Thank you so much for this post

We just watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. I had a rough 2 years that really knocked me for a loop. It had gotten so bad to shop I had to use the handicap cart and I now have a handicap placard. After they found the kidney stone embedded and blocking my kidney and my kidney very enlarged and infected they did 2 different surgeries just on my kidney. Never mind the dental that had to surgically remove 4 back teeth and rebuild the bone since it turns out I was having on and off dental infections but for the 2 years I was on and off so many antibiotics so I never really felt the infections but the bone was pitted with remnants of infections. Any way it is time to get my life back

My husband and I are starting the Juicing reboot in the morning. Went to the farmers market today to get organic produce. Yikes is all I can say. We live on a very tight budget of $300 a month for grocery including Food, Paper, HBA and pet. The $300 does not include the #10 cans we get some months for long term. There is 6 of us, 4 dogs, 4 cats and a gold fish living in Southern Cali on a small city lot so this diet could get expensive fast. We have already ripped out our front yard and as we had money been putting stuff in. We keep loosing some from the pesky pocket gophers. We have been getting stuff off freecycle to set up our back yard with a garden area. We have to fence it off since we have cats and dogs and today we are picking up a gate from freecycle. If it was not for freecycle we would not be able to do as much as we are trying to do.

I guess even though Southern Cali is expensive to live at least we have growing weather all year long. We have a Mayer lemon tree with is usually full each year. We should have a good amount or persimmons from our tree we planted about 7 years ago. Our pomegranate tree we planted 2 years ago gave us our first and only pom so far. Hope we get more next year. Our neighbors behind us has a cherimoya tree that is full and hanging over our fence and the guy next doors avocado tree is full and a good part of it is over our fence. He is so funny when there are so many avocados and he does not think we are taking enough he will leave some on our door. So I guess there are some trade offs.

I know some are going to say how can you make it on $300 but we use lots of coupons, look for real deals, cut our meat eating back, use cloth diapers, make our own laundry detergent and more. The only help we get is WIC which amounts to 3 gallons and 1 qt milk, 2 whole grains (bread, rice, oatmeal or tortillas), 2 bottles juice, 2 boxes cereal, 1 lb cheese, 1 dz eggs, 1 jar peanut butter and $6 produce a month.

Also since there are fruit trees everywhere there is so much wasted food here that a site was started called fallen fruit. It maps out areas where fruit is hanging over public space and falling and rotting. This does help too. From time to time they even have fruit tree giveaways. We have an orange tree in the front that we hope will start giving oranges in the next few years we got form them for free.

Good to know, thanks!

It’s been hard to think about college while she’s struggling so hard to stay in high school, but we just found out she is definitely a junior (wasn’t clear for a while) and it’s looking more likely that she’ll graduate with her class, so it’s time to think about it more. I’ve got a 529 fund that, well, it would be enough in some states but won’t cover so much here.

BTW I think *exhaustion* is a big problem for single moms. I’m a single mom with a somewhat special-needs kid and a demanding full-time job and it’s a real struggle to get through everything I need to do (including studying to stay current in my career. If I had to add on top of that, the time it would take to class, plus spending enough time sitting someone else’s kids for *them* to get to class, well, I find it hard to imagine. And I have a hell of a lot of respect for the people who manage to do it.

Wow

In Massachusetts UMass/Boston costs $6k/semester and UMass/Amherst costs $12k /semester (although that second number includes room&board)
So four years of UMass/Amherst, in-state tuition, would be well over $100k . I have no idea how much aid we’d be eligible for but aid seems to translate to “grant+loan” and I don’t know if you can take one without the other.

My daughter has some learning difficulties – she is very smart but struggling hugely in school – so it’s likely that she’ll be working and going to college one course at a time. Also because of her learning difficulties, her grades are very poor, so she’s not likely to get any scholarships. But her grades are improving, and it’s clear that her path is going to require a college education. (again, partially because of the learning difficulties, her physical coordination and spatial senses are very poor – this child is not going to be a tradesperson, she’s going to have to make her living with words in some fashion.

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