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How To Survive On Only $100 a Month in Groceries

In my recent article in the Globe and Mail, I’m on track to be mortgage-free by 31, the most common question I received was how I could possibly survive on only $100 a month in groceries. If your family is like most, groceries are your second highly household expense behind mortgage or rent.

Although Canada’s annual inflation rate was only 2.1 per cent in August, it seems like prices at the supermarket are rising a lot faster. Not only are prices higher, packages are being downsized, as consumers are being asked to pay more for less – what a concept! It’s enough to make you want to throw your hands up in the air as a consumer.

I’m living proof that with a few simple spending choices you can spend less and still enjoy your favourite foods for under $100 a month. Here’s what a typical meal consists of for me in a day:

Breakfast

  • Oatmeal ($0.15)
  • Banana ($0.15)
  • Milk ($0.20)
  • Total: $0.50

Lunch

  • Bagel and Peanut Butter
  • Apple
  • Slice Carrots
  • Rice Cake
  • Almonds
  • Water
  • Total: $1

Dinner

  • Spaghetti and Sauce / Kraft Dinner and Frozen Vegetables / Brown Rice and Frozen Vegetables /
  • Homemade Pizza
  • Milk
  • Total: $1-$2

Dessert

  • Watermelon
  • Yogurt
  • Total: $0.50

Daily Grand Total: $3-$4

Here’s how I’ve managed to spend so little on groceries and how you can, too.

Price Match

Save a bundle on gas – and groceries. With the price at the pumps, you won’t save much money driving around town for the best deals . The good news is many discount grocers match the price of rival stores simply by showing a competitor’s weekly flyer. Here’s another tip – to avoid overspending, consider making a shopping list and browsing the flyers for deals on products you’re already planning to buy.

Consider Cutting Back on Meat

No, that’s not your steak being grilled, it’s your wallet! Sizzling meat prices can really take a bite out of your grocery budget. Have you ever considering going vegetarian? Instead of eating meat, you can try consumer protein-rich foods like almonds, dairy products and tofu. If you’re not ready to give up T-bone steaks and chicken breast, consider limiting yourself to red meat once per week or only buying meat when it’s on sale – your wallet will thank you!

Shop at Discount Grocers

How would you like to buy everyday grocery items for a lot less? By shopping at discount supermarkets, the savings can really add up! Shaving $20 off your grocery bill each week will add up to yearly savings of over $1,000! You don’t have the sacrifice quality for savings – discounts grocers often have just as good quality produce and meat as the so-called premium stores. Need proof? MoneySense did an article, Why No Frills has the best value produce, that discovered discount supermarkets actually have produce at or near the same grade of premium supermarkets (sometimes even better).

Skip the Fast Food and Cook at Home Instead

We’re all guilty sometimes of picking up takeout pizza on those late nights out, but if you make it into a weekly habit it can really take a bite out of your budget. The trick to avoiding takeout is to make meal preparation at home as simple as possible. Not only will you save money, you’ll eat healthier too. Try cooking your meals in batches on the weekend when your schedule is less hectic. With your favourite meals prepared in advance, all you’ll have to do is pop it into the microwave and you’ll have a piping hot meal in under five minutes. I’m never tempted to dine out because it takes me more time to stop off at a restaurant than it does to cook at home.

Stock Up During Sales

Stocking up on grocery items you buy every week can add up to big savings. When you see your favourite non-perishable items like canned vegetables and coffee on sale, consider stocking up. By buying enough to tide you over until the next sale, you can avoid paying full price.

Buy in Season

Buying your favourite fruits and vegetables out of season can cost you a bundle. Have you ever seen the price of cherries in January? Yikes! Consider substituting your favourite fruits and vegetables for produce that are in season. If you love watermelon, you can save a bundle by choosing fruits like oranges and pears during the winter.

Conclusion

By changing a few costly habits, the savings can really add up on your grocery bill. Saving money on groceries doesn’t have to be a chore. Once you get into a weekly routine, it’s as easy as pie. You’ll hardly notice the extra work, meanwhile you’ll free up your cash flow for more important long-term goals like paying down your mortgage sooner or contributing to your RRSP.

