I am also very poor (neet) and from the UK, so I've been trying to find ways for surviving for a month for as little as possible. I've slowly been learning and researching the most cost-effective way to survive in this expensive dystopia, especially since the lockdowns and panic buying. Not easy considering how expensive food and everyday items have gotten in the past year alone. I have been assuming the worse and I will be without water, electricity and heating for the month of January (31 days).
Need: 2.5 litres a day for drinking, more for cooking, cleaning and hygiene. I've rounded this up to 10 litres a day.
Have: I bought three 100-liter water butts and have connected them to my drain pipes, still short of the 310 litres I need, but I'm hoping the wet british weather can help me there. I considered filters and stuff to make the water drinkable, but thought chlorine tablets were the most cost-effective at just £5 for 2000 litres. Another £5 for a collapsible container that can hold 10 litres for purification.
Cost: 3x£25 butts, 1x£5 tablets, 1x£5 container = £85
Need: The three main things needed from what I can see are 2500 calories, protein and vitamins. All food needs to last a long time without electricity, so fresh and frozen foods are out.
Have: Best long-term protein I could find was whey protein powder. A 2kg protein bag from a pound store contains more than enough protein, will feel filling and will last over a year. Vitamins and minerals I can get from tablets. The best value I could find was the asda brand. They have a good balance of cost and 24 vitamins and minerals compared to a dozen in the cheaper pound store brands. £3 for a 90-tablet pack, two tablets a day will help keep me healthy. I also get Omega 3 fish oil for healthy fats, £4 for 90, two a day. The calories are simple, pasta and rice provide loads of carbs and last forever, as well as other dry stuff like crackers and dried nuts and fruit. 200g of rice or pasta, a large plate, is just over 700 calories, but if you add a sauce, tinned meat or beans to this, I am confident it will all add up to over 2500 calories a day with my other meals. And if you get stuff like brown rice and pasta, it will help with stuff like fibre too. Soups are good too and can even be ate cold. Soups and cooking sauces come in various flavours so they can help stop your meals from being boring. Tip for anyone who is tired of their sause being too watery, a teaspoon of cornflour makes a difference. Condiments such as salt, pepper and vinegar can also make a world of difference to a meal. Custard or rice pudding can make a nice dessert and morale booster, especially if you add things like chocolate, honey, jam, crushed biscuits, dried fruit or nuts. All that dessert stuff is full of sugar, which is a load of calories and energy. Peanut butter is probably the best for being packed with calories and protein, and can be added to the protein shake or desserts or can just be eaten alone. Various flavourings such as squashes, teas, coffee and instant hot chocolate can help can help disguise any remaining chemical taste from water purification.
Cost: 1x£15 protein, 1x£3 vitamins, 1x£4 omega3, 1x£3 3kg pasta, 1x£6 4kg rice, 31x£0.50 soup, 16x£1 sauce, 1x£1.50 cornflour, 8x1.50 tin meat, 31x£0.50 tin vegetables, 3x£1 condiments, 16x£0.50 custard, 15x£0.50 pudding, 4x£1 chocolate, 8x0.50 biscuits/crackers, 1x£2 honey, 2x£1 jam, 4x£2 fruit/nuts, 2x£2.50 Peanut butter, 5x£1 flavourings = £140
Need: 4 rolls of toilet paper, 2 toothpaste, 2 bars of soap, bleach and washing up liquid
Have: 10 rolls of loo roll, 2 toothpaste, 4 bars of soap, 4 litres of bleach, 1 litre of washing up liquid. I am well stocked just from bulk-buying whatever is on sale
Cost: 1x£3 roll, 2x£1 toothpaste, 1x£1 soap, 2x£1 bleach, 2x£1 dishes = £10
Need: 30 minutes of cooking a day, 6 hours of extra heat a day, 3 hours of extra light a day
