ALICE Makes Tough Choices To Survive

United Way of Western CT helps ALICE prosper

“All of my money is spent, right out the door as soon as it comes in, so that we have a roof over our heads, utilities and coverage for our health and wellbeing,” Elizabeth told us.


“I have done all my homework and I STILL can’t get an A,” Elizabeth says of her situation. Going from a two-parent household to a single-income household hasn’t been easy.

Childcare is often the single-largest expense for families with young children, often consuming 25% to upwards of 50% of a household’s budget, which can set hard-working, struggling households United Way calls ALICE®(Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) on shaky financial footing.

Elizabeth knows firsthand how life can go in a completely different direction than what was planned, but she is determined to give her son the best life. She is a hard-working single mother working to make ends meet in the face of high rent, mounting childcare expenses and outstanding hospital and credit card bills.

By economizing, she has reduced her electric bill by 30% and her heat by 17%. “All of my money goes right out the door as soon as it comes in,” she says. “It’s just not easy when you can’t even afford childcare.”

“I get on my knees and beg friends and family to watch him at night while I work,” she says. “I can't even imagine what I will do when it is time to send my son to preschool because I already cannot pay for childcare.”

Her goal is to afford her son a quality education that will secure his future. To relieve her tight budget, Elizabeth has made some tough choices. “An adviser said I should dial back on my 401k. I hate doing that, but I think it will help.”

“I want my son to have every opportunity,” says Elizabeth. “We do have that right here...and access to various extracurricular activities to help him grow up to be a well-rounded, truly happy young man.”

United Way of Western Connecticut is committed to early childhood education and our community investments ensure every child enters kindergarten ready to learn and to succeed. We help parents like Elizabeth by increasing access to affordable childcare, funding preschool slots and after-school programs. With your help, we can help Elizabeth and other parents continue working hard to make sure their child has every opportunity to succeed.