Too Poor to Work

A few years ago I was in a crunch. I earned $18 an hour and was raising a 4 year old child. I wrote about how hard finding child care made it for me to work here in 2015.

Here is how my budget broke down…

Income: $2,880

But… I didn’t see my full check. With health benefits for myself and 2 daughters, my checks were closer to $2,200

Rent: $1,500

Gas: $70

Utilities : $320

Car insurance: $75 (my old car was from 2005 and paid off, thanks Dad!)

Cell phone: $120 (thanks @Verizon). We don’t have a land line.

Groceries: $250 + WIC

Misc: $80 (new shoes, toilet paper, laundry soap, tampons, etc)

So far we are at $1,995

I had $300 left at the end of the month…

Until I paid for child care which was easily $700 a month.

Yep, NEGATIVE $400, and that is with a job and a college degree.

Even with a Master’s… This is what my money looks like:

The last three weeks were Winter Vacation. No school and no free before and after school care meant I needed to pay for day camp – $140 of day camp…times 3. That is still $420 a month. I’d still be short $120.


Can you be too poor to work?


If you don’t have child care, transportation to get to child care and then to work, well. You are too poor to work.

Now, the GAIN program can help with this, but the hoops are rough. Of you have a part time job paying more than minimum wage, you won’t qualify for much help.

Should I have stopped paying for heat or gas?

…… Crumbs, I forgot my Cable bill! What you can’t see is what my emergency credit card looked like after a while.

Of course, you don’t see Child Support listed as income (hahaaaaa, as of DC Nelson pays as ordered), or the cost my my lawyer when I needed to secure custody.

So, WITH a job I barely could afford to work

Imagine how hard it is to go from nothing to employment?

Published by Homeless

Mommy. Social worker. Nice lady seeking to end homelessness and end poverty. FightOn

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