Facing a situation where you have no money for food is a scary predicament to be in. Unfortunately, it happens more often than one may think. After all, any time we pick up the tab for groceries on a credit card, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

If you’re struggling to buy groceries, here are the best tips on how to borrow money for food:

1. Family

In the COVID-19 pandemic, roughly 20% of adults have had to go to their parents to borrow money for food. Every family is different though. You may know of a family member who is kind and compassionate, and whose willing to lend you a few bucks to carry you through the month.

If you’re banking on it being a problem or a source of resentment, or if you know you won’t be paying it back in time, borrowing from family might be best avoided.

2. Friends

When finances are stretched, we may think about going to our closest friends to see if they can help. Similar to the dynamic with family, borrowing money from someone could mean a lost friendship.

If something happens and you can’t pay it back in time, the perception of you changes. Friction presents. Your friend may feel pressure or obligation to lend you money. All in all, it puts everyone in a difficult situation. Unless absolutely necessary, avoid it.

3. Payday Loans

Payday loans have proven to be a lifeline for families and thousands of people in paying for groceries, rent, mortgages, and more. This type of loan is arranged through a payday lender. Exact rules and interest rates vary province-by-province. The amount you receive through a payday loan relies on your income rather than your credit rating.

This makes payday loans advantageous to people who don’t have the best credit. As long as you pay back your payday loan in time, the interest rates are favorable and accessing the money is very, very easy.

4. Credit Card

A credit card is the most common way to borrow money for food and groceries. It is also, by far, the most expensive. Debt owing on a credit card is known to accumulate for most consumers. Combined with high interest rates, a credit card may be an easy way to pay for things but long-term, it will cost you. You can find the better deal going elsewhere than your credit card to borrow money for anything.

5. Line of Credit

A line of credit you can open at your bank. If your credit rating is good and your finances are normally quite stable, you may be able to qualify for a sufficient line of credit.

What we say about a line of credit is when you need it, it’s there. The interest rates are often quite favorable and assuming the debt on it doesn’t accumulate in an excessive way, paying it back is far easier than a credit card.

6. Savings Accounts

When you have to borrow money for food, it’s cheaper to keep the borrowing in-house. No savings account charges interest on money withdrawn. If you have a Tax-Free Savings Account, taking out the money you need gives you some leeway. You can pay it back on your schedule. The drawback, however, is that you’re taking from savings.

What you’re saving for – to buy a house, a car, or retirement – is affected. If you aren’t living within your means and you need to buy food, taking from your savings account is a frustrating move to make.

7. Pawn A Valuable

If you have valuables like musical instruments, jewelry, electronics, or something of significant value, pawning it might not seem like ideal but it’s a way to get money quickly. This can be uncomfortable for a lot of people as they don’t want to part with their valuables.

The future is unpredictable as well, to a degree. If you can’t happen to return to the pawn store and pay what’s owing, you give up what you’ve pawned. It’s a dangerous bargain to make.

8. Government Help

It’s important to ensure you aren’t missing out on benefits you could be receiving. In the pandemic, our federal and provincial governments have stepped in in a big way and have offered programs to help Canadians make ends meet.

If your income has dropped and you qualify, be sure to look at the government assistance that’s available. It doesn’t cost you a thing and doesn’t have to be paid back – assuming you do, in fact, qualify.

9. Take From Your Budget

Even the most financially disciplined of us can need to borrow money for food. If possible, alternative to borrowing it from an institution or someone else, borrowing from yourself is more favorable. Forego paying a bill. Cut back on unnecessary spending in your monthly budget.

See where, if anywhere, fat can be trimmed. If you can cover yourself this month by avoiding an expense, you can save yourself some interest and make it right in the following month.