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The Money Diaries: The 25-year-old single mom who writes bad checks

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Today is another post in the Money Diaries series, which is based off New York Magazine’s Sex Diaries. We’ve collected stories from real people about their spending habits over seven days, anonymized them, and posted them here.

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Today’s entry is by a 25-year-old single mother. This woman’s spending is definitely troubling — she spends 8% of her take-home pay on self-described “bad habits,” including cigarettes and writing bad checks. But be careful: It’s easy to say, “Why don’t people just SPEND LESS??!” without understanding the full context of why they do what they do.

* * *

Day 1
6:45 a.m.: I call my bank to make sure that nothing unexpected has been withdrawn from my checking account. I breathe a sigh of relief. The balance is right where I left it: $2.24. I rouse my three-year-old, special needs daughter from sleep and take her to the bus stop.
8:26 a.m.: Am displeased to find I fell back asleep after taking my daughter down to catch her bus — I’m supposed to be at work at 9:00! I contemplate calling a cab, but know I can’t afford it, period. I get ready and run to the bus stop.
8:43 a.m.: Arrive at bus stop. I see the college kids waiting. I envy them, but there’s no time for expanding my mind when it’s imperative that I expand my bank account.
10 a.m.: Slam my hands on my keyboard when I realize I have forgotten my lunch.
12:15 p.m.: Spend $5.18 for a hefty serving of garlic chicken and rice on top of shredded cabbage. Yummy!
12:45 p.m.: Go to the convenience store and get a Coke and a pack of cigarettes ($0.85 for the Coke, $6.35 for the cheapest pack of cigarettes). Feeling guilty about spending money on cigarettes and Coke, I make a vow to quit both by payday. Unfortunately, this is about the thirtieth time I’ve made this vow.
6 p.m.: Get home and make the kiddo chicken nuggets and canned vegetables. Use the last of the milk, and hope that she’ll be okay drinking water for the following two nights.

Day 2
12 p.m.: Use the loose change in my purse to buy a Coke ($0.85). Sit outside my office on a gorgeous Honolulu afternoon to drink my soda and eat my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I’m broke, but at least I’m broke in paradise.
12:30 p.m.: Call MOHELA and beg for another deferment on my student loans. They comply.
7 p.m.: Begin to panic at the fact that I only have one cigarette left. Go into the living room and beg mom to loan me a pack until I get paid on Thursday. She reluctantly agrees.

Day 3
9 a.m.: Use one of the dollars to buy a Coke ($0.85).
12:15 p.m.: Use another bill to buy a Coke ($0.85).
5:07 p.m.: Grumble at the high price of food in Hawaii ($6.99 for a gallon of milk!). Write a bad check to cover the cost of food ($109.97). Wish I could go back to Missouri, where everything is cheaper. Also realize if I didn’t live with Mom, I’d starve.
7:45 p.m.: Beg Mom for another pack of smokes.

Day 4
8:15 a.m.: PAYDAY! Thank God! It’s the first of the month, and it’s the “big” pay day because I also get my daughter’s social security and my childcare assistance. In total, I receive $1,381 on the first of each month.
8:45 a.m.: Get to the office and use the internet to pay bills and buy my daughter’s birthday presents from Amazon. Birthday presents: $71.50 Phone bill: $82.50 Student loan: $60 (this loan I couldn’t defer because I am delinquent in payments). Miss K: $25 (Post-dated check to a friend for babysitting for me last week). Old Navy online: $28.52 (two shirts for kiddo, three shirts for me).
12 p.m.: Go to used bookstore by my office and buy four books to read over the next two weeks ($21.43).
5:15 p.m.: Pay my daughter’s sitter $325 for partial month payment (total/month = $650).
5:30 p.m.: I shove my way through the clogged aisles of Wal-Mart to buy two jumbo packs of diapers and one value pack of baby wipes. At the checkout stand, daughter has screaming meltdown complete with hair pulling and punches to my face. Total for Wal-Mart: $37.53.
6:45 p.m.: Realize I forgot to buy smokes at Wal-Mart while waiting for the bus. Take one look at my screaming, crying child and decide to suck it up and buy them at the corner store were the cheapest brand is $8.96! Also buy monthly bus pass ($50).
7:30 p.m.: Pay Mom $350 for what remains of my portion of this month’s rent (total/month = $600). Am glad I contributed some of last pay period’s earnings to the rent.
8:30 p.m.: Count what remains of payday: $212.83, after subtracting the money to cover my bad check for groceries. Feel pretty proud until I realize that I have to buy the kid’s Halloween costume! Damn!
9:15 p.m.: Go down to corner store and buy six pack of Coke ($4.96).

Day 5
12 p.m.: Take off work early to take kiddo to her neurology appointment. The half day off comes out of my pay because I have used all my vacation days for taking time off for various doctors’ appointments and illnesses.
1 p.m.: Am not pleased to learn that I did not pay for the last visit’s co-pay. Must shell out $28 to cover today’s visit and the visit we had six months ago.
2 p.m.: Frustrated that I have to take off work and pay co-pays only to hear doctors tell me they have no idea what’s causing my daughter’s delays.
3 p.m.: Stop for Jamba Juice ($4.37).
5:30 p.m.: Mom reminds me that I owe her two packs of cigarettes. Walk to Wal-Mart for three packs of cigarettes for me, one for Mom ($31.75).
8:15 p.m.: Bored. To entertain myself, I spend an hour texting my ex-boyfriend who moved to Louisiana a few months ago. I splurge for unlimited text messaging because it’s a fairly cheap form of entertainment. Wish I had the money to go visit friends on the mainland, especially this friend.

Day 6
11 a.m.: It’s the last day of my daughter’s swimming lessons! They were worth the $96.
12 p.m.: Take kiddo to McDonald’s to celebrate her swimming achievements ($9.60 for her meal and mine). Wonder if it’s sad that I consider McDonald’s a luxury. Decide yes, that is very sad.
1:45 p.m.: Mom watches kiddo while I pick up her Halloween costume. She’s going to be a ladybug ($34.97).
10 p.m.: Talk Mom into babysitting my daughter while she sleeps so I can go out. Go to my favorite bar and talk some guys into buying me drinks. Even talk one guy into buying me a hot dog from the vendor outside the bar. Sweet.
1:15 a.m.: Buy cigarettes from the bar ($7) because I smoked the ones I brought.
2:30 a.m.: Take a cab home ($10.80). Worth the money to stay safe.

