Since you are short on money, the next step you should take is to get a second opinion, but you need to go about it in a specific way. Take the car to another shop and tell them the symptoms you are having, regarding things that make you uneasy about the car. You described a scraping sound and “squishy” feeling. Tell the next shop you are having these problems, but do not say a word about being quoted for struts by the first shop. Don’t even say anything about struts if they ask you anything about them. If the next shop tells you the cause of the noises and squishy feeling is the struts, that is very likely the problem. The first shop may have quoted you new struts due to age and mileage and nothing more. Some places do that because struts are an excellent money maker; good profit margin and typically command quite a bit of labor to replace them.
I do not recommend trying to commission a friend or family member to replace the struts for you. Unless you spend extra to get fully assembled units (which typically run $150-400 per corner), servicing struts is a dangerous job which requires specialized equipment and skill. You have to be able to compress the coil springs in order to remove the strut, and if it gets out of the spring compressor, it can go flying and do significant damage to whatever it hits, be it a concrete wall or the installer’s head or body. I have been hit by a flying coil spring before, and it is no fun. In fact, I have permanent nerve damage to my left leg from the incident. If I stand still for too long, it hurts, and sometimes my knee will buckle for no apparent reason.