Three hundred and twenty-seven

Ways to live and eat for free

I know poverty is a devastating thing.  But what if we looked at the positive ways to sustain a healthy lifestyle without spending a lot of money?  Most of us have to pay rent and own a phone and pay bills.  So perhaps a completely free life (like the freegans) isn’t in the cards.  But here are some simple things you could do that are free (or very low cost) to keep yourself nourished mentally and physically.

Eating

Grow your own fruits, vegetables and herbs.

Trade a service you can perform for food like gardening or cleaning or any other skill you have and can help others with.

Food banks.

No Frills (and some other grocery stores) has some really great ‘dollar deals’ at times.  Combine those with coupons you find online (see my month of extreme couponing) and you can get things for free.

Possesions

Clothing swap – if you’re looking for new clothes, organize a clothing swap with your friends.  You all bring the clothes that don’t fit you or you don’t wear and exchange them with your friends’ hand-me-downs.

Get things for free at places like freecycle.org or craigslist.  Or services for free at The Freeconomy Community.

Walking up and down the streets of Toronto (or the alleys in Vancouver, or I’m sure other places in other cities).  Many people leave out lightly used things (like furniture) they don’t want anymore.  This is more in the summer and spring than winter, but it does happen now too.  Most of the chairs in our apartment were found on the street.  Avoid things that could have bedbugs, though.  They  are not fun to get rid of!

Transportation

Walk

Bike (get and fix the bike from one of the websites listed above)

Hitchhike (ok, this one might be a little unsafe…)

Entertainment

The Library – borrow books for free instead of buying them.  Or swap books with a friend.

PWYC theatre – many theatre companies have Pay-What-You-Can days.  You have to get there early and wait in line, but if you can only afford $1, you can give them $1 to see a play or musical.  Look up their websites for more details.

Art galleries usually have a free evening, like Wednesday nights at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.

Skating – Toronto has free outdoor skating, or Tim Horton’s offers free skating days across Canada (look at the their website here for more details)

Things I’ve mentioned before: a walk in the park, playing cards, chatting with friends.

Extremes

Some extreme ways to live freely from Mark Boyle on The Ecologist here (like humanure and dumpster diving).

Day seventeen

Happy St. Patty’s Day everyone!  As I work at an Irish pub, have just finished a long shift and am soooo ready for bed, today’s post is going to be brief.  But important.  Peggy asked in a comment a couple of days ago whether getting something for free counts as ‘couponing’.  Absolutely!  Here are a few great resources of where to find free things:

  1. Smart Canucks has a forum page with over 50 links to how to get stuff free online (click here).  I’ve tried a couple that worked and a couple that were outdated, so best to just look through the list and give the link a try.
  2. My favourite Mrs. January has a page dedicated to Canadian freebies that she updates regularly (click here).  This is where I found out about the free hair dye I got from my Walmart shop that I wrote about on day three.
  3. Save.ca has a coupon right now for a free Mars chocolate bar for their Random Acts of Chocolate campaign.  They send the coupon to you in the mail. (click here)
  4. FreeStuffCanadaGuide.ca was recommended to me.  I find the site a little harder to navigate, but there seems to be some good stuff on here if you can sort through all the ads.

These are all Canadian sites to free things.  I’m sure whichever country you are in has many sites similar to these that offer databases of where to find coupons and free stuff.  I’m happy to do some research, if any of my international friends want me to look into finding some websites for them to use!  Just let me know.