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Showing posts with label Finances. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Finances. Show all posts

Thursday, May 17, 2018

6 Ways to Help a Family in Need

6 Ways to Help a Family in Need


As y'all know Anthony and I have been on this yo-yo unemployed/underemployed life for 10 months now and we have had so many people in our life help us along the way to make this time a tad easier although the only thing that would make this easier would be a stable income (just being honest). Often times people do ask how can they help and maybe it's pride or maybe it's not wanting to be a burden or maybe a mix of both but it is hard just saying what you need so I decided to put a list together of the ways you can come alongside a family you may know that is struggling with unemployment or underemployment and help them during this difficult time.

1. Monetary donation 

We were blessed at the beginning of this journey by a family that gave us a monetary donation and we held on to it until we absolutely needed to use it on bills. This is honestly the biggest way you can help someone although you know the family best and know if they would be wise with this donation or not. If you feel they would spend this unwisely, maybe pay a bill for them yourself as in you call the company and give the account number and payment.

2. Food

There are so many subscription boxes out for everything including meals so gifting a one time (or reoccurring) meal box to a family in need would be an amazing blessing. You could even consider preparing a meal yourself and dropping it off to the family to avoid high cost on yourself (this is also a great idea for families welcoming new children either by birth or adoption, I also plan to share ways to help a family with a new baby/child in the future so stay tuned for that as well). 

3. Gift cards

Provide gift cards from a local grocery store (possibly one that also has a gas station). This will allow the family to get food as needed, household items like toilet paper, laundry soap, etc., or even gas for their vehicle.

4. Diapers/Wipes

If there are young children in the family consider donating diapers and wipes to them (if they cloth diaper ask what type of detergent they use and donate that to them). Also consider donating menstrual items for the young girls and women in the family or teaching them about menstrual cups and cloth pads that can be reused each cycle (I also plan to discuss this in the future further).

5. Clothing

Again if they have young children, they grow out of things extremely fast so consider offering them your children's hand me downs or even buying clothes from a second hand store (see my tips for thrift shopping children's clothes here). Helping a family in need doesn't have to be expensive.

6. Pray

And I mean really pray for them. In our society, we easily say "I'll pray for you" or "We are praying" and never do or my favorite and unrealistic phrase "claim it in the name of Jesus and it is yours" as if Jesus is a genie and we rubbed his lamp for three wishes. But really truly pray for them as you pray for your own family and your own needs, pray that God will build their trust and faith in Him, that God will be glorified in their struggles and that they will cast their worries onto Jesus and God will lead and guide them on their real life scary decisions that need to be made.


Often times, it is better to just do these things without asking the family in need because sometimes it is hard to swallow the pride and admit you need help so just ask the type of laundry soap they use or for their account number to a billing company (I wonder if you could just provide the name and address to the billing company and surprise the family with an anonymous bill payment). There are so many other ways that you could do to help a family in need, these were just the ones that have been incredibly helpful for us personally thus far so if you have any other ideas, please leave them in the comments below and as always I created a pinnable image to share with friends and family as you see fit.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Unemployed Life + Five Month Update

Unemployed Life + Five Month Update


This will probably be one of the most vulnerable posts I write. I have debated sharing this part of our life in my public social media life because I do not want pity at all (pride much?) however the longer we are in this season, the harder it is and if I can help just one other person or family who may be on this same journey then it would be worth sharing. I briefly mentioned Anthony was back working but the contract ended much sooner then anticipated so we are back at square one except this time we don't have the security of unemployment since it ended a few days before he was offered the contract position. When we asked for an extension for unemployment, he was declined because Texas Workforce Commission is out of budget from extending unemployment to the numerous Hurricane Harvey victims who are also out of work. So it has been 9 months of the unemployed life and the longer we do not have a steady substantial income, the more assistance we need (obviously).

Over these last few months, I have been doing research as well as friends and family sharing different assistance programs that are out there and offered not only by our government but also local and/or national organizations so I wanted to compile a list of all the programs I know about and a little bit about what they offer. Some will be local to me (Houston area) while others are national and you will just need to find the location in your area.

Food Assistance

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) - nutrition assistance to eligible, low-income individuals and families.

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) - The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.

Eat On Feets - a network where families can share their breastmilk in a safe and ethical manner.

Human Milk 4 Human Babies - global milk-sharing network

Diaper Assistance

Share the Love Program - low-income families who receive assistance from programs like WIC and TANF may be able to receive a set of cloth diapers — for free.

The Diaper Foundation - Houston area assistance for disposable diapers

Cash Assistance

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) - from what I can gather on the application process is you are given cash assistance either on a monthly basis or a one time lump sum payment. I will keep you all updated if I learn more based on approval otherwise feel free to comment if you know more about the TANF program.

I am sure there are numerous other programs so if you know of any that I did not mention, please feel free to share in the comments below so if anyone else needs more assistance it can easily be found all in one place. Even though this is a really tough season, it has been amazing seeing the ways the Lord has provided for our NEEDS and the people he has used in our lives. We have seen how far he has carried us thus far and know he will continue to provide for us.

