We hear it more on the news these days about parents who have no money and feel that shoplifting is their last resort to put food in the stomachs of their children.
It shouldn’t be this way.
There is so much food on this planet that no one should ever have to starve, but they do.
A CBB fan emailed me looking for tips about how she can feed her family of 4 during the months she has no money and the cupboards are bare.
She is a single mom who relies on social assistance for money every month but that money is met with bills and earlier credit card debt she is still trying to pay off. Her comment about not letting her kids starve because she is poor pushed me to talk about this topic because it’s real.
It’s heartbreaking to see children go without food for days or parents who give up eating for their children. They get shunned for not having a decent paying job (what is decent these days?), an education or for having habits that cost big dollars.
Let’s not forget parents with disabilities some of which are invisible that don’t allow them to work. No one is perfect yet these poor children are having to grow up faster to deal with issues that most kids their age don’t face.
Then there are parents who do have good jobs but so much debt that they still can’t put enough food on the table.
Being poor with no money or limited funds every month can really hit a family hard.
You might already be collecting welfare but have so many bills that there isn’t much money at the end of the month to feed the family. We all make money mistakes, not just people on welfare who are faced with collecting a pay from a system so many people bow their heads to in shame. It shouldn’t be this way. It’s a temporary system that has helped so many people survive, especially the kids.
You might be working full-time but minimum wages isn’t paying the bills and your family is hungry. The most obvious way to free up cash in your bank account is to stop spending it on stuff you don’t need. A shopaholic doesn’t have to be poor, they could be someone who earns a great income but doesn’t know how to manage their money properly.
At the end of the day when you have no money and you are left with what you believe are no options, life becomes a struggle.
What do you do?
There are resources available however waiting until the bitter end to take advantage of them or trying to fix what isn’t working with your finances may mean you need immediate assistance.
Don’t let it get that far because then your options become limited in the moment.
No money- Now What?
Think about ways you can free up cash so you aren’t left with no money before the end of the month. Once you pay down your debts you will have more money to spend on food. You have to start somewhere.
If you are smoking, drinking or doing drugs consider letting that go. It may take time and you may need to seek help for your doctor but you need to save yourself from wasting money on nothing.
That extra cash can go a long way when you have mouths to feed.
Some people think that the people who steal food from grocery stores are poor people when in reality many people who steal earn a decent living. Those with cash do it just because they can get away with it. It’s not until someone gets caught where the truth comes out or they make up a lie to try and get out of it. Pleading ignorance seems to be their own reasoning for their actions.
In the news the past year I have read many stories of parents who are at their wit’s end and flat broke. They may feel their last resort is to steal groceries like single mom Jessica Robles from Miami and her 3 children. Her assistance money had some issues which meant there was no money and her boyfriend lost his job.
Without any money to feed her 3 kids she tried to walk out of a Publix grocery store with $300 worth of groceries. With no earlier arrests the police officer ended up buying her family $100 worth of groceries from her own pocket.
Shoplifting happens all over the world, not just in the USA.
I may not have all the answers but I do have some tips that might give those in need a ray of hope. Below are some ideas I’ve put together to help anyone who has no money in the bank, empty cupboards and hungry mouths to feed.
Get a Job or Earn more money
I know, I know not everyone can work, which is fair BUT for those that can work it may be a wise idea to keep handing out your resume. Don’t rely on the internet either. Get up, get ready and start visiting organizations and asking if they are hiring. If you need to find someone to watch your children while you do this find a friend or family member if possible to help you out.
If you are handy or have other skills such as using a sewing machine, gardening, computer skills or even writing skills you can earn extra money. There are many freelance writing jobs online that anyone can score as long as you know how to write an entertaining, informative piece.
The local food bank in Ontario, Canada will always help someone in need especially if they are starving. Don’t be shy to find your way to a local pantry service or food bank and ask for assistance. You can easily pick up lots of food and formula for your baby if you are left with no money to afford any.
