioritize when you can’t pay your bills?

The advice I have may not be popular, but let’s talk about prioritizing your payments when you can’t pay your bills.  I am not promoting irresponsibility here. It’s just math.

When you have less money coming in than you have obligated to go out, you will not be able to pay all of your bills.

It’s that simple.

First, do a quick audit of your financial situation so you can see where you’re at.

Then you must prioritize. I know that you want to pay every single bill but that may not be possible right now. When you get your feet back on the ground, you can set up payment plans for the things you had to set aside while you were busy trying to survive.

This list of priorities assumes that you have some money coming in, but not enough to meet your obligations. You simply have to choose survival. I suggest the following order of payments.

1.) Pay for shelter first

Your number one priority is keeping a roof over your head. That roof may not be the roof of the house you are in now, though, if your circumstances have changed and you can no longer afford it.  If you can still manage to pay your rent/mortgage, do so in order to keep your family housed.

If you rent, and your rent is a reasonable price, make this the first payment you make from your limited funds. You really, truly don’t want to be homeless and moving is expensive. Try your best to stay put.

If you own, consider your property taxes and insurance as part of your mortgage, because if you stop paying any of these, your home will be foreclosed on.

If you can’t pay your mortgage, property taxes, and insurance, you have a while before the home gets foreclosed on and you are forced to move out. If this is the case, it’s absolutely essential that you put aside money for the place where you’ll move should you have to leave your home. You’re going to need first, last, and deposits in many cases, particularly since your credit isn’t going to be stellar due to your financial situation. When you are in this situation, it can be difficult to force yourself to save money when so many things are being left unpaid, but if you ever hope to bail yourself out of this situation, you absolutely have to do this.

The laws vary from state to state, (find the specifics for your state here) but basically, this is the timeline:

  • When you make the decision to let your house go back to the lender, you will have a month or two before they send you a notice of default.
  • From that point, you usually have 3 months before the foreclosure proceedings begin. During those 3 months, you should be saving the money you would normally be putting toward your mortgage.
  • At some point, you’ll get a notice to vacate the premises.
  • When this happens, you have two options. You can choose to move to  a different home, or you can file for bankruptcy, if you feel your situation is such that there is absolutely no way out.
  • If you file for bankruptcy, the home can’t be re-sold by the lender for 3 more months, giving you more time to put aside money for your move.

Should we all pay the bills that we have promised to pay? Of course we should. Our word is very important. Remember, though, that the information here is for people who are in a position in which they DO NOT HAVE THE MONEY TO PAY.

So, the bottom line is this: either pay your housing costs or put aside money for future housing as your first expenditure.

2.) Buy food

You have to eat, and so do your children. If you don’t eat, you’ll get sick, and then your situation will be even more dire.

  • Stick to simple, wholesome basics and cook from scratch. Beans and rice have fed many a family.
  • Tap into your inner Southerner and make inexpensive, filling meals like biscuits and gravy.
  • Make soup to stretch just a few ingredients to feed a family.
  • Save ALL of your leftovers, even the ones on people’s plates. Add them to a container in the freezer and make a soup from that at the end of the week.
  • Clean up after the potluck at church. Sometimes you can take home the leftovers.
  • Don’t skip meals to stretch your food further. You need your health and your strength to overcome this situation.
  • Go to the library and check out a book on local edibles. Go foraging in the park or in nearby wooded areas.
  • See if your grocery store sells out-of-date produce for use for animals. There’s often a fair bit you can salvage and add to soups or casseroles. (This is the only way we were able to have vegetables and meat during one particularly painful stretch when my oldest daughter was young.)

In a worst-case scenario, food banks are an option as well.

3.) Pay for essential utilities

You should be cutting your utility usage to the bare minimum and using every trick in the book to keep your bills as low as possible.

If your utilities get shut off, it’s going to be difficult to cook from scratch and you won’t be able to keep leftovers from spoiling. You need the water running from your taps to drink, cook with, and clean. Depending on the climate and the season, heat may be vital as well.

If you can’t ay the entire bill, call the utility companies and try to make payment arrangements. If your utilities are shut off, then you will have a hefty reconnection fee on top of the bill.

Another point to remember is that our culture believes it’s absolutely necessary that all homes be plugged in to the utility system. If you have a work-around, like wood heat and hand pumped well water,  and decide that your utilities are not essential, you need to be prepared to face those whose opinions differ. Some cities have condemned homes which are not connected to the grid, and if you have children who are of school age, sometimes a “concerned” teacher or neighbor has been known to report your situation to the child welfare authorities. (Recently an off-grid homeschooling family had their children removed from the home by police.)

4.) Pay for car/work necessities

What must you have in order to keep working? For me, it’s the internet, since I work online.  All of my clients contact me via email and the work I do requires that I be able to send it to them and research things online. I live in the country, so driving to the library on a daily basis would cost more than my monthly internet fees. For another person, this necessity might be the cost of public transit or keeping their vehicle on the road so that they can get to work.  Choose the least expensive options to keep yourself working, but maintain your job-related necessities.

5.) Pay for anything else

After you’ve paid all of the above, if you have money left over, now is the time to pay your other expenses.  These expenses include debt that you’ve incurred, contracts you are involved in (like cell phone plans, etc.)  Choose very carefully how you dole out any remaining money.

  • Keep one phone going, with the lowest possible payment. This is necessary for work, for your children or their school to contact you in the event of an emergency, and as a contact point for your financial situation. Compare the cost of a cell phone, landline, or VOIP phone. Every family member does not require a phone – you just need one. (I actually did go for a couple of years with no phone at all, but I’m uniquely antisocial and had email by which I could be reached.)
  • If it’s at all possible, try to use the snowball method made famous by Dave Ramsey to pay off your debts and bail yourself out of your situation. Being free from debt will allow you to live a much freer life in the future.
  • If paying off debt is not possible, try to make the minimum payments.
  • If the minimum payments are not possible, you may have to default, at least temporarily, on debts.
  • Buy some pantry staples.  If you can add some extra rice or cans of tomatoes to the pantry, it will help see you through this tight situation.
  • Be relentless in deciding what will be paid and what will not. This is not the time for arguments like, “But it’s our only form of entertainment” or “We deserve this one luxury.”  Cut all non-essentials until things improve.
  • Focus on the most frugal options possible.

Things will get better

I’ve been down this road.  I really get it. It saddens me to see people I love in this situation now.

These books can help. I found them to be life-changing when I was broke, and the lessons have stuck with me throughout my adult life. You may be able to find them at your local library.

Finally, if you are in a situation in which you can’t pay your bills, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry about…

  • The embarrassment you feel when you can’t afford to meet someone for coffee
  • The sick feeling of seeing the bills pile up on the counter and not being able to do anything about it
  • The knot in your stomach every time the phone rings and it’s a 1-800 number that you KNOW is a bill collector
  • The stress of knowing you can’t remain in your home
  • The fear that someone will say you aren’t taking care of your kids and they’ll be taken away
  • The humiliation when people don’t understand and think it’s all your fault
  • The hopelessness of watching the bank account empty out the day your pay goes in, and still having a dozen things unpaid
  • The overwhelming discouragement of having fees assessed on top of debts you already can’t pay
  • The anxiety over what tomorrow will bring

It will get better. You’ll find a way to make it work. You just have to survive while you make it happen. Maybe you will pool your resources with another family, or get a raise, or find a cheaper place. But you will find a way.

Life may not be exactly as it was before, but it will be good again.

Picture of Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • Jct: And never forget that no matter how terrible your fate, you had the vote and voted for the politicians doing it to you. Har har har har har har. Yes, hunger hurts but if you voted for it…

    • Wow! How jaded you must be to think as critically as you do! This entire article had NOTHING to do with politics! No stereotyping or pointing at certain levels of education and/or success. The article was simple enough, if you’re truly in trouble, this is what you do first. I left a comment that I hope, in my heart can help or impact a person to their core that not everyone on the Internet is ‘behind the computer big balls bc you’d never say it to their face,’ and that people do still care about other people! It’s called humanity you pig! And although I’ve never experienced hunger (thank you God), I can and still empathize with people no matter what the situation may be! You read way too much into this buddy! And take a day off! You have the rest of your life to be an arrogant asshole!

    • I think you should do some reading on the HIstory of the NWO and Population Control among many things they are guilty of. Its not a question of voting for the wrong person at all, its about survival. I hope you are all stocked up and ready for the ride

    • They are all liars anyway. They promise the moon and deliver crap. I’m 64 and have voted since the age of 18. I have changed my party affiliation twice trying to choose the right person for the country. I found it didn’t matter because none of them tell the truth, they all say what will get them elected. It doesn’t matter who you vote for anymore.

