It seems impossible to survive even one day without money in the modern world. And yet, if you do find yourself in this situation, don’t panic. You don’t have to starve or use credit. Just follow this instruction, and be on the bright side of life, even without cash! Now, there’s one thing you can’t do without, and that’s food. If your fridge and your pockets are empty, what can you do? Check out my list:
1. The most obvious decision is to call your relatives or friends and visit them for lunch or dinner. You’ll have both food and pleasant company. Don’t think that it’s something to be ashamed of: a lot of brilliant artists, writers and musicians used this method when they were pressed for money.
2. Ask neighbors to lend you some food, and then invite them for dinner when you get back on your feet.
3. If there’re no friends or relatives around, and you start feeling hungry, look for Foodsharing groups in social media. Foodsharing is an ecological movement that was started in Germany in response to food waste. About 1/3 of all the products produced in the world are thrown away, and most of them aren’t spoiled. Supermarkets, restaurants, and caterers can utilize food that’s lost its presentable appearance, but is still good. A lot of people also often buy too many products and are ready to give them to someone who needs them for free. Some restaurants, food markets, and cafes hold food-sharing events where they cook dishes from leftover food and then give them away for free to anybody who wants them. Some people also gather wasted food from vegetable wholesale warehouses and cook it to spread among those who can’t afford to buy food. You can find the information about events like this on Foodsharing pages too.
4. In a lot of coffeehouses, you can get a free coffee that was paid for by a previous customer. Just ask the barista if they practice it.
5. Use apps that show free events and vouchers for big discounts at restaurants. In a big city, something’s going on daily: at exhibitions, parties, and presentations with a free buffet, you can eat and have fun too. Sometimes you can pay for lunch with points that you’ve gathered in an app, so just monitor them for good deals.
6. Go to a food market, where local farmers or small private restaurants are presented. They usually give out free samples, which can fill you up if you go through the whole market! Sometimes you can get a big discount or a free snack if you post a good review about a restaurant on your social media page, or fulfill other conditions. Don’t be shy to offer an ad in your Instagram if you have a lot of followers!
7. Before people invented money, they used to barter. If you think that’s outdated, you’d be surprised. Think about any things or services that you could exchange for food. You can make a post on your social media, in special groups or apps devoted to bartering. You’re lucky if you can draw or do handy work, or anything useful. Babysitting or walking with pets is a good idea too. If you have an old smartphone or iPod, or pretty much any device that you don’t need anymore, you can exchange it for food, or money too.
8. Go to a restaurant and offer your services in return for lunch or dinner. You can wash dishes, clean the kitchen, or bus tables.
9. Sign up for a supermarket mail-out about utilizing leftover products and gather food for free. Small grocery stores will give you unused food if you help sort vegetables and fruit.
10. And finally, if none of the above worked, and you’re not daunted by the extreme, become a freegan. Rhymes with vegan, but these are people who abstain from consumerism and salvage society’s wasted food and resources, rather than purchasing more themselves. And it’s not only food-sharing. In fact, freegans look for food in dumpsters. There’s a special term that describes their way of gaining food: Dumpster-diving. They believe in conscious consumption, and eat leftover food mainly because of ideology, not necessity. The term “freegan” was offered in 1995 by Keith McHenry, a leader of a volunteer-run group that spreads food among homeless people. Freegans believe that humans treat nature only as consumers, making goods out of resources, and then wasting tons of them because it’s easier to throw them away than to recycle. They have a noble mission to save as much food waste as possible. This can cheer you up if you have to dumpster dive yourself! World-wise freegans know dumpsters – both private, and those near restaurants and supermarkets where one can find a lot of food waste. They use rubber gloves and masks, and try to arrange a system with the owners so that food is piled up in boxes, and not just thrown into the dumpster. It’s not a guarantee, of course. Sometimes there won’t be any food waste at all, but if you’re lucky, you’ll find more than you can eat in several days. Just remember that that there are health risks associated with dumpster-diving, and be sure you’re willing to take those risks before attempting something so extreme. Ok, now you know that you won’t starve without money. But what about other necessities, such as transport, clothing, and entertainment? If it’s warm enough, you can ride a bicycle – this way you’ll help the environment too. Hitchhiking is another way of getting somewhere, but it’s not necessarily safe, and be ready to change several cars before you get to your destination. You can also buy a bus or subway ticket with any money you get in return for the services I mentioned earlier. It’s a very bad idea to try and get a free ride on public transport, however. If you get caught, you’ll be fined and will have to pay money you didn’t have in the first place. Clothes, as well as furniture, home appliances, and pretty much anything else can be found on social media or in special apps – both free and on barter terms. You can visit a second-hand store and find good clothes that are really cheap – just in case you’ve managed to earn something. And finally, you don’t have to be cooped up indoors if you’re pressed for money. Look for free books and movies in libraries. Cinemas have free shows, and museums have Doors Open Days – you just have to subscribe to their pages in social media and monitor updates, or find special offers in apps with coupons. And, if your wi-fi was cut off because you haven’t paid for it on time, use the free one in the nearest coffee shop. There are people who tried to live without money just for the challenge of it, and then liked it so much that they made it their lifestyle. When journalist Michelle McGagh, from London, moved to a new house, she made up her mind to sell or give away everything she didn’t need anymore. As a result she got rid of 80% of her belongings. It had a huge impact on her, and made her realize she was stuck in a cycle of consumerism – earning money to buy stuff she didn’t really need, which wasn’t making her happy. She took it a step further and spent a year without useless purchases. She had about $37 a week, which covered three meals for herself and her husband a day, toiletries, and house cleaning products. Soon she found that it wasn’t difficult to save money. Small purchases we don’t pay attention to can turn into huge expenses. Michelle counted that she’d spent $490 in a year on coffee, even though she doesn’t like it that much. It took her more time to look for special offers on products and get to work by bicycle, but the result was worth it: she got richer and wiser. She was able pay off a big part of her mortgage, and realized she doesn’t have to stay indebted to the bank for another 25 years. She says she won’t always stick to such an extremely frugal lifestyle, but definitely won’t buy tons of useless things anymore like she used to. Do you have any more ideas on how to survive without money?