Day 7
12 p.m.: Make my weekly calls to mainland friends (free minutes on the weekends!). Get irritated when a friend grumbles about her financial situation because she’s better off than I am. Try to remember that her problems seem just as big to her as mine do to me, but it doesn’t help.
7:15 p.m.: Congratulate myself on not spending any money today!
9 p.m.: Run down to the corner store for a six pack of Coke and a candy bar ($5.87).
10 p.m.: Feel bummed because I won’t have any money to spend on myself on my upcoming birthday. Hope kindly relatives send me cash in the mail this week!

In Sum
Money spent on bills: $845.50
Money spent on kiddo: $183.00
Money spent on food: $130.03
Money spent on bad habits: $67.38
Money spent on transportation: $60.80
Money spent on me: $35.95
Money left over: $61.08 (this is what I must survive on until next pay day, eleven days away… think I can make it?).

* * *

How would you try to help this person? Note from 10 years of doing this and learning about people’s money behaviors: “Helping” usually starts with (1) them wanting help, (2) you listening and understanding before rushing in with “solutions,” and (3) some way of sustaining the behavioral change.

So what would you do?

[Update]: Please read comment #8 before you leave a comment.

* * *

Read other Money Diaries. Or to be featured anonymously in a future Money Diary, click here.

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115 Comments on "The Money Diaries: The 25-year-old single mom who writes bad checks"

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Douglas
6 years 10 months ago

I would take quitting smoking seriously. Maybe have the mom join in on the quitting. (If i quit and someone in the house was still smoking it would not help at all). I would also quit drinking Coke, which is costing.

traineeinvestor
6 years 10 months ago
The combination of heavy smoking + coke + a special needs child may indicate a high stress environment. Addressing the stress would be a starting point. Developing some healthy habits may help – she lives in Hawaii so a walk on the beach, swimming etc probably only cost transport (if any) and sunblock. The fact that she has taken the time to write this in a public forum without any sign of self pity indicates a desire to do something about her situation. Net cash flow = income – expenses and other outgoings The only obvious areas for cutting back… Read more »
mjd
mjd
6 years 10 months ago

Two things I noticed right away – bought books when library books are free, and bought a Halloween costume. For a 3-year-old a simple home made costume would have been fine.

But she’s so close to the edge regardless, I hope she’s thinking of ways to increase her earning potential.

Neats
Neats
6 years 10 months ago
I am so frightened for this woman. If something were to go awry with her or her daughters health or her job she would be in dire straights. Also, what I find disturbing is her reliance on others. She relies on the goodwill of others to help her get through and provide her with ‘enjoyment’ – talking guys into giving her drinks and buying her hotdogs. This was a very stressful story – I really feel her stress – what a terrible way to live. But the great thing is is that she can make her life stress free if… Read more »
celina
celina
6 years 10 months ago

Your kid needs milk. If you’re out of milk and feeding your child canned vegetables, you don’t buy coke or cigarettes.

I’ve been addicted to both, but it’s VERY possible to quit one… just choose one to quit (coke might be easier). Just cut down – if you have one a day, cut to one every other day. If you smoke half a pack a day, just try to cut down. Going cold turkey NEVER works. Give yourself doable goals. It absolutely can be done.

Shawanda
6 years 10 months ago
Smoking seems like the biggest unnecessary drain on her finances. I’m not sure if she’s already doing this, but she may want to check with her local Department of Human Services or Department of Health Services to see if there’s an agency or program that could provide guidance in this area. They may be able to refer her to another governmental agency or not-for-profit that’ll be able to provide her with financial assistance. But I have to add, none of this will be of any help if she doesn’t take the initiative to change her circumstances. It might also be… Read more »
celina
celina
6 years 10 months ago

To chime on mjd’s comments about the library and Halloween costume, a 3-year-old doesn’t need a $70+ birthday present. Most children that young don’t have any concept of how much has been spent on them – anything wrapped up pretty (even a homemade gift) will be a delight.

celina
celina
6 years 10 months ago
Very fair point, Ramit. The number one thing I notice about her post is her idea about “treats” or “gifts” or what she considers to be luxuries. Something I’ve learned from this blog is that luxuries do not necessarily have to be things that we spend money on. Spending does not equal luxury. That’s more or less what I meant about the expensive birthday present for a child too young to understand the connection between “spending” and “luxury.” The swimming lessons struck me as something that was a mindful, well-considered expense. It improves her daughter’s quality of life and contributes… Read more »
Channing
Channing
6 years 10 months ago
If she’s extremely lucky, the state of Hawaii has some job training programs for low-income people that also provide childcare (if her mother can’t) and a living stipend (to cover the cost of lost hours at work). A lot of these programs aren’t worth the bus fare — how to tie a tie, how to shake a hand, etc. — but some of them build real job skills, like CNA certification, that can lead to better and better-paying job opportunities. While she definitely seems aware of her needs and her options, states and cities often do a bad job of… Read more »
Jingaling
Jingaling
6 years 10 months ago

845.50 for bills in 1 week seems pretty damn high to me. I have a family of 6 and our weekly bills are slightly above that level.

2dogcasa
6 years 10 months ago
She sounds stuck, I’d wager she feels stuck, too. She wants to go to school like the college kids, but can’t figure out a way to get there. That sounds frustrating. She also sounds isolated. She misses mainland friends and her ex, and the geographical distance just compound that feeling. I bet she feels lonely. Her mom is a smoker, too, and it sounds like her mom misses those cigs her daughter bummed from her. I’m reaching here, but maybe, just maybe, the diarist is following her mother’s modeled behavior. I like to give folks the benefit of the doubt.… Read more »
Bonnie
Bonnie
6 years 10 months ago
There are a few things going on here. First and foremost, she’s under a lot of very real stress. She’s taking care of a young child who needs a lot of care, which is the biggest issue. Second, she’s battling addiction to coke and and cigarettes. Also, I think her math is wrong, or I’m not digging her breakdown- her ‘money spent on kiddo” category is only $183, but she mentions a babysitter payment of $325 earlier? Anyway. First, she probably needs to look at her priorities. Figure out where she wants to be in her life- her and the… Read more »
Holly
Holly
6 years 10 months ago

Why don’t you buy cartons of cigarettes, or boxes of Coke at the supermarket? Instead of just telling yourself you’re going to magically quit them “one of these days,” I think it would be more useful to plan for this behavior. I don’t blame you for not wanting to quit while you’re so stressed out anyway, and convenience stores are generally more expensive. You’ll quit them when you’re ready – you’re obviously not ready.

MC
MC
6 years 10 months ago

You know, reading this post hurt 🙁

It reminds me of why my (single) mom was making less than 1K a month, and supporting three young kids.

