Dollar and Cents: June Recap

Hello! Not long after starting this project, I decided it would be a good idea to devote one post each month to taking a look at how close my grocery spending comes to the $6 per day that I targeted.

There were 30 days in June, which meant that my total grocery budget was $180.

After my flagrant over-spending in May, I went into June firmly resolved to do better. And things went pretty well. However, this busy month prompted three number-crunching challenges:

  1. I took a four-day trip to Winnipeg, where I was largely fed by my kind and generous hosts. I included all of my eating-out costs except one. That was a delicious take-out dinner for our whole gang from Lovey’s BBQ. I left it out because I believe that a nice meal out with your hosts is just a standard travel cost when you’re trying to be a good guest. (By the way, if you’re travelling to Winnipeg, I highly recommend Lovey’s.)
  2. June also introduced a novel accounting wrinkle: food as a gift. A good friend had a birthday in June, and I went over to his house armed with a good-sized picnic supper. We both enjoyed it, and the leftovers stayed with him to eat the next day. So, yes, I did feed myself from a portion of this purchase. But … was it realistic to count this with my food spending? This is a conundrum, and in the end, I put a third of the cost in my “grocery” ledger.
  3. Now, I also had friends over for dinner in June, and fed them almost entirely from “Good and Cheap” recipes. One friend is vegan, and I’m happy to report that it was really pretty easy to find things that worked for him. (He was willing to cheat a little and eat cheese.) This spending I did count in my grocery bills. Here’s what we chowed down on:
  • Pagnotta from Edmonton’s Italian Bakery, with real butter
  • Tomatoes with bocconocini medallions and basil
  • Beet and Chickpea Salad
  • Creamy Zucchini Fettucine (you’ll find this recipe on page 89 of the “Good and Cheap” PDF or page 86 of the print version)
  • Raspberry sorbet from the fine folks at Pinnochio Ice Cream
  • Beer and wine
Actual grocery expenditures = $72.41
Food purchased in Vicky’s Cafe = $29.80
Fast food  = $15.11
Food that came out of vending machines= $2.50
Food for entertaining = $49.14
Food purchased while travelling =$21.62
Food as a gift = $45.07/3 = $15.02
Grand total = $205.60

When everything is tallied up, my total food spending in June was $205.60. That’s $25.60 and 14% over budget. All in all, I’m fairly happy with this figure.

In fact, after pulling apart my June spending, the only thing that I’m a little concerned about was the amount of money plunked down at Vicky’s Cafe (the coffee kisok in my home library). This is largely the result of being too disorganized to eat breakfast, and — realistically — something that I could easily fix.

And That’s the Month That Was
I didn’t come out of June with any spectacular insights on cheap eating. Mostly, I feel like I spent the month almost perpetually on the run, and my food choices reflected that.

However, I will say that I was very pleased at the outcome of my second attempt at a “Good and Cheap” dinner party. It was a little more expensive than my first attempt (point a small finger of blame at $8.50 for a container of delicious sorbet) but I felt like the dishes worked together a little better. It was easy to prepare, tasted good and I had just enough leftovers. Now  really, could you ask for more than that?   signature

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