There was a time in my life where I had nothing, I had hit rockbottom a few times and I couldn’t even afford to buy a newspaper or a box of pasta. During those hard times I learned several ways to be frugal and live on much less:
When I didn’t have any money to buy laundry detergent, I used dish washing liquid. For small loads I used 1/2 capful and 1-2 capfuls for larger loads. Instead of using regular fabric softener, I used vinegar because it did the same job of softening my fabrics (plus it didn’t have any chemicals). The artificial fragrances you smell from fabric softeners is to mask the noxious odors used to create the fabric softeners. I used 1/2 cup of vinegar for small loads and 1 cup for larger loads.
To keep my food bill low, I did all my shopping at either Family Dollar, Dollar Tree or Walmart. Walmart’s Great Value Brand line costs cheaper than the brand name foods that they carry. At the Commack, NY Walmart store, a box of elbow pasta costs $1 USD and a small jar of Alfredo sauce costs $1.50 USD. When I was down to my last $10, I would buy pasta, sauce, rice, beans and luncheon meat to tide me over until I received my Food Stamps. If I went to Whole Foods, I bought their 365 Foods brand to cut down costs.
For those who receive Food Stamps (aka SNAP Benefits) and live on the East Coast, I shop regularly at Compare Supermarkets, Walmart and Trader Joes. People that know me personally know that I am a bargain shopper. I don’t care if someone calls me a cheapskate (thanks for the compliment!). I know what it’s like to have nothing and living on the streets, hungry and with zero help from anyone. My next post will have a list of organizations where people can go to for food, clothing and job placement.