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The Got No Money Guide To Surviving The Insanity of Financial Loss – (For families and individuals)

Written by ©Cricket Diane C Phillips (and Mom) – 2008

Okay – now you’ve found yourself in a financial mess, what do you do? After awhile, when a new job or other financial opportunity hasn’t been located, there are definite, tangible events that will take place.

First, any of the moneys that have been set aside or were available to handle things until new income sources are found – will sooner or later get skimpy.

Second, time will pass. It may be days, weeks, months and maybe longer – but time will pass.

Third, and this is serious – needs will continue, whatever they are. The solutions that were generated to satisfy these needs were likely based on money. That is good until there gets to be less money than it takes to have those needs met.

So – now that you’re here, there are some steps you can take:

1. Make a list of personal assets –

Do not skip this step. You will need it as you work through the other steps. People have all kinds of abilities. Some are used in their jobs and some are not. It is very important to know what they are at the earliest possible stage of this process.

This list of personal assets is an ongoing list – as you think of other items, add them. Start with the obvious like that you show up when you are expected, that you care about the situation you are living in, that you have held jobs and done well in them. Make the list over 50 items, at least.

Keep this list in your sock drawer, on top or on the bathroom mirror or taped on the inside of the kitchen cabinet where you will see it fairly regularly. It will save your sanity in so many ways that you will be surprised.

If you have two or more individuals of money-making age in your household, have everyone make their lists – place the list where the individuals that belong to them can see them – whether privately or not.

2. Take stock of available assets –

* Look around for stuff that can be sold. It can be collected physically into one specific space, like the garage or a spare room. Or, a list can be made as you look around and locate things.

If you have bought something recently, you will probably be able to take it back and get your money back.

If you have things that can be sold, you might want to advertise it in the Thrifty Nickel or on Ebay or Craigslist. If you have collectibles, you can go to the library and look up the magazines that are about collectors and collections. There is usually a list of ads in the back of the book for people who are looking for items for their collections. Hopefully someone will be looking for something that you have and you will be able to sell it to them.

* Consider stuff that could be redeemed, such as life insurance policies, stocks, extras, jewelry, expensive cars to trade in, boats, vacation properties.

Cars and boats need to be advertised or put in a popular place with a sign on them, and sold by owner. That way you save any commissions that may be charged by a company.

If you sell your vehicle with a sign, you save the money for the ad in the newspaper. When you sell it, make sure to cancel your insurance and make sure the ownership transfer is signed and filed.

* List stuff considered collectibles, gold, silver, stamps, other valuables, antiques, old coins, art deco furniture and objects, character items, dolls.

Try to find a collector or a private party, otherwise if you sell through or to a dealer you lose at least 30-60%. Dealers pay less than others for coins, antiques and everything.

There are consignment shops where some items can be placed. For more valuable collectibles and specialty collectibles, there are conventions and trading shows where you can network for interested parties or trade / sell at the show.

The best prices may be outside the show – either afterwards, by arrangement or letting interested buyers know of where it will be on auction and when. Give out your email address to those who
show an interest in items.

3. Find who wants to buy what and where are they?

* Figure out how to let them know what you have for the most advantageous return to you –

Is the best way to auction it online or at an auction house somewhere?

Antiques usually go lower at an auction. So if you go the auction route, you might want to set a minimum price. See if there is a charge for this, Find out if they have a premium price that buyers have to pay. If there is an extra price that the buyer has to pay, there may not be as many
bids as if there wasn’t. Find out all the charges that you have to pay before you auction something off. If you can get it in writing.

Most physical auction houses are listed online for your area with their address, phone number and contact person. Many are listed in the phone book and other buyers at the auction will sometimes tell you about other places where auctions are taking place.

* Is it better to find individual collectors through “want to buy” ads, online – in newspapers – on auction sites –

It could be that collectors have websites filled with information for their members where it could be offered, also. Many of these online sites have places to list items for sale or trade among its members. Often there is no cost to become a member.

4. Discover what other resources are nearby, in the community and online –

Check physical bulletin boards at the library, grocery stores, car repair places, community centers, colleges, sba (small business administration), churches and social services offices.

* Ask around about what kinds of things might be available to help with specific needs

If you can find bulletin boards, use them to advertise what you have to sell, or if you need a job, what you are looking for, and to showcase you business services. The courts have lots of jobs that are not advertised, such as, typing tapes of court testimony. Go to city hall and ask where jobs bulletins are posted – same for county and state offices.

Hospitals have people typing up charts and putting patient info on the computer. In the hospital administration offices, there is usually a bulletin of job postings.

Malls have job bulletins posted in the hall by their main offices and their development / management companies have jobs, too. There are also subcontractors that serve the mall’s needs which are often hiring without placing these jobs in the newspaper.

5. Check government and social services access – find out what and where it is available –

Ask at churches for information about what is available through them and that they know about in the community. Ask at union halls for information and check their bulletin boards, also. Some listings to sell items or for needs can be listed in union newsletters and on their members’ websites.

Go to the library or on a computer and look up government grants, maybe there are some that you could pursue. There are books in the reference section of the library that list all the grants available through government, public and private sources.

6. What ideas are sitting on the shelf that could be used to create a business –

* What needs are obvious in the local community that a business could serve and make a profit?

Find out what the local government wants for a business license and go make money serving the needs in your community as a business.

7. Learn to make healthy inexpensive meals for your family-

* Things like cans of tuna or salmon can be put with noodles or made into a casserole and
add a veg. maybe a can of peas. or a salad. and you have a meal.

* You can’t live on ramens and peanut butter to stay healthy and have good judgement.

It is absolutely necessary to have protein, fruit and calcium each day for every member of the family. It is more important than paying the credit card bill, more important than getting some fast food because you want it and more important than running across town twice when once can do both things at the same time.

Oatmeal, the kind that you cook could provide a healthy inexpensive breakfast, add banana and milk and it also provides calcium and potassium.

Eggs and toast make an inexpensive meal. There are usually discount bread stores that you can get bread less expensive than at the grocery store. If you can get a couple of loaves of bread and store them in the freezer, the bread should last longer.

There are grocery stores such as Save A Lot, that have canned vegetables and fruits that are very inexpensive and they are good. Most do not include extra salt or sugar in them.

You can take cans of vegs, and tomato juice, potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, cans of mixed vegs and make a great veg soup, If you want veg/beef soup, just add a can or two of roast beef, such as Armour roast beef in the fat short cans, chop the meat sideways to keep it from being stringy. Cook until the potatoes are done. It is good reheated the next day and for however long it lasts. You can serve crackers or cornbread with the soup. or small cornbread johnny cakes, put about a cup or two of cornmeal mix in a bowl, add enough milk to moisten it and drop by spoonfuls in hot oil or butter and fry. Turn when one side is done. These cook quickly

8. Make a brief list of things you really need right now –

For things that you need there is Free Cycle across the country. In Cobb county, you join freecycle Cobb. You have to join online and then donate something, then you can ask for things that you need.

Also available – you can list items for trade or barter on craigslist or place listing for items you need and what you will trade or that you are looking to buy it reasonably.

* Find out what assets that you have and what they are worth. It might not be advisable to redeem them because you lose money and won’t have them later if you need it. However, what you need to do now – you will do and you are capable of working with your assets in the best way possible.

Between couples whose finances are intertwined – all these matters need to be considered jointly and openly with one another throughout the process.

9. As a last resort –

If you can get SSI, there is less government involvement in your life than having to go through a case worker at social services. Food stamps might also be available for your situation, usually through family and children services even if you are a single person.

If you are raising grandchildren you should be able to get kinship care funds.

If you get ssi, the children may also qualify for it.

SSI applications are made through the Social Security Administration office. There is an appeals process that is commonly necessary before receiving it, but not always. Application processes take several months.

There are food banks in your community. Expect to take id and proof of your income or lack thereof, possibly utility bills and rent receipts.

For necessary medicines, some of the pharmaceutical companies are helping with that. Check with your doctor, pharmacist, church, social worker or online by name of manufacturer, name of drug. There is a program for low-cost, sliding scale and possibly free medications for those in need that is being run by the pharmaceutical companies.

10. Some important notes about where you are now –

* BUYING ON SALE DOES NOT GIVE YOU THE MONEY YOU SAVED!

– Buying on sale does not give you the money you saved unless the item is critical to your survival and at a price and quantity you can use right now.

* Beans are not a sufficient protein source – when you think of protein for each day – this means, meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beef, pork, tuna, salmon, etc. They are expensive and without them, you and your family won’t survive the stresses ahead of you.

* When you get down – and it seems hopeless – make a list of 25 things you are grateful for – start the list with this one – write it down:

1. “I am glad we have toilet paper.”

– If you don’t have that, then you’re really going to have to think of something to start your list. And, make the list anyway. Then, get on with it because a new world of discovery awaits you and your family as you make this journey. It is a process and each part holds new things to learn, to explore and new possibilities and opportunities. You have the good sense you need – use it.