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How Growing Up Poor Shaped My Financial Future : The Saturday Weekend Review #285

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growing up poor


In 2015, 1 in every 8 Canadians (12%) lived in poverty and since then Canada has invested in the social and economic well-being of Canadians with a Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Growing up poor in Canada as a child impacts all facets of life but it’s something that can be turned into a success story.

Growing Up Poor And Cost of Housing

Lack of income and suitable housing costs is one of the main reasons for homelessness in Canada.

Shelters are often full and when there is no room struggling Canadians are sent back to the streets.

Today in our city just to rent a one-bedroom apartment it costs well over $1000 plus utilities.

A family of two adults and two children need at minimum a two-bedroom apartment which can increase costs significantly.

Parents who own a home struggle with increased property taxes and home maintenance costs that can push them into debt.

Kids that grow up poor live in big houses, little houses, apartments and on the streets and besides financial education more needs to be done.

Living in Canada nobody should be living on the streets or struggling to put food on the table with all of the resources available.

The reality is that not everyone knows how to directly impact their finances by managing their money properly in order to stretch it further.

Other reasons are that families or individuals simply aren’t making enough money to cover all of their expenses.

This has forced people to move in with roommates, rent a room or live at home longer because they just can’t afford life.

It’s not uncommon to see kids living at home into their late 20’s and early 30’s given the state of our economy.

Poverty Is A State of Mind

I think poverty is a state of mind only because we are as poor as we think but only if we compare ourselves to everyone else.

Not being able to pay the rent, mortgage and basic needs is definitely a spot no one wants to be in.

I know that some people have to make the harsh decision each month as to which bills to pay so they can tend to basic needs.

If we don’t work harder on managing our money no one else will and the government is only going to give so much.

That’s reality although they have been working on a reduction strategy since 2015 to help break down barriers.

Growing Up Poor At Home

Mrs. CBB.

Growing up poor was a way of life for my family because we didn’t have much money at all.

There are no times I can remember sitting with my parents to read a book or engagement in our education.

I can remember not having rain boots to walk to school or an umbrella to shield me from the rain.

Our lunch was whatever we had in the pantry or refrigerator but most days we didn’t have much of a lunch.

There were no before and after school meal programs for kids growing up poor like we were.

It was far easier to pretend we weren’t hungry than to suggest that our family had little money for food.

My parents never went to the food bank in the ’80s and early 90’s when my dad was homesick permanently and my mom was as working various cleaning jobs.

I moved back home after college to help them pay the mortgage by offering them monthly rent.

Our house was falling apart because my father could not afford to pay for repairs and anything he did fix was with scraps from friends.

I can remember the bathroom ceiling upstairs was caving in and I could see inside the roof. We had to put a bucket in the hole when it rained.

The living room ceiling had popcorn ceilings that were stained yellow from water leaking through the roof.

It was only a matter of time before that collapsed.

I Was Different Than Other Kids

Growing up poor was one of the hardest things I had to endure as a child because I didn’t get opportunities like other kids.

I had to work in my parent’s business from the age of 10 so my mom could go home to clean and cook.

Thankfully my dad kept busy building his garden so we had food to eat and store in the freezer for the winter months.

This would be something he continued until he passed away last year.

Now we continue gardening as a family at our house.

Is this what child labour is in Canada?

Well, in a sense yes because I’m sure running a business at the age of 10 is not something most kids my age would do.

They couldn’t afford to hire anyone and don’t think just because we had a business that we had money.

We didn’t, in fact, my parents were in so much debt with the business that eventually it had to be closed down.

Eventually, my parents lost their house, business and all of their properties.

We were broke and had a bad credit history.

Thankfully my father was given a chunk of money from WSIB to put as a downpayment on a new home.

Living on the streets was almost a reality for our family but we didn’t give up.

With the help of a local bank, they were able to build credit using a secured credit card which helped them to get a mortgage.

Today, my father is gone and my mother is a senior living in poverty and it breaks my heart.

You see how hard your parents work growing up and to see them living below the poverty line in retirement breaks your heart.

Poverty In Canada

In 2017, 622,000 children under 18 years of age, or 9.0%, lived below the poverty line, down from 11.0% (755,000 children) in 2016.

The child poverty rate, according to the MBM, has declined fairly steadily since reaching its most recent peak of 15.0% (1.0 million children) in 2012. Source

People in lone-parent families recorded among the largest decreases in poverty in 2017—the proportion of people in these families living below the Official Poverty Line fell from 29.2% in 2016 to 22.7% in 2017.

