I wanted to talk a little bit about money. (wait! it’s so taboo! I know, but when it comes down to it, it’s important to talk about.)
I’ve been living on the VISTA stipend since September, and only a few overdraft dramas. Before that, I was in National service, which pays the big bucks of $1040 a month.
If you have a spare $100 in cash, my advice would be to set it aside – put it in an overdraft savings account, or just keep it in an envelope in your desk. If you don’t, consider what you can live without… which, I think, is the point of the VISTA stipend. Try not to live on credit cards, because the banks will gauge you. (They might change the rate laws in February; don’t hold your breath.)
Let’s share some ideas and stories and laugh and cry and… prevent being overdrawn!
- cheap haircuts: (Great Clips, local community colleges, beauty schools, etc)
- dental: check your community and four-year colleges; some offer assistance; some non-profits will hook you up with reduced rates.
- food stamps: YOU NEED THEM. a lot of people who work at DSHS (or whatever granting agency it is in your state) will perk their ears up if you tell them you’re in national service. don’t be shy about it.) some places like Papa Murphy’s also take food stamps – look into it.
- clothes: Value Village is your friend! Goodwill, Salvation Army, YWCA… also, some places have "career clothing" shopping appointments if they have a community clothing closet. (you might have to ask.)
- potlucks! (yes, these are your friends! you DO love casserole!)
- housing? most states have housing agencies – you might be able to get on a waiting list, depending how bad the needs are in your area. (try to connect with a post-service Americorps, VISTA, or Jesuit Volunteer Corps; sometimes they’ll help you out or send you to someone who can)
besides knitting your own legwarmers?
in other news, I straightened out my food stamps today. they were going to give me $16 a month. What, I ask you, can a person eat on $16 a month!!! I know, you will talk about your dumpster-diving days. that just kinda scares me, though. no offense. I got them restored to $130 a month, which is not as much as I did have, but about as much as I need. *whew!*
I’m also feeling a little bit better today, and will probably go into work tomorrow. good times.
happy birthday, !!! you’re a joy and I’m happy we’re friends.