Home Searches: A home is where you relax, reflect, and recharge. We know that finding an affordable place to live that can satisfy your needs—whatever they may be—isn’t easy. We also know that every city is different and offers varied services. Finding a comfortable, safe living environment is essential for your well being and your success in your year of service.
House-searching tips and to-dos
Furnishing your home
Maintaining your home
Finding government assistance programs in your state or territory:
Cleaning products you can make at home:
Bill Management: If you’re like most VISTAs, your bills won’t stop because you’re fighting poverty. The good news is your city or state may offer utility assistance for low-income residents. You’ll also find tools online designed to help you reduce and manage your expenses.
Eliminating or reducing bills
Free cell phone options that come with complimentary talk and text minutes:
The government and private sector offer tools to help you save money on bills:
Reducing transportation expenses
Local carpools and travel options with an environmentally friendly spin:
Supermarkets providing gas cards for your car:
Look for a free tax preparation option near you:
Managing student loans
Take advantage of the loan repayment options available to VISTAs:
Food: Maybe you’re already a seasoned cheap-foods chef. Maybe you’ve never spent much time in a kitchen. Maybe you relish a home-cooked meal. Maybe you like eating out with friends. Whatever your preference has been up to this point, your VISTA service year may present challenges and opportunities for you to expand your eating horizons.
Saving money on food
Circulars, coupons, sales and freebies for assorted brand name stores:
Tips for preserving food:
Mobile coupon apps:
From WebMD: Low-priced foods that you can integrate into a healthy diet
Budget-style cooking and recipes:
Alternatives to shopping for food
Food bank locator to access free food in your area:
Food distributions service for those working on Indian reservations:
Indoor farming tools and techniques for those interested in growing fruits and vegetables in cozy spaces. (A do-it-yourself version is also provided on the site for those who want to build something different):
Eating out affordably
Fashion: Fashion means different things to different people, but the common themes—style and taste—have always been priceless commodities. We know that many of you will have to dress business casual or business at your organization and when you are out in the community, so check out the below resources to learn how to save money while dressing professional.
Finding fashion and putting it all together
Go “green glamour”: Find budget-conscious people to exchange gently used clothes with:
Thrifty Shopping options:
Thrift fashion videos:
Audacious thrift store blogs:
Taking care of clothing
Tips and tutorials to repair clothing and cultivate sewing as a hobby:
Entertainment: Going out can be expensive. Learn about the many ways to have fun without breaking your budget!
Board and card games:
Low-cost access to unlimited movie streaming and/or DVD rentals
Free streaming TV options:
Free e-books for instant download:
Viewable classics at no cost:
Free online classes in that subject you always wanted to take online:
And don’t forget about all the free services available through your public library!
Free tickets to early premiers:
Visit your local high school or college webpage for information about free plays and sporting events. Attend them and support your community organizations!
Health and Fitness: Working in challenging situations can take a mental and physical toll on our health. Be sure to take good care of yourself throughout your year of service.
Medical and vision care
The Affordable Care Act options available to you:
Health Centers under the HRSA government program providing care to patients regardless of the ability to pay or the lack of insurance:
Vouchers for a free pair of eyeglasses. Check for participating agencies in your area:
Check your community recreation centers for low-cost fitness options available in your area.
Online fitness apps
FitnessBlender has lots of free workout videos, rated easy-hard on a scale of 1-5. You can search workouts by length, type, equipment, difficulty, and the areas of the body they are intended to work. They have lots of variety, so if you get bored with yoga you can try kickboxing:
A review of other great fitness apps: