Saturday, December 12, 2009

Get Your Poor Hats On! It's Poverty Time!!

It's time to start up Poverty Project 2010. Want to join us?

In January 2009 our family of six decided to live for one month on income that was below the poverty line. The idea was that with a sustainable budget, we could not only live under the poverty line, but live comfortably. Our budget included all the things that accompany our current lifestyle, for example, a mortgage, high-speed internet, whole foods, clothing, recreation, savings and car maintenance and repairs. To see the full Poverty Project 2009 budget click here.

Having a sustainable budget was an important factor of our poverty budget. Our sustainable budget accounted for all the large purchases that would be made throughout the year, but needed to be saved up for throughout the months. Anyone who lives on a tight budget knows that one unplanned purchase, if you're not prepared, can blow the budget.

We spread our risk by estimating the cost for things like car repairs and household repairs, and divided that by 12. Each month, money is saved--not spent--in anticipation for that unplanned purchase. Now, all unplanned purchases are actually planned purchases.

Some people love a good crisis. Living on a sustainable budget means that you have no crisis. The car breaks down? You pull from your savings. That's boring.

Please join us this year as we begin the Poverty Project 2010. You'll need to do four things:

1. Find out the poverty line for your family size and divide by 12 to find out your monthly budget. Go to Federal Poverty Guidelines
2. Create a budget based on your current expenses. My husband and I sat down and really struggled with creating a sustainable budget that we could live with. We shuffled money around on paper until we felt like it was going to serve our family well. Then we stuck to it. It wasn't just a piece of paper, it was a financial map that we referred to often throughout the weeks.
3. Keep in touch. We'd love to read your comments, so please post as we take another journey through voluntary poverty. American style.
4. Look for opportunities to be generous and grateful. As you take this month-long poverty pledge, focus on how much you have rather than on what you don't have. You'll find so many things that you are grateful for. I know that poverty in America is nothing compared to poverty in other countries. Please let your hearts be open as you find ways to truly assist the poor and needy. To donate now click here:

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