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Surviving on Social Security

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Trying to live on your Social Security income alone can be very challenging. It requires planning and creativity, along with obvious frugality. This is a guide about surviving on Social Security.


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October 22, 20084 found this helpful

I'm retired due to a disability, but because of the career I chose, I have no retirement fund and no pension and must live on Social Security alone.My Frugal Life Therefore, frugality has become my middle name. Here in west Michigan, our supermarkets offer remarkable savings every week. They love to BOGO (buy one, get one free!). Every Sunday I check the sales and buy only what's on BOGO. You can get wonderful meals for practically nothing! When's the last time you bought 10 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken breast for $12?

Look in the frozen food sections for great deals, too. We have a market here called Save-A-Lot, and boy do I! A pound of ground turkey is only $1. Frozen peppers and onions for stir fry are $1.29 a pound, and I use them in meatloaf (made from that ground turkey) to add a little zest. Shop Dollar Stores every chance you get. Some of them have small food sections where you can find real goodies for much less. I do admit that, when my favorite ice cream in on BOGO, I'll splurge, even though I'm a diabetic. It lasts a long time, so a little now and then can feel decadent without blowing the diet or the budget.


Use your car as little as possible. Not just because it's green; because it's thrifty! I make sure that whenever I have to go out, I hit several places in order to save gas. Don't believe you can do it? I bought my 2002 Ford Focus in Sept. of '02. To date I have driven only 26,000 miles. That's 6 years! I stick close to home and am fortunate that there are stores close by. I do have health issues, and all my doctors are 30 miles away, so I make as many appointments as possible on the same day, starting with the furthest away and moving back home one stop at a time. This adds up, and I often only need to fill up once a month.

In the winter, I bartered my plowing. She comes here first, and I send a thermos of hot chocolate and an insulated cup out with her as she finishes the route. Granted, I have a tiny driveway, but around here snow is a constant, so this saves me about $50 a month! Offer to make a casserole to someone who can do odd jobs around the house for you. It's inexpensive and most gratifying to provide someone a good meal on a busy day. Just make it in a disposable foil pan along with the re-heating instructions. They look forward all day to getting home and eating a nice dinner someone made for them.


I could, and would, go on and on; but I think you get the idea. If you look, you'll find easy ways to cut way back on your spending. My food budget is less than $25 a week, but I have a good dinner every night and don't feel at all deprived.


By Polly from Cedar Springs, MI

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Comment Was this helpful? 4


October 22, 20082 found this helpful

Good for you Polly! I greatly admire your positive attitude in a tough situation, making the best of things instead of feeling sorry for yourself. You're very inventive about being thrifty and my best wishes go out to you,

Reply Was this helpful? 2
October 22, 20080 found this helpful

Thanks for all the wonderful ideas! You're an inspiration. :)

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By Elaine (Guest Post)
October 23, 20080 found this helpful

You are an inspiration to all. You have turned what could have been a negative experience into a positive challenge. I love it!


Being unemployed for 5 months I have been coming up with creative ways to save also. I typed in Save-A-Lot and found that we have a store in the next town over. I am headed that way.

Thank you for taking the time to share your inspirational story and your great hints.

God Bless


Reply Was this helpful? Yes
October 23, 20080 found this helpful

Great ideas! I have been unemployed for 2 years and am quite frugal also. I only go to town on the days the dump are open (we don't have garbage pick-up) and do my shopping/library/post office, etc stops then. When I have to drive into Ocala (25 or so miles away), I do it ALL on that drive into town. We have Sav-a-lot here. I have never been in there. Will check it out. Thanks!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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