Discussion Survival Guide to Poverty

Monooboe

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More and more people have harder and harder time getting through the month so I thought we should have a thread for tips and tricks on how to best make every euro count.

Personally the wakeup call came when I just lazily counted how much calories I ate and was shocked how much it was, no wonder I'm putting on so damn much weight. The culprit is rice. Since I often can't eat anything else than just rice because it's all I can afford, so I tend to eat a lot of it to feel any kind of fullness. So I was wondering how can one be both healthy and keep ones food budget under one euro per day?

In what ways are you struggling and what tricks have you come up with?
 

TubaZef

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Dec 19, 2018
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Avoid using credit cards, only buy stuff if you have the money now, don't leave it to later.

Start writing up everything you spend, and I really mean EVERYTHING. Helps giving you a better picture of how much you can afford and how much you already spent. There are some apps that can help you with that, I've been using this one simply called Wallet.
 

Hektor

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Also, some grocery stores and bakeries have sort of foodwaste programs where you can get products not good enough to be sold anymore for very cheap if not even free.
Because they throw a lot of fruits and veggies away when they have even a little bit of brown despite being still edible.

It's not something big chains tend to partake in tho
 

Maniac

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I've got tons of tips for Danes specifically, not quite sure how much of it is relevant for foreigners. Though, tbqf, in Denmark we basically have UBI anyway so everyone can afford food, some just need help with prioritisations.

Something I'd recommend is... Don't do a lash; don't buy games (for a +1 you wont play) instead of buying food. It's not the healthiest methodology around. :3
 
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Monooboe

Monooboe

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Yeah I don't really buy that much games when I know I won't have much money, usually when I have little extra I just buy a steam wallet thing. I've tried to budget better but every month there is something unexpected that messes everything up .
 
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C-Dub

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I lived on the poverty line for about 4 years after graduating from my MA. Had to work in an underpaying retail job and even with the staff discount (read: company scrip) every month was a struggle, to the point that I was £100-£300 in the red at the end of every month, and had to use next month's paltry payslip to pay it off before interest started accruing, leaving me short for the next four weeks and forcing me to accrue it again. But I was literally one week of sickness short of spiralling debt, and that's a horrifying position to be in.

My best and only advice: envelope method. Set a budget for each "thing", whether that be bills or food or whatever. Put your money in that "envelope" using either some sort of budgeting app, literally envelopes if it's cash, or if your bank has sort of "pots" feature (like Monzo) then use that. You will soon learn quickly what costs a lot and what doesn't in proportion to your monthly budget, and it helps you make difficult decisions about cutting back and prioritising.

That's easier said than done, of course, and I don't want to feel like I'm lecturing anyone about their poverty or circumstances.

In terms of food things: I'm not sure how much other food costs compared to rice where you live, but I can get things like beans and lots of different veg (courgettes, tomatoes, pak choi, greens, carrots, peas and sweetcorn were my go-tos) that may cost a bit more, but is less of a false economy than rice because it's more satisfying to eat. Also: batch cooking is your best friend.

I hope you manage to find some stabiltiy soon Monooboe.
 

Maniac

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I lived on the poverty line for about 4 years after graduating from my MA. Had to work in an underpaying retail job and even with the staff discount (read: company scrip) every month was a struggle, to the point that I was £100-£300 in the red at the end of every month, and had to use next month's paltry payslip to pay it off before interest started accruing, leaving me short for the next four weeks and forcing me to accrue it again. But I was literally one week of sickness short of spiralling debt, and that's a horrifying position to be in.

My best and only advice: envelope method. Set a budget for each "thing", whether that be bills or food or whatever. Put your money in that "envelope" using either some sort of budgeting app, literally envelopes if it's cash, or if your bank has sort of "pots" feature (like Monzo) then use that. You will soon learn quickly what costs a lot and what doesn't in proportion to your monthly budget, and it helps you make difficult decisions about cutting back and prioritising.

That's easier said than done, of course, and I don't want to feel like I'm lecturing anyone about their poverty or circumstances.

In terms of food things: I'm not sure how much other food costs compared to rice where you live, but I can get things like beans and lots of different veg (courgettes, tomatoes, pak choi, greens, carrots, peas and sweetcorn were my go-tos) that may cost a bit more, but is less of a false economy than rice because it's more satisfying to eat. Also: batch cooking is your best friend.

I hope you manage to find some stabiltiy soon Monooboe.
Batch cooking, meal prepping & being on the hunt for stuff that's discounted due to getting close to its expiration date is totally key. Doing well at the latter basically means you'll never be buying meat without at least a 30-40% discount ever again. Any beef product with one or two days before its best-before date can last months in a freezer. :3

(And all expiration dates are "inflated", so to speak. They're very conservative estimates for almost every single type of produce out there. They should never be accepted as an absolute truth & instead you should let common sense & your sense of smell & sight determine if somethings off or not)
 
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Monooboe

Monooboe

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One tip I have is to always check around for prices, I'm lucky that I live in Paris and there are stores everywhere, so I try go around and check which of them have sale on bananas at the moment because either stores sell bananas for 1.99euro/kilo or they are at 0.99euro/kilo. Outside of trying to have my meals cost one euro I do try to also have fruits everyday so it makes a huge difference.
 

