I don’t know how some of you do it, live on Disability, SSI, or Social Security. One one hand, it is bare-bones with hardly enough on which to exist. On the other hand, it is money people many years ago didn’t have each month, and would have been a grateful and welcome means of survival.
There have been times in my life when I counted every penny against the needs I had at that time. It made me evaluate what was most necessary and what was merely a desire, such as buying a sack of beans to cook, or to eat out. Funny thing, the beans tasted just fine, and I had some left over for other meals.
I have watched my grandson survive and prosper on Disability since he was 18. He wanted to work, and put in many applications for the part-time work he could do, most all to no avail. They didn’t want the liability or have the commitment to specially train him to come up to an expected level of proficiency. So we took our lemons and made lemonade with them, so to speak. We found a damaged house that had animals locked in it for a long time; it stank pretty bad. His Dad co-signed a small loan with a small amount of extra funds for repairs, and my grandson purchased the home and an acre. I convinced my grandson to pay an extra $50.00 a month to the mortgage so the payout would be 10 years instead of 15.
We got to work, he and I. Some months later, and with new floor boards, new paint inside and out, and a good scrubbing, he moved in. Furniture came from hand-me-downs and garage sales.
Next, came the car. It was used and with a dent or two, but it run okay. He was so proud of it, but was very aware it needed gasoline and insurance. All these purchases were adding up and there wasn’t much difference in his monthly bills and the $777.00 SSI check with which to buy food and extras. Food stamps helped, but were embarrassing to him. He wanted to do it all himself. He did odd jobs, mostly for me, to make ends meet.
He has found a whole way of life for those who have little. Food stables from a discount grocer store (you bring your own bags) are macaroni, rice, tuna, canned vegetables, a small amount of ground beef or chicken thighs and legs as a base for casseroles, potatoes, and eggs. Forget the choice cuts of meats or seafood. Resale shops practically give away good clothing for little. Food pantries usually have a few items each month if you run out of groceries. Our local food pantry gives out deer meat donated by hunters, as well as a basket of fixings for holidays.
Only trouble is, we must keep an eye out for him, because he keeps inviting homeless people in and sharing what he has with them. When I say, “You hardly have enough for yourself..” he brushes my words away and says they will help him out. And they try to. But usually not like they should, in my sight.
I look at my grandson at times and glow with pride. He graduated from high school, got his drivers license, has good character, a generous heart, gives God the glory, and will have his home and car paid for in a couple of years. Then that SSI check will really cover his needs with a little extra left over for some things he wants. And he did it by himself, with a little bit of cheering on from me and his Dad.
I would love to tell of others stories of how they manage on little each month. In my opinion, they are real heroes and should be applauded.