USING CREDIT CARDS

 

Credit Cards
WARNING, using credit cards can be like carrying a loaded gun. At the same time, they can be financially beneficial if you know how to shoot. On the other hand, they can be deadly if you don’t. In fact, many people do end up in debt using them. The interest that accumulates can make it impossible to ever pay them off. Groups that help people get out of debt prohibit their use altogether.

credit cards are a financial survival tool for the poor middle class crisis
Credit Cards from Linkedin.com

But in my case, using credit cards is part of my financial survival toolkit. With this caveat, I also strongly suggest the following. If you are not able to be vigilant using them by never missing a payment, do not include them in your financial survival toolkit.

 

How I Make Money Using Credit Cards
Yes, I have actually learned how to accumulate cash or credit towards purchases using my credit cards*. So far, I have discovered two ways to create income. If you know of others, please let me know. I have the following cards:
• a cash rewards card
• a travel points card
* The ‘income’ from them, the cash rewards are not taxable because the money is a discount or purchase rebate, not income itself.

 

Cash Rewards Credit Cards
Some banks offer credit cards that accumulate cash points for purchases. The points are a percentage of the expense. They range between 1% and 3%. I have been able to earn about $20/month with this system.

the poor middle class crisis financial survival toolkit
The Chase Freedom Unlimited Cash Back Visa
* Mention of this card is in no way an endorsement of it.

 
Travel Rewards and Sky Miles Credit Cards
I signed up for a travel rewards credit card when the bank had a special promotion. If I charged a certain amount of purchases within three months, I would receive 20,000 in travel points. I did this. The travel points will go towards a trip out of state to see family and friends.
Financial Survival Toolkit for the poor middle class crisis
Five Star Sky Miles Credit Card
* Mention of this card is in no way an endorsement of it.

 

Sources & Resources
Here is a list of the best credit cards for a variety of categories. You can explore these websites for even more suggested card categories.

Excellent Credit Scores:
Excellent Credit Score Cards

Cash Back:
Best Credit Cards for Cash Back | Compare Cards

Travel:
Best Travel Credit Card-BankAmericacard Travel Rewards

Credit Karma | Best Travel Credit Cards

General use:
Best Credit Cards for 2017 | Compare Cards

Credit Karma | Best Credit Cards

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Creating An Authentic Story

 

 

Tell Me A Story
We love stories. We can read a book or have one read to us. Perhaps a story is online or viewable on the multiplicity of media available. Ultimately, the results of the creation of an authentic story is a treat for us all. Besides entertaining, a story can be informative. In addition, it can promote a business or a product. Whatever the purpose, the process is basically the same. In this post, the focus is on the process.

The Creation of a Story
The process of creating an authentic story requires intensive research and lots of writing. I’ve created several stories containing the required elements. In all four authentic story situations, there was access to primary sources and extensive research. Sometimes having access to primary sources is impossible. So when it does happen, it can be very special for both the writer and the reader.

Four Authentic Stories
The authentic stories here touch upon four different non-fiction topics:
• business-a multi-million dollar corporation that started in a janitor’s closet
• social issues-The Middle Class Poor Crisis, a serious situation that exists today
• creativity-a creative-organizational process called Knolling
• music-some very special musicians

Each of these stories is set up as a series of blog posts. To read each of them, click on their link. That will be the first post of the story. You will be able to read the additional posts from there.
 

The Story of A Corporation That Started In A Janitor’s Closet
The Charrette Corporation Chronicles
The Charrette red van was part of my intense research & writing process
The Charrette Red Van Travelled from Boston to New York Daily Long Before The Invention of Federal Express Overnight Delivery.

