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15 of the Most Desperate Things People Have Done When They Had No Money

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There’s nothing fun about being broke. Except for the moment when you finally get some money. But until then, you’ve gotta get creative to make ends meet.

These AskReddit users have been there, and they were nice enough to share their personal stories about the brokest things they ever did.

1. That is pretty bad

“I’d almost ran out of money in my bank account with no overdraft and it got so bad then I wanted something to eat from the supermarket so I picked a banana. But then had to put it back and pick up a smaller banana cause I couldn’t afford the bigger banana.”

2. Scraping by

“I had just started a new job after barely scraping by with my old one. There was a lapse in paychecks so I was super-extra-broke. At the orientation for the new gig they had snacks – granola bars, chips, fruit, etc. – so I stocked up. Grabbed a few when people weren’t looking or tried to be the first in/out of the room so I could sneak more into my purse.”

3. Desperate

“I remember one time when I was little my mom went into a Wendy’s or something like that and grabbed some crackers and ketchup for me and my brother to eat from the condiment section. That was pretty bad times. I’m just glad I can barely remember it. Lol.”

4. Pretend camping

“Told the kids we were going to pretend to be camping for a few days. Lit candles, cooked food on the grill, opened the windows at night and took cold showers for 3 miserable days to get to the next payday because my now ex was terrible at handling money and we didn’t have enough to pay the damn electric bill.

Kids thought it was great.”

5. Dumpster diving

“I’m pretty sure that for about 4-6 months around the time I was 8, our meals were coming from my step-dad dumpster diving at the local Safeway. At one point I can remember him breaking down emotionally when we came home one day and someone had left three bags of groceries in our driveway right before Thanksgiving.”

6. Hard times

“I was homless in Las Vegas for a summer after a series of ridiculous events, capped off by the guy I had paid 3 months advanced rent to getting arrested for fraud and the landlord kicking us out.

I managed to get room key cards for several of the hotels in Las Vegas that people had thrown away. Then I’d stay up all night, and sleep in one of the chairs at the pool during the day. You had to show a key card to get into the pool area, but once you were in they didn’t pay much attention that what you did. The pool at the Paris had a handicapped bathroom you could lock, so I’d “shower” in there.

I managed to survive through the summer on about $20 without stealing or begging. It probably helped that I was an early 20s white guy in decent clothes, I got away with a lot.”

7. Rough

“Sold plasma twice weekly to pay for food. Got my student id renewed a month after I was kicked out of school because it doubled as a free bus pass I still cant believe that worked. Popcorn was an intergrel part of my diet at the time because it was dirt cheap.

Summer 2011 was rough but now im much better off.”

8. Flat broke

“Put a paper plate in the sink to be washed.

Was at a friend’s house for D&D and we had some BBQ before hand. Getting cleaned up and I, on reflex, put my paper plate in the sink. Later that night, my friend noticed and says, “Which of you broke mother f*ckers put this in the sink?!”

It was me. I was the broke mother f*cker.”

9. Shoes!

“When I was in college I found a pair of thrown out shoes in front of an apartment. They were soaking wet but otherwise new and were my size. I took them home, washed them in the sink, dried them out, and wore them for two years.

I was that broke my shoes had holes in them, so I wasn’t going to let free shoes go away….”

10. Good tip

“Restaurants typically have huge trash bags that take a long time to fill up. This means that dumpster diving is almost guaranteed to be disgusting. But did you know that if you wait till the end of a shift (10am, 2pm, 6pm, 10pm, and 2am) most places will have emptying the trash as an end-of-shift duty? And if you keep an eye out, you can grab food off the top of the bag that’s still pretty much fresh?

Because I know that.”

11. Gone fishin’

“In college, I would go fishing to catch trout for dinner. Not because it was fun, but I wouldn’t eat otherwise.”

12. Roughing it

“Lived out of my car and bought a $10/per month gym membership to Planet Fitness just so I could shower every day.”

13. Leftovers

“When I was a waitress, if someone didn’t want to take their leftovers home, I’d hide in the freezer in back and eat the remaining food left by strangers.”

14. A bad memory

“I ate a $1 can of cold “chunky” soup with a plastic spoon, while sitting in my car in the WalMart parking lot, in mid-winter in the dark, crying because I was poor and new to the area and had no friends. That was a Christmas Eve to remember.”

15. Act of kindness

“Was buying tampons from the dollar store and my card was declined. Nicest cashier ever just told me it’s okay and to go ahead. Super embarrassing.. I’m still a regular at that location.”