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  • Writer's pictureamholtkamp

A Weekly Food Budget in Tough Times

With all the global turmoil and changes in our climate as of late, Canadians, along with much of the world, are noticing a dramatic increase in the cost of many things, especially food and fuel. And, as I am presently unemployed, budgeting is of much importance when I go to the grocery store and how I feed myself. Besides, I’ve long been a proponent of simple living and not wasting money, food, or other resources. So, I’ve decided to challenge myself and see how simply and inexpensively I could eat well for one week. Normally these days, I spend about $75 to $100 CDN per week, and eat very well, in my opinion. Years ago I made a vow to eat very little ultra-processed food and, with the exception of this past ten months living on the road, I’ve been quite successful in sticking to that vow. Sure, I treat myself occasionally with some chocolate or a bag of potato chips, but those are rare treats. I tend to eat mostly whole foods and I enjoy cooking, a lot. I feel better when I stick to this mindset and it has saved me some money. Depending on where you live, you might find my present budget very high - even in our neighbouring province of Alberta, groceries are considerably cheaper. I recently watched a YouTuber who was living in Mexico and managed to feed himself on $1 US per day for a week. That just wouldn’t be possible where I live. And if you live in Canada’s north or a northern Scandinavian country, I imagine my present weekly budget will seem like a bargain.

So, I’m going to see what is possible in terms of minimizing and simplifying. I’m hoping to half my present budget. And, although this will be a weekly experiment, I do buy much of my goods in bulk and will do my best to accurately weigh and expense what I use this week. Another thing to note is that this will be a snapshot of my overall diet. I often cook batches of soups, stews and the like, then have that food for several days in a row, then not eat the same thing again for months. Tiny house living doesn’t allow for a freezer or large pantry for canning so I’ve adjusted accordingly. If you’re using my experiment as a guide or a challenge of your own and you have access to a freezer or pantry, you may be able to have more variety than I.

And one last thing to mention, it is presently winter here in British Columbia so availability of fresh, local produce is very different than it is in the summer. My shopping will reflect the season and where I source much of my food. Normally, I shop with intention and try to buy local, sustainable and ethical. Those things might not be of value to you but they are to me and reflect what I buy and where I buy it.

Tomorrow I’ll head to my favourite grocery store and update you on my shopping bag contents and costs. Stay tuned.

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