 

A Social Issue called, ‘The Poor Middle Class Crisis’
The Poor Middle Class Crisis
poor middle class financial survival toolkit
The Secret Shame of Middle Class Americans

 

A Creative Organzational System Based on Florence Knoll Furniture Designs, Knolling
Knolling
 
What Is Knolling? From 10 Bullets. 2009 by Tom Sachs
What Is Knolling? From 10 Bullets. 2009 by Tom Sachs Posted on the CreativeMarket.com Blog, August 19,2015

 

Some Very Talented Singers
Expressions of Creative Passion
 
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The ‘Godmother of Rock ‘n Roll

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POOR MIDDLE CLASS THRIFTY SHOPPING TOOLS

 

Thrifty Shopping Tools
Poor middle class thrifty shopping tools are part of my financial survival toolkit. My toolkit is filled with tools that I have discovered and tools that others have shared with me. By participating in this process, we are all part of a financial survival support community.

This blog post is part of the series, The Poor Middle Class Crisis. Most of the thrifty shopping tools that I describe in this post and have added to my Poor Middle Class Financial Survival Toolkit come directly from a dear friend of mine, Danny Eitingon. He is very much part of my financial survival support community.

Using The Financial Survival Toolkit
Thrifty shopping tools from a financial survival toolkit can help many other poor middle class people survive, as well. Sharing this information is how we can help each other to survive. Not only do I welcome and appreciate input to fill my toolkit with but we also all benefit from sharing tools with each other. This give and take can helpful for everyone. In fact, it is why I call this exchange a financial survival support community.

poor middle class thrifty shopping tips
The Financial Survival Toolkit for All My Finaincial Survival Tools Is from the Viper Tool Storage Company

 

A Financial Survival Support Community
Thrifty shopping tools are intended to help Poor Middle Class people. In addition, these tools are prudent for use by people who are still middle class. Becoming an educated consumer is especially important now. We can all benefit from being part of a financial survival support community. We take tools when we need them. Then we add tools when we can spare them. The following tools that have been shared with me and added to my Poor Middle Class Financial Survival Toolkit.

Product Tools
Shop at Dollar Stores
• Shop at the dollar store for short-life items. For example, you can buy soap, napkins, toilet paper, shampoo, paper towels, etc. There are many perfectly decent products, including environmentally friendly ones, that really do only cost a dollar!

Save on Gas
• Go to Gas Buddy to find the cheapest gas in your neighborhood.

thrifty shopping tips
Not your usual ‘Piggy Bank’. This is one made out of a plastic laundry liquid bottle. From diytag.com

Alternatives to Expensive, New Furniture, Household Items and Clothing
• Consider a buckwheat mattress
• Acquire wooden furniture like tables, dressers, desks from places like the Salvation Army
• Shop thrift stores for good quality, second hand, even vintage clothes

Buy In Bulk
• If you are shopping for a large family or need large quantities and have the storage space, join Costco, Sam’s Club or BJ’s for less than $50/yr. You can save hundreds, possibly thousands per year buying in large quantities or bulk.

Buy Store Brands
• Try store-brand rather than name brand products. Many are significantly cheaper. In addition, quality is very often not compromised. This is especially true with cleaning products and other household items.

• Recycle soda bottles, cans and water bottles
You will be surprised by how much change you can accumulate using this simple thrifty shopping tip.

Services Tips
Negotiate on Utilities
• Contact your Internet service provider, telephone, and other utility providers every six months. That way you find out if the they are offering less expensive plans than you currently have. Sometimes, you can achieve significant savings by contacting your utility companies on a regular basis. Try to negotiate more economical plans.

thrifty shopping tips
Credit Cards from Linkedin.com

Compare Credit Card Rates
• Check your credit card companies on a regular basis. See if they’re offering new cards with lower interest rates or better rewards programs than the one you have. Banks will not automatically transfer your account to a lower-interest or better reward credit card. Instead, they will let you cancel your existing card and apply for a new one.

Join Credit Unions
• Join credit unions instead of banks. Their interest rates and fees tend to be significantly lower than banks. Credit unions offer the same exact products and services as banks. In fact, credit union customer service is often significantly better.

Get Online Savings
• Subscribe to online savings (21st Century coupon clipping)
Many companies offer discount programs if you provide them with an email address or text number.

thrifty shopping tips
Shop At Home – Coupons and Discounts

Save on Car Insurance
• Shop around at least once every 12-18 months for cheaper car insurance. This is especially important if you have an excellent driving record and/or are a senior. Significant savings can be realized by changing car insurance from time to time.

