$30 Challenge – Week Three

Can’t talk… Too hot…

Apologies for the late summary, but yesterday reached upwards of 40C (nearly 100F). If I’d tried to perch the laptop on my legs, as I usually do, I might have caught fire.

The plan had been to limit cooking and make a journey to the farmers’ market. Neither of those things seemed to happen. I even baked bread (!) on Sunday morning, for reasons I will never fully understand. I mean, it’s not unheard of for me to bake bread on the weekend, but it is entirely insane to turn the oven on at any temperature for any length of time during this heat, let alone cranking it to 450F for nearly an hour.

Happily, though the loaf was slightly underbaked, it had a delightfully crispy crust and was thoroughly edible. Read More


Setting up the books

There are those who do not track their finances; who spend every penny (and then some), living for today and leaving little for tomorrow. There are those who construct budgets, carefully arranging and balancing categories of expenditure until the hallowed zero balance is reached. And then, there are those who keep books.

I figure, it’s all well and good to have the budget written down, to know – at least in theory – where the money’s going month to month. And while budget apps are fine for some, there’s really nothing quite like a set of household books for tracking finances and keeping spending in check.

Ready to take your budget to the next level? Read More

$30 Challenge – Week Two

A sweltering hot week that has gone easy on the cookery. There were enough leftovers from late last week to last until Tuesday. That meant a trip to the farmers’ market on Wednesday that netted enough bounty that we’ve not finished it yet. Still, I plan to hit the grocery store tomorrow to lay in supplies before my will to live is evaporated by the cruel September sun. Read More

$30 Challenge – Week One

We’ve had our highs and our lows this week, but above all it has been interesting. I would say by far the biggest hurdle has been the personal spending/entertainment portion of the budget. However, let’s start with something simple: the grocery budget.

Our $30 was spent on a selection of fresh veggies, as well as two bags of frozen fruit for desserts. The breakdown looks like this: Read More

Small things making big differences

I keep thinking about calories. Mostly, I think about how little we seem to know (or understand) about usefully quantifying the food energy we consume. But I also think about how the general public is taught (or not taught) about caloric measurement, individual needs, and calorie ‘burning’. That education is laughably lacking, which is sad given how important it is to understand such things.

We’re often told about a 2000 calorie diet. The assumption by many is that this is the number of calories one ought to eat in a day, somewhat regardless of mitigating factors like age, body composition and sex. As I’ve pointed out before, this number is entirely arbitrary. It was based on averaging self-reported calorie counts from a wide variety of people with widely varying needs, which is not exactly the most accurate method of data collection. Then, the value was rounded up by the powers that be in order to make calculating daily nutrient values easier.

Sure sounds scientific to me. Read More

Taking on the challenge – $30 food budget

I wrote the previous post about eating well on $25 per week ($30 Canadian), but was left dissatisfied. It’s all well and good to say a thing can be done – I can put about all sorts of twaddle about living well on less – but it’s another to practise what one preaches.

To that end, our household will be the lab for the following month, starting today. We’ll be limiting ourselves to a cash budget of $30 per week for all our food, for four weeks. Our current budget allots more than twice that much. So, at the end of four weeks (barring any emergencies or misfortune), we’ll see if we’ve succeeded at saving a bundle. Whatever money we’ve not spent will go to some type of splurge, with any remainder going into the savings account. Depending on how things go, this might become our routine.

I’ll be posting a kind of summary journal at the end of each week, keeping track of what we’ve spent, what we’ve eaten and how we’re feeling. I’m as interested as anyone to see how this turns out.

One small caveat: I have food in my house that I will be using. It would be impractical to ignore it for the purposes of a self-imposed challenge. However, what I can do is tell you what I’m using, when I’m using it and how much it ‘costs’. I’m not as fully stocked as I might otherwise be, so it’s not as though I’m a week’s-worth of shopping ahead. It’s mostly seasonings, cooking oil, some flour and maybe some yellow split peas.

Also, this may seem a bit late in the month to start, but this has been a holiday weekend, and as we all know the holidays fall outside the budget. Maybe we’ll go to the end of the first week in October to make up for it – we’ll see how we feel.

Under $25 grocery budget?

Yet again, I’ve been inspired by a YouTube video. Just this morning, I was watching a how-to by a young woman who was endeavouring to prepare a week’s worth of meals for under $25 USD. These were vegan meals, and although they were intended for one person, I think I could pull off something similar.

I don’t usually go into exchange rates, but I feel like being forgiving. At the moment, $25 USD comes to just over $30 CAD, so we’ll use that as our benchmark. Not only am I shopping for two people, but I am shopping in Canada where many things are more expensive. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.  Read More