American Families Struggling Today
How much money does it take to support a family in America?
Christina is a single mother of 4 independently supporting her children on $20,000 a year.
Travis (age 15) has lived in a family who has always struggled with money issues.
Haley (age 17) has also lived in a family struggling with money.
What is it like being the main supporter of a family?
Christina Rednour is currently a manager at Walmart earning $12.15 an hour for about 40 hours a week. When she first started working there six years ago, she earned $8.25 an hour (which is Illinois current minimum wage). "After all deductions, such as taxes,insurance, 401k, etc." she states, "I bring home about $600 every two weeks." She then has to pay for monthly expenses. According to her, the "monthly bills including rent and utilities equal about $1,000. Then you include gas and insurance for the car which is about $200-$300 a month." This means that without including food and special occasions (such as holidays) adding extra expenses she is barely breaking even.
Cristina emotionally adds how thankful she is for qualifying for government aid because without it she wouldn't be able to afford the food on our table. With four kids she is often bombarded with fundraisers, school trips, and other costly events and has to chose to either pay the bills or pay for the kids' activities.
When asked how much money would be needed to better support her family she said that if she made $5 to $10 more than she makes now it would give her enough money "to get off of all public assistance and pay all of the bills on time." She says that she "still wouldn't have a lot of extra money at the end of the month but things would be a lot less stressful."
What is it like living in a family constantly struggling with money?
Growing up in a household with money issues is harder than many make it out to be. When I was younger I didn't recognize the troubles my parents went through. I remember going to different stores and seeings that I liked but feeling ashamed to ask for it. I knew either my mom would feel bad for saying no or she would allow me to get it but wouldn't be able to afford other things that are more important.
As I got older I stopped asking for things and tried to provide for my self. I would save birthday money so that it would last for any school activities and any Christmas money is spent on presents for next year. I learned to depend on myself at a young age which has, in many ways, helped me be able to manage money better. Although I sometimes spend it on useless things I look out for the best deals and plan my spending ahead of time.
The biggest impact of having money troubles for me has been in school. I see the struggles of my parents and I don't want to have to go through that. It seems like one of my biggest fears is being in debt for my whole life. In my head it seems like the most logical way to get out of that situation is to go to college. The problem with that is college is supper expensive! And because I don't have any outstanding talents I have had to push myself to get good grades.
“It’s been hard to see my parents struggle with money because sometimes I can’t help but feel blamed for, but [the struggles have] made me grateful and made me realize the true value of money.” Travis then continues by saying that he “somewhat blame[s] [his] mom because of a lot of actions she took that lead to the vase money struggles.” Although Travis didn't specify on what actions led to the increase of money issues he was passionate about the fact that he was not going to end up like his parents.