Do you have any tips for saving money on groceries?

About the Author: Sean Cooper is a single, first time home buyer and landlord located in Toronto. He has experience in the financial sector as a Pension Analyst, RESP administrator and Income Tax Preparer. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce in business management from Ryerson University. Follow him on Twitter @SeanCooperWrite and read some of his other articles here.

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About the author: Sean Cooper is a single, 20-something year old, first time home buyer located in Toronto. He has experience in the financial sector as a Pension Analyst, RESP administrator and Income Tax Preparer. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce in business management from Ryerson University. You can read some of his other articles here.

{ 37 comments… add one }
  • Bytowner October 14, 2014, 10:20 am

    This Ottawa Public Health study is one of the oddest things I’ve read in the past couple months:
    http://ottawa.ca/calendar/ottawa/citycouncil/obh/2012/11-19/Report%20B%20-%20Supporting%20Document%201%20EN.pdf

    It suggests the cost of healthy eating for a family of 4 is almost $800 a month. I feed a family of 3 on less than $350 a month, and, unlike Sean, we’re not vegetarian.

    For carnivores, it’s pretty simple. Check what meat is on sale and plan your meals accordingly. Bakes and stews can last at least a couple nights and give you lunches as well.

    PC Plus has been a boon for my grocery bill. When used on things you buy regularly, those points add up very quickly. Adds up to at least $20 a month, but usually close to $40. Last week I had an online points offer that I combined with an in-store offer to buy a case of KD for about 10 cents a box!

  • Sean Cooper, Financial Journalist October 14, 2014, 11:06 am

    I’m a big fan of PC Plus, as well! PC Plus is now at No Frills. Here’s an article I wrote on it: http://seancooperwriter.com/blog/2014/09/23/pc-plus-new-way-save-no-frills/

  • Geoff October 14, 2014, 11:36 am

    @ Bytowner – Baby Formula is $25/tin. (Not all mothers can breastfeed). That gets expensive and might be part of the answer. But yes I agree, undoubtedly some families (my own included) spend more on groceries than we need to and could and should cut back.

  • Bytowner October 14, 2014, 12:00 pm

    @ Geoff – Oh I’m well aware of how expensive formula can be! That said, I never really “got” how expensive people said babies were when mine was younger. Diapers are certainly pricey, but I found we adapted to that cost fairly easily. There are often tremendous sales on PC-brand formula, and we were fortunate enough to hit a few of those. She never grew a tail or anything ;)

  • Betty Therriault October 14, 2014, 12:13 pm

    Sean, You are right on the money with your tips! You amaze me at your age!
    I can’t offer much more as an octogenarian but I hope you eat a few more vegetables than your sample menu. I now live in a condo but I still manage to grow kale, chard, arugula etc. all year round (BC) I also eat fish at least twice a week but only what is fresh and in season. If I can’t stay under the $1.50 per person max. I resort to tinned salmon. You are so right – only eat the veggies and fruit that are in season and preferable close to home!

  • Andrew October 14, 2014, 2:23 pm

    Thanks for sharing this Sean – you’re eating well and putting lots of money into savings at the same time.

    If you can post more of your daily break downs that would be great.

    Whole grain rice with beans and spices (as well as chili and home-made bread) are some of my favorite delicious and frugal meals.

  • Tawcan October 14, 2014, 4:04 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Cooking at home instead of eating out will certainly save you a lot of money.

  • greg October 14, 2014, 4:18 pm

    I would argue your dinner lacks on nutrients/is not too healthy. There is something to be said about your long term investment in yourself. That is not to take away from the overall theme here that, yes, you can do well on a budget.

  • ELH October 14, 2014, 5:01 pm

    Unless I scanned through too quickly, not a lot of protein in those meals and a lot of carbs. I mean, you could certainly “survive” on that menu for a while with a goal in mind and I am 110% for experiments like cutting back the food budget and quitting meat for a while, I applaud that. But I think anyone who works out and plays sports would be starving and chewing at the desk after that breakfast and lunch.

