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To stay out of unmanageable debt you need to spend less than your total net income. When life throws me a financial curve I get a second job, sell stuff, and cut expenses to the bone. Within a short period of time I am back on track. I have learned that I need to acknowledge the financial crisis sooner rather  than later. It is a daily process. I hope this helps others. I am raising 7 children on a limited income. I have found a way to make it work for us.

@BONBON My wife and I know just how it is to cut things to the bone. We've had to do it many times, and we're trying to do it right now. Seems like life likes to throw all of us a curve ball at times when we feel things are going well, but we should always try to be prepared. Sometimes my wife and I are, and at other times we're not. We've been thrown a curveball by DirecTV this week by being told that we need to have upgraded equipment put into our home, but we don't have the televisions for that. Our tele's are at least 20 years old, so we were told we needed to upgrade to a different type of television. We're looking at Best Buy and hoping we can find one that we like. We'll actually have to have 2, one for the living room and one for the bedroom. UGH! We should be able to cover the upgrades in one week, but that's not the point. We'd love to get rid of cable altogether, but we'd still have to keep our landline and our DSL line to keep our internet. I hope you are doing well at taking care of things on a limited income with 7 kids. Lord help you, my friend. We had foster kids and we know how hard it was even with the state stipend for each one. It wasn't easy at all. You're in our prayers.


MissyD posted:

I don't owe but on one credit card and that will be paid up the end of this month. When I first posted on Penny Hoarder I  was looking for a work at home job. I have seen nothing about one since except one man posted they all are not what they seem. I am not looking for public work. I have worked 37 years and no more public work. I was a CorrectionL Officer then after I retired I worked as a substitute teacher for a year. That was enough. I would now like something at home. I coupon and look for sales at the grocery stores. My car is paid for. I would just like some info on working at home. Any good ideas? Nothing negative please.

This may be a little late but check out Cambly which is ESL teaching right from home, no training, choose your hours. All done online. Pays each Monday via paypal. Pays by the minute, when you are online with a student. Every call is a different situation or country to talk with. Not a ton of money but can reach around $10 per hour. Some situations you are guaranteed paid if you get calls or not. Totally flexible hours and days. 10-21 cents per minute. Good support and technical assistance. Especially with your teaching experience. Open 24 hours a day. Must speak native English is about the only requirement.

@barbie doll What kind of work experience do you have? Are you proficient in any computer skills or something that would allow you to work from home? I know many do but they aren't sure enough of themselves to even consider doing something like this. Also, have you got an account with eBay and PayPal, Poshmark or any other service that you can buy and sell goods on? These are all an honest, open and sometimes quicker way to earn money than driving all over and looking for a job, going through interviews, matter what your education level. I hope this helps in some way. 

 Hello, my name  is Shari from Western PA. I am looking to retire in three (3) years.  My partner of 26 years and I are basically debt free.   The house is paid for, we do not have any credit  cards, and our vehicles are payment free.   Our earlier planning was tossed out the window six years ago when we took custody of our now six year old grand-daughter.  What began as a temporary arrangement is now a permanent addition to our family.    I am looking for advice/solutions in two areas, building a savings account and managing retirement on a meager social security income.

I work part-time and my 401k  is less than 5k due to emergency withdrawals .  My partner has an IRA but will receive less SS than I.  Almost all the savings we might have made with the earned income credit from our grand-daughter has been used for legal fees regarding custody issues.  I have managed to start a 'small college fund for her,  but have no personal savings of my own.

My partner deposits what he can save into his IRA.  We split household expenses and I coupon constantly to save money but have not been very successful at cutting back on spending for grandchildren.  We have 7 other grandchildren together and I have two more of my own for a total of 10.   Any and all advice welcomed.




