It’s really all the little things combined and done over a long period of time that gets you back on your feet. There is no quick and easy cure. I have absolutely done my share of dumpster diving. I also do the rounds of yard sales especially on the last day (Sunday afternoons) and whatever is left over I pick through for freebies since by that time they just want to get rid of stuff. I peruse the “free stuff” listings on Craig's List every few days and I have actually gotten some really nice stuff that way. Sometimes it’s items I can personally use to make my home more comfortable, other times it’s something I can sell. Big things I sell on Craig's List, smaller easy to ship items are sold on one of the internet selling sites.
I grew up in Salvation Army clothes and never had a new anything, even at Christmas, that I can remember. It irks me to see good things being thrown away, or for charities like Toys for Tots turning down perfectly good, clean, usable toys because they aren’t new with boxes and tags. I learned to make a lot of my own things, and to fix and repair almost anything.
When I first moved to my present location, Washington, I had it rough for about three years. I was in debt to my eyeballs and had to take any job I could find. I assessed all my expenses and habits, and gave up a lot that I thought I could not live without. I started getting drinking water from the local Artesian well (free) and stopped drinking coca cola, drinking unsweetened generic store brand iced tea instead. Gave up my brand name individual coffee packs and bought a used coffee maker to use (and RE-use) store-brand coffee. I also got a re-usable coffee filter so I wasn’t buying the paper ones and throwing them away. I did laundry about half as often. I realized that I could actually steam iron or air dry some items without visible soiling and wear a second or third time. Saves on soap, water, and electricity.
All these things seem like nickels and dimes, but it’s the nickels and dimes that will slowly add up and help you stand on your own two feet again. Patience and faith. Mostly faith in yourself. You DO have a skill, you just need to find it. It’s hard times that inspires us to be our most creative.