Volunteer for food
Sometimes people don’t have time to volunteer for food because they are starving so visiting the Food Bank is a great first stop to get what you need to get by on. Once you have some food to stock your cupboards you can consider volunteering at local community co-op farms where they offer free food for your time.
Of course you would need to be able-bodied to do so but if you are able to volunteer you would be helping others and helping yourself out.
Don’t be shy to ask around if there are any local churches in your area that accept food donations to distribute to those in need. Once you find a place… go and ask. They want you to come forward so they can help you.
Friends and Family
Not everyone has friends and family they can rely on BUT if you do make sure to use those routes if you can. I’m sure they would be more than willing to help you out but don’t rely on them to always pick you up.
They will want you to take some action for your problems so they aren’t always worrying about you. Ask your family if they have any food they could donate to you or if there was any work that you could help them out with for cash money.
Stretch and plan your meals
If you can make a big batch of pasta sauce because it’s cheaper you will be able to stretch that sauce to make more than one meal. If you balance and plan your meals from a bulk perspective which will cost less you may have leftovers which you can switch up the next day for another recipe.
Buying in bulk is also a great way to save money plus fewer trips to the grocery store. Why spend $1.29 on 200g of dry black beans when a 2kg bag of black beans costs $2.99?
Stretch your meals and you stretch your dollars.
Eat Less Meat
There’s no reason you need to eat meat every day of the week. Cut back to 3 days with meat and 4 meatless meals. You can easily add proteins to a meal of vegetables by adding chick peas, other legumes or even seafood. You can also enjoy nuts, milk, yogurt, eggs, tofu and cheese as other protein sources.
Cut out junk food
Again, if you have no money for food you need to spend any money you do get wisely. This means you stop buying junk food like chips, pop and chocolate. There are healthy snacks for children you can buy or make homemade if you are eager to do so in the kitchen. The savings are huge.
Eat only what you need
When you have food in the house use portion control methods to ensure you aren’t eating more than your body needs. Do yourself a favour and try to make food last longer in your household.
Dumpster diving happens all over Toronto and other cities but you don’t have to do this if you don’t have food for your family. For the most part dumpster diving is not allowed but people still do it. This is not meant to be an option for this post but I wanted to bring to your attention how people do take to the dumpsters when they are hungry.
There are so many places that accept donations for food which one could approach.
I read an article about a Toronto based group called Food Not Bombs an organization who recovers edible vegan food from dumpsters and serves meals to the public.
I was NOT in any way shocked with the amounts of food they were able to find in the dumpsters. This is certainly a sign of how much food waste we have in our communities.
I know in our town there is also a community centre that gets over-supply of fruits and vegetables from the local markets. They offer them for free to anyone who wants them. There is a FREE sign on the table and people come and go as they please and get what they need.
If you are adamant about dumpster diving abide by any Canadian Laws because you don’t want to get charged with trespassing. Just know that there are resources available.
Take steps to patrol your finances
It doesn’t matter who you are as humans we need to eat and when there is no money available we set off into a survival mode to get what we need. If you do have an income creating a food budget is a great way to make sure you have enough money to buy food with your current income so you’re not spending it where you shouldn’t be.
If we take steps to police the money we do get it may help us to keep a refrigerator stocked with food for the month. Nothing in life will be easy but there are generous people who are willing to help in any way they can.
What other tips can you offer for those that have no money to buy food for their family?
August Grocery Game Challenge posts
If you missed any grocery game posts for the month I will post the line-up for the month each week here in this section for you.
Join in the Grocery Game Challenge fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each blog post… here are the GGC rules!
- How to Avoid Paying Full Retail Price At The Grocery Store- Grocery Game #1 August, 2015
- 10 Food Products Worth Buying to Save Time In The Kitchen- Grocery Game #2 August , 2015
Grocery Saving Tips
Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!
Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.
I hope you take the time to get back on track and start the savings process in your grocery budget today.
Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE. CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet for FREE.
