You Don’t Have To Starve Or Go Homeless While On Public Assistance
How to budget your TANF, WIC and Food Stamps does not come with your case. You apply, go through lots of red tape to get approved, once you are approved that is it. You don’t hear from them until three to six months later when it is time to reapply.
No one helps you with how to use it so that it lasts all month long. There isn’t a financial class to help you with budgeting at all. You are left to wing it on your own. It can leave your family struggling the last week or two of each month. You have to choose which meal will be skipped because there just is not enough for three balanced fresh meals a day for the whole month.
This is a huge problem across our country. Every year there are talks of lowering the amount given, which is already so low it is below minimum wage. And no, I am not at all comparing or saying that TANF or any type of public assistance is a way of life or a job because it is not. However when we draw up the numbers and lay out the amount between the two, public assistance is lower than minimum wage.
Instead of talking about lowering it to slowly wean Americans off of TANF as a whole, we should instead be putting into place classes that help with financial education.
These classes can be set up and will be more cost-effective and be a more efficient way to allocate funds instead of drug testing! Of course, frauds need to be handled, but putting more emphasis on financial education and helping those on public assistance with building a solid foundation will be the key in weaning Americans off of public assistance.
- People! You DO NOT need to justify WHY you get public assistance at all!!
People who are vomiting their toxic words degrading your use of SNAP benefits disease is slowly contaminating you when you reply with why you’re on it.
You owe NO ONE your why at all. You did all your paperwork with the public assistance agency and qualified, you did all your explanations then. No need to do it here or anywhere else.
Reevaluate Your Families Financial Situation
The cost of expenses has slowly risen over the years which are causing many families to reevaluate how much they spend every month and search for ways to save money. Over two million families depend on food stamps and government assistance every year. If you’re one of the two million and are searching for ways to save money and become financially independent, then I am providing you with some tips to follow and assist you in accomplishing your goal of financial freedom.
Create Your Budget
Take some time to look at your overall budget. Observe any areas in your budget where you can cut your expenses for a few months or until you can obtain more income. Suggestions would be to cut spending money on fast food or buying coffee from your local barista.
Take a good look at how much money you have to put towards your food budget, after all your living expenses, and what foods you are regularly purchasing. Search for items in which you can supplement a cheaper brand. Instead of buying a $3 bag of chips search for a brand that is half the cost. At the end of this post, grab your Free Budgeting Worksheet to help you lay it all out there.
Figure out what meals are cheaper, last longer but are still healthy. I know how hard to can be to feed a family with so little money. Planning out food is tedious, but critical. You only have a budget of $600.00 for food to last you all month, you absolutely need to plan.
For example, a local family I’ve been helping gets $600.00 in food stamps and they are a family of four. This means each family member only gets $150.00 in food to last them the entire month. When that is broken down by the day, this means each family member only has a total of $5.00 Per Day! This is such a huge problem. Can you eat three meals a day without going over $5.00 Per Day and are they healthy meals?
I know everyone that is blessed enough to not have to get public assistance are quick to judge and they will complain and say lower the amount… but it is at an already low amount, that if lowered, even more, we will have more malnutrition Americans and many more sick due to starvation.
Avoid Using Credit Cards
If you have a credit card, then start paying down any debt that you may have obtained and avoided using credit cards for any further expense. Save cash for all necessary expenses. If you need to purchase a new pair of shoes, then spend a few weeks saving money, by cutting your budget, and do not pay full price. Only use credit cards for emergency purchases.
Create a Safety Net
Be fully committed to saving as much cash as you can within a couple of months. Challenge yourself by setting a substantial but reasonable goal, such as one thousand dollars. You can achieve your goal by cutting unnecessary expenses, selling items that you no longer need, and working available overtime that your employer provides. Put the cash in a savings account and keep it there. Once you reach your goal, you can continually add to your nest egg and be prepared for unexpected expenses. Read more about creating a Safety Financial Net here.
Take Advantage of Available Resources
Most cities and towns offer different types of resources to residents within their community. Use these resources temporarily to help create a stable foundation for when you make the transition off of government assistance.
- A tip to get more food with food stamps: Contact your local farmers market. Ask them if they participate in the Double Bucks program. This program allows you to get a little more food than you would in a grocery store. For example, you spend $40.00 on food stamps but get $80.00 total of food!
Search for your closest Food Bank and stock up on items that you won’t have to use towards Food Stamps. You can receive boxes of cereal, cans of vegetables, pasta, rice, meat, and beans. If you qualify for WIC, then sign up and get gallons of milk, eggs, fruit, and cheese.