Hi Shari,

Sometimes caring  about children, especially your own grandchildren, can put a strain on relationships and tug at your heart strings, we all want to do the right thing. The right thing would be to make the parents of your granddaughter be accountable. They had the pleasure of making her and now need to step up and support her, unless they are not alive.There are too many excuses we accept from them...snow flakes that melt under the slightest pressure & go running off, addiction, jail time, can't be found, just don't want to be a mom and dad and provide a loving family. You see it even now days when parents put the child into daycare rather than stay home and love that baby, they place it where it has to compete for attention and is not loved all day. Your granddaughter is so very lucky to have a wonderful grandma like you to take care of her. You need to go after the source and make them pay for her. A pro bono lawyer might be a good place to start.


@Shari L Dilley It is a good thing your grandchild has a loving, caring grandmother such as yourself. I have to say that I agree with the previous poster, that if the parents of your grandchild are alive and able to help support this child, they should do so or be forced to do so by law. The truth is, this child is THEIR responsibility, not yours unless you have legally adopted it. It may seem harsh, but it's true. It has negatively affected you and your partner's financial well being. If you decide not to take the legal option, that's your choice, and I will give that to you. I can speak to this subject to some degree because I was adopted by my mother's second husband when I was seven, six years after my father abandoned me. He and my adoptive father were both raised by family members and it was hard. I won't go into details, but let it suffice for me to say that both had a rough upbringing. My wife and I were also foster parents and saw what happens not only to the children but to the parents and the ones who take other people's children and responsibilities on themselves, even with the help of the state in stipends. I know that there are many charities that help such as Catholic Social Services, and if there are any Southern Baptist Churches in your area, they also help, especially grandparents raising grandchildren. The state of PA also has many forms of assistance from what I understand from my sister in law and nieces who live in PA near and in Pittsburgh. I hope this helps. I've added you to my prayer list if you don't mind. I hope you can find some answers here and in your area. 


Thanks Joe, you are right, the deadbeat parents need to be accountable. You raised a good point about adoption and the foster care system, many thanks to you and your wife for taking these children in, it had to be rough and with your background a great   deal of compassion was shown to them.

There are stop-gap charities and food banks to assist during rough times, hopefully you will seek them out. Maybe the dept of social services can guide you.

@redcatcec We were in the process of adopting two of our foster children when a liberal judge was elected and sworn in. Our two foster sons didn't want to go back to their mother, and she had fled the state to live with her sister in FL, leaving not only them, but their disabled and mentally challenged sister. The sister was sexually assaulted when the father of the youngest boy got drunk and the neighbor came in and committed the crime. The mother NEVER followed the guidelines to get her children back, and had already signed away the rights to the handicapped daughter, as had her husband. Still, she had gotten a decision from the Florida courts saying she could have the custody of her sons back and challenged our state's decision. It was heartbreaking for us when we got the decision in the early part of the second week of December that year saying that "in the Spirit of forgiveness and Christmas, we are granting custody back to the mother.". The sad part was that she got them back, the boys were shocked as were we, and after they got to Florida it wasn't even six months before they in the system again. We were devastated as according to our contract with the state we couldn't go to Florida to try to adopt them without losing our chance to be foster parents. DCS in this state has been in bad shape ever since we were in it and is worse now. They are letting children who have committed violent crimes run rampant and are losing track of them and then not reporting it to the authorities, or aren't feeling or showing any urgency to do so. It's been in the news for the past two months here. We had to get out of the service to DCS because it was becoming not only dangerous, but we watched many foster parents lose everything because of false accusations of abuse from foster children. It was an honor to serve and help others and to see families restored, but it scared us to death when one of our dear friends lost the home, jobs, and cars because of a false accusation of a whipping. Another was reported by a foster child having the child saying the parent had sexually assaulted them...these children had been with other foster children who had learned to play the system. We couldn't face that possibility any longer. We didn't like the way the children were treated, nor the way the foster parents or the workers in the DCS system were overloaded with cases. Thank you for your thanks for our service. We pray for all foster parents and hope that they know what they are getting into and adequately have themselves protected with insurance, legal insurance, etc. Thank you for mentioning those stop-gap programs. All possible help SHOULD be mentioned for people who are interested and need it. Blessings.