I’m going to say that the focus on her “bad habits” are misplaced. It is less than a 100$ at this point; sure, compared to her salary it is a lot, but it isn’t going to make her current situation easier if she suddenly has that extra 100$. That’s only illusory joy.

I’m going to say she hasn’t changed because she either doesn’t see alternatives, or if she does she isn’t convinced by them.

Cass
Cass
6 years 10 months ago
What came through for me is that it sounds like she has a lack of a support system. When you’re stressed and stuck, all the ‘tactics’ in the world are just hopeless words coming from people who don’t understand her particular situation. She knows they mean well, but words are empty when you already know what you -should- be doing. In most cases it just adds to the stress instead of solving it. She needs a support system that will go through it with her. Maybe find a stop smoking support group (like AA, do they have those?), baby steps.… Read more »
Gumnos
Gumnos
6 years 10 months ago
It seems that having some stark reminder of the obvious costs for her addictions might help overcome the barriers. Perhaps keep money in something associated with her kid — an old lunchbox, in a former can of veggies, a picture of her daughter, or transcribed words from her daughter about being hungry — something that will remind her every time she reaches to buy smokes & cokes that it comes directly at the cost of her daughter’s well-being. As for luxuries, they should be reserved for after your financial house is in order. @jingaling — cost of living in HI… Read more »
Susan Su
6 years 10 months ago
Ramit is absolutely right; fixing this person’s smoking, her Coke-drinking, or even her insufficient income are all tactics. But, without an overarching strategy guiding those tactics, change won’t be long-lasting. Her small child has unique medical needs, but amazingly this isn’t the biggest or most out-of-control expense in her life. Instead, her most painful expenses come from her lack of planning, and her reactions to what is happening TO her. She doesn’t feel like – or act like – an agent in her own life. As a result, things ‘happen to’ her; but she does not play an active role… Read more »
suv
suv
6 years 10 months ago
one thing i can see that i could relate to is when she says ‘Wonder if it’s sad that I consider McDonald’s a luxury. Decide yes’ replace mc.ds with whtever it is that you know is out of ure reach currently but all ur relatives peers friends or society at large are already visiting without second thought and you feel like you deserve it NOW. i think many ppl today refuse to accept that there are many things tht are ‘out of reach for me’. it sounds like a kick in the gut sort of a statement. we refuse to… Read more »
Matt E.
Matt E.
6 years 10 months ago
Ramit and others are right in pointing out that tactics aren’t what is needed here. Sure buying cartons instead of individual packs might save money, but the poor finances are a symptom not the problem. Susan Su is definitely onto something with regard to the “locus of control.” The things I noticed right away are that most of this person’s friends aren’t nearby. A night out is scamming drinks and food, vacation is used up on doctors’ appointments, and (with the statement about the college students) she is obviously not satisfied with where her life is. While it can’t all… Read more »
MB
MB
6 years 10 months ago
The writer puts much of her focus on blaming herself for her weakness for cigarettes and coke, and makes it only too easy for us in the peanut gallery to zero in on those expenses. But at the end of the day, it’s only $60. The problem isn’t that she spends $60 on something she enjoys; the problem is that she doesn’t earn enough to have $60 to spare. Her spending habits are not nearly the problem that her low income is. She doesn’t speak much as to what type of work she currently does, or what her job prospects… Read more »
Eric
Eric
6 years 10 months ago
The things that have always worked best for me are just sitting down and making a plan. I’m big on setting goals, in this case it would be baby steps, and then trying to meet those goals. Her attitude needs needs to shift from “I should” to “lets do this”. Start with something small (drink half as many cokes per week) and focus on that for a week. Next week keep that up as well as adding one more goal to the plan (smoke half as much maybe) and just keep going. Simply sitting down and brainstorming some ideas with… Read more »
Credit Card Chaser
6 years 10 months ago

@ Celina

“Something I’ve learned from this blog is that luxuries do not necessarily have to be things that we spend money on. Spending does not equal luxury.”

Just have to say that you make a great point above. If she could reframe in her head the idea of different rewards she can give herself so that they are things that are free rather than costly (and unhealthy) then that would be huge progress. Of course, easier said than done 🙂

M.F.
M.F.
6 years 10 months ago
I think she needs to lower her expenses and raise her income. Not easy I know. She could try some of the little stuff such as getting books from the library, buying a twelve pack of soda vs individual cans, but I would also look at big stuff such as childcare expenses, cheaper living quarters and getting a roommate. She should look into food stamps and WIC, but I would also consider moving if the cost of HI is really high. I think her number one goal has to be raising her income. What was her degree in and what… Read more »
Hans
Hans
6 years 10 months ago
What would help her a lot is to find somebody to share expenses with. If she had a boyfriend/husband, she could save a lot of money. It will be very hard to find somebody who loves her and also wants to take care of the kid, but it would help her enormously. Going out to bars scamming drinks off strangers is not the way to find someone to start a long-term relationship with. If she actively started looking for someone (on the internet, maybe), she just might find him. This is not the right motivation to find a mate, but… Read more »
Lindsay
Lindsay
6 years 10 months ago
This lady has got her shit together. She’s holding it together better than I think most people could in such a situation. I think it’s excellent that she has tracked her spending for a week. It can really help a lot to be made aware of the impact of certain things you spend on and that helps identify what you’re comfortable changing. I’m not even going to address the nicotine and caffeine. I smoke and drink coffee, and if I’m under stress that is the LAST thing I want to think about giving up. The lady is in a rut,… Read more »
kck
kck
6 years 10 months ago
You’ve got a checking account and the internet — why not get yourself set up on mint.com? I can relate to that “never quite sure how much money is in checking or where the rest went” feeling. Mint can track what you spend automatically, and that’s the first step to knowing what you need to change. You sound surprised by how much things cost sometimes, or at least surprised by how that adds up. If you can find a way to spend mindfully & within a budget, it doesn’t matter what you choose to spend money on. I think more… Read more »
2dogcasa
6 years 10 months ago
@Hans – Really? She should find a man to share expenses with? She’s already splitting her rent with her mother. I don’t think this writer’s biggest problem is that she’s without a boyfriend. @Lindsay – Great points in your first paragraph. @Ramit – Maybe the fact that the writer is committed enough to apply, complete, and submit a money diary says she is in R&D mode. I like to spend some time in R&D, probably more time than others would, before I feel sure enough about my plan to move forward. I remain concerned for her mental health. I think… Read more »
sherif
sherif
6 years 10 months ago
I think she is in a rat’s race. She knows everything about money and how to get out of it, Proof: she reads this blog. She just can’t get herself out of it. What she needs is to look for a higher paying job: Heck, a month worth of salary + social insurance + + = 1300$ only? she gotta look for a higher paying job. Her barriers are her daughter and her bad habits and her job. I don’t think her bad habits are costing her as much as it seems, but if she got a higher paying job,… Read more »
Noah Clark
Noah Clark
6 years 10 months ago
Ramit, Your best point is the last one. She DID something, now she has to leverage that action. I’m actually kinda surprised she reads IWTYTBR. The interesting thing about impulse buys is that you don’t have to know WHAT you’ll spend the money on, you just need to know that you’ll spend the money. For example, as long as she is budgeting $70 month for “bad habits” it isn’t a big deal. I budget about $200 a month for ‘impulse buys’ because I know that’s about what I spend on stuff that doesn’t fit in anywhere else and I’m not… Read more »
Larry
Larry
6 years 10 months ago
Excellent post Susan. I think she is reacting to life rather than planing. She has shown she can track her spending. I now think she need to be proactive rather than reactive. This is easier said than done, but right now she is a rudderless ship, drifting with the tides. I think she could come up with a plan, based upon her diary, which could save her money. First step is to figure out some goals. Kind of hard to hit targets when you don’t know where they are. I think this is why David Ramsey is successful. He lays… Read more »
Lindsay
Lindsay
6 years 10 months ago