Compare Service Contractor Costs
• Always shop around for service contractors of any kind, e.g. plumbers, carpenters, electricians, car repair, etc. The competition among trade contractors can be fierce, but make sure you check out their reviews before hiring one. Angie’s List or similar services can be very helpful in this regard.

Subscribe to Consumer Reports

• Subscribe to Consumer Reports to check out their product reviews. Their research on the quality and value of appliances, electronics, and cars is really reliable. It can save you a lot of money in the long run.

thrifty shopping tips
The January 2017 Issue of Consumer Reports

 

 

 

Sources & Resources

My Financial Survival Toolkit

Amazon Prime

Consumer Reports

Credit Unions

Comparing Car Insurance Rates

Gas Buddy

Buy In Bulk

The Elite Core Alliance-My 1Dollar Business

Bitcoin

Shop At Home – Online Coupons and Discounts

Product Expiration Dates Why buy an expensive one if it is supposed to be replaced so soon.

Senior Discount Ultimate Guide from Deal Hack

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THE POOR MIDDLE CLASS CRISIS FINANCIAL SURVIVAL RESOURCE GUIDE

 

OVERVIEW
The Poor Middle Class Crisis is real and it is serious. This Financial Survival Resource Guide can help individuals and families alleviate the effects of the Poor Middle Class Crisis. The guide consists of a series of blog posts. The goals of this Financial Survival Resource Guide are:
1. to make people aware of tools to help build a financial survival toolkit
2. to encourage people to form ‘financial survival support groups’ or communities with other poor middle class people
3. to share our experience in the day-to-day survival as poor middle class people to give other people hope for survival

At this time, the guide is a series of blog posts written by me for people like me, the poor middle class. This post is an overview that introduces all of the blog posts in this guide. Because I am a visual person and I love tool boxes, I am using this great lime green tool storage box as the storage box for my ‘Financial Survival Toolkit’.

An example of a Poor Middle Class Financial Survival Toolkit Being Built
A Poor Middle Class Financial Survival Toolkit Being Built with Suggestions from this Resource Guide

 

LIST OF BLOG POSTS
Each blog post title is an underlined link to the post itself. Click on it to view a post that interests you. They include:

Part 1: The Poor Middle Class Crisis

my poor middle class financial survival toolkit
The Secret Shame of Middle Class Americans from My Secret Shame from The Atlantic by Neal Gabler

Part 2: A Budget Is A Crucial Financial Survival Tool For The Poor Middle Class

financial survival toolkit for the poor middle class
Free Online Accounting & Bookkeeping service

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 3: Using Credit Cards

using credit cards
Credit Cards from Linkedin.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 4: More About Poor Middle Class Financial Survival Tools

My Poor Middle Class Financial Survival Toolkit
Bottle and can recycling machines from recycle | ecycler

 

Part 5: Poor Middle Class Thrifty Shopping Tools

Thrifty Shopping Tips
A Homemade Piggy Bank to Hold Your Savings from Thrifty Shopping Tips, Homesthetics.net

 

Part 6: The Poor Middle Class Housing Crisis

My Poor Middle Class Financial Survival Toolkit
Foreclosure Defense from Christie D. Arkovich, P.A.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 7: Poor Middle Class Housing Alternatives

alternative housing
A Tiny Home Design from The Tiny Heirloom Company

Part 8: Poor Middle Class Affordable Housing

my poor middle class financial survival toolkit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 9: Alternative Living Resources


Franklin Caravan Renovation Project

 

Part 10: The US Homeless Housing Crisis

living off grid
The U.S. Cities With The Largest Homeless Populations by Niall McCarthy from Forbes.com

 

Part 11: The Poor Middle Class Nutrition Crisis

nutrition crisis
The Poor Middle Class Nutrition Crisis, Food Waste

 

Part 12: The Poor Middle Class Healthcare Insurance Crisis

 

Part 13: Our Story: One Day From Homeless
is under construction.

