Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Can you feed yourself for $100/month?

I recently received a comment on my July 2011 Monthly Goals post, where I talked about wanting to slash my grocery budget in half for the month (from $200 to $100). I was originally going to respond to it in comments, but I think it’s important enough to talk about. Especially because for some reason, I’ve been getting a lot of traffic to that post from people who think I’m unrealistic and crazy. Here is what one person had to say:

Between your cell phone, internet and entertainment you’ve got $300/month budgeted and you want to cut your food bill down to $100? What are you going to live on, love? What a joke… LOL Sounds like a 20 something decision…

The fact that my cell phone/internet/entertainment budget comes to over $300/month (while I’m trying to get my food bill down to $100 for July) might come to a shock to some people who don’t really know me. And it might seem like a “20-something decision” to those looking in. I get that. But to me, it makes perfect sense.

In an emergency situation, it is so easy to get rid of my cell phone/internet/entertainment budget because they are all wants, not needs. You don’t need any of those things to survive a true emergency. It is incredibly difficult, however, to slash your grocery budget – because we all need food to survive. That is a HUGE difference, and the reason why I’ve challenged myself to cut my groceries this month. I want to prove to myself that, if I need to, I can feed myself comfortably on $100/month. Even with rising food costs.

There is no better time than in your 20’s to make sure that you’re prepared for any sort of emergency situation. We are all capable of calling our cell phone or internet provider to suspend, disconnect, or reduce service when money is tight. But the real challenge lies in the ability to be able to feed ourselves (with healthy, fresh food) for less money if we had to.

I save almost 50% of my net income these days – even with my mortgage. So the $100/month grocery challenge isn’t because I cannot afford to feed myself, or because I need to choose between paying my cell phone bill or eating. It isn’t even to save extra money, or to keep my savings rate hovering at 50%. It is a conscious decision I made to help ensure that I am on course to reach my goal of financial independence. And a huge part of that goal is the knowledge that I can successfully survive on a reduced budget – without compromising my health.

It’s like a fire drill; sometimes you have to practice and put yourself through an emergency-type situation to feel confident should (knock on wood) the real thing ever happen to you. Maybe it’s too extreme for some people, but it’s important to me.

I fully understand that slashing my grocery budget to $100/month isn’t sustainable for me. I consider myself to be extremely lucky that $100/month is an “emergency” situation, where there are some people and families that have to live on a lot less. I think, realistically, I can reduce my budget to $150/month and be comfortable. However, my current $200/month is a luxury that I know I can afford to keep right now, should I choose to.

I would encourage new readers to read a few of my posts and really get to know where I’m coming from, before jumping to conclusions and thinking I’m a 20-something with no real direction or plan in life. Or someone who values their iPhone more than putting food on the table. That’s just not the case. Almost every personal finance related thing that I do is a calculated decision, and comes from a practical need to protect my financial well-being now, and into the future.


Author: Krystal Yee

I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.


  1. talesofablendedfamily says:

    I think it's a terrific exercise to go through, and to be honest, with a little legwork, very do-able! We have a family of 10 and a dog. Our grocery budget for us is $300 per week, $1200 per month (based on 4 weeks/month), so that's about $120 per person. We could do better, we know it, but we do buy a few little luxuries. Dog food and diapers and toiletries are included in that $300 a week.

    Good luck, can't wait to read more about it!

    • kobough says:

      I have been cutting my food budget for years to get through rocky times and have managed to stay at $25 per week during the tough times successfully. It takes a concerted effort and intent, but it is more than a pipe dream. I don't have cable, I get movies free from the library and my dogs and family are my entertainment. My cell phone is only $35 per month (no contract) and I have eliminated my land line. With the Dave Ramsey Debt elimination method, I paid off $17,500 in credit card debt in a little over a year (15 months) and have been living frugally and enjoying myself much more without the old materialistic rut i was in. I don't pay full price for internet as I split the cost with a roommate. It is all in the power of intention! I'd wish you luck…but I know you don't need it.

  2. Tiffany says:

    I think it's great. In the long run, it will probably teach you a lot about meal planning and not wasting food. I actually think it's completely doable. Become best friends with the bulk bins where you can get rice, oats, nuts, whole grains, and other healthy items for much cheaper than their pre-packaged twins.

    Also, become best friends with your freezer. If veggies you like are on sale, blanch them and freeze them. It doesn't take that long and will give you food for months.

    Same for the meat eater – buy on sale and freeze!

    We are a family of 2, and we budget $100/week for food. Even in that fairly large budget I'm learning to buy in bulk, freeze things we like that are on sale, and use the leftover money for little luxuries like ice cream :)

    You go!

  3. I do not think there is anything unrealistic about what you're trying to do. In my first few years living alone, I did live quite comfortably on a 100 dollar/ month food and household cleaning supplies budget. When me and bf moved in to a bigger flat, got a dog and moved to downtown the expense has risen by 25 dollars per person. So now we spend 125 dollars/ month on grocery and household cleaning products and doggie needs. And we eat very very well. We just cook at home 2-3 times a week, freeze food and eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies instead of expensive processed snacks. But it's not impossible certainly.

  4. Melissa says:

    I commented on that post back then saying I had been aiming to get my groceries down to $100/month for a few months now, and kept failing spectacularly. (Including this month, probably! August is when I'll finally win.) I think, in regards to this commenter, the amount you spend on entertainment or anything else is kind of irrelevant. It's a challenge, no? The point is to challenge yourself. Maybe next month you'll try to get your entertainment budget down to a certain level. Though, like you said, you could easily get that number to zero by just not doing stuff.

    My reasoning for trying to see if I can get my grocery budget down to the level it was in university is 1) Just to see if I can and 2) Because I've been feeling lately like the more my grocery budget increases, the more crap food I eat. If there's more wiggle room in my grocery budget, then I might buy processed food more than I'd like. By restricting it, I'm forcing myself to get creative, cook more, eat more vegetables, etc.
    My recent post Recipe: Zucchini Fries

  5. Ella says:

    Honestly, I think I could make it on $100/week. But I don't want to. Everyday lunch is a salad with veggies on a bed of spinach or spring mix. Dinner means atleast 3 veggies or more (we are vegetarians) and breakfast is a green smoothie with spinach and fresh fruit. Produce is the most expensive part of my groceries and I don't want to cut that out. I might save some $$ each month that way, but I think of it as investing in my health,

  6. Totally possible. $100 a month is doable in an emergency situation. Like a war. Or you lost everything with no hope of getting it back and you have to start from scratch.

    BF and I worked out a "war" menu and it was mostly rice, potatoes, beans and not much nutrition to be frank. Think of what they ate during the war! That's what we took as an inspiration.

    But it keeps you alive and gets you through the tough spots.

    I should post the war menu.
    My recent post The Minimalist Wardrobe: 30-Pieces would be my Barest of Bare Minimums!

