My Frugal Life: Making It Through a Little Longer

My husband and I moved here to CO to be close to our kids and grand-kids. My Frugal LifeWe had lived in KY to be close to our oldest son, but we had to move away because of my arthritis, allergies, and asthma. Since we've lived here, we've both had to work and we're on Social Security. I lost my job 2 years ago and my unemployment a few months ago. My husband had a stroke in October of 2010, so he is no longer able to work as he did. That means with the loss of his income (about $800 a month) and the little I made (maybe about $300 a month) our finances suffered a sharp shortage at a very bad time. Since gas has gone up, along with groceries, we're barely able to pay our bills, but there's nothing left for groceries. The dog and cat were eating better than us.


My husband had become quite friendly and well-liked where he'd been working, so some of the people there are saving cans for him. Our daughter and family save cans for us and, of course, we do too. We pick them up wherever we see them.

Last week our cupboards and refrigerator were getting so empty, that when I cleaned out the fridge there wasn't much for me to move out of the way. That day my husband took all the cans we'd accumulated to cash them in and we had $45 for groceries that got us through until something else comes along.

He also saves plastic covered copper wire, takes the plastic off, and cashes the wire in. He gets the wire from construction sites. Stripping the wire is a tedious job, but worth it, and think of all that doesn't go into the trash site.


When my husband wanted to cover our homemade shed he rounded up left over pieces of strand board, plywood, and whatever else he could find. He got enough after while to cover our whole shed for nothing. We painted it white with leftover discarded paint and you'd never know how that wood that was thrown away started.

Somehow when things get scary for us, we always seem to come up with some way to make it through a little longer. We're 69, husband, and I'm 70. I reuse plastic containers for my crafts. I look at things and see something to use, not throw away. To us it's kind of a challenge to see what we can reuse.

By Ellen from Loma, CO

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April 11, 20110 found this helpful

This is such a moving and inspiring story. Thank you.

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April 11, 20110 found this helpful

Here is a website you might be interested in. 770-267-7015 or 888-819-3745
Fax: 770-267-8031
It is an organization that you can buy food cheaper. Hope this helps.

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April 11, 20110 found this helpful

Excellent story and saddens me thinking of our elderly population struggling, which includes my own mother.

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April 11, 20110 found this helpful

There are a few ideas that may help you garner a bit of cash during this financial drought. Baby-sitting, driving cars for rental car agencies, cooking for busy families, helping local businesses with inventory, etc. I am always on the look-out for a little extra.


I am 61 and have some physical limitations but I scour for anything interesting. What about a small card at your local food store announcing your "organizational" skills. All of us ThriftyFun-sters stand beside you and wish you and your husband the best.

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April 12, 20110 found this helpful

God always provides. I know he does for us.
God bless and stay true to the faith.

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April 13, 20110 found this helpful

I hope you will not ignore the gift that food stamps are in hard times. Google food stamps Colorado online and there is a
little program that you fill in and it will tell you what you would receive based on your circumstances. Then you can go to
the actual site and find out about the steps necessary to receive them.


Don't wait until you are starving because it can take time in CO. I live here and helped my granddaughter in law when her husband was unemployed. It is a blessing.

Food banks are a temporary but great help as well. I don't know where your town is as I am not native to CO, but
will look up what I can for your area.

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April 13, 20110 found this helpful

Hi, it's me again. You are apparently in Mesa County. There are 3 programs via this website, all of which would
help you put a floor or foundation under your regular efforts to maintain a reasonably healthy food budget. As I see it, being the creative thinkers that you are, you will continue to come up with great means of augmenting your income, but knowing that you have a store of basics put by, could give you a sense of security you might be currently lacking.

Advertisement will give you information about an emergency food supplement available towards end of April in Grand Junction, a commodity supplement, and the regular food stamp program, which should all be available to you. With that as a start, you could build up a small stock of basics, to which you can add as you go along.