 

 

 

Sources & Resources*

The Viper Tool Storage Company

A Facebook group called, The Poor Middle Class Crisis

A Facebook Group Called, Next Level Minimalism

*All other sources and resources are within the blog posts themselves.

Continue Reading

THE US HOMELESS HOUSING CRISIS

 

The Crisis of Homelessness
The US homeless housing crisis today affects over a half a million people, both individuals and families. This post is one of a series of blog posts, The Poor Middle Class Crisis.
homeless housing crisis
The U.S. Cities With The Largest Homeless Populations by Niall McCarthy from Forbes.com

This post:
• introduces the homeless housing crisis itself
• is a vehicle for the public to become more aware of this crisis
• provides resources of services that are available to the homeless
• is part of the goal to help end homelessness

Mark Horvath and Invisible People Fighting Homelessness

 

How I Am Different From A Homeless Person or Family
What makes me different from a homeless person? I still have dignity, self-respect and a sense of belonging. Other people treat me with respect. I have a roof over my head and my name is on the lease. Without that roof and a permanent address, I become part of the homeless housing crisis community. This can lead to the loss of many other qualities of life. We take so many things for granted. Things like:
• having a dwelling with several rooms
• accessing a kitchen to cook in
• sleeping in a warm bed
• taking regular baths or showers
• grooming oneself regularly
• washing clothes
• having medical and dental care

Without these amenities, one can spiral down, beginning to look and even feel different. A homeless person can become so different that they ultimately become invisible to the rest of the world.

Invisible People
Mark Horvath, a champion for the homeless, calls the homeless, Invisible People. He seeks to end the homeless housing crisis in his lifetime.
homeless housing crisis
Smartphone & Social Media: A Solution to Combat Homelessness | TEDxSyracuseUniversity

 
A Homeless Spokesperson
This video bring out some crucial issues. Certain things are needed by a homeless person to become employed again. The public thinks these are luxuries. They are not. Everyone needs a cell phone and a laptop. Both the employed and those seeking employment need them for their work.

Smartphone & Social Media: A Solution to Combat Homelessness | TEDxSyracuseUniversity

 

A Homeless Person’s Lifeline
Social media, a cell phone and iPad in particular are the lifelines for a homeless person. They are often the sole means of communication with another person. It may be a family member, a friend, another homeless person, calling for help or a ‘warm line’ to hear a friendly voice at the other end of the line.
homeless housing crisis
James new smart phone from ‘Smartphone & Social Media: A Solution to Combat Homelessness | TEDxSyracuseUniversity’

 

Essentials For The Homeless Individual
Besides the ‘life and death’ things like food, shelter, clothes, blankets and medical care, these are also essentials for survival when someone is homeless:
• clean socks
• a place to receive mail like a PO Box
• a cell phone and laptop
• access to a cell phone ‘warm line’
• knowledge of wifi hot spots

Emily and her children

Shelter For The Homeless Individual or Family
Many homeless people agree that official homeless shelters are not the best place to stay. As a result, homeless groups band together to seek safe, optional homeless housing. Protected, warm spaces are the priority. The homeless create homeless housing communities like tent cities. Groups gather within the infrastructure under bridges. Abandoned tunnels are popular homeless dwellings. Assistance organizations do exist in some states. There are homeless housing programs for veterans, as well. Families are put in temporary hotel housing. But much more needs to be done to eliminate homelessness in the US.

 

How To Help End Homelessness
We can help end homelessness:
Donate to InvisiblePeople.tv.
• Increase awareness about the homeless housing crisis
• Speak in public about homelessness in our communities
• Hold a presentation about Invisible People
• Contact our elected officials

The federal government has been working on a plan to end homelessness. Ask them how the plan is coming along. You can read a print version of the plan here.
Opening Doors: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness

Remember, the only concrete difference between is and most homeless people or families started with one thing. We still have our own roof over our heads. Someone who is homeless has lost theirs.

homeless housing crisis
Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan To Prevent And End Homelessness

 

 

 