      • Think about it. Two parties oppose each other. That means only one should win if they are committed, right? Do you go to boxing matches to see no one win?

        It is obvious to me we have only ONE party. Because if Republicans truly believe the Democraps are evil there would be no Democraps.

    • You’re an ass. The people in office have absolutely no control one way or the other over calamities that strike and cause an inability to pay bills, and to suggest that the right people in office prevent hunger is ludicrous. You must be suggesting that the right people in office will ensure that there is always someone else around to pay my bills. I have had it this tough, while I’ve been sick and I still don’t want communistic socialistic government. I want government to get the hell out of my life and leave me to take care of mine and my own instead of interfering nonstop so I can’t, and both parties are guilty of that. And I still don’t want communistic socialistic government. I want government to get the hell out of my life and leave me to take care of mine and my own instead of interfering nonstop so I can’t, and both parties are guilty of that.

    • But what if you didn’t vote for it? What about people who have 3 jobs and still have to decide whether or not they will buy gas to get to work or food? I’m in a situation where I work constantly, but the cost of living is more than I make even working full time with two part time jobs. I know it’s scary to think about it. Because I’m not lazy. I don’t have time to go to “school” and I couldn’t miss the hours of work for school bc even now with all my hours I am deciding on if I will buy gas to go to work or buy food. I’ve decided on gas… maybe if I wait until people are asleep they won’t see me eating their garbage

      • Oh, Courtney. I’m sorry you are in that situation.

        Please don’t let the comments of a few judgmental people who think that they know how to live your life better than you do make you feel badly. You have the determination that will see you through this to the other side. <3 Hang in there.


  • Thank GOD, I have never been in this situation and I do thank God daily for my blessings. But for those of you really facing this crisis I’m truly empathetic to your situation and sometimes I wish I could save the world and everyone in it however that’s unlikely so the best I can do for you and your family is to let you know to remain a united front against any and all adversaries (even if it’s just a number on a piece of paper)! Stay together as you’ll need one another, this isn’t the ‘blame game’ time! Also, I k ow that churches will investigate as a result of an unpaid electric bill if you bring it to their attention and describe your situation also they have funds and will help! They might not be able to pay the whole bill however I’ve seen in several cases where that have paid atleast half. Furthermore, keep calm and keep your faith! I promise God, the universe or karma isn’t out to get you, it’s just life and we live in a very expensive world where every dollar counts! Lastly, remember, ‘this too shall pass,’ as simple as that phrase seems, take a look back to how far youve come in life and all the obstacles you had to face while getting where you were going. Also, nobodies life is perfect, we all have a past and situations we never saw a resolution to but we’ve made it! So, I’m truly sorry if you find yourself here, I hope someone reads this and utilizes some of my advice or atleast smiles if only once for that day and lastly God Bless you and may he keep you! From one stranger to another….

    • You can donate to and really make a difference for people in need. They accept even tiny donations. Whenever I have $10 to donate, that’s where I send my money. Even small amounts help. Modest Needs aggregates the donations and gives money to people for car repairs, house repairs, medical bills and other such temporary monetary burdens. They even let you choose to help a particular person, if you can donate enough money to meet their needs.

  • This article covered topics most do not want to think about or talk about. Very practical advice on how to survive very difficult times.

    There are many families struggling now.

  • Breathe. Trust. Pray. Time is a healer. Both times my not yet 50 year old husband had his strokes I went into survivor mode. And we made it thru. So medical emergencies are life changing threats for me. We live in a home we can afford on one income, incase the worst does happen, and it has served us well. We don’t have internet, the library does. I’d get rid of the cable if it were up to me, there’s nothing on tv I want my child to see anymore. When I lived in the mountains we lived on movies not cable so I got out of the habit and don’t miss it. I have a hard time eating in a restaurant when the tab for one meal for a family now costs $50 and that could buy us a week of groceries. insane. I think about how my grandparents survived the depression and WWII, we’ve survived hard times before and will again. it’s just heartbreaking to see it happen at all. it’s in people, community, not govt. where true support is found.

  • Although I’ve been doing ok for the past few years, reading this article brought tears to my eyes. This is an AWFUL position to be in and it is tough! At the time I remember thinking that one day I would be able to afford life’s luxuries again… you know, things like paper towels and kleenex. So now as long as I have a roll of paper towels in the kitchen I know I’m doing ok.

    If your situation is critical you can try Reddit Assistance (make sure you read the rules first). If you have a few extra bucks, why not help someone out? Now that I’m no longer struggling, I set aside $25 a month to help someone else out. It’s not much, and it’s all I can afford, but every little bit helps someone else in need.

  • Been there, done that several times over the years. My grandparents raised me, my brother, & sister; There were times we ate a lot of biscuits & gravy or rice & beans. Having to wait for almost 5 years to get your disability & unable to work tends to eat through your savings fairly fast. When times are tough, you do what you have to do. Lots of common sense advice in this article. More people should read it!

  • I think it’s easy to lose sight of how easy fortunes can change and you may have to go into survivor mode at any time. Maybe if you look at your finances you might be able to head off problems now while you are doing well. Think of it this way – if you aren’t ready to take care of your family should something happen – an illness, a layoff because your workplace goes bankrupt, a fire, or any number of things that life can throw at you – why are you spending money on luxuries now? Do you have enough set aside to weather several months without an income? No? Then maybe you can’t afford to eat out every week, or that smartphone, or that cable bill. Do the hard work now and I promise you – you will sleep much better knowing you have taken the steps necessary to care well for your family. Don’t buy your dream house before you can afford it – we started very small and worked our way up. Don’t buy a car that depends on your next paycheck to make a payment. Believe me – buying soup on credit because your fridge only has ketchup and an onion in it, is not something that you ever want to have happen to you. Been there, done that.

    I’ve heard that Mormon’s are taught that they should have a years worth of supplies-food so that they are not a burden to others if something happens. I saw a youtube video where a young mother talked about what a lifesaver that was when her husband was layed off. I was very impressed with the idea.

    This is what prepping is!! Take care of your family first! Work up to the luxuries – you will enjoy them so much more because you will feel like you have truly earned them.

    • I had a year and a half saved. I struggled to save my home but in the end there simply were no jobs in the city I was living in so now I live in a sleeping bag on the floor of my parents spare bedroom

      • a huge mistake many make is trying to keep the house when renting would be a much cheaper option. you need to consider selling it at the start of the troubles, not when you are broke. my husband started having angina attacks because of his job. we had the house we lived in and one that we would be returning to for retirement. i immediately did a refinance on that retirement home, once again taking out a 30 yr mtg to get the payment down as low as possible. as soon as that cleared, i stopped making payments on the house we lived in and put it up for sale. we closed on it the day before it went into foreclosure. basically made nothing on the house but at least we didn’t have a foreclosure. no one lost money and we ended up with more savings which we would need because we were taking a 75% pay cut (down to just his navy retirement, which by itself, puts us around poverty level). it took a year for him to get another job (2010 when we moved) but we were able to get by. the mtg payment (plus usual apt pd utilities: garb, water, sewer) on the house we moved back to is less than renting a small 1br apartment. this house is now paid off.

  • I used to think “how could anyone become homeless?” I used to think they must have choosen it or really screwed up. But…last year at age 55, i found out . I went from a beautiful 4 br home with a pool horse barn and 3 acres with animals etc , to living in the back of my business. A shop, with cold running water ,toilets , a microwave and veggie steamer and a fridge. I joined a gym so I could shower. I saw the same 4 walls all day and all night. I was actually fortunate, at least I had that . I nearly lost my mind and my self respect. I lived there for 10 months with my 2 remaining dogs. I never saw it coming it happened so fast. My business partner stole from me and one day I woke up and everything was gone.
    Today I live in a friends condo for a modest amount ( thanks to their graciousness) and my business is beginning to thrive . I still drive a very old beat up car, w/o air( in florida) but some dont have a car at all. The point is… it can and it does happen. Not just to young couples or to people who use drugs or misuse credit. It can swoop down and tackle you when you least expect it. The next time you feel impatient with someone or look down on another, stop to think what their life may be like behind closed door. Thank you , Daisy for addresssing a subject that is usually swept under the rug.

    • i have a homeless brother. he has been homeless by choice for decades, but…… he is a paranoid schizophrenic who may or may not be on meds. i have no idea where he is right now or if he is even alive. haven’t heard from him in 5 yrs. he was in the army when the schizo stuff started. they discharged him for medical and they will pay for his meds. he also gets SSI so he is better off than some homeless. but it isn’t enough to live on like usual. he understands that he can be a danger and so chooses to live away from humans.