I also suggest that she read the Get Rich Slowly Blog, because lately they’ve been posting about the “tenets” and it’s a great compliment to this blog, sometimes with a lot more basic strategies and ABCs.

Rachael
6 years 10 months ago
I don’t know without asking her, but based on the income figures she gave, I think she makes too much money to qualify for public assistance such as Food Stamps. She already gets SSI for her daughter and child care expenses. Being in the system myself, what this says to me is that she already has a case open, has a case worker, and has everything the system can give her. Her family size is too small to qualify for much extra help anyway (again, this is based on my own experiences). I hope she is getting some great ideas… Read more »
fredflintstone
fredflintstone
6 years 10 months ago

Don’t mean to be flippant but those babies have daddies. Are they chipping in?

trackback

[…] The Money Diaries: The 25-year-old single mom who writes bad checks 12 p.m.: Take kiddo to McDonald’s to celebrate her swimming achievements ($9.60 for her meal and mine). Wonder if it’s sad that I consider McDonald’s a luxury. Decide yes, that is very sad. […]

Ken Fees
Ken Fees
6 years 10 months ago
Recognition of the problem is half the battle. Responding here shows initiative. She’s in a tough spot, and her perspective is probably the only thing she’s capable of changing immediately. As others have mentioned, she might want to figure out how to take charge of her life and situation, and effect her own changes. I think she wants to feel some hope, but doesn’t know where to look for it, hence the trip to the bar. Her problem really isn’t monetary, it’s attitudinal. All said, I congratulate her for hanging on, trying to do something, and knowing or at least… Read more »
Ken H.
Ken H.
6 years 10 months ago
I think this young lady is doing a great job with the tools she has to work with and should be commended for seeking out advice to advance her cause. Good job! Now, to the nuts and bolts. Her words struck me throughout this post — “frustrated”, “sad”, “bummed”. She spoke how her mother “reluctantly agrees” to spot her a pack of smokes. She is already stressed and frustrated — I KNOW she feels that reluctance from people at every turn. From her mother, to the guys buying her drinks at the bar, those feelings hit her daily and demolish… Read more »
Bobby
6 years 10 months ago

As others have said to one degree or another, she needs emotional counseling, preferably from someone who has experience in substance abuse. The financial counseling comes later.

Ali
Ali
6 years 10 months ago
From my point of view, her biggest cause of stress is that something is wrong with her daughter and no one knows what it is. She has spent all of her vacation leave at doctor’s appointments and still has no answers. I think that must make her feel powerless and frustrated. How can you plan for your future when you don’t know what your daughter will need to be successful? I agree that she sounds like she is feeling isolated and without control in her life. I think one of the major sources is the frustration of going to doctor… Read more »
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[…] habits of real people over the period of seven days. What are your thoughts on the single mom with bad habits and bad checks? [I Will Teach You to Be […]

Katarina
Katarina
6 years 10 months ago
Dear diary-writer, I think you are very brave to admit your story publicly. Having a child with health problems is very stressful, I’m not sure I understand how serious the situation is for you but you talk of multiple visits to the doctors and not getting any answers. I don’t have kids so I can’t really understand what it is like for you, but my older brother had health problems from being prematurely born and my parents were worried out of their minds. From my family’s experience I think its nothing strange at all that your finances are a bit… Read more »
KellyA
KellyA
6 years 10 months ago
I agree, it’s really easy for those of us who don’t live the diarist’s life to point out what she should do better. I am very impressed she is identifying the emotions and triggers behind spending, i.e. Saw college students and felt held back, bought cigs and Coke. So I would recommend transitioning from completing the Money Diaries to keeping a real diary. I imagine it’s cathartic to see in writing how and why you spend a paycheck as you do. After awhile you can see and feel what behaviors or circumstances bother you the most. At this point I… Read more »
Moneymonk
6 years 10 months ago

Bottomline, she is stuck in a rut. I will suggest a side job or side hustle to bring her income up. Of course, I do not have all her details for as what skills she has. But I will start with finding something that can bring her income up and perhaps adjust her bills to automatically be paid on the first of the month.

Patricia
Patricia
6 years 10 months ago

I think she needs mentoring – someone to help her get over the rut she’s in because she reads this blog and took the time to do her finances for a whole week.

Another idea is an accountability partner – someone she can talk to when she wants to overdraw on her bank account, to give into her vices as with cokes and smoking. That person could help her by sounding her ideas and encouraging her to take action.

Mike P
Mike P
6 years 10 months ago

I wholeheartedly support joining a moms group. There are bound to be other moms who may also have been single moms and can help with emotional support/ mentoring. Also scheduling some alone time (not at work) but maybe a half hour a night or every other night to reflect and take stock, with the TV off. Go out on front porch, find a quiet area of the house. It may be weak but its what I find gets me through the tough moments.

Raina
Raina
6 years 10 months ago
I have been in financial situations where I have moved from crisis to crisis and I have been pretty lucky to be able to depend on my family for emotional support even though I have always found a way to land on my feet, financially. She definitely has the addiction problem going, because she runs away from the situation, and then feels guilty when her short-term coping method wears off, and then beats herself up, getting back on the addiction treadmill. This cycle will make it hard for her to feel empowered, because what’s freeing her (cigarettes) is the same… Read more »
Raina
Raina
6 years 10 months ago

Ooops! Sorry! I missed that part where she said she lived with her mom. Kinda makes my post not as applicable.