Wok

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Prices for identical products can vary a lot from supermarket to supermarket, especially for fruit and vegetables. It can be close to twice the price.

And I have bought both products: it is exactly the same (origin, quality, even the little label which is stuck on some of them).
 

C-Dub

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Batch cooking, meal prepping & being on the hunt for stuff that's discounted due to getting close to its expiration date is totally key. Doing well at the latter basically means you'll never be buying meat without at least a 30-40% discount ever again. Any beef product with one or two days before its best-before date can last months in a freezer. :3

(And all expiration dates are "inflated", so to speak. They're very conservative estimates for almost every single type of produce out there. They should never be accepted as an absolute truth & instead you should let common sense & your sense of smell & sight determine if somethings off or not)
The reduced to clear section can be a false economy too, though. There's a lot of overpriced crap which, at 50% off, is still overpriced. I worked in a supermarket, so I've seen it all. People moaning about the cost of food then loading up their trollies with 20x £3.50 ready meals at 40-60% off thinking they're saving. They could make 20 meals like that far cheaper if they just bought the ingredients and batch-cooked it.

The deli counter reductions is another bad one - snacky foods at 50% off their counter price, when the exact same thing is sold for even cheaper in a pre-packaged form on the next aisle. And let me tell you, it's exactly the same thing. It comes in on the same delivery, and both come in similar shaped packaging. The big difference is one is white label packaging that counter staff open and present on the counter (and mark it up 200% compared to the pre-packed shit) and the other has some barcodes and labels on it and is sold in one of the fridges for less. Half the time stuff in the clearance fridges are just overstocks that came in the night before that aren't viable to send back due to short best before dates, and the supermarkets won't reduce it to a loss-making price until after the shop has closed, meaning only staff and foodbanks get the best picks.

In short, be sensible about what you're grabbing and don't get into a frenzy of it being reduced by 50% or whatever, because the supermarkets do fill their clearance fridges with overstocked crap at a small markdown to trick bargain hunters.
 

NarohDethan

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Thankfully commuting is free for me!:D Though now with transport strike I can't get anywhere.XD
Free commuting is great, because practically everyone else pays (and by consequence, works longer hours) to get to their jobs.
In theory one should have always a steady income flow, separate from our day to day jobs, in case shit hits the fan.

i guess it depends on what kind of poverty you’re on. If you’re literally destitute then one should grab as much government help as possible. If you have a lot of credit card debt, one should spend as little as humanely possible (that means near 0 entertainment I’m afraid) and throw every dollar at your debt.
I also recommend reading Mr. Money Mustache’s blog.


I’ve also adopted a more or less minimalist lifestyle. The problem with the word minimalism is that if you look at it on Google you’ll find a lot of empty rooms and some guy staring at the floor. Mine is more of a Marie Kondo style of minimalism (although she herself isnt a minimalist), just keeping what you love and get rid of the rest.
 
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texhnolyze

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Yeah, generally rice is not good for your health. On top of its high calories, it also contains high amount of sugar. As someone whose family has a long history of diabetes, I've been limiting my rice intake since last year. Bread and oatmeal are good for breakfast and they can fill me up until the evening. In the afternoon, I only eat a pack of fruits from the nearby supermarket. I only eat rice for dinner nowadays. This also helps immensely with my spendings, as fruits are pretty cheap compared to having something for lunch.

That said, in my experience the biggest offender is not meals. It's entertainment and leisure time. Besides video games, spending a Saturday in a mall to watch a movie and eat out may cost a full week of meals. It's worse if I decide to buy something that I might not really need while window shopping. Therefore, staying at home on weekends is the best advice I can give if you're low on extra money to spend. Also, choosing the best option for commuting is also important for me. Riding my bike to work costs 1/4 of riding my car, so I always try to use my bike outside of the rainy season.
 

Sakhr

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Limit calorie intake if you want to lose weight and save money by not buying a lot of food, though maybe that's not good in the long run after you lose weight.
Are there any good alternatives to rice in the same price range that might be more healthy? Potatoes?
Lentils are pretty cheap and have more fiber and protein that makes you feel fuller than rice. Have you also checked if there are centers or organized communities around your area that offer food or canned goods?
 
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Monooboe

Monooboe

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Limit calorie intake if you want to lose weight and save money by not buying a lot of food, though maybe that's not good in the long run after you lose weight.

Lentils are pretty cheap and have more fiber and protein that makes you feel fuller than rice. Have you also checked if there are centers or organized communities around your area that offer food or canned goods?
I do eat lentils! But with rice haha. But they are quite a bit more expensive than rice. Damn rice is such a good filler food.