  7. Jackie says:

    I think it's easy to judge you if someone is just skimmed past your blog. I mean, what kind of 20-something only spends $100 on food a month? I think maybe that commenter was thinking that the $100 included any type of eating out you might do, when I think it's only your grocery budget. As a 20-something myself, it would be hard to only spend $100/month on groceries, but it would be doable.
    My recent post Trip To Sephora For BB Creams!

  8. Lindsay says:

    It's obviously possible. But sometimes I wonder — why deprive yourself of treats, etc….just to save money? If saving for later takes away from your quality of life now, why do it? I mean, the future is no guarantee. I would never deprive myself of food (or food that is more than rice & beans) just because I want to save even more money. I think saving almost 50% of your income is awesome. But at what point are you going to stop and say, "Okay, I'm saving X% and that's enough, let's go out and enjoy life."?

    • gmbmfb says:

      I'm not doing it to deprive myself. I'm doing it to prove to myself that I can do it, should an emergency ever happen that forces me to live that way. Like I said, I save almost 50% of my income. An extra $50-100 saved each month isn't that big of a deal to me at this point in my life. But, if I were to ever lose my job, or something really tragic happens, that kind of money all of a sudden becomes a big deal.

      The $200/month I budget right now for groceries is extremely generous, yet is probably average than what most people spend each month. Knowing that I can survive comfortably on half that amount is a good feeling.

  9. paiiige says:

    I'm curious now to find out how much I spend on groceries/eating. Food is a HUGE part of my lifestyle (my friends and I share recipes and cook and entertain VERY frequently) and I look forward to cooking dinner most nights–so I'd be reluctant to reduce my food budget to something that's just utilitarian and not… about pleasure and entertainment. Then again: because it is so ingrained in my lifestyle, I'm comfortable pulling money for groceries from my overall weekly "me money" spending amounts.

    Will you do a recap of the things you're buying each month on this new budget, perhaps?
    My recent post twofer.

  10. Ban Clothing says:

    I think $100/month is doable. I think I spend between $150-300 a month for two people. One of the things I found is the easiest/cheapest is to buy a whole chicken and put it in the slow cooker. I then use the chicken in salads, fajitas, lasagna, crepes, etc. Then I make soup with the carcass filled with veggies and pasta. It is really surprising how far 1 chicken can go.
    My recent post Cost of Alterations- Part 1

    • gmbmfb says:

      I totally agree. I think I remember reading an article on SquawkFox about all of the meals you can make with a whole chicken. I've been thinking of getting a slow cooker for a while now. Maybe I'll do some research into it!

  11. Tea says:

    I don't think I would group a cell phone as a Want for many 20-somethings. Lots of us have a cell only and no landline, and having a telephone number is pretty important.

    I think $100/month isn't sustainable because you would run out of the capital expense items after while and need to restock on those (olive oil, spices).

    • gmbmfb says:

      In a true emergency, when you are forced to decide between paying your cell phone bill or putting food on the table, I would hope that you choose food.

      Agreed that $100/month isn't sustainable. That's why this month is a "fire drill" month – to make sure I am confident in my ability to live with less. Moving forward, I will continue my budget of $150-200/month for groceries.

      • Melissa says:

        In a true emergency, food and shelter are absolutely, unequivocally, the only things I wouldn't ditch in favour of my cell phone. I'd absolutely live on rice and beans and what have you, before cancelling my cell phone in the best of times, but especially during an emergency. I don't have a landline, so it's way more a matter of safety than it is a luxury. I'm with Tea. No way is my cell phone a "want."
        My recent post Recipe: Zucchini Fries

      • Kandi says:

        I have been living on a $106.00 grocery budget monthly for 3 yrs now i have fish, chicken, pork and fruits and vegetables in my diet i eat alot of veggie dinners but i had to do this out of necessity i eat very healthy i cook everything from scratch except bread and english muffins right now a carton of 18 eggs has been .75 cents score!!!! You can do alot with eggs

        • Kandi says:

          I live way out in the country so i do also have a small garden and i can all my foods we live where hurricanes can cause you to lose everything in your freezer so i started canning i will make large pots of main meals and can it nothing like having a jar of your own homemade chili in a flash. I have enough put up that if i had to i could get by on 25.00 a month😀

          • Kandi says:

            I started canning because we had almost 40 acres of blackberries i made jam, cobblers every nite and canned the berries whole i have blackberries in some form all year long. The local grocery has 40 pound boxes of chicken leg quarters on sale atleast every other month for $5.00 yes $5.00 for 40 pounds of chicken that chicken will feed a family for a good while no freezer can it i even can my homemade chicken stock

  12. Christine says:

    This exercise is great as a 20-something and also as a single person. I think a lot of people don't think about grocery budgets in their twenties until kids come along and then all of a sudden it's a panic because the "OH MY GOSH DIAPERS COST HOW MUCH?!"- reality kicks in and all of a sudden you can't just buy willy nilly at the grocery store. I feel like my time now (married, no-kids) is both about enjoying the no-kids life, where we have the time to make fancy dinners once in a while, and a time for practicing cooking and eating and living with less, in order to be ready for the future. Plus, it makes great blog fodder :)

  13. Robyn says:

    I like the idea of the $100 grocery challenge because it's fun just to see if you CAN do it.

    • Kandi says:

      You can do it on a $100 per month and eat well but u must cook from scratch and having a slow cooker is a must for me it will render the toughest meat tender and you can cook up for several nights get your sale papers and stay on top of your grocery sales i dont clip coupons i just shop smart

  14. Kelly says:

    Man people who leave mean comments are just annoying, I'll be honest. Anyway, point is- I think this is a great idea. Another reason why I would tend to cut food vs. cell/cable/internet is that at least in my area you can really get those services for less, you either have them or you don't, where as food you can actually get for less haha. Unless of course you are getting all the movie channels and have a huge data plan or something- maybe I just can't cut my own down any more than it is haha

    • Asif says:

      How old are you, Kelly?

      This is the big, bad world of the internet. People have differing opinions. If you put yourself out there online for everyone to see, you're guaranteed to get some comments that don't agree with what you're doing. Seriously, is this forum for anyone above the age of 25?

      • OnlyATeen:P says:

        Exactly. People have different opinions and if you put yourself online many people won’t agree. But many people will agree, so what is wrong with Kelly saying that she does agree and she finds the mean comments annoying. Come on. Like you said, she is just voicing a different opinion than yours. And that comment about this being for people over the age of 25, that’s immature. From the way you’ve phrased that, it seems to me that you are over 25. You’re calling them immature but the way you’re acting is immature. So what if Kelly agrees with the person who posted this and so what if the person who posted this is only spending $100 a month for groceries. It doesn’t affect you or your life in any way, unless you also live with that person. So why waste 5-10 minutes of your life dissing Kelly who probably posted that to give the person who wrote the original post some support. It’s so petty of you.

  15. Tristevietops says:

    I've read a few comments on your blog accusing you of making stupid $20 something decisions. They don't make any sense. When you read where you come from and what you've managed to do out of school its amazing. Being 28 and loaded with school debt (living and working in South Korea right now to try to get it manageable) you're an inspiration. I think that you make a great decisions and I take a lot from your blog when I think about personal finance. You may be a 20 something, but you're helping the rest of us 20 somethings out.

