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    Posted December 11, 2013 by
    Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
    Related to: Change the List: income inequality
    Columnist John Sutter is trying to bring hope to places that need it most -- with your help. You voted on the social justice issues he'll cover this year.
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    My income makes me feel …

    My Income Makes Me Feel Stressed

    An appreciation for what I have and a positive outlook on life can get me through the day, but when it comes time to pay my bills, buy groceries, give my son the childhood he deserves, there is only so much personal brainwashing I can do. Money is the necessary evil and when the day ends if you don’t have enough of it to manage the essentials it can cause a lot stress personally and on your overall family dynamic and happiness.

    I am currently working in a café and love the local atmosphere of my town, and the people who live there. I do however make just over the federal minimum wage which makes it difficult for our family to pay all our bills. My fiancé works as a teacher in a public school and absolutely loves her job and her school, even though they do have the lowest pay scale in our area. Combined we are living last paycheck to last paycheck.

    We don’t have cable TV, we shop as thrifty as we can for our food and our son’s clothing (since we never buy anything for ourselves), and try to reuse and recycle whatever we can to save money. I have always had the mindset that we don’t need much to be happy. I do believe the saying that money can’t bring you happiness but it can sure bring you a lot of stress.

    The debate on the minimum wage increase, or social safety nets such as welfare and food stamps, has become so convoluted with party bias and corporate influences that one can’t just read an article or watch the news anymore. Depending on which channel you watch or what newspaper or website you visit you will hear “financial experts” telling you that raising the minimum wage will destroy this country or it will save it. Programs like welfare and food stamps are breading moochers and takers who will never work hard to support themselves or are essential for a true and just democratic society.

    You can read or watch whatever experts you want to hear exactly what you want but when it comes down to it the people who experience and live it on a daily basis are who we should be learning from. I worked in an office, experienced corporate America and hated it. I am not an overly competitive person but I am a kind, honest, and hardworking person. Just because I don’t want to work in an office, or be sucked up the corporate ladder to make more money doesn’t mean I don’t deserve a stable financial lifestyle.

    I don’t have the answer, and you might not agree with my lifestyle or the choices I have made with my life. I keep hearing this bootstrap phrase while watching news clips or reading articles. Just because someone is working at a restaurant or department store doesn’t mean they need saving. They may love their job and would probably love it even more if they were paid a wage that they could live on. Nobody is expecting to become a millionaire working a low paying job, but a full time hardworking employee should make enough to pay their bills.
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