75$ grocery budget – Is it possible?

Take note that my first language is French, so you might find a lot of mistakes in the text.  Sorry, i’m doing my best 😉

We have been hearing a lot about the fact that the Quebec prime minister said that it was possible to feed a family with 75$ a week, but that it was difficult and not necessarily good for your health.

Although this is not the case for everybody, many families have to cope with a low grocery budget. I decided to challenge myself and make a 75$ healthy family grocery this week. Note that my grocery usually costs between 150.00$ to 200.00$ a week.

A big advantage of vegan diets is that you can bet on economic proteins like legumes and whole grains. Many people believe that it is more expensive to be vegan than omnivorous, but it is a false perception. Of course, if you buy processed food, fake meats and expensive nuts, your bill can rise quickly, but by choosing healthy basic ingredients, you can get by for a lot less money.
I live in a small town and i don’t have access to bulk stores, so i did my shopping at Iga taking advantage of the flyers promotions. Also note that my 2 kids are young and don’t have the appetite of two teenagers, which really made it easier for me.

Here is my grocery list and my week menu!

Grocery list

  • 8 Bananas  $ 2.96
  • 1 bag of clémentines 2.99 $
  • 7 pounds of apples $ 6.99
  • 1 big lemon $ 0.99
  • 1 bulb of garlic 0.99 $
  • 1 bag of yellow onions $ 1.99
  • 2 broccolis 3.20 $
  • 1 bag of carrots $ 1.89
  • 4 large sweet potatoes $ 2.50
  • 1 basket of zucchinis $ 3.00
  • 2.27 kg of potatoes 3.99 $
  • 1 celery 0.99 $
  • 2 packages of mushrooms $ 2.66
  • 1 Kale 1.33 $
  • 2 whole wheat breads $ 5.00
  • Natural peanut butter 2.19 $
  • 1 large soy milk 3.50 $
  • 1 kg whole wheat flour $ 2.69
  • 1 kg of quick oats $ 3.19
  • 473 ml of canola oil 1.89 $
  • 2 package of wheat spaghettis 3.32 $
  • Tomato and red pepper sauce 2.50 $
  • Quinoa bag 3.79 $
  • Brown rice bag 2.89 $
  • Dry red lentils $ 1.09
  • 2 tinned chickpeas $ 2.38
  • Block of firm tofu $ 2.99

Total: $ 74.15

Week menu

Breakfasts (served with homemade oatmeal and soy milk):

  • Roasted peanut butter and banana (2 mornings)
  • Pancakes + clementine
  • Overnight oats with applesauce (2 mornings)
  • Carrot muffin with apple (2 mornings)

Main dishes:

  • Buddha Bowl (Brown Rice, Half Sweet Potato, Broccoli and Chickpeas + Peanut Butter and garlic sauce)
  • Whole wheat spaghetti with tomato pepper sauce + carrots, celery, onions, garlic and lentils.
  • Fried quinoa, kale, mushrooms, garlic, onions and zucchini.
  • Lentil soup with potatoes, carrots, zucchini and onions.
  • Fried tofu, rice with garlic and onions + steamed broccoli
  • Quinoa + onions and caramelized mushrooms and grilled zucchini.
  • Homemade fries, « empty-fridge nuggets » (Lentils, zucchini, potato, onion, garlic and wheat flour)

Snacks:

  • Hummus (chickpeas, lemon, canola oil, salt) with celery + carrots (2 x)
  • Carrot muffins (2 x) and homemade applesauce
  • Apple and oat cookies with clementine (3 x)

Result? Thanks god we are vegan, because i really don’t see how we could have paid for meat and dairy products this week. We manage to get away with a healthy and nutritious menu that includes a variety of good ingredients. However, You have to make a lot of concessions to stay under 75$:

  1. Prepare everything yourself and avoid packaged foods.
  2. Forget about organic food. I could not stay below the 75$ budget by choosing organic fruits and veggies.
  3. Basic products only, no dark chocolate, potato chips, berries or avocados this week.
    You have to stay with economical and nutritious foods (legumes, carrots, potatoes, bananas, apples…)
  4. If you don’t already have some basic ingredients at home, such as sugar, spices or soy sauce, your dishes may be a little tasteless.
  5. Buying large quantities of certain ingredients is really economical. For about 20$, you can buy a large bag of rice, flour, oats and peanuts that will last a month and allow you to make a good amount of recipes.

Is it possible to feed a family with 75$ per week?  Yes.  Is it easy? No.

This experience actually made me want to reduce my grocery bill, which is quite high.  Let’s say i spend 200$ a week for food, it’s a total of 800$ a month. If I managed to reduce that amount to 125$ a week, I would save around 300$ a month.  I guess it’s my next challenge!

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