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I Need Help BADLY

I need help. Got my gas bill the other day. I have not been able to pay it in months. It is $1,200.00.

Now I know they can’t cut me off till middle of April but what happens after that?? is there anywhere I can go?? Alberta Works won’t help me. They claim I make to much money. I am finding it very hard to make ends meet since my ex left me 2 years ago. Some nights I don’t even eat dinner cause, well…. that costs money.

I don’t know what I am going to do. Does anyone know of any other place, other than Alberta Works that will help me pay for my outstanding gas bill?? My daughter ( shes 13) and I may just have to live in our car for a while so I can save the money to pay my gas bill cause as it is now, I won’t be able to have it paid off before it gets cold again.

ANOTHER GREAT POST:  Looking to find pre-made meals

I don’t have family that is in a position to help me and my ex doesn’t feel that they should pay child support.

Please no negative comments as this was hard enough to write as it is.

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140 Responses

  1. If you’re making enough $ then where are u spending it ?? Sounds like you can def cut back in some areas . But if you don’t even have food to eat & you’re not throwing $ away then AB Works should help ( with 1month bank statement) & provided u haven’t already used their help for this in the last couple years

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    • I’m a single mom with 2 kids .. I work a regular job & never once had to get help from AB Works … BUT i know how to manage my money .. 9 times outta 10 the person can cut spending somewhere

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    • The cut off for Income Support is well below what it actually costs to live, unfortunately. Cutting back can definitely make a huge difference but in reality, if someone is willing to live in their car it’s doubtful that extravagance is the issue. I’m sure you meant that positively – I’m not saying otherwise! – just wanted to put that out there for others to see as often people don’t realize how low the cut off rates are. Plus! Making over$250/month starts to come off the Income Support so it’s really difficult to break even each month. Throw in fluctuating incomes and it actually *REALLY* hard to keep on track even with no frills because sometimes you don’t get any money at all. System needs some work.

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    • Wanita Rhynard-Daoud I agree I can’t see how it’s this high either, I’m struggling myself and not working and selling what ever I can to make ends meet. I still put what ever I can towards my bills and my heat bill is behind and it’s only at $400.00 and that’s for 5 months or so with making very little of payments as I budget it out between all my bills. I have 3 kids to support and my bills not even close to that high. Better budgeting or better conserving! That must be a Year or mores worth or heat.

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  2. Make him/her pay child support. It’s not up him/her.

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  3. Child supports helps alot

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  4. Joe L Howse Joe L Howse says:

    Tax returns will be out next week..

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  5. Take the ex to court…move to somewhere where utilities are included…

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  6. Tricia Lyn Tricia Lyn says:

    How do you get the bill that high? Once I had a bill for 176.33 overdue and they threatened to shut it off.

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  7. Lisa Fedyck Lisa Fedyck says:

    Have you call them to discuss doing the budget amount each month? Sorry to hear about situation. Wishing you luck in your situation getting better.

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  8. Kole Dupe Kole Dupe says:

    How the F*ck do you let it go so out of whack

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  9. Luckily it’s been warm the past little bit. Dress warmer and keep the heat low until you can come up with some cash. Just make sure it’s not off completely on the super cold days to prevent any water lines from freezing ect.(I’d assume standard insulation should prevent that anyway unless it gets really really cold)

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  10. Your ex can “feel” whatever they want. If you have full time custody, they have to be paying you child support. And why would you have to live in your car? As sad as it is to say, during the summer you won’t need it all that much. Cold showers are better than no showers. In the meantime you could find a place that includes utilities in the rent amount.

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    • If the ex makes less money than the OP does they wouldn’t have to pay support.
      Do you smoke? If yes, give it up. Take on odd cash jobs, shovel snow, help people move stuff, sell excess stuff. Budget better. Lots of people are struggling, we just cut back on the luxuries to make sure we have the necessities. I hope all works out for you and your 13 year old.

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    • That’s true but the ex would have to prove in court that they have what is called undue hardship. I’ve heard this is extremely hard to prove. Go to legal aid and get what your daughter is entitled too.

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    • Ashley Meyer Ashley Meyer says:

      Even with a court order through maintenance they can go without paying.

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  11. Rae Wright Rae Wright says:

    No worries. Call 2-1-1 and ask for help there. There is a company that may be able to pay for it.

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  12. Stace Dace Stace Dace says:

    Make arrangements.

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  13. The good news is you have a couple of months to get this sorted out. Start looking at stuff you can sell. Looks like its time for the 13 year old to start babysitting. Pay what you can and make payment arrangements. Then its time to think of more long term solutions – moving to a place you can afford, looking at legal options for child support, budgeting, etc.

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  14. Make payment arrangements and slowly start paying it off. You have a couple of months to work on it.

