This is a blog swap chain letter organized through the Yakezie network. There are 4 stops. Check out my post, Poverty can Teach Lessons for Life, at the next stop!
When we do Yakezie blog swaps, we are given a set topic from a moderator. This swap’s topic was: YOU ARE POOR OR HOMELESS, WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO CHANGE YOUR SITUATION?
This is not exactly the easiest topic for me to write about. Why? Glad you asked. First, all my frugalness now is done to prepare me for emergencies in the future, so that I should never truly be broke and homeless. Secondly, my parents (and friends and extended family) would support me if I ever fell into truly desperate times. I know I will never be homeless, and for that I am very thankful. So frankly, this topic just isn’t one that I can relate to easily.
That said, it is a good topic and one that it is probably important for all of us to to think about. I am just going to modify the situation a tad to fit my own circumstances (that’s the joy of being your own blogging boss).
First off, my net worth is well into the positive range between my home’s equity and other investments. This is to my advantage. If I was suddenly without major income I could sell my house and use the profits to buy a nice travel trailer to live in rent free. A blogger who writes at The Boxcarkids’ Blog found herself homeless with four kids a couple years ago. In order to keep her family from becoming homeless, she “rehomed” them in a used travel trailer. In my opinion, that was an excellent solution to a tough problem, and I admire her for that. Having safe shelter eliminates a lot of issues that hold homeless people back from bettering their circumstances.
So my housing is now covered. Now I need to look into bringing in some income. Fortunately, my education and training (graphic design and writing) lends itself well to freelance work, so I should be able to bring in some income to cover my basic expenses even without having a full-time job. There are also options such as Amazon Mechanical Turk and Swagbucks that I can use to bring in some extra income and/or gift cards. I would also seek out local employment opportunities as they became available.
Not having a mortgage cuts out a significant portion of my monthly expenses. But I would also need to evaluate all my other expenses and get them down to the basics. What can be cut? What can be reduced? I have reduced my electricity usage by 30%, but could I cut it more? Internet access is important for the type of work I do. Cable is not important. Minimum cell phone access is important for safety and networking reasons (albeit, I could easily survive on the most minimal plan available). Home phone service is not a necessity. Saving for emergencies and retirement is always important, but only AFTER all your other basic needs are met.
To be honest, in this situation the best defense is a good offense. Just thinking about a situation where I could become homeless terrifies me. And it motivates me, too. It motivates me to continue to be financially responsible and to save for emergencies and for the future. How about you?
Denise writes at The Single Saver, a site dedicated to helping singles and small families save money in simple, easy-to-implement ways.