Monday, February 22, 2010

My last $20 is spent

On the weekend, I spent my last few dollars. Twenty dollars didn’t get me much, just some oranges, bananas, pears, chicken, bread and milk. Once again it was a longer shopping trip than it needed to be. It took about 90 minutes to make choices between what I really wanted, what I could afford and what is good for me. I wanted to buy tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, cheese, olives, strawberries, blackberries, nuts, yoghurt and procioutto, but my budget wasn’t having any of that.

When I was at the checkout, my cell phone rang and a friend asked me what I was doing. I replied, “Spending my last $20 for the month.” I could feel everyone standing in the lineup staring at me. And as I had calculated in my head, my bill came to $19.32.

I walked out of the store with my four plastic bags disappointed because I didn’t buy anything that excited me. You know that feeling when you leave the shop and you can’t wait to get home to rip into that bag of chips, that smoothie drink, that block of cheese? I didn’t have that feeling. No impulsive purchases for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful to be eating chicken for the first time all month and those oranges are going to be a welcoming burst of citrus in my mouth, but I have nothing to add spice to my mundane meals. Not even a tip of an asparagus tip to have with my chicken. Some corn would have been nice. Oh, how I love frozen peas too.

Adding some variety to my meals is my main challenge this week. Last year, I did a lot more experimenting with my meal planning. This year, I feel like I’ve been defeated by the rice, potatoes and a busy work schedule. So as I type this I'm scouring the internet for two-ingredient recipes. This evening, I'll probably do some variation on this Slow Cooked Stuffed Cabbage dish. I'll let you know if it turns out and if it doesn't, i'll still have to eat it. Can't throw out food at this stage.


  1. Great project, but WHy 80 dollars? How did you come to that amount?
    Who are "each of you" ? - I cannot find an about page?
    Do you need some really delicious nutritious and economical recipes?

  2. It does seem to be a little tougher this year for you.

    Maybe next year I will join you.....


  3. When you calculate how much someone makes full-time in Alberta on mininum wage and minus all their expenses such a rent, utilities, they are left with about $80 per month to spend on food. That's how we came up with the amount. It wasn't just some random number.

    Oh of course, we're always looking for delicious recipes. We're just three ordinary people living in Edmonton who wanted to make a diffence - Jeff Gonek, Tracy Hyatt and Lorianne Slauenwhite.

    This is our second year doing this fundraising event. I think the following newspaper article best summarizes the project:

  4. Thinking of you, sister! Hang in there!


  5. This year seems to have been a lot tougher for all of you. It seems you were all rather down this year. Even though Jeff had a personal loss at this time last year, there was still a sense of optimism last year that seems to be vitally lacking this year.

    In addition with the lack of energy and difficulty focusing those dealing long-term with this particular daily stress experience, I wonder how things like depression and overuse of medication directly correlate? I don't believe people that always have to deal with this are just hungry and tired. Psychologically, emotionally, physically - I can very clearly imagine a vicious downward spiral as one's energy is sapped and spirit is systematically broken down.

    Social activities that prominently focus on food do more than keep us from having to go home and figure out what to make or order in - eating nourishes our body as well as our spirits.

  6. A great project - and thanks for the information - how did it end up?
    I had missed the article and was happy to read it. I am planning on hosting an edmonton foodie blogger event and would like to send the information out to all of you - so if one of you could e-mail me one or all of your addresses, (e-mail wise) I will do just that.

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