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Hands up who’s having a hard month financially?
Ofc, JLo in Hustlers is very me hahahaha via GIPHY
Yep, vet bills, paying for a year’s gym membership up front because it was cheaper and splashing out on a semi-ridiculous pumpkin-shaped cast iron casserole means my bank balance isn’t looking too healthy this November. However, I’m well aware that I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve never felt what it’s like to have to choose between food and putting the heating on. That’s why I’m taking part in the UK Money Bloggers Food Bank Advent campaign.
How does it work?
The idea behind the campaign is that during November you put aside one food or basic toiletry item every day. Then at the end of the month you donate it to a food bank ready for the December rush. This year I’m splitting my donation between the food bank box at Sainsbury’s, and my local Hygiene Bank.
Make sure you post about it if you take part – not just for to show off how much of a good person you are (lol) but also so that others feel encouraged to take part. Use the hashtag #FoodBankAdvent.
What to donate to a food bank
You can donate almost anything to a food bank (providing it’s unopened and in date). The Trussell Trust has a great list of what they include in their food parcels. It doesn’t have to be just food – basic toiletries like loo rolls, toothpaste, sanitary items, soap and shower gel will all be gratefully received.
It’s best to err towards foods with a long shelf life, but slipping in a few treats is totally allowed. I think it’s worth mentioning that some people visiting food banks won’t have access to a full kitchen, so instant things you can make with just a kettle, or you don’t need to cook at all are a good shout.
Some things to steer clear from donating:
- Baby formula – they won’t take it, I’ve looked into it.
- Things you need specialist equipment to use – Nespresso pods are a real no-no.
- Alcohol – as nice as a Christmas tipple might be, they aren’t allowed to hand it out.
- Items that need to be refrigerated or frozen – for storage purposes, it’s ambient things only!
My food parcel this year looks… very branded and expensive. It’s not because I’m a name brand snob, (I mainly shop at Aldi tbh) it’s because I get a lotttt of things for free.
I actually did the Foodbank Advent before back in 2017 too, when I managed to get sooo much free baby food from various apps.
I’ve been hoarding (mostly baby) food i’ve got for free, I’m taking it to the food bank today and the box is sooooo heavy ? pic.twitter.com/Csz6MOhHvk
— Bronni (@_bronni) December 16, 2017
How to get free food
If you’re cash poor but time rich, why not give foodie freebie hunting a try. Couponing is fun, but hard to keep track of – here are my favourite supermarket couponing Facebook pages:
These lot are a lot more on it than I am when it comes to freebies nowadays – definitely all worth a like!
I’m extra super lucky to have heaps of Shopmium credit, which means anything on the app is free for me. But if you don’t have credit, there are plenty of freebies on there at the moment. I can see cat food, baby food pouches and fizzy drinks, all totally free.
You need to buy the item at first, then you’ll get refunded either the full amount, or the amount it says on the app. The refunds come via PayPal and they’re really quick. You can read more about Shopmium and other apps like it in the article I wrote for Save the Student.
When you sign up, if you use my code KFGMHKGK, you’ll get a free tub of Ben & Jerry’s (unfortunately, that’s not suitable to donate to a food bank), but it’s a nice bonus anyway. I’ll also get even more credit, but I promise I’ll put it to good use. If you like the app share your own referral code with your friends to claim your own freebies.
This app is really similar to Shopmium, but it can have some really good freebies or bargains. Download it here.
I love GreenJinn – you can’t get credit on it, but I’ve managed to bag loads of free stuff through it. I only just cashed out £30 from it!
Online shopping freebies
If you’re a frequent online shopper, often they like to throw in a few freebies with your order now and again.
At the moment there’s free olives, cereal and crisps, but they change all the time – you can see them here. Click on each item for the code, then add it to your basket and enter the code at checkout.
The Ocado coupon section offers extra money off loads of items. You have to scroll to see them, but there’s lots of stuff on there for either free or really really cheap.
I don’t know where you find these on the site, but people on HUKD tend to be good at finding codes for free items at Tesco. There’s free chocolates and crisps available right now.
Sorry this post is a little late – but there’s still loads of time to get involved. It’s also a fantastic way to declutter your cupboards before the festive season – give it a try… for me?