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Mad Poster
Original Poster
#1 Old 1st Nov 2015 at 11:04 AM Last edited by PANDAQUEEN : 1st Nov 2015 at 11:31 AM.
Default Cutting Costs personally
I am on a limited budget, but that goes without saying. Because I pay about half my paycheck to live, I don't eat out often by myself.

(note: I did not disclose any specific information.)

But I do get money to buy food. If I want snacks, I hop on the bus and go to the Dollar store as food money is accepted there.

What other cost cutting measures do you do to survive?

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#2 Old 1st Nov 2015 at 11:27 AM
Sometimes my parents collect vouchers for their shopping.
They also used to use Tesco club card, which is a card that you earn so many points on for each item you purchase then at the end at the month they would receive a leaflet of vouchers in the post in which they used next time they went shopping.
The vouchers are based on item that they commonly purchase so most of the vouchers were usable and they never got any vouchers for an items they would never even purchase. Although I'm not too sure about that as it's been years since my parents have used Tesco club card.

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#3 Old 1st Nov 2015 at 11:46 AM
To wash my hair, I use baking soda and vinegar instead of shampoo. A pack of baking soda is about 50 cents. A gallon of vinegar is a few dollars. A few packs and a gallon of ACV will last for a few months. Overall, it's far cheaper than buying even the generic-brand shampoo and conditioner, and my hair actually looks better now.

For most skincare, coconut oil. Works really well with the skin, and it can also be used as a deep conditioner for the hair. It's also possible to use coconut oil, baking soda, and some hydrogen peroxide to make your own toothpaste.

Generic brands are another big thing. I recently had to get some allergy medication. The brand names cost around $30. The generic cost $3.

Speaking of the allergies, hankies instead of tissues. Pure cotton hankies feel as nice as the more expensive tissues, but they're one-time instead of recurring and don't contribute to the landfills. Doesn't take up much space to put them in with the normal laundry, so no further costs that I wouldn't already be making. I use them mostly for allergy sneezes, which barely have any germs.

Oh, and for the period, menstrual cups instead of pads or tampons. I bought my cup a few years ago for around $30. I've probably saved over $500 since then, because of how much my uterus hates me. There are also reusable pads for people who don't feel comfortable with the cups.

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#4 Old 1st Nov 2015 at 12:01 PM
My partner and I save money by -

1. Never having the radiators (central heating) on, we use a very small electric heater if if gets that cold and it doesn't cost as much. We have it on less for the cold (we have blankets) and more for the dampness that happens on the bedding when it's too cold.

2. We don't smoke or drink, and while this is more a lifestyle choice than a money saving one, it does save a LOT of money.

3. make a budget plan, and say you'll only spend £20 a week on food, only carry that much around with you and put the rest of the money away somewhere really awkward to get out so that if you get the urge to take another couple of quid for something small it'll put you off. (well, this helps me )

I used to have loads but since living in our new flat, honestly we've been good for money. Who we are as people just naturally keeps us from spending more money than we have, like we never go out, and we get take-out like once a month. my eating disorder and my partners vegetarianism makes our food bills lighter than most peoples. even the phone, internet, gas and electric bills I carefully compared all the prices so they're very cheap.

I think a lot of saving is just common sense.
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#5 Old 1st Nov 2015 at 12:20 PM
I'll warn you all ahead of time, this is going to be a long post. At one time I was feeding 4 male teenagers, a grown man and myself.. so I've learned to look for ways to save on our groceries. I'm not one of those extreme couponers but I am an extreme "hell yeah, that's a great deal!!" shopper. I still spend about $350 (if that?) a month to feed myself and 3 young men but that's not too bad considering the fact that their main function in our house seems to be "human garbage disposal". And this is all pretty much about food/non-food shopping but that's because we just don't have a lot of needs otherwise. The only bills I have are rent, electricity and cable. I don't have (or want) a credit card, I don't get the newspaper... most of the stuff we might need (like clothes) we ask for as birthday/Christmas presents. I cut my kids' hair and don't get mine cut until it's long enough to donate.. I might be one of the cheapest people I know.