  • One thing you did not address is where to prioritize medicines. Insulin, cancer meds, even allergy meds are expensive. Not taking them is not always an option. Suggestions?

    • That’s a great point, Cindy. I guess it would depend on the seriousness of NOT taking the medication where it falls on the priority list. If you’re going to die from not taking it, medication would have to take precedence over everything. If it merely causes discomfort, it would probably be behind food. That would definitely add a whole new level of stress to the situation. Thank you for bringing it up!

    • medicines is what pushed us over the edge from getting by to not getting by. I don’t know your age, but for us prescription drug coverage from AARP helps. It was way cheaper than our previous plan. We’re still spending too much per month on meds, but it keeps hubby alive and functioning. we just had to cut back on other things (food).

  • Hi Daisy, very good information here, thank you! I’m glad you included a bit about food for pets as that is something I am concerned about. I want to be sure my cats have enough food, fresh water & kitty litter in case of an emergency situation. I do wonder how much dry & canned food I should have stored for them as well. I just have enough canned for a month right now, dry food for two months. Any suggestions?

    • The problem with storing pet food is that the shelf life is fairly short. Due to the high fat, it goes rancid quickly. Kitty litter, on the other hand, can be stored for a very long time if it’s in a dry place.

      You can extend the shelf life of dry pet food just like you would human food. Put it in a different container than the bag it came in so that you can keep it fresh longer. We store our unopened bags of pet food in large Rubbermaid storage bins. A galvanized metal trash can is another option. Once a bag is opened it will deteriorate more rapidly, so if you have small pets that eat less, you can reseal part of the pet food in Mylar, just like you do beans and rice. Canned food will last much longer, but is far more expensive.

      • Daisy, thank you for this article! I was surprised to discover that my local pizza parlor sills food grade 4 gallon square buckets for one dollar each. I must have 100 of them now, they are good for everything from storing water to repackaging food or keeping things dry. Local restaurants go through huge amounts of pickles and mayonnaise and other foods that come in these buckets.

        Another comment I wanted to make was to try to avoid letting utilities go late if there is any possible way. We were shocked to discover this past winter when things got very tough that because we were late three times in one calendar year, they slapped us with a $900 deposit, and late fees were added to our account until we were able to pay that too. That was a shocking kick in the teeth. We never even got a disconnect notice, we just ran late.

        • RE: ‘We never even got a disconnect notice’

          That’s what some people are saying about a currency re-set, or some such.

          Not, reactive.

          • i would like to know what a currency reset is. is it that basket of currencies that is now/will be making up the world’s reserve currency? or something else?

  • `Well; good thing I live outside of the city in the woods, farm for most of my food and don’t have any debts!

    Everyone said I was a loser for not playing in the system! I’ll be one of the few eating after it’s all said and done.

    • Careful dude, not too cocky! Just wait till they raise your property taxes so high, that you have nothing else to sell to pay the extorters! The agenda is: NO MORE PERSONAL PROPERTY! Read about Agenda 21 and the P.N.A.C. doctrine, and you will finally be compassionate. So how people are you sharing al your “stuff” with?

      • No kidding! The whole tax thing gets me. We are fortunate to have no mortgage but oh the taxes! Of course if the day comes when there is no one to enforce the taxes maybe it will be a different story!

  • I was in this situation many years ago. I can remember getting the bills all together on payday and just putting my head down on the table and crying. There was not enough money to pay even necessities, much less debt etc… We lived without running water and electricity until we could get back on our feet. It took awhile but it did happen. One book I would HIGHLY recommend is Penny Pinching Mama by Jill Cooper. It is the single best financial book I’ve ever read that addresses this kind of situation. Hang in there! It will get better with creativity and hard work.

  • Thank you for your honesty. In my college days I remember much of what you described. Somehow I made a package of top ramen last for several days by adding cabbage and other vegetables. The nights of restless sleep and knots in my stomach were the most difficult. God is good and there were also amazing times of checks showing up in the mail to cover the cost of tuition or friends who insisted on taking me out for lunch. When I look back, God was there providing every moment! If we put our trust in God, He will be with us always and that means through the dark days ahead. If our treasure is truly in Him alone the rest will not matter anyway. He can multiple what we have like the loaves of bread and fish or the widow’s supply of oil and flour. All things are possible through Christ who strengthens us!
    Thank you for the great advice and many of those who scoff now may need to use it in the days ahead. God Bless.

  • If you have a relationship with a local banker, go try to get a consolidation loan that combines many of if not all of your debts into 1 payment. This may buy you some time and enable you to make the 1 payment when you do not have enough income to make all the payments on the individual debts. Then discipline yourself to live on your income and avoid any new debt like the plague. This must be done before you are on the brink of default.

  • One more thing that helps a lot is to call the companies you’re having trouble paying and let them know your situation. You may be surprised at how willing most places are to work something out with you. I am currently in a tough spot and have been able to reduce and/or delay bills simply by asking. Swallow your pride and communicate so you aren’t identified as a deadbeat, but rather that you are having a tough time and are at least trying to pay. It can relieve a lot of pressure from a difficult situation.

  • When it comes to medicines, sometimes if you call the companies that make the meds and talk to them they have programs that will help you to get free or discounted meds for a short or long term….They can tell you how to apply…..

  • Thank you for this article. We are not in this position yet but headed that way. My wife, a beautiful, talented and accomplished woman has not worked in a year. She has sent out countless resumes with little success. I have only worked about 4 months in the last year. At 58 years old and having worked for 44 years, this is the most bizarre job market I have every witnessed. Resumes get no response. Companies need to hire but they don’t. Talented people get overlooked because their resume does not include the proper adjectives. The computers review resumes and look for these key words and if they are not there or not enough of them, the resume gets circular filed. But somehow we survive. The advice you give is a lifesaver.

    • I’m so sorry for your situation, Jim. You’re right about the economy. I have several friends in a situation very similar to the ones you describe. You’re in my thoughts – I hope you find something soon. Hang in there, friends.

    • I understand this too well. Approaching 50 and I have been applying for almost a year now. The only two responses have been an email telling me what a wonderful resume and experience I have, I’m over-qualified for the position, best of luck elsewhere and an interview opportunity that ended the same.

      Once you’re out of the workflow, it’s brutal getting back in at any level. Aim for where you were or above and everyone claims to promote from within. Or like me you were in an industry that changes so fast out 6 months and you’re out of date. Apply for lower levels and they don’t trust why you’d take something ‘beneath’ you.

  • Thank you for this article, Daisy. I just found your website and it’s very informative. I was a singled mom with two babies years back and I was always a pay check away from being homeless. I constantly stressed about money and hated answering the phone/getting mail because I knew it was bills I couldn’t always pay. My kids had a taco dinner at their school once and I didn’t have the $3 for each of them to go one time. It is humiliating. Now I’m married, retired and have grandchildren and my husband and I are huge preppers. I never, ever take it for granted when I can say yes to a coffee date or go shopping sometimes just because.

  • Thank you for writing this article. Even though I know I am not alone in this situation you still feel so hopeless and isolated from the rest of the world while you are living it, and at this point we can use all the tips and advice we can get to help us while we are slowly trying to get our bearings and find a way to climb out of the hole.

    • Good luck, Carrigan. I’ve been there, too. You CAN get out. It’s hard, it takes time, but things won’t always be this way.



  • Thank you for posting this article. At this time in my life I am thankful for the position I am in now. I grew up poor, many times we ate what we grew because without it we wouldn’t have eaten. As a young mother and wife, I raised my sons without two pennies to rub together. In mid life I’ve started over a couple of times. Both with no job due to life and career changing injury.

    I’ve been lucky to meet people along the way of life who have been friends, mentors and “family” and shared the same life situations or had the same experience. It kept me sane, kept me from giving up and the strength to keep moving forward no matter how much I wanted to just stop.

    You very plainly state actions that can be taken by anyone, provide hope by showing you too have made it through the dark times and came out the other side. Thank you for those who will stumble across this post, either by chance or because someone gently pushed it their way. And thank you for those who can’t find a way to say thank you themselves.

