Life has its ups and downs and we can't predict the future. Someday I hope things are better. For those of us still trying to survive these are the following things I've done to cut down my spending.LIBRARIES
I use Public Wi-Fi Internet from my local Public Library.
I spend the day at the Library from open until close charging all my electronics there such as my laptop and phone. (Saves electricity).
I use Public Restrooms all throughout the day (this possibly saves money on water, hand soap, paper towels, and toilet paper).CAFES
I've spent the day at cafés to charge my phone and laptop too. Also using the restrooms there. I stopped doing this after I could no longer afford a daily drip coffee. (If you have a Starbucks Card I hear you can get unlimited refills of iced tea and iced coffee for as long as you stay there.)
A lot of places that offer regular drip coffee give you access to all the creamer, spices (cinnamon), and sugar you want so take advantage.GROCERIES-- The List
At the beginning of the month or whenever you're paid, rent is paid, and your EBT refills get:
- Frozen, canned (tomatoes), and dry goods (whole wheat pasta).
- Beans, Lentils, Rice, and Split Peas.
- Crates and pallets of instant ramen.
- Instant Mashed Potatoes
- Instant Oatmeal
- Tea (Cheaper than coffee if you need a caffeine kick).
- Salt and spices
The trouble with limiting your groceries is meal planning. You have to plan your meals buy enough and fit within the budget (oatmeal for breakfast, ramen and egg for lunch, rice and beans for dinner). You have to eat everything you buy without wasting anything. Frozen, canned, and dry goods therefore will be the majority of your groceries. Anything fresh (eggs, meat, cheese, bananas, potatoes) can be bought again once a week so put aside money to do that.HOW MUCH TO BUY?
I have no idea how big your family is or if you're by yourself but here is my estimate based on the list I provided. The average meal is $2, three times a day, $6 a day, for thirty-one days. That's $186 per person on the extreme cheap for one month. You've heard of the food stamp challenge-- success depends on where you live and what's available-- it's mostly impossible. You'll lose weight, you'll run out of everything by the second or third week, and starve throughout the end of the month. I know because I tried to live on less. Let's try not to.
These are symptoms of Hunger, Starvation, and Malnutrition: Depression, Anger, Rage, and Constant Fatigue. If you're ALWAYS sad, hopeless, volatile, and tired then you've been going hungry. It will affect everything, work, school, friendships, relationships, overall home life.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are arguably sometimes cheaper than frozen and canned, but first consider spoilage. If you live in a hot, humid climate or in an apartment where you have no air conditioning, no extra cold fridge, then fresh food won't last more than a day or two. (PBJ Sandwiches are cheap but bread molds easily even if refrigerated.)
Go with frozen and canned.
If you're vegan or vegetarian you won't have to worry because there's plenty of frozen and canned options. Garbanzo beans (or chickpeas) in the can will probably become your new friend. Frozen peas, carrots, and corn are also very versatile.
If you're an omnivore, prepare to buy meat, eggs, and dairy in small amounts per week rather than a lot of it at the beginning of the month. Canned tuna and beef jerky are great proteins to turn to. Everything else, such as ground beef, should be used and eaten within three days or else frozen.
A meal probably includes these two things: Protein and Carbohydrates.Per person
get at least
- 15lbs - 20lbs of Rice.
- 15 Cans of Beans (or Canned Tuna, or Canned Chicken).
- 15 Bags or Boxes of Whole Wheat Pasta Noodles.
- 30 Packets of Instant Oatmeal, or get 4 Boxes (read how many packets you get per box, sometime 8, sometimes it's 10 or even 12).
You're at the mercy of whatever store you can go to so I can't estimate how much this will cost. You'll have to figure that out. (If you don't have a fridge or a stove you're stuck with water, beef jerky, and Clif protein bars).
Calculate how much these basics will cost then deduct it from $186 - $200 (your budget). Whatever is left you may devote to other items on The List.
$400 a month ~ Two People
$600 a month ~ Three People
$800 a month ~ Four People...
Then there's your Rent, Car Insurance and Gas (or Bus Fare), Electric, Phone and Internet-- your bills whatever they may be.
Good luck! Hope it helps someone.