North Texas families are getting creative to make ends meet amid rising inflation.
Housing costs are up 5.5%, food is up more than 10% and the price of gas has almost doubled since a year ago, according to NBC News.
One mother has enlisted her children’s help to make some extra cash using an unconventional approach she hopes will grow across North Texas.
In an effort to make ends meet during tough economic times, Plano mother Lisa Jackey was inspired to get creative.
She says she thought of a way to make some extra money with her kids while getting to know and helping her neighbors offset some of their needs.
“I just thought it would be a great way to cultivate community, to help my family do things together and make some extra money,” said Jackey.
With her children’s blessing, the single mother of four recently took to the neighborhood forum NextDoor and posted, "Family for Hire."
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Mom, her three teenagers and her 11-year-old daughter are teaming up to offer services to neighbors, who like them, are struggling with rising prices for products and services.
“Packing is one thing, yard work,” Jackey said, listing off some of the services they can provide. “Pulling weeds, planting flowers. My youngest loves to garden, so maybe someone needs a garden planted.”
Another example is if someone is moving but can't afford to pay $500 for professional movers. Perhaps she's able to accept $100 to help complete the move.
So far, most of the people commenting on her post have provided information about places that are hiring. Some have offered some work around their home.
“There always has to be a couple of negative comments. People are like, 'I don’t know what’s happening,'” she said with a smile. “But I know what my heart is, and I know that my heart goes beyond making money for my family. It also goes to strengthening the community.”
Jackey says she lost her corporate job in February and has been searching for a long-term position that is equivalent to her experience and education.
She’s also working on her second doctorate degree.
Like many Americans, Jackey has found herself struggling to keep up with inflation that is at a 40-year-high.
And it’s not just at the grocery store or gas station.
“I have a gas water heater and my gas has, like, tripled,” she said. “Dog food, I just went today, and it was $16 more than I typically pay.”
HOW TO SAVE MONEY
Derrick Kinney, financial expert and host of the Good Money Podcast, says weathering inflation with threats of a recession looming should involve the whole family.
“What you want to do is set goals as a family,” he said. “Could we drive less? Can we carpool? Could we share something with a neighbor?”
It is also important to simply your finances, considering the most important financial goals of the family.
“We know the average recession, if we go into one, typically lasts 12 to 15 months. We want to get very simple, very focused. That way, the family can work with you on finding ways to help you save money, make more money but you’re going through this as a family and not by yourself,” said Kinney. “What I suggest people do is to do what I call a 'financial X-ray.’ On a sheet of paper write down, here's what I own, minus what I owe and on the other side of the piece of paper, write down here are my monthly expenses. What do you want to do is focus on the highest most impactful expenses you can cut or reduce.”
It’s also important to keep some expenses that help you endure any financially difficult months ago, said Kinney.
“The bottom line though is if you really enjoy your subscription service, keep it but find someplace else to cut that while you're still saving money, but enjoying life in the process,” he said.
Jackey’s daughter just applied for a lifeguard position and both teen daughters are studying for their driver's licenses.
Their mother spent part of her day helping a friend move out of her home for a little bit of money. She is grateful to be able to lend a helping hand to friends and neighbors.
"[If someone tells me] ‘I can’t afford this, but I can pay half,’ to me that’s not an insult. If someone can pay me half but it’s helping me and I’m helping them and I’m getting to know them, I think there’s much greater benefits that come of it,” Jackey said.