walk in my shoes

Choose Your Path

Amanda

Dade family

James

Date Description Change Balance

James

You are 75 years old. As a retired widower without any family left in Miami, your support system is meager at best. Living on a fixed income in an apartment forces you to rely on public transportation.

Monthly income: $1,500

Start

February 1

It's the first of the month and your fixed expenses are due: rent, phone and electricity.

Subtract $1000 from your budget.

continue

February 4

It is increasingly difficult for you to navigate stairs. Unfortunately, you live in a second story apartment. You can:

  • Stay at home, hire a home health aide.
  • Pay extra for a ground-floor apartment.

Stay Move

Stay at home, hire a home health aide.

The health aide costs $150 per month.

Subtract $150 from your budget.

Continue

Pay extra for a ground-floor apartment.

The new apartment costs $100 more than your previous apartment.

Subtract $100 from your budget.

Continue

February 8

It's time to renew your annual bus pass. You call JCS Switchboard 211, a hotline funded by United Way, and find out that you can get a Golden Transit Pass at no cost to you.

Subtract $0 from your budget.

Continue

February 15

Your doctor says you have to eat healthier, because your cholesterol is high and you are pre-diabetic. But you’ve never been a healthy cook. You can:

  • Join United Way partner Southwest Social Services, an older adult activity center that will pick you up and feed you lunch every day.
  • Take the risk and continue to cook food for yourself.

Join Risk

You joined Southwest Social Services and are eating healthier every day.

Add $100 to your budget in savings from your free, nutritious lunch every day.

Continue

Risk cooking for yourself.

  • Your health starts declining and you end up having to go to the doctor, who prescribes insulin.

  • You end up in the hospital for two days and have to pay $200 per day. Subtract $400 from your budget.

Continue

February 19

You have an issue with your hearing aid.

Subtract $800 to your budget.

Continue

February 22

Medicare will not cover the $200 cost of a new prescription you need, because you have exceeded the maximum benefit for prescriptions this month. You can:

  • Cover out of pocket.
  • Risk becoming sick by not taking the medicine.

Out of pocket Risk

Cover out of pocket.

Wait! Your neighbor tells you about the United Way/FamilyWize Prescription Drug Discount Card to receive an average 30% discount. Subtract only $140 from your budget.

Continue

Risk becoming sick by not taking the medicine.

  • Not taking the medicine worsens your condition and you have to spend the night in the hospital.

    Subtract $200 for your hospital stay.

Continue

James’ balance: $0

Could you imagine living on the edge of a financial cliff each month as James is doing? We have more than 202,000 households led by older adults in Miami-Dade. Thousands of them struggle to make ends meet as the cost of living rises. You can help keep them living independently, active and fed with your generous donation.

Finish

Amanda

You are 30 years old and working toward your bachelor’s degree. You have a 10-year-old son and limited family support, but you’re working hard to graduate within one year. Your son is your sole responsibility, leaving you limited options to schedule shifts and child care with your part-time job as a front desk clerk at a local hotel.

Monthly income: $2,000

Start

February 1

It's the first of the month and your fixed expenses are due: rent ($1100), electricity ($120) phone ($80) and car insurance ($200).

Subtract $1500 from your budget.

Continue

February 2

You put aside gas money for the month.

Subtract $120 from your budget.

Continue

February 4

You are offered full-time hours at the hotel where you work. The second shift pays more than the day shift. Which shift do you request?

Day shift Night shift

Work the day shift.

You will earn less, but your son will be in school during most of your work hours. You make an extra $1000 working fulltime hours, but now you need 3 daily hours of childcare for your son, costing $200 per month.

Add $800 to your budget.

Continue

Work the night shift.

You will earn more, but will have to pay for evening childcare. You make an extra $1500 working the night shift, but now you need 8 daily hours of childcare for your son each shift, costing $1000 per month.

Add $500 to your budget.

Continue

February 8

You live in an affordable housing apartment unit, and your rent is based on income. With the extra income from working full time, your rent increases by $200.

Subtract $200 from your budget.

Continue

February 15

Your car is having trouble. You can:

  • Have a mechanic fix your car.
  • Risk not fixing your car.

Fix Risk

Have a mechanic fix your car.

Subtract $500 from your budget.

Continue

Risk not fixing your car.

  • You find a friend who will fix your car for the cost of parts.

    Subtract $300 from your budget.

  • Your car breaks down on the road. You have to pay to have it fixed plus the extra for the tow.

    Subtract $600 from your budget.

Continue

February 19

Your monthly food and house essentials budget is $500.

Subtract $500 from your budget.

Continue

February 22

Now that you're a full-time employee, you're offered healthcare for you and your son. The premium is $330 per month. You can:

  • Accept the healthcare offered for $330 a month.
  • Decline it, risking penalties and potential injuries or health conditions.
accept decline

You pay the premium and you have the peace of mind that you and your son are covered.

Subtract $330 from your budget.

Continue

Risk not having health insurance.

  • Your son falls and breaks his arm. You rush to the urgent care where you're referred to a specialist which orders x-rays and cast.

    Subtract $2000 from your budget.

  • Your son is due for his annual checkup and due vaccines so he can stay in school.

