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A Hard Knot Life

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On a nice summer’s day, neighborhood children played together in harmony. Cars went by and dogs barked as they zoomed across the road. Joelene, a woman who resembled a happy stay at home wife, watched as her four children played in a small pool. Michelle, the oldest child, watched with caution as her brother and sisters splashed at each other. “Lunch time!” called Joelene. As the children rushed inside the house, they grabbed sandwiches and watched a local cartoon show. Walter, who resembled a hard worker, walked inside the house and also ate lunch with the children. He was dark in appearance, which was mostly due to intense and continuous work (he worked day to day as a trash truck driver). “How was your day?” asked Joelene with enthusiasm. “The boss laid me off,” said Walter. “Oh no!” said Joelene in astonishment. After lunch, Walter and Joelene reconciled their check book while the children did homework. “Do we have enough money to last?” asked Joelene in doubt. “It is not much money, but we will survive,” said Walter in comfort.
As the day progressed, a day to day mailman came to the house and delivered the daily mail. Walter opened the door and retrieved the mail with hope and good intentions. Walter and Joelene studied the mail and, in astonishment, found that they had received an overdue bill of $1,000. “What are we going to do?” asked Joelene. She was crying with depression as she tried to figure out how to solve this dilemma. “I am not sure but I have something to tell you,” said Walter in urgency. “My father had a heart attack and is in the hospital.”“The doctors say that he is going to be fine, but my mother has asked us for help with his hospital bills.” “Will we be able to pay the bills and pay of your father’s hospital bills?” asked Joelene with concern. She was a caring and considerate woman who was raised to care for the less fortunate. “I don’t know,” said Walter. “I could get a job and use coupons to save money on groceries,” said Joelene. “I am not so sure if that would cover all the expenses and problems,” said Walter.
Joelene was watching her backyard where she saw an old elm tree. Its leaves were mostly gone. The tree looked worn and fragile, still struggling to stay alive in the fall air. That is how she was feeling at that time. The next day, as the children were all leaving to go to school, Walter and Joelene went to Ethan’s house (Walter’s brother). Ethan was an intelligent accountant who managed his money well. Walter and Joelene had told Ethan what their financial status was, as well as what problems they are facing. “Well, cutting on groceries and spending are good solutions, but I believe that more would be needed,” said Ethan. “I suggest that you should limit your credit cards to 1, then figure out your financial needs and wants so far.” “Once you have done this, I then suggest saving money in order to solve financial problems and have money left over for personal needs.” “What about my children’s education, what would we do about that?” said Joelene. “Well, saving for education would have to wait till your children reach 6th grade.” “Is there anything that the bank does for the working middle class that could possibly help us?” said Walter. “So far, there is nothing, but there are more taxes being issued on middle class workers with certain income within the next year or so,” said Ethan. “We will try what you suggested that we do and see if it works, thank you very much for the help,” said Walter. “We have to go and get the children from school, thank you very much for helping us through these tough times,” said Joelene. “No problem, be sure to let me know how dad is doing,” said Ethan. “Will do!” said Joelene and Walter simultaneously.
Once Joelene and Walter came home with the children, they all sat down and discussed what was happening. “From now on, we are going to watch what we spend and cut back on a few things,” said Walter. “That means no “I want this or I need that Mom” and no whining,” said Joelene. “Ok,” said the children simultaneously. Over the next few months, Walter and Joelene saved more money than ever before. They cut down on expenses and only spent money on necessities instead of wants (groceries, cloths, school supplies, etc…). With their effort to save more than spend, they were able to pay off more than their $1,000 bill and the hospital bills. Walter and Joelene even had money left over from their savings. With that money, Walter, Joelene, and the children went bowling. This, in the end, was the start of a new beginning.





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