Coupons of course! I get them in the mail from Kroger (shopper's card - and I get coupons for stuff I actually buy), online from Kroger and once in a while I'll buy our local Saturday paper or one of the "big" Sunday papers for the coupons in them. (One of our stores actually has a couple of them for $1 instead of their regular prices.. regular prices that I have no idea what they actually are.)

I also pay attention to sales, especially at Kroger because their coupons are almost always linked to sale items, and don't shop at just 1 store. Fruits and vegetables are cheaper at Aldi 99.9% of the time so I get those there. Just about every canned item there is just as good as name brand and... well, I guess I should just admit that most of my shopping is done at Aldi because the quality of their food really is pretty good. (And if you don't like something, they'll refund you!) Meats I get where ever they're on sale the cheapest. If I happen to be in a town with a Save-A-Lot, I'll get meats there because they have a 5 for $19.99 deal - you can get fresh meats and a lot of frozen things but I usually stick with the fresh stuff. . if you can get the biggest package they have it won't matter what it's marked because it'll still be (roughly) $4.00. (So yes, I look for packages that are marked a lot more than that, lol.)

"Manager's specials" (marked down because the sell-by date is close) are a favorite haunt of mine. I tend to avoid any dairy products but most anything else is fair game. My kids love take-n-bake pizza. I got a couple of pizzas at Wal-Mart once for the price of 1. One of my kids loves Chinese food and I've gotten one of his favorites for half price more than once. The marked-down bakery cart? How else would we know that chocolate covered cinnamon rolls are the best thing ever? (No way I'd pay what the full price is for those even though they ARE awesome!)

My kids think junk food *needs* to exist in our house so I usually get that stuff at one of the dollar stores we have - Dollar General, Family Dollar or Dollar Tree. The only time I really buy name brand snacks is if I can get them really cheap (Kroger is good for that when they have sales) or I just have to have some Doritos. Real Doritos because the off brand will never get that cheese flavor "just right".

The only other way I'm cheap thrifty is BREAD. I'm the pickiest person I know when it comes to bread. Bread is not supposed to be mushy, it shouldn't feel like raw dough when you're chewing it (Butternut, I'm looking at you and your white sandwich bread, yuck!) Bread is supposed to have a texture. Bread is not supposed to get soggy when I butter my toast! Bread is supposed to have character! Sadly, most of the bread I really like is expensive. So I get it from our local food pantry. Stores give them the bread they're going to just throw out and the food pantry gives it away. Bread, bagels, English muffins, flatbread, pizza crust.. if it's in the bread aisle (or in the bakery) it'll be there. And so will I, lol.

P.S. When it comes to non-food stuff, I'm a wimp. There are certain things/brands that I just have to have and DO get them when they're on sale.. but.. yeah, I'm a wimp. But you know what? That $10.00 body wash will last me all year since you only need a couple of drops, compared to the $1.00 Dollar Tree version that will be gone in a couple of weeks. So maybe I'm a smart wimp? :D
Mad Poster
#6 Old 1st Nov 2015 at 1:03 PM
You can save a lot on groceries by cooking meals in large batches - think soups, stews, casseroles - and freezing left-overs. Dishes made with a bean base are cheaper than those made with meat. The grocery here sells produce that is about to go past it's optimal freshness at a reduced rate. You can find some good things so long as you are willing to use it immediately. Red peppers can be cut up and frozen, bananas can be peeled and frozen (and used in smoothies and baking or mixed with yogurt). Eggplant is great roasted as are green beans with a drizzle of olive oil. There is a bin for beets that don't have their tops that is significantly less than the beets that have greens attached. Large quantities of veggies packaged together are cheaper than the smaller one. Loose mushrooms are usually cheaper than the packaged one.

Avoid single serving items: cooking oatmeal from larger quantities is less expensive than buying little packets of single servings, for example. The same goes for yogurt. Get a reusable container and buy the large container of yogurt and either fresh or frozen fruit. Put a little in with a sweetener of your choice.