The poverty rate for persons in lone-parent families has been declining steadily over the previous five years, associated with increases in child benefits.

The below chart represents after tax income median for families and unattached individuals for 2017.


  median (2017 constant dollars)
Canada 59,800
Newfoundland and Labrador 54,300
Prince Edward Island 53,400
Nova Scotia 50,200
New Brunswick 53,000
Quebec 52,400
Ontario 62,700
Manitoba 58,900
Saskatchewan 61,300
Alberta 70,300
British Columbia 62,100

Projected new investment Canada

The above chart was extracted from Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Report

Canada-Child-Benefit Stats

For the 2016–17 benefit year, single mothers earning less than $60,000 a year received about $9,000 in benefit payments on average, making it easier for them to afford the things that give children a good quality of life, such as a safe place to live, healthy food and winter clothing.

In addition, 9 out of 10 families are receiving more in child benefits than under the previous system of child benefits.


Deep Income Poverty Canada

  • 5.4% of Canadians (1.9 million) were in deep income poverty in 2016, making them the poorest of the poor.
  • 24.8% of working age single females
  • 22.1% of working age single males
  • 14.2% of female lone-parent families
  • 9.5% of Indigenous people living off-reserve
  • 8.3% of recent immigrants
  • 7.7% of persons with disabilities

Growing Up Poor In School

Poverty affects education and has long-term psychological effects on children especially when they know they come from a poor home.

The effects of poverty on child development at least from my perspective meant that I didn’t focus in school.

I was always wondering if my parents were fighting about money or if someone was going to take our house away.

As I got older I started to realize the financial disaster my parents were in and it all started from a work injury and money mismanagement.

Children living in poverty struggle in different ways so I can’t speak for them all.

I know that I didn’t have many friends growing up as I wasn’t allowed to play outside while our parents were at work.

Not being able to participate in sports also put me on the nobody list at school because I wasn’t popular.

Poor children know they are growing up poor because they don’t get money for pizza day, bake sales nor have family vacations to share with their peers or teacher.

Effects Of Poverty On Poor Kids

Explaining poverty to a child is not something a parent wants to do but I heard it often that we just couldn’t afford it.

Eventually, it all made sense to me as I put two and two together and listened to my parents argue about money.

The poor kids in school are picked on or left to fend for themselves and that’s a reality.

You don’t have the latest lunchbox, fashionable clothes or get to buy books at the Scholastic book fair.

I suppose I was undiagnosed with depression growing up in a poor family but it changed the way I thought about money.

When I started my first real job at 13 I saved as much money as I could right up until I bought my first house at the age of 30.

I wanted to be a millionaire and provide for my children in ways my parents could not

Learning about budgeting and finance from an early age and still today has allowed my husband and me to do this.

Poverty is a state of mind but it’s how you take that mindset and make it either a success or a continued path of poverty.

Poverty Reduction Strategy Canada

The sheer fact that Canada is working to reduce poverty in Canada is a blessing even though some people don’t feel they are doing enough.

I read about it often but we have to remember that they can’t change everything overnight but with the right resources children won’t have to grow up poor.

Living under the poverty line and trying to provide for your family affects everyone including the parents who feel backed into a wall.

Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, tabled legislation as part of Opportunity for All – Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy which was launched in August.

The Bill proposes to entrench into legislation ambitious and concrete poverty reduction targets; a 20 % reduction in poverty by 2020 and a 50 % reduction in poverty by 2030, relative to 2015 levels.

These targets will lead to the lowest poverty rate in Canada’s history. – Source

  • The median after-tax income for 2017 was $59,800, also the highest in Canadian history.
  • Data on Canada’s Official Poverty Line has been published by Statistics Canada since 2002.
  • Opportunity for All – Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy, released in August 2018, established the Market Basket Measure as Canada’s first Official Poverty Line.
  • A total of 3.4 million Canadians, representing 9.5 percent of the population, lived in poverty in 2017, down from 10.6 percent in 2016.
  • The data for 2017 also reflects the first full year of the Canada Child Benefit and the increased Guaranteed Income Supplement top-up, which were both implemented in July 2016.
  • Between 2015 and 2017, there was a decrease of 52,000 single seniors living below Canada’s Official Poverty Line.
  • The Poverty Reduction Strategy’s targets are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to eradicate poverty.

Source: Canada Reaches Lowest Poverty Rate In History

What is the Canada Child Benefit?

The Canada Child Tax Benefit is a tax-free monthly benefit that is given to eligible parents to help raise their children under the age of 18.

I know many parents who are very thankful for the Canada Child Benefit because it helps support their budget.

