Home > July Midmonth Update and Applying for Utility Assistance

July Midmonth Update and Applying for Utility Assistance

July 16th, 2023 at 03:35 pm

My spending so far this month is at $1019.74 with almost all bills paid for the month. My grocery spending is at $52.84 so right on budget so far. 

I've been doing a lot of financial reviewing and numbers crunching and reviewing of expenses and I've pretty much decided to start taking Social Security at age 65. I will also be switching to Medicare then as well. The estimated monthly amount I will receive will be more then enough to comfortably live on, and I will still have some money left in my retirement account. I had considered just taking Social Security now, and while things would be much easier for me on a monthly basis now, it would make things harder in the long run, so I decided to wait another 2.3 years (I'll turn 63 in October).

That means that financially, things will be extremely tight for me until then. There isn't much left to cut in my expenses, I already live very lean. 

I get these updates from my utility company with what my next monthly estimated bill will be and it was estimated to be over a third higher then last month (it actually is estimated to almost double). And, they will be increasing the rates (again) in October. I already do everything I can to keep my usage down, but it has been so hot here for weeks that my A/C has been running more. It's just going to keep going up.

I made the difficult decision to apply for utility assistance through my county. This was not an easy decision and I really struggled with feeling ashamed and embarrassed. I've always been self sufficient, worked very hard, and was proud that I could always "pay my way". But now, I just need some help. Going back to work is off the table due to health reasons, I just can't do it and my doctor's have advised against it.

I really debated about wether I should blog about this. But in the end I decided that if there are any other low income people out there who are reading this, and you you are struggling and need some help for a while, please don't beat yourself up like I did about applying for assistance. 

My application is currently being processed, and I spoke with a very nice representative last week who needed some clarification on my income. She was very nice and helpful. I should find out if I am approved or denied soon.

I made some financial mistakes when I was younger, and had to start over when I was divorced in my 40's. My ex wiped out our bank accounts and really left me with a big financial mess. But, I feel like I did a few things right too. I climbed out of debt, paid off my house and car, and saved up an emergency fund. My retirement accounts aren't huge, but at least I was able to save something. My mom lived with me for 5 years and it was my joy to take care of her. I've done the best I could. 

On a happier note, my best friend and I went to a free neighborhood concert over the weekend. It was outdoors so a bit hot, but we took our lawn chairs, packed some snacks and water, and had a wonderful time. And it was all free! 


4 Responses to “July Midmonth Update and Applying for Utility Assistance”

  1. Lots of ideas Says:

    Never be ashamed of taking assistance.

    Our economy is such that many people’s work is undervalued and the true value ends up being paid to people who often have easier jobs that don’t help people nearly as much. Assistance programs are a way society tries to even out that inequity.

    Women are especially vulnerable because we often do the ‘caregiving’ work that is incredibly undervalued - much of it unpaid as women leave jobs to care for children and parents. They give up career growth, retirement savings, social security credits.

    You mentioned that you were once married. I’m asking this because many people don’t know that they can sometimes collect higher benefits based on a spouse/ex spouse earnings. I think you had to be married for 10 years for this. It doesn’t impact their benefits at all.

    Anyway, good luck as you move forward!

  2. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    Good luck and I hope you get the assistance. You know if you like dogs or cats, I feel like pet sitting would be a fabulous way to make some money. I would love to find someone to watch my dog. A retiree who could not leave him often would be fabulous.

  3. LifeBalance Says:

    If you qualify, there is nothing wrong with that at all. You're following the rules.

    As usual, I'm impressed with LoI's ideas. She has the right screen name!

  4. CB in the City Says:

    Our stories are very similar. I was divorced in my thirties and my ex left me in a mess from which I never truly recovered. I worked in nonprofits and never made an impressive salary (though I do believe I contributed to society!) I decided to take the spousal benefit of Social Security after retiring at age 66. When I turned 70, I switched to my own benefit, getting the highest payout possible. The years before then were very lean, but it has made me more comfortable in these later years. Still, my income is very low compared to others, and I have applied for every benefit I am entitled to. I don't always get them! I seem to be right on the cusp. But I figure it's always worth a try, and every little bit helps.

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