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Tips for Living in Comfort and Staying Healthy on $1,000 per month income!
Written By Rev. Dennis Shipman
This information is for residents of the USA. It might be applicable to other countries. Living in comfort and staying healthy doesn’t have to come with a high price tag. Here are some ideas and options how families, seniors, veterans, single adults, college students and disabled adults can live on as little as $1,000 net income per month.
LOCATION & WEATHER
If you can afford to live in a warm geographical location, then move to a place that has warm weather. You spend less for utilities (heating and cooling) and there’s no need to buy winter clothing.
Southern California and Hawaii have great weather, and both locations are bordered by the Pacific Ocean. Southern California has a warm Mediterranean climate, and Hawaii has a tropical climate where counting the sunshine hours is a daily pastime. The negative ions of the ocean environment are healthy for you, and swimming or walking in the water on the beach invigorates you.
Southern parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and the state of Florida are also options. In these locations, it does not snow.
Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and recreational drugs increases the stress on our human bodies, lowers our immune system, and opens to door to potential illness. Make the commitment to stay as healthy as possible by avoiding over-indulgence of these substances that eventually lead to illness. Save money and to keep your immune system high in vitality.
Fresh fruit, veggies, salads, super-foods, green juice drinks are healthy and nutritious and inexpensive to prepare. If possible, grow your own vegetable garden. Visit Farmer’s Markets in your town for organic and healthy foods. Avoid processed foods that have little or no nutrients.
If you grow your own food, buy your seed from companies that have signed the GMO-free pledge. See the safe seed list maintained by the Council for Responsible Genetics.
Thrift stores have enjoyed an increase in business due to the economic downturn, and have become even more of a treasure chest for bargain hunters. Many affluent individuals donate items to nonprofit thrift stores to receive tax benefits. You can find some great bargains in men’s and women’s wear, jewelry, furniture and household items.
One of the best ways to secure housing accommodations is to become eligible for Section 8 housing assistance – especially if you are a senior or disabled person – but waiting lists can be long in some parts of the country.
Try to find rental housing that includes utilities, free cable TV and free Internet service.
If you’re a college student, pooling your money with other students to rent a place has always been one of the traditional ways of overcoming this challenge.
If you’re a senior citizen, check out 55+ apartment communities. Rural areas tend to have lower rents, but access to public transportation and other modern conveniences might not be available.
If you are a homeless veteran, get hooked up with the Veteran Administration’s HUD-VASH program. Its objective is to move single and married vets and their families into permanent housing through the HUD Section 8 program that allows veterans to rent privately owned housing. The V.A. offers this throughout the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. For more info, call the nearest V.A. facility or go to www.va.gov/homeless/hud-vash.asp
Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally-funded program that assists low-income families with their home energy bills. Assistance offered by LIHEAP includes: utility bill payment, energy crisis assistance and energy-related home repairs. All low income residents are eligible to apply. Call your nearest utility energy provider, and find out if your state administers this program and how to apply.
If you’re a veteran and signed up with the V.A. Medical system, you won’t have to pay for health insurance coverage under Obama care.
Free medication discount cards are available from a number of sources to all Americans to lower their prescription drug costs with savings up to 75% at more than 56,000 national and regional pharmacies across the U.S. including CVS/pharmacy, Safeway, Vons, Longs, Raleys, Ralphs, SaveMart, Pavilions, Target Pharmacy, Walmart, Sav-On Pharmacy, Walgreens, Kmart, and many more.
For example, FreeDrugCard.us is a nationwide Prescription Assistance Program (PAP) sponsored by a non-profit organization. At their website, you can create and print as many free discount prescription drug cards as you need for yourself and friends and family members. The free drug card is pre-activated and can be used immediately. Some companies give you a choice to receive it in the mail. For more info, do an Internet search: Free medication discount card.
DentistryFromTheHeart.org is a worldwide non-profit organization dedicated to providing free extractions, free fillings or free cleanings to adults, age 18 and over. Through hundreds of local events each year, free dental care is made available to those that cannot pay for care in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Australia and Puerto Rico. So far, DFTH has helped over 50,000 patients and has given away over 12 million dollars in dental care. Go to their website, and find out if a local event is planned in your city or town.
