Grocery challenge, week 2: How I finally got under budget

Last week I went over my $170 budget by $5. This week I managed to stay under budget by $25. Here’s how I did it.

My husband and I are part of the so-called “sandwich generation”: Sandwiched between raising a young child and helping out with aging parents. With this type of lifestyle, quick meals and grab-and-go eating become routine because there always seems to be somewhere you have to go after work.

But a little planning and bulk food purchases can be a big help. With some of the staple items from last week’s shopping I made two large freezer bags of granola cereal, which means that with the exception of what I already bought for my daughter, there is no need to buy cereal for a while.

I froze a dozen lentil/rice cabbage rolls in tomato sauce. I also made two dozen banana raisin bran muffins and froze half. And I made lots of home popped corn for cheesy and caramel popcorn.

Not having to buy cereals, snack foods and the fixings for a few meals should go a long way to keeping me on budget for the next few weeks.

Beer, wine and liquor have always been part of my monthly food and beverage budget but up until this week I had enough in stock so I didn’t need to buy anything. This week however, I was really looking forward to a dinner party and that meant buying some wine.

I am no expert but Konrad Ejbich had done his usual Radio Noon show on CBC and had spoken positively about Chilean wines, so I tried three bottles of the Carmen Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon at $10.95 each. The wine was a real hit and I would definitely buy it again.

I served it with home made beef and button mushroom pot pie. An extra bonus this week is that all the vegetables came from my garden: lots of spinach for a spinach dip; and romaine lettuce, radishes and snow peas for a salad.

Dessert was warm chocolate chip cookies and baked custard flan.

So this week I spent $35 on wine, $80 on food to feed six people and my usual supply of bread, milk, eggs, cheese and some cleaning solutions cost $30.

Last week I did promise to source out our own Canadian products which pack flavour and value in order to stay within my budget. Look no further than my garden: fresh, local and almost free, except for our time and some seeds and water.

The challenge so far:
Week 1: $175 spent, $5 over budget.
Week 2: $145 spent, $25 under budget

Published by maisievanriel

Welcome to my website. My name is Maisie Vanriel and I am a Registered Dietitian. I am a graduate of The University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Food and Nutritional Science and a Diploma in Food Safety from the Guelph Food Technology Centre. I realized a few years ago that some of the best times I have had in my career as a Dietitian have been those times when I was writing. For many years I was part of the Editorial Advisory Board of Diabetes Dialogue Magazine (The Canadian Diabetes Association) which afforded me the opportunity to write articles and editorials on diabetes. I contributed to the first Ontario Healthy Eating Manual and recently reviewed the lesson plans in the updated version launched this March 2012. In May of 2011, I won the Toronto Star’s MoneyVille section Next Blogger’s contest beating out 265 other contestants for the chance to write on nutrition and sensible shopping. My winning Blog was entitled: 5 things your grocery store won’t tell you. Writing is one of my favourite ways of communicating and like cooking it relaxes me; so in some ways your allowing me to communicate with you will contribute to my health and I hope in return I can contribute to your health and wellbeing. The inspiration for this website is my grandmother who lived 97 years and enjoyed excellent health for almost all of those 97 years. She believed in healing power of herbs, a plant-based diet and in paying attention to the type of fuel (food) that she put in her body. So my postings will be less about the constant stream of research and studies around what and how to eat and more about reminding us that we have always known how to eat. We just need to get back in tune with our bodies and focus on providing it with the best possible fuel, quality foods.

One thought on “Grocery challenge, week 2: How I finally got under budget

  1. Dear Maisie you’re some kind of heroe for me, we just discovered what you told your bloggers more than a year go on how to save money on our grocery. I should have know before today you coul help on the subject of food… Thanks for the invitation on FB I’ll be one of your millions fans;) Love you from far xx PS: What is your caramel popcorn receipe?

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