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  15. they can cut you off whenever they want. there is no “winter rule”. it’s just bad press to cut off someone’s gas in the middle of winter.

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    • Jenn Anne Jenn Anne says:

      I worked for ATCO — they genuinely cannot suspend natural gas service in the winter.

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    • Jenn, I collected for ATCO and was advised that yes they can cut your gas off during winter as there’s no law preventing it. the only reason they don’t is because it looks bad to cut off someone’s service in the middle of a deep freeze.

      i could very well be wrong tho

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    • Jenn Anne Jenn Anne says:

      Regardless of who your retailer is, ATCO will not authorize the site to be deenergized between Nov 1-Apr 14. Whether it’s law or not, I’m not sure — but they will not suspend service.

      With that said, if you’re not paid up by the following winter, there’s nothing that says they have to reconnect you. There has been a lot of grief over that in recent years.

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    • Jenn Anne Jenn Anne says:

      Granted, our back and forth doesn’t help the OP at all — so fingers crossed she can get this sorted out.

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    • They will not cut off gas in the winter as I worked at ATCO as well.

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    • Jenn, you’re right about our back and forth not helping OP and I too hope she gets this sorted out as well.

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  16. Contact the Salvation Army and Homeward trust to see if they can help or know of programs to help. Ultimately this will effect your housing and can lead to you becoming homeless. There are programs to help deter that but I’m not exactly certain of the local resources. Start making calls though and you may be able to find some assistance. Good luck in your search and I hope things improve for you and your girl soon.

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  17. Is it true that they cannot cut you off in winter months?

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  18. Cut back! Cook at home, no restaurants, no Timmies, no fancy nails, salons, cigarettes, booze, clubs, park the car, take a bus. Food for your kids come first. You’d be surprised how much you save if these are part of your life. Wish you all the best

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  19. Call 211, they will provide you with resources. I know it’s hard but there are ways around this!

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  20. Rather than living in your car.. consider selling it. I realize that option sucks but you immediately save money because you wont have to pay car insurance, and a bus pass is cheaper than gas and other expenses that go with it. Next step – if your ex has money ask for some – if they won’t give you any consider taking them to court or letting them have the girl to raise for a while. I don;t know if Alberta Works will help if you haven’t tried to get support – good luck – learn some frugal skill.

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  21. I recommend calling 211. They’ll talk over your whole situation with you and look for areas where there are agencies that can help. Sometimes there isn’t a program to help with a person’s #1 struggle but by finding help for secondary struggles there’s indirect help. They’re very non-judgemental and caring!

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  22. If you need help budgeting let me know. Rent, utilities, food are the priority. Not your cell phone, internet, addictions( not saying you have any), no coffee out it’s not expensive to make coffee at home, no nail salons or haircuts out, work near your home so you don’t need gas for the car all that often etc.

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  23. Perhaps a go fund me page

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  24. Contact Debt Solutions. They will help you figure out your budget, and will work with your debtors to get you out of trouble. They will do all of this for free.

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  25. Something smells nasty here!!….but you might try networking to get resourceful info on how can make ends met, making a arrangements on how you pay with gas company bill…you have to be responsible for your bills.

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  26. Vicky Bowen Vicky Bowen says:

    You are correct, gas will not be shut off until after April 15th and even then it has to remain over 0 at night to do so. Try the Utilities Consumer Advocate. They may know how to get assistance and help you. The number is 310-4822. Call them.

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  27. The government will bail you out one time. Just bring your bill to Alberta works.

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  28. I am sorry that you are going through this. My mom was a single mom who didn’t have support from my father and I know how as a child it is to see your parent struggling through situations such as this.

    I don’t know if this is useful but here’s a link to assistance for being behind on utilities bills.

    http://www.ucahelps.alberta.ca/aucwurp.aspx

    After April, they would simply cut the gas off. When it comes to electricity they would install a limited switch, where you are only allowed to use so much power before your house power shuts off. And yes I experienced this as a child.

    As some people suggested, talk to your supplier and see if you can make some kind of arrangement with them.

    I know my mom always had to juggle her payments to make things balance out as she never had enough to pay the rent and all utilities every month while also feeding and clothing my sibling and I.

    And there is a no cut off during winter as stated by the Alberta regulations.

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  29. Jenn Anne Jenn Anne says:

    While not an immediate solution, something to keep in mind come fall

    https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=44956233F4F09-B889-5DCF-773C8A907642EF56

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    • from above mentioned website.. “Alberta Government Dec 05, 2016 Under current regulations, utility retailers cannot shut off a consumer’s service:
      between November 1 and April 14 and any time of the year when the overnight temperature is forecast to drop below zero degrees in the next 24 hours for natural gas; and between October 15 to April 15 for electricity.”

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    • The following website gives the same dates for natural gas.