Sarah
Sarah
6 years 10 months ago

I think folks are on the right track: I bet she doesn’t feel like she’s in charge. I think this is partly about personality and partly about experience, and so I think one key might be to cultivate the experience of having control over her finances (and life). Maybe saving up to some number with some zeros in it by slashing expenses for a few weeks would do it, or finding some stream of additional income, however tiny. Even setting a goal would be good if she feels like she can work towards it!

Jim Philips
Jim Philips
6 years 10 months ago

The first thing I would tell her to do is to PLAN her food consumption for the entire period between paychecks. Buy enough simple and nourishing food to get her and her kid through the entire month without gaps where she has to improvise. An no soft drinks! They aren’t food. They’re expensive and terrible for you. Even if you’re eating rice and beans for weeks, it’s better than splurging on fast food.

Christina Andrews
6 years 10 months ago
Many Single mothers who have gone from a dual income household to a single or no income household find it very difficult to manage thier household spending. I too have been there and know from first hand having been left with 4 children to look after. Its easy to spend on yourself and the children to try and feel better about yourself, your situation and to try and make the children happy. But this is not the answer. Yes developing a budget will definately help and is important, but until you can actually deal with your emotions and state of… Read more »
AnitaNomad
6 years 10 months ago
One more comment on her smoking (I’m about to tie it to a larger idea, I promise.): Call Hawaii’s Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW. It’s a free service paid for by funds from a settlement with the tobacco industry. I think every state has a Quitline. I have friends who work for the Quitline in my state (Colorado), and they’re *wonderful!* They’re real, caring human beings who’ll give solid advice and resources to help real people make lasting behavior changes (and lots of folks also like that they’ll send you free nicotine patches). Most important, though, is that the Quitline offers support,… Read more »
Joe Doakes
Joe Doakes
6 years 10 months ago

As a single mom, she should ensure that she doesn’t have any more children unless life circumstances improve greatly.

If she’s not going to quit the cigs or soda anytime soon, she might as well buy in bulk in the meantime to save $$.

Paul
Paul
6 years 10 months ago
To SingleMom25: First, realize that you don’t need to change. You can continue to live the way you are now, possibly for the rest of your life. There is nothing you “should” do, and your habits are only bad because you say they are. You’re not out of control like you feel you are. After reading your notes, you decided each time to spend the money. That’s OK. If you want to continue to live on the financial edge, that is perfectly fine. Many other people choose to live like that. Not having money is only bad because you’ve decided… Read more »
Kissyboots
Kissyboots
6 years 10 months ago

I just wanted to say thanks for posting this. I’m 30, raising two kids on my own after their dad split. I always feel like people in my situation are invisible to people who do the kind of work you do, and the fact that you posted this instead of writing people like us off was really heartening. Really cool, Ramit. 🙂

rackgen
rackgen
6 years 10 months ago
Ramit, she is committed to what she does. Best way is to use subtle pushes to motivate herself to do things which would benefit her over short as well as long term. Cigarettes are indeed a problem but from a personal finance side it is not the highest priority. Payments are. So rather than request her to buy cartons instead of individual packs. Payments – can’t the student loans be renegotiated? [sorry not in USA so don’t know] That is one of the things which will pile up in long run – should be attacked first. Bills – Your scripts… Read more »
Terri
Terri
6 years 10 months ago
I agree, keeping a real diary for escape – and setting goals to work for are key. It seems she is drifiting and needs direction. The minutiae will come, but setting some goals, then backing into the steps needed to get there will help her battle the real problem – feeling powerless. She needs something that SHE decides is a worthy goal to empower her efforts and focus. Cokes, cigarettes, bars, what she is searching for is comfort, and I agree with Susan, she’s looking externally. Perhaps taking her daughter on walks “in Paradise” could be a solace. @Ramit, what… Read more »
Kevin
Kevin
6 years 10 months ago
In psychology, there is usually a consistent duality between victimhood and self efficacy. Those who feel they are victims of life don’t feel responsible for their own circumstances. However, they are at least consistent, in that they also feel powerless to change their fate. They feel that life just “happens” to them. They are left to react to whatever external influences direct their lives. Interestingly, this writer seems to contradict this model. While I get the impression she feels powerless to improve her station in life, I don’t get the “victim” vibe from her. This woman needs assistance, and not… Read more »
Miss Moneypenny
6 years 10 months ago
I think its worth noting some of the things that this woman does right. Based on whatever salary she is making, she clearly couldn’t afford to live on her own, so she is living with her mother, while paying reduced rent. She has a sitter taking care of her daughter full time, and though things get very ( very ) sketchy before her paycheck comes in, she manages to cover all of her bills. She has two vices- Coke and smoking. While many people may be tempted to blame her and tell her to quit, lets all stop and think… Read more »
Paula McConnell
6 years 10 months ago
Ramit and others, I was this young woman, a long time ago. She needs help, not just tactics and strategy, but good counseling and mentoring to deal with the social-emotional side of money. She clearly has the ability and self-knowledge to move beyond this and I applaud her participating in the money diaries, but is there support for her for the long term? Does she understand that by breaking free from the emotional bondage of her relationship with money, this will change the entire structure of her life? To the 25 year-old singe mother, My dear, I do understand and… Read more »
DivaLion
DivaLion
6 years 10 months ago
Before I comment on the post itself, I wanted to say that I was really impressed by the responses here– specifically, by the high level of compassion everyone has shown. Even the more tough-love responders are not being unkind. I’ve been in similar straits to this woman, and I know one of the hardest things about talking about it is the overwhelming fear that people will be judgmental or contemptuous, that you’ll be labeled stupid or a loser. It’s just remarkable to see that, on the contrary, everyone here is being very understanding and helpful. Ramit, what it says to… Read more »
Elliot
Elliot
6 years 10 months ago
One of this woman’s biggest obstacles is her mother, and yet in the same token its probably one of her bigger asssets. Her mother is affecting her psychologically because she is her parachute, her safety net. When she needs smokes, she goes to mom. When she needs a small loan she turns to mom. Her mom has been a crutch, which has been preventing her from changing her habits. At the same time I see her mom being an effective resource in time and resource management in helping watch after the clients child, and her grand daughter. If this woman… Read more »
KS
KS
6 years 10 months ago
My oldest child has a developmental disability (Autism). He is six now, and making good progress – but I clearly recall the time when he was three and undiagnosed. It is such hard work, physically and emotionally. You spend your whole life in survival mode – using whatever bad habits it takes just to get to the end of another day. Spending money to make things easier seems like a good strategy – and for a while it is. But the problem is you cannot stay in survival mode for ever, because in the long run you won’t survive. The… Read more »
Kim - self improvement and motivation

Wow, this is a very enlightening article. This post made me think about my own habits. I don’t smoke and money daily on things, but I have definitely found things I need to be more conscious of.