You have to know your stores. One item might be cheaper at one store, but the rest aren't. When you use a store circular, buy the stuff on sale but be aware that they often raise the price of other items to make that up (I've worked in retail before and this is a common practice). Check prices and unit pricing to find the best deals. Generic or store brands are often good substitutes, but not always. A little brand loyalty is not a bad thing at all, but if it dominates your shopping list, you'll lose by buying equivalent products at higher prices than you need to.

I rarely, if ever, buy clothes from a retail store. Most of what I wear comes from the thrift store, including my shoes, handbags, gloves, and hats, winter coats...most things, as I said. There are so many bargains at the dollar store for household cleaning items, a few food items, and stationary, that I rarely visit Staples. Our dump has a place for leaving off and picking up excess stuff that's still good. They also have a place for books. I make ample use of these.
Mad Poster
#7 Old 1st Nov 2015 at 1:21 PM Last edited by simmer22 : 1st Nov 2015 at 3:32 PM.
I usally look at price tags to see the price per kilo or per item, because you don't always see that on the actual price. Sometimes the more expensive product actually gives you more for the money. I buy the cheapest products with the larger quantity wherever I can - but if a more expensive product taste or work better, I go for the quality rather than quantity. But if I only need a little for that one time, or it's lots of food I know I won't have a chance of eating up, I don't buy a huge package of something - I'd rather not have to throw it away. Buying food on sale and freezing down is also a good idea, as is buying food that lasts for a while. I also take advantage of date-sales as long as it's stuff that last beyond the date (I'm careful with meat and dairy and suspicious-looking fresh food, but other stuff is fair game).

If you have lots of leftovers from veggies or meat you can't use for anything else, make an omelette. Eggs aren't that expensive, and they're very nutritious. Plus, you don't have to throw away stuff all the time. Combining veggies and meat leftovers in a stew at the end of the week is also a good idea.

Don't buy more than you actually plan to use, and try to think forward, so base ingredients like veggies or meat is actually used up instead of throwing away the leftovers. Making more food and freezing down can save you lots of money in the long run. Things like canned tomatoes last longer than fresh tomatoes, so you can easier stck up without having to throw away food. If you have a freezer, use it or what it's worth, paprticularly if you're shopping for one.

I also try to be careful with what I buy of non-food stuff. Do I really need it now, and/or can it wait until Christmas or my birthday? I also tend to buy books on the net, where they often are cheaper.

I never eat out unless I have to, or get invited, or invite someone for a special occasion. Eating out is a huge money drain, and it's usually a lot cheaper and sometimes a whole lot faster to make food at home.

Alcohol and tobacco habits are also bad for the economy (and health). Since I've never adopted those habits, I don't intend to either. That's money I can use on more sensible things (like stocking up my library or buying snacks for the weekend). For the price of a wine bottle I can eat well for a week, and a box of cigarettes a day can be up to two months' worth of pay for a somewhat low-paid job, which is better used on other things. As a student in an environment where people love their parties, I see a lot of people drinking up a large amount of their student loan. Sometimes I have a feeling I'm pretty much the only one who actually have money left at the end of the month - and that's without working extra.

For clothes and shoes - don't buy it unless you actually need something new. Use and fix what you already have before considering buying something new. I tend to 'use up' clothes, degrading them to PJs and such when they look a bit too bad for public use. I do buy clothes as new, but usually in the cheaper shops. I also hate shopping for clothes, which helps a lot, so I rarely buy more than 4-5 pieces of clothing a year.

And finally - use cash as much as possible for small purchases. If you actually see the money you're using, instead of swiping a card all the time, you get more of a sense of what you actually use, and it's often easier to restrict yourself. Using a card distances you more easily from the feel of using money.
Mad Poster
#8 Old 1st Nov 2015 at 3:14 PM
I've been living with my Fiancé for 2 years now and these are what I did to avoid running out of money:

- Avoid buying things. Unless it's something you actually need. I have a big love of plush toys, dolls and piggybanks, to the point where I've ran out of storage space for them. So when I see a really cute plush or something, I have to tell myself no. The exception to this is Comic-con, but even then I only really let myself buy 1 big plush.

