PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — With the price of rent skyrocketing and affordable housing hard to find right now, South Florida and Treasure Coast residents are cutting back and finding creative ways to save money.
"I had to postpone a vacation. You go to a hotel anymore, it costs you an arm and a leg," resident Mike Stuck said.
"If we spent $100 a month ago, we are spending $200 today," resident Bruce Stiller said.
Residents across the region are cutting back.
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"We can't go fishing unless we know we're gonna catch fish," Stiller said.
They're finding new ways to save money during a time when pretty much everything, especially housing, is breaking the bank.
"One-thousand dollars, $1,000 freakin' dollars," resident Bill Kelley told WPTV that’s how much his rent went up last month.
He can't afford it, so he's now living on his boat for the time being.
"Every day is trials and tribulations," Kelley said. "I'm trying to survive."
Trying to survive is what left Kenisha Richardson to find a new "leaf" on life.
"Right here, we have us some watermelons. This is the watermelons that are growing in here," she said while giving WPTV a tour of her backyard garden in Port St. Lucie. "I'm tired of spending money at the store. So, I would like to save money by growing my own vegetables."
Richardson also sells her own seasoning blend on social media, helping keep her family afloat during this unprecedented time.
"Grow your own food. If you have just a little space, whether it's a patio, whether it's a big back yard, grow your own food," Richardson said.
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Along with adding a money-saving tool, like gardening, financial experts suggest looking closely at your expenses with a fine-tooth comb and ask yourself what you can cut out of your life that you don't need.
"When we do things less frequently, sometimes they actually feel more special, and we get more joy out of them," Ashley Feinstein Gerstley, author of Financial Adulting, said. "So, if we're doing something all the time, it might become more mundane or something that's not actually adding much value."
Feinstein Gerstley also encourages residents to think outside the box and learn the art of negotiating.
"Like calling up a utilities provider and asking if there's a less expensive option or are there things that I'm doing in my home that could reduce that bill," she said. "Our mindset with this is really important. I encourage people to think of, 'Not yet' or 'Not right now,' rather than, 'I can't do this thing at all.'"
ADDITIONAL HOUSING RESOURCES
- County-by-county resources for renters facing eviction
- OUR Florida - Emergency Rental Assistance Relief Program
- Palm Beach County Department of Housing and Economic Development
- Palm Beach County Community Services
- Boca Raton
- St. Lucie County
- Martin County
- Indian River County
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