Sources & Resources
Facebook | Mark Horvath

LinkedIn | Mark Horvath

Twitter | Mark Horvath

Invisible People – Changing The Story of Homelessness

About – Invisible People

Invisible People.tv | speaking and consulting

Emily and Her Children Are Homeless in a Family Hotel

From Invisible People: Sandra Is Homeless In New Orleans

Get To Know Mark Horvath Keynote Speaker, Founder of Invisible People

Former Homeless Man’s Videos Profile Life On Street : NPR

Mark Horvath | The Huffington Post

Kern County bill paying assitance

Homeless Veteran Reintegration Project

Homeless camp shows divide between rich and the poor

The Cities With The Largest Homeless Populations

2016 Homeless Statistics

People experiencing chronic homelessness

Opening Doors

Continue Reading

POOR MIDDLE CLASS ALTERNATIVE LIVING RESOURCES

 

An Introduction To Unusual Living Possibilities
This post follows, Affordable Housing. Some of the ideas for alternative living resources are fascinating. They are definite considerations if they fit one’s lifestyle or goals. As I had mentioned in the first part of this series, some information would be geared to seniors. Most of these ideas are for younger people or for the young at heart.
alternative housing resources
House Sitting Australia from TrustedHouseSitters.com

Live Rent Free
Here are some alternative housing resources that are unique lifestyle options. Tips from the Yes, You Can Live Rent Free.
• Farm Livin’
• Fun With Fido
• Share A Home
• Work As A Nanny Or Au Pair
• Volunteer for Uncle Sam
• Move Back In With Mom and Dad
alternative housing resources
Yes, You Can Live Rent Free from Kiplinger’s Magazine by Lisa Elaine Babb

Invest In A Tiny Home
Tiny homes have become quite a craze. They are much smaller than a regular home. They cost much less. Therefore, they usually do not require financing. The can be mobile. They are available premade or custom built. Due to the nature of a tiny home, it is possible to become a homeowner at a very reasonable cost, for tens of thousands instead of hundreds of thousands of dollars. This allow their owner to have more mobility with their funds and their home. There are a huge number of links about tiny homes on Google. My favorite company is Tiny Heirlooms. HGTV and the DIY Channel both have shows about Tiny Homes.
alternative living resources
A Tiny Home Design from The Tiny Heirloom Company

I am a huge fan of tiny homes. The possibilities are endless. Vintage vans conversions fascinate me. Although at this point in my life I am not seeking to make a tiny house my primary home. As a ‘woman cave’ retreat in the woods, one would be ideal. The Franklin Vintage Caravan is a great example of one. Enjoy this video of the renovation project. View photos by Images © Jesz Carroll/YouTube at The Franklin Vintage Caravan Tiny House

Relocate to A Cheaper Area, State or Another Country
Either for a change of scenery or because someone lives on a fixed income, relocating can be a good alternative. There are online resources for all of these options. Chambers of Commerce are a good source of information. Websites for potential expats are as well.
alternative housing resources
From Expat Exchange: 10 Tips for Living in Colombia

 

 

 

Sources and Resources
My Financial Survival Toolkit from The Viper Tool Storage Company

Yes, You Can Live Rent-Free

Trusted Housesitters

House To Establish Financial Independence

Tiny Heirlooms

The Tiny Heirloom TV Show on The HGTV Network

Tiny House Talk

The Oceanside Retreat, A Tiny Colonial Wonder

Tiny House Newsletter

Simply Enough

Blue Ridge Mountains Simply Enough Tiny Home

Pink Tiny House in Portland, Oregon

10 Tips for Living in Colombia

International Living

Retiring In Belize

Retire in Costa Rica

Continue Reading

POOR MIDDLE CLASS AFFORDABLE HOUSING

 

Affordable Housing
Poor Middle Class Affordable Housing is hard to find. But it is a top financial survival toolkit priority. Without it, poor middle class people can fall into the following crises:
• unable to pay bills
• end up in debt
• go hungry nutritionally by eat mostly cheap, unhealthy food
• become homeless
• unable to get proper medical care
• suffer from all of the above

