In tough financial times, you have to do whatever it takes to get by. In this post, we share 10 measures people in a recent Reddit thread were forced to take when they were flat broke.
10. DIY Laundry
“Washed dirty clothes in the bathtub with dish-washing liquid. Couldn’t afford quarters for the machine.”
“I’d wear my clothes into the shower, wash them and myself at the same time, remove them, rinse myself and the clothes, and then hang them to dry. I also ate once a day because I got a shift meal.”
9. Relying On Costco Samples
“Walked into a Costco with an expired membership card and had samples for dinner. I made the rounds a few times.”
“My mom used to take us to have “lunch” like this as kids.”
“I did this all through my broke 20s. I’d try to make a few circuits sometimes even changing my shirt so they wouldn’t recognize me.”
8. Stealing Food
“Stole food for my kids. Really ashamed but I couldn’t let them go to bed hungry.”
“I watched a man at Walmart the other day just scan everything at the self-checkout, not pay, and then leave with his four kiddos and a cart full of stuff. I didn’t say a word. With the way groceries cost right now, I don’t blame him for it. Walmart security didn’t realize until well after the guy had left. I hope he was able to get away and feed his kids.”
7. Partial Payments at Walmart
“Bought a case of ramen noodles at the self checkout at Walmart with 4 different different debit cards that each had less than a dollar on them. You can make partial payments at Walmart self-checkout and nobody has to know how broke you are. Me and my 3 kids ate for the next 2 days.”
6. Dumpster Diving
“Hittin’ a day old Hostess bakery outlet dumpster…Was still packaged and just fine. My elderly Mom would get so excited when we brought that stuff home. She had lived through the depression and couldn’t believe it was thrown out. Such a treat.”
“Nothing wrong with dumpster diving. It reduces waste and is good for the environment. I know people who are middle class who do it as more of a political thing.”
5. Using Fast Food Receipts to Get Free Food
“When I was damn near homeless…I would find fast food receipts on the ground, and I would call corporate. I would always say the staff was super nice and they accommodated me very well but my food was probably mixed up with someone else’s order and I lived far away so I couldn’t go back on the same day.
I would either receive coupons for free food in the mail or they would put my name down and I could just go to any of the fast food places in the city and get food. The city I lived in was pretty big and most of the restaurants were run by independent/or different franchises. So they never really caught on to me. I once got four free meals from Chick fil for one receipt.”
4. Calling in Sick To Avoid Gas Costs
“[I] called in sick on Wednesday because I didn’t have enough gas money to drive to work but one more time, which I waited ‘til Thursday to do, because that was payday.”
“I needed like 3 bucks for enough gas to get to work then to the bank (payday so would pick up check) but I lived downtown so I made a cardboard sign that said ‘need money for new sign” then like got it wet and rolled it in dirt and got like 5 bucks in a couple hours.”
3. Checking the Couch for Spare Coins
“I was subletting a place and needed bus fare to get to work that day, so I searched every couch cushion and coat pocket in the hopes that I could find enough to get there. I ended up finding a ton of pennies, so I paid the bus fare in pennies. I was 30 cents short but the bus driver just gave me a transfer and waved me in. The first customer of the day tipped me like $5 on their coffee and I’ve never been so happy in my life.”
2. Playing the Lottery To Cover Costs
“Brokest and stupidest thing I did. I bought scratch tickets in hopes to win money to buy Christmas presents when I was 18. I didn’t want anyone to think I had money problems at the time so I spent $10 on a scratcher and won $500. I don’t know how but it was enough for car insurance and presents.”
1. Taking Free Food From Religious Premises
“In the early 2000s the garment district in Manhattan had “Mitzvah Tanks”. It was basically a mobile synagogue for the devout to come handle religious observation during the work day with a rabbi. Turns out they had bagels in there. I was just starting out my career (I was 21 or so) and money was tight. I would go in 3x a week and get bagels. If no one was looking I would stuff an extra into my suit pocket. I don’t at all look Jewish and almost no one from my part of the world is Jewish.”
Do You Have Any Similar Stories?
Have you ever been through a period of financial hardship and been forced to do whatever it took to get by? Drop a comment below with what how you got through it. Others might benefit from hearing your story.
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