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tips for living below poverty line

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pay your bills first, divide remainder into four of which each is your weekly allotment for food , entertainment, and clothes and such.
buy food in bulk and freeze in small packages. I often take my own tea bag to the coffee shop and just ask for hot water...it's free.

Posted by: Catherine Ann Narsted | September 15th, 2009

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Thank you for starting this, Catherine! I think that in these tough, uncertain times, whether we're below the poverty line or not, we need to be pro-active and save/conserve where we can. I can't remember the last time I ate in a restaurant (except the odd Starbucks visit and that's very rare as I can't drink tea/coffee and I can easily make my own herb tea drinks). I seldom liked the restaurant experience enough to justify the expense (I'm a celiac so there's not much available for me that isn't loaded with gluten somewhere) AND I can cook better at home, knowing what's in the dish, and not have to wait in line for the privilege of dumping my wallet.

Also, remember the old saw: reduce, re-use, and recycle. We really don't need all that consumerism; it's just the advertising and marketing convincing us that we do. One thing that I read somewhere: if you have relatives/friends/acquaintances who grew up in the Depression era, pick their brains. They can be a wealth of information when it comes to saving and making a little do a lot--and they'll love you for it.

Make full use of your public library. Then if you find a book that is a real "must have" you can buy it, but not just buying willy-nilly. I'm an avid reader, so I do this a lot. Our condo (and I know others do it, too) has a "lobby library" where people put their unwanted books and magazines and others borrow (and, unfortunately, sometimes keep) them. I have both borrowed and donated. It's all informal: just books in a cupboard in the lobby.

When you feel exceptionally "flush" (maybe a small cash windfall or you were able to avoid an expense where you didn't expect to, for example) buy yourself a gift card from the store. Don't necessarily use it right away, but set it aside for something you want/need and use it at a time when you don't have the money, or really feel the need of a 'boost'.

I hope others will jump in here with ideas! Again, thanks, Catherine!

Posted by: Tara | September 16th, 2009

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I was poor when I was raising my kids so Im able to use many of the things I learned along the way. I would suggest a christmas idea. Start in January and along with those bargains you find over the year buy a small gift card you can add $10 a month to it and then by Christmas you will have some money. Its not a huge amount but it helps Anything helps when you are truelly financially challenged.

Posted by: Mary | December 11th, 2009

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Buying cooking/baking needs, such as dried fruit, herbs and spices from bulk outlets enables you to buy small quantities at a time, replace more frequently so the product is always fresh, and save on the cost and disposal of packaging materials.

Posted by: Wendy | December 15th, 2009

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It indeed is a challenge, creating a good life on a low-income. 9 years ago I gave up my car, because I couldn't afford the expenses to run it, but now I appreciate my B.C. Bus Pass and I use it almost every day in my community. Being a low-income senior, I pay only $45.00 a year for my pass, and I can go all over the Comox Valley with it, plus also I can go up to Campbell River, shop , or meet a friend for lunch there, and be back home again for dinner. Recently I used my pass all over Vancouver, and I have used it in Victoria and up in northern B.C. visiting my family there. I feel good that I am using public transit, and have made many friends ( my bus people-friends ) travelling on the bus. If I am away for a while, it is lovely to have people on the bus tell me I have been missed. Such a warm feeling that gives me! My new bus pass for 2010 has just arrived in the mail from Victoria, and is already signed and ready for me to use in January. It definitely is the best $45.00 I have ever spent. Yes, I do often miss my car, but there were never the same advantages for my life as my B.C. bus pass has given me. , Sincerely, Nola Miller, Comox Valley.

Posted by: nola miller | December 21st, 2009

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I never heard of a BC Bus Pass! Will have to look into this! Although the bus service in Abbotsford isn't very good. For getting out of the city itself to other areas like Langley or Vancouver, you have to take the West Coast Express from Mission (About $40 round trip, I think) provided you can get to Mission in the first place. I, too, don't have a car. I was T-boned by someone running a red light a couple of years ago and I never replaced the car as it was just too expensive what with payments, maintenance, insurance, tires, ad infinitum -- I always hated being "married" to an automobile, so didn't really miss it as I can walk for almost everything where I am located. But getting further afield is a challenge unless I rent a car.

Posted by: Tara | January 9th, 2010

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I am a coupon clipper both on line and in the flyers. I watch the sales for everything, I won't lower my standards just the price. With freezers many items can be stored for long periods. In the summer I grow my own produce. I cook almost everything from scratch. A vehicle is a must for me, but I seldom go to a car wash, I do all my own gardening & housework.

Posted by: mej | January 14th, 2010

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PS I also get my books through the library. I check out the various items on line, then order them through the library. When they have reached the local library .....they phone I pick up, the price is right. All my purchases are made on credit cards, paid off at the end of the month. The cards earn reward points allowing a small bonus as well as a statement of all expenses without the worry of cash theft.

Posted by: mej | January 14th, 2010

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This won't help anyone who isn't able to access a Co-op like Otter Co-Op in Langley, but for those who can it's excellent. It costs $10 (or did) to sign up for a lifetime and you get a dividend cheque the following year which is a percentage of your purchases. The prices are good and the quality high -- and it's a one-stop for everything.2

Posted by: Tara | June 2nd, 2010

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