January 21, 2012

Mrs. Poverty Guy Speaks Out About Utilities

Hey there!  That Poverty Guy has been burning the candle at both ends preparing for a presentation, and since I have something that has been going through my mind, I asked if the Missus could post a blog today.  Please don’t expect the wonderful calibre of wit and wisdom that my Poverty Guy husband brings to this blog.  The words are just begging to come out and I would love to hear what you think about “utilities”. 

Mrs. Poverty Guy has soooo much money that she
can just let the tap run wide open.  NOT!
Just over a week ago, I read in our local newspaper that our water rates are going to increase 8%.  I don’t know about you, but I hate these dreaded additions to my household budget.  Where is that extra money supposed to come from when you are on a fixed income with next to nothing for extras?  Does it magically appear as the need arises?  If you happen to have that ‘money-fairy’ working on your block . . . please, please send her my way.  You see, last fall, my hours at work were reduced because of education cutbacks.  I am making less this year than last.  No extra to cover inflation, new user fees or increases in utilities. 

There's no doubt in my mind that these things affect real people like you and me.  In mere seconds names pour forth of others I know who are also uncomfortably affected by these unavoidable expenditures....colleagues, seniors, single moms, and those dealing with illness or disability.   One of my co-workers already has two extra jobs just trying to make ends meet.   With admiration, I remember the ‘omigosh, I wish I had that kind of energy’ senior who has been recognized by the mayor for her ongoing volunteer efforts.   These aren’t people planning their annual trip to Mexico, that’s for sure.  And they certainly aren’t deadbeats – you know, the ones people usually picture when they don’t want to admit that there are good, decent citizens who live in poverty.  The only way to accommodate an 8% increase is to go with less.  (. . . assuming that stealing your neighbour’s water is not an attractive option.)

Admittedly, I might be missing something.  Perhaps there's an automatic yearly increase given to those on a fixed income or who are below the poverty line.  You know, something that will cover that 8% hike in our water rates?  Now, guessing that this doesn’t exist . . . why shouldn’t it?  What a fantastic idea! Fill out a form and, voila, the offensive affront to your budget is someone else’s responsibility.  That Poverty Guy just recently posted about an  EI program that perhaps could be suspended freeing up millions of dollars.  Let’s have the government cover the costs or provide an exemption.   Simple.    I cannot imagine how there is any fairness in asking me, or a single mom, or a senior, to have to pinch our water usage when there are CEO’s who have already made my yearly salary 5 times over by January 21st.   It makes me laugh even imagining such an executive having to entertain the thought of reducing their personal water consumption in order to make ends meet. 

I am serious about a program to assist in these circumstances.  Why shouldn’t it be a reality?  What do you think?

The Missus


  1. Well Mrs. Poverty Guy, I am a single Mom. I work full time, both my sons are in college and they have a great Dad but because they are older now, I no longer get child support. I could have invented copper wire years ago as I've learned to stretch every cent I make. I don't smoke, drink or do illegal drugs. I live within my means. I only have debt from a new vehichle, one I could afford, after my 10 year car took more and more money to repair. Everytime I hear of another increase coming down the pike I shudder and wonder where is the money going to come from???? I work full time and my position is secure but I am a single Mom and only have ONE income coming into my house. I have NOTHING set aside for retirement. I do own my own home BUT I worked damn hard to pay for it. Don't get me started on house taxes. I've recently cancelled my cable saving 66.00 every two months. I never do any laundry or use other appliances before 7 p.m. through the week if I can help it, avoiding higher hydro costs. Every day I fret about something breaking down and my first question is ALWAYS... "How much will this cost me?" I am good with money because I've had to be but years of being frugal has affected me on so many other levels. It makes me sad I can only help my sons with groceries here and there and some odd cash for school. I wish I could have kept the account I started for them when they were little for their education BUT my marital status changed and I needed the money to provide for them.
    I play, 'the what if game,' all the time... "What if I won the lottery?" LOL
    Thanks Missus, I think you did fabulous for your first blog! It was nice to share.

  2. I would like to see those CEOs and politicians survive on $10.25 an hour (Ontario's minimum wage). Most of Ontario's poor are working.This 8% increase in the cost of water is frightening!

    I am an educated woman, but that hasn't helped much in my circumstances. I haven't been able to find work in my profession and am battling a debilitating autoimmune disease. I have become familiar with the province's social assistance program and believe it has assisted in me in so far as to create more stress in my life! I have made the decision to work, be poor and ill as opposed to be just be poor and ill.

    If there is a reason for things to occur as they have I believe that my acquaintance with poverty has fueled me to fight against it. Like many Canadians, I suppose I took much of what I had for granted. Boy, have things changed. For three years I travelled, worked abroad and saw the different faces of poverty. As a Canadian, I was regarded as someone from a privileged society. I suppose I thought so too. There are many things that fueled my patriotism, but having returned home just over a year ago I am very scared for my future and the future of many Canadians that cannot manage to meet the rising cost of living.

    Thank you to you and your husband for all that you are doing to draw attention to the very disturbing reality of poverty.


    1. Sean gave an awesome presentation this evening and I appreciated his bit on the faces of poverty. He tells us, as your posts do, that the face of poverty can be you, or I. Circumstance plays such a huge role - where we are born - health - who our family is, etc. I am thankful for your sharing - understanding, hearing from others who "get it", connecting is powerful. The Missus