  • I was appalled though not surprised to see the comment by the man who laughed. I am noworking a single disabled mom of 4. I have a bachelor’s degree and have worked since I was 12. I escaped from an abusive husband and though I thought I knew poverty it wasn’t until we were in a dv shelter that we hit rock bottom. We now are blessed yes blessed to live in housing projects. I am still working on my disability appeal. Having to run didn’t help. I eat once a day so my kids have food. Yes I know unhealthy but I already have a ton of medical problems and my body is trained now. I have gone without medicine to provide for my kids. Yet I have been called lazy, stupid, working the system etc. No way would I have ever chosen to not only live in this situation in this amount of pain but to expose my children to it. But I know despite people like har har guy my kids will be amazing people. I gave my gloves to a homeless man the other day. It was 11 degrees out. My 6 year old said mommy stop! Not to my giving him my gloves but to run back and give him her scarf. Not only was the man and I crying but the guy behind me also. He stopped and gave the guy his jacket. He had been impatiently waiting on us to move originally. He was in tears. He said it took a small child to remind me that kindness costs nothing but is worth everything. Sorry for the long post.

    • Dear Jaime:

      It sounds like you are making the best of a bad situation and raising truly wonderful children. Congratulations! Because out of all of the accomplishments we may have in life, teaching our children to be kind, compassionate, and ethical is the one that exceeds the money we might make, the jobs we might hold, or the fancy homes we might live in. And with that being the measure of true success, you are far and away more successful than someone who scoffs at the misfortunes of others.

      I’m wishing you the very best of luck.


      • Daisy,
        Thank you so much for this eye opening article. It help me to regain focus to be truly thankful for the blessings I have. Going through a divorce, and being diagnosed with B.C. It was easy to want to throw myself a pity party. Still when I realize just how faithful God has been in His provision. I had to sell my 4bdrm home, I may not have great deal of income with a part time job, but I’m not in debt either. Still God provided for me a job & a reliable used car to replace mine which was totaled.

    • I admire & commend your courage, empathy, & compassion…that while you have had to endure all that you described, you were still compassionate to show kindness to someone in need, your small act of kindness inspired a stranger to give someone in need his own jacket. There is power in the smallest act of kindness. Don’t lose hope God is with us even in our darkest moments Trust in His provision God will supply our every need ..God bless you & your children.

  • Thank you Daisy. Sometimes just having someone who acknowledges that I’m trying my best is the boost I need to keep going.

  • RE: “My 6 year old said mommy stop! Not to my giving him my gloves but to run back and give him her scarf.”

    That’s pretty amazing. I mean, really amazing.

    Also, the advise at the top of the comments, to consolidate your debts, seems like bad advise. Mr. Banker gets a fee, and several smaller debts with likely various interest rates, gets piled into what might soon be one overwhelming debt pile with a higher interest rate than some of the others. All I know is, when it comes to dealing with Mr. Banker, beware.

    And, as bad as things might seem, for many, things don’t look to be as bad as Dolly Parton described her childhood to Johnny Carson. As a child, her mom sent her and her siblings outside to find a large pebble or two to place into a pot of water to make soup, or add to it. The alternative doctors nowadays say it’s a good idea to eat more dirt, but that story was kind of something else. One I’ll never forget.

  • When we were in this situation — without kids — we put the car before the house. We figured we could sleep in the car if we had to, but the car was absolutely essential for getting back and forth to work! We also were able to save on the food bills by using the food banks. Humiliating, but effective. Survival first. Then you can get back on your feet and pay off debt.

  • Thank you all for your posts and stories. I’m ashamed to say I have made judgments towards people without realizing that the situations behind the people are all different. Yes, I’ve been down to my last dime; but have managed to climb back out of the hole and why I didn’t open myself up to the same experience for others is beyond me. So this was a kick in the butt for me; and I appreciate that. As times get worse (I live in a rural area now and boy, are jobs disappearing!!), we need to stick together. Wishing all the best.

    • Kae,
      As one whose in the situation I’m sure you didn’t mean to have the prejudices. I even had some though I was right there. I’m glad you posted. God bless you

  • A good housing option is Craigslist if you can’t afford deposit or have bad credit. Always watch out for scams and your gut feelings but I’ve had good luck with it. If you have kids, always check sex offender registries before commiting to a place (be weary of anyone that wants to “help” single parents and offers babysitting). Separate entrances or guest houses are great too. Your goal is to have a place to sleep and that’s it. Try to keep things with the landlord strictly professional. If you can’t find a place to live around you, consider relocating. I had a studio apartment in Arkansas for $300 a month in a decent area but you can always aim for less populated locations close to you for a lower price.

  • Thank you for this article, it was very compassionate about people situations. I do see in the comments there are some negative judgemental people. I hope those people never end up in this situation but if they do I hoe they are shown more respect then what they show. I have always been the person to help everyone, I loved in a nice house with a very healthy happy child then our world changed in every way. My healthy child became I’ll with a chronic illness that took her childhood and life as she/we knew it. Due to her medical expenses we gave up our now home, she is unable to participate in the life she knew and I am now a single parent in a one bedroom apartment that I cannot afford with the bills piling up. We are very close to again being homeless. I have never had my hand out and never will and as much as life has thrown at us and as hopeless as things seem right now I choose to be grateful for what we so have. It is not what life throws at you it is what you do with it and how you handle it. We may be living in our car soon but you will always see a smile on our tired faces. Please do not judge people and assume they are being lazy or unwilling to do what they need to do. Circumstances beyond people’s control get in the way and until you’ve lived it you sure don’t have the right to judge it. Thank you to the author who wrote this and shame on any of you who have anything negative to say

    • Hi! It’s not hopeless! This is just a dark point. Chronic illness is financially devastating. I’m so sorry for your troubles. I sincerely hope you find some light soon. There are always those who cast stones, and it’s because what you’re going through is so very far past their experiences. In the long run, the strength we build during difficult times tempers us, makes us kinder, and makes us strong.

      Very best wishes to you.


    • Don’t be hopeless. Chronic illnesses have excabated my situation also. Deep breath. You will get through this. Ask for help. Yes it’s pride hurting but you do what you have to for your child. I’ll be sending good thoughts your way.

  • I asked for help bc I left one job after time and time again being used and abused verbally.
    Then I found another job three weeks later only to get hurt on the first day and be out of work three weeks.
    I asked help at a certain agency which denied me. For a highly questionable reason that seemed completely heartless. I don’t use drugs or do anything illegal so it crushed me they wouldn’t help.
    Now I might be able to pay this months rent but not all other bills and rent for next month might not happen.
    I am beyond poor beyond poverty beyond broken financially mentally and spiritually.
    People do need help and this institution had the money to help … It breaks my spirit they didn’t.

    • i know what you mean about having to leave. i worked at so many jobs where the people try to push you over the limit on purpose. its like they want you out. and this world really is heartless. i remember going to a temp agency and being out of work for like 3 months and i was just suicidal and ready to give up and i said to the temp lady in a kinda beat down way ” you ever wonder if theres anything more than this. its so hard just getting a $9 an hr job nowadays its crazy” and she responded back ” well i will give you some advice ‘life isnt all about you'” That is how messed up american society is. here this temp agency lady was probably making $18 an hr and she spoke that way to me when i had been in the trenches making $9-12 for 15 years straight. that is the mentality that people who dont struggle have concerning those who do. so i stopped talking and i left that temp agency and never went back.

  • I’ve spent all my adult life in this situation, even after going back to school to get a degree in social work. We’ve made it somehow, but it gets frustrating to think about how my dreams haven’t been realized no matter how much I scrimp, save, cook from scratch, etc. I’ve lived on the “poor diet” for decades. Yeah, it kept us alive, but now I’m paying for it with poor health. Bodies don’t respond well to cheap fatty cuts of meat and lots of carbs to fill you up. Food pantries are nothing but day-old pastries and canned goods. Like, I said, it kept us alive, but not too healthy. At least we have survived. Where there’s life, there’s hope. Do what you can and pray. And one more thing, when deciding which bills to pay, you can make very small token payments to doctors so you can continue to see them, otherwise they will cut your health care off without a qualm. That’s happened several times to me, make some token payment so you can still see the doctor even if you have an outstanding bill.

  • I’m exactly in this position… my shoulders are growing weak. tried of facing so much difficulties in life.
    Everyone left whom I called them as friends and relatives.

    its just me, my mom and sis are struggling to survive.

    am just doing the same what’s been mentioned in the article.
    But banks,money lenders makes life hell here in India.

    office where I’m working is not supportive. lost hope

    my dreams had shattered,my career is at stake.. no support from anyone not even morally.
    we are like orphans.
    things gets bad to worse in no time,in the verge of losing job also. Just awaiting for final moment of death. have no courage to kill myself and let my mom n sis suffer alone.

    most unlucky person on the earth, even if I touch gold it ill turn to sand.
    failed failed.. big failure.. didn’t succeed in anything.. just a loser.

    • It will get better. It always gets better. You will find a new normal and things will be good again. <3 I'm sorry that things are so difficult for you right now, but please hang in there. It WILL get better.