  16. munchkin says:

    I think $100 a month is totally doable for a single person. Maybe not realistic for the long term but for a one time experimental thing and in serious financial hardship it can be done. I know you can do it!

  17. unassembledsnowmen says:

    I admire your dedication to saving 50% of your income, something that i am struggling with right now, having just finished school and started working full time. A 100$/month grocery budget i think depends on where you live in this country. When i was living in victoria, and this challenge was on the table, i would of thought, sure no problem. i could wander down to the root cellar, get cheap produce and go nuts. Now, being in winnipeg, if i can keep my food budget under 250 i'm a happy camper. Being mostly vegetarian, the same amount of fruits and veggies, and my daily staples i bought in BC, costs almost double here! yes it is a bit cheaper in the farmer's markets, but all the crops are late, one can only deal with the same meal x times a week. I'm not willing to sacrifice my health, for a few dollars…

  18. I don't think there is anything wrong with a challenge every so often. I do the same sort of stuff on my blog, but as long as you know when to pump the brakes. I generally budget $150/month for groceries. $100 would mean fewer fresh foods. I think the obesity problem in America is largely due to all of the cans and bags of processed food we eat. And fresh food is often not cheap. I do agree with others who say, with good menu planning,it's possible. I can't wait to see the results!
    My recent post No more credit cards! Ok– one more.

  19. L says:

    $100/month in groceries is very doable! I’m in my 20’s and am able to stick to that as a food budget for myself (I usually spend $20-$30/week on groceries). I don’t feel deprived at all, and I am eating fresh fruits, vegetables, etc. Please bear in mind that this budget is a goal for myself, and not because I do not have the finances to spend more on food – it’s a personal choice and I do it because I know I can.

    I also live in a expensive city, so it’s not that food prices are cheaper (they’re not), but I menu plan every week based on what’s on sale. Some guidelines I follow:

    1) Buy non-processed food, avoid convenience food
    2) make meals based on what’s on sale
    3) stock up when certain essential items (e.g. rice, fruits, oatmeal) are on sale
    4) Portion control
    5) cook in bulk
    6) make things from scratch (or teach myself how to make things from scratch) – it’s so much cheaper, and I find it much more fulfilling. Youtube is my cooking tutor.

    I also don’t eat a lot of meat and have reduced my meat intake (personal choice – for health reasons), so that contributes to my decreased budget. But I do indulge and eat steak once in a while whenever I have cravings. I’ve also bought, cooked, and eaten lobster on a $100/month budget – I’m a pretty happy eater.

    Of course, if I host a dinner party at my place during any given month, I can’t keep within $100/month, unless I were to plan super meticulously.

    • Kandi says:

      Thats what i do i just couldn’t say it like u did. Planning meals and cooking from scratch is money saving and so much healthier i am 56 and i been living on a budget for 3 yrs now i am happy its not for everyone and thats fine. But i can tell you my eating healthier has reduced the amount of insulin i use i got my diabetes under control so it works for me

  20. Tom says:

    First of all, congrats on saving nearly 50% of your take-home pay! That's awesome. I think it's a great exercise and I'm looking forward to seeing how you do, but I can certainly see why some people question your food bill with your other expenses being so high. I fully understand your reasoning, however, and think it's a cool experiment. Good luck!
    My recent post Get Rich Slowly: Automate Your Finances

  21. BeachBoy says:

    I did comment on that other post. While I think your challenge is great, I still believe that spending $150 on tv/internet/phone is quite a lot (especially since it will be even more after the 6 month promotion.

    Good luck on your challenge, should be relatively easy. We budget about $200 per month, but some months are much higher while some are lower (I'Ve seen as low as $70 for a month)… depends on when the deals are, we tend to stock up a LOT when it's on sale.

    • gmbmfb says:

      Agreed, it is a lot. But I really don't see any other choice. I need to have a smart phone (with data plan) for my freelancing business. The same goes for high speed internet. As for television, I don't *need* to have it, but I do tend to spend a fair bit of time at home due to my work. So it's a "nice to have." And it fits into my budget without compromising any of my savings goals.

  22. Kay says:

    Go for it, girl! Prove 'em wrong! You can do it!! has great recipes that don't break the budget.

    I think I'll probably try a barebones grocery budget challenge for us (family of 3). Usually its around $400. I'm going to use up all our freezer stuff and aim for a $300 grocery budget in August. lets see how it goes.
    My recent post The end in sight…

    • gmbmfb says:

      Thanks for the support, and the recipe link! :D If you do decide to do a barebones grocery challenge, let me know how it goes! I'd be interested in seeing how you do with a family of 3. I suspect it'd be much harder when trying to feed/satisfy others.

  23. agata says:

    $100 is defintely not a lot -and I'm interested to see if you are able to do it. As a 'fire-drill' I think it's a good thing to do – but as you've mentioned above, it's not sustainable. I actually don't think $200 for one person a month is bad – my husband and I spend about $400 on food a month for the two of us, though we could potentially cut it down to $300 if we had to. I wouldn't mind doing a 'fire-drill' like this one time… maybe see if we could do it on $200 amonth for the both of us.
    My recent post happy dad’s day!

  24. Diedra B says:

    Currently for two people my husband and I spend about $270/month on groceries and eating out. I think we could cut it but not sure by how much. I think it's a solid exercise regardless of your age. But every time I try to reduce the grocery budget, I give up halfway. My behavior will have to change for me to see results.

    My recent post Relaxation: a how to

  25. Outliermodel says:

    We have been living on $200/month between two of us for over a year. I don't consider it a sacrifice, or a challenge but an opportunity not to waste food, eat healthy and cook almost all of our meals ourselves.

    We are very selective about what stores we shop at, where we get our produce and spend very little on processed foods. It has been great for my health, I lost just over 10lbs without changing any of my exercise habits (I was already in pretty good shape but ate a lot of sugar and snacks).

    I am not surprised that people think you're crazy, it's just a different mind set. I would be curious to hear why people think you can't live on $100/month for groceries, I'm not seeing a lot of concrete examples.

    @agata – could you provide some examples of how you spend your $400? Coming from $200 for two people, I can't imagine what we would spend the extra money on.

    My recent post Updates: Erm… most of the summer? Let’s call it July 3-9

  26. Jason says:

    I spend $30 max a week and buy mostly healthy groceries. I could survive off $15-20 easily but my cart would be filled with more canned/less healthy foods. $100 a month is doable, but I'll stick with $120 for now. Good luck to you.

  27. I think as long as you don't buy anything processed, and you employ batch cooking, $100 a month is doable. Chips, pop, cookies and other expensive processed foods can really add up. Though no dinner parties or barbeques at your place :(

    I can't believe that person said that it is such a "20-something" decision. Yeesh! You show'em! ;)
    My recent post Save or Invest for Short Term Goals?

