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

October 18th, 2014 by

“Son of a…..” is what kind of crossed my mind today with some stuff I saw. Video below for my day’s recap for those who prefer it. I included some other interesting stuff I saw today in the video too.

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There was an obstacle today as I had to head out the door earlier than I thought. As a result, I wasn’t able to prepare my regular breakfast. Therefore, I only had an apple. That’s the main negative of being on a budget as many times we tend to buy convenient foods or simply purchase meals on the way to our destination. Generally speaking, you don’t really have the luxury to do that if you are on a tight budget.

I didn’t feel as energetic for the earlier part of the day. However, maybe eating all these vegetables and such pays off as I was able to still go through the day. As I did some price comparing within the area I was around it was kind of hilarious I thought as almost all of the supermarkets had free food samples as you can see here:

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Of course, because of the challenge restrictions I couldn’t try anything. I swear you could have a full meal just by trying out each free sample. I did see this one thing that made me react to my budget and purchase. Look at how much 1kg of peanut butter was here:

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$1.09!!!!!!!??????? This store just threw a frugal financial dagger at me with this. I did check the expiry date and the best before date was October 28, 2014. So, they obviously wanted to dump it fast and it would have been very good for the sake of this challenge. Considering I paid $2.99 for my 750g jar that’s a huge difference in terms of food I could have gotten with the deals I have seen so far.

What this made me think of is how having a network of people who know where the deals are in different areas can save you a lot of money. At the same time, having people with similar eating tastes and habits can be a good way to save too. For example, at this store I saw you could buy two boxes of strawberries for $2.99. That is too much to justify for myself. But if I had a buddy in this challenge for example it would have been a pretty decent buy if we split it.

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I found what seemed to be a decent deal for some rainbow trout. As you can see here, it was $1.99. For what you get it made getting the cans of sardines I bought seem like a bad value. Just shows more on how much you pay for convenience.

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Ultimately, I did decide to buy it as it would last awhile. Because of this, I was going to return the single can of sardine I had left for sure as 94 cents seems way too expensive compared to options like this and the others I have seen. To make things easier, I had a family member tell me that they wanted to buy it off me since they usually pay more for it. So, that is 94 cents back in my pocket.

In getting back 94 cents and spending $1.99 that leaves me with $2.97. After today, food supply wise I don’t feel that I have to do anymore shopping until the 22nd as it is mainly the meat that will run out. The only thing that is completely gone so far is one can of sardine and one large package of kale. I may have to indulge on some items like the sesame seed to finish it by the end of this challenge. I don’t think I can completely finish the oats as there is a lot.

It was nice to be able to switch things up for dinner. Even though I don’t think I will need to buy anything more until Wednesday that doesn’t mean I still won’t keep an eye out for crazy deals though. You just never know what deals you could find.

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

October 17th, 2014 by

Today was an interesting day as it got me thinking if I should return an item for what seems to be a better deal.  As usual, watch my video below for my day’s recap for those who prefer it.

Shopping knowledge was the big theme for me today as many times I found myself finding great deals but at the same time I was lacking the knowledge of what would be the best value diet wise in conjunction with cost.  As mentioned before, stores usually change its prices today and so I decided to quickly visit various stores.

Sure enough, there were a lot of new deals.  These deals I saw on a different brand of sardines got me a little upset as it seemed to be a way better value than what I paid for as you can see here:

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This is why I usually try to avoid buying a lot of products that are not a great deal.  Like in this case, if I just blew my $21 in one day it would be very frustrating financially to see all these better deals.  However, I am thinking at this point of returning one can and using it towards a different purchase.  That’s one of good things about shopping in a big boxed retail store where it’s usually easy to do returns on unused items if you are unsatisfied.

Another reason that got me thinking was I visited one place that had various fishes on sale.  You could say, I was really dumbfounded by the prices.  Like here, $1.78 and $2.52 for these:

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It really made me think about the canned items and if I should just buy like that $1.78 package which looks like it should last way longer for the price.

At the same time, because of my lack of knowledge on food in general I was able to find a lot of deals but didn’t really know what would be a good supplement for what I already have.  So for the most part I didn’t buy items because of this obstacle.

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However, during my trip I saw a great deal for eight apples and I decide to buy it.  The cost of it?  $1 as you can see here:

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That was honestly the only “healthy” thing I kind of knew for sure that would go reasonably well with what I have.  So that knocks $1 off my budget leaving me with $4.02 cents.  If I decide to return that can of sardine I would get 94 cents back which might be wise based on budget.

My meals for the day was mostly the same.  Except since I bought these apples today I had one too.  So food wise, I am still feeling good and confident with my spending so far and am not currently worried about not having enough.  I have been reading some people’s comments and how they are going through withdrawal by not having items like coffee.  That’s why when I saw this at the mall it got my attention:

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It seemed like Tim Hortons is giving way free coffee for a period of time.  Of course, for this welfare food challenge we are not allowed to take anything for free.  So if anything that is putting salt on the wounds for coffee lovers.

What this day made me think of so far is how if you live a life like this for a long time it is probably so important to have a good support system.  Like here, I bet if you teamed me up with someone that actually knows say the best ways to prepare food on a budget or what types of food have the best health benefits this whole thing would be a lot easier.  Either that or I take the time to try and re-educate myself.  Do people on welfare get this kind of support usually?  That I don’t know personally.

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:

 

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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

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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.

 

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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. :)