This calculator is designed to help one person budget for one week.

  1. Enter your desired food using the Enter New Food section.

  2. Use the sliders to adjust the budget for each food item.

  3. Portion your food according to the limit on each food item.

Dollar a Day Tool

Enter New Food



Basic Menu Outline

By Jessie Paul

Here’s a simple breakdown of how to spend your $7 with some notes below:

$3 - Carbs

$1 - Dried Legumes

$1 - Protein

$1 - Fresh Produce

$1 - Everything Else

Carbs: This is the biggest part of your diet. Check out your local sales and choose what’s best for you: potatoes, flour, oats, rice (although rice is the most commonly eaten around the world it’s surprisingly the most expensive!).

Dried legumes: Find out how far you can stretch your dollar by buying the most affordable dried beans or lentils!

Protein: Eggs or even meat! What’s the most you can find on your dollar. Last year we bought peewee eggs and had one for breakfast each day (cost about fifty cents). I also found a bag of chicken bones at the Chinese market and made chicken broth for fifty cents. 

Fresh produce: What’s on sale? We bought bananas and kale last year. We had half a banana in the mornings and mixed kale into our lentil dhal each night for vitamins. 

Everything else: This is what makes your food palatable. Oil, salt, sugar - these would be our top recommendations. Other ideas are tea bags (we had one a day last year), spices for your beans or lentils and maybe chilli powder for those who like a kick in their food. This section requires the most calculations and weighing/measuring each item so every cent is accounted for. It’s definitely worth the effort because your food will be so much tastier!

Detailed Sample Grocery List & Menu

To inspire you, here is a sample grocery list and menu made by Nigel & Jessie Paul. They've already done the work of finding the cheapest groceries in their neighbourhood, planning out a daily menu, and making sure the budget for the week adds up to only $7.00 per person!

nigel jessie 7 dollars.jpg

Example Menus from Previous Years

by Jessie - from Toronto, Canada

Breakfast: 1 Small Egg, Potatoes, Banana (Half)
Lunch: Potatoes, Chicken Broth
Dinner: Lentils, Rice or Flour (Homemade Chapatis)
Snacks: Oats

by Martha - from Guelph, Canada

Breakfast: Egg and Apple
Lunch: Broth, Lentils, Carrots
Supper: Chick peas, Curry powder, Spinach, Rice, Onions
Extras: Tea, Banana

By Jimmy - from Toronto, Canada

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Dinner: Hotdog Fried Rice with Frozen Veg

Fey, Sarah, Sharlene, and Tolani - from Toronto, Canada

Breakfast: Oatmeal, Apples, Bananas, Peanut Butter, Eggs
Lunch: Flour (Whole Wheat), Beans, Chick Peas, Tomatoes, Onions, Pumpkin
Dinner: Brown Rice, Potatoes, Carrots, Cabbage, Spices
Extras: Coffee, Ramen Noodles, Lemon

by Shane & Alana - from Surrey, Canada

Pumpkin, Turkey, Egg Whites

By Micha - from Berlin, Germany

Breakfast: Smoothie - Bananas, Magerquark (Yoghurt), Spinach, Kale
Dinner: Vegetable Soup