The first week of my challenge to cut my grocery budget has gone well, even though I wasn’t quite able to hit my target of $170 to feed our family of three plus regular family drop ins.
My challenge is to reduce my monthly grocery spending of $815 by 15 per cent, bringing it down to about $700, or $170 a week.
At my local Fortinos in mid-town Toronto, I bought some pork tenderloin ($6.59 lb. on sale) and chicken (family pack $17.59 good for two meals) and fresh fruits and vegetables ($38). Then I stocked up on staples like pasta, rice, oats and crushed tomatoes ($35) which should last awhile. Midweek I bought fresh bread, lunch meats and snacks for lunch. So in total I spent $149. But towards the end of the week I ran into a bit of a problem with only $21 left.
On Friday, I usually buy fish or seafood for dinner, but $21 wouldn’t get me the halibut I wanted and the ingredients for a dessert I was bringing to a family function. The fish was $12 per pound and I need at least a pound and a half.
Fortunately there’s a great Canadian substitute that doesn’t compromise taste or quality – President’s choice Atlantic Coldwater Shrimp. I like this product because it has all the flavour you remember shrimp used to have and none of the preservatives. They contain just shrimp and salt and are already cooked and peeled.
Most other frozen shrimp contain sodium tripolyphosphates which are a chemical generally viewed as safe for your health but may not be for your wallet. This additive helps the shrimp hold water and look plump, firm and glossy longer. If overused the shrimp will retain a significant amount of water which you pay for by the pound.
Most of the time I find these shrimp in Fortino’s but this past June Sobeys featured Nova Scotia seafood with their own version of Atlantic Coldwater shrimp so I think they are growing in popularity.
I have used these shrimp in pasta, noodle stir fries and on cold salad plates. One of my favourite summer recipes is a Shrimp, Avocado and Cucumber salad with lemon dill dressing. In addition they have lots of protein, healthy omega-3- fatty acids and are low in calories. A 340 g package is usually only $6.99 and that is plenty of shrimp for 4 to 6 salad plates.
These shrimp have in effect saved my bacon because they show how I will stay within my budget and still eat well. Fish for four to six people would have easily cost me $25 so these shrimp saved me $18. So even though I was $5 over target for the week, next week I hope to make up for it with the help of our own local products.
The challenge so far:
Week 1: $175 spent, $5 over budget.