How Much Should I Budget for Food If Nursing Homes Budget Is $8.33 per day?

The Ontario provincial funding rate for food for residents in long term care facilities, most of whom are seniors, has always been lower than seems reasonable. In 2014 the amount was $7.80 per person per day for the “raw food.” That number was so low that a public outcry managed to get a small increase to $8.33 per person per day. It’s been stuck there ever since, though, despite the rate of inflation for food and the drop in the value of the Canadian dollar versus the American dollar which affects the prices of imported fruits and vegetables. Reading an article in The Star made me wonder what I should budget for our food costs if the government believes that a person can eat healthily for $8.33 a day.

Why Does the Government Provide More Money for Prisoner’s Food Per Day than for Pensioners?

One fact has always been extremely upsetting in the provincial funding for food: the funds provided for residents in Long Term Care homes are lower, per person, than those for prisoners.

At first, it may seem vaguely reasonable. Aren’t more prisoners younger men who have a higher caloric need than most pensioners who are often older women?

But then you realize that more of the older residents have special dietary needs. You shouldn’t eat grapefruit, for instance, if you taking certain medications. If you are diabetic, you may need to carefully balance the amount of carbohydrates you eat at each meal. Overall, due to reduced ability to absorb nutrients, you need to maximize the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat to increase the likelihood of receiving proper nutrition.
And, of course, it seems “morally” wrong to feed wrong-doers better food than older or disabled persons.

In March 2017, the Ontario government is paying $8.33 per person per day for raw food costs for each resident in a long term care facility. It is paying $9.73 per day for prisoners.

That just seems unjust.

What Could I Afford at $8.33 Per Day for Raw Food Costs?

I realized that this question has an attached question: where am I living? If I live in the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario, I have access to a large variety of food stores. Within walking distance of my suburban home (yes, some suburbs are walkable!) I can count six grocery stores, a butcher, a bakery and an organic greengrocer. Only two of those grocery stores belong to a major Canadian chain. The others are independents who tend to compete well on pricing.

When I think of one of our vacations to the