Use the public transportation system. Prices are affordable for all ages, and it’s nice when you don’t have to drive. For those confined to wheelchairs or walkers and need to go shopping, check to see if your system offers a shuttle service that will pick you up and return you to your home (for a small fee).
The Sharing Economy is the newest trend now – sharing anything and everything from cars, bicycles, clothes, couches, houses, apartments, tools, meals, and even skills. It advocates access to products and services over ownership of them, on a demand basis “use it when you need it.” There’s lots of websites dedicated to this growing sector. For more info, do an Internet search: The Sharing Economy.
Here’s one example: ZipCar.com – a U.S.-based car sharing company – provides automobile reservations to its more than 810,000 members that pay by the hour or day, and only on-demand when they want to use it. Members can make reservations online or by phone at any time. Nearly 10,000 vehicles throughout the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Spain and Austria are available. It currently serves several major U.S. cities and plans to expand to over 30 cities across the U.S. It was founded in 2000, and three years later bought out by Avis Budget Group for USD $500 million in cash, making Zipcar the world’s leading car sharing network.
The Federal Lifeline Program provides a hefty discount on phone service. One discount per household is allowed for either a land-line phone or wireless mobile phone. The Lifeline program is available to eligible low-income consumers in every U.S. state, territory, commonwealth, and on Tribal lands. We all know that access to telephone service is essential for many important things: finding a job, connecting with family, getting help in an emergency, and more. For more information, call the telephone provider in your city or town, or do an Internet search: Federal Lifeline Program.
Search for free events in your city or town: ethnic celebrations, street fairs and special events of all types. Being outdoors and enjoying nature and the fresh air is one of the best free entertainment treats.
Cable TV subscription service can be expensive, and will eat away at your budget. If you have a TV hooked up to a DVD player, then go to the public library and check out DVD’s.
Many public libraries have free events and free Internet service for their patrons, and CD music rentals for a small fee. If you like to read, then the library can be your haven.
Many cities and towns have senior citizen centers, which have many activities that you might enjoy.
Playing a musical instrument, singing in a choir or enjoying your favorite hobby are activities that will brighten your day.
Be sure to check out all the benefits you qualify for from the Federal government as a result of your military service to the country. Signing up for V.A. medical services even if you have civilian health insurance cuts down your overhead and most services are free. See the website U.S. Dept of Veterans Affairs Medical Benefits Package.
A FEW MORE TIPS!
Federal Home Loans for Veterans: This has always been one of the big perks for serving your country. Veterans Home Loans do not require a down payment, and there are state programs that can usually cover closing costs, especially for first-time home buyers. Learn all about home loans at U.S. Dept of Veterans Affairs Home Loans.
Several states offer veterans education benefits and programs of their own, in addition, or as an alternative, to federal GI Bill benefits. In some states, tuition waivers, scholarships or grants are offered for those who do not qualify for federal help, or to fill in gaps where federal help leaves off. In other states, assistance is provided to augment the federal benefits. See a state-by-state listing of education benefits at The American Foreign Legion State Education Benefits website.
Take advantage of free community events, and public health benefits that you are eligible for.
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Stay up-to-date on discounts on the type of products and services you need or want. Check the junk mail. You never know! There might be a good coupon just right for you!
Be alert to the types of nonprofit organizations in your community and the benefits they can offer to you.
Exercise! Find the type of exercise that’s perfect for you. Scientific researchers have found many benefits to meditation and yoga for reducing stress, a main culprit in creating chaos and illness in our lives. Even repetitive prayer and mantras all induced a relaxation effect. They concluded the more these techniques are practiced on a regular basis, the more deeply rooted the benefits will be. They suggest trying one or more of these techniques for 15 minutes once or twice a day.
Lastly, but definitely not least, determine to be happy. Find inspiration in your life every day. Develop an attitude of gratitude, and laugh for no reason.
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