Summary: Animal Rescue Family drowning in money troubles starting with $62 left in the bank and zero available credit, zero available 401-K, zero savings, and no source of income. Unemployment ran out three weeks ago and tomorrow I need to buy dog food and human food with the remaining $62. For some reason, the State of Florida does not give food stamps to anyone who owns a home, despite the fact that even people who own homes also need to eat. Today I got a disconnection notice for utilities for $125 from Sarasota County and on September 30th, we lose health insurance coverage if I don’t pay my COBRA bill of $1,210. Two days ago, the shower broke and Mike is trying to figure out the cheapest way to fix it. We are running low on food and cleaning supplies and I don’t know what else to do; this is the first time in 20 years of us being together, I have not been able to support our household. ANY HELP of any amount is truly appreciated!
About us and our household: Mike and I have rescued 19 fur babies (16 dogs and 3 cats). Each one has been rescued from one place or another – 4 of the 10 dogs and 2 of the 3 cats we moved across country from California to Florida. The newer ones have found us since we moved to Florida 5 years ago. We have always opened our home to animals in need and tend to rescue animals that won’t get adopted as we don’t want them being put down (since moving to Florida, we have taken on three dogs in more of a hospice role – one lived only 3 weeks, another 2 months and the last one went thru Chemo for 6 months and 2 months later was put down). We have taken dogs in for chemotherapy and whatever treatments/operations they have needed. Markey has Congestive Heart Failure and Oliver has a grade 6 Heart Murmur. We currently manage three difficult dogs that have been surrendered multiple times (Rama, Marley and Maggie). Mike rescued our new kitten Quincy when we saw a car ahead of us throwing kittens out the window while going 55 mph on the freeway; he was small enough to fit in the palm of Mike’s hand. In his lifetime, I believe Mike has rescued and raised over 50 dogs – rehabilitating several aggressive dogs and we manage a few difficult dogs that have been surrendered multiple times. When I met Mike 20 years ago he had 15 large dogs and 5 cats. We moved our entire family from California to Florida so we could be near my Mom living in Assisted Living, who is 93 this year and has survived several strokes and also suffers from dementia/Alzheimer’s and needed family nearby – so we moved.
I never imagined I would go online to ask for help to feed my family and pay our bills, however, here I am. Yesterday I was reading in Psychology Today that the most important thing to do for self-care is to ask for help when you need it, I almost fell out of my chair. I am notorious for being too proud to ask for help in all areas of life, however, I am in an extremely desperate financial situation with approximately $60 left to my name (no more savings, no room on my credit card, no more 401-K, no more HSA and no job prospects despite interviews); I don’t think companies like to hire 61-year-olds.
Background on how we ended up in financial hardship:
I lost my job in April of this year with no severance pay. I got 3 months of unemployment insurance from the state of Florida, however, the $3,300 annual allotment of unemployment ($275/week) ran out this month). I have drained all my retirement savings accounts. Today I have less than $62 left to my name (with no more savings, no more 401-K, no more HS A – no more assets other than my house and my car). I do have equity in my house that I would love to tap into, however, with no paycheck and poor credit score, no one will extend me a line of credit on the house. Earlier this week I went to buy food to feed everyone, there are 21 mouths: 2 humans, 3 cats (Tom, Jonathan, and Quincy) and 16 dogs (Girls: Ruby, Bella, Zoey, Maggie, Zena, Maya and Luna. Boys: Markey, Sam, Oliver, Rama, Bodhi, Marley, Teagan, Gunther, and Zolo).
The state of Florida won’t give us food stamps because we own a house and now we have no money for food.
I am starting to sell valuables and jewelry on Ebay and Amazon (I want to get an appraisal on my engagement ring). I don’t know how I am going to feed us and keep the electric on next month. They also could repossess my only vehicle. In October, my 3rd quarterly HOA dues will come and I haven’t paid since January – I am hoping they will not try to put a lien on the house. Today I got a disconnection notice from the County (water, sewer, trash). I haven’t paid my mortgage in 3 months. I need to feed my family and keep the utilities going and keep our car and still have internet and electricity so I can find a new job.
How can you help?