What Is Affordable Housing?
According to Wikipedia, affordable housing is:
affordable housing
The Definition of Affordable Housing According To Wikipedia.com

Finding Affordable Housing
Our search for poor middle class affordable housing was a nightmare. In fact, it was the hardest part of our financial survival journey. This is because of the following aspects of it:
• the amount of paperwork involved
• a time-consuming application process
• the bureaucratic qualification procedure
• pressure due to our tight deadline

poor middle class affordable housing available by lottery or application
Affordable Housing Available by Lottery and Application from http://www.nyshcr.org/

What Is Subsidized Housing?
According to Wikipedia, subsidized housing is:
• a government sponsored system of economic assistance programs
• designed to alleviate housing costs and expenses
• meant for people in need
• designed for low to moderate income families, seniors and the disabled
• often called, ‘affordable housing’ in the United States

According to Wikipedia, subsidized housing is:

affordable housing
A definition of Subsidized Housing according to Wikipedia

Subsidized Housing Programs
There are several forms of subsidies:
• direct housing subsidies
• non-profit housing
• public housing
• rent supplements
• some forms of co-operative and private sector housing

affordable housing
Section 8 Housing In The South Bronx from Wikipedia.com. Photo by Jim.Henderson

Those who qualify to apply for subsidized housing must be:
• Families in financial need
• Seniors aged 55 and above
• Disabled people over a certain age

There are two types of management, either government or privately run.

What is Senior Housing?
Senior housing is housing available to independent seniors, aged 55 and older. It is usually subsidized. As a result, it is more affordable than market value housing.
affordable housing
Independent Senior Living Defined by Wikipedia.com

Seeking Senior Housing
There is a huge amount of research and paperwork involved in applying for senior housing. In fact, it is the worst part of the process for us. Each housing project requires its own application. Because of this, I was very overwhelmed. Just the thought of it stopped me from applying originally. But eventually, relocation became an emergency. We were hard pressed to find an affordable place to live. Because municipal senior housing units had several years waiting lists, we did not know what to do. We were on the verge of homelessness.

Here is our strong recommendation. Don’t let this happen to you. Apply for senior housing years before you think you may need it.

Poor Middle Class Affordable Housing
Affordable Senior Housing Becomes Scarce As Boomers Age from SocialSolutions.com

Fortunately, a private senior facility had a vacant unit. Much to our relief, we were accepted within two weeks. But there was one drawback. The only units available were studio apartments. In spite of the size, we grabbed one. As a result, we were set up in our new home within a few weeks. After that, it took another two and a half years to get a one bedroom apartment. When that happened, we felt like we had moved into a palace. In the summertime, we see nothing but tree. It feels like we live in a tree house. It is like heaven.

section 8 is considered affordable housing
Housing Choice Voucher Program, Section 8 Housing from HUD.gov

Section 8 Housing Vouchers
Large apartments buildings and multi-family homes accept Section 8 Housing Vouchers. According to Wikipedia:
poor middle class affodable housing
Section 8 Housing According to Wikipedia

A New Home
Our subsidized apartment is modest. There is no dishwasher. In addition to that, there is no terrace or yard for growing food. There is nowhere to make a compost heap for food garbage. But best of all, having a roof over our heads is a blessing. In addition, we have made a home here. There is a saying, ‘home is where the heart is’.

The next post, Alternative Living Resources begins exploring unique housing opportunities.

affordable housing
‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’ Amish Quilt

 

 

 

Sources & Resources
Viper Tool Storage Company

Subsidized Housing

Affordable Housing

Latest Affordable Housing in NYC Thanks to Mayor di Blasio

Section 8 Housing Voucher Program

Affordable rental units

Affordable Housing

Deal Aims to Keep a Former Welfare Hotel in Manhattan Affordable

Housing Search in NYS

Section 8 Housing Voucher Program

What Is Independent Senior Living?