NEW!! You can now download the FREE Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel…Grab it while you can… It’s FREE! We use it to budget and in large part a reason we could pay our mortgage off in 5 years, check it out!
Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide
If you are new here and haven’t had a chance to read past posts grab yourself a beverage, sit down, relax and enjoy some educational reading material on ways to save money in your grocery budget.
If you missed a Grocery Game Challenge post some of the most popular posts are listed below or you can now find the posts listed on their own page called The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.
If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email.
2015 Grocery shop results
Yearly grocery budget for two 2015: $2820
(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $235 per year or $25 per month.
Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)
- Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00
- Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $229.08
- Total Gift Cards used to date: $32.40
- Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
- Total Rewards Points used to date: $20.00
- PC Points Plus Earned to date: 124736
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
- Snap Groupon to date: $15.00
- Zweet to date: $14.50
- Cart Smart to date: $0
- Checkout51 to date: $6.00
GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK
(add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)
- 2 bags of Gold Fish Cheese crackers (snacks for travelling) Pm Freshco $1.97 each
- 1 x Homo Milk $4.97
- 3 x Nescafe Instant coffee $3.97 each PM Freshco
- 1 x Aunt Jemima Syrup $3.57 (forgot flyer to PM, darn)
Total out-of-pocket $24.45 ($0) Used a gift card
- Total to spend this month $235-$5.92 (over July) $229.08
- Stockpile budget 2015 ($25.00): (Jan/Feb) $50.00 +$0 (Mar)+$16.94+$25.00 (April)+$25.00+ May $25.00+ June $25.00+July $14.44+Aug $
- Stockpile budget used this month: $25.00
- Total coupons used this week: $0
- Total coupons used to date: $30.50
- Total in-store discounts this week: $0
- Total in-store discounts to date: $564.59
- Total spent this week: $24.45 $0 GC
- Total spent so far this month: $45.85
- Total over/Under spend this shop: $under
- Total over/Under spend for the month: $under
- Total left to spend for the month: $208.18
- Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $166.49+ Feb $261.51+ Mar $231.02 + April $258.44+May $218.12+ June $235.67+July $212.16+August $0
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
Since I am on vacation for 2 weeks we likely will be taking some road trips so we didn’t want to stock up the refrigerator. Don’t worry we probably will spend the grocery budget the last week, you watch.
Canadian Coupons Found This Week
Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons!
I found a few coupons last week but nothing new for this week so I’ll share the same coupons again for those that missed them last week.
We’re finding less and less coupons in the stores these days. What are your thoughts? Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons?
I didn’t find any coupons this week that were new to me.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible.
- Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops only to win a monthly prize. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
- When does the Grocery Game close each month?: The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month but you will still get a ballot when you post your shops even if they are late but I encourage you to stay on schedule. It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something that is scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it all together. Don’t let that be you! You can post your shops all month-long.
- Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?:
YesNo, our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014-2015 we no longer include such items in our grocery budget so we can see actual food numbers at the end of the year so we can plan accordingly for our budget. We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any more. It’s just one way to help cut your budget to save money.
- Canadian Coupons: Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
- Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading out but mobile coupon apps are the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site that mailed coupons to households have gotten involved with their new mobile Save.ca app joining forces with the many apps that are already out there.
- What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.
- What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
- How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?: If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
- How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.
Over time you will gradually learn where you should and shouldn’t go in the grocery store or at least how to say no, I’m on a budget I need to buy this or that.
You may also substitute items in order to stick to your grocery budget to make it work. Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget like many people do.
This is why the grocery game challenge was created to not only show you that we are like everyone else but to bring us all together to work as a team to get our budgets on track.
If you have just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2015 get ready to dive deep into your grocery budget and learn just where you are spending, how much you are spending and what you are saving.
Feel free to read all the above posts that I linked to above which I feel are relevant to learning about the grocery budget and grocery shopping in general.
If you are brave and want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! It’s FREE!
You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!
Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2015!
Join in and become money savers and take control of your grocery budget.
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