Grocery challenge: The end!

Darlings. Please, I love you all. But for the last time, THIS IS WHAT FOOD COSTS! I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. See last post and the numbers in the Otago uni study. One commenter wondered on my last post if melons were out of season; no, it’s summer here, they don’t get much more seasonal than that. Trust me when I say I don’t buy produce out of season, and that we really do spend as little as humanly possible on groceries – although we do sometimes buy too many snacks. From what I can tell from your blogs, we pay more relatively for EVERYTHING than you guys do in North America and elsewhere – on fruit, on vegetables, on flour and sugar, meat, dairy, toilet paper.

And with that, I bring you the final week of February’s grocery challenge. Amazingly, we came in at $89.95 (I also made an emergency stop for flour mid-week.) Why so low? Well, we already had quite a few staples at home. But mainly, I think it’s because – stupidly – I kind of forgot about lunches. T hasn’t been eating much at work, so we decided not to plan for his lunches. Consequently, I neglected to think about my own, so I guess it’s peanut butter or egg sandwiches all week. Also, it’s a shorter week than usual, as we’re off to Wellington for four days.

And that means we’re $25 under our $500 target for February. Amazing! Three cheers for short months.

(Apologies for crappy photos. I’m a bit short on time at the moment)

I’ve got heaps of great posts starred in Google Reader to share, but I don’t know when I’ll get time to do a link roundup. I’m halfway through a 9-day stretch of work, with no breaks, thanks to the earthquake. Busy busy busy!

13 thoughts on “Grocery challenge: The end!

  • Reply Daisy February 27, 2011 at 11:50

    Your reciepts look similar to what we’d pay here in Canada, but I also live in Canadas most expensive city, so maybe that’s why.
    In the US, everything is pretty much cheaper. I wish I could go across the border to grocery shop!

  • Reply fabulouslyfrugirl February 27, 2011 at 12:02

    Congrats on finishing your challenge under budget! 🙂

    I am pretty lucky where I live to have relatively cheap groceries.

  • Reply Sarah February 27, 2011 at 12:13

    Ditto to Daisy’s comments – I’m in one of the more expensive Canadian cities, too. Given the exchange rate, we’re on par with you for groceries. Sucks, eh? The Canucks feel your pain! Looks like you’re doing well though for feeding two people (and one who loves meat, at that). Congrats on keeping under budget :)!

  • Reply FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com February 27, 2011 at 12:57

    The receipts look very similar to what I would pay in downtown Montreal if I didn’t shop around to ethnic shops or cheaper areas.

    Like bananas at $0.79 is what I’d pay if I didn’t know how to get them for $0.69/lb.

    That said, melons don’t cost that much here. Although I saw strawberries in a pint for $4 CAD the other day. <—EEEEEP!!!

    And tomatoes at a whopping $6.99 a POUND. That's $14 per KG (give or take). I didn't take any, of course.

    Green onions at $1.20 per small BUNCH. Enough for a full palmful, when chopped.

    The U.S. DEFINITELY has cheaper food costs than Canada by 20% – 30% and of higher quality which makes me jealous.

    Never mind. Your prices are close to ours then.

  • Reply First Gen Ameircan February 28, 2011 at 01:38

    I just hosted a party, so my food spend this month will be higher than usual. At least I have lots of leftovers and beer that will last me at least a month. Pot lucks are great but I still end up spending more than I should because I love cooking.

    Congrats on exceeding your goal. Fuel’s on a rise and since you live in a country that has to import just about everything, I’m sure you’ll be worse off than a lot of us in other places. The plus side is that you live in one of the most beautiful countries on earth, so that’s something a lot of us would trade for cheaper food.

  • Reply Emily Jane February 28, 2011 at 05:39


  • Reply Serenity February 28, 2011 at 06:08

    HAHA! That reminds me of the conversations I tried to have with my parents when I moved out of the countryside and into a larger city. “Yes, food and gas is more expensive here” “How’s that?” Ugh … sometimes people don’t get it.

    By the way, it’s winter here, and I would just about kill for a good, fresh tomato that didn’t cost a fortune 🙁

  • Reply Fig February 28, 2011 at 10:20

    Great job!!

    People outside of NZ do NOT understand what food costs here. I’ve given up talking about it to anyone besides people living in the country. They just don’t get it.

    You do pay more for everything. In America things are way cheaper which is why some people spend 150 a month on food and that’s what we spend in a week. Oh well.

  • Reply Well Heeled Blog February 28, 2011 at 15:05

    It’s amazing how differently priced foods can be – when I was in New York I was *shocked* at how much produce cost. An avocado was $4, whereas where I lived in CA you can get a pack of 4 for that price. So while I’ve never been to NZ, I completely believe you when you say it can get expensive!

  • Reply Alotta Lettuce March 1, 2011 at 05:53

    Girl! No need to justify or explain away the price of food down under! I think it’s important for all of us to keep in mind the fact that the NZ dollar and the US dollar are not the same thing! Your $500 budget is roughly $375 in American terms, and $366 in Canadian. PLUS, in America, we benefit tremendously from massive agricultural subsidies, which keep the price of food artificially low – particularly processed food and sundries. Not sure if any such thing exists in NZ. And finally, with NZ being an island nation such as it is, and a relatively isolated one at that, it’s important to consider the cost of importing foods that are not grown or manufactured locally.

    In any case, well-done you!

  • Reply Bits & Pieces 3/1/11 March 1, 2011 at 10:31

    […] finished her grocery challenge! She did a great job. It was funny to see how people outside of NZ just don’t understand how […]

  • Reply February roundup « Musings of an Abstract Aucklander March 1, 2011 at 20:58

    […] according to you guys. I guess receipts don’t lie… Fabulously Broke, that was not $0.79 a kg! That was actually $1.99 a kg (the 0.79 referred to the weight of the bananas.) And that’s […]

  • Reply February goal checkin « Musings of an Abstract Aucklander March 2, 2011 at 16:03

    […] February wasn’t so bad. I made my Shape Up for March goals (holla Serendipity!) running twice a week and a $500 grocery budget for two. […]

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