    • gmbmfb says:

      No, no big dinner parties, but my place isn't big enough for that anyway. :) I'll have a friend or two over at a time and be able to feed them well. I made a huge pizza (enough for 4 huge portions) for about $5 total last week! haha

  28. mylovemovement says:

    100$/ month is doable, the boyfriend and I challenged ourselves to the same thing but 2 people when I was the breadwinner while he was looking for a job.

    I think its a reasonable challenge and I am surprised at the uproar honestly.

    • gmbmfb says:

      Yeah, I was a little surprised that people seemed to be against the experiment. I wonder if the ones questioning it are confident in their own abilities to get by with less if they have to.

  29. Asif says:

    If your budget for food is to be 1/3 less than your entertainment budget, I think you need to refocus your priorities. It is very telling that someone would spend more on being entertained than a culinary repetoire that includes a variety of healthy, quality foods.

    Considering the importance of diet and nutrition, spending more on your grocery to ensure a healthy quality of life reflects in my opinion a greater sense of maturity and priority than by entertainment costs (which are frivolous compared to eating great, healthy food daily).

    "However, my current $200/month is a luxury that I know I can afford to keep right now…""

    Luxury, as opposed to entertainment costs of 300 a month? Internet costs under 40 a month, phone on a plan under 50, and TV you don't need because what they show these days on cable is a waste of time.

    Apart from having a cellphone and perhaps internet, spending 300 dollars a month on entertainment as opposed to 100 a month on groceries (I spend more every two weeks: yes, I'd rather eat fish every two weeks, a wide assortment of fruits and vegetables, along with organic food if possible) instead of being "entertained" for 4k a year. Any entertainment comes in the form of getting together with friends or going out or doing non-financial activities like reading, jogging, etc.

    100$ a month simply cannot provide for a wide variety of wholesome, healthy foods when you consider that a bag of milk costs 5$ alone.

    • gmbmfb says:

      I really do hope that you read my post, and didn't go straight to making a comment. The reason why I am challenging myself to spend $100/month on groceries is BECAUSE my entertainment budget is so easy to eliminate. This is an emergency-type "fire drill" for me, not my regular monthly spending. I would also like to challenge you on your assumption that $100 will not buy healthy, quality food to feed one person for a month.

      My cell phone and internet bills are for business-related purposes, therefore and tax deductible because I am a freelancer. It's not for "entertainment." As for my cable bill, YOU might not value having cable, but as a freelancer, I do. I spend a lot of time at home working, and therefore do not have the time to go out as much as normal people. Therefore, I'm going to spend money on it and make sure that it fits within my budget.

      Oh, and it would be wonderful if you could point me in the direction of a cell phone company that will offer a voice and data plan with all taxes in for under $50 a month.

  30. Asif says:


    It perhaps depends on culture: I come from a background that values good food and cooking. The thought of paring groceries down simply wouldn't exist. I find it difficult to imagine spending only 100 a month on food. I don't eat that much daily and freeze a lot of my food but when I make it from scratch I use easily between 5-10 different ingredients.

    It depends on what your palate is used for, re: 100 a month. I buy organic when it's on sale, eat leans meats, chicken, etc and a lot of fruit. For example, if I buy veal scaloppini it costs around 6-8$ a package. There goes 10% (incl. tax) of 100 dollars already. A decent bottle of wine that lasts two weeks is going to cost 15$. It definitely depends on what you enjoy eating, but if I include wine, and I do, then 100% doesn't cut it. Of course everything is relative and depends on one's lifestyle and eating choices.

    Not sure where you live but I'm on Fido. I get citywide unlimited incoming and outgoing calls, unlimited texts international all for 40$ a month.

    So far I've made around 600 minutes of calling this month and my usage tracker points to $0 increase in fees. I send roughly 3k in texts a month including overseas. My internet costs don't go above 50$ a month, for which I get unlimited bandwidth and a dedicated 6mbit connection. Cable I don't pay for simply because I busy with other things. I download movies or shows or watch Netflix on my tv for 8$ a month as well.

    • gmbmfb says:

      The point of the $100 budget was for an emergency situation. Would you still be buying wine and meats if you only had that much to spend? How would you shop if you only had that much available to you? The reality is there are many people out there who have less than that to spend each month. And if we were ever put in that sort of situation, it's nice knowing that you've already gone through it and know what to do.

      As for the cell phone, I need data to communicate with my clients, and write/post articles when I'm on the go. The citywide plan doesn't work for me because I'm often outside of my "city" calling area.

  31. Asif says:

    I'm pretty sure I'd have that money to spend considering I don't travel. Traveling is one of the single biggest expenses that, in my opinion, don't have that much of an ROI, unless it is work-related.

    "How would you shop if you only had that much available to you? " Good question. I asked the same when I read about your cruises, dropping 500 on clothing, etc. The context is difficult to understand considering what I read on your posts.

    I'm curious: I know nothing about you except from what I read. I've seen that you go on cruises, you travel a lot (I'm sure this is covered by perhaps work), you spend a lot on shopping (read the post about the $500 on clothing, etc), etc. Unless that is all somehow covered by work, how is it that that you manage to save money etc but afford the rest? In answer to your question about "not having that much available to me", that type of money on clothing would instead go towards eating well, for example.

    • gmbmfb says:

      But what if you didn't have the money? You think it couldn't happen to you, and then it does. So what will you do?

      I am on a shopping ban for 2012, aside from the $500 in clothing I spent while in NYC. The rest of the year, I spend $0. Most of my travel is covered by work, but I do travel for pleasure because it's important to me. It's what I value, and I work hard to be able to afford what I love to do, and still save nearly half of my net income. It's about balance to me. I have a small enough mortgage, and I minimize the living expenses I deem to be less important, so I can afford to do what is important. If I had to sacrifice my savings goals just for the sake of traveling, or buying clothing, or having cable TV, I wouldn't do it. But because I choose to keep my living expenses low, I can.

      Please see my next post tomorrow. I will be showing a photo of a recent grocery trip where you can see I eat healthy foods. My goal with this challenge is to prove that, even with a reduced food budget, you can eat healthy, nutritious food.

  32. Asif says:


    If I didn't have the money? I always budget for essentials. Unless I lose my job and have to move in with friends, I save around 45% of my net salary into a TFSA and RRSP. I pay into Long Term Disability as well in case that were to be an issue. I ensure money is placed into my TFSA first before paying off credit cards. I also work part-time weekends which goes into a reserve fund. 'm not foolish to think it couldn't happen to me. What would I do? I'm fortunate enough that my job is pretty secure. Even in the event that I lose it, I would survive I'm pretty sure due to experience. I left home after university (didn't stay and worked like most people do), found a job while living with a friend, paid for expenses and saved to go back to school, all making 16$ an hour. Going through the experience of having zero and then building up, all under making 22k a year and renting a room has a way of ingraining financial lessons that serve you later on.

    Did you post anything on your mortgage situation? I'm curious to see how much your mortgage costs along with the dp. I'm saving for one myself, including avoiding the mortgage insurance for a mortgage of roughly around 350k. My dp is in the range of 70k.

    Ok, I look forward to reading your post tomorrow.

  33. Asif says:

    Just read your other posts:

    "Breakfast usually consists of toast with Nutella, and a piece of fruit."

    That might explain the $150 a month grocery bill for sure. Your financial independence, again, is commendable, but that breakfast….

    • gmbmfb says:

      What's wrong with that breakfast? I like it! By the time I'm ready to leave for my day job at 8am, I've already gotten in a 7.5km run, and worked for an hour. I don't have time to make anything else.

    • Friend says:

      Is there a reason why you feel the need to troll through someone's blog and talk down to them? Do you have too much time on your hands perhaps?

  34. Asif says:


    Get a grip. Google "trolling". Far from asking questions. Invest in some bubble wrap if this hurts your feelings…

    • Friend says:

      LOL! Yep I think I'm right, but I think I might add on to the part about having too much time on your hands. I'd have to also say that you must like attention to be so condescending.

      Also, your response to what Krystal eats for breakfast was NOT a question. It was in fact quite rude.

      No one who reads this blog likes people like you so go away.

      • Anonymous says:

        Asif seems to actually be more concerned with one-up-man ship and impressing us with how cultured they are rather than actually making valid points. And trust me, $16 an hour is not bottom. Ask me what I come from. Ask me what working 80 plus hours a week every week is like. I’ve got most of my schooling finished for now and I have absolutely no debt , so yes I was talking classes while working those hours. I’m at an engineering firm now making considerably more than before for about half the hours. I don’t spend money on frilly things like wine and organic produce. Back when I was in school and working those hours I was spending $120 a month on food, only because I ate out a lot, and only because of the obvious time constraints, yes, I’m aware 80 hours only accounts for half the week, add another 16 a week for classes, and another 14 for travel, working on getting an apartment to move closer, but I’m still traveling 80 miles a day to and from. If your wondering that leaves the prescribed 56 hours for sleep and 2 for whatever, except there’s this magical thing called homework. I’ve crawled out of the financial hole I was born into. So, if you want to talk about your achievements, and about how rough you’ve had it and how well you’ve done for yourself, if you feel like that gives you the right to be a condescending ass. Remember, this is the internet. And it’s populated with people who have it a lot worse than you. A lot worse than me.

        Krystal, sorry to have left such an inflammatory comment. You were all being too nice to this person. Feel free to delete if you find it offensive. Just know that I find your efforts and reasons for the $100 grocery budget to be commendable.

        • Anonymous says:

          Not that there’s anything wrong with organic food by the way, it’s just considerably more expensive where I live.

  35. Sheila K says:

    I think $100 is totally doable for a single person. In February I did weekly meal plans and saved about $70 for the month. That may not sound like much, but I'm buying for a family of three. We spend about $300 to $400 on groceries per month and I was not specifically trying to save money by meal planning. If I had been, I'm sure I could have saved even more. Meal planning in and of itself will help you save. One blogger who does it says it cut her grocery budget almost in half:
    Make sure to check your pantry and freezer before shopping and base your week's meals on what you already have. It all helps save money.

  36. lefawn says:

    I'm also suprised by the "controversy" your post about challenging yourself to eat under $100 a month has generated.

    My husband and I (btw, i'm 32 and he's 45 so definitely not a "20 something decision") do something like this twice a year. In August we do a "Clear the Larder" challenge — the goal is to primarily live off the food in our pantry, freezer, and garden for the entire month. We can only go to the store for milk, eggs, and maybe, if we're desperate or really need something "different", juice or some other type of dairy. We're both foodies who regularly drink beer and/or wine with dinner but, once our stock pile goes, there's no refilling. We do this for several reasons:
    1) to clean out the freezer/fridge before the hard hurricane season (I live in the Southern US)
    2) save up some extra money (above and beyond our savings) for a) the tax-free Labor Day weekend so we can buy extra stuff for our house/on-going home improvement projects (last year we bought a generator, new fridge, and some much needed bath fixture/upgrades and this year we're buying new open-stock kitchen cabinets and countertops) and b) have a little extra money when insurance/flood insurance/etc is due (we budget a 10% increase every year but it still floors me every.single.year!)
    3) just to see if we can do it and what kind of interesting recipes and menus we can come up with.
    Last year our total grocery spending for the month of August was $32.46.

    We do another challenge in January. We have a $150 budget and a no-meat goal (we allow fish and dairy byproducts). This time our goal is to
    1) recenter ourselves after our holidays of feasting/spending/traveling/not-exercising and bring ourselves back to 'normal'
    2) save a little money as we move into tax season.

    We usually either succeed or come within %10 of our goal. It's always a fun challenge and helps us to "refresh" ourselves — both economically and spiritually, mentally, creatively, and calorically. I think this is a good all-around challenge for anybody. You never know when you'll have to slash your budget in half or live off the shelf-stable goods in your pantry for a week when the power is out due to a blizzard (or, in my neck of the woods, a hurricane or tornado).

    Also, as a side note about the whole "you can't eat fresh and/or healthy on the cheap" arguments…
    You TOTALLY can!
    The biggest change is that you have to eat seasonally. No tomatoes in January. No citrus fruit in July. You go by what the season dictates. When we rely on the farmer's markets, and even the grocery store produce sections sales, for our food we end up saving a lot of money over buying $4 tomatoes.

  37. Tasmanian Minimalist says:

    I take my hat off to you. You can do and should try anything you want. It doesn't sound like any age related type idea, it sounds like a decision and endeavour that is relevant and meaningful to you. Hope no-one was mean to you with ageist remarks. I wish you all the best and if you find any cheap easy recipes, feel free to share..I wish you all the best X
    My recent post Seeing Things Differently..

  38. Corinne says:

    100 even 200 per month is not at all realistic. you are not taking into account the real costs of food. The real costs include environmental costs. The food you are eating is harming the environment and is dependent on deplorable treatment of animals. You can afford to buy organic and free range food. Why not see how much it would cost to eat per month in a sustainable way?

    • Krystal Yee says:

      I think that if you're willing to spend the money to buy organic/free range food, that's your personal choice. I would rather buy from local farmer's markets and keep my costs down, than to pay perhaps double the price by buying organic.

      • Angela Sim says:

        What do you usually buy at the farmer's market? I've gone twice this summer, and the prices are expensive.

        • Krystal Yee says:

          Usually fresh fruit. I find that it's hit or miss when it comes to farmer's markets. Sometimes fruit grown locally is way cheaper than in grocery stores. Most of the time I stick to the Asian produce stores though for the best prices. And the quality there is usually way better than in the chain grocery stores anyway.

  39. Emily-Rose says:

    I once went to a presentation in University where students on social assistance (which in Ontario, and how they were explaining it, was not much) were explaining how they survive on something around 300 a month for everything including rent. The girls there can only budget $50 a month for groceries. $50 a month!! Considering this post talks about an emergency situation of $100 a month, imagine what $50 a month for food would feel like. Realistic or not, there are people in our country that are able to survive on budgets that would make us cry. I think its commendable that you are taking on this challenge, as a way to prepare if this type of situation were to happen to you, god forbid. Maybe this post will encourage others to do the same.
    I love your posts, keep on writing!

  40. MANDY says:


  41. angelab says:

    The other day a patient, a single mother with a 10 year old and a 2 year old, told me that she has $100 monthly for groceries. We were discussing the best food for herself and her children and I'm afraid I didn't have anything to offer (I spend a heck of a lot more than that on groceries and eating out). Our clinic is in a rural area and The nearest grocery store is 40 miles away. I'm going to experiment for the next month or so to be able to give my patients who have seriously limited budgets. I know I could use some better control over my food budget as well.

  42. Saw this mentioned on FB in the City. My budget has been $200/month for many years–first for a family of 4 and now for two. We eat very well. We don't use convenience foods. It's more about smart shopping than anything else, I think.
    My recent post Why Aren't You Frugal Anymore?

  43. jeff says:

    you’re a moron. who the hell cares? nobody cares what you do. just go be boring without telling everyone about it

  44. so… what the hell happened? did you end up making it!? :D what did your food budget consist of? I am also a 20-something guy about to go out on his own O:

  45. Cecilia R. says:

    It’s completely possibly for one person to live off of $100 for food. When I studied at university I lived off of $60 a month. You just change your diet a bit. I went mostly vegetarian and had cuts of meat to be a treat.

    Also it’s totally possibly for a family of 6 to be able to live off of $160 worth of groceries a month too. Again it’s about diet and self control.

    Go and do it! I believe in ya!

  46. Marcus says:

    It is quite possible, and very realistic, you just have to know how and where to go to get good deals. Coupons are a plus. As for myself, I am 20, work a 8-5 job (1hr lunch), on a salary of 37k/yr, but for my groceries I have only ever spent $75/mth. just for me. Healthy food to. It is a matter of getting rid of those extras and only getting what is truly neccessary to survive. No chips, no cookies icecream ordering pizza etc. Food should not be a pleasure, there are other entertainments that you can do.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      I totally agree. You have to be willing to make some sacrifices if you want to drop your grocery budget. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a good feeling knowing that you could survive on less if you really had to.

  47. Sandy says:

    Just found your blog and commend you on what you’re doing. My husband and I try our hardest to live on 100/month grocery budget. We are in a position right out of college our budget is so tight we really don’t have room to spend more, so it does affect our food allowance, but it doesn’t hurt at all.

    I have a knack for finding awesome deals at the grocery stores on meats, vegetables, and fruits. I shop during certain time of the month when meats are reduced for quick sale. I’ve packs of fresh wings, steaks, roasts, chicken for as low as 1.50-2.50 a pack b/c the grocers need to get rid of them that day. I even come across the organic meats on sale and that is a treat. You don’t have to compromise for the frozen meats with additives with Lord only knows whats it them.

    It is possible to eat well on 100/month

  48. Marion says:

    Ive do it for 5 years and have a year supply of food on stash. Bulk grains. Garden and bulk buying

  49. hello says:

    Silly question, are you married, involved ( responsibility wise) and have you pass all requirements of who wants what – I mean single person is fine what you claim even , single person with double expectations as your hb is away; now I am trying to construct you question per specifics and think otherwise, how much you spend on this effort of yours and where you are going to put yourselves when you get married, and /or involved and your children have taste of personality with this thinking type…. you may need 3 different meals over style, would you deprive your child on FOOD BUDGET SAVINGS – I would not – I am France- Thai, my hb is Thai what I decide, not American middle country cooking, my parents are eu bg, no french, my child is fast food – no one can tolerate the reminder …. to mix all that is a nightmare and your work full time right? Can you cook ,have you try to cook, do you know is if you switch a few people to any other substitute of frozen capabilities of the market , just since you cooked prior them not to complaint after you stop cooking…. taught question involved more stomach? Also, your question if you do not have a choice, you have the money, do you have finance background to make decision how much this savings of yours may cost you thinking wise just in a few years? Not expected reasons are usually covered by financial planning and structuring – the rule of tumb is DO NOT DEPRIVE ON FOOD, WILL COST YOU MEDS….. what is your experiment wise, better spirit and body , or better enlightenment of your enthusiasm energy wise at work , you said 500$ clothes – are you staying thin-:)? You are talking 20s, why do not concentrate on something positive…like cooking skills, you have time now and the money, after you get responsibilities you may try to cut off other things not entertainment will come to your needs- you may end up sitting at home and being grateful you are at home; I disagree 300$ cables over 100$ make sense ; have you make research of quality of products ? This Asian markets, do you really evaluate what they do and what they have …is not all about a price. My family love only 1 souse for ham backing with ribs – 1 store had it in the past- is called Plump something… have you being in that situation if the store is over – it does cost 3.25$ so if they do not have it to know where to find it – the art is not to deprive and be able to manage that….. no one lives on experiments; can tell you now , of you savings the way you approach , 100$ matters if you are in dependency of such- we all manage this , seems though your tires change of 100$ may not cover it of the way you save it, if you have good insurances and all, I believe you do not need to deprive for food; finally do you know what is a good family dinner with good wine, and make everybody happy , if you are awaiting these holidays all year and travel for that- I guess your mom knows, so better check with her; in that regard we are mature society, which means we should not be having standards rather capabilities right? For your cell phone bills, I know I changed 3 times providers over 13 years service provider cheaper – all experiments cost me a lot of more money some how, so I am T Mobile and happy without any expectations for changes. The balance is to know how to keep your bill under control without any changes over years and make sure you do not have extra fees. Entertainment, America has a lot of good places ,friends and all may work fine, not airplane – take the Amtrak, drive , the experience is much better …. go to restaurants which you get something + time and food like food experience- if you make time for this research – you need live …. I understand your desire to save, you save after point you are not deprived ….unless you stay without any growth for 10 years and keep the same salaries….in re to other people, are you going to give your savings away to other people and help them , are you going to donate your savings, etc ? Finally travel abroad you mean, have you check a package to spend 1 week in Vermont v/s 1 week in EU -check it out – you will go to EU for certainty ….. in Asia you may end up cheap in comparison to EU…… so at the end of the day, I do not understand your question really, does not make sense, neither see any purposes in such re:..sorry! I know I am on hunger and without the cheese, I am derived to function… so I would never experiment of food- being there on 63$ for 2 weeks all to cover – cost my stomach after few months for 13 years now till now, so I would not experiment. Cancer is terrible reading one comment, sympathetic of that really emotionally has been there …100$ however, I have no imagination what may be to live under cancer, but I appraise real situation only that circumstances of need, in re to your question AS NO CHOICE OTHERWISE , simply there is no other choice – so admiration to that person, right? Are you willing to help this lady with your savings of such concern …… people does this all the time! I know I am out of 100 K an year sorry, to be able to afford my house with my hb next year and me being sick ,keeping current one – I simply sit in front of my TV 35 being 3 years ago in full capabilities having it all – have not seen our child for 2 years due to my not pretty sick conditions, and I do not want him ever to know that mom lost 100K an year, since is not his business…. sucks by the way as capabilities. I could not afford to go home this year, I know I turned my bills off but I went in EU to see him as promised 2 years ago- do you know what is that for your 100$ budget and how much this cost to manage that….. and difference your 100$ makes? Otherwise, we all live what we got and make own decisions. I can tell you also, that nuts for 2.5$ both me and my hb we had an absurd good family time silly way vacation type by the way …both of us were making more then average. Your questions is not easy answer, research cannot be made with conclusion at all….. as all facts and circumstances are different! Do you earn because you have spending to cover to make backward thinking of spending? Do you have a choice not to work?

  50. noelle says:

    I dont know why all this fuss about $100 a month meal cost.. Ive been totally comfortable with that for so many months or even years. Well, of course the expenses of having dinner with friends out are exception. and i am single, living by myself, and not much of meat lover.. anyway, as long as you are not craving for the finest stuffs, 100 dollars a month for food is quite doable.

  51. Pat says:

    I took a challenge from my roommate to live on $50 a month haha. I’m going to see what I can pull off. I figured rice, beans, sweet potatoes, various veges, homemade hummus, and whole chickens could probably do it. Wish me luck! I’ll be eating a lot of sweet potato gnocchi…mmmmm.

  52. Courtney says:

    I see this is an old blog, but I just found it :) I think $100 a month is totally doable for a single person. I regularly spend $80 (or less!!) a month on groceries for just myself and I eat meat with every dinner and a lot of days at lunch. I eat fresh veggies, too. All of this by couponing – the only things I spent more than $1 on are meat and produce. Usually dairy is my next biggest spending category and things like pasta, rice, snacks, drinks, other sides are free or very, very cheap.

    Because I am a single person, I do tend to cook about 2 dinner meals a week with enough portions for the week. I do cook rather simply, but I’m not the type to get bored with my meals.

    When I was buying for 2, I managed to keep my budget at $80 a month also (with a few months at $100, never under $80 then). Had a much bigger freezer to stock up with and this included all of my meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks) and 1/2 to 3/4 of his meals (he traveled a lot for work).

    The keys are: trying new things (when on sale and there is a coupon and it’s not something “unnecessary”), buying things you may not need (to donate) when they are free or make you grocery (catalina) dollars off your next order, not being brand specific, shopping manager’s specials (expiring things like meat that can be frozen or used immediately), and using couponing websites for your local area. I’ve made $20+ at a time to spend on meat and produce by doing things like buying gas cards or MC/Visa Gift cards (which have a small activation fee compared to the grocery dollars they will give you back), which I would spend anyway on gas or other monthly purchases.

    I save 45-ish% of my net income (after heathcare & taxes) each month, well actually I put it towards student loans (I’m in my 30s). But I do have a hard time balancing my entertainment budget with my savings goals because I do want to “have a life” :) I live on Long Island in NY.

    I coupon because I actually really enjoy the challenge & game it is to me, but I love the savings also!

    This doesn’t include eating out (included in my entertainment, rarely used for food unless there’s a groupon) or drugstore-type items (current budget is $10 a month because I’m well-stocked).

  53. Anonymous says:

    ok here what ido sprouting more bang for yout buck health wise . ground turkey ilike the butter ball the best the lower fat one it blends with any thing and ipefer it over red meat now look arough for the deals tho it varies widely on prices . limit your protein most people over load on itany way ilove brown rice and pasta as well and yes i splurge some times bogo deals on a resturant and ido take home the other meal most feed 2 any way and leave a proper tip.

  54. M0len'z says:

    I think it’s totally doable. And like you said, it’s a drill – for emergency situation, which i think is important.

  55. Cory says:

    My wife and I set up a budget every month for ALL of our expenses (not sure how common that is any more) and we track every dollar we spend. In that budget is included a modest allowance for each of us as well as a “fun money” allowance for us to spend on doing things together (go to movie, out to dinner, etc). We typically eat out no more than once per month (when I say “eat out” i mean ANY food not prepared at home). We have been on the same budget for well over a year now. Our “grocery” budget includes ALL of our normal household supplies (toilet paper, cleaning supplies, clorox wipes, paper towels, air fresheners etc). It also includes litter, supplies and food for our three cats. We have no children, so it is just the two of us. Our monthly budget for all of this is $300/month, and we can usually come under budget by about $50.

    Part of the benefit of setting a budget for groceries is it really makes you THINK before you buy things. We have eliminated a lot of ‘junk’ food from our diet, and instead focus on finding good deals on fruits and vegetables. Although veggies can be expensive, their nutritional value and ability to fill you up can more than offset the costs of buying a lot of meat. We DO buy meat, but usually wait until there is a good sale. We have also learned to cut down the meat portions, and portions in general, which prevents a lot of wasted left-overs (we do save left-overs, but sometimes they have a tendency to end up in the back of the fridge forgotten!)

    We can afford to spend more on groceries, but we have become very aggressive on all aspects of our budget. This has afforded us some great things…

    1) Like many previous posters, we have PAID OFF ALL DEBT with the exception of our mortgage.

    2) Paying for my wife to attend university courses in the evening to acquire another degree (no student loans!!)

    3) Allows us to put a lot of money into retirement and savings at the end of each month and to save for life’s uncertainties. We are still fairly young and have a great start toward our retirement years

    4) Specifically the grocery part has IMPROVED OUR OVERALL DIET

    5) The budget has made us THINK BEFORE WE BUY, which means less waste and fewer trips to goodwill to offload unneeded junk from our house

    6) We are UNITED in a common goal that will benefit us through our entire lives

    7) We VALUE the important and simple things in life more and don’t get caught up in material possessions or trying to impress our neighbors/friends with material items.

    I have one thought to leave you with…

    ANYONE can get by on $100 for ONE month (some would probably even spend $500 the month prior to make sure they are fully stocked prior to starting the experiment!!). The real challenge will be to see if you can sustain on it over time. I honestly believe that my wife and I could, as we haven’t felt very strained getting by on $150/person for over a year. During that time we never exceeded our grocery budget… and we’re fairly picky about the food we buy (prefer certain brands etc) It takes a little effort to watch for good sales and you have to make compromises, but its doable. ITS A MINDSET that one must be WILLING and MOTIVATED to get into. If you can achieve the mental will, you will succeed.

    BEST OF LUCK! :-)

  56. For a single person, I think that’s completely possible. I stumbled upon your blog post as I’m creating my personal budget and wanted to get an estimate of a single vegetarian’s budget. I’ve gone away from processed and frozen foods, and I’ve realized how much that has decreased the amount I spend monthly. Buying in bulk for grains as opposed to buying cans/boxes is a huge saving in itself.
    I don’t think a $100/month grocery budget is sacrificing – I’ve done it before, and have realized the importance (health benefits) of cooking from scratch : )
    I can’t believe you received so much criticism for this!!!

