The Holiday Season Continues & Blog Input & Asking for Help
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Have to put this in the "holiday" category - as the whole atmosphere seems to be full of it this year...
But what I wanted to comment on was some of my reading of the frugal blogs I read regularly.
One topic was about worrying and how not to - I agree that worrying yourself sick does NOT help. It seems to contribute to brain fag and paralysis and an inability to cope - so even in the worse case scenarios, don't go there - DO something! The worst thing you can fall into is a stagnant despair....CALL a hotline or your government reps or a charity if all else fails! But DO something. In my experience there ARE resources out there, but they aren't optimally coordinated and require a certain amount of digging on your part. So go for it and by all means get whatever you are entitled to get! (in L.A. you can dial 211 for referrals.)
And don't be piggy, if you do get benefits - not only is it the better way to go, but you will probably also receive better care and more attention from the people giving relief, too - as you will be the well-manned exception and it will mark you out as not a scam artist, but someone who deserves a helping hand.
I remember when I got relief after the Northridge earthquake from the Salvation Army. I certainly could use food donations, so I took that - but I refused any clothing, as I had quite enough and someone else needed it more than I did. This so impressed the people at the center that eve though technically I was supposed to be referred to another center, they bent the rules and gave me my bags of food anyway!
Sheer "poor" greed is very unbecoming and smells of scam and I don't advise it as a viable route...Just be frank and factual about your predicament and try first to go to organizations which you are somehow affiliated with - your church - your union or work group - an advocacy group for your health problem,a neighborhood health clinic and so on...Here you can often say that you were there for others in the past and this is just your time to receive. (And then remember to try to go back to supporting them when you get back on your feet.)
I find thinking about these resources tremendously reassuring myself - because I know that they can be there for me when I am in need....I did have a hard time a few years back before I was married, and I was in the position to ask for a bit of support - and was very grateful when it was forthcoming! And I even got food stamps as a grad student years ago...
Some of this comes up because I read about the discomfort of some regular moms at the sort of demands which had ended up on the charity "giving tree" in their small town bank! Tags for 4-year-olds had requests for iPods and high ticket items, which the moms weren't even giving their own kids this year! This is unbecoming entitlement behavior - and frankly, just creates the opposite effect of creating charity!
We need realism, boys and girls - It would have been more creative for a group of tags for a - say, iPod or game console fund for a family of kids! That would fly, perhaps! And remember that there are perfectly good used bikes. etc. - which, of course, would be less expensive! and have the virtue of being less attractive to thieves!
I think in this society, there is so much excess, even now, that you can create a holiday for yourself on a budget - if only with freebies you snag by sitting at a library computer! Or things you make or cook up yourself...Just saw another medical miracle program based this time in Indonesia, and you see how LITTLE excess there is there - so we have to count our relative blessings!