The first two parts (Part One, Part Two) of this series talked about the essentials of how to budget. This third part is for those of you who are having a difficult time making the ends meet to get your needs met.
I’m talking about when cutting cable and going cash only for groceries isn’t enough. When you need help. When there isn’t much (or anything) to eat. When the power might be shut off. When there isn’t money to put gas in your car to get to work or job interviews.
This is the most important thing to remember: It is ok to ask for help. It is ok to seek out services and take advantage of programs. Do not worry about what others will think- This pandemic and all of the fallout that has happened has affected so many of us. So many hardworking families and individuals need a hand up right now.
A lot of the services and programs listed below are specifically for San Diego County. If you live outside San Diego County, I recommend that you call 211 anywhere in the US. They can help you find resources- all judgment free!
So when I talk about needs being met, I mean:
Shelter (Rent/mortgage assistance/utilities)
Food (Healthy food for you/your family and pets)
Comfort (Clothing, healthcare, medication)
If you have a mortgage, contact your lender for a forbearance. You may have to provide them with proof that you are unable to pay.
If you have kids 2-18, check with your local school district to learn more about free lunch distributions through the end of this year. This is subsidized by the USDA, and many school districts are providing breakfast and lunch for all kids 2-18.
Many food banks give out pet food as well- don’t forget to mention your furry friends when you complete your intake paperwork (which is oftentimes to find out demographic information to obtain additional funding from the government or private grants). Some do not require any paperwork at all.
Comfort: Being housed and fed is important, in addition to this I’ve added the comfort category. This includes clean, well fitting clothes, access to health care, and prescription medicines.
There are many resources for no and low cost clothing (besides thrift stores, which have become increasingly higher in cost in the past year). Naomi’s Closet, Closet on 54th, Charity’s Closet at Sonrise Church, Sharia’s Closet are all San Diego resources. I’ve been told that some Salvation Army churches offer free clothing vouchers to be redeemed at their thrift shops. Don’t forget your local Buy Nothing Group too! So many of your local neighbors are cleaning out their clothes and purging while they are stuck at home, you’d be surprised what your neighbors are will to share with you.
If you are in need of healthcare, there are several options. Medicaid/Medi-cal may be available for some. If you have had a “life event” (job separation, birth of a child, death of a spouse, marriage, etc.) you can look for health insurance in your state’s Health Insurance Exchange. Here is a link to California’s Exchange. There are frequently lower rates or discounts for those with certain income limits.
If you or family members take prescription medicines, look into discount programs like Singlecare (which you can access via the Fetch Rewards App and earn cashback/points), or GoodRX. Some pharmacies have their own discount programs too. Make sure to ask the pharmacy staff. Another option is to ask your doctor for medication samples when you are visiting them. Many doctors have medication samples in their offices, and most doctors are willing to help you when you tell them you need assistance with medication costs.
When you have kids or are accident prone (like I am), a comprehensive first aid kit is a must. After so many years and iterations, this is the first aid kit that works best for our family.
Earlier this week, I set to clear out any old/expired ointments, medications, bandages (they don’t expire, but they can become… unsticky), and re-organize. The kids were asleep, so it was the perfect time to get started. I did have one helper. Fiona. Her idea of help was to jump into the first aid box whenever it was empty.
A few years ago, we started off with a pretty well-stocked First Aid Kit, which you can see in the photos is the black, cloth, zippered pouch. Since we take it camping with us, I’ve also added tampons (They have practical first aid uses as well), Arnica cream, extra scissors, hemostats, and hand sanitizer. It lives under our bathroom sink, and is easily accessible in case of emergency. It’s great- I’ve replaced stuff as we’ve used it, but it’s really not an “All you need” when you are accident prone.
In addition, we need burn cream, stuff for bruises, Wart Remover kit (little boys!), Cold Calm, Oscillococcinum (for flu like symptoms), Arnicare (which is awesome for leg cramps), a temporal scanner thermometer, Ben Gay (Don’t Judge!), CBD oil products, Rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide (not shown), and exam gloves (which are great for stuff besides cleaning up owies). For that, I turned to a Sterilite plastic shoe box without a lid- I’m sure it broke years ago.
