In 2008, my family was living the awesome lifestyle that many Americans were living. We had a nice home, 2 cars, and in general had all that we needed and had some money left over. We were not what one would call rich or even well-off, just average Joes living in average southern Mississippi. It’s amazing how quickly things can change.

Within 1 year we lost 80% of our income (yes, that’s correct) and quickly went through what small savings we had and realized that big changes were about to come. My husband lost his job, and I had to take a lower paying one. In the normally poor and depressed area where we live jobs are hard to come by even in the best times, so now they were even harder to find.

We were forced to move out of the house that we had been lease contracting and move into a much smaller rental. As our vehicles broke down, we weren’t always able to repair or replace them, so we quickly went down to 1 car, which I had to use for my job as a pizza delivery driver. My husband found work doing to pay our rent. Many people think pizza delivery is a kid’s job, but I quickly learned that more and more older adults are doing it for a 2nd job and in cases like mine, an only job.

People ask me what amenities we let go and that’s where things get unconventional. I kept my satellite TV and my internet. While these seem like frivolous expenditures to others I find them requirements. My elderly mother-in-law lives with us and is house-bound. She is unable to sleep without a TV going (believe me, we tried) and the internet is her connection with the outside world and it helps keep her mind sharp. Yes, we let the land line phone go and reduced the plans on our cell phones, but I tried to make sure we could keep as much as possible.

We have learned to live on less. We don’t get any assistance from the government because they say we make too much money. I find that rather funny. We can hardly make ends meet, but because we don’t have children at home we don’t qualify for any assistance.

When the President and other members of government talk about Average Joe, I can’t help but think that they have no idea who he is.

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