Eating on Pennies

I grew up thinking I’d have a 4 bedroom home, 2 cats, a dog and 2 kids…that wasn’t exactly what happened so here’s my survival guides to eating, doing, and living in less than desirable circumstances.  I have one beautiful daughter that I’ve been able to keep alive with the help of 367.00 a month for food, and the generous gifts from my closest family even though we are miles, and miles apart. I live in FL alone and spend all day with my child looking for new experiences, new job, and new friendly faces. Good food, reading, and writing have been the keys to making my life satisfying during some of the most unsatisfying times.

1. Look for store closings: When the stores start liquidating ask them what they are doing with bulk cleaning supplies, garbage bags, paper goods. When my former husband lost his job he came home with 2 years worth of glass cleaner (still have about 500 concentrated packs left), 2000 garbage bags, and box with 78 rolls of toilet paper. What I learned visiting the old store was that very few people came in and inquired, I remember a gentlemen who wanted some shelfing, but all the rest of the items went home with us for free and have been a great help. At this time I haven’t had to buy garbage bags in 2.5 years, and still have more. Glass cleaner….send me your address and I will gladly send you some. It’s concentrated so each packet makes full bottle of blue glass cleaner.

2. Don’t go anywhere and waste gas unless you really, really need to. Enjoy fixing, modifying, prettying your home and surroundings, meet your neighbors, walk to park. It will be ok to do “not much” while you’re trying to get back on your feet. It may sound boring, compared to your old life, but find joy in the little things. The big trips, or plans for adventures down the road will seem all that more exciting.

3. Make sure you have a rubber spatula in your kitchen collection. If buying more utensils isn’t affordable, check out the dollar store, very frequently they are available for only one dollar plus tax. When you have far less money to spend on your family for meals now, take advantage of getting every last bit of food from your mayo, mustard, sauce bottles, jelly, jams and whatever else could give your meals that extra tasty kick. When the condiments start getting low, get out that scraper and make yourself a few more sandwiches. It is very satisfying when you find out you have two days MORE of  mayonnaise, an extra topping for your dinner, or more of anything once you reveal what’s really left in the bottle. When I throw something away, I know there’s not a spec of food left for the garbage, for ants, raccoons, or whatever else may enjoy your hard earned grocery shopping once you’ve thrown it away. If you were always told to clear your plate growing up, this is just another version of that phrase. Running out of some items doesn’t have to be so stressful anymore if you know there’s just enough for two or three more days.

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