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  30. Tanya Sh Tanya Sh says:

    Here’s a good government website to read about the Winter Rules, utility disconnection and reconnection http://ucahelps.alberta.ca/aucwurp.aspx . Everyone should know this stuff.

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  31. Sean Foster Sean Foster says:

    Another ” looking for handouts” post

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  32. Seeing a credit counsellor might help? They can work with you and the gas company to work out a payment arrangement that would be mutually beneficial.

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  33. Dallas Will Dallas Will says:

    Time to start asking friends, family and Facebook contacts if there are any household chores you and your daughter can do. Spring clean up, pick up doggy-do, clean house, babysitting…..

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  34. Contact the Good Neighbour Fund, the are a grass roots charity that offers a one time help!

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  35. Sharon Swan Sharon Swan says:

    I would contact legal aid in regards getting child support for your daughter and go though maintenance enforcement so if he does not pay one month they will be dealing with him and not you .. next with gas bill you have lots of suggestions with comments . Re food .. there is food bank .. plus bread runs on Saturday or Sunday different parts of the city where you can get a few groceries plus 4 or 5 loaves of bread .. no meats though .. be there early at these runs as people line up early … definitely look for cheaper place to live with utilities included. . There are places that you pay percentage of your wages . Think it is boardwalk .. they have buildings all over the city … check it out and good luck to you

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  36. Legal options for child support. Can be forced to pay by maintenance enforcement. His wages can be garnisheed.

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  37. Cee Dee Hawn Cee Dee Hawn says:

    Red Cross, Salvation Army….good luck.

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  38. Carrie Brown Carrie Brown says:

    Court. For your ex.

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  39. Why it talk to them they will generally be willing to make an arrangement

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  40. Not sure about other gas companies but Direct Energy in Alberta has (or used to have) a program where you pay 1 price every month, even thru summer, to help cover thru winter. Easier for budgeting. You have to pay that amount cause if you don’t, after however many months you’re kicked out of the program.

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  41. Ed Bloom Ed Bloom says:

    How does a single mom rack up a 1200 gas bill. If you make enough money at your job, you should be on top of your bills. Your EX should be paying child support. Like it or not. How about your mom or dad. Move home. Check your spending priorities. 13 yr olds can collect bottles.

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  42. Rent out 1 or 2 rooms in your house and take Ex to court… She should be paying. Also, call Alberta Works AFTER HOURS LINE… You will get different results.

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  43. Mj Mank Mj Mank says:

    Well you need to take ex to court for child support payments. It is the law that decides if he had to pay support not you or him. There is something call the good neighbour fund. Salvation Army has a once in s lifetime help program. Where do you work, is there a unions help? If so they can help. Please check out charities like the winspear foundation or speak to your MLA office for some suggestions. Good luck

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  44. MrWonderful says:

    Your actual bill for services is probably no more than $600, these utility companies make the jew look charitable with the astronomical and arbitrary amounts they come up when you owe them some money.
    Remind them they are worse than the jew, offer them $300 and end conversation with a kiss my gas.

    If you deal with epcor it’s almost a certainty they will tack on 100% to the amount due.

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  45. Becca Hunter Becca Hunter says:

    Your ex doesn’t get a choice. Take them to court and get a court order. Then register with FMP. They will garnish their wages.

    Is downsizing an option? Perhaps an apartment where the utilities are included and the rent is affordable, then you can chip away at the bill over time and it won’t continue accumulating.

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    • Ashley Meyer Ashley Meyer says:

      Not true. My ex owes maintenance 25000 and has yet to be garnished. That is definitely not the solution to everything.

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    • Becca Hunter Becca Hunter says:

      Yes well, trying is a start. My ex owes for both his kids for the last 4 years and doesn’t get garnished either.
      But getting the ball rolling doesn’t hurt anything.

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    • MrWonderful says:

      The only choice a male doesn’t get is if he gets the child or children fulltime, without any legal ground or a court order. Women typically feel entitled to the children and take them when the relationship falls apart – it is nothing more than parental abduction from the party who can not even support the kids properly. The ex does have a choice, get the impoverished abducting female to get a tangible court order for custody and time allotment of parenting instead of pretending she is a source of authority; the male can also denounce his parental rights to avoid paying for a kid full time while only getting to parent less than part time. This delinquent utilitity user could smoke crack cocaine with the kid instead of paying bills and the only thing the male parent could do is wait months upon months for a court order to remove the child and take custody otherwise he will be accused of trespassing, harassment and maybe even demoninzed (based on mischief and deceit) to the point of being the perceived threat, etc etc.
      I hear and see a lot of women bitching and whining about everything but doing little to actually be independent or a responsible parent. Will maintenance help her? I think having such a delinquent account and so many holes in her tall tale speaks wonders for various problems she has.
      Why is it really the male’s responsibility to pay bills and support the child when never had the opportunity to parent? Because of the endless lazy, self-righteous , gold digging, tramps playing the victim nowadays. Quality of women have substantially declined and there are very few females less than 30yrs who are responsible or will take responsibility for their own lives – just lazy, nattering, spoiled and ungrateful snatches. Now go cry over what I wrote.