I wonder if you realize what a gift it would be to your family knowing you are in more secure shape. I worry about my
family members when they are in a bind, however short, all the time. Wakes me at middle of the night hours. God bless you, and do what you need to do.

I told a grandson once who was trying to take on more than he could handle, that if he just took good care of himself, it was one person less to worry about, and he did just that. In life we don't get choices between what we want and don't want very often, it's often choice between what's available and what's available.

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April 15, 20110 found this helpful

Prayers are sent. My grandparents were raised in the depression, so I was taught not to waste anything. Times were hard & still are but the memories are worth more than gold.

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April 15, 20110 found this helpful

Also, sad to say but we depend on the government for too much. When the government crashes what will people do? I think you & your husband are very resourceful & you will come out ahead when you count on yourself & not someone else.

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April 17, 20110 found this helpful

Have you tried Angel Food Ministries? Go to (I think this is right) If not go to & put in "find angel food ministries" It should direct you to the nearest site.

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April 18, 20110 found this helpful

You need to go and sign up for food stamps. I am sure you would qualify. I had to do that when I got on social security and it was only $650 a month. Worked all my life and still only got $650 and I had paid into social security through all that time. This is terrible. But, I did what I needed to in order to survive. I don't feel guilty about it. You shouldn't either. Blessings.....retired

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April 18, 20110 found this helpful

My cousin lives in CO, in the Aurora area, & often tells me about several food banks that she receives food from. There must be a county agency you can contact to find these in your area. My cousin gets great food from them, including whole turkeys at holiday time, staples, cakes & breads & loads of canned goods. She never has to worry that she has enough to eat. You might also qualify for food stamps & HEAP (a grant for fuel to heat your home). Look into the possiblity of grants for making your house energy efficient to save money on heating or AC; see if there's a group of volunteers in your area that do handyman work for free for those who need it. There may be a lot of help available to you. You paid your dues over the years, so it's only fair that you receive help when you need it. I am in the same boat & doing everything I can do to survive, too. Good luck to you!

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April 22, 20110 found this helpful

I thought of a few other things. (coupons & freebies)
P& (coupons & freebies) (sign up for the Fan club...earn free stuff with points) sign up for the club find coke pints to ear free stuff)

Here's another survey site

Try to recycle everything you can so you don't have to keep buying garbage bags since they are pricey even for the generic brands as they went up in price also. If you can't afford a monthly phone bill you might wanna look into Magicjack is a phone service threw the internet. Cost $40 bucks for the device with one year service when you buy it(you can buy it at Walmart or Walgreens). Plugs into your computer (so you will have to leave that on to work) then plug into any phone you would use with for a landline including portable phones for land lines. Every year after buying magic jack its $20 bucks for the whole year. It includes local calls, long distant calls any where in the USA & Canada. Caller Id, voice mail, 3 way calling, call waiting. I have it I don't have a phone bill because I paid 6 years up front. If I didn't I'd just get billed yearly the $20.00 If you can't afford Tv I would say keep internet as you can use that for alot of things. Here's a few tv sites I know where you can watch on your computer.You can find older shows or newer shows to watch for free, news an other things like movies.

If you like to play games and for free you can go to and play good games for free. They also have it where you can pay to play more of the games but that cost $39.95 a year. Pogo also has where you can talk with other people if you choose too in the rooms as you play your games. It's pretty fun I play there. Also if you do join facebook they also have a ton of games you can play.

If you do coupons you may not know that some stores take the coupons, these places besides regular stores do. I don't know if they are in your area but I will list them anyways.
The Dollar General
Family Dollar
Sign up for all your stores emails as they send out coupons and ads for things on sale you can use to help save that money in your pocket.

Also sign up at they give out codes to your email for free movie rentals for the redbox Kiosk and also does the same for Blockbusterexpress Kiosk

Once again If i think of more I will post again. =) I hop eit helps you out.

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