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10 Ways to Eat Free

10 Ways to Eat Free

I’ve been homeless and had no money, but it’s comforting to know that there are ways to stay alive and keep chugging on if you fall on hard times. If you ever find yourself down and out, here are ten ways to feed yourself for free, at least in the US.

1. Pizza Joints

Pizza Hut and other pizza joints are often amenable to giving away extra pies that result from ordering mistakes. Go in the morning and ask them to put aside any mistake pizzas for you, then swing by later that afternoon to see if they have anything. If you’re friendly, they may give you a slice even if they had no mistaken orders that day.

2. Soup Kitchens

The US is littered with soup kitchens, even in small cities. Usually, there’s an unwritten schedule, meaning that the soup kitchens stagger their service days and times to coordinate with one another so that there’s a meal in town on most days. The homeless in your area will know which kitchens are the best and can recommend a schedule of when to visit which ones. Soup kitchens are a wonderful source of a free meal. You’ll meet some nice people at them, and they may even have canned goods to take with you.

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3. Catholic Missions

Catholic Missions often have a day of the week (typically Sundays), where the poor can come by to pick up cans of food. These Missions collect food donations from their parishioners throughout the week. Many church attendees brings extra cans of food with them to the Sunday service. You may be asked to sit through the service before donations are given out, which is a nice time to give thanks for life and consciousness. And if you’ve been homeless long enough, you may look something like the great man portrayed on the wall.

4. The Dumpster

It’s not as gross as it sounds. Supermarkets must throw out food that has passed its expiration date because they can no longer sell it. If you can fish it out of the trash on the day it is thrown out, the food is still good. This is particularly true of frozen items. There is typically one day per week when market staff throw out items from the frozen section. You want to know that day, and visit the dumpster that night, or early the next morning. The food may even still be cold. If you have a pet, you can also find great dog or cat food this way. Since supermarket dumpsters are typically large and hidden behind the store, not too many folks will see you rummaging, and if you know the market’s schedule, you can make a quick, strategic strike.

5. Restaurants

Go around to the back of restaurants and find the service entrance. You’ll often see cooks and sometimes waiters setting up for service or smoking. Ask them politely if you could come back after closing and pick up any left over bread they would normally just throw out. They may be happy to give you a bag of bread at the end of the day, or they might even have a plate of food waiting for you. Look for small, friendly restaurants, especially those with a hippie vibe. Even in jurisdictions where restaurants are not supposed to give away left over food, the small, local joints may still work with you.

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6. Ashrams, Communities and Temples

Many intentional communities will exchange meals for volunteer help, especially physical labor. You can work in the garden, in construction, feeding animals, or cutting vegetables. Most of these communities will also require adherence to and participation in the community’s spiritual life and practices. If you’re open to different cultures and experiences, you can have an interesting learning experience, make a few friends, and stay fit, full and healthy while you plan your next move. Or you might just stay.

7. Food Pantries

Food pantries are larger commercial operations that supply soup kitchens and charities. They often receive donations in great quantities from food distributors and manufacturers. While they may be outside of town or a little out of the way, you can ask to volunteer at these sites as they often need help sorting through donations to check for spoiled food, broken containers, expiration dates, and any signs of the food having been excessively exposed to the elements. They are typically happy to exchange food for service, and you may even have access to a greater amount of food that is determined to not pass muster for their use.

8. The Hippie Circuit

So you have all these cans of food. Where do you cook them? Many campgrounds or wooded areas around towns, and in particular state and national parks, have small groups living in them that share food and camp together. There is often a communal fire and meal pot at the end of the day, where donated cans of food may be combined to make a great stew or soup for everyone. In addition, hippie gatherings such as regional Rainbow Family events, often have free kitchens that serve whoever shows up. You can even follow these groups of nomads and kitchens from place to place if you can catch a ride. Or heck, join a tribe and become a permanent nomad!

