Survival is a skill when you’re poor. With everything costing money you don’t have, people with limited incomes discover helpful hacks to make it to the next paycheck without losing it all.
Here are some of the best tips for surviving when you’re poor.
Tide costs a small fortune. Thankfully, cheaper options get things just as clean. Vinegar, baking soda, and Dawn dish soap will keep most of your stuff clean without the extra costs of name-brand specialty products.
Most of us use paper towels for casual cleaning, but the cost of these disposable products is too much for the poorest among us. Instead, they use old towels and clothing as cleaning rags.
Rice and Beans
The inexpensive mix of carbs and protein provides most of your nutritional needs without busting your budget.
Sleeping can offer a much-needed respite from boredom and hunger. Poor college kids often take naps to alleviate hunger pains and wait until they can get a meal the next day.
Events with Free Food
Check your city for local art gallery openings, art walks, and other events offering patrons snacks and beverages. Scoring a tiny amount of free food from these events can help keep the hunger pains at bay.
When our stomachs rumble due to hunger, filling them with anything, even water, can ease the pain. Adding salt or sugar to the water is essential if you do this regularly due to a lack of food.
Take Advantage of Things Restaurants Give Out
You can usually grab ketchup, napkins, utensils, and other items for free when you order fast food. Most employees don’t care if you take a few extras.
Many people will casually take things from restaurants but refuse to go to a service specifically designed to help them. There’s no shame in visiting the food bank if you can’t afford to feed yourself. That’s why food banks exist.
When you’re poor, the library is your best friend. You can use their computers, access community programs, use the restroom, and get a little downtime in the temperature-controlled building.
Some community libraries offer far more than books for rent. Users say they’ve seen everything from dishware to bikes available at their local library.
Unhoused people keep their gym memberships to access showers, lockers, and restrooms. People who sleep in their car can use the membership to maintain basic hygiene.
Poverty isn’t shameful. Millions of people face the same struggles. The people who do best are the ones who find a community of folks struggling just like them and band together to get through it.
We love our windows, but they’re substantial energy drains when you can’t afford heating and cooling. Aluminum foil reflects heat out over the summer, and plastic sheeting provides a nice layer of insulation in the winter.
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Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.