09/09/2015 |

Last week we looked at a few ways to help you save money. This week, we have a few more tips to help you stretch those dollar bills even further. Learn how to cut your costs on clothing, furniture, and grocery bills.

jeansThrift Stores Are a Cheap and “Chic” Alternative

You can still be a fashionista on a budget. Don’t believe me? Time to take a trip to your local thrift store. If you don’t see something you like immediately don’t worry. Because they’re constantly receiving new items, it pays to check thrift store racks often.

You may be surprised to learn that many major department stores donate out of season items they can’t return to manufacturers to thrift shops. Sometimes, they even have their original tags still on them.

    1. They’re also a good source for cheap clothing for tots and young children who quickly outgrow shoes and clothing
    2. Need new furniture or appliances? Give them a shot before going the department store route.
    3. When you do buy new clothing, try to purchase classic (or evergreen) items that can be mixed and matched with clothing you already have.
Quick Tip:  Avoid purchasing trendy clothing. When they go out of style, you’ll compliment yourself on how much you saved.
groceries Cooking Up Savings on Your Grocery Bills

Don’t let tight finances affect your ability to provide healthy, nutritious meals for yourself or your family. Even if you’re living in a studio or SRO with no kitchen, there are ways to eat healthy (and often)

    • Try your local farmer’s market. Certain locations may let you use an EBT card for fruits, vegetables, and other items.
    • Sometimes, it’s better to buy your fruits, veggies and other perishables in smaller quantities by going to the store more often. This will help you avoid wasting money on food that goes bad before you eat it.
    • Check out the HSA website (Human Services Agency) for links to agencies and organizations that provide free meals, food bank locations, info on the SFUSD reduced meals program, and more.
    • If you’re on EBT and either 1) elderly, 2) disabled, or 3) have an apartment without a kitchen, don’t forget to sign up for the “restaurant meals program.” Several local restaurants, pizzerias  (and even a few large fast food chains)  participate in the program. The program lets you use your EBT card to buy warm / cooked meals. You’ll also be able to use it to buy cooked food from the deli section of grocery stores. If you don’t request this program, EBT usually only allows you to buy groceries or cold meals, like sandwiches or snack foods like chips.)

And you can find tips and recipes for eating healthy on a budget at: eatfresh.org. No kitchen? No problem. Most of their recipes can be made in a microwave or slow cooker.

Quick Tip:  By the way even if you’re employed, you may still qualify for some public assistance/food stamps, if you meet the Human Services Agency’s income limits. Find out more at their website or call: (415) 558-1001 or (877) 366-3076.

Missed Part 1 of “Living Well While Living On a Budget”? Read it here.  And don’t forget to check back here next week for Part 3 of this 3 part series.