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I’ve been checking/redoing our household budget. I know there is a rent increase coming in February and I don’t foresee an income increase.

Y’all.

Going strictly by calculators of how much one is “supposed” to pay to live, I “overspend” (a site actually said that) on life. By life I mean rent, bills for stuff like trash collection, medications, you know actually staying alive.

For my “fun” budget I include our good internet, both of our cell plans (mine with recently upgraded data), sometimes stuff like socks, underwear, etc

I’ve done a lot of the things they tell us poor folks to do in order to save and yank ourselves up by our bootstraps. My entertainment budget is less than 20$ a month. We don’t really go out. I know how to budget and stick to it.

I’ve been doing this my whole adult life.

Lately, I keep going over my math. I’m trying to figure out how much more income I actually need in order to make us at least comfortable, and then I realize I don’t know what comfortable is.

Currently I’m able to pay my bills on time, have our Netflix, get a fancy coffee once a week or so, I am able to save up for X months for skincare or make up or bath stuff. We can get the good Thai food (cheap and tasty) in our neighborhood sometimes, sometimes if the stars align I can buy the type of food I like to eat for lunch instead of what fits the budget.

What would better look like?

In the context of say, living. What would be better? I can hardly picture it and that bothers me.

Let’s talk about places to live.

Right now all I can think about for a place to live is that I know I can afford to pay the rent. That’s where we live.

I wonder what it would feel like to choose a place because it contributed to our quality of life? Or because it has the stuff I desperately want in an apartment AND I can afford it AND it is in a nice place and I don’t have to complain about it being pitch black in the stairwell or deal with randomly left behind cleaning/construction shit or climb 6 flights of stairs.

I want to visualize these things because every little bit help and some woo might help me. But, all the visualizations do is make me sad.

I get embarrassed because I look at say a couch, a decent couch that I think looks comfy and instantly, I am like yeah no. I instantly wonder how many things from my Etsy shop, things I need to sell, how many donations it would take and how I could spend that money on medication, food, phone bills etc.

This is also one of the things about being a poor person, I don’t see discussed often enough. the emotional toll.

As recently as a month ago I was looking at mattresses. We need a new bed. Desperately. The one we have is about 15 years old and was not good to start with. I had a panic attack. A really bad one. I didn’t know how much they are supposed to cost, I couldn’t really tell what a good one would be, then there was the wallop of guilt because we need one so badly.

If you’ve been here for a bit you know my partner is disabled and I know for a fact that a better bed would help him be in less pain and the despair and guilt I feel over not being able to provide that is just overwhelming sometimes. The days when I can’t pay for his medication to be reupped or when I realize that if I MADE/HAD more money I could afford better food and ALL I could do-it hurts.

I often have to ask my friends if X price is a good one for pants or shoes or whatever and I’m always embarrassed. I’m almost 40 and I don’t know how much a “good” pair of pants should cost.

Just lately this has been weighing very heavily on me.

I had a meltdown because I waited 20 minutes too long to check out of Kmart online on Black friday and the pants I needed were gone.

These are the reasons I do so many little hustles. Bing rewards, Swagbucks (referral link), InboxDollars,  Shopstyle, and why I have the Amazon Store (aside from it fulfills my weird dream to have an everything Shannon Likes store) . Logically, I know that none of these things will pay for me to get my teeth fixed, or keep partner and me in socks and underwear but it soothes some of my poor folks shame.

Another way I’ve been trying to deal with this is that I started a fundraiser. I know a lot of folks frown on crowdfunding but I really just need the little boost. So far things have gone better than I thought they would.See it here. Please share the link, we need it.

At the end here, I want to put this into the universe.

Give me an economic break Universe. Let me win one of the grants I applied for, let some rich, bored person see my gofundme and throw money at it, let something change and please let me stop feeling so ashamed and embarrassed.

Thanks for reading.