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  46. Try to find an apartment that suits your budget. Then see what utilities are included. Sometimes apartments can save you a lot of money. It works for some. Not for others. Good luck. Have some yard sales, pick bottles daily, offer some early morning childcare?

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  47. I’ve no advice as to where to get help. But I will, however, suggest you take a budgeting course and learn how to prioritize. I used to have a shopping addiction and had to seek treatment. I’m not saying that’s your issue, but it was mine and I got help and learned how to better manage my money. Good luck to you!

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  48. She a single mom with a job and struggling to make ends meet. What would you choose if it was between food for you children and a roof over thier heads or bills?
    OP, please pm me. I have some suggestions for you!

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  49. the apr thing is a rumor . they can cut you off whenever .

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  50. Tax return is coming apon us. Use that

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  51. time to file for maintenance (child support) something is better than nothing – so sorry you are going through this 🙁

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  52. Andy Davies Andy Davies says:

    First go to The Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP) collects court-ordered child support, spousal and partner support, and enforces as needed. Start making the father pay for support. Then contact the gas company and make payment arangements on you account. If the father is not paying and has not paid you can ask for back payments up to 1 year , this should give you some money to pay of bills, rent and food.

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  53. Since you said you have a car to potentially live in, apply to work for Skip the Dishes. The shifts are super flexible, you can pick up shifts whenever you have time or change your availability weekly. You also get paid weekly!! I work 3-5 shifts a week, 3-4 hour shifts and I generally make $250-$350 a week.
    It is not taxed, so you’ll have to either set some aside or just worry about that next feb, but use that money you make to pay that gas bill and whatever other areas (like food!) you are needing some extra money.

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  54. Alberta Works is a money pit. You pay into those services but you can’t take from it if you really need the help. The financial wage cut off for eligibility is just too high to be realistic. I was talking to a special needs man I have been friends with for 25 years. He and his wife both need gov’t support making ends meet but if they are even $10 over the “budget” they get cut off. They both work min wage jobs and still need welfare to make ends meet. So sickening. The money they get mostly goes for rent. $400 left over to pay for food, bus passes and having some semblance of a life. Worse, they had a vengeful social worker do an audit and it was determined they “owed” the govt money from being overpaid! So now they have to pay back the govt even though they make well below the poverty line for AB. Everyone gets screwed in our AB social system, well except the govt who gets to roll around in the money they collect.

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  55. Vanessa May Vanessa May says:

    What side of the city do you live on? If close perhaps I could take your daughter from time to time and provide her with some meals and she can hang out with me and my kids. If all goes well maybe we can help her with shoes and clothes also?

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  56. Churches help pay bills once in your lifetime

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  57. Ashley Anne Ashley Anne says:

    Red Cross offers one emergency financial ‘payout’ per lifetime for people who qualify.

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  58. Mary O Mary O'Neill says:

    Contact the utility company to see what arrangements can be made .They may be agreeable to you making minimum/manageable payments .What type of employment do you have ? Since you say Alberta Works won’t help you because they claim you make too much money, is this a matter of not managing your finances well ? If so,a debt/ financial counselor could be of help .

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  59. The good neighbour fund

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  60. Lissa Dawn Lissa Dawn says:

    Get into Capital regional housing. Most aren’t bad looking. Your rent will be roughly %30 of your income. Or they will pay a portion of your current rent if you qualify.
    Also use the food bank to cut down on your groc bill. Wecan foods is cool too. No frills is cheap for groc.
    Go to court for child support and retro. You can get a lawyer through legal aid.
    Obviously keep your lights and appliances that you arnt using OFF. Keep your heat at 20 or lower and put on more clothes.
    Making payment arrangements for the bill.
    Put a bbsitting add out for for your daughter and even yourself. Be diligent.
    Good luck momma

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  61. Susan R Kutz Susan R Kutz says:

    Everyone who says downsize? Yep she’s need damage deposit!! Low rentals: if she makes decent money it would be the same rent; go to Alberta works take the help. If that doesn’t work go to a church, sell
    Pretty things if u have any. It nothing that means something. Good luck

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  62. Marg N Drew Marg N Drew says:

    Move into a place that’s more affordable!!!!

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  63. Marg N Drew Marg N Drew says:

    Aww ! Hun call the churches, go back to Alberta works do you have a disconnection notice. Be persistent with Alberta works. Call 211 maybe there’s resources that are unknown. I am sorry you’re going through this. I hope you figure it out, I know you will us as mothers always do. I have 100% faith that you will. If you have $50 $30 or anything put it towards your bill.

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