Five Month Update

It's so crazy how fast time goes when you are the parent but when we were kids time couldn't go fast enough. My big guy is definitely our happy baby, always full of smiles and giggles to anyone around. He loves talking non-stop and sometimes I wonder if he will start talking before Sophia (although her vocabulary has increased tremendously the last few weeks). He is finally an amazing napper but that's because he decided he wanted more one on one time with mommy at nights so you win some and you lose some (sleep).

Five Month Stats
Weight: ???
Height: ???
Head Circumference: ??

Firsts
big boy convertible carseat (still rear-facing)
Easter

Loves
mommy
daddy
smiling

Hates
dirty diapers
waiting to eat
anything being taken away from him

What I Want to Remember
his laughter
the long pieces of hair on his right side of his head while on the left side rubbed short
his screeching voice when he baby talks

Again please comment below of any other assistance programs you may know of that I did not mention so this can be a place to help others who are in a similar situation as this. I do also plan to share more posts in the future for those of you who have never been in the situation and want to know how you can help families in need so stay tuned (UPDATE: see 6 Ways to Help a Family in Need here). Please feel free to share this post with your friends and family and as always I created a pinnable image below.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Baby Registry | Tips & Tricks

Baby Registry | Tips & Tricks


On Monday when I shared the latest of what's happening in Little Love's nursery, I mentioned spending the cash/check gifts to purchase her vintage French provincial dresser. And I thought I would share tips and tricks on what you should do with all those monetary gifts including gift cards.


One of the greatest pieces of advice I was given during my pregnancy was to hold on to all my gift cards until after the baby comes. I gotta say this one piece of advice benefited us greatly. Mostly as new parents you really don't know how to separate what babies actually need to what's nice to have. I remember asking my friend for advice on my registry and she pointed me to Babies R Us Registry Checklist and said it was pretty accurate for the most part and in some aspects it is and in another aspects is not.

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Tips & Tricks for Making Money on eBay

Tips & Tricks for Making Money on eBay


A few months ago, I shared some ways to bring in a little extra money. One of those ways was selling items on eBay and since that is where I bring in most of our extra income I decided to expand on what type of items I sell and what my monthly profit has been looking like to give y'all a general idea.

1. Clothes - this is the biggest category of items I try to sell. They range from brand new never worn items with or without tags and used clothing that is name brand and in good condition. The reason why I only sell name brand on eBay is because buyers are looking for a good deal on brands they love and typically you can't get much for clothing items that are not of a popular brand. For example, I have sold an H&M shirt, Under Armour clothing items, Nike, Kenneth Cole, etc.

2. Shoes - the shipping cost on shoes is high because they weigh so much and most times require you to do Priority shipping. I charge the buyers for shipping but you must know the exact weight of the item to determine what you should charge for shipping. I don't have a postage scale so it's kind of a hassle but I do plan on getting one so I can get better at charging the correct amount. I have cut into my profit numerous times by undercharging for shipping. This is one of the highest profit items though so it's worth trying to sell shoes as long as they are in good or better condition.

3. Hats - I really thought this item would be the fastest selling item yet I only sold 2 hat out of the 7 I had listed for the past two months. Hoping they sell soon though as I made some adjustments to their listing!

4. Watches/Activity Trackers - these items are the quickest and highest bidding items I have sold. People go into bidding wars for these items, I guess because of the fitness trend right now. 


Extra Tips & Tricks

Before listing an item, if I do not know their worth I try to find the exact item on the stores website. If the item is new with a tag, I try to get the actual value amount. If the item is new without a tag, I try to get at least half the value or more (this is where setting the item as an auction item comes in handy). If the item is used than I typically go with eBay's suggested starting bid price and hope I get numerous bids. Sometimes I do research the eBay site for similar items that others have sold to get an idea of what buyers are willing to pay.

If an item doesn't sell I relist it, sometimes at a reduced price depending on how desperate I am to get rid of the item. For example, I have a pair a KSwiss shoes I'm trying to sell and I have the bid starting at $30; I noticed I get watchers and a lot of views but no one has placed a bid so after relisting it numerous times I now dropped the starting bid to $20. We will see what happens. Sometimes you just have to be patient for the right buyer to come along.

My Monthly Profit

So how much profit have I made these last few months? Well I have had good months and I have had really slow months. I can't make a living off eBay but it helps having extra cash here and there. 

November - $43.54
December - $80.25
January - $284.69
February - $159.45
March - $8.01
April - $56.40 and counting

I determine my profit by subtracting shipping cost, shipping materials (I buy these in a bundle as needed), eBay fees and PayPal fees from my sell price. I have created a spreadsheet in Excel to help keep me organized and calculate my profit for me.

I hope these tips and tricks helped you out and you were able to get a realistic view into how much profit a regular person makes selling stuff around the house.

What do you do to make extra cash? Do you keep account of your profit? If so, do you have an excel spreadsheet or do you do it by hand?
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