- Clothes are cheaper from charity shops / thrift stores. I've never bought something brand new in my town (other than underwear). It's all either from a charity shop or I've bought it while in my home city (because they have a primark and thats the only place that sells clothes without huge shoulders)

- Avoid snacking. This is just a general good life lesson. When I really want to save money I buy £1-£1.50 microwave meals, but that's not very healthy. So I don't do that unless I'm seriously trying to save up for something. I give myself and my fiancé £3 for snacks. Which usually means I buy fancy Wensleydale Cheese and some yogurt or a cinnamon bun, and he buys Prawn cocktail crisps (which he will inevitably eat within the day and then go out and buy more). - Don't buy food when you're hungry otherwise you end up wanting everything.

- Don't have your heaters on. If it's cold, put on a sweater or get a blanket. Hot water isn't even on most of the time in my house, unless dishes are getting washed or someones in the shower. That being said, I live in a beach town... but still it's in Britain so yknow.

- Freebie websites. Usually they have coupons and deals on them. Also sometimes if you want to try a product out, it's a good idea to check on there. I bought lipstick from there recently as a 'free sample' because there's no point me buying proper lipstick considering I'm only going to use it once and it was exactly the same lipstick I'd spend £7 on... so yknow. It's also where I discovered this really nice shampoo 'Aussie', but at £4 a bottle I'm using Dove (£1) now instead. But I miss how Aussie made my hair feel

~Your friendly neighborhood ginge
#9 Old 3rd Nov 2015 at 7:28 PM
My biggest money saving philosophy is to cut out or reduce as many recurring payments as possible. That would be anything you have to pay a monthly bill on. It's probably impractical for normal people, but it works for me. Here is what I've done:

1. No cell phone bill. I use a prepaid phone, "pay per minute", so I only pay for what I use. Nobody calls me anyway. I literally only put $10/year into my cell phone service - the minimum to keep it alive, and I manage to carry over minutes too. I guess that's kind of a testament to how socially barren I am. Well, most of the time I don't use my cell phone anyway. If somebody calls me, I return their call when they get home. If it's not an emergency, they can wait 15-minutes or an hour, or whatever. This is a HUGE cost savings because a lot of people I know are paying something like $70/month for cell phone service! Insane!

2. Google Voice for texting. Since I'm on prepaid as mentioned, I get charged for incoming/outgoing texts to my phone. Most of the time I'm sitting in front of a computer anyway, so I use Google Voice to send/receive texts from my computer for free. On my phone, I use Google Voice app to send/receive texts for free when I have Wifi.

3. Google Voice for "landline". I use a box called an Obihai Obi200 (a $30 one time cost) that plugs into my broadband router, connect it to Google Voice, then plug a landline phone into that and I have the functional equivalent of a 100% free landline phone. This is why I'm not dependent on a cell phone and why I can wait to get home to return phone calls.

4. Cheapest broadband internet. 3Mbps is all I use, because it's $30/month. I don't need, or want, to pay more for faster internet. 3Mbps is plenty fast enough. If I could get slower, cheaper internet, I probably would. I was getting by just fine on 768k DSL for $20/month, but they kept raising the price up to $35 so it turned out the 3Mbps for $30 was cheaper.

5. No cable or satellite TV. Those get really expensive too, I have rabbit ears antennas like the old days and pull in HDTV for free. It's much better picture quality anyway. For my serial TV show addiction, I just download them.

6. No Netflix or other streaming service. If I want to watch a movie, I can borrow them on DVD for free from the local library. They also get new releases. It's necessary to get on a waiting list for new releases at the library, but I'm patient.

7. I don't buy snacks. I buy all my food from the grocery store weekly. What I buy then, is all I can eat. Now I do go to restaurants once in awhile for pleasure reasons, but I NEVER buy anything from vending machines, convenience stores, etc.

