Take a Walk in My Shoes to experience real life examples of the difficult budget decisions some of us have to make each month. Even when you are working hard, the world can throw you curveballs that change your life in an instant.continue
You will select one of three people, each facing a different set of challenges, and follow their path. You will be asked to make tough choices or to roll the dice because, just as in real life, you can’t plan for every situation.continue
As a retired widower without any family in Illinois, your support system is meager at best. You live on a fixed income in an apartment with heat included in your rent, and you rely on public transportation.
Monthly Income: +$1,600Start
It’s the first of the month and your fixed expenses are due: rent, utilities, Medicare premium, phone.
Fixed Expenses: -$1,112
It is increasingly difficult for you to make it to the grocery store. You qualify for Meals on Wheels, but if you sign up, you will lose some of your independence and an opportunity to leave your apartment. You:
1.) Sign up for Meals on Wheels and receive lunch delivered to your door at no cost.
2.) Continue your weekly grocery store trips, and risk falling or worse, but you keep some independence.
You now receive lunch delivered to your home and have learned that you can also visit a senior food pantry to receive the remainder of your groceries.
Meals on Wheels: -$0Continue
You continue going to the grocery store and purchasing the bare necessities for the month.
Grocery Bill: -$150Continue
It’s time to renew your monthly bus pass. The cost for seniors is $50.
CTA 30 Day Pass: Reduced rate for seniors = -$50Continue
Subtract $200 for Medicare coinsurance and cab fare from your budget.Continue
Your friend drives you to the doctor, so you only spend $100 for Medicare coinsurance.
Medicare Coinsurance: -$100
Total Costs: -$100
You call the Illinois Department of Human Services and find out that, as a senior, you qualify for free transportation to your doctor through the TAP program. Your budget stays the same.Continue
Your condition is alleviated with the reduced dosage of the prescription.
New Prescription: -$100Continue
You break your glasses and have to get a new pair. Medicare does not cover vision.
New Glasses: -$200Continue
You are a 23 year-old, single parent of a six year-old son. You dropped out of school when you became pregnant and have no family support. You work at your part-time waitressing job around your son’s school schedule to limit childcare cost.
Monthly Income (Paycheck and Tips): +$1810Start
It’s the first of the month and your fixed expenses are due: rent, utilities, phone, car payment, childcare.
Fixed Expenses: -$1170Continue
- You earn less in tips, but still make an extra $600 working the lunch shift. However, you now need some childcare costing $200/month. This adds $400 to your budget.
- Your housing voucher to help pay rent is based on income. With your extra full-time income, your rent increases. This removes $180 from your budget.
Lunch Shift: +$220,
Additional Childcare: -$200,
Rent Increase: -$180
- You earn more in tips and make an extra $950 working the dinner shift, but now you need evening childcare costing $630/month. This adds $320 to your budget.
- Your housing voucher to help pay rent is based on income. With your extra full-time income, your rent increases. This removes $285 from your budget.
Dinner Shift: +$950,
Additional Childcare: -$630,
Rent Increase: -$285
You have a mechanic fix your car.
Mechanic Expense: -$500Continue
Your car makes it through the month without breaking down.
Your budget stays the same.Continue
You’ve been thinking about getting your GED, and you call the Illinois Department of Human Services for help on where to start. They connect you with a caseworker where you create a Responsibility and Services Plan (RSP) and sign up for GED prep classes.
GED Prep Classes: -$30Continue
With your full-time hours, your son is still eligible for All Kids Insurance, but you are no longer eligible for Medicaid. You are eligible for health insurance through your job, but you have to pay part of the premium. You:
1.) Sign up and pay the premium.
2.) Risk not having health insurance for yourself.
You fall on the ice and end up in the emergency room. Fortunately it’s just a sprain, so you won’t miss much work.
Emergency Room Expense: -$1390Continue
You lose a filling and have to go to the dentist. It’s not covered by health insurance.
Dental Expense: -$200Continue
You are 42 years old and unemployed due to a permanent disability. Your wife is working part-time, but your family lost medical and dental insurance. Monthly bills and the needs of your three kids make it difficult to make ends meet.
Long Term Disability: $1874,
Social Security Disability: $1258,
Wife’s Income: $1810
Monthly Income (Paycheck and Tips): +$4942
It’s the first of the month and your fixed expenses are due: mortgage, utilities, phone, car payment.
Fixed Expenses: -$2588Continue
Your wife takes unpaid time off work, and her pay is reduced by $300 per month.
Reduced Pay: -$300Continue
In-home therapy sessions cost an extra $900 per month.
Reduced Pay: -$900Continue
You call the Illinois Department of Human Services with questions about how to cover a $2500 medical bill when your middle child breaks her arm. You learn your child is eligible for All Kids Insurance benefits. Your premium for all three kids is $30 and your max out of pocket will be $100.
All Kids Insurance: -$130Continue
By the time you take Jake to the vet, the growth is much larger and needs to be removed.
Vet Bill: -$600Continue
Your 7th grade son wants to be on the track team at his middle school with his two best friends. There is a student activity fee for each sport.
Student Activity Fee: -$110Continue
Buy a new refrigerator.
New Refrigerator: -$500Continue
Your fridge quits and you call a repair service that fixes it for $200.
Repair Service: -$200Continue
Unusually cold temperatures in February mean your utility bills are much higher than expected.