AS the cost of living crisis continues, millions of households across the UK will struggle.
However, one woman is bravely sharing how she escaped poverty and helping others keep food on the table.
Unlike most influencers on TikTok, Mandy Charlton didn’t set out to become famous.
Instead, the Newcastle based photographer wanted to share her money saving hacks after living on through hard times.
Mandy now regular shows people how to DIY gifts, get low cost groceries and even bulk buy – gaining a huge fan base of over 107,000 followers on the app.
While she could easily give Martin Lewis a run for his money, the kind hearted Geordie doesn’t just offer tips though.
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In a bid to stop the shame surrounding poverty, the creator also shares her experiences of life on the bread line just a few years ago.
She made the candid confession in a recent video about Christmas during the cost of living crisis, with the creator sharing just how bleak things had been.
“It’s only been a couple of years since I was having to scrimp to find £4 to do a load of groceries at my community grocery,” she told fans, adding: “…but that community grocery saved me.”
Despite her heartbreaking admission, she went on to explain how community groceries work and even offered other tips for those struggling at Christmas.
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Having used a similar service in the past, the Geordie told viewers how community groceries help to bridge the gap between supermarkets and food banks by offering a low cost alternative to shopping.
Though each community grocery is different, she suggested that those worried about affording Christmas food could reach out their local branch.
Many will even supply people with hampers stocked with Christmas food waste from the supermarkets over the festive season, so no one will have to miss out.
“One of those hampers used to feed me for a week,” she revealed.
Sadly, many parents won’t just be worrying about the Christmas dinner over the festive period.
As they struggle to afford presents for their children this Christmas, Mandy offered some advice about how to bridge a potential shortfall.
“If you have reasons why you can’t afford toys for Christmas, there are specific charities that you can apply to,” she said, giving an example of a charity which helped kids in the North East.
Aware of the stigma which parents may feel, she also suggested using apps like Olio to find second-hand toys for minimal cost and even household items.
Eager to encourage those who need the most support, the influencer also urged followers to seek extra help if they needed it.
“Sometimes all you need to access a food bank is to go and see a doctor,” Mandy said, adding: “I know there can be shame around it but please don’t suffer in silence.”
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Whilst these tools might not make Christmas any less stressful, there is always support for those who need it.
For more information on foodbanks, you can visit the Trussell Trust.
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