When Income Is Inadequate

When Income Is Inadequate


By Elton Camp


If you’re underemployed or retired

Unlikely with higher pay to be hired

Trying to borrow is not the right way

You won’t repay, despite what you say


If, on a relative, you put the bite,

It’ll cause resentment and a fight

“I’m not a bum,” is what you claim

But the end result will be the same


Rather, it’s spending you must change

That’s unpleasant, but easy to arrange

Drastic changes you have to face

It can be done in almost every case


1.  Reduce housing costs.  Move to a housing project or seek out very low-cost (read as shabby) rentals which are found in every city.  Clean it up and keep it that way. 

2.  Apply for food stamps.  Forget false pride and accept what’s available.

3.  Drop to an older and cheaper car that also gets reasonable gas mileage.  Or use a bicycle or walk.  Do without a car entirely if feasible.  Others get by with that. 

4.  Never see the inside of a café unless you are waiting/busing tables. 

5.  Discontinue all but essential insurance (medical, car liability). 

6.  Forget about alcohol, tobacco or desserts.  This brings health benefits as well as financial improvement. 

7.  Discontinue cable and Internet access.  Watch what’s free over the air and use free wifi locations if you already have a computer.   Never go to as movie.  Entertainment is a luxury, not a necessity.

8.  Give no gifts, regardless of the occasion or worthiness of the cause.

9.  Drink tap water only.  Soft drinks are taboo as is bottled water (foolish for anyone).

10. Work some job part-time.  Just a few hundred a month will make all the difference if you have other, but insufficient, income.  Mow yards, wash windows, wash cars, sit with the sick or other types of jobs that others typically won’t do. 


(This is written to a brother-in-law, now single and living alone on a small Social Security check.  He has a lifelong history of financial irresponsibility, including numerous “get-rich-quick” schemes that never work out, refusing to work for dependable salary, borrowing from relatives and not paying back, and other extremely unwise financial choices.  It contains principles that may or may not apply to others who don’t have enough income to live like they may want to.  No write can cover every case, so take it for what it’s worth.)


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Some practical suggestions for difficult economic times.
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