End of Welfare Food Challenge

Well, I never lasted the entire 7 days of the Welfare Food Challenge, but I tried my best.

welfare food challenge

On Day 4 of the challenge, I finished the oatmeal and the apples were completed. On Day 5 in the morning, I ate some eggs with toast and had an orange and an apple. I finished my lentil/cabbage casserole but I didn’t have enough to make it through the rest of the week with the meagre amount left in the budget.


I was hungry every day during the challenge and never felt “full”. I was not a sharp thinker and I was a bit slower during the period I was on the challenge.

I had to drink more water but I found it only made a slight difference (usually drink 2L/day and drank 3L/day).

During the sports I played or major activity during the days of the challenge, I never played to my top potential and I felt a bit slower. A major part of this was having no source of caffeine during the challenge (had my first coffee last evening with a piece of cake and it was amazing!).

The $26 weekly budget did not leave enough room for any snacks like muffins or a simple banana bread (I enjoy simple treats during the workday.

What I learned:

If you are on a seriously low budget, you must look at ways at increasing the budget or “budget boosters”.

Good food is the backbone to good health. I would rather give up a cell-phone or my car than have to lower my food bill.

Now, I am disappointed that I did not last the whole week but proud that I did my best. I appreciate all the great food I have access to living in Victoria, BC (as should most Canadians). The bottom line is that the amount of food I purchased did not last me the entire week (4 1/2 days).

It was incredible, reading the comments on our Facebook page and our blog this week from our readers. Your support and ideas were helpful this week.

I also learned that I don’t enjoy canned salmon (although I was shocked how many of my family and friends eat it on a regular basis)!

Moving forward:

If you are a family that has a strict budget each week and are looking to lower your expenses, instead of simply reducing your budget (not always reasonably possible at once), look at ways to increase your food yield.

1. Use coupons to stretch your budget.

On our blog, we post many money savers (not just convenience food, but meat, produce and bulk savings).

2. Reduce food waste.

This is a grocery budget killer (throwing money down the toilet)! Try to reduce the number of big grocery trips done during the month and concentrate on cleaning the fridge and avoid throwing out food. Look at ways to re-use leftovers and adjust your buying habits so you don’t throw our 1/2 lead of lettuce or 1/4 bag of onions.

Steven Zussino

Steven Zussino is the co-founder of Grocery Alerts Canada. He loves to help Canadians save money on groceries. He also runs the blog, CanadianTravelHacking.com.