  • This is the best article I have read on this subject, and I have read alot! Honest and straight forward. Thank you from myself and everyone else who will benefit from this!

  • Great article Daisy, I grew up and most of my child hood was spend living the exact emotions you portrayed here and I was just a kid my parents must have gone through hell.

    Once I grew up and got out of the house I got a good job on a oil rig and lived the good life for a long time. Got on my feet and did very well. A couple years ago it all crashed and I am just starting to look at everything in my life now and it’s all going back to those days as a child. It sucks but I’ve gotten out a few times in the past, I’ll do it again I hope. Then again, it seems like the world is going to hell and this may be the new normal for most but at least we are used to it. We will be better off than those who never expirirence true poverty.

  • I am in this situation,but I have $0 income coming in and savings is totally wiped out.i live alone and have several health issues and was just diagnosed with another one. I worked for company 15 years and kept getting sick so they let me go. My doctor took me off work duty for 12 months but I had to go against it and return to work.once again started getting really sick again and took off again per doctors orders. I went through all savings again so tried to return to work. This time was let go because I couldn’t keep up pace. I have been fighting for disability for almost three years and get denied and I keep appealing. I can’t seem to get job because in past 8 months I have had 3 jobs and they don’t want to take risk. If I don’t list those jobs then they want explanation of why I’ve been off for past year. I can’t win ! I live out in home I own but still pay lot rent or should i say I owe lot rent.i have to have my car and daughter is over 2 hrs north of me and my son is over 2 hrs south. They are my only living relatives and are struggling to keep afloat.i don’t want sympathy just want people to know that these are real life situations that have nothing to do with a better education or politics.IT CAN HAPPY TO ANYONE. J u st few years ago I was doing well and I thought in good or decent health. Funny how one day can totally change a life. I thank God I have no small children.

    • Hang in there, Karen. I’m sorry things are so difficult. I have been there too. I hope some of this advice was helpful. ((Hugs))

    • Disability. NOT something to claim if you can avoid it. But when you really ARE disabled and MUST have that help, then you need to know that in USA, you don’t get disability until you get a lawyer. The lawyer gets a good chunk of your money, but they make it happen, so they are worth it.

  • The absolute worst is when you’re this poor as a college student. Studying for things like calculus and organic chemistry is hard enough when you aren’t hungry or worrying about having a roof over your head. Not every student is 18-22 and living at home with parents; many of us are older and financially on our own, or have adult expenses like kids and credit card bills. In my state, full time students can’t even get on food stamps. It’s a complete nightmare being trapped in the cycle of not being able to get a meaningful source of income without a degree but having to live out of your car and go hungry in order to afford the degree without debt.

    • Nicole,
      I, too, suffered tremendous food insecurity as a college student. I was almost 30, freshly divorced, with a young child. I took an extra-full class load, worked 2 or 3 part-time jobs and, while there was a little child support coming in, there just wasn’t enough for food for me. We could not get food stamps and, back then, children’s school food programs didn’t really exist. So my child ate the food we could afford. I lived on biscuits made with old bacon grease (saved in a mayo jar from better times) and an apple a day (for fiber, if you know what I mean… )
      And I joined clubs at the university. The point was not to socialize- I picked the clubs that served refreshments. One had weekly meetings with the Univ President with wonderful and abundant hors d’oeuvres. The President wasn’t going to go hungry with the spread they put out, and neither was I! Maybe you can find some clubs on your campus who sponsor events like that.
      Or, look for a part-time job at a restaurant. That is always a good way to get a cheap, even sometimes free, meal on the day you work.

      It will be worth it in the end, tho’it seems mighty unfair if you compare yourself with those pampered classmates. Keep your chin up and just keep going…

  • This article was eye opening, wish I would have found it weeks ago. I’m sitting in the dark, for the third day, just went and bought a propane stove so I can actually cook for my kids, and my husband said ‘I’ll go to work Monday maybe’. I lost my job 2 months ago, and my husband hadn’t really had to “take care of us” in 2 years, so its been like pulling teeth to get him to work. My kids are enjoying the time they have with me right now with no electric, talking and telling jokes, and just getting back to US. But I know its a matter of time, watching their dad sleep, they will resent him, and its taking everything I have not to pack them up and move 8 hours away with my mom. There are times that I don’t know what is right anymore. And I definitely don’t know where to turn for help when all agencies are out of money, and no family will help unless I leave my husband. A few more days of being yelled at for this being my fault, and my kids sticking up for me, will probably answer my question, but I’m too proud to call her. I just think I’m done, I can’t do this anymore, and I want to leave, but then I think of my kids, will they hate me? Will they resent me? I don’t know anymore…why the hell does life have to be so damn hard?

    • I’m sorry that you are having such a difficult time. The best advice I have is this: Right now, you are setting an example for your kids. What example do you want that to be? Do you want to show them that this is how men are supposed to treat women? Or do you want to show them how tough moms can actually be by making a difficult decision? I’m pretty sure you already know what you should do. Big hugs – I know this is terribly difficult.

    • ask yourself the old ann landers question: are you better off with him or without him. make a 2 column list: pluses and minuses. start listing. compare. you should get your answer.

    • That husband is severely depressed. He CANNOT make himself function as father and breadwinner. You HAVE to do what you have to do to provide for your kids, but don’t judge him. He is in a situation that is even worse then the subject of Daisy’s article.

  • If your life is nothing like what is described in the article, you should be very very grateful…
    Exactly because of such articles I try to be grateful myself for what I have.

  • Life in 2016 makes me envy the dead. Humanity has no morals, compassion or empathy for the slaves. And this is exactly what the ‘public’ are, even the arrogant and ignorant that seem to believe our ‘leaders’ truly give a crap about the everyday struggle of the poor or its people. We are forever indebted and struggling to support the mega wealthy. At 49 , work is all I have known from the time i was old enough to climb in a chair to help my grandmother do dishes. All my adult years i worked not only minimum wage jobs and then come home to do it for free regardless how tired or hurting , plus deal with beatings and the mentality of two abusive hubands, birthing four kids tending to them and their needs too along the way — my body is broken and my once ‘sound mind’ is whispering “just swallow the whole bottle of pills and go to sleep. No more struggle, pain, worry , stress or assholes.”
    I’ve never had a family vacation. I can count on two fingers how many times i’ve been to a salon for a haircut or a manicure. I cant tell you what year it was i bought something name brand. My clothes are literally years old and thread barren, hand me downs or from salvation army /thrift stores. I’ve no faith in man nor religion. “I’m sorry for your luck or the greedy ignorant and arrogant opinions and judgemental comments don’t erase years ive already put in, pay my bills or cure my arthritis. And each year that goes by im sure not getting any younger. So to quote a line i heard in a movie once. “Sometimes dead is better.”

  • Excellent post Daisy. I know, I have been where you described. it is no picnic. Wisdom & prevention is worth a pound of cure. Many people try to live beyond their means. Its best to live on modest budget, be disciplined, consider shopping at Goodwill, yes my pride took a major assault when I first did but you can find sometimes almost new clothes people grew out of very reasonable. Ramsey’s snowball method is great wisdom.

  • Daisy: Finally I write to congratulate you on your fine website! I have reading for a couple years! I have much to agree with you…Do you have, or know, anyone living out of this country? I got back from Panama recently and really like d the people there. Of course, it is not the same as living there for at least 6 months prior to emmigrating there though.
    Thank you for all you do! Blessings to you and your family!

    • I know some folks in Costa Rica, Uruguay, and Canada, but not anyone in Panama. I used to think about retiring to Mexico, when I was younger, but it’s far too dangerous down there now.

      At this point, I have no plans to leave the US, but I can certainly see how folks become interested in doing so. The cost of living is exorbitant in the USA these days.