  57. I think this is a fantastic idea!

    I’m a young single mother and currently working my butt off to get off of government assistance. Food budget is going to play a huge role in that. Currently, the government gives me $350/month to spend on food for 2 people. I am INCREDIBLY grateful for that, and I know there are many people getting by on far less. I do actually intend to cut down my spending now, while I still have the “wiggle room” if I fail. I don’t think $100/month is doable for me with a two year old boy who eats everything in site, plus I’m gluten-intolerant so some of what I have to buy is a little more expensive, but I think if I train myself to shop right and get more creative, I could at least cut my spending in half!

    Thank you for your blog. I found you a little over a week ago, and I can’t pull myself away. You’ve been so helpful to me as I’ve really started getting serious about getting out of debt and getting my life back on track.

  58. Rebecca says:

    $100 a month is completely doable. I do it every month! I cook from scratch, use coupons and it’s just me. I also don’t buy meat (minus the occasional fish, shrimp) as I’m a pescatarian and that helps. I spend around $25 a week in groceries and stock up on things when they’re on sale. Last month I hit $102 for groceries during the month and the month before I was only at $85! I

    t’s amazing how much cheaper it is when you cook from scratch. I make a vegetarian chili that costs $2.50 and will last me several meals before I freeze the remaining. I did do a test last week to see how much I spent a day in food. It averaged around $3-4 and my more expensive days were when I had a yogurt or granola bar which cost more since I get Chobani and I love Luna/Clif bars.

  59. Kat says:

    Could you possibly put up a list of foods that any of you buy to sustain this budget? I’m moving into my first apartment on August 3rd and I’m really hoping to be extremely independent/ “grown up” about my finances from here on. I would very much appreciate any grocery lists/snack ideas that any of you have. :)

  60. Kayla says:

    Not only do I think it’s do-able, I do it myself most months! Sometimes I’m over, but I know it’s because of eating out or luxury food items. I’ve lived on less than $100 in groceries before. You just need to know what staple foods can be healthy and cheap (pasta, rice, anyone?) and buy plenty of produce over other pre-packaged foods. Buy what’s in season and on sale as well, and that’s a great way to save. Also, coupons of course help!

  61. Jennifer says:

    Great idea! My goal at the moment is to not do any grocery shopping for the next month. I have so much in my pantry and freezer, items that I bought on sale, and they need to be used up! They won’t have saved me any money if I never use them. So lots of soups for the next month and some interesting meals for sure :).

  62. Anonymous says:

    My fiance and I spend $250/month on groceries and we eat really well. Filling and delicious home cooked meals with fresh products. This doesn’t include going out for food – that comes out of our entertainment budget. $100/month on food isn’t that difficult as long as you make a list and choose wisely — look for sales and couples if you can! As a fellow 20-something (I’m 28 next week) I actually find it quite insulting someone would comment “Sounds like a 20 something decision…”. How rude! Clearly s/he needs to read more of your blog to see that this is possible.

  63. Anonymous says:

    I have 80$ you think i can live on that for a month ??

  64. chantal says:

    I spend 350 a month on groceries, cat food and cleaners. This is for myself, husband and 18 year old daughter. We buy most of are food on sale. We eat very well. With the price of groceries going up all the time you really have to watch the sales.

  65. Living on a total monthly income of $500 { PWD recipient} with dietary costs not covered and food ridiculously expensive unless I shop at Quest where the food is 3-4 years past expiry, feeding myself on $30 dollars a month is the best I can do. That is one meal, every couple of days. I’m sure I would feel much better buying $100 a month, but it just can’t be done with all the other costs that disabled people have.

  66. Jess says:

    I was living off 20 bucks per week for groceries per week while I was in college this year. Pretty much meant one meal per day and a few small snacks. Diet consisted of:

    Macaroni (spirals, no cheese, could not afford)
    Spaghetti with sauce (all processed)
    Cheemo perogies
    Carnations instant breakfast mix (because, well. The stuff I was eating wasn’t really healthy)
    Instant noodles (got sick of these fast, stopped buying them after a month)
    Instant mashed potatoes.

    That’s it. Once in a while I could afford some kind of processed mystery meat like substance but not very often. I tried the healthy diet, salads and stuff but they were extremely expensive and wouldn’t feed me the whole week. Might have been because it was winter but 8 bucks for a head of lettuce seems a little much.

  67. Arella says:

    My sis can feed three people on 100 a month using beans, stews, and other mass meals that can be served more than one day.

  68. Dayspring says:

    $100 per month groceries is what I do. I am a college student in Toronto practically on my own in a foreign land. And I eat mainly African food from stores, which is a little more expensive than local food. My secret is that I have a bargain with the freezer….I cook once a day or once in two days, and freeze as much as possible. I eat only twice a day because of hectic school schedule. I am not vegetarian, I eat a lot of fish and meat. But I usually buy the cheapest on sale. I eat fresh fruits and vegetables once in a while, especially if I have a fee dollars left at the end of the month from my budget. $100 a month for me is not only doable, it’s the only luxury I know.
    I keel a strict budget every month, there’s a perpetually open excel worksheet on my laptop where I record every cent spent. My accommodation comes at a flat rate of $450 inclusive of utilities and Internet, so I don’t pay for those. I made the mistake of getting a cellphone on contract with Bell, paying $56.50 monthly. Just calls without Internet. Between Internet access at school, in the library and at home, I’m pretty well covered. My TTC post secondary monthly pass is $112. Other personal items, laundry, disposables and miscellaneous items come to another $50. I leave $50 -$100 monthly for clothing items. I cannot afford to eat out. I watch movies online, or borrow from the library.
    I know it’s for the time but I’m pretty ok with things now.
    So, $100 for groceries per month is just what some of us can do…..

Leave a Reply to Krystal Yee

Buy the Book!

A beginner's guide for Canadians looking to get their financial life in order. Get great info on budgeting and saving, RRSP's and pensions, investing types, insurance, and where to go for additional resources.

Recent Tweets

  • Just put the deposit down on our wedding caterer. Worth it for sure but damn.
  • Has anyone been to Mongolia before? Looking for recommendations on private tours & must sees. Thinking of 8-10 days.
  • Budgeted $1,600 for our wedding rings, but over the weekend we went to a jeweler in my hometown who said he could make them for $550. Score!


  • Lazy Saturday afternoon catlife
  • Sun Nin Fai Lok! Happy New Year! Gung Hey Fathellip
  • A little late to the party but my old landlordhellip
  • Shopping for a new lighting fixture for our dining roomhellip
  • Finally got to try eatsuperbaba and it was amazing Sohellip
  • Butternut squash coconut curry! Enough for dinner tonight and lunchhellip
  • RDs parents are in town for the weekend so wehellip
  • Tired cutie! meow

© 2018. Give Me Back My Five Bucks. All rights reserved. Powered by WordPress & Designed by Mike Smith