Affordable Senior Housing Becomes Scarce As Boomers Age

10 Places to Retire and Pay Less Taxes
Senior Living Guide

‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’, Amish Quilt

Continue Reading

POOR MIDDLE CLASS HOUSING ALTERNATIVES

 

Poor Middle Class Housing Alternatives
This is a continuation of the last post, The Poor Middle Class Housing Crisis. In this post, poor middle class housing alternatives are presented. This can involve some ‘out of the box thinking’ solutions. These tools can include:
• Downsize possessions
• Buy or rent a smaller home
• Rent subsidized or senior housing
• Find Ways To Live Rent Free
• Invest In A Tiny House
• Relocate to a cheaper area, state or country
• Live off the grid

poor middle class housing alternatives
Self Storage in America from Slate article by Tom Vanderbilt

Downsizing
Have you ever noticed how many storage facilities there are? This has become a booming industry. We have too much stuff and we don’t know how to part with it. So we rent space to horde it. My rule of thumb is this. If you feel the need to rent a storage space for your overflow of belongings, don’t. Downsize instead.
• Donate possessions to the Salvation Army or other charity
• Give things to your children or someone you know who wants and needs them
• Have a garage sale
• Sell things online
• Buy or rent to a smaller, less expensive residence

Buy Or Rent A Smaller Home
It is much easier to go bigger than smaller. But for the poor middle class, the latter may be a necessity. It may be difficult emotionally to let go of a treasured home. But would you rather be in debt in a home you adore or be solvent in a house you can afford? For those in crisis as part of the poor middle class in the US, when it comes to housing selling and downsizing may be the only way to go. Even for those not in crisis, more modest living can open more doors than it closes, financially.

poor middle class housing alternatives
Large House for Sale from USA Today

Subsidized Housing
I have found this to be the most challenging, time consuming and confusing of all the tools for the poor middle class financial survival toolkit. Because of this, I feel that an entire blog post needs to be dedicated to this issue. In addition, the other tools will also be on an additional post. ‘Out of the box’ alternative housing is for the poor middle class of all ages, not only seniors.
• Live Rent Free
• Invest in a Tiny House
• Relocate to another area, cheaper state or another country
• Live Off The Grid

This housing discussion continues with the post, Affordable Housing.

 

 

 

Sources and Resources
Self-Storage Nation

The Viper Tool Storage Company

3 money smart reasons to donwsize

Home Downsizing 101

The Upside of Downsizing Your Home

California Billionaire Proposes Housing The Homeless In Shipping Containers

International Living

Continue Reading

THE POOR MIDDLE CLASS HOUSING CRISIS

 

HOUSING THE POOR MIDDLE CLASS
Safe, affordable housing is the foundation for poor middle class survival. How to find and create safe, affordable housing is the focus of this and several additional post in this series. But first, let’s look at housing from both a traditional, indigenous perspective and the modern, industrialized crisis it has become today.

TRADITIONAL INDIGENOUS HOUSING
There was a time, and still is a time when indigenous cultures build their own shelters. They use the materials at hand. To us ‘civilized’ folks, their homes may pale in comparison what the poor middle class have in the US. But when looked at from a different perspective, who is the poorer and who is the richer? The above photos display what I consider rustic but magnificent shelters. They are clean, dignified, well constructed and proudly held by their makers.

poor middle class housing
Indigenous, Traditional Shelters from Pinterest

THE CRISIS IN HOUSING
But ‘civilization’ brought about by our industrial age has changed all that in some place. Detroit, for example is a casualty of the demise of the auto manufacturing industry in that city. The working class, once gainfully employed as auto workers have been replaced by the poor middle class. They have fled the city. Anyone who can has left that city. It was left in ruins.

poor middle class housing crisis
Foreclosed Housing on Zillow

A TWO-FOLD CRISIS
But the crisis is two-fold. It is about foreclosure on the homes of the poor middle class due to the inability to pay their mortgages. It then also becomes about finding housing that is affordable, safe and decent. This brings us to the next part of the crisis. It is the need for alternative housing for the poor middle class due to a change in lifestyle affordability.

poor middle class housing
Foreclosure Defense from Christie D. Arkovich, P.A.