      PS: Thank you for reading! 🙂

  • Daisy this is an excellent article…especially your compassion about avoiding shame about your situation – it only gets in the way of your recovery. I know I’ve lost countless night’s sleep worrying about how I will survive, but if you work hard and trust in the universe, things have a way of working out…so keep the faith. I am 56, single and thankfully without children (I have no idea how families survive these days) I work full time above minimum wage, but with the “new normal” economy it is near impossible to come out ahead a single person. I sell anything and everything on Ebay to make ends meet – without that extra income I would not be able to have enough money to buy gas to get to work. I recommend that as a safe option (craigslist can be too scary)…and if you get creative and work hard, it can really help put food on the table. All you need is internet, a computer with a printer and a cheap postal scale – this way you can mail items from your home and not have to worry about gas to get to the post office. If you are unsure how to do it, there is plenty of online information…just take the time to do the research. Having gone from the “haves” to “have nots”, it’s amazing how little you actually need – you can sell everything non essential and used clothing sells surprisingly well. Two other things I want to mention that I hope will help someone – if you smoke cigarettes, you can roll your own for a fraction of the cost. A decent rolling machine will set you back 45.00 (unless you find a used one on Ebay) but once you have it, you buy tobacco and tubes – the cost comes to about 8.00 a carton. Of course giving it up is cheaper, but I know I gave up everything else and smoking helped me keep my sanity during the hardest times. I haven’t had cable for three years and when I catch it either at work or someone’s home I realize I’m not missing a thing. Anything I prefer to watch I can get on the internet free and/or with a free antenna. Lastly, this unexpected poverty in some ways turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It forced me to go back to basics food-wise, and I now only cook everything from scratch. I rarely can afford meat but am actually healthier because of it! You can usually find fresh vegetables on sale if you do your research, and even bruised ones at farmers markets are fairly cheap and as a bonus are mostly organically grown. Although certainly less convenient and more time consuming, it’s much cheaper and healthier – now I have no taste for pre-packaged cookies or even bread (surprisingly easy to make)…once your body adjusts to actual good food, it’s amazing how much healthier you are and how you can immediately taste the difference between home made versus processed food. The past six years the only time I’ve eaten out is when others have generously offered to pay – and when this is upon occasion “fast food” I almost can’t eat it as the salt is just so overwhelming…oddly enough I never noticed that before. So I truly think those of you struggling with health problems and in particular allergies, cooking all of your meals mostly vegetables and healthy starches – you will become healthier as an unforseen benefit. Above all, hang in there – it WILL get better and you will find a new normal. Although politics has little to do with this situation, sadly with the new people taking office next year this is only going to get worse – so prepare while you can and adjust your lifestyle accordingly. If we all pull together as caring people, helping each other when possible we can get through it together. Good luck & thanks again Daisy.

  • Thank you, Daisy for your article. How true and caring! Many people find themselves in this situation and know there will be no way out due to a permanent circumstances. We have had to be frugal all our lives. Now in old age and declining health, we know we won’t be able to climb out of this extreme poverty – this is the new normal. When we saw this coming we tried to position ourselves the best we could. Our only income is social security. Medical bills are very high, even tho fully covered by insurances. Prescription drugs are very high and keep us broke, but functioning. If you see tuff times coming, start immediately to cut everything. We swallowed our pride and checked out food banks. in our area there are three food banks and each can be seen once a month. This has been our lifeline. The food is better than we ever could afford. We literally depend on this and our garden to eat. Relocation may be necessary for many folks. So many places are just too expensive to live in anymore. We also limit interaction with friends and family that don’t have to watch their pennies. So many people live so high; we can’t, and we do better being with people who are similar in financial circumstances to us. I also find it helpful to remember that comparatively speaking, we aren’t so bad off as various peoples at other times and places in history

  • All your information hits to close to home.. it’s hard when I get my phone disconnected because I owe 231 dollars or I don’t have enough money to buy toilet tissue and my credit sucks, not sure if I will survive

  • jamielynne i think king of paupers could have said it in a less harsh way but the point is this. These are the situations that happen when we sit back and let the 1% do what they do. some ceo makes 500 million and goes and buys a yacht that is 59million and the workers under him make 50k or less and then we say that there is no direct correlation? him sucking in all that money and frivolously spending it has nothing to do with the low wages of his workers? i have fought for unionization. i have tried to help the workers at the bottom at companies. and they are too afraid to fight for what is necessary. i worked and Lowes Distribution and the workers had been driving forklifts there for 10 years and still were making $14.87. so i talked to the truckloaders and all the people who were temps and making less than that($9-12) and i said that we need to confront the big bosses and strike. how are we gonna survive loading a truck and a half a day in the winter and in the summer for $9.08. and yes i made 8 cents production one day. none of the workers stood by me. the temp agency lady came to talk to me along with some corporate heads and i said that we were sick of it and that its a shame that a company that makes in the hundreds of millions every quarter of the year should pay us $9-12 an hr. that is when they told my immediate boss to go get a security guard and walk me out. and so where are all those guys at now that i was trying to help by getting us all to unite as one??? they are all still working at the truck docks freezing in the winter and burning hot in the summer all for wages that wont allow you to get anywhere or pay for anything. and what did the american people do when trump was trying to get elected and he said that we cant allow any more people over the border because of lack of jobs? did the american people agree and try to keep out the low wage workforce that the corporations want to bring in? no. the idiotic american people made trump into a racist and said ” come on!!! bring in 3 million more people!!!! all our good jobs have been sent to india and china and everywhere but america and all we have is this $9-12 an hr workforce but even that is too much to pay people lets bring in more people and lower the wages back to $7 an hr!!!!” the american people are ignorant. they dont pass legislation that benefits the common man. they dont make laws that keep people economically safe. all the government does is allow exploitative actions to take place by passing laws in favor of companies like Lowes Distribution. I live in NC and one of those exploitative laws is the Right To Work act which basically says a company can hire and fire you AT WILL. how does that benefit the common man? they can hire you at minimum wage. how does that benefit the common man? and yet that ignorant bill PASSED!!!! why? because the american people dont say NO!!! the american people will not fight back and so yearly what do you see? more and more economic disparity. We need to pass laws that dont allow for college to cost 30k a semester. we need to pass laws that require a company to pay LIVABLE WAGES and we all know what that means. does a man and a woman have a normal family of 5 total people? ok what is the cost of living for 5 people? ok it is 80k ok pay it!!!! and why not? these companies are making hundreds of millions of the backs of the same families that the corporations dont want to pay decent wages to. until this happens all you can expect is a broken down society…struggling for scraps and getting nowhere. that is all you can expect. do i sympathize of course i do. because i was one of the people making $9-12 for about 15 years. im 34 still live with my parents because i cant afford a house and im saving. but my sympathies arent going to help the poor. ACTIVE LAWS are going to help the poor. until that day all i can do is wish people good luck and pray to god for change. obama sure didnt deliver did he??? lets see if trump does……….

  • I had some results with a couple of family economy courses I took a few months ago. It takes a lot of determination, thats for sure! Good luck to everybody

  • On you tube there is a guy named Bob at cheap rv living. He chose to live in his van & goes about showing how he & many other people are doing this. Some live on only $800.00 per month some on less. Some people even have kids. Others have medical problems & Bob shows how to get meds cheap & how to camp cheap or free.
    People say living in a van or camper is for poor people I say it sure beats the st.
    All of us would do well to remember but for the grace of God there go I.
    As times get harder we all need to help each other’s.

  • Well,yes it is true that Jesus said, “The poor you have with you always.” And very likely God saw to it as a test for the rest of us to watch how we deal with them.

    But let’s not forget that rich bankers jump or are pushed off of buildings when there is an economic downturn. Ok, maybe it’s because they knew too much about George Soros or Hillary Clinton, but let’s also keep in mind Jesus never said there won’t be any poor people if everyone votes for the right politicians.

    Yes there are people who are poor because they are lazy and many have given up hope because the government takes most of what they make and gives it to planned parenthood to kill babies so there won’t be a next generation of social security payers. And they waste the rest of it on funding programs that make the next generation of children gay so they won’t even have abortions. It’s not just Democrats, Republicans don’t have any morals either with few exceptions.

    But as Daisy pointed out, we have a generation of people who have never faced real hunger or poverty and are 2 generations removed from parents who lived through the Great Depression, so they have to be told that having a roof over your head and food to eat are top priorities. May I add that the clothes you wear and a good pair of boots can go a long way for a little while in keeping you out of the morgue too. The human body is very vulnerable to the elements of nature under the best of conditions. It’s easy to become arrogant and think of yourself as self sufficient when you are warm, dried and satisfied only to find yourself like a banker during the depression a few hours after your bank account is gone and you’re kicked out of your house.

  • Great advice from a community that is helping to destroy the lower middle class and poor even more than they already are by storing up for themselves treasure on the earth!

    Matthew 6:24-34

    24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. 25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

    And for those who store up gold and silver….

    Ezekiel 7:19 ‘They will throw their silver into the streets, And their gold will be like refuse; Their silver and their gold will not be able to deliver them In the day of the wrath of the Lord; They will not satisfy their souls, Nor fill their stomachs, Because it became their stumbling block of iniquity.

  • I filed bankruptcy once. Got really sick, couldn’t work, and fell very far behind. It allowed me to keep the house, and hit the reset button so we could afford to live again. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner! Everyone not only deserves a second chance, but has actually already paid for it without realizing it.

