Dion and her husband, Mark Helge, have been struggling since he lost his information technology job in January. The couple had to move from a $900-a-month apartment in Des Moines, Iowa, to a cramped trailer park in Rolla, Mo., where they pay $300. Their two grown daughters and three grandchildren live in nearby trailers.
Though she runs a data entry business from home, Dion still has to scrimp and save to get by. Even Wal-Mart has become too expensive for her. Instead, she shops at Goodwill and the Salvation Army.
When it comes to food, she found that her hobby can be turned into a way to provide cheap, healthy meals. She and her family fish several times a week at local ponds, as well as at a nearby trout park. The more people who go, the more they can take home.
Picking up a trout in the supermarket costs $6.99 a pound, but Dion pays $3 to catch four fish, which she turns into eight meals. The fish round out the groceries she buys from the supermarket and gets at her monthly trip to a food bank.
"We did it because we enjoyed it," said Dion, 49. "It's become a necessity at this point."
Dion, who has about 20 trout, perch and bass in the freezer, hopes to go to the lake at least one more time to stock up for the winter.
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