- A tip to get more WIC food items: You are allowed to use the buy one get one free sale with your WIC. However, you can only do one buy one get one free deal per transaction. So if there is a B1G1Free sale on cereal, instead of being limited to two 18oz boxes for the month, get them while on sale so that you can bring home four boxes instead of only two.
Take advantage of government programs such as free cell phone plans. By using a free cell phone, and cutting your current phone bill, you will be able to save additional money. The minutes are limited, but it really does help, you don’t get this fancy flashy phone, but it is great for emergencies. Every dollar that you save will add up and benefit your family overall.
Keep in mind that using these resources is only temporary and will help you better your financial situation.
Join The Coupon and Sales Savings Challenge
Wouldn’t you want to spend only $30.00 for double the amount of food and saved at least $100.00 all in one shopping trip?!
If you are not already using coupons then now is the time to start saving some dollars. Especially if you are buying name brand products. Coupons can be easily downloaded or printed from a home computer. If you have a smartphone, search for coupon apps such as Smart Source or Supermarket Coupons. You can grab new Coupons Weekly Here.
Check with your local grocery store and ask if they offer a savings card that will provide store coupons and incentives. Consider shopping at multiple stores to save money with your coupons. Keep in mind that you can use coupons along with Food Stamps; if your state has a food tax, you may have to pay the tax for coupons that are used. Use coupons to help reduce your budget and make it a goal to not pay full price for items that you use daily.
Doing the Coupon and Sales Savings Challenge will help you reduce your spending by at least 30% or more! And even better, you will get the benefits such as having food for every single day of the month instead of food running out by week three! It will give you the opportunity to begin your Financial Safety Net as well.
Pick a spot in a cupboard where you can start storing food for a rainy day. Your goal will be to build a small stockpile of food that could potentially sustain your family for a couple of months.
While you are weaning off of food stamps, this stockpile will help to feed your family during the transition. Start small by buying items you can purchase on sale such as a Buy-One-Get-One-Free deal. If you can buy an extra can of vegetables or bag of beans this week, then add it to the cupboard.
Creating your pantry will take many weeks but will be very rewarding to you and your family. By having a sizable pantry and adding to it weekly, you will be able to take control of the food within your household and not have to worry about running out of food towards the end of the month. You can learn more about Stockpiling The Food Pantry here.
Shop At Thrift And Outlet Stores
You can find name brand clothes at places like Once Upon A Child, thrift stores, Ross, T.J. Maxx and other similar stores. Kohls usually has these super amazing prices, especially after combining Kohls Cash and sales prices.
Last year we did clothes shopping in Kohls and saved over $400.00 in one transaction! So with some planning ahead, you can get lots of product for little money.
Enjoy Life As Much As Your Budget Allows, Use These Resources
You know my motto – Enjoy Life, Buy The Things You Want And Need, Without Comprimising Your Financial Safety Net.
Take your family out, at least once a month! Buy something on your wishlist, when you have earned and deserved it, meaning you are sticking to your financial plan; so you can indulge in at least one want every quarter.
There are museums and other recreational activities that you can do using a discount only for those on public assistance. Some summer camps also offer a reduced fee for those on public assistance.
Public Assistance Can Be An Effective And Efficient Way To Be Financially Educated For Life
Just because you are on public assistance doesn’t mean you are a bad person, a bum, a non productive adult, not willing to work or anything negative like that.
Don’t allow someone else’s negative thoughts invade your positive atmosphere! Public assistance is only temporary, most states it is up to five years during your lifetime. So the time you are on it please make the most and best use of it.
Be sure to learn how to allocate your money responsibly and effectively. You have a short time to be on public assistance. Let it teach you how to be good with money management.
Let Me Help You Set Up A Financial Plan
By following some of these tips, taking the initiative, and maybe making a few sacrifices, you will feel empowered in taking control of your life and move towards becoming financially independent. Yes, it will take some time and effort, but by making the commitment and beginning your journey now, you will get closer to your overall goal sooner than you think.
Grab the Free One Page Budgeting Worksheet, print out twelve copies, one for each month.
Write down every single penny that you have going out and what you have coming in. It is critical that you know these numbers. In order to get your TANF and Food Stamps to last longer, you absolutely have to track and control every single penny you have going out.
Use the information given here to help you save money. Any money that you have saved, Do Not Spend It! That is where many people make the biggest mistake, spending the money they worked hard to save!
Want to learn more about bootstrapping and helping yourself with money management, check out the recommendations below.