    What I mean is that the banksters have contrived a very wicked system that is contrary to God’s law. This current financial system is DESIGNED to diminish the value of labor, and transfer assets to the elite. If you compare the purchasing power of the $1.60 minimum wage of the mid 60s to today’s prices for basic essentials like rent, food, and gas; you quickly discover that EVERYTHING is at least TEN TIMES more expensive than it was back then. The min wage would have to be $16.00 an hour to even begin to keep pace. Get it? These filthy, corrupt goblins have stolen HALF the value of our labor! And the corrupt politicians pass laws to PROTECT THEM! They are now poised to steal the rest, and they don’t care how many of us die. So file your bankruptcy NOW if you’re already in a hole. Then you might stand a chance to stockpile some beans and rice, a water filter, and plenty of ammo for your shotgun, before the bovine scat REALLY hits the fan.

  • I see soo many people that spend way to much time sitting in front of a television and at the same time grumble about their financial situation. How much could be saved if they would simply cancel their subscription? How much more creative could they be with the time spent reading scripture, gardening books, home repair, herbal remedies, ect, ect? Time is a gift. When it’s used wisely the chances of poverty become significantly smaller.

  • A very well written article… and some very good tips in the section on stretching meals . Thank you! And you are right people who have not been through it do not understand.

  • just lost husband, emergency at hospital.
    house part of his job and must leave in a month.
    so much to do.
    big bills.
    no paycheck
    will have his soc sec
    not enough to live on and pay the debts.
    will be 70 soon. must find job.
    child has chronic disease and lives with us, she is adult.
    must afford housing and insurance.thanks for this post. helpful and hope things will get better.

    • Don’t forget to pray. That’s the biggest and best of all advice in all situations. Remember, all things come from God in heaven.

      • What exactly are prayers going to do for this 70 year old woman? Is god going to heal her chronically ill child? No. What will happen to that adult child when her mother dies? Prayer is useless. Better advice would be for her to go to church and tell all those praying people what happened and what she needs. Then let’s count how many will actually step up and help this woman.

        • Sue, your skepticism toward prayer and people of faith is saddening.

          A few years ago, I was facing homelessness due to loss of employment. My prayers were answered, and God even signed his work. We found a new source of income, then quickly thereafter a new house which we could afford on the new income. The “signature” that it was God’s work was in the timing (too many details – would be a long post & dox me) and in the fact that the new house’s address matched my cellphone number. Classy, God. Nice work!

          God does answer prayers, particularly when offered from a humble heart and phrased in a way that offers positive outcome for all.

    • So sorry for your loss, & hardship…try to remain as positive & hopeful as possible, I realize that sounds incredibly difficult. If you had owned a home, perhaps see if a reverse mortgage is a possibility, I do not like the idea of selling your home back to the bank, it may give you a small bit o f income & time to find a job, or less expensive place to live. Try to devise ingenuous ways of generating income, perhaps buy a used sewing machine & learn to knit or quilting or sew clothes to sell to bring in extra $. Faith in God is not weakness, it is trusting in the One who can lift you out of the pit. Hoe things get better soon
      God bless

  • I’ve bee there myself too, more than once I would say. Thanks for reminding me, no matter how unpleasant that may be. One result of this experience is that you come out the other side as a die-hard realist. I’m not a glass half empty or glass half full kind of guy. I prefer to get out the ruler and let the numbers make the call. I do know that what goes up must come down. This economy simply does not add up to me, and I continue to prepare now for what is coming. I don’t think that it will be pretty. so I say, prep on!…

  • check to see if your utility offers a pay as you go program. my co-op does. you pay upfront and when it is gone, you are shut off. no reconnect fees. you can view your usage online and i think by calling. many have reported saving 1/3 on their bill cuz they go around unplugging useless stuff. may have to redo the tv settings everytime, tho. and etc.

    dave ramsey: he did not invent the snowball method. i used this way before. it is simple common sense, of which few in this country seemed to be blessed with :/

    in the meantime: GET THOSE BILLS PAID OFF! we have been debt free for years now. including our mtg. no car payments, either. our biggest expense is food.

  • Some comforting news possibly – the worse it gets the more help becomes available. Unfortunately I was in that situation as a result of having cancer & being wiped out financially in the process. Shazam – I had FREE medical care, FREE food stamps providing enough for the entire month, housing assistance, reduced utilities, free cell phone & more. By that point I had NO pride or embarrassment, only gratitude for the help to continue living. It all worked out fine, even though I never expected to be living in a low income community. I am alive and well. When I lost everything the stress got better too, cuz the “worst” did happen & there was enough help I never even knew existed. Now I’m grateful every day.

  • I was sqatting in an abandoned house in the 1990’s in Nashville. A kind neighbor ran a electric line w/a light bulb attached to my place and let me use his bath twice a week as I had no water. I had a job baking bagels and that was my breakfeast,lunch,and dinner til payday. Then I would splurge on fast food. Looking now to purchase a home. I will most definitely remember my down time and work to have at least 2 mortgage payments as a cushion. Thank you Daisy for reminding me where I come from. You rock !!

  • Thank you Daisy, what you are describing is myself and my wife at this time. My wife is physically handicapped, in a wheelchair for the last 15-20 years, has last stages of Psariatic Arthritis…..I’ve been out of work for the last 4 years, it’s by the grace of Elohim that we get by, day by day…and one day at a time. Finances are indeed tight….I have, however, managed to stock up on essential foods while we both were taking care of her dad who had kidney cancer (he passed away 2 months ago), then after that we were forced to move.

    I know how corrupt banks are and know how much they lie, cheat and steal from us, (especially when it comes to mortgages) they say one thing and do another, all the while, lying through their corrupted teeth…just earlier this last week, they said one thing to my wife about our mortgage, then she gets a call of a totally different tone (quite the opposite tone I might add), so, things right now are a bit precarious to say the least. I, personally, grew up in calif (S.F. bay area), I grew up in a home, but basically lived on the streets. 30 years ago, calif was a totally different place, it’s much worse now…Ohio is a little better, but not by much….poverty knows no boundaries, it is not limited by state lines nor mountain ranges or valleys.

    What we all need to “Re-Learn”, is to grow our own food, and feed ourselves, this is not rocket science (and there are roughly 9 months of growing season, and based on the lunar cycles), and we need to learn to help each other, as it was in the days of this countries founding….we also need to get back to basics of living by Biblical standards, not mans (this is what got us in trouble in the first place).

    This article should be made as a pdf for future reference for reminding…’re a good woman Daisy, keep up the good work….thank you again for all you do…

  • 4 years ago I ran into this. Lost job due to parents diag’d with cancer the same day. They came to live with me and I had to take care of them – thank god my family has a trust that I could pull from. Already had food stored – used some of it. After they passed – Went to school for six months – which refreshed my job skills and then found work. Not fun – today doing good. Learned not to have much out side house and Utils as bills. Re-built the pantry after got new job First thing . If I do things – I do no interest for 12 month and pay off in six such as windows needed for the house this year. Keeping things tight even if things are good right now. It can change over night. Good suggestions and lines up with the plan I came up with myself. thanks for sharing this.

  • I’m not broke by any means but I do have some debt I want to eliminate. I’m currently foused on two things:

    1. I went through my whole apartment and I’m selling everything that is not absolutely necessary in my daily life. Yes, it’s nice to have things but it’s going to be waaaay nicer to have zero debt! Also, there’s less to clean when you have less things.
    2. I’m buying things that are reusable like bamboo paper towels. Two rolls were only $7 but could be washed and reused over and over again. Menstrual cups will save me a ton on feminine hygiene products. I refill plastic water bottles from my Brita filter etc.
    Bonus – food – I’ve gotten incredibly savvy with coupons and finding BOGO deals. Sometimes I shop and meal prep with a friend and we split the bill.

    Hope that helps!

  • Thank you Daisy for this article with the help and encouragement for all. Also, what I wanted to say is, thank you to those who encourage others with comments, suggestions with helpful advice and are positive. We sure could use a lot more of that in this old world than these people that get on and knock people down for the situation that they may be in. To me I think to myself….Gosh, are these the kind of people that I would want around me in any situation, good or bad? These people who pick and condemn are not of any help to anyone. Why don’t they provide something other than being critical or keep their mouths shut. Put all that negative talk energy into something positive. Stop the political crap. Who needs it. Where has that gotten us in this country or any place else. I’m tired of it as well as so many others. If we want a better world we need to start within ourselves, where our hearts are and that doesn’t mean being selfish or thinking that we’re above others. Thanks again Daisy and all the folks trying to be helpful, understanding and kind.