Being able to afford clothes, school supplies and to put your child in extracurricular activities will make a world of difference for them.

Our son collects a bit over $200 a month and since we are fortunate financially we invest that money for him in a non-registered investment account so when he turns 18 he has money for his start in life.

What is the Guaranteed Income Supplement?

The Guaranteed Income Supplement is a tax-free monthly benefit for old age security pension recipients who are low-income.

My mother-in-law collects this benefit each month since she does not work due to mental illness and falls below the poverty line for a senior.

We are very thankful for this benefit as it has allowed her to stay living in her home until she needs to be in a nursing home.

Growing up poor today compared to in the ’70s and ’80s when I was a child has far more benefits to help single parents and low-income families.

One of the biggest problems that come with offering tax-free benefits for Canadians is how the money is used in terms of budgeting.

Earning more money or being given money doesn’t always fix a situation when you are growing up poor if it is not managed right.

The struggles to provide for a family will continue year after year but with changes to personal finance mindsets, money will stretch even further.

Discussion: Did growing up poor shape your financial future? Share your comments below.

CBB Posts You May Have Missed

Crispy Baked Chicken Wings-4

These are some of the blog posts I’ve written over the past two weeks on Canadian Budget Binder.

Mr. CBB’s Motivational Corner

Motivational Quote

Frugal Recipe Find

Flourless Marshmallow Crunch Brownies

I stopped to stare at these Flourless Marshmallow Crunch Brownies and then had to read the recipe.

YES, I’m a big brownie nerd because they are all so delicious. Don’t believe me?

Check out my Brownie Pinterest board with thousands of pinned brownies.

I’m not a huge marshmallow fan on their own but if you add them into a recipe, I’m game.

I think everyone will agree that marshmallows and chocolate pair well together so I’m definitely going to try this recipe.

The only difference is that I will make it a Keto brownie recipe instead however I still need to think about the crunchy topping.

I can make homemade keto marshmallows and have made keto brownies on many occasions.

I’ll post pics and the recipe once I make it.

For the Brownies:

  1. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  2. 1 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/2 cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
  5. 2 cups white sugar
  6. 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  7. 4 large eggs

For the Topping:

  1. 1 bag mini marshmallows (10.5 oz. or 5.5 cups)
  2. 2 cups chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)
  3. 1 1/4 cups peanut butter
  4. 5 tablespoons butter
  5. 3 cups Rice Krispies, gluten-free if needed (I actually used Cocoa Krispies because I strangely can’t find plain here. Not complaining.)

Garage Sale Finds

Moosehead Beer

If you have deals you’d like to share from your garage sale outings this Summer email me your photo and tell us what you found and how much it cost to be featured.

Here are this weeks garage sale deals:

  • Sandwich container $.25
  • Carabiner clips $.25 (asking was $1)
  • Bunch o balloons, 2 new Dove deodorants, 2 bag clips $1
  • Moose head beer coin holder (including coins!!) $1

Total spent $2.50

We went through the coins when we got home. Pictured below are coins from various countries.

We also counted $3.03 USD and $6.40 CAD so we made more money from garage sales then we spent.

Jen P.

Hey Jen,

This was by far the coolest and funniest garage sale deal that you’ve sent me over the years.

To hear that someone didn’t care enough to take money out of a piggy bank at a garage sale is mind-blowing.

Well done and thanks for sending this in.


Home and Blog Update

organic cherry tomatoes

Hey everyone,

This past two weeks have been mostly renovations continuing on the upstairs bathroom.

I’m at the point where I’ve just got to tile and add the toilet and cabinets.

We haven’t bought any lighting yet however I did buy LED lights for the ceiling from Amazon along with a tap.

I was quite amazed by how the prices varied for bathroom accessories but found the best price online.

Most of the building supplies we bought from Lowes online and used EBATES to earn cashback.

In the garden, our tomatoes and peppers are starting to turn colours and we are so excited to have organic produce.

bathroom reno

Saturday Search Term Giggles

Every week I get tens of thousands of people who visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog.

Yes, I can see your search terms and sometimes they are funny.

  • Sell something to Value Village– Sorry, but there’s no selling happening at VV however you can get a 30% off discount the more you donate with a punch card they offer.
  • Canadian Jam Making– I thought jam is jam and it is made the same way no matter where you live based on the fruits you use. Maybe, I’m wrong.
  • What happens when your wife spends more than you make? – You go broke

If you see the acronym (SIC) next to a word that means I’ve copied the text exactly as it was typed in Google and it has spelling errors

That’s all for this week my friends, see you again in 2 weeks for the next Saturday Weekend Review!


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