    A simple eggs/liquid egg white omelette with whatever veggies are cheap and at hand or even some protein powder thrown into the oatmeal would go a long way further for breakfast, I think. Cottage cheese instead of sugary yoghurt for dessert. Lentils are a super cheap and tasty alternative to rice and have more protein and flavour, or go half and half lentils and rice with fried onions and lots of spices. Lots of Indian veggie/lentil recipes are cheap to make and more interesting than pasta or whatever, and ethnic groceries sometimes have good deals. Just some thoughts.

    Also if you habitually work late, travel to meetings or attend meetings that run through/near lunch ask your employer to cover your lunch or dinner. They are usually happy to in my experience (I had a boss that would offer to pay for dinner if he saw me at my desk after 7pm) and this reduces your grocery bill and ensures they know you’re not a doormat!

  • Joe S. October 14, 2014, 6:29 pm

    I call bullshit on most of those prices. Where do you get a banana for $0.15? You might get a bagel and an apple for $1, but none of the rest. $0.20 of milk is at most 100 ml, which is basically a shot glass. You can eat on $100 a month, but it is not going to be very nutritious or varied as this list.

  • Sean Cooper, Financial Journalist October 14, 2014, 6:34 pm

    @Joe S. I beg to differ. I’m able to save so much money because I buy everything on sale and I’m vegetarian. Bananas aren’t that expensive. You can buy 6 small ones for $1. I think you need to shop at discount supermarkets, instead of blowing your budget at Loblaws and Metro.

  • B October 14, 2014, 6:37 pm

    Making a few assumptions about portion sizes, I arrive at the following daily intake: 1750 calories, 77.6g protein, 52.1g fat, 252 carbs.

    Assuming that Sean is an average male in his mid-20’s leading a sedentary lifestyle, and assuming that the above is representative of his daily intake, he will be loosing approximately 1lb per week.

  • Elbyron October 14, 2014, 8:47 pm

    While I guess it’s possible to “survive” on $100 a month in food, that would hardly be the kind of life quality that I would want. Especially if I’m sacrificing food for the sake of paying off my mortgage faster. I mean, I could “survive” on the streets with no house, then I wouldn’t have to worry about a mortgage at all! But who would want that kind of life?

    I’m all for saving money on groceries. I buy in bulk, look for sales, and do most of my shopping at Save-On-Foods on the first Tuesday of each month (in Alberta they offer 15% off your purchase over $50). And while I usually buy generic brands of stuff when it’s available, there are certain products that are worth paying the extra for the brand-name quality. Of course I could save tons more by going vegetarian, but I enjoy meat so much, I feel it would reduce my quality of life to give it up.

    So while it’s an interesting exercise to hypothesize about living on $100/month, I would only suggest it as a goal to someone who’s on a very limited income and really can’t afford much more than that. Groceries just isn’t something that I personally would want to make very many sacrifices with. Eating out though – that’s probably the first thing to go if I lost my job and needed to cut back.

  • Cool Koshur October 14, 2014, 9:21 pm

    Your body and brain runs on food. Quality food has direct impact on your health. Yes one adult can live with $100 food bill once in a while. Fast once a week and you could save more. But you cant do it day in day out. Following are GTA prices at discount stores, this is what I would eat at a balanced budget. Eggs at $2 a dozen, Different Lentils are cheap 400g for $4 at any South Asian store (no tinned ones with lot of sodium),Chicken quarter leg is $1.89/lb in GTA. 6 Old Mill Bagel for $1.99, Milk at $3.97/4L. WonderBread at $2. Tropicana Orange Juice $3.67 (3.6 L), Bananas $0.59/lb, Pasta/Shapagetti at $1 per pack. Frozen pizza $2.97. Brew your own coffee at home. Astro Yogurt at $1.79 per 200g. Chapman 8-pak vanilla almond sticks at $2.97

    Note: I price-match using flyers.

    I would rather cut down on my utilities like cable rather than comprise on food. It is just me.