8. I buy EVERYTHING with cashback credit cards, I never use cash for any reason. I use a Discover Card and Bank of America Cash Rewards card. I've never had a problem with disciplined spending, so if you do this might not work, but I only buy what I need, and what I can afford. Then I pay off the card in FULL every month (very important). That way, I never owe any fees or pay any interest. After awhile, that cash back adds up. Basically, I get FREE MONEY just from making my regular purchases that I needed to make anyway.

9. When I buy online, I also use click-through sites that give cashback, like Ebates, Befrugal, Fatwallet, etc. There are a bunch of different ones. It's just a few cents every time, but it does add up.

10. Doubt too many people here do this, but I fix my own car. I change my own oil, replace anything that's broken, and it ends up being a HUGE money saver because labor is something like $75/hr. I've managed to keep the same 26yr old heap on the road for 21yrs now. The only time it's been in a shop is for safety inspection. I know most people think of a car as disposable, but pretty much if you keep throwing parts at it, it'll last forever. And of course, NO CAR PAYMENT.

11. I also turn the thermostat down in the winter (to around 67F) and up in the summer (to around 75F). It does leave me a little cool in the winter and warm in the summer, but I've heard it's good to do.

12. I live in darkness. Well, at home I'm usually either in front of the computer, TV, or using my tablet. There's no reason for lights on at night.

Resident wet blanket.
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#10 Old 4th Nov 2015 at 3:14 AM
Besides the basic "Wait for a sale!" thing going on in my life, I use free alternatives to software whenever possible. I haven't found a proper substitute for Flash yet, I would have liked to find a program with the ability to trace bitmaps and not break the entire tracing into different layers like Inkscape.

My dad noticed something unusual after all the house computers were fitted with uninterrupted power supplies. It saved on the bills. He thinks it's because the home electricity is now regulated.

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#11 Old 4th Nov 2015 at 3:31 AM
As far as food goes, I have a hard time budgeting because I'm allergic to corn. I don't know about in other countries, but in the states, almost everything has some form of corn byproduct in it (corn syrup, cornmeal, dextrose, maltodextrin, etc.) It's hard to find prepackaged things I can eat and when I do, it's expensive because most of the brands I can eat are super small local organic brands.

As far as everything else goes, most of my clothes are either from the thrift store or bought while on sale (Kohl's has some amazing clearance sales, so I don't have to worry about my wardrobe always looking like the 80s spewed all over it.) I don't do makeup except lipstick and nail polish, so I spend virtually nothing on it. My hair isn't a huge concern but I do buy a good shampoo since my hair is a complete wreck. Sometimes I color it but not often.

Things like books, DVDs and video games are almost always used or on clearance. There are a few shops that sell and trade used books scattered throughout the state so that's good.

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Mad Poster
#12 Old 4th Nov 2015 at 11:31 AM
I save money on cell phone bills by not having one. There is always somebody home should one of those 'important' calls come in.

My son and I have many food allergies, so we don't go out to eat. When we do, it is once every few months and we go to our favorite place as they don't cook with things that cause allergic reactions.

I'm not a fan of going to the movies. I'm not a movie watcher in general, and listening to people talk on their phone, yelling at the screen or chewing with their mouths open is not my idea of a good time. Occasionally hubby and my son will go to a movie, but it is rare as they're never impressed with the nonsense that goes on at movie theaters either.

I will use coupons, but not as much as I used to for a few reasons:

Coupons for food-based items is for mostly prepackaged foods that my son and I cannot eat. They are loaded with corn, soy and other things that causes one type of reaction or another. The other food-based coupons are usually for things like candy and other junk food that doesn't need to be in the house. Baking is something I like to do, so if there is a need for junk food, it may as well be junk food where I control the ingredients and know exactly what is in it. Fresh baked bread gets more attention than a batch of cookies in my house. A small loaf will last maybe 2 days if I'm lucky. I have to hide it if I want any.

