Eating for $3/meal, Week 1:

August 18, 2009 at 4:06 pm 2 comments


I survived Week One of the $50 grocery challenge!! Er, actually my total came to $54, but I’m cool with that.  It just means that next week I have only $46 to play with.  Out of my $5/week bulk fund, I spent $3.23 on coriander, so I have and extra $1.77 to forward onto next week 🙂  I’m totally digging this…sitting down and planning a whole week of groceries and meals was fun and it totally paid off.   Lots of people have been giving me advice on how to save even more money by planning ahead- but I’ll save those tidbits of wisdom for a later post…

Anyway, here’s what I bought, and how it ended up:

Wednesday, Farmer’s Market, $15.50

  • 3 heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 heirloom cucumber
  • 2 organic peaches
  • 1 heirloom eggplant
  • 1 org. hungarian pepper
  • 1 bulb organic garlic

Thursday, T&T Supermarket, Chinatown, $25.60

  • Cabbage
  • carrots
  • cilantro
  • celery
  • eggplant
  • green onion, 2 bunches
  • 2 onions
  • 3 red potatoes
  • parsley
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 3 limes
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 12 thai chilis
  • 6 jalapenos
  • galangal
  • leeks
  • thai basil
  • brown mushrooms
  • snap sugar peas

Sunday, Buy-Low Foods Kingsway, 12.90

  • pea shoots
  • 4 bananas
  • cucumber
  • tomatoes
  • 1 pink lady apple
  • Org. Squirelly Bread

On top of this, I had a fridge full of odds and ends from the week before to use up, including about 2 pints of BC blueberries (they are at their cheapest right now).

My plan of attack for the week’s menu was to pick a theme.  My reasoning behind this was that if I could build meals around a few key ingredients, shopping would be easier, more focused, and obscure ingredients wouldn’t become forgotten and rot in my fridge.  I chose a Thai theme this week, as I had some keffir lime leaves and lemongrass needing to be used up.  The Rebar cookbook has a great recipe for green curry paste, and it turned out insanely good.  The recipe made a lot, so I planned two dishes from the same cookbook that would use the paste: the “Dragon Bowl” and “Monk’s Curry.” (The Dragon Bowl was meh, but the Monk’s Curry was FANTASTIC!  Apparently it is their most popular vegan dish at their restaurant in Victoria…) For anyone that ever buys curry paste, you know how expensive it is!  As I remember, it is about $4 for a small 4 oz. jar.  This recipe made 5 times that amount, and cost probably around $3 to make!  It made so much I scooped some into cute little jars to give away as gifts! I’m assuming that it will keep for 2 weeks or so…

While I processed the curry paste, I also made a HUGE pot of veggie stock!  It’s one of those items that I always buy every week and kick myself for how much money I’m wasting.  1 litre of store-bought Veggie Stock is roughly 4 cups, and costs $4.  I made 20 cups of yummy homemade stock for $2.34.  That’s $0.12/cup compared to $1/cup for the store-bought stuff.  Plus it fills your whole apartment with warm fuzzy smells….and doesn’t involve killing any tetrapak trees 🙂

Since I had everything still on hand, and lots of homemade veggie stock, I staged a repeat performance of Sick Boyfriend Stew since it was so yummy.  (I figured hey, he may not be here, but he’s still sick, so I can make it.)

Anyway, in no particular order or quantity, my meals this week consisted of:

Breakfasts:  Blueberries,  Oatmeal with Homemade almond milk, Almond butter and Bananas on toast, Strawberries, Fresh Veggie Juices, Tea

Lunches: Tomato/Cucumber Sandwiches, Dinner Leftovers, Big ol’ Salads

Dinners: Monks Curry- 2 nights, Dragon Bowl- 2 nights, Pancakes (hey, I love these for dinner!), Sick Boyfriend Stew

Meals out (allowed 3): 3

  1. Cafe deux Soleil – $11: horrible!! Not to be confused with the wonderful Cafe DEUX Soleil!  They served me canned soup and didn’t even make their own veggie burgers.  Wrote a review at (don’t) Dinehere but it must have been deleted 😦 Yes, it was that bad.  I also wrote a review on one of their napkins before I left.
  2. Slickety Jim’s– $11: I tried to veganize one of their roasted veg/avocado eggs bennys, but the avocado they used was like a rock.  Otherwise it would have been tasty.  Plus they charged me 75 cents to not give me eggs.  What gives?
  3. The Foundation $7: less and less impressed with this place.. food was ok, but kinda meh.. Honestly I don’t know why this place is popular, aside from the late night/niche vegetarian market thing.  I was a sucker for some hummus and flatbread.

Total: $29 bucks.  Really not worth it at all.  Hopefully next week I will either a) find 3 delicious meals to enjoy, or b) omit them entirely and save muchos money!

Here’s a pic of the Monk’s Curry from the Rebar cookbook- IT WAS AMAZING!

Monk's Curry

So there you have it.  Each meal I made averaged out to $3.00 ($54/18 meals), and $50/week was totally doable.   I’m still looking for ways to cut costs even more, so stay tuned for some great ideas that people have suggested!




Entry filed under: Budget.

Sick Boyfriend Red Lentil Stew Tips for Saving Money on Weekly Groceries:

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Yuqing  |  February 11, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    That’s very cool $3 per meal. I am trying to spend less than $30 on grocery weekly. It is actually more than $3 per meal because
    I only eat one major meal a day.

    BTW, in case you wonder who this stranger is, you sat right next to me for a few minutes at the African Vegan Dinner last night.

    • 2. laurakins  |  February 11, 2010 at 11:04 pm

      thanks! I need to get back into eating on the cheap– this is a good reminder 🙂
      Nice meeting you (briefly) last night. Hopefully, I’ll see you at many more meetups to come!


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