  • Stephen October 14, 2014, 9:44 pm

    Planning, cooking, and eating different meals is one of my favorite activities so I don’t tend to try too hard to limit my choices based on budget. With that said though I always hunt for deals especially for meat.

    You can save a bunch and make some amazing food by buying cheaper and tougher cuts of meat on sale such as pork shoulder and learn how to slow cook or braise them. Pulled pork freezes well and is just awesome by itself or on a sandwich for example.

    Additionally, I use chicken stock almost daily and I haven’t bought any in years. Every time we serve chicken, all bones and left over trim are put in a freezer bag until enough is built up to make a big pot of stock (google it, it’s easy). Once finished I quickly cool it and freeze it in smaller portions that are ready to go for adding flavor and nutrition to rice, beans, sauces, soups, etc. Even the top brands of stock fail to compare in flavor and texture to what you can make at home from what most people consider garbage and can then be thought of as “free”.

    One more tip is to buy spices from bulk stores such as Bulk barn. I can fill a mason jar with bay leaves for about $0.15 and I haven’t noticed a decrease in quality.

  • Joe S. October 14, 2014, 9:52 pm

    If you told me you bought a 50 pound bag of potatoes for $10 plus a little invested in condiments and spices and ate that for supper every day for a month, I might believe you. And as B points out, this is not a diet of a physically active person. You could not sustain 30+ minutes of moderate to heavy exercise a day for a very long time (i.e. not walks), which by the way is the minimum recommended exercise quota by Health Canada. It may be cheap, but it should not be recommended for anyone.

  • nobleea October 14, 2014, 11:17 pm

    When someone says groceries, I would think it includes things like toilet paper, soap, toothpaste, shampoo, laundry detergent, deodorant, etc etc.

    Your breakfast looks fine. 20 cents of milk is more like 200ml (a good serving) rather than the shot glass someone suggested.
    Your lunch would be my morning snack, and again my afternoon snack.
    The dinner (high in carbs) would be much bigger quantity and would double again for lunch the next day. And I’ve always been referred to as skinny or stringbean.
    For a vegetarian, all you seem to have is a few sliced carrots at lunch as far as fresh veggies go.
    As has already been mentioned, add some eggs and lentils to the diet, and buy a package of tomato and swiss chard seeds. Two plants will give you more fresh veggies than you can possibly eat as a single person. Swiss chard can be harvested very early and very late making it great for cold climates.

  • SST October 15, 2014, 2:50 am

    This is what you get for taking dietary/nutritional tips from a penny pinching “accountant”.

    Ditch the oatmeal, bagel, peanut butter, rice cakes, brown rice, pizza crust, spaghetti, and Kraft Dinner (really?!) — in other words, all the garbage carbs. Your cheap yogurt is most likely junk, too.

    Instead, eat fat (with meat attached) and you will be far healthier, eat less, and save even more. But don’t take my word for it, research the *science* for yourself.

    Don’t kid yourself, being “vegetarian” doesn’t save you so much money. And if it does maybe you should bank all of it to cover your future health care costs from a lifetime of a miserable diet/heavy carb intake.

    Is it wise to take life advice from a Spartan?

    nob — I have a veritable field of chard and kale in my garden all year ’round. Great stuff. Not to mention a garden returns 400% and I don’t have to eat microwaved frozen vegetables or spend time going to the grocery store.

    p.s. — drink powdered milk and save even more!

  • Andrew October 15, 2014, 7:59 am

    Glad to see this post. Certainly we must all work to eat healthier in a world where we have so many choices. But when you prepare your own foods from basic ingredients you’re certainly doing better than most.
    Keep it up.

  • DANP October 15, 2014, 12:15 pm

    A bit off topic but @sst, oatmeal and brown rice are garbage carbs? In what world? Both are high in fibre and typically provide lots of minerals and vitamins. Also, what makes u think being a vegetarian is unhealthy? Lots of extremely healthy vegetarians out there. While I agree OPs diet is not one I Green with(I’d add lentils, beans, and way more dairy,) your comments about Op needing to do research lack any credibility when you yourself are making up random facts about vegetarians.

  • Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet October 15, 2014, 1:02 pm

    My wife is 100% vegan so we tend to buy some of our groceries at natural food stores which usually cost a bit more. We end up saving a bit by prepping meals on weekends as Sean mentioned above. I always laugh when people buy fruit smoothies for $5-7 regularly when it’s faster, easier and healthier to just eat the equivalent in real fruits.

    Sean, I’m curious – do you shop at Costco?

  • SST October 15, 2014, 3:26 pm

    @DANP — how do you know my statements are “random facts”? As mentioned, engaging in some scientific research will provide insight. Have fun chowing down on your healthy KD! :)

  • S October 15, 2014, 7:31 pm

    Sean,
    Dump the KD immediately- no nutrients, just chemicals. Also, as a vegetarian, throw in a wider spectrum of fruits and vegetables, legumes and pulses in there. And how about some fish and a chicken once in a while?

    Your diet seems extremely restrictive, like SST’s carnivore with a touch of kale diet (really?) and you’re too young to sacrifice health for a mortgage payment.

    I write this while enjoying a chocolate croissant and a large expresso. It’s the thought that counts, people. Besides, with this ongoing market slide, I need some comfort food.

  • SST October 16, 2014, 11:42 am

    Yup, even as a meat & fat eater I consume vastly more garden-fresh vegetables than a self-professed “vegetarian”. Far healthier and less expensive.

    You can begin with this simplistic introduction:
    http://www.dietdoctor.com/science

    Or not.

    But you’ll never convince me eating like the OP is worth forsaking health — both mental and physical — for assumed savings. You only get one body, but they’ve never stopped building houses or printing money…

  • Stephen Weyman October 17, 2014, 11:49 am

    My wife would have a heart attack if I brought home half the things on that list in our grocery order:

    – Cow’s Milk (linked to both cancer and auto-immune diseases):
    http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/06/02/cows-milk-is-good-for-calves-but-not-for-us-avoid-cancer-by-axing-dairy-meat-products-u-k-scientist-and-six-time-survivor-urges/
    – Ignore the comments that say it isn’t real science. Read the book ‘The China Study’. Science is based on observation and data and the data backs this up.
    – Bagel (probably has a lengthy ingredients list with lots of dubious ingredients)
    – Apple (part of the dirty dozen)
    – Rice cakes (ingredients?)
    – Kraft Dinner (not healthy pasta or sauce)
    – Yogurt (again cow’s milk)

    I could take or leave the other stuff but to me it looks lacking in a lot of essential nutrients.

    These are the kinds of things she expects and I am starting to expect now too. She is much more health conscious than I am:
    – Kale
    – Spinach
    – Micro greens
    – Potatoes
    – Hemp seeds
    – Chia seeds
    – Flax seed
    – Peanut butter
    – Bread with no preservatives or wonky ingredients
    – Carrots
    – Lentils
    – Green peppers
    – Onions
    – Eggs
    – Cashews
    – Almonds
    – Walnuts
    – Pecans
    – Squash
    – Radish
    – etc

    All the produce is typically organic or grown by local farmers we know don’t use pesticides.

    I had a really really hard time with this diet at first because it is so expensive and I hate paying more for things and not being able to take advantage of sales. Now I look at it as an investment in our health and relatively cheap health insurance.

    It’s very possible that my massive consumption of cow’s milk growing up played a role in my development of my Type 1 Diabetes by causing my body to produce an immune response from partially digested protein in cow’s milk that made it into the blood stream. Cow’s have 4 stomachs, we have 1. Our stomachs aren’t meant to digest the same things theirs do.

  • Al October 17, 2014, 1:52 pm

    This diet is a joke and as many have said unhealthy.

    Personally I eat insects (from my garden, free), a side of catfood (bought in bulk of course), collect rainwater (I don’t pay for the water utility that way) and supplement with roadkill and boiled grass. See you can get even cheaper than $100 per month.

    Sean, your diet is just as ridiculous and unbalanced. Saving on health is no way to save for the long term. Penny wise and pound foolish.

