walk in my shoes

Choose Your Path

Amanda

Dave

James

Date Description Change Balance

James

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

Monthly Income: $1,800

Start

February 1

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

Subtract $1100 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 $300 per month.

Subtract $300 from your budget.

Continue

Pay extra for a ground-floor apartment.

The new apartment costs $150 more than your previous apartment.

Subtract $150 from your budget.

Continue

February 8

It’s time to renew your annual bus pass. The cost for seniors is $90.

Subtract $90 from your budget.

Continue

February 15

Your health center moves to a new location with no bus service.

You can:

  • See a more expensive doctor whose office is accessible via bus.
  • Risk relying on a friend for regular transportation to your health center.

Doctor Risk

See a more expensive doctor whose office is accessible via bus.

Subtract $150 from your budget.

Continue

Risk relying on a friend

  • Your friend reliably drives you to your doctor appointments. Your budget stays the same.

  • Your friend fails to drive you to the doctor, so you spend $50 for a taxi ride. You then decide to try a new doctor who is on the bus route, but charges $150 more than Medicaid will cover. Subtract $200 from your budget.

  • Your friend drives you to one appointment, but cancels for the second. You must pay for round trip taxi to make that appointment. Subtract $50 from your budget.

  • Your friend fails to drive you to the doctor, so you spend $50 for a taxi ride.

    You then decide to try a new doctor who is on the bus route, but charges $150 more than Medicaid will cover. Subtract $200 from your budget.

  • Your friend drives you to one appointment, but cancels for the second. You must pay for round trip taxi to make that appointment. Subtract $50 from your budget.

  • Your friend reliably drives you to your doctor appointments. Your budget stays the same.

Continue

February 19

You call 2-1-1, United Way’s free information and referral service, and find out you qualify for a senior benefit program.

Add $100 to your budget.

Continue

February 22

Medicare will only cover half the cost of a new prescription you need. You can:

  • Pay the other half out-of-pocket.
  • Risk becoming sick by only taking half the dosage.

Pay Risk

Cover the other half out of pocket

Subtract $200 from your budget.

Continue

Risk becoming sick by only taking half the dosage

  • Taking half your dosage does nothing and you have to visit your doctor again, who convinces you to purchase the full dosage.

    Subtract $200 from your budget.

  • Taking half your dosage worsens, rather than helps, your condition and you have to spend the night in the hospital.

    Subtract $500 for your hospital stay.

  • Taking half your dosage worsens, rather than helps, your condition and you have to spend the night in the hospital.

    Subtract $500 for your hospital stay.

  • Taking half your dosage does nothing and you have to visit your doctor again, who convinces you to purchase the full dosage.

    Subtract $200 from your budget.

  • Your condition is alleviated with just the half dosage of the prescription. Your budget stays the same.

  • Your condition is alleviated with just the half dosage of the prescription. Your budget stays the same.

Continue

February 28

Unusually cold temperatures in February mean your utility bill is much higher than expected.

Subtract $200 from your budget.

Continue

James’s Balance: $0

Could you imagine living on the edge of a financial cliff each month as James is doing? Thousands of our neighbors are struggling to make ends meet as the cost of living rises. You can help keep them warm, housed and fed with your generous donation.

Finish

Amanda

You are 23 years old. Without family support, dropping out of high school was your only option when you became pregnant with your son. He is now six and your sole responsibility, leaving limited options to schedule shifts and child care with your part-time waitressing job.

Monthly income: $2,000

Start

February 1

It’s the first of the month and your fixed expenses are due: rent, phone and car payment.

Subtract $1500 from your budget.

Continue

February 4

You are offered full-time hours at the restaurant where you work. Which shift do you request?

Lunch Dinner

Lunch Shift

You work the Lunch shift. You will earn less in tips, but your son will be in school during most of your work hours. You make an extra $1000, but now you need 2 daily hours of childcare for your son, costing $200 per month.

Add $800 to your budget.

Continue

Dinner

You work the dinner shift. You will earn more in tips, but will have to pay for evening childcare.

You make an extra $1500, but now you need 8 daily hours of childcare for your son, costing $950 per month.

Add $550 to your budget.

Continue

February 8

Your housing voucher to help pay rent is based on income. With the extra income from working full time, your rent increases by $250.

Subtract $250 from your budget.

Continue

February 15

Your car is having trouble, especialy in this very cold weather.

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

  • Your car makes it through the month without breaking down.

    Your budget stays the same.

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

    Subtract $300 from your budget.

  • Your car makes it through the month without breaking down.

    Your budget stays the same.

  • 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.

  • 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

You decide to take the GED prep classes.

Subtract $25 from your budget.

Continue

February 22

You are eligible for health benefits as a full-time employee, but you have to pay part of the insurance premium.

You can:

  • Give up your car and use the money for health insurance.
  • Risk not having health insurance.

