President of a Central Florida company speaks about going without

Brian Caslow, President of Integrated Business Group, Inc. was another participant in our $15 a Day Challenge. He brings up the issue of healthcare, wondering how those on a limited budget manage to receive basic care – and realizing that many must go without it.


“I first thought about this really as a challenge to see if I could just simply get through the day only spending $15 for meals; this was a challenge in and of itself.  I then started looking at this as more encompassing than meals. On such a limited budget, I wondered how I could afford all the things I simply take for granted, like soap, shampoo, a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and running water for the shower. These are simply baseline necessities that I need just to show up for work each day.

“It was clear to me that on this budget I would not have been able to get to rehab for my knee (recent health20insurancesurgery) because I could not have paid for it – or even afforded the surgery in the first place. What about health insurance costs, like co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses?  What about when I felt a bit under the weather and needed medication—on this budget, I would simply be forced to go without.

“As I went through the day, I found myself looking for “free stuff” so that I was able to comply with my spending limits.  I also found it very frustrating and inefficient to have to put $3-5 worth of gas in my vehicle each day only to have to do it again the next day. When I signed up for a conference, I worried “how much does it cost?” I clearly would not have been able to attend on this budget; the conference would have been a real luxury item for me—even if the event itself was ‘free.’

Brian Caslow found himself wondering how he would pay for health care and professional development if he really lived on $15 a day.

“Finally, I recognized something interesting in my behavior. I would forego some necessities so that I could get other items that I wanted. If I wanted to splurge on something like ice cream and cookies for dessert (a weakness of mine) then I would practically have to go without most of one of my meals for the day. In my case, I saw how easy it was to sacrifice the healthy for the unhealthy.

“Thanks Brent for challenging me…gave me new opportunity to think about some things.”

Brian raises an issue that Brent Trotter, President/CEO of the Coalition, often speaks about: when people are on such a limited budget, they often must choose between two necessities. In Brian’s case, receiving proper healthcare would have been a real predicament. We are glad that Brian is able to return to his normal spending this week, but we hope his sentiments serve as a stark reminder that many of our neighbors in need must choose between necessities like food and shelter every day.