Mid-Month Update: Food Basket Challenge

Popover (Photo: Woman’s Day)

Stopping by for a check-in. Thanks to readers for looking up my weekly quick updates on the Facebook page!

The first half of March went ahead as planned. We spent $137.26 in one shopping trip, and walked back a few days later to spend another $28.35.

Today was our second full shopping trip. Here’s the menu plan:

  • Everyday breakfasts – toast with peanut butter, bananas, oatmeal or Alpen muesli cereal with milk/soy milk, Rom has some English muffins
  • Everyday snacks – apples, grapes, clementines, popcorn, Rom has graham crackers
  • Sat Mar 16 (today) – lunch – the rest of the potato-broccoli frittata (it was delish)
  • Sat Mar 16 (today) – dinner – built a pizza using a store-bought pizza crust (added veg, olives and cheese)
  • Sun Mar 17 – lunch – the rest of the pizza
  • Sun Mar 17 – dinner – at my parents’ place
  • Mon – Fri Mar 18-22 – my lunches – salads, nuts, crackers and yogurt (I had chick peas and rice last week so I am happy to have fresh veg for salads again)
  • Mon Mar 18 and Tues Mar 19 – dinner – chili with tortilla chips (unopened storm chips!) – will freeze the rest of the chili for next week
  • Wed Mar 20 and Thurs Mar 21 – dinner – lentil shepherd’s pie
  • Fri Mar 22 – dinner – pumpkin macaroni and cheese
  • Sat Mar 23 – lunch – popover pancake (we make a similar recipe with 8 eggs = 4 servings)
  • Sat Mar 23 – dinner – the rest of the pumpkin mac and cheese
  • Sun Mar 24 – lunch – the rest of the popover pancake
  • Sun Mar 24 – dinner – at my parents’ place
  • Mon – Fri Mar 25-29 – my lunches – baked potatoes, cheese toast or cheese sandwiches, hummus with veg, yogurt
  • Mon Mar 25 and Tues Mar 26 – dinner – chili (from freezer) – I wonder if we will have any chips left?
  • Wed Mar 27 and Thurs Mar 28 – dinner – stir fry with veg, vegetarian sausages and udon noodles
  • Fri Mar 29 and Sat Mar 30 – dinner – carrot rice casserole (this is like a crustless quiche)
  • Sat Mar 30 and Sun Mar 31 – lunches – pizza!
  • Sun Mar 31 – dinner – at my parents’ place

It probably seems like we eat pizza constantly but there are 3 weekends in the month so we are really only having pizza every other week.

I know my parents are subsidizing our food budget 🙂 It’s not all a one-way street – this month I did their taxes for them, and I have booked off a day to clean their kitchen cupboards and china cabinet from top to bottom!

Here is what we bought today to last until the end of the month – we have spent the whole budget! (the spending includes the cost of any unopened items we had at home as of March 1, and consumed during March):

When I look at these pictures I feel very sad about all the plastic 😦

I’ll be back at the end of the month with a full report. I hope you are eating well and feeling well!

Have you found any good grocery deals this month? Are there any foods you’ve stopped buying because the price has gone up too much this year?


  1. Deb

    This 1/2 month has been very low spending as we are eating down the place since we cannot leave any food because of the desert heat. We are snow birds going home in a day. Although people will say it is cheap to buy groceries especially fresh fruit and vegetables…it hasn’t been this winter. We noticed a steep increase in prices. We don’t know what to expect when we get home.

    • I don’t “move house” twice a year like you do, but I can relate to eating down the place before vacations – which involves NOT buying things, and conscientiously using things up. It is a strange way of eating which combines deprivation and an abundance of things you don’t really want any more 🙂 Do you drive or fly each way? My MIL used to drive on her snowbird trips to a desert location. She would bring Canadian flour (made with hard wheat) with her because she found the American flour too soft (cake flour). And then she would miss the free/cheap oranges and lemons and other southern produce when she got back.

      • Deb

        We drive ..four full days. Yes American flour is awful but driving through Montana we found a non GMO really good flour (Wheat Montana) and it is now available at Walmart. My husband makes the best 🍞!!! We miss the delicious tangelos and dates here. We do bring dates home. Yum!

  2. Your popover pancakes look rather like our Yorkshire Pudding?
    I know what you mean about the plastic – sometimes the more unprocessed a product is the less packaging – like veggies, flour (comes in a paper wrapper), tea comes in a box and coffee a tin. Yoghurt is not good in the plastic tubs that could be glass (returnable), and squeezy sauce when it used to be glass but for the consumers convenience they are going backwards into plastic.
    It is great having your meals at your parents place and good you do some bits in return for them. My mum struggles now with her kitchen cupboards.
    I have been trying to make our food stretch over this weekend and have had to be creative with the menus with a handful of left over bits. In fact I was just writing a post about it!!

    • I think popovers and Yorkshire pudding are pretty much the same thing except YP is always savoury while popovers are equally likely to be served with lemon curd or jam – and they are used as a main course breakfast/brunch. I look forward to your posts about economizing.

  3. I had a good laugh about the pizza frequency! I did a big grocery shop yesterday and then we went out for pizza! To answer your question, I haven’t stopped buying anything due to the cost but do focus each week on what fruits and vegetables are in season and therefore lesser in cost or the ones that are on sale. Then I fill in with the more expensive ones or our standards like bananas and apples.

    • I looove pizza! I usually have a list of what fruit and veg I want to buy each week, but it is aspirational – we change it when we see what the week’s price is, and the quality. During the winter, all of our fruit and veg are imported except for root veg and apples, and sometimes they look as well-travelled as they are. Last grocery day, we bought frozen broccoli instead of fresh because the fresh was sad looking!

  4. Margie from Toronto

    I have had to not buy certain fresh fruit & veg this month as things like cauliflower are back up $6 each and apples over $5/lb – but I have found good deals on frozen fruit and even fish & seafood for some reason. I have blown the budget a bit stocking up on shrimp, scallops, salmon and cod – but all were at a very good price compared to what they usually cost and as I want to eat more seafood instead of red meat, I couldn’t pass up these sales.
    The last few packs of red meat have been moved up front in my small freezer and will be used up over the next month – over the summer I tend not to cook much at all and only eat it occasionally when at a restaurant.
    My hope is that within the next month or so I’ll be able to simplify my meals even more and thereby save both money and time.

    • It would be great to get random deals on seafood. We certainly noticed the prices on fruit and veg going way up this month. I am looking forward to the new growing season even though there will still be a long wait.

  5. Fiona

    There’s nothing ‘off limits’ at the moment due to price but that shows the luxury of our lifestyle. It’s really good to see your menus not just in view of your monthly challenge, but also to see what vegetarian menus look like in real life. For environmental reasons, I know we need to change our diet (more veg) and yet it seems so hard. The breakfasts and lunches here are pretty much what we might have (deleting ham from sandwiches) so the dinners are the main challenge. Do you think it will be hard to see out the month given that you have hit the price ceiling?

  6. Well, this was kind of a “skint” vegetarian menu, so I am not sure it’s the best month to copy! We would normally buy a lot more fresh fruit and veg, nice cheese, trimmings like pesto and chutney, and nuts. I have a “crisis” coming up because the coffee supply may not make it to month end – I will be unbearable to be around 🙂

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