These 5 Tips Apply Beyond WIC
WIC is a government assistance program in the United States and more information can be found here: https://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/about-wic-glance.
My experiences with WIC fortunately or unfortunately are related to both of my two pregnancies. I was in transition before the birth of each of my children. The first pregnancy was announced to me as I was still in start-up phases for my first business and also while I was considering moving to Dallas, TX. Pregnancy changed those plans and impacted my finances as I even paid out-of-pocket for my first ultra-sound. My second pregnancy was not long after I had moved to Wisconsin for a new corporate position and then faced family court in the state of IL after my co-parent reversed his decision in supporting my move and peititioned against me before I met the 6 month residency requirement to officially make Wisconsin my home state. He waited until I was in month 5 which created an uphill battle in the IL family court all while in a new job and pregnant. As a result, I was released from the new job I had secured in my new home state and had to enroll in WIC yet again even though I did find a new corporate position while in my eighth month of pregnancy. My financial prowess has always been in many ways more substantial than the average person due to my upbringing. Also, I had held a FINRA series 7 and 63 which are regulated financial licenses from working in the investment banking industry upon exiting the pharmaceutical industry. Still, I found that I consistently had to get increasingly creative as I faced the challenges of becoming a single parent with limited resources. Needless to say these 5 tips grew out of those various experiences navigating my new chapters of this journey we call life.
1. Budgeting is even more essential as parent.
From newborns to college, you will find that the costs associated with your amazing, cute child will never cease. It truly gives you a better appreciation for all that your parents were able to provide to you. Also, you realize that many things you enjoyed pre-children were far from necessary hence budgeting becoming essential as you utilize WIC and/or lean on family and friends.
2. It’s ok to explore new food groups normally out the budget
While WIC does specify certain items which are known to be nutritious for you as your pregnancy progresses or as your child grow, there is some ability to choose foods you like. Make sure to leverage this as an opportunity to expose not just yourself but also your family to new foods. When you have a diverse background like myself, you will naturally want to explore the international foods aisle. As a person of proud mixed heritage; namely, Asian and African-American, being able to eat food normal to my diet was important to me and should be to you too.
3. You must get creative – diversify
Creativity is born out of strife in many cases so diversify your sources of income becomes essential. Let’s face it, WIC will only take you so far. You have to be willing and open to considering opportunities you may not have otherwise considered if you did not have children or a growing family to support. The fact of the matter is direct marketing, e-commerce, and multi-level marketing are not going anywhere. Also, historically, all businesses started off as direct marketing to friends and family who each had a need that could be fulfilled by a product or service. And, in these modern times, with not just the internet but the proliferation of smartphones and apps there are many options available so don’t be deterred by the concept of competition. Competition makes us all better.
4. Maximize your network and resources
If there is one thing a person learns quickly, it’s that you must be willing to accept or even ask for help. For a type A person for me, that was a difficult adjustment. However, what makes it easier is that the large majority of people do not want nor like to see children suffer. So, in many cases, it’s easy to maximize your network and resources simply by asking questions. There are also so many non-profits that will provide you with relevant information especially if you are feeling overwhelmed by parenthood, financial burdents, family strain, or simply tired.
5. Your budget will change and grow even beyond what WIC provides
Children and their families need more than just good. WIC ensures that you are eating and receiving nourishment; yet, it may not address your need for basics such as clothing or money to pay rent. So economizing or even improving your recycling skills can allow you to keep a small budget for a short time. Still, your family needs will continue to grow especially as children get bigger so you, again, have to expand beyond the thought that you must maintain the limits of what WIC and other government resources provide forever. You can change your situation which also means you can change your budget. So, plan accordingly and you will get excel in your growing season to bigger and better things.