Once all of the old/gross/expired stuff was disposed of safely, I scrubbed out the box, labeled it, and repacked it. Because this box does not have a lid on it, it’s kept on the top shelf of the linen closet.
I really want to thank the awesome folks at Boiron for hooking me up with free products at last weeks Wow Summit. I love their products! I have been a fan for years. I bruise like a grape, so Arnicare gel and roll-on are life.
Talkback: I’d love to hear what’s in your family’s First Aid kit! If you don’t have one, now is your chance to grab a plastic tote and get started!
I’ve been sort of dark on the blog lately because we’ve all been sick. A few weeks back it started with Miss Bitty. She had a tummy bug, then went right into a cold.
Then Henry got a mild case of the sniffles, and then about a week ago, I felt like I got hit by a truck. Body ache, fever, ears killing me, headache, sore throat, you name it. And of course, just in time for Spring Break! What’s a mom to do?
After calling the nurses line, they told me that if I wasn’t feeling better after 2 weeks to call back in for an appointment or go to Urgent Care. So, it was time to whip out the home remedies:
REST!! Encouraged the kids to have snuggle time with me in the afternoon (climb onto a big pile of pillows and blankets and watch a movie). Bitty napped, Henry snuggled me and told me it was ok. He fell asleep and I did too.
Took my vitamins and other daily meds (A lot of times when you get sick, you forget your daily maintenance stuff).
I tried a new medicine,Boiron Oscillococcinum. I met with the people from Boiron at Influential Summit and they hooked me up with some samples of their products. I’m always willing to try something new. I’m not saying it’s the reason I feel a lot better, but it probably didn’t hurt! I took it in the morning. And at night, I went with a night time medicine to help me get to sleep. I also filled in my cough needs with A bottle of Boiron Chestal. It’s an awesome cough syrup made with honey. Combined with my Honey Lemon Ginger Tea, my throat felt much better in just a few days.
Went to bed early. Not like 7pm early, but 9:30-10pm early- It’s all abut baby steps!
Gave myself some grace. It’s ok for mom’s to get sick too. It’s ok not to run the vacuum 3 times a day, or wash laundry every day, or do 2 loads of dishes when you feel like your head is going to pop off and float away and you are dripping in sweat while you have chills. The kids will survive if they have a dinner of snacks (applesauce pouches, Cheese sticks, croissants, celery sticks with PB cups, and a popsicle for dessert). For the record, I served them on cafeteria style trays like these. These kind of meals are always way more of a hit with kids then when I spend hours making them something.
Hydrate-Drank a lot of water and tea.
Declined social events- As much as we love our friends, we stayed home a lot this week. We skipped a lot of our usual Easter-time events and focused on being healthy.
Leaned on Hubs for support. As always, he made me dinner, went to the grocery store, gave me medicine, and sent me to bed when I needed it.
Commiserate with me! I want to hear about how you cope with being sick!
I’m no doctor, but I do know that when we don’t feel good, nothing is more soothing than lemon and honey.
I recently made a very soothing syrup, and I had to share it with you. I put 1/3 cup of the syrup in the bottom of a coffee mug and pour boiling water over it. I have been drinking a mug full twice a day.
It’s quick and easy to make!
2 C honey (real honey, none of that honey flavored syrup junk!)
Juice of 10-12 lemons (reserve two lemons and chop them up)
A Thumb sized knob of ginger, peeled and sliced
In a saucepan, combine the honey, juice, and ginger.
In a jar with a screw on lid, pack in reserved chopped up lemon pieces.
Cook on low for about 20 minutes. Do Not boil!
Pour honey mixture over lemons.
Screw lid on and let sit on counter until it reaches room temperature.
Store in the fridge.
If you’re looking for the science behind all of this, Lemons contain a lot of vitamin C! Honey is very soothing and coats a sore throat. Remember that honey should not be consumed by anyone under 12 months of age. And ginger contains anti-oxidants.