Here in the US there are drug stores that have a point or reward systems. You spend X amount of dollars, and in exchange, you will be given a reward that has a dollar value if you buy specific items or points which have a dollar amount. Either way, these points or rewards can only be used at the stores where they came from and they can save a person lots of money. A couple of years ago it was not uncommon for me to walk out of our local CVS having spent nothing out of pocket as I would use these rewards and combine them with coupons.

The problem became like issue I have with with food coupons. Many times the products that are required to be bought in order to get the reward did not agree with somebody in the house. I had 10 things of laundry detergent that I got for free, but couldn't use them because they would make somebody in the house break out in a rash. All of those went to work with hubby and whoever could use / needed them, took them home.

The same thing applies to skin care products, shampoo, deodorants, ect... i used to think I was saving on things like paper towels and toilet paper only to find out otherwise. In the end, it was costing me more in newspapers and gas than what I was actually saving in cash, so I either used up or gave away all the stuff I had stockpiled and haven't gone back to that method of shopping since.

Most things that can be purchased in the US are usually are part of a sale cycle . Oatmeal is really cheap this year for example as advertisers are playing into the upcoming new year where people decide to eat better as part of their new years resolutions.

Hanging out laundry or making use of laundry racks saves cash on electricity bills. Unplugging things that are not needed also saves money as it cuts the cord to phantom loads. Phantom loads do not typically cost a person lots of money, but over the course of a year it can add up to a lot more than people think.

Using cash to buy things instead of a credit card. There have been many studies done that suggest that people spend more than they would if they used cash. If a person has $10.00 in cash, they can only spend $10.00. If they have a credit card, more often than not, they would spend more than $10.00.

Have a budget, but make sure there is play money in the budget as well. That money can be saved or spent, but it prevents one from feeling deprived of buying something that is not necessary.

Going to the library saves a reader lots of cash.

Pay off debt. Money is always better in your pocket than the bank that gets it's loan at 0% interest.

Many people cannot afford to buy a vehicle with cash and need a vehicle to have income. If you have buy and have to get a loan, buy what you can afford and pay off ASAP. Cars lose value as soon as they leave the lot, so paying interest on something that is depreciating in value the more it is used doesn't make much sense.

I love lounging around with a good magazine, but most of them are 80% ads. I'm not willing to pay $7.00 - $10.00 for little content, so if I'm interested in something, I'll search the internet. It's cheaper, doesn't cause clutter and is usually far more interesting.

Recycling and reusing stuff saves money. Instead of getting rid of a piece of furniture because the color clashes with the rest of the room, paint it. Mason jars are cheap and have many uses. They can be used a vase for flowers, a drinking glass, for pickling, ect...

I love IKEA as much as the next person, but the quality is shady sometimes. Behind me is a desk I bought a number of years ago from IKEA. It is made out of particle board and the center of it is now bowed. The unfinished desk I bought to put my computer on is made from wood and cost me less in the long run as I'll never have to replace it. Stores like that are good for something things and not so much for others.

I'm sure if I sat around long enough I could think of plenty more, but I'm hungry.
#13 Old 5th Nov 2015 at 5:53 AM
I just think it's a really good idea not to buy, on a whim, random crap you'll never use. There is no such thing as ''Oh I might need this!" - You never need it. Save your money.
I never buy newspapers or magazines. I can get all the media I want online.
I never go grocery shopping with a fixed ideas of what I want to cook in my head - I buy what's in season, what looks good and what's plentiful on the day.
I always buy the best quality clothing I can afford, I find they last longer than cheaping out on quality. With shampoo, deodorants, etc., I don't cheap out here either. Sorry. Same with wine. I'm making no excuses.
I'll go to second hand stores and flea markets for quirky decor pieces no one else will have at the fraction of the cost of some mass produced rubbish. I bought a beautiful old desk (the desk I use now, mahogany wood with a green leather top) for $400 - a reproduction of it costs over $1000 - develop your own style and don't slavishly follow trends. I also buy furniture I know I can upcycle and sell on for a profit. I can get a table for $15, rework it and sell it for $100.

