Drama brought us together, not like a fight or anything, but a class in high school. That was where I met Reanna Bord. She was a year older and because of that got to start her adult life a little earlier than me. Today she’s not only a claims resolution specialist, but a mother and someone who knows all too well what it’s like to live with less than. She didn’t grow up lavishly and today struggles financially. Single people with money woes, just think how hard life would be with kids in the mix. While Reanna has learned how to stretch the hell out of a dollar, she still has her worries, but she puts them aside and her kids first because when you’re a parent – that’s what you have to do.
Kendra: What are your thoughts on people who say they’re broke but it’s in a “bought a new iPhone” way and not in a “I had to look in the couch to find money for food” sort of way?
Reanna: I try and remind myself that they’re not trying to be offensive. To me it’s like a person who is skinnier than me saying they’re fat. They don’t mean to call me fat while saying it…They’re speaking of their own reality. When someone who clearly isn’t “broke” says they’re broke it means they are low enough on money that it’s causing them stress. Just because my reason for stressing is…For lack of better words, worse… Doesn’t mean their feelings are any less valid. Regardless it still causes a twinge of pain and maybe even jealousy.
Kendra: Do you ever get jealous of seeing other people constantly posting vacation photos and their new possessions?
Reanna: I don’t get jealous, but I do dream of being able to do the same!
Reanna: Right now! Because I found someone to watch my kids for dirt cheap I’m able to go back to work again. But I’ve now been cut off from food stamps and any other assistance. If I sit down and calculate What I lost in assistance next to What I’m making, I’m actually losing about $200-300 a month. And I make well above minimum wage now.
Kendra: What do you want to say to those who believe broke people are just lazy, instead of people who just can’t find work?
Reanna: I think people have been conditioned to think that way. I see all these stories on the media about “welfare queens” but the vast majority of them are stories from other countries that offer way more assistance, way easier. Only about 9% of welfare benefits are believed to be for able-bodied recipients. Meaning over 90% of beneficiaries are children, homeless, or disabled.
Kendra: Do you feel your kids are going to grow up appreciating the little things more?
Reanna: I don’t know. I sure hope so…Though I’m broke and go without basic necessities like deodorant or functional shoes, the only thing my children have to endure is cheap food over and over. This month especially as it’s our first without benefits. However, even while on benefits it’s meant to be supplemental so with my budget being so tight the only money that goes to food is food stamps. SNAP wasn’t created to be the only source of money going towards food in a house, it was created to supplement what the government has decided is enough to feed each person per day. So they take my income, and the cost of food and what they have decided should be spent on food and give me what I’m lacking in their opinion. They don’t take my bills dollar for dollar in to account… They say each bill should be around this much and only these specific bills count. So for example, if I make $1000 they say $400 of that should be rent, $100 electric, $50 water and so on. Then they say you should have $100 left for food and we think you need $200 to feed your family so my benefits would be $100. My electric bill likely is nowhere near what they give credit for. So I don’t have that $100 they think I should. Now all of my groceries need to be paid by welfare and making that stretch is nearly impossible.
Reanna: I would say when I’m able to finagle $3,200 in bills when I only have $2,400 and nothing gets shut off.
Kendra: A more easier one, what’s the biggest low of being low on cash?
Reanna: Going without or not being able to give my kids what I think they deserve. I was on welfare all last year and I’ve lost over 40lbs. Not because I tried to, but because in order to make sure my children had enough I had to go without.