Thank you all for the helpful advice. My situation is rather complicated by the nature of our custody agreement and the unwillingness of my partner to stop being co-dependent with his daughter. 

Assistance in our state (PA) is almost non-exsistant. We are just over the income level for food stamps and energy assistance. We all receive medical coverage thank goodness, due to my partner and I both qualifying for workers with disabilities insurance,

Child support is a joke due to my partner.  Yes, he filed for child support on the father, who promptly "injured himself" on the job and quit working, which lowered his income and resulted in a lowered support payment of $50.00/month.    As for the mother, she does not work and is required to pay the minimum of $50.00/month, which her father pays for her, so net result is zero.  

We have had many heated discussions about the whole situation and a few all-out fights.  We both agree that the child will never return to either parent, but that is where our agreeing ends.


I am now just interested in making sure I can get myself financially secure for retirement and raising this little girl for 12 more years.  My partner's health is a concern, and I have  urged him to make arrangements in the event he should leave us, but he refuses to discuss the matter.

I don't know what my options would be and don't have the funds to consult my own attorney. Any input?


@Shari L Dilley Your situation does indeed sound complicated, and I'm sure it is. Not living in PA, I don't know what if any support is out there for you. I know that we have had friends and my sister-in-law and nieces living there. The youngest niece has a situation very similar to yours. She has had to file for child support for one of her children from the father of that child, but he has refused to pay. Even with the possibility of having to go to jail, he won't pay. She has received some minor support from Catholic Social Services and then there are some services through the county which she found, but she had to spend a great deal of time and energy finding it. Have you checked with any ministers in your area for what options are available? They are often in the know. I hope this helps. Please, keep us informed. It may help us to think of other options as well. As far as your partner, is this person helping or hindering your efforts? I will be sending prayers your way for answers.

Hello, I am from Gainesville, Florida and I am a mom of two boys who I home school. I also have a grown daughter who is a Newborn Photographer and 3 years ago made me a grandmother to a wonderful little boy! Both of my boys, 10 and 16, are on the Autism Spectrum so being a work from home mom provides the flexibility that is needed for my busy family. I am currently working the side hustle hard with my hand in three different business ventures. My first one is being a Travel Advisor, and since I love to travel this has been a lot of fun. Second, I part-time nanny and work as a business manager for two local small businesses in my community. I look forward to being a part of this community and have enjoyed all the valuable information that Penny Hoarder as given me in the last few years since I discovered them. Thank you for all you do and for all the help you have given me!

Hello, all!

I am Anne Marie of Auburn, WA.  I'm a survivor of bacterial meningitis that almost took my life back in '04.  My family was told that I'd be a quadriplegic, but here I am, walking and talking, dancing and singing, etc.  I AM  a walking miracle, for what it's worth, but it came at a  steep price.  My memory isn't so good anymore,   for  example, and I've lost some of the abilities I used to possess.  I USED to be a pianist of concert quality, but now I can barely tap out songs on a keyboard

Also, I'm in the process of paying off my Kia Soul that I purchased NEW in 2017.   (I LOVE my Soul!) I just wish I'd held out for a Solar Yellow one, you know?  White, though pretty, and the color of a lady, is BORING! (but at least it's not SILVER!)

Auburn is close to Seattle, so it rains, like, ALL of the time here.  CONSTANTLY.  But my dad insisted on moving us out here in 1991 because he was a company man and this is where his job took him.  Fate wasn't kind, however, and a massive stroke sent him to and early retirement.  Though fully recovered now, he retired early and took a full pension, since he worked for that company, like, ALL of his life.  (Jos. T. Ryerson and Sons Steel Co.)  We started on the East coast, in New Jersey, moved to Cincinnati when I was ready to start the sixth grade, and then here in '91.  

I'm REALLY looking forward to getting to know all of you and learning how to save some money so that I can A. pay my car off faster and B. possibly pay off my student loans? (though it's a little late for that now - they've already gone into default.)

This corona-virus if getting the best of us, isn't it?  What a terrible, terrible disease!

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