I am a strong believer in these words from William Morris : "If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." Everything else. Get rid of it and never buy it again.
Mad Poster
#14 Old 5th Nov 2015 at 12:40 PM
Buy groceries from the local 'discount' grocery store-and buy in bulk if you can.

Always pay down any credit card debt ahead of the payment schedule, if you can afford it. It makes them happy, and keeps your credit score intact-it'll even improve. On that note, do not max out those cards for more than you can afford to repay. It's a vicious circle if you enter it, and you can't get out of it easily. Simple rule: ask yourself if your paycheck is going to actually cover that debt you just incurred?

As for electronics, I'm one of the few lucky ones in life-I have a husband who fixes computers-got my brand new one all rigged out for less than $200 and it has Win7, a new graphics card and a terabyte of HD space, running on a 64 bit machine. If you have someone you know who does fix computers, ask them nicely if they can do the same next time you need one done. (it helps if you can pay them some money for their time and effort.)

I usually don't buy new furniture or actually anything-flea markets are good for finding bargains.

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#15 Old 5th Nov 2015 at 6:09 PM Last edited by tsyokawe : 16th Nov 2015 at 2:55 PM. Reason: strike-outs needed and two words replaced
Originally Posted by PANDAQUEEN
I am on a limited budget, but that goes without saying. Because I pay about half my paycheck to live...

I wasn't going to respond to this, because I couldn't tell if you were being ironic.
You write that only half of your paycheck goes to living expenses. You are very fortunate to have so much money left over.
And I've noticed in several of your posts that you are in a position to spend a considerable amount of money on hobbies (like your dolls).

But I think you are trying to help those of us who do have tight budgets,
by starting a thread where we might share tips based on our experiences. Thank you for that.

As someone who has experienced lived in both comfort, and abject extreme poverty, I can share a few tips:

1. Spend as little as you can on new items. So much of that money leaves your community, anyway.
Instead, buy second-hand. Check the newspaper, check out your local thrift stores, or barter/trade with other members of your family/community.
2. If you have a bus system in your area, use it. And/or use your bike (weather permitting). If you must buy a car, buy a reliable second-hand car.
3. Organize or join an informal co-op, and buy your food and household supplies as a group.
4. Get together with one or more other cooks. Pick a day or two each month. Take turns using your ovens.
Work together. Pool resources. Bring your bake ware, your food containers, and your share of the ingredients.
Spend a few hours producing a recipe in bulk that can be frozen.
5. Grow your own vegetables. Even if you l live in an apartment, if you have sunny windows, you can plant in containers.
6. If you don't already know how, learn to sew. Mending early can save many garments from early disposal.
7. Don't toss worn clothes. Instead recycle the fabric, the buttons, and the zippers. You can use the fabric to make pillow shams, cloth dolls, stuffed animals, patchwork quilts, doll's clothes, or children's cloths.
8. If you're chilled, put on a sweater and a knit cap. You can save HUNDREDs on your heating bill, and your sinuses will thank you. If you need heat in
the bathroom for when you're bathing or showering, invest in a small ceramic heater - they cost about 25 bucks, and they heat rapidly.
9. Drink plenty of water. If you're just a pint low, your immune system is like 30% less effective. And exercise. You don't have to run a marathon or
join some gym. Just walk. Try to walk for 15 to 30 minutes, three times a day. Staying healthy can help prevent medical bills.
10. Floss after meals. If you can't floss for some reason, then rinse your mouth with fresh water. Not only might you prevent a cavity, you will help reduce
your chances for gum disease. Visits to the dentist are costly, too.
11. Use your local library for games, CDs, DVDs, and reading material.
12. Volunteer. Because volunteering will help remind you that you are not alone in your troubles. Because it can also help you to network with other people who share your problems.
Because you might learn a marketable skill - one that would afford you more money for food and shelter. Volunteer because it's the human thing to do, and if you have children,
you'll be teaching your children that it's the human thing to do.
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