HOW TO NEVER LET YOUR FAMILY GO HUNGRY IN CANADA
We hear it more on the news 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 it happens on a daily basis.
I Have No Money For Food
Recently a CBB reader emailed me looking for tips about how she can feed her family of 4 during the months she has no money and her cupboards are bare.
She is a single mom who relies on social assistance for money every month but that money is spent on 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 motivated me to speak on this topic because it’s a big problem across Canada.
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, poor finance skills, little to no 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 adult issues that most kids their age don’t face.
Then there are parents who do have good jobs but large amounts of debt limiting the amount of food they can put on the table.
No Money Left After Bills
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 Ontario Works who are faced with accepting financial assistance, often in shame.
It shouldn’t be this way and no one really wants to be on welfare. We all want to be good at something and successful at doing it.
Ontario Works and welfare programs across Canada is a temporary system that has helped so many Canadians survive, especially the kids.
You might be working full-time but minimum wages aren’t paying the bills and your family is hungry.
What options do you have?
1. Stop Spending Money
The most obvious way to free up cash in your bank account is to stop spending it on stuff you don’t need.
I know people who are out shopping every day of the week whether it be at the mall or online shopping.
That can wreak havoc on anyone’s financial health especially if financial expenses are not being monitored.
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.
No Money, So Now What?
Think about ways you can reduce expenses 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 and other basic needs.
You have to start somewhere and if a debt is what’s holding you back then work on ways to fix that.
Perhaps using a budget or swapping from using a debit card to a cash system will help reduce expenses.
If you are smoking, drinking or doing drugs consider letting that go or accepting help in community programs.
We quit smoking in 2013 and have saved thousands of dollars over the years and improved our health.
It may take time and doctor supervision but wasting money for nothing is pointless.
That extra cash can go a long way when you have mouths to feed.
Stealing As A Last Resort
Those with cash do it just because they can get away with it and it’s a challenge.
It sounds odd but mental illness is real and it can affect people in many different ways that a normal person views as uncommon.
It’s not until someone gets caught when the truth comes out or they make up a lie to try and get out of it.
Pleading ignorance seems to be good reasoning for their shoplifting actions.
Stealing food is never a last resort and really shouldn’t be any way someone has to feed themselves.
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.
How To Feed Your Family With Little To No Money
I don’t have all the answers but I do have tips that might give those struggling to make ends meet some hope.
I’ve put together 11 ways that I could think of helping people who have little to no money, empty cupboards and hungry mouths to feed.
2. Job Search or Earn 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.
I watched a young man at Shoppers Drug Mart ask the manager if they were hiring part-time and was asked to hand in his resume.
These days managers would rather you drop in with a resume instead of hiding behind the computer as popular as that is.
Show your face, smile and ask if a business is hiring and always carry and up to date resume.
If you need to find someone to watch your children while you job hunt perhaps a friend or family member can help you out.
Share Your Skills For Cash
There are many freelance writing jobs, editing jobs, Virtual assistant jobs online for those of you who want to work from home.
Start building your portfolio and present it to online bloggers with a large presence because we all need help eventually with our blog.
Earning cash is another way to increase your bank account.
Perhaps babysitting in your spare time or offering services such as cleaning, senior companion or dog walking might be ideal cash grabs.
Another option to is to slim down what you own and start selling it online for fast cash.
3. Food Bank
The local food banks around 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 grocery assistance.
You can also pick up food, diapers and formula for your baby if you are left with no money to afford any.
4. Volunteer For Food
Sometimes people don’t have time to volunteer for food because they are hungry so visiting the Food Bank is a great first step to get what you need.
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.
5. Local Community Centres and Churches
Don’t be shy to ask around if there are any local churches or community centers in your area that accept food donations to distribute to those in need.
Once you find a place don’t be shy to ask them if you need help because waiting for it to come for you might not happen.
We have a local farmers market that happens every week during the summer that runs on a pay scale.
What happens is they have a low price point and a high price point and you pay what you can afford based on that pay scale.
So if an orange is $0.20-$0.50 on the pay scale and you can afford $0.20 that’s what you tell them you’d like to pay.
6. 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.
7. 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, that’s a fact.
8. Eat Less Meat
There’s no reason you need to eat meat every day of the week unless you are on a keto diet.
Cut back to 3 days of meals that include meat or fish and 4 days of meatless meals.
You can easily add proteins to a meal of vegetables by adding chickpeas, other legumes or even seafood.
You can also enjoy nuts, milk, yogurt, eggs, tofu, and cheese as other high protein sources.
9. 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, cookies, 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.
10. Eat To Live
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 or practice intermittent fasting.
11. Dumpster Diving
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 about a Toronto based group called Food Not Bombs an organization that recovers edible vegan food from dumpsters and serves meals to the public.
I was NOT in any way shocked by 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.
Patrol Your Finances
Humans 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 stocked refrigerator and pantry with food for the month.
Life is not easy but there are generous people who are willing to help in any way they can.
So, if you have no money or are struggling with the little you do have to reach out for assistance.
Discussion: What other tips can you offer for those that have no money to buy food for their family?
Leave your comments about this post below as I enjoy reading your feedback.
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
- 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.
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 anymore. 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 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 has 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 as 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.
Are You New To Canadian Budget Binder?