Grocery Grand Tally, Half Year Report!

As promised, I have put together a report on all of my grocery spending and purchases for the first half of the year. Let’s see what conclusions can be drawn!

First of all, for 2 adults, we spent $2813.73 on groceries, which averages $469 a month. This is for food only, and a few paper goods – I tracked cleaning, personal care, and pet expenses separately. To my surprise, the average Canadian spending on groceries is about $245 per person per month, so our household is average, which I would not have guessed! (I don’t know too many families of 4 who would spend $1000 a month on groceries, but it would be very easy to do).

Grocery prices are much more expensive in Canada than in the US or UK. A few sample items and prices are:

  • Bananas $0.59/lb at produce market, $0.89 at grocery store
  • Sliced whole wheat bread, name brand $3.19-$3.99/loaf
  • 2 litres of milk $3.99 (all Canadian dairy is supply-managed)
  • Butter $4.99/lb, $3.99 is typical sale price
  • Peanut butter, commercial $5.99/kg (2.2 lb)
  • 1 dozen factory-farmed eggs $2.99 unless on sale (best price $1.99)
  • Lean ground beef, conventional $4.79/lb  ($2.29-$2.79 on sale)
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, conventional $8.99-10.99/lb, typical sale is $6.99/lb (all Canadian poultry is supply-managed)
Of course, if we lived in Nunavut, a healthy “southern” diet would be priced in the stratosphere.

As previously mentioned, we only purchased 39 pounds of meat so far this year. We had been eating vegetarian dinners 25% of the time until June, when we ate vegetarian for the whole month. So being less carnivorous surely saved us a bunch of money. Dairy products are a huge category for us, though. We have gone through 107 litres of milk, 28 litres of which were used to make yogurt – so that means I used 79 litres of milk for drinking, baking and coffee. Add in 22 lbs of cheese and 5 lbs of butter, and that is a lot of dairy! Meanwhile, Rom doesn’t drink cow’s milk so he drank 60 litres of soy milk. We could save $ by cutting back on dairy but that is not going to happen.

The food we love the most is clearly APPLES, 99 pounds of them! Apples are the only fruit that is grown locally and stored year-round, so I eat fresh-tasting local apples every single day and never get tired of them. We also bought 77 pounds of oranges and 63 pounds of bananas! We buy or pick strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in season, but we are still just at the cusp of the summer. We bought a few other kinds of fruit for variety (grapes, pineapple, kiwis) but always veer back to the old standards.

Vegetables are all over the map: in order, we consumed 25 lbs potatoes, 22 lbs carrots, 15 lb cubed mixed frozen vegetables, 13 lbs frozen peas, 11 lbs onions, 9 lbs frozen green beans, 8 lbs tomatoes (plus 10 large cans stewed diced tomatoes), 6 lbs sweet potatoes and 5 lbs button mushrooms. I adore vegetables – at our house we even like lima beans and brussels sprouts!

I have personally made and drank 8 KILOS (17.6 lbs) of coffee! That is roughly 3 pounds a month. I pride myself on “never” buying take-out coffee, but proof exists I actually stopped for Tim’s (or similar) 21 times so far this year! I also see myself as rarely drinking pop, but again, eleven 2-litre bottles of diet pop have shown their faces here. And I previously reported that I’ve eaten 7 pounds of candy! Rom’s weaknesses are crumpets (twenty 6-packs) and ice cream (a mere 10 litres).

On the plus side, we are buying more baking ingredients now that I make bread, muffins and granola at home.

Overall, not a ton of junk food has entered the house, but that’s because we consume it elsewhere, LOL! Specifically, we go out to cafes most weekends for croissants, cinnamon buns and oat cakes.

What I am most happy about is that we do prepare the vast majority of our food at home. Our “convenience foods” are things like canned beans, frozen vegetables, couscous and peanut butter.

Here’s the breakdown on meals eaten at home versus “out” for Jan 1 – June 30 (182 days). I did a projection for June 28-30 assuming we’d have “normal” days!

  • Breakfasts: 178/182 eaten at home (4-day vacation)
  • Lunches (Dar): 120 brown bag lunches brought to work, 48 lunches at home, 8 lunch “functions” (either potluck or restaurant meals with job or volunteer coworkers) and 6 lunches at restaurants (including 4 on vacation)
  • Dinners (Dar): 116 at home, 21 brown bag dinners brought to work for evening shifts, 22 homemade dinners with relatives, 6 dinner “functions” (work or volunteer commitments) and 17 dinners at restaurants (including 4 on vacation)

That means 98% of breakfasts, 92% of lunches, and 87% of dinners were homemade.

For me, the bottom line is that our current level of spending allows us to eat healthy, real food, mostly made from scratch, every day. And for that I feel very privileged indeed!


  1. Pingback: Where I Blog « An Exacting Life

  2. Pingback: Year-End Grocery Tally 2012 « An Exacting Life

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