  • Alpha Centauri October 17, 2014, 5:13 pm

    26. Al said: “Personally I eat insects (from my garden, free), a side of catfood (bought in bulk of course), collect rainwater (I don’t pay for the water utility that way) and supplement with roadkill and boiled grass. See you can get even cheaper than $100 per month.”

    LOL! Your menu is probably more nutritious too! Lots of protein in those insects and roadkill!

  • SST October 18, 2014, 2:15 am

    A final note for me on this, in two points:

    1) Sean’s “typical ‘vegetarian’ meal” plan consists of at least 60% carbohydrates, and what is the net effect of carbs inside the body? Sugar; yes even the slow-burn carbs like brown rice and oats. Add in the milk and yogurt (safely assuming they are not of the high fat variety) and Sean might as well be eating a bowl of Sugar-Crisp for every meal.

    Fat does not turn into sugar. Protein does not turn into sugar.
    (okay, they might, but only a looong way after the fact, and never if yummy carbs are always present.) Carbs turn into sugar and we all know what a wonderful treat sugar is to the body.

    If Sean were a true vegetarian he could eat unrefined plant-based all day long and consume plenty of carbs. Throw in a few eggs and whole milk for protein, cook everything with butter and he’d be a new man before long.

    Give it a try, bet it doesn’t stretch your budget as much as you’d like to believe:
    http://www.edify.net.au/food_pyramid.php

    (As an aside, I’ve lived on both sides of the coin, as a pro-am athlete eating a very HCLF diet, and as a semi-physical civilian eating HFLC. I’m in almost better shape now than I was as an athlete.)

    2) Disclaimer: this falls under the Morals & Ethics heading so read no further if you’re just here about the money.
    It’s rather disturbing, and insulting, that a person living in Canada, a country with one of the highest standards of living on the planet, would consciously choose to forsake that standard (i.e. health) for mere money. And to wear this on one’s sleeve with pride…bizarre.

    The only redeeming quality is that Sean is young-ish; mistakes become him, through which he hopefully gains calibrating wisdom.

    So, Sean, once you are mortgage-free, can we expect to see your food bills double (GASP!) or will there always be something in which to funnel that money?

  • Alex October 18, 2014, 10:58 am

    Is that $100 for one person? Laughable! I just looked at my spreadsheet. So far this year $570 per *month* on food for a family of 4! And we eat a nice mix of meat, veggies and fruits. We do have Costco but we dont use coupons or price matching and we certainly never buy Kraft Dinner or any other prepared food actually. I cook every meal from scratch including broth that I freeze. Someone mentioned chicken broth already. We do beef broth exclusively because my wife doesn’t eat chicken. Oatmeal and rice are really nice to put into meatballs. You can get at least twice the amount of meatballs out of the same amount of ground beef.

  • Alex October 18, 2014, 11:13 am

    I totally forgot: Making joghurt is dead simple. You need to buy exactly one joghurt in your life to get the bacteria and you make it yourself from then on. 500ml of joghurt cost you $5 if you dont buy cheap crap. And thats plain. You don’t need to buy a “joghurt maker”. I put the hot milk with the joghurt starter (I.e. two spoons of the one you bought) into a bowl, cover it up and put it in the oven. Just enable the oven light, no heat. Do that in the evening and the next morning you have how ever many liters of joghurt that you put milk in. Mix the joghurt with home made marmelade/jam or whatever you want before eating.

    Jam. Another dead simple thing. You dont even need to buy glasses. You can reuse the glasses you get when buying stuff like pickles. Just cook whatever fruits you like and put lots of sugar. You dont even need to buy pectin or gelatine. You get pectin for free if you put some apples (just mash them up before). Apples keep well so just self pick in autumn. Fun for the kids too. Same with pumpkins. They keep for up to a year and are really easy to grow yourself even. Pumpkin is really nice as a chutney or just with stewing beef.