More to the point, I feel bad for this woman. I hope she gets the help she needs. Getting over bad spending habits is tough.

Minority Fortune
6 years 10 months ago
I really applaud the anonymous diary writer because she’s definitely not alone. Americans on average only save 6% of their income, so she’s not alone in bad spending habits. Tobacco and Coca Cola rake in billions in annual profits, so this lady is far from being their only consumer. It seems many have already discussed the lady’s reaction to life instead of being proactive. However, she’s made her first step in tracking her spending habits over a one week period. So, it seems she’s ready. Hawaii has a stark income contrast between the rich and the poor. Her social circle… Read more »
Matt
Matt
6 years 10 months ago
Desires (quit smoking, drinking) without discipline is just wishful thinking, an escape tactic used to avoid confronting the situation. That’s blunt, I know. I did quit smoking (easier than soft drinks for me). I made a mental note to quit on say, November 1. 2 months later and I’m still smoking, I look back and think, “wow, could’ve been 2 months, could’ve had an extra $350 ($6/pack x 2 months). Reverse psychology tactic. Splurge on a constructive “treat” – $11 a month at the gym, for example – That’s what I did. I look better, I feel better about myself.… Read more »
alibahbah
alibahbah
6 years 10 months ago
I see a lot of the same behavior in the region I live in,upper east Tennessee,Southwest Virginia. People don’t seem to really pay much attention to 1-5 years from now,they for “thank god its Friday,oh crap its Monday” The stress of daily life trying to provide for a small child can be enough to drive anyone to smoke a pack of cigs,or drink a coke or two. And wheres the freakin dead beat dad of this child! She has a ton of alternatives, she just needs some sort of mentoring or support,being a single parent cant be easy, my heart… Read more »
alibahbah
alibahbah
6 years 10 months ago

To Minority Fortune: I see your point with the whole social contrast concept,thats the same in any state or any city,but please save the political contrat to the house and senate. People will watch and learn from others as they grow up, her problem is a generational problem,not being taught at an early age along with million of other 20-30 year olds that there’s no free lunch,period!

Becky
Becky
6 years 10 months ago

Regarding getting a support system – before she’s even ready to reach out to a local mom’s group, there are online mother support sites – Mom Junction, Mom Cafe, Moms Like Me – she has a computer and she is used to being online and this may help her. Moms can be VERY territorial and her self-esteem may stop her from approaching someone in real life, but on the computer, everyone’s equal.

KellyA
KellyA
6 years 10 months ago
Just a comment on online support groups… aside from joining the boot camp here on IWTYTBR, I have been posting for 18 months on a message board for women in debt. One of the forums I participate in lets women set a goal for how many days they’re going to go without spending money. My average goal is 15 days, not including bills. We chat constantly about everything that helps or hinders our goals. The group is very diverse and at least one of our members, who I have met personally, has a son with autism. It’s not a judgmental… Read more »
Jason
Jason
6 years 10 months ago
So much of the diarist’s life seems to be spent living through/for others. What I am most unclear about is who she is and what she hopes for in her life. I am certain I could make some things up based upon the meager information provided by the diary. At the same time, these things would be little more than my hopes for her. As a therapist I find journals to be meaty sources of information both for what they contain and what they lack. In this particular diary there is a specific orientation to the past and the present… Read more »
Lisa
Lisa
6 years 10 months ago
I stopped reading about half way through the comments, sorry if I repeat. I would say first off, she knows she has a problem and wants help. That is the biggest thing (or else why did she complete the week spending track?). I know this is an acronym, but I think it helps, she needs SMART goals. Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. First, she needs to figure out her goal. I would say the main focus is earning more money. Yes, she “wastes” money on cigs, coke, eating her lunch out, cabs, buying books when she can go to… Read more »
Alison
Alison
6 years 10 months ago
This is a really awesome thread of posts – great advice and show of support. I hope she’s reading all of this – especially the posts saying how courageous she is. Fact is, all of us have things we want to change, financially and otherwise. We may be starting from different places, but is the person who feels trapped in a $100K/year job with a big mortgage and high bills really that much different? That person has the same problem: how to go from where he is to somewhere better. How to decide what that better place actually is and… Read more »
Ken H.
Ken H.
6 years 10 months ago

I am wondering if the young lady ( author ) is reading all of these comments, yet still does not know where to start? _I_ think it would be wonderful to have her join this conversation so we could get further EXACT details, we could help her with some real issues and possibly justify why we spend time reading blogs. Spouting suggestions into the ether makes some people feel good but I think really helping someone and her child would be great!

Eric
Eric
6 years 10 months ago
I am currently experiencing a similar financial situation (granted, no child, but I am considering temporarily moving back to my mother’s in order to improve my situation + I have the same weakness for (diet) coke and smoking 🙂 ). What I have come to realize is that both “weaknesses”, in addition to bringing affordable comfort (affordable at least when considered on any particular day’s basis), somehow also have come to participate to the vision which I have of myself: I tend to see myself as someone who would be unhappy if I were to stop drinking at least one… Read more »
vijay
vijay
6 years 10 months ago
Two/Three ways I would deal with the young lady’s problem. Long term solution: increase your earning power. My way would be to learn something that will get me a better job. This is the long term solution and a good investment of time/money in yourself. Short term relief: Try to cut 5 to 10% of expenses. You pick. This will reduce your stress , so you can focus on long term thoughts. Third way/Lucky one: Someone is willing to invest in you for 6 to 12 months, so you could learn and change to a better paying job. The most… Read more »
Starcher
Starcher
6 years 10 months ago

Less last-minute shopping and more planning. Skip the bought books and buy a correspondence course for college credits. Move out of Hawaii, or at least back away from mom, because a lot of this spending is done in front of her, to make her happy maybe? Also stop hoping for money in the mail from relatives to get rid of pain.

