Jasmine McPhee knows first-hand what it means to live in hardship.
At the height of her struggles, the former Rotorua woman, who now lives in South Auckland with her family of six, had her power cut and was forced to cook a can of spaghetti over a candle.
She can relate, like many people, to tough economic times. Now she is helping struggling families provide healthy meals on a budget.
Through Facebook she has created an online community. Her page How to Feed a Family of 6 for Under $20 has been a huge hit. It started on February 18 and has attracted more than 8000 likes - about 3000 people liked it within two weeks.
She has been surprised by the interest.
"I kind of knew there was a need but I didn't realise how much," Mrs McPhee said.
She uses her page to share recipes and specials on food and to upload photos of her meals. Mrs McPhee's passion is to help other families get through tough economic times, encourage all members of the family to enjoy cooking and to show people that no matter what their budget, they can eat well. She said being honest and being someone others could relate to was an important part of her page.
"My dream is to help," she said.
Having gone through tough times she said it was important people knew they could still make good food choices.
She said her struggles came at a time when her husband had been made redundant, they had made some bad choices and she was refusing help from her family.
Mrs McPhee encourages people to send her their food budget so she could help plan their meals and make meals suited to them.
She is glad she is helping families but has an ultimate goal of starting a charitable trust providing cooking and budgeting classes for families. She was saddened by families who filled up on food with no nutritional value such as takeaways because they were cheap. She said she wanted to help them in particular.