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9. Spange

Spanging (asking for change on the street) does not have to be demeaning to you or annoying to others. Think of something creative that brings a smile to others, and be clear you are in need of donations. It could be as simple as singing a song, reciting poetry, or making a clever drawing with a riddle on it. Collecting spare change is not too hard, and a good two hours at a busy location should provide you with enough change to buy a meal.

10. Ask Nicely

There are many generous souls in this world who will help if you ask respectfully and sincerely. You can park yourself outside a Subway sandwich shop with a sign that reads, “If you don’t need the other half, I’ll eat it.” Asking works best at sandwich and sub shops where people can get a 12″ instead of a 6″ and give you half, or give you the other half of their sandwich they were just going to throw out. Asking nicely applies to every aspect of being down and out. If you need a blanket, a jacket, boots, or help finding work, try keeping your head screwed on straight and asking for help.

While many of us live in the most wealthy and developed parts of the world, we fear losing our jobs and having no money. We worry where our next meal will come from and where we will live. There are many great places to live free (I’ll do a top ten soon), but this top ten should give you confidence you’ll be able to eat free even if you experience hard times.

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Featured photo credit: 123RF via 123rf.com

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Last Updated on March 24, 2021

8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

We’ve all done it. We’ve gone out and bought useless gadgets that we don’t really need, just because they seemed really cool at the time. Then, we are stuck with a bunch of junk, and end up tossing it or trying to sell it on Ebay.

On the other hand, there are some pretty awesome tech inventions that are actually useful. For instance, many of the latest home gadgets do some of your work for you, from adjusting the home thermostat to locking your front door. And, if used as designed, these tools should really help to make your life a lot easier—and that’s not just a claim from some infomercial trying to sell you yet another useless gadget.

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Take a look at some of the most popular “smart gadgets” on the market:

1. Smart Door Locks

A smart lock lets you lock and unlock your doors by using your smartphone, a special key fob, or biometrics. These locks are keyless, and much more difficult for intruders to break into, making your home a lot safer. You can even use a special app to let people into your home if you are not there to greet them.

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2. Smart Kitchen Tools

Wouldn’t you just love to have a pot of coffee waiting for you when you get home from work? What about a “smart pan” that tells you exactly when you need to flip that omelet? From meat thermometers to kitchen scales, you’ll find a variety of “smart” gadgets designed to make culinary geeks salivate.

3. Mini Home Speaker Play:1

If you love big sound, but hate how much space big speakers take up, and if you want a stereo system that is no bigger than your fist, check out the Play:1 mini speaker. All you have to do is plug it in, connect, and then you can stream without worrying about any interruptions or interface. You can even add onto it, and have different music playing in different rooms.

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4. Wi-Fi Security Cameras

These are the latest in home security, and they connect to the Wi-Fi in your home. You can use your mobile devices to monitor what is going on in your home at all times, no matter where you are. Options include motion sensors, two-way audio, and different recording options.

5. Nest Thermostat

This is a thermostat that lives with you. It can sense seasonal changes, temperature changes, etc., and it will adjust itself automatically. You will never have to fiddle with a thermostat dial or keypad again, because this one basically does all of the work for you. It can also help you to save as much as 12% on heating bills, and 15% on cooling bills.

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6. Smart Lighting

Control your home lighting from your remote device. This is great if you are out and want to make sure that there are some lights on. It is designed to be energy efficient, so it will pay for itself over time because you won’t have to spend so much on your monthly energy bills.

7. Google Chromecast Ultra

Whether you love movies, television shows, music, etc., you can stream it all using Google Chromecast Ultra. Stream all of the entertainment you love in up to 4K UHD and HDR, for just $69 monthly.

8. Canary

This home security system will automatically contact emergency services when they are needed. This system offers both video and audio surveillance, so there will be evidence if there are any break-ins on your property. You can also use it to check up on what’s happening at home when you are not there, including to make sure the kids are doing their homework.

Featured photo credit: Karolina via kaboompics.com

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