Another Single Mom with autistic child
Another Single Mom with autistic child
6 years 10 months ago
I am a single mother of an autistic child, and even though I don’t smoke, I have bad habits as well. I will try to put down a few of my ideas: 1) contact your school system and see about her IEP. Also ask if they can do any free evaluations. Where I live in VA, I got EVERYTHING free for my son due to my low income (at the time, when he was 3-5 years old). 2) All states have some type of child care assistance, and if your income is that low, you should qualify for assistance. For… Read more »
Kevin@OutOfYourRut
6 years 10 months ago
First of all–WOW! This woman is most definately lost in the weeds of life. Her entire existence is rooted in getting through the moment and she’s under enormous stress. The cigarettes and nights out aren’t the real problem, they’re the coping devices she’s using to get by. In keeping with Ramit’s comments at comment #8, I don’t think there’s any salvation for her just in managing her money more efficiently. She has too little coming in, and with a very yound child in tow, the expenses are overwhelming her. I have kids and know what it’s like when they’re babies… Read more »
Duddes02
6 years 10 months ago

Woah, it does make me double think my litlte habits like buying a 20 ounce cherry coke for $2.00 at the drugstore (NYC prices blow). It’s interesting to see her total..I’ve never really added up every coke or candy bar.

My only advice is that I understand how much cheaper it is to live with mom, but I’m reading between the lines and I’m wondering if there is a dysfunctional relationship between them. Mom “reminding” her that she owes her a pack is kinda sad to me.

Kevin@OutOfYourRut
6 years 10 months ago

Another Single Mom (82)–In regard to enforcing child support, her daughter is receiving Social Security, so there’s a very good chance that her daddy is deceased. I think we have to assume as much, which could also be a contributing factor to her emotional state.

Cat
Cat
6 years 10 months ago
I have an autistic child, and I remember those melt downs, and the frustration of finding good child care and doctors. Now may not be the time for big changes. Now might just be the time for big plans. Your child is three. In just two years, she will be in kindergarten, and your life will change significantly. Your childcare bill will be halved, and, as someone else posted, many public schools will aid you with helping your daughter progress. By then, you will probably also be a lot closer to a diagnosis and treatment plan for your daughter. Make… Read more »
Abster
Abster
6 years 10 months ago
Wow. Of all the Money Diaries I’ve read, this person is the one who’s going to stay in my mind the longest. While I’ve never “been her” myself, I know others who have and are and will be. It’s a bad place to be in life. It could be worse, but it’s still bad. Let’s look first at the positives in her life: * She’s employed. * She has housing * She loves her daughter and wants the best for her * She KNOWS that she has problems and needs to change The problems in her life: * Addictions *… Read more »
winston smith
winston smith
6 years 10 months ago

I really want to feel sorry for this woman, but I cannot. Let me get this straight – there’s money to spend anywhere from $7 – $10 per pack of cigarettes, but a $9.60 meal at McDonalds is a luxury?

Spare me. If I’m doing the math correctly, a pack a day is around $8. In a month, that’s around $250. Damn shame her kid has to eat canned vegetables.

Ken H.
Ken H.
6 years 10 months ago
One final comment – every once in a while, call the babysitter and tell her you have to work an hour overtime. Then use that bus pass, get on the bus and get to the grassiest, most beautiful spot you can find ( jeez, you’re in Hawaii! ). Sit in the grass, open a cold Coke and light a cigarette! You have it better than a lot of people but lack direction. Take a few minutes every now and then to remind yourself of that fact. If it makes you smile — great! If it makes you cry — that’s… Read more »
Jenn
Jenn
6 years 10 months ago
Being a single mom with a special needs child makes everything much more difficult – finding a good job that allows for so many appointments, finding childcare you can trust to care for your child, getting any free time, all become nearly impossible. It can be made better if you have good help, like a mom who is willing to do childcare for her grandchild and help a little financially. But I am not so sure what’s going on with this woman’s mom – is she helping? is she only watching the child when she’s asleep? Does she need that… Read more »
Alicia Gonzales
Alicia Gonzales
6 years 10 months ago
If I were her, I would sit down and figure out how much money she receives per month based on assistance and her job, and when the payments are made to her. Then I would create a table, and put each expense on the left side, and the due date on the right. Then I would see how much I need and when, and where I have short falls. Information is key to reducing stress about money. Then I would see where I spend on non-necessities, like vices (soda and cigarettes, and impulse spending on books and clothes). Am I… Read more »
Not My Mother
6 years 10 months ago
First I want to say to the woman who wrote the diary that you’re doing brilliant just doing that. It clearly means that you are looking to change things for you and are honest about where you are. I wonder how many people responding would have been so honest about filling it in when they know the first responses will be “quit smoking” or “don’t buy single packets of cigarettes”. Well, DUH. Really? That’s like when people tell ME that all I need to do to deal with my obesity is stop eating the chocolate and do more exercise. You… Read more »
Sabrina Bremmer
Sabrina Bremmer
6 years 10 months ago

Some links for understanding banking and money:

7 Page article in The Times on Goldman Sachs
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6907681.ece?token=null&offset=0&page=1

Article in Rolling Stone on Goldman Sachs
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/29127316/the_great_american_bubble_machine

The great American bank robbery:
http://vodpod.com/watch/2040248-how-to-rob-a-bank

How banks gained control of America:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-515319560256183936#

How to fix bad commercial banks that take in money from depositors. Simple. People power. The Dutch brought an arrogant bank to its knees in twelve days:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8323991.stm

move4ward
move4ward
6 years 10 months ago
The first thing I notice is her salary. Even in this economy, she should be able to find a better paying job. I was in a similiar paying job and was struggling also. I was making less than $12/hr and got laid off about 2 years ago. I took the first job that I could find. It paid a little over $12/hr. I signed up for this program at church that helped low income people increase net worth by 20% and income by 20%. It really helped me get comfortable with interviewing by doing practice interviews with other students and… Read more »
Cátia Vánessa
6 years 10 months ago

Ram it!

Katydid
Katydid
6 years 10 months ago
The only short-term solution I see for this young mom is to set up a “virtual conservatorship” for herself, since she has no impulse control and will spend whatever is in her pocket, even when her child has no milk. This prevents her from making use of all the “money-saving tips” that might help someone else. I’m not sure of all details, but it seems that direct deposit of her paycheck and her daughter’s disability check into an account that would then automatically pay her bills and set aside the rest of her money in a hard-to-access account, such as… Read more »
MrsCasanova
6 years 10 months ago

where did she get a coke for 85 cents!!?? I have never seen a coke for less than $1.75!

D.J.
6 years 10 months ago

I gave up after reading about the first day. She has to put the needs of her children before her habits. Spending nearly 10 dollars on cigarettes and Coke before buying milk is ridiculous.

Stefania
6 years 10 months ago

Maybe she is spending too much in babysitting.
How many hours for $650?
And why her mom ask her to pay $600 monthly for the rent?
She does’t know she has money problems?
Her mom has a work?
How can her mom should afford to pay the rent if she lived alone?
We have to try to see what this woman isn’t able to see, because she is too near to the focus.
She blames herself for her bad habits, but her problems are the behaviour she thinks OK.

