Over 41 billion pounds (roughly 18,597,287,170 Kilograms) of food waste is heading to our landfills every year according to the average study. The majority of that food waste is purely due to over-consumption and image misconceptions. Food that is perfectly edible is thrown out and used as tax write-offs for grocery chains. Entirely on the basis of aesthetics. This food could easily feed the hungry, but due to some laws and plenty of unknowledgeable business owners. This food is only seen as a write-off and is usually hidden from customers view. I can remember countless times, being so broke after paying my bills that I lived on plain pasta or ice chips for days at a time in between paychecks. This is personal to me. I’ve been here, and that’s how I have come up with 6 Ways To Eat When You Have No Money.
6 Ways To Eat When You Have No Money
Public Access Gardens
It is not uncommon anymore to see public access gardens in public spaces. They come in many forms and sizes. Anything from fruit trees being planted in parks and on curbsides, to actual full-fledged gardens. Now I have absolutely nothing against flower gardens, shrub plants or ornamental grasses. I do however think that public community areas would be better served to provide more than just beauty. This is not such a new phenomenon. When it is fruits and veg on public parties, or in the woods, on hiking trails etc. It’s called foraging, bringing us back to our gatherer days. A great site for this is called Fallen Fruit. You can input your location, and find out if there has been any information placed on the site already for foraging in your area.
Local Online Groups
I’m pretty sure we are all apart of local buy and sell groups on Facebook. This is a great way to sell things you don’t need. Did you also know that there are food pantry style groups popping up? Even anonymous help through an admin if you are embarrassed. Joining these groups is pretty simple, and it not only allows you to get food you need when you need it, but I have seen it forge communities of people together in some of the worst situations. These groups are becoming more common every day, and they are a great way to acquire food and other household staples when you really need them. Just go onto your Facebook (and while you’re there don’t forget to LIKE The Discount Vegan!). I have even seen in some areas where they will do a raffle for food baskets or grocery gift cards.
It’s not uncommon to hear about food banks and soup kitchens. Those are great, but they aren’t always open every day. So in the meantime, contact your local churches (you don’t necessarily have to attend that church or even be of that faith, but definitely check with them) and see if they have some kind of a donation box or room set up. They are usually only open when an appointment is made, so you will have to speak directly to whoever is in charge.
If you happen to be in school (whether you are paying out of pocket or not) most colleges have a provisions shop set up somewhere on campus. It usually has donated clothes and canned foods. The last thing you need to worry about in school is where your next meal is coming from. So check out your school’s directory or go down to your student association or human resources and find out.
Now, I know this isn’t a FREE option, but if you do have some coin this is a GREAT option. A lot of grocery stores are now seeing the value in their produce section even when it is starting to “go bad”. Places like Walmart (here in Canada, no confirmation on the U.S.) are doing $1 & $2 bags. They are filled with produce or fruits and they are usually only in them because of the esthetic standards customers expect. Other grocery stores usually have them discounted, either 35 or 50% off of the regular price of the item. Now, these price cuts no longer include just produce. They generally have bakery items and other products that are close to expiry on clearance as well. So it really just all depends on the money you have and what you REALLY need.
Now if you’re like me, you might have already done/heard about things like “extreme couponing” …yes. That was me before I went vegan. Now that I don’t/can’t coupon as easily, one thing I have done is set myself to just buying staples like rice, beans, legumes etc. in bulk. These are all items, that like spices last for a fairly long time, and you don’t have to worry about them going bad when properly stored either. So buy that 8kg bag of rice. Yes, it will last you several months. That’s the idea. for $6-8, it will benefit you in the long run when you don’t have enough money for anything else. At least you will have that! This goes for everything else too, in case you are wondering. I just really love to use rice as an example.
While canned beans and legumes are great. Quick and easy in a pinch. They aren’t the best bang for your buck or that great for the environment. Try purchasing them in their dry form. These dry beans are cheaper and super easy to cook. Even better if you meal prep them out for the week on the weekend. If you don’t know how to cook dry beans check out my rice cooker method and my slow cooker method both work equally well. Just depends on how much time you have before you want to use them. That’s why you should always plan out your meals for the week, so you can make quick decisions when you are to busy to be creative.
Shop in Season
Last but NEVER least, this is honestly so important. When you can buy groceries buy in season. Know whats in season (you can find that out every month by following my instagram) and that will usually be seen at the cheapest prices as well. Now one thing I HIGHLY recommend..WHEN YOU CAN.. is going to your local farmer’s markets. Getting to know your local farmers over time will keep you in their minds when you come by for your weekly produce, and you can get some good deals that way. That being said, please be genuine. There is nothing worse than someone sucking up to you just to get something out of you.
Now when the farmers market season is over (unless you’re in California or something where they can be open all year round) your next best thing (if you haven’t prepped and frozen/canned anything) is to buy frozen. Frozen fruit and veg is picked and flash frozen at the peak of ripeness. Which means they have actually been proven to have more nutrition in them than fresh produce that is picked before it’s ripe to be shipped from another state or country to your grocery store.
These are just a few of the options at your disposal. There is always food, we just have to work a little harder to get it sometimes, and that’s ok. If you also want one last tip from someone who does this all year round! I also grow some of my groceries as well. I tend to talk about that a lot especially on my stories. So definitely come and follow me for great recipe ideas, and more.