  • Sierra October 18, 2014, 11:41 am

    I spend too much on groceries- just two of us retired fogies- and am trying to cut back. Unfortunately, I like to experiment with different recipes, eat quite a few vegetables, eat mostly chicken, some grains and beans. I have always found that stocking up leads to more expense. This month, I have been keeping costs down, but only because I took advantage of specials last month and overspent. So while one can keep costs down to a couple of dollars a day, the expense was incurred when one stocked up in the first place. Further, I have found that you cannot stock up in the perishables, so they are always an ongoing weekly expense. I also use a PC card, but refuse to purchase something I don’t use just because points are offered. If I fall for that marketing, the budget goes way out of whack. I save my points for when I have company and need to buy extra.

  • Alex October 18, 2014, 7:40 pm

    You can freeze some veggies right away e.g. bell peppers. I chop them into little pieces and freeze them in bags. Other stuff keeps forever like apples and pumpkin or you cook them and freeze the result. Red cabbage, prepared with apple can be frozen and is really good with meat. You can freeze meat too. I buy peas and corn pre-frozen anyway. If you just google whatever your favourites are you can figure out what can be frozen and how (prepared or not). Potato soup for example should be frozen before mashing the potatoes up. Obviously theres some stuff you need to buy fresh like bananas.

  • Jungle October 19, 2014, 3:39 am

    We are running about 250/month for family of 3.
    Always price match and use target card for 5% off, when possible. Shop at the discount grocery stores. Take advantage of all loss leaders in the grocery flyer.
    Plan meals based on sale items. Fruit of the week is what’s on sale. Yogurt of the week is what’s on sale, etc. Keep a well managed inventory and rarely have any food waste. Meals are cooked at home, lunches brown bag, etc. Left overs used for next meal.

  • Andrew October 19, 2014, 7:48 am

    Those are really impressive home-economic results.
    Reading this post has made us revisit our ouwn grocery buying. (About $800/month for a family of three athletes).
    From keeping and going over the receipts we’re noticing that a lot of our food store purchases are just not great value (with respect to nutrients/dollar).
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Emilio October 19, 2014, 4:56 pm

    boy o’ boy. I spent 50 dollars a month on just one toddler’s organic milk…
    For a family of five in Calgary we spend 1200 dollars a month in groceries.
    We eat well, no processed foods, mostly organic meats and vegetables. Only wild fish of Canadian origin. We shop at Superstore almost exclusively, but onl purchase their top quality products. We take advantage of the PC plus points, and the PC financial mastercard. Se we get another 100-200 a month of free groceries on top of the 1200 that we spend.

    Food and vacations are almost a religion to our family. These are two areas where we refuse to save, just for the sake of saving.

    If we had to go in survival mode we cut down a lot, but what kind of a life would that be? We didn’t immigrate from the third world to continue living like we are still in the third world.

    As many other above have mentioned, please ignore this article altogether and live well, eat well, be well!

  • Brian Roth October 29, 2014, 10:15 am

    Wow, I must be really old. I haven’t heard anyone mention growing your own food. We own our own house and have a fairly large vegetable garden. We grow most of our fresh vegetables ourselves. Fresher and cheaper!

  • SST November 4, 2014, 11:18 am

    re: #28 “Sean’s “typical ‘vegetarian’ meal” plan consists of at least 60% carbohydrates…”

    A few current findings from the world of high science on this fabulously healthy yet frugal diet:

    “According to a new study from the National Institutes of Health, a diet that reduces carbohydrates in favor of fat — including the saturated fat in meat and butter — improves nearly every health measurement, from reducing our waistlines to keeping our arteries clear, more than the low-fat diets that have been recommended for generations.”
    http://www.businessinsider.com/experts-eat-more-fat-2014-10

    “The top scientist guiding the U.S. government’s nutrition recommendations made an admission last month that would surprise most Americans. Low-fat [high-carb] diets, Alice Lichtenstein said, are “probably not a good idea.” It was a rare public acknowledgment conceding the failure of the basic principle behind 35 years of official American nutrition advice.”
    http://online.wsj.com/articles/nina-teicholz-the-last-anti-fat-crusaders-1414536989

    Fat trumps refined carbs in every way possible, including financially.

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