Give up Car Risk

Give up your car and use the money for health insurance.

You now have to take the bus. Your budget stays the same.

Continue

Risk not having health insurance

  • You get strep throat and have to miss work to go to the doctor for medicine.

    Subtract $250 from your budget.

  • You crack a tooth this month.

    Subtract $450 from your budget.

  • You stay healthy this month.

    Your budget stays the same.

  • You crack a tooth this month.

    Subtract $450 from your budget.

  • You get strep throat and have to miss work to go to the doctor for medicine.

    Subtract $250 from your budget.

  • You stay healthy this month.

    Your budget stays the same.

Continue

February 28

Unusually cold temperatures in February mean your utility bill is much higher than expected.

Subtract $300 from your budget.

Continue

Amanda’s Balance: $0

Could you imagine living on the edge of a financial cliff each month as Amanda is doing? Thousands of our neighbors are struggling to make ends meet as the cost of living rises. You can help keep them warm, housed and fed with your generous donation.

Finish

Dave

You are 42 years old. When a disability forced you into early retirement, your wife picked up a part-time job. Still, your mortgage, medical bills and the needs of your three kids make it difficult to make ends meet.

Monthly income: $3,000

Start

February 1

It’s the first of the month and your fixed expenses are due: mortgage, phone and car payment.

Subtract $2,000 from your budget.

Continue

February 4

Your physical therapy sessions are before your wife can return from work to watch your youngest child.

You can:

  • Ask your wife to leave work early
  • Pay extra for in-home physical therapy sessions

Ask Pay

Ask your wife to leave work early

You ask your wife to watch the kids while you’re at physical therapy. Your wife takes unpaid time off of work and her pay is reduced by $300 per month.

Subtract $300 from your budget.

Continue

Pay extra for in-home physical therapy sessions.

In-home therapy sessions cost an extra $400 per month.

Subtract $400 from your budget.

Continue

February 8

You save on your monthly grocery bill by going to a local food pantry.

Add $50 to your budget.

Continue

February 15

You qualify for an Earned Income Tax Credit and will get a tax refund, so you debate delaying a vet visit for your beloved dog, Jake, who has developed a mysterious growth.

You can:

  • Take Jake to the vet.
  • Risk delaying a vet visit until you receive your tax refund.

Vet Risk

Take Jake to the vet

Subtract $200 from your budget.

Continue

Risk delaying a vet visit

  • Jake’s condition worsens and you are compelled to take him to the vet anyway. The delay in taking Jake to the vet allowed the growth to develop into a more expensive problem.

    Subtract $300 from your budget.

  • Jake’s condition worsens and you are compelled to take him to the vet anyway. At the vet Jake receives treatment for $200.

    Subtract $200 from your budget.

  • While waiting for your tax refund to afford taking Jake to the vet, the mysterious growth disappears. You no longer need to take him to the vet.

    Your budget stays the same.

  • While waiting for your tax refund to afford taking Jake to the vet, the mysterious growth disappears. You no longer need to take him to the vet.

    Your budget stays the same.

  • Jake’s condition worsens and you are compelled to take him to the vet anyway. The delay in taking Jake to the vet allowed the growth to develop into a more expensive problem.

    Subtract $300 from your budget.

  • Jake’s condition worsens and you are compelled to take him to the vet anyway. At the vet Jake receives treatment for $200.

    Subtract $200 from your budget.

Continue

February 19

Your middle child breaks their ankle during a school basketball game.

Subtract $400 from your budget.

Continue

February 22

As the temperature drops during a cold snap, you become concerned that your pipes will freeze.

You can:

  • Pay to have your pipes insulated.
  • Risk no action and hope your pipes don't freeze!

Pay Risk

Pay to have your pipes insulated.

Subtract $200 from your budget.

Continue

Risk no action and hope your pipes don't freeze!

  • Your pipes freeze and it costs you $400 to have them fixed.

    Subtract $400 from your budget.

    Continue

  • Your pipes are fine.

    Your budget stays the same.

    Continue

  • Your pipes freeze and it costs you $400 to have them fixed.

    Subtract $400 from your budget.

    Continue

  • Your pipes freeze and burst which costs $700 to have fixed.

    Subtract $700 from your budget.

    Continue

  • Your pipes freeze and burst which costs $700 to have fixed.

    Subtract $700 from your budget.

    Continue

  • Your pipes are fine.

    Your budget stays the same.

    Continue

February 28

Unusually cold temperatures in February mean your utility bill is much higher than expected.

Subtract $450 from your budget.

Continue

Dave’s Balance: $0

Could you imagine living on the edge of a financial cliff each month as Dave is doing? Thousands of our neighbors are struggling to make ends meet as the cost of living rises. You can help keep them warm, housed and fed with your generous donation.

Finish