  • All I can say is if you are in this situation don’t be too proud or shy to use the local food bank, soup kitchen or other food pantries. It is bare bones stuff but it will help some. Here in Canada is law in many areas that utilities can’t cut you off for non payment in the dead of winter… Might help someone decide what to pay first – check if there are non-disconnection rules during cold season…

  • I remember just such a time, it was simply awful, I was a new mother, my husband struggled to find work, we only very little $, I remember having bill collectors at our door & phone like ravenous wolves, having very little to eat, having to ditch out in the middle of the night, because we didn’t have the $ to pay rent. It was a nightmare I hope never to have to relive. I thank God everyday for what I have, I’m debt free, have a place to live ,a job, an old car still running , & a lil nest egg savings. I give thanks to God for His merciful provision always.

  • Government tax too much. Fees, regulations , insurance all eat at your income before you even get it. By the time it gets to you (no pun intended) there is hardly anything left.

    Taxation is too much and most of it is made up THEFT and communistic principles being used to STEAL it.

  • Been there, done that, several times, and doing it again, LOL! I was out of work for 3 yrs. finally got a minimum wage job after having earned 60K/yr, thank goodness for the ‘stuff’ I had stored that greatly helped us during that lean time. In between, had DD and GS move back in for a year, and just got caught up on utilities since they’ve moved out. I recently had to have emergency surgery, and a month off work with no pay. So we are back to robbing peter to pay paul. I have fortunately not been homeless, but close enough to it. We are unfortunatley fully grid connected, so we have to deal with the utility companies. Gave up cable years ago, watch OTA TV, there’s more than enough available to watch with all the digital channels these days! The one ‘luxury’ we do pay is internet, which is outrageous but we only have 2 options in our area, and they are both costly. But we did do without it for a couple of years, it wouldn’t hurt us if we had to do without it again. The one piece of advice I can share, if you have an emergency hospitalization like I did, request an itemized bill from the hospital and each entity billing you (since radiology, lab, hospitalist, surgeon, etc bill separately) so that you can review line by line, and dispute anything that you did not receive (meds, meals, etc.) procedures that weren’t done (like labs ordered but never done, for example), visits that did not happen (it helps if you have an ‘advocate’ who may have been with you for times that you may have been incapacitated). I personally was lucid for my entire hospital stay, except for the surgery itself.

    Things may seem and actually be rough. But know that there IS light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes you need to think outside of the box, and your resourcefulness will amaze you some times!

    And for the one negative commenter I read, or any other potential negative commenters, I am college educated. I have worked, gainfully, since I had a paper route as a kid. I have taken unemployment, been on welfare, but have also paid into all of those, and gone back to gainful employment and paying back into those systems. I am not above taking a minimum wage job (actually did, since I could no longer find employment in my higher paying profession for reasons not of my making–ageism, I cost more than a less experienced employee, etc.), You never know a persons circumstances. Particularly in this day and age, with cost of living rising and wages stagnant, a lot of good people are struggling.

    • It’s like Paul said, you learn to live with plenty, you learn to live when you have nothing and in all things being content.

      But you are right when you have to cut down and sometimes all the pieces fit together in the end and you make do and realize
      many products and processes you have been duplicating in excess anyway and you come out more appreciative of your resourcefulness but also appreciate what you had.

  • Great article. For those in this situation, cheer up, it will get better. And the tips in this article are great and accurate. And don’t forget, when you’re in that situation, you are not alone, you’re not the first, not the only one and not the last.

    And fr all other readers never had such situation, be careful, because this might happen to you too, or your children and family or your friends.

  • I’ve been there before, but now I’m on a fixed income of about $800 per month it is much harder. My rent is low, but we had a $10 increase last month, so something else had to go. I am a great Dave Ramsey fan, and try to follow his rules but no money is no money.
    May I suggest that in most communities there are food panties, usually run by the churches, where you may receive food assistance with few or no questions asked. Even an extra can of something, or loaf of bread makes a huge difference. Oh, by the way, left over chicken grave is great on soda crackers.

  • What makes me very sad is to know impoverished middle-aged and elderly people whose children do not help them financially. I could tell story after story after story. I’m childless, so I never had the false expectation of help from children. But here is what I have learned from observing: Children are not a pension plan. Children are not an unemployment plan. Children are not a savings account.

  • Sorry, but this time it will not change. It will only get deeper. You had money in the bank BEFORE the devious congress critters passed a law making your money a loan to the bank. When they default on the trillions of lawless derivatives … there goes your money. Now even though you felt secure your money is gone just like the test cases in Cypress and Greece caused by the EU. That was a practice. Not part of the EU? Guess again as it is part of the gigantic central bank screw you system of debt creation.

    Now again without your money … how are you going to pay your bills from your missing [digits only] bank stored money?

  • When one finds him- or herself in this type of dire straits due to illness, auto breakdown, hurricane or other unforeseeable events, there IS a charity which can help. It’s designed for people who can support themselves under usual circumstances, who find themselves in unusual circumstances. There is no condescension, just people who’ve been there and want to help others.

    The charity is called Modest Needs, and it’s for people whose situations would disqualify them from most government programs and charities’ help. I’m not affiliated with Modest Needs except as an occasional donor, but I have seen many success stories and believe they do an important service for people who would otherwise fall through the cracks of the social safety net.

  • Thank You Daisy, Your post was a Godsent message to me(well I think so). My Wife of 17 years and partner of 24, passed away in June of 2018. She battled cancer for nearly 2 years, which destroyed our savings, our sanity, and nearly our marriage. Thankfully, our kids are grown, and my son has stuck by me, although most of the rest of our families just watched us sink. The tips on your, and a few others, sites have kept me in our home, as my wife had no will, and I am on disability the past 10 years. People always say “You can get a job if you really want to work” I don’t wish ill on any one, but I do wonder how well they would do in my situation(most would be found dead, in the fetal position). So THANK YOU! From the bottom of my heart, and GOD BLESS. Keep up the good work, You are helping people.

  • I am sorry that troll got on here. I have been there as a child. My father worked for a company that was forced into bankruptcy by a big name aviation company. He lost his job and my grandfather lost his pension. I remember the many nights dinner was a big Pyrex bowl of rice with chicken gumbo soup or hard boiled eggs in a cream sauce, not being able to go to my best friends birthday because my parents couldn’t afford even a nickel for a cheap dime store toy. I remember being called “welfare scum” because we had the tins from the government. you may remember them, white with black writing on them. Dad called it the “army dole” My mom doing the neighborhood ladies hair and she was allergic to human dander for the money to put gas in the 1954 car my dad kept running to find work and being the neighbor hood mechanic/handyman for the neighbors. Listening to my mother crying late at night about maybe having to split me, my brothers and sisters up among relatives because they were losing the 2 bedroom bungalow , they had bought when they got married in 53. The family doctor that took token payments and NEVER sent it to a collection agency like the hospital when my mother lost a baby. My father eventually got a good job and got on his feet. So Mr troll I hope you NEVER come to that. That is why I have been preparing so when not if it hits the fan my family will be able to ride it out and my children and grand children won’t go hungry or cold.

    • Back in the 1960s two of my aunts got hepatitis C in hospital whilst giving birth to my cousins. Neither uncle could afford to take time off work or to hire childcare. In both cases my mother took care of the newborns just a few years apart for at least 2 months while the mother’s recovered. Our family doctor checked those kids once a week & never sent a bill. This was in the days shortly before socialized medicine in Canada. He later said that if my mother cud find the energy at her age, then it was the least he cud do to help out.

  • Thanks for sharing, it seems that if one income is lost for a couple or family, that so many of us are a couple months from utter loss. Friends and everyone else don’t realize what you’re going through or just ‘oh no’ you have to sell your house, move, whatever – but it’s not a shared or caring understanding, and that alone is so incredibly upsetting, since it’s not like someone can loan a month of expenses and that will matter, you need ongoing income to support.
    It seems everyone has so many payments and obligations that upsetting that main or one income is all that separates everything and nothing.
    The only thing to do is to minimize obligations, have optional expenses, know how to be frugal, be willing to let go of ‘imagined necessities’ and have downsizing or exchanging lifestyle info at the ready along with attitude adjustment that will be needed. Assume no one will care or be able to help.

  • Wonderful article! Thank you for being so positive. Even though you know others have to be in the same situation it’s hard for it to sink in. You have written another amazing article I will be sharing. Thanks

  • Hi Daisy, I appreciate your topic today more than you could know. I was laid off in April when the company I worked for went bankrupt and tried starting my own business. It failed horribly and now we have nothing in the bank and nothing coming in. We are selling everything we can (even my wife’s engagement ring) but still have nothing. I’m working on getting a new job but it’s taking longer than I expected and we are in a difficult place.
    We are trying to hang on, but things are getting worse.

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