Soma
6 years 10 months ago

Paul (Comment 57) I just printed out your tips… And nearly cried in the process… Such a kind, accepting, loving response to someone that CLEARLY needs some understanding, not judging.

Tina
6 years 10 months ago
@KenH Great suggestions. SingleMom25, first Congratulations for completing the Money Diary. You are motivated to change and motivation is key to start the journey. The second key is action. How do you act? As a single mom of 3 (I had 2 by 20), I’d like to offer you a few tips. I’ve been single the past 5 years and went from homeless to building my first home and from a GED to earning my Master’s. Focus on creating the life you want to live, doing what you most enjoy, surround by people you admire and respect on this single… Read more »
JohnnyD
JohnnyD
6 years 10 months ago

Has anyone used this site http://www.theidol.com for insurance?

Mommy Reporter
6 years 10 months ago

My advice to her: Go to church…

Sarah
Sarah
6 years 10 months ago

She has a special needs kid who apparently has less than adequate nutrition at times while her dear mom always has a pack (or two or three) of cigarettes and a supply of Coke. I do not feel sorry for this woman. I do, however, feel very sorry for the “kiddo”.

Kevin@OutOfYourRut
6 years 10 months ago
Mommy Reporter (103)–I completely agree (about going to church). But if she goes she needs to open up and ask for help. They may be able to provide direct help in the form of money or some other assistance, but more important, they can hook her up with counselors and maybe even business types who help her along. She’s lost in her circumstances, and it’s easy enough to see why. But she needs to get help from others. A large church may be an excellent place to start. It’ll help give her some core direction, which she seems equally in… Read more »
vfwh
6 years 10 months ago
I must say I’m amazed at how many people looking at a woman making $1350 a month and spending $600 on rent and $650 on child care will talk endlessly about how fixing her problems starts by stopping smoking and drinking coke… This single mother of a special needs kid lives with her MOTHER, and she shells out all of her salary in child care and rent? It seems to me that’s a clue there as to the psychological situation she’s facing. Her first order of business is to fix this crazy relationship she has with her mother. If you… Read more »
Katydid
Katydid
6 years 10 months ago
vfwh has missed that mom gets a second paycheck in the middle of the month. Her actual monthly take home pay must be $500-$600 more than the $1350 recorded in her one-week diary. And why assume that grandma is free to provide childcare? She is out working fulltime just like mom, earning the rest of the rent and her own living expenses. Searching out sources of public assistance isn’t a solution — that’s already been done, as we know by the fact that mom gets a disability check for kiddo AND a childcare supplement. The responsibility for solving the financial… Read more »
JimE
JimE
6 years 10 months ago

I see this girl as a horrible attention whore who didn’t complete this money diary to help herself but who did it to talk about herself. Everything here is about her, and she’s sorry, but then its still about her. I’m pretty sure she’ll read this and get excited by all the comments and not do a damn thing about them. Really seems like some 16yo diva who doesn’t realize that she’s actually an adult in the real world. Sorry to be so negative but she needs so much maturation that I don’t even know where to begin.

vfwh
6 years 10 months ago
Actually, I kinda like JimE’s comment. More down to earth and human than the moralism disguized as sound financial advice in many other posts that confuse wishful thinking (gosh darn, this girl should just quit smoking already!) with dealing with actual situations. Although I’m not sure he’s right (I feel that detailing the expenses over to weeks goes a little beyond what a pure attention-seeker would do), JimE at least tries to really understand her motives in a human way. @Katydid: thanks for pointing that out, I indeed missed the dual payday (I live in France, where paychecks are monthly).… Read more »
Katydid
Katydid
6 years 10 months ago
In response to vfwh, I come up with $300 to $400 a month by assuming (perhaps wrongly) that the writer smokes one pack a day and drinks two cokes. Cost of pack of cigs in Hawaii runs between $8-10, depending on where she purchases them, and she seems to drink at least two cokes a day at about .85 each. That all adds up to at least $10 a day, 30 days a month. My assumptions may be wrong, and that would of course change the total, but her addiction to cigarettes is evident, and it is just as likely… Read more »
mcara
mcara
6 years 10 months ago
Make small changes. Switch from coke to diet coke for health reasons. Cutting down your sugar intake would be good. I found once I did that I lost weight; and since I don’t really like the taste of diet soda, I bought it less and less until I don’t do it at all. Keep powdered milk on hand. Take one pack of cigs and hide them for emergency use. You need to work the system concerning your child. And I MEAN WORK THE SYSTEM TILL IT SCREAMS!!! Shouldn’t your child be covered by Medicare/Medicaid? What about food stamps? Get in… Read more »
Oopsie_daisical
Oopsie_daisical
6 years 10 months ago
#s 57 and 77 are very on target. This woman is stressed out. One cannot stop addictions when ultra-stressed. Addictions in that situation are coping mechanisms, no matter how disfunctional. There is so much chaos in this woman’s financial life, I would not be surprised if there is also CHAOS = Cannot Have Anyone Over Syndrome in her home. One website that has helped me a lot with home disorganization (and somewhat with financial disorganization as well) is http://www.flylady.net The basic ideas there are: You are not behind, and babysteps. If I were in this woman’s shoes, I would start… Read more »
julieann rose
julieann rose
6 years 10 months ago
She needs to txt that guy in Louisiana ask him if he can put her up for awhile take the 1300 dollars buy a ticket back to the mainland where milk is 2.50 its kind of like poor people in ca. sure paradise is nice but she could find work still get the 1300 and survive here in the states. Plus the whole friends with benefits stress release. Sorry everyone Ive been their she is brave and a tough mother she deserves her vices as long as she does not neglect her daughter. I live in ky and a lot… Read more »
Diane
Diane
6 years 9 months ago
Dear Single Mom, #1 IMMEDIATELY: Do not write another bad check. A young acquaintance of mine did that and ended up in jail. She had commited a felony in her state. It is very difficult to get a decent job with that label following you for the rest of your life. #2 Feed your child well with whole foods. If you can’t afford it, there is a federal program called WIC (women, infants & children) which will provide you with food. From what I understand this is separate from food stamps and lasts until the child is 5. Please check… Read more »
Hasse Karlgreen
6 months 22 days ago

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Hasse Karlgreen
6 months 5 days ago

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Jonathon
Jonathon
13 days 9 hours ago

Wait…does this “25-year-old single” mom not receive any compensation for this post (ad revenue, etc.)? …If not, why not?

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