THE DOWNWARD LIFESTYLE JOURNEY
One of the most difficult parts of becoming a member of the poor middle class is that it is a downward lifestyle journey. This process involves letting go of new, even luxurious material things that we could once provide for ourselves. Then there needs to be an admission of needing help and an acceptance of getting that help from others. This is not glamourous. I have found that it can feel very humiliating. Then it becomes humbling because it is about survival.

ALTERNATIVE HOUSING
Alternative housing can involve pursuing traditional means of seeking less expensive housing. It can also involve some ‘out of the box thinking’ solutions. Either way all are potential and important tools to have in our Poor Middle Class Financial Survival ToolKit. They can include:
• Downsizing to a smaller residence
• Subsidized and senior housing
• Tiny Houses
• Living off the grid
• Moving to a cheaper area, state or country

A discussion about poor middle class housing resources begins in the next post, Poor Middle Class Alternative Housing.

 

 

 

SOURCES & RESOURCES
Dealing With Foreclosure

In Today’s Market, We’re A Hot Commodity

Foreclosed Housing on Zillow

Continue Reading

MORE ABOUT POOR MIDDLE CLASS FINANCIAL SURVIVAL TOOLS

 

MORE ABOUT FINANCIAL SURVIVAL TOOLS
I continue to refine and gather more financial survival tools for my middle class poor financial survival toolkit. I have to. Financial survival continues to be more challenging. Social Security will go up $5 for us on January 1, 2017. Our cable bill went up $6. So we will start 2017 with a dollar less. Situations like this require continual accumulation of new financial survival tools.

savings tips for the poor middle class
Large Change Jar from YouTube.com

MAJOR CATEGORIES AND FINANCIAL SURVIVAL RESOURCES
First I would like to mention some general tools. Then I will get into major expense categories and tools that are specific to them. Here are some general tips:
• save change in as large a bottle as you can find
• avoid monthly fee checking accounts
• avoid credit card fees
• join groups that offer discounts to members
• make use of discounts you are entitled to for being a member for a particular organization such as AARP, the military and many more
• buy in bulk, only when things are on sale and always look for discounts
• make a purchase with a no fee promotion credit card that requires set payments over time
• use EBATES, GROUPON, etc.

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE
BOTTLE REFUNDS This is probably one of the most important resources for not only the poor middle class but everyone. Redemption of bottles and cans is probably one of the best known tools for creating income through recycling. People in all kinds of circumstances do it. You paid for the bottle. You deserve to get the fee back whenever you can. Those nickels will add up. This is not income and it is not taxable. You are just getting back money you already paid out.

recycling as a poor middle class financial survival tool
Bottle and can recycling machines from recycle | ecycler

CLOTHES, FURNITURE AND HOUSEHOLD ITEMS
Depending upon your financial status, you can make use of food pantries. They often have clothes in addition to food. For people who can afford to pay, thrift stores are a great resource for finding furniture and all kinds of household items.

TRAVEL
Refer to the post The Poor Middle Class Financial Survival Toolkit to learn about using travel specific credit cards.

PERSONAL EXPENSES
Clipped paper coupons, online coupons and text discounts proliferate. Get into the habit of only buying things on sale for a discount.

HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS EXPENSES
I learned to make my own laundry detergent. It is amazing how much money it saves. The guideline is to make your own whenever you can instead of buying prepared products. It is easier than you think and saves so much money.

SHELTER, FOOD AND HEALTHCARE
These are three categories that can be the major areas of expenses in the budget of a member of the poor middle class. They are so important that a separate blog posts will be devoted to them.

financial survival tools for poor middle class
Discount coupons from Google

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This series continues with, The Poor Middle Class Housing Crisis

 

 

 

SOURCES & RESOURCES
Save on Household Expenses

Change in a Five Gallon Water Jar

Save Money at CVS

Best List of Senior Discounts

Best List of Senior Discounts for Restaurants

Military and Veteran Discounts

AARP list of discounts

Shop At Home

Buy Second Hand Clothes Online

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