Have: Central oil runs on electric, so that's out. I am lucky enough to have a small fireplace in my house. Over the past year, I have been collecting any wood I see, whether it's a broken branch in the park or broken pallets at the dump or building sites. Cardboard is also a good source of fuel, but it burns quickly and chokes the fireplace with ash too quickly. I've actually managed to build a decent collection of wood and it should be enough for a few weeks of heat with a fire lit a few hours a day. From experience I know how badly the damp and cold affects your health, especially your lungs, when you have no heat so it is important to try and keep your room/house warm not just yourself. I'm currently trying the old trick of hanging blankets on my walls to see if that will help insulate from the cold walls and make the room feel less cold. Of course, make sure you wrap up with plenty of layers too. A small gas stove is the only way I can think of to cook food without electricity, I don't think I will be able to cook food properly on the wood fire. I got a small one-ring stove and canisters that last for about an hour each at high heat (to boil water). One trick I have learnt is to soak the rice and pasta in cold water for a day beforehand, this will save about half the cooking time as all you need to do is heat to boiling for a few minutes. This will allow me the luxury of about 15 minutes extra gas per day for making coffee or warm water to clean myself. The hot water from the cooking is also a precious source of heat, so I can save it by pouring it into a hot water bottle, warms my bed nicely before I go to bed. Lighting is simple enough, I have three solar-powered LED lights, one for my main room, one for the hall and another for the bathroom. They all have a panel at a window, so they are always charging during the day. However, I have found candles to be useful too, not just for lighting, but heat as well. A single tealight can warm your body up very well, will cast enough light to read from and will last about 4 hours. I tend to find the tealights to be better value than the pillar candles as the big candle can wastefully hollow out while the tealights generally burn all their wax. Asda currently have the best value at 100 for £2.
Cost: 1x£1 matches, 1x£2 fire starters, 6x£10 blankets, 1x£20 stove, 2x£8 16 canisters, 1x£5 hot bottle, 3x£15 solar lgihts, 1x£2 candles = £151
>Work and Entertainment
Need: something to do with no electricity, electric cuts about twice a year where I live and it is unbelievable how much I rely on modern media to keep me entertained.
Have: A bookshelf full of books, games and hobbies. The bargain book shops are great for filling up with entertainment. Penguin classics are usually cheap books, as are other old book collections such as Sherlock Holmes. I got a dozen jigsaw and puzzle games too, from a rubix cube to a book of sudoku. I have a few model kits, ranging from planes to buildings, I've already built a couple and enjoyed it, so I got a few more. I only got a few board games as I would be mostly by myself, but I did get a few packs of playing cards, and a book teaching me how to play dozens of card games as well as another book teaching me how to do card tricks. I got a 4 in 1 mini games table, which has football, hockey, pool and table tennis all in one. I got a dart board too, so I am well on my way to starting up my own pub. I have a couple of outdoor things too, I have a basketball hoop and a couple of tennis rackets to keep me moving in my small back yard. This is all stuff I think I will be doing in the evening as I will be busy during the day with survival, either planting and weeding my tiny garden to produce fresh food, fishing in a nearby river, etc. I tried a windup radio for music, but that was rubbish. Not the radio, but the music that's being played nowadays. I got a solar panel for charging my phone and tablet, but that didn't seem to do much on overcast days so I doubt it will be much use.
Cost: 30x£10 stories/comedies, 6x£20 DIY/garden books, 10x£10 history/crime/fact books, 6x£15 jigsaws, 6x£15 puzzle games, 4x£5 puzzle books, 2x£10 games books, 4x£20 board games, 2x£1 playing cards, 1x£60 games table, 1x£25 darts, 6x£30 model kits, 1x£10 tin whistle, 2x£10 music book, 1x£15 hoop, 1x£5 basketball, 2x£10 rackets, 1x£5 tennis balls, 12x£15 garden tools, 1x£20 fishing equipment, 1x£15 radio, 1x£30 solar panel = £1407
£1,793 in total spent so far. As you can see, the entertainment and work tools are by far the most expensive thing, but luckily they were all one-time buys slowly bought over years or got as gifts. Most of the other things are one-time buys as well, so I should keep costs low after this. Food should hopefully be my biggest expense after this, which I will be buying anyway, but could be helped by me growing my own things next spring.
Any tips or advice is always appreciated.