It’s that time of the month again.  Time for the PF Bloggers Group Writing Project.  This month we are writing about the poorest time in our lives.

The poorest time in my life was when my daughter, now 7, was a baby.   I went to school and worked part time at a fast food restaurant.  Her father worked at a printing press for $9.00 an hour.  And don’t forget… we had a new baby.

So how did we survive?  First off, we lived in Section 8 housing.  For those that don’t know:  Section 8 housing is housing based on your income, and the rest of your rent is subsidized by the state.  Which is a blast, I’m tellin’ ya.  But we paid $175 a month for a two bedroom apartment, and utilities were included.  So hey, you can’t beat it.  It was worth putting up with the neighbors.  Me and my daughter both had insurance through the state, which was free.  I don’t specifically remember but I think my ex had insurance though his job.  Either that or he didn’t have insurance at all.

Of course, we couldn’t afford daycare so we worked opposite shifts.   My ex worked 7:00 to 3:00, and I worked 6:00 to 10:00.  Which worked out nice, since we only had one car anyways. I drove him to work and picked him up.   I also took all my classes online to avoid daycare costs.  So I spent my days taking care of our daughter and doing school work.

We didn’t have cable, or a car payment, or cell phones.  A friend of mine had a little girl about a year older than my daughter and she gave me all her outgrown clothes.  So my daughter was clothed for free until she was about 2 years old.  Which was nice.

The key to our survival was the budget.  Knowing how much you have to spend in each category, and knowing, for fact, that if you follow the plan all your bills will be paid is a huge stress relief.  I wish I still had those budgets, I would be very interested in seeing them.  I don’t remember how much we paid for gas, car insurance, or groceries.  But I’m sure it wasn’t a lot.

What strikes me the most when I think back on that time was that I didn’t feel poor.   I felt lucky to only work part time, and go to school.  I was so glad that my daughter didn’t have to go to daycare (not that there is anything wrong with daycare, I was just glad to be home with her).  I liked my job well enough and I knew we could pay our bills.  Sure, we didn’t have a lot extra but we had everything we needed.

But that doesn’t mean I was happy.  I wasn’t, and it had nothing to do with money.  It had to do with love.  I was living with a man out of obligation.  Not out of love.  We fought constantly.  If I had to be poor now with my husband, a man I love immensely, I could still be happy.  Even if it meant living in the worst part of town, and driving him to and from work every day.  I could do it.  I would be happy to. (ok, maybe that last part is overstating it a bit.)

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About the PF Bloggers Group Writing Project

The Personal Finance Bloggers Network currently consists of 7 active personal finance and frugal living blogs. The Group Writing Project is a monthly project wherein each blog will write a post on a pre-determined topic and publish it on the same day of each month. Be sure to visit the PF Bloggers Group Writing Project page for the others!

Extended Group Writing Project Invitation

If you are a blogger, we would like to invite you to write your own post on this topic and submit it for listing with our entries on our Group Writing Project pages. Please visit the following page for details on how to participate in our Extended Group Writing Project

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