While browsing a local thrift shop, I stumbled across a painful greeting card. The front of the card read something similar: ‘ you know you're in your 20s when you choose between food and rent.' Now, this card did not strive to make commentary on America's homeless population, but it could be read that way.
One person on a popular internet forum asked how “suggestions for homeless young professionals to avoid eating in order to save money?” This post won't focus on avoidance of eating but instead on ten budget-friendly methods for those facing financial hardship or unstable housing situations.
1. Propane Camping Stove
Facebook Marketplace hosts myriad bargains and free content for Facebook users. One person said they found their propane camping stove for $15 on the resource. The seller never used the stove with a retail value of $100, so the Redditor received an 85% discount on a brand new appliance that cooks meats, veggies, and sandwiches.
2. Food Banks
Researching local food banks helps several users eat meals daily. Food banks collect unwanted or donated food from the community and repurpose the ingredients for hungry people. Food banks provide free access to fresh food. However, you might run into long lines and wait times. Feeding America is a valuable resource listing all of the food banks in America.
3. Churches Offer Free Meals
Many churches, mosques, and temples offer free meals throughout the month. Some have weekly meals, and others have daily meals, depending on the church and religion. A user said Sikhs in big cities host free, vegetarian meals daily (Langar) as a part of their religion.
4. Public Microwaves
Users lauded gas stations and public libraries for their public microwaves. Approach a gas station or library worker with a smile and a friendly manner before asking to use their microwave. All you need is a couple of minutes and a potato. Wrap the potato in a paper towel and microwave it for a few minutes for a filling meal.
5. Wash Dishes For Meals
One way to obtain free meals is by washing dishes at local restaurants. Pop into different restaurants in your community and ask for a manager. More often than not, they'll say yes. They need extra help, too. According to one user, the owner of a fancy restaurant let them wash dishes since he experienced a similar situation.
7. USB Self-Powered Heating Cup
This method is for individuals with a car or access to a power bank or outlet. Plug in this device and make porridge, coffee, or oatmeal.
7. Cold Soak Dehydrated Food
Campers and backpackers soak dehydrated food overnight while living amidst moss and wildlife. Throw some oats, beans, grains, or dried pasta in cold water overnight and eat the product the following day. Soaking dehydrated food replenishes your body with nutrients and sustenance.
8. Too Good To Go App
Sometimes, the internet has helpful apps. Too Good To Go places users in contact with restaurants with excessive food portions for high discounts. Food that will be thrown away if unclaimed. Too Good To Go is expanding but currently operates in limited metropolitan areas in the US.
9. Kettles in Cigarette Plug
This option is primarily for individuals with cars. All you need to do is turn on the car, plug in the kettle to the cigarette lighter, and you can make some hot porridge, oatmeal, grains, or coffee.
Helpines exist to provide free access and assistance to those who need it. 1-866-3-HUNGRY places callers in contact with local food banks and meals in the corresponding area. 1(800) 5-HUNGRY connects callers to emergency food suppliers.
This thread inspired this post.