Funny thing about numbers: they’re just numbers, they’re just facts. But when those numbers mean dollars to us: hold on to your hat! Suddenly those numbers aren’t just things that you add and subtract: they can mean freedom or restriction, or that you personally are worthwhile or not. Our society tells us that having lots of money is good, and not having enough money is bad. Even further, the message we often get is that if you have lots of money you are good, you are better, even, than those with less, and if you don’t have enough money, you are bad, and less than those with more. What this leads to for many of us is a lot of shame, defensiveness and avoidance when we have to look at the numbers that tell us how much money we have. If that’s not you, you are lucky! But if it is you, it’s a pretty normal way to feel in this world.
What to do? First, you need to take a good, hard, look at all the numbers and see what is really going on. Instead of thinking that you know, because you open all those dang bills, add things up and look at the bottom line. It really helps to do this with another person who is there to assist you, and who doesn’t judge you, but can help you see what you are doing well and what you can do to make things better. Having another person with you who assumes that you are a good person and is not judging you really helps. This is the basis of case management with the OUR Center, LEAF’s partner in this. We look at the numbers. See where they add up. See where they don’t. Figure out ways to make them add up. Hopefully, figure out ways to create a little bit of savings, so you don’t get into a bind in the future. Slowly, one step at a time. Our job is to be on your side. We are a team to back you up as you work to get a handle on all this. No blame, just figuring things out.
What does this really look like? It depends on the client. Some folks have no idea where their money goes, so maybe they need to start writing it down. Some folks don’t know the difference between a need and a want. Let’s be honest, lots of us don’t know the difference between a need and a want, and advertising wants to keep it that way! Some folks have to take a hard look at priorities. We find cheaper ways of getting the same thing: communications is a big one for this. We take our time, and make sure that the choices the client makes really serve them. No two families are alike—so the solutions are unique to each household.
Our job at LEAF is to work with you as you gain control and find ways to get your needs met and live without the stress of debt. If you’d like to come in and work on making your life affordable, call us at 720-864-4309, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can drop by on Wednesdays: we are usually mostly booked, but we will work to fit you in, or help you figure out what you need to bring to your appointment. Every Wednesday we are at the Lyons Community Church from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. we offer case management, emergency assistance, resource referral and supportive advocacy upstairs, and from 3:30 to 5p.m. the Food Pantry is downstairs. Upstairs we have delicious coffee donated by the Barking Dog, comfy chairs, and a bottle of water for you. Everyone who lives in the greater Lyons area is welcome!