How can we make our low-income year a little easier?
October 27, 2009 4:45 PM Subscribe
My girlfriend and I are making very little money this year. What are some services/discounts/aid we can qualify for? This is in Berkeley, CA, USA, and we live together.
The gal & I make less than $35K combined this year (pre-tax) - she is a student getting a teaching credential and works part-time as a teaching assistant (no benefits), and already has large debts from college and so is trying to take out only enough loans to pay for tuition. I have a part-time job that luckily provides full medical benefits for me, but doesn't pay a ton. The Bay Area is an expensive place and it's proven challenging to make it work.
We are lucky enough to have low rent, and neither of us needs to drive to work very often so we don't spend much on gas. We can definitely survive the year as is, but are wondering what type of financial help there is out there - so far, we have qualified for a reduced gas & electric bill (20% discount for low income). We've thought about joining the YMCA, which offers very good financial aid, but that may end up being frivolous even with the discount. I also have a free Costco card through work, which helps.
Regular expenses include cell phone, internet, car insurance, basic health care (for her), BART (the subway), food... the usual, really.
Thanks for any suggestions you might have! Oh, and this is hopefully temporary - next (academic) year she should get a full-time job, and I will hopefully start supplementing my hours with more income fairly soon.