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BC Welfare Food Challenge – $21 For A Week – Part One

October 16th, 2014 by

Here we go! First day of the BC welfare food challenge. If you prefer to watch me go through my experience using video instead you can click play here:

For everyone else, read on. :) For those who don’t know, the purpose of this challenge is to demonstrate how people on welfare income assistance can barely make ends meat with the current provided funds of $610 per month. After all your other expenses are covered, it is stated that a person has about $21 a week left for food. The calculations was broken down like this:

 

welfarechart

 

You can also read this information on http://welfarefoodchallenge.org/ .

As a result, regular people are challenged to see if they can realistically live on such a budget. When I read this I was thinking if a person like me can’t do it then the majority of others are in big trouble. It sounded like a good way to raise awareness about an important issue too and so my journey begins!

As you all may know, my main strengths in this challenge will be trying to find the best deals. I am not a dietician or chef for example and it will be interesting to potentially learn new things as I go. I did have to do some shopping a day before as I assumed if I had to eat something for the challenge today then I needed to have at least breakfast items.

My financial strategy for this was not really any different than what I would do on a regular basis. This involves researching deals ahead of time and trying to revolve meals and purchases around that. This is as opposed to say me stating “I want chicken” and spending more to buy that even if say fish is extremely cheap for the week.

I ended up spending the following so far:

Sunflower seeds (200g) – $1.88
Brown Rice (900g) -$1.97
Large Oats (1kg) – $2.47
Sesame Seed (200g) – $1.50
Peanut Butter (750g) – $2.99
Dozen Eggs – $2.29

Two cans of sardine (84g each) – $1.88
Two large packages of kale – $1

Total : $15.98

totalsofar

 

I wasn’t able to get this deal even though the site said there was stock in-store only to be told there wasn’t any. Would have been a good buy potentially though.

 

londondrugs

 

With that, I have $5.02 left to spend still. I didn’t want to spend everything as Fridays are usually new flyer days as well as price changes in stores. So I felt that I may potentially find better deals on things that I don’t have yet such as fruits. So far so good I think. I had oatmeal for breakfast and dinner was a mishmash of a lot of stuff. I am still kind of surprised how much vegetables I got for $1. If you have any suggestions for me too feel free to let me know.

Preparing For The Welfare Food Challenge

October 15th, 2014 by

Alright, I am officially going to try this $21 food budget for the week challenge. This is going to be an interesting experience for me as initially I don’t think it will be too hard financially as I normally try to shop for the best deals. However, there is a lot that I don’t know such as keeping track of nutritional daily intake as it isn’t something that I normally think too much about other than doing things such as naturally avoiding as many artificial stuff as possible.

Tomorrow will be the first day of the event and I have been trying to video document everything thus far. I had to use my cell phone video as carrying around the DSLR seems to scare people. I’ll probably save that for the vlogging portion of the post which I am going to try and do every day. I am hoping I will get to learn from people who are actually on welfare as it will be an interesting contrast to see the different circumstances that may affect one from being able to get the best deals.

I must say, my initial research day was a little crazy as I even encountered disputes between homeless people and store owners. Essentially, it seemed like either the owner was accusing the person of trying to steal or that based on appearance he thought he was up to no good. I suppose that is a constant scenario people face when you are on income assistance and can’t say afford to dress up a certain way.

For me it was awkward how when I went to certain areas it’s like everyone tried to sell me cigarettes. I did notice that there were a lot of generous people though where they would openly offer food to anyone that wanted it. Either way, new territory for me and let’s see how this goes. I will go over all of my shopping thoughts and breakdown in my next post tomorrow.

News Report On 1-888-JUNK-VAN

October 14th, 2014 by

I was surprised to read on my twitter feed recently that there was apparently an undercover investigation done on a local Vancouver junk removal company called 1-888-junk-van. Why did this company name ring a bell? It happened to be the exact junk removal company I blogged about awhile back where my experience with them wasn’t exactly ideal.

The investigation was done by a local consumer reporter named Lynda Steele and you can read an article overview of the report at http://bc.ctvnews.ca/junk-removal-company-accused-of-overcharging-customers-1.2047776

Based on the report and some other research it seems like the company is owned by a Mohammad Sharif Begg. After watching the report on TV the main thing I was thinking was how I should have documented my experience better as it sounds like there are a ton of people who had similar negative experiences. Without the tangible proof of course it becomes a he said she said case. It can’t be a coincident on how so many points in this investigation was similar to my experience.

While I haven’t had much experience with junk and waste removal companies, there are sure a lot of sketchy operations I noticed. Example, one’s that have questionable billing practices like in this report or one’s that internally have questionable human resource practices. I am wondering if the reason for it is because the business itself seems fairly straight forward to setup.

I am really curious what is going to happen next to this company. For example, one possibility is that they can simply re-brand if they feel the current attention is too much where they can continue what they do. Sometimes having a ton of negative reviews isn’t good enough to change things for the better. Only time will tell. I do love it when everyone comes together and shares stories though to fill in pieces of a puzzle like for some of my other posts where the Internet essentially did the exposing together. :)

Happy Thanksgiving In Canada

October 13th, 2014 by

Happy Thanksgiving to all the Canadian visitors out there. I am fully expecting every supermarket here tomorrow to have things like cranberry related items on deep discounts. I was actually thinking of visiting various grocery places tomorrow too as research for that grocery spending test. Either way, have a great holiday everyone.

Cyber Monday Advertisements Already

October 12th, 2014 by

I thought this was a little premature as there are already advertisements here for Cyber Monday events in an effort to entice people of upcoming sales. I think the main reason is that the event usually follows on the first Monday after Thanksgiving and here in Canada the holiday is this month. When it comes to Cyber Monday though virtually every place here follows the American Thanksgiving day schedule.

I guess it’s good as a consumer where this reminds you to hold off on big purchases if possible as big sales are bound to happen soon. It must not be good for the business though as it discourages people from making purchases now unless the deals are truly hot. Too bad I did make some big purchases already due to various events taking place way before these sales.