    Subtract $150 from your budget.

  • Your son gets strep throat and have to miss work to take him to the doctor.

    Subtract $250 from your budget for the office visit plus medicine.

Continue

February 28

Your 10-year-old’s teacher called you in because your son is falling behind in the class and needs a reading tutor. The after school tutor, twice per week is $60 per week. You can:

  • Pay $240 for a month of private tutoring.
  • Ask the school for help.
Pay Ask for help

Your son receives the help he needs to keep up in class and with his homework.

Subtract $240 from your budget.

Continue

The school connects you with a United Way-funded afterschool program at the Boys & Girls Club that offers homework and literacy help.

Your budget stays the same.

Continue

Amanda’s balance: $0

Could you imagine living on the edge of a financial cliff each month as Amanda is doing? We have 73,262 female-headed households in Miami-Dade, of those 52 percent are in poverty, while another 36 percent are barely making ends meet. With your generous donation, you can help Amanda keep her job and stay on track to graduate college, while her son attends a safe, age-appropriate afterschool program.

Finish

Dade family

You are the Dade family, mom is a retail employee and dad is a building maintenance technician. You have two children, ages 1 and 4. Even though you are both working full time, it is still difficult to make ends meet.

Monthly income: $4,500

Start

February 1

It's the first of the month and your fixed expenses are due: mortgage ($1300), phone ($100), car payment and insurance ($500), and health care ($600).

Subtract $2,500 from your budget.

Continue

February 2

You and your family set aside gas money for the month.

Subtract $240 from your budget.

Continue

February 4

You just moved to Miami and need to find an early education center for both your 1-year-old and your 4-year-old. You can:

  • Choose an accredited center that is five miles away, because you understand that your children will be exposed to proven, evidence-based practices ($1000).
  • Pick the center closest to home because it’s cheap and convenient, but is not accredited ($600).

Accredited Non-accredited

You invested in a high quality early education center.

Your children begin to thrive. Subtract $1200 from your budget for the cost of the center.

Continue

Risk putting them in a non-accredited center.

  • The first week at the center goes well, but you are not at ease and feel like there should be more teachers in the 1-year-old class.

    Subtract $800 from your budget.

  • During week two you realize that your 4-year-old sits in front of a TV four hours per day, during preschool. You pull them both out. You lose a day of your brand new job, you lose the money you paid, plus you have to pay for a new early learning center.

    Subtract $600 from your budget for the non-accredited center plus another $500 for the day you missed from work and the entrance fee to another center. Total to deduct: $1,100

  • Your 1-year-old falls and needs stitches. All this could have been avoided if the teacher/student ratio had been appropriate. You pull them both out. You lose a day of your brand new job, you lose the money you paid, plus you have to pay for a new early learning center.

    Subtract $600 from your budget for the non-accredited center plus another $700 ($200 for the hospital visit plus $500 for the day you missed and the entrance fee to another center). Total to deduct: $1,300

Continue

February 8

You call JCS Switchboard 211 and get connected with a VPK voucher that helps your 4-year-old go to preschool at a reduced rate.

Add $200 to your budget.

Continue

February 15

You need to file your taxes. You can:

  • Hire a tax preparer that promises maximum refunds for $200.
  • Visit the United Way Center for Financial Stability.

Hire Visit Center

You thought your tax preparer would cost $200 but are charged an extra $100 to file online.

Subtract $300 from your budget.

Continue

You visit the United Way Center for Financial Stability, which is an IRS VITA free tax preparation site, and a volunteer prepares and files your taxes and helps you qualify for tax credits. A financial coach talks to you about budget, savings options and credit. You make plans to come back, once you receive your refund.

Your budget stays the same.

Continue

February 19

Every month, you set aside $600 for food, toiletries and household essentials.

Subtract $600 from your budget.

Continue

February 22

Drowning is the leading cause of injury death among children ages 1–4 in Florida. Being that you are new to Florida, you want to put your children in swim classes. You can:

  • Pay for private lessons ($200).
  • Contact a United Way partner agency, like the Red Cross or the YMCA, to access free swim lessons.

Private Partner Agency

Private swimming lessons.

Subtract $200 from your budget.

Continue

United Way partner agency.

Your budget stays the same, while your children learn how to swim.

Continue

February 28

Your family makes most meals at home and mom and dad take lunch to work. Other expenses took a chunk out of your food budget this month, so you're short on food.

  • You don’t like taking freebies, but you need food, so you visit a food pantry that United Way supports through federal emergency funds.
  • Mom and dad start skipping some meals.
Food pantry Skip meals

You get the help you need worth $100.

Your budget stays the same.

Continue

Skip meals.

  • Dad starts feeling lightheaded at work, but a co-worker shares his food.

    Your budget stays the same.

    Continue

  • Dad feels lightheaded at work from not eating and has to miss a day without pay.

    Subtract $200 from your budget.

    Continue

Dade family’s balance: $0

Could you imagine living on the edge of a financial cliff each month as the Dade family is doing? More than 64,000 families with children in Miami-Dade are struggling to make ends meet as the cost of living rises. You can help keep them stable, housed and fed with your generous donation.

Finish