Tips for living on AISH
It can sometimes be very hard to live on $1,188 a month in Calgary, or most places in Alberta. Here are some handy tips to help you make it through the month!
- Don't buy a condo or apartment. Even if you can somehow get one, it’s too expensive to keep!
- Don’t be picky about where you live. Illegal basement suites are the cheapest. Pray nothing bad happens to you.
- If you sit in the dark, or use candles, you can keep utility costs down.
- Try to find a place to live where food is included in your rent. That way you can have something to eat at the end of the month.
- Stay with family as long as they will let you.
- Rely on your family or friends to pay for toothpaste, haircuts, clothes and tampons. The food bank does not provide diapers or other hygiene items, and you will not be able to afford them.
- Don’t eat out.
- Try to eat vegetarian.
- Cut coupons and look for things on special.
- Eat Kraft dinner at least once a month. Buy it by the dozen and go during 1.49 day to buy it (which is usually the first Tuesday of the month).
- Buying meat is tricky. Stick to ground beef. Careful about buying meat from the clearance bin.
- If you have to feed kids, ask your school about lunch programs.
- Meals on wheels is too expensive on AISH. The Good Food Box comes once a month and it provides fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Eat ketchup, soup, and cheap noodles. They fill you up, but they're not good for you. So, you'll end up seeing the doctor more. (Don't forget to hope that Alberta improves its health care system).
- Ask the local baker if you can have their food before it goes to the garbage can.
- Walk everywhere if it is a nice day.
- Get a low-income transit pass if it is cold (and you live in Calgary).
- Walk everywhere you can, you’ll get in shape walk!
- Try to find a job close to your house so you can walk. It's hard to get places on time with Access Calgary, so you might be late often.
- Find a job where you don't need to buy a uniform. You won’t have the money up front you need to buy work boots, uniforms, training, or fancy office clothes.
- Borrow used work clothing from family members because they are often the same size.
- Hang onto your shoes until they fall apart.
- Haggle at the store for something cheaper if what you want is not sale.
- Find a place that gives out free clothes. Sometimes you can get free clothes at the Drop-In Centre or the Salvation Army that may fit.
- Try to borrow clothes from your brother or sister, if you have one.
- If you living in a nursing home, sometimes you can get clothes from dead people.
- If you cannot find free clothes, try buying used clothing. If you need extra-large clothing, try to find a discount place to buy a shirt from a big and tall store as many of the stores in the malls are too expensive.
- Get free movies from the library.
- Ask to take your neighbour’s dog for a walk.
- Only go out once a month to the cheap movies—forget about the hockey games!
- If you are a student, use the gym at school.
- Get used to being lonely. When you don't have money for entertainment, travel, or even basic toiletries, it's difficult to keep relationships with friends, or find a lover.
- Grow a thick skin. When you have less money, you have fewer choices about your surroundings, transportation, food, etc.
Even better than all of the things above, swap wages with an MLA for a month! Film what it is like to trade places. It would make a great reality TV show!