Couple in Toronto spends $75 per week on groceries!

I was recently perusing The Kitchn when I stumbled on their new series of weekly food diaries. Sadly, not being a resident of the USA, I am prevented from participating in their call for submissions. However, I do have my own little soapbox here, so I figured I’d go ahead and do my own.
Let’s step into the wayback machine and start with this past Monday.

Day 1 – Monday

It’s a holiday here in Canada (for some, anyway), so it’s a lazy food day. Buy some bread from the local bakery for snack and for supper. Take transit to the faraway land of Mall to spend a $300 gift card the Fella was given by his bosses last Xmas. Coffee and snacks are had. Among other things, we buy a box of chocolates filled with things I can actually eat!
Supper itself is mostly leftovers from our recently concluded trip to the cottage, plus some newly constructed bean dip. Dessert is a couple of chocolates from the box we bought with the gift card (read: free).

Coffee – $10
Bread – $11.95

Total – $21.95

Day 2 – Tuesday

After hitting the coffee shop for caffeine with a side of productivity, I run a couple of errands that include visiting the bulk store and grocery store for a few items. End up with several small bags of whole grains for experimenting with, plus some orzo in case I end up making Moroccan lentil stew. Forgot/didn’t have reusable containers just this once.
Try turning stale bread into crumbs, which ends in failure. Apparently, dense rye gone hard is too much for my puny food processor. Pour leftover milk on the various chunks and dust, then ditch it in the fridge until I figure out how to use it up.
Supper is more bread with dip, topped with sliced tomatoes, plus dressed mixed greens. Makes me wish I could explain to certain people I care about how good this stuff is! Dessert is 3 chocolates each.

Bulk store – $7.22
(lost receipt)
approx. 1C each fareekeh, farro, spelt and orzo

Grocery store – $28.05
breakdown
2 jars of jam – $10 (on sale, plus bonus Airmiles)
1L canola/olive oil – $5.99
3 sweet peppers – $4.39
mushrooms – $2.68
lg tub of spring mix – $4.99

Total – $35.27

Day 3 – Wednesday

Today is date day with the Fella, so I forego morning coffee alone for expensive afternoon coffee with him. Instead, I make a morning run to the grocery store since I have an idea for using some (or all) of that milk-soaked bread. I get a sweet potato and a can of white beans (they’re OUT of no-salt black beans), plus a wee amount of sliced provolone cheese for making veggie patties. I wouldn’t usually go for pre-sliced, but we don’t need much and it’s about the right amount of money.
In addition to making the patties for tonight’s supper, I’ll also saute the peppers and mushrooms I bought yesterday with an onion from the pantry so we’ll get to eat all that good food instead of watching it go bad. I also end up making a quick soup, which I intend for us to consume like a savoury cold beverage, out of the mushroom stems, the top and bottom of the onion, and a scoop of miso paste from the fridge. Picking all the wilted/rotten leaves out of the spring mix only serves to remind me why I don’t usually buy the bloody stuff, though my tastes have changed enough that I actually enjoy eating it.
Supper is two veggie patties each, with cheese, atop dressed greens. The Fella only reminds me we have half a loaf of bread uneaten after we have finished dessert (half an improvised cherry ‘pie’ made from ½ milk-soaked bread that didn’t go into patties, plus remaining chocolates).

Grocery store – $6.04
breakdown
can of beans – $0.99
bulb of garlic – $1.06
sweet potato – $1.35
sliced cheese – $2.64

Coffee – $7

Total – $13.04

Day 4 – Thursday

Treat myself to a coffee and blueberry-bran muffin to go with my newspaper/crossword this morning. Sometimes, you’ve just got to take a moment for yourself, right? Enjoy a lazy day of not doing laundry and basking in the knowledge that supper is ready to go any time. I’ve just got to slice some bread, spread some bean dip on, top it with veggie patties, and serve with some of the veggies I sauteed yesterday, plus a cupful of miso-mushroom broth. The remainder of the cherry ‘pie’ will be dessert.
As much as I try to not have dessert every day, there is something about a small sweet at the end of a meal that’s significant. It’s a way of acknowledging that today’s eating is over. I do prefer something smaller and less sweet than we’ve been eating, like an apple or some grapes, but needs must. And I will waste nothing if I don’t have to.
Try to plan something for tomorrow’s supper, but I can’t quite be bothered yet. Ask me in the morning.
Update: tried a sip of the broth, but it’s too salty for straight-up consumption. I’ll use it in something else instead.

Day 5 – Friday

Today is donut day/office lunch day for the Fella, so I’m not too hard-pressed to come up with a feast for supper. There’s the miso broth that can be used to cook some grain or in something else; there’s plenty of sauteed veggies (about ½ of the total batch); and then there’s pantry stuff, like dried beans and cans of diced tomatoes. Maybe I’ll make a modified version of Moroccan stew and use everything up – miso broth for the liquid component and sauteed veggies for …well, because it’s a stew and you can make these kinds of on-the-fly adjustments.
Later in the afternoon, wallowing in my own sweat, I make an executive decision to call in for pizza so as to avoid adding to the heat. It’s not really that hot, but it’s hot enough. Moroccan stew can wait until late evening or early morning to be made. Once made, it should last us the weekend.
Coffee in the park this morning with the mutt and later an aborted snack of leftover peanut butter that turned out to be far too salty.
Then, 8PM rolls around, it’s on and off pouring rain, and no one is jumping up to go to the pizza place. I end up tossing the Moroccan stew together anyway, which takes a whole 15 minutes start to finish. The Fella heads downstairs for some garlic naan and apples for dessert, plus some beer for himself.

Coffee – $1.95
Beer – $10
Misc – $6

Total – $17.95

Day 6 – Saturday

Bagels and coffee for our weekend ‘brunch’ helps alleviate mild lady cramps. We take a long walk through beautiful summer weather – sunny yet breezy – to the computer store for a few needfuls. Stop for cold beverages on the way home.
Supper will be leftovers, plain and simple. There should be no further spending today.
Or, we’ll go ahead and buy a 6-pack of unglazed mini cinnamon buns.

Brunch – $12
Drinks – $8
Buns – $6

Total – $26

Day 7 – Sunday

Day breaks, along with our fast: coffees and muffins at the local. We spend another lazy day relaxing, taking the dog for a meander through the university campus, and playing some Civ V.
We go through the last of the leftovers, another pack of naan, the remaining cinnamon buns, and a pair of beers for the Fella.

Coffee – $10
Naan – $3
Beer – $5

Total – $18

Grand total spent – $132.21

Now, that’s going to seem like a lot for two people in one week. I’d like to say it’s an abnormal spend, but it’s kind of average. We didn’t do any takeaway, nor did we eat out. And usually, there’d be twice as much beer since I would have been drinking too.
That said, the way I’d actually write this into my budget would put beers and coffee/snax into entertainment, not grocery. That alone would reduce the total spend to under $70 – and that’s $5 under budget. Admittedly, the muffins and bagels are superfluous, especially during the week, but I consider the little I spend on coffee is far less than I’d pay for rent on a shared office space.
So that’s it! We regularly get by on about $75 Canadian every week for groceries, in downtown Toronto. Now, if I can convince the Fella to limit himself to one beer per day over the weekend (or fewer), all the better.

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