I do go once a week go to a place where they hand out food, it's not much, maybe food for one or two meals, but it's something!
 
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Sakhr

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I do eat lentils! But with rice haha. But they are quite a bit more expensive than rice. Damn rice is such a good filler food.

I do go once a week go to a place where they hand out food, it's not much, maybe food for one or two meals, but it's something!
I usually mix up lentils with other food such as eggs, but yeah that sucks. Are potatoes much more expensive than rice? Because a 2 kilo pack of potatoes should last you decently and are relatively healthy in comparison.
 
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Monooboe

Monooboe

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I usually mix up lentils with other food such as eggs, but yeah that sucks. Are potatoes much more expensive than rice? Because a 2 kilo pack of potatoes should last you decently and are relatively healthy in comparison.
I heard potatoes keep you fuller for longer also. I mean I grew up with potatoes so I should know but never really reflected on it. I do think potatoes are a bit more expensive, but not much. Like 1kg of rice I can find for something like 0.80€ and maybe 1kg of potatoes might be like little over 1€, so not a huge difference.
 
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Monooboe

Monooboe

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Something I realized will be difficult, coffee! I tried to go for cheaper coffee but couldn't find any that was even halfbad. So seems coffee will be a an expense that one can't cheap on.
 
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Monooboe

Monooboe

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Brown rice instead of white rice. It's healthier and you need less to feel satisfied. Same for spaghetti.

A great alternative I like is Ebly, it's some kind of grain that tastes delicious when boiled.
I've been searching for brown rice but I really can't find them in stores in Paris.o_O I used to eat that back in Sweden so I find it little strange that aren't any here.
 
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Monooboe

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Funny, last month I bought a bunch of rice, cans of beans and lentils and such for a month. I counted to see how much I need to stock up on for this month and turns out I barely touched it last month haha, so I'm set for this month.:D (which is good since this month is going to be tough!)

Just need to stock up on coffee and then make a plan so that I can have fruits everyday.
 

Li Kao

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You joke but I have noticed a clear comparable trend !

At the supermarket I often see people weight their vegetables / fruits, put the sticker with the price that comes out of the scale, then put some more in the bag before closing it. You also have to scan the products in the one I go to, and baguettes have no barcode, so you have to tell the cashier you took some and how many. I wouldn't be surprised that with a full cart some people forget they have taken some.
I may or may not have a case of bread amnesia, myself. Not proud of it, but it is what it is. Never done the vegetable thing, I have my limits.

Damn it, stealing bread, right out of a 19th century drama.
 
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Monooboe

Monooboe

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I figured a good way to constantly have a good idea on your budget and see if it will last. At the beginning I take everything I have money wise after bills and divide it by how many days until next time I get money, That way I have a daily budget and if I happen to spend too much I just recalculate and adapt . Right now at the end of the month I have a budget of 2€ per day but I've already done groceries. Somehow instead of thinking how I will manage with 15€ for over a week it's much easier to think on a daily budget.
 
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Monooboe

Monooboe

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I ALMOST made it through the month having money everyday. Spent my last 2€ on bananas today. Just have to spend tomorrow without money and then have some again. I'm getting better at this. (I just have to never buy clothes or anything important again haha)
 
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Monooboe

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Are there any good ways to maximise how much one gets and pays for music streaming? I've done the thing where I jump from a trial on one service to the next but now I have nowhere left to go haha. I know spotify sometimes has that offer to get three months for the price of one and deezer has similar but doesn't seem to be available now.

So how to get music on the cheap?
 

ISee

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Are there any good ways to maximise how much one gets and pays for music streaming? I've done the thing where I jump from a trial on one service to the next but now I have nowhere left to go haha. I know spotify sometimes has that offer to get three months for the price of one and deezer has similar but doesn't seem to be available now.

So how to get music on the cheap?
Maybe a combination of a local, virtual windows 10 machine and a VPN could give you an unlimited amount of trials?
Of course you'd need to find a VM that's not on the "block" list and way cheaper than the streaming service in the first place.
I once read an article about setting up your own VPN through amazon and it was rather cheap...

But I have no idea if that would work in the first place tbh! Pretty sure more clever people than me already thought about that solution in the first place.
 
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Monooboe

Monooboe

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Maybe a combination of a local, virtual windows 10 machine and a VPN could give you an unlimited amount of trials?
Of course you'd need to find a VM that's not on the "block" list and way cheaper than the streaming service in the first place.
I once read an article about setting up your own VPN through amazon and it was rather cheap...

But I have no idea if that would work in the first place tbh! Pretty sure more clever people than me already thought about that solution in the first place.
I think the trials are tied to email and bankcard, moreso to bankcard. So it would be lots of setting up to get more trials, at that point it would be just easier to start pirating flacs again haha.
 

ISee

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I think the trials are tied to email and bankcard, moreso to bankcard. So it would be lots of setting up to get more trials, at that point it would be just easier to start pirating flacs again haha.
I see.
That's how much experience I have with trial hopping...