Below is a list of what we need immediate financial help with. Although food and utilities are of the utmost importance, I can’t afford to lose my health insurance as I had 1st kidney stone surgery in June and 2nd follow-up surgery in July, a ureteral stent lodged for 2 weeks in between the surgeries. The surgeon said my kidney was oozing blood and puss and after he zapped most of the stones in that first surgery, he wanted me and my Kidney to stabilize before he went back in to get the really big stone. I owe both hospitals a lot of money, my entire deductible and out-of-pocket maximum of $7,500. Although I would like to pay my hospital bills, it is far more important we maintain health insurance in the event of any new medical emergency; we’ve already met the annual out-of-pocket maximum so Blue Cross/Blue Shield will pay 100% of any new medical expenses. I don’t want us to lose access to that medical coverage.
It is critical I pay $1,210 by the end of September to maintain health insurance for emergencies. We also need money for human & pet food (immediate need of $200 – see first two bullets) and basic bills as follows:
- Regular food & cleaning supplies ($125/week or 500/month) – we can buy most at Walmart,
- Dog & Cat food & supplies ($280/month) – we buy this from the Tractor Supply Store,
- Health insurance COBRA bill ($1210/month) due in 7 days,
- Sarasota County Utilities ($125 disconnection notice),
- Car insurance is ($109/month) due in 10 days,
- Electric bill (approx. $300-325/month) – Florida Power & Light due Oct 7th,
- Car payment ($429.71/month) loan with credit union due on 22nd with 10 days grace,
- Internet ($80/month–so I can keep looking for and land a job) due Oct 6th.
- HOA dues are $125/quarter so I need $375 to get current so they don’t put a lien on our house. Next quarter is due on October 1st, when we will be 3 quarters late – I need to pay them at least $125 so they don’t take action.
- We also need about $70 worth of plumbing supplies & piping so Mike can fix the shower faucet that broke and finish installing the Kitchen sink.
When I look at this list it comes out to just over $3,500 although I have not listed everything we need, these are just the critical items. I will sleep better if I know I have a way to feed everyone for the next 30 days.
We also have a senior Chihuahua, Ruby who is between 17 and 19 years old, who will need to be euthanized at some point in the next 30 days (she can’t hear, can’t see, has no teeth and lately has been struggling getting around and getting stuck places crying) that will probably run us another $165 in vet and cremation bills. We have two other seniors who should be getting senior panels soon, I don’t have that amount, however, I think those run about $265 each. I also need to get three girl puppies spayed (Zena, Maya and Luna) and two boy puppies neutered (Gunther & Teagan) and the boy kitten (Quincy) also needs to be neutered. At $160 per pet that will cost another $960 (we go to the Animal Rescue Coalition who gave me a discount last month on the first neuter surgery). Another $1,000 (one-time) would help us get the remaining puppies neutered or spayed. Gunther is currently on the schedule for November 9th, however, I have no way to pay for that neuter surgery.
I actually cried today when I gave two dogs the last two bones in a separate room so no one else would see. I didn’t include the bones or “treats” we normally give them in the list above because they can live without them; kind of like Mike and I surviving on peanut butter & jelly or tuna sandwiches and cheese quesadillas. The bags of treats are expensive @18/bag and only lasts a few days with 16 dogs. It would be awesome to be able to give them their treats, that would be another $400/month.
Anyone who sees we need a way to offset my salary, I am starting to build content using Chat GPT to potentially sell some things online to help offset my missing salary. I should have something up in the next 90 days. Ideally, I would purchase two software subscriptions for this side hustle work that would run about 7.99 and 24.99/month. I will continue to look for a new job as I get this going.
Longer term, I have $7,500 in medical bills I will eventually need to pay. I currently have a forbearance on the mortgage thru the end of the year, however, by January I will have to get the outstanding balance sorted out (Mortgage is $2,749/month). Also, we still owe $9,000 on our car and I would really like to pay that off so I don’t have to stress about losing the car when I can’t make the payment.
We are waiting on Insurance to make the final settlement offer from the damage done by Hurricane Ian’s 134 mph winds, however, we know they will subtract the deductible of $8,250 and the policy does not cover replacing the screens on the lanai which will be another $5,000-6,000 exclusion/deduction. It has been almost a year since we have been able to use the Lanai and pool, the Lanai has filled up with wasp nests, mosquitos, frogs, flies, snakes, and critters. I’m grateful we still have a house; it has been a very stressful year for our family.
When I see all these larger amounts, I just get more overwhelmed.
For the next 90 days, I want to focus on raising enough money for food and utilities, maintain healthcare and keep our car – can you please help us get thru the next 30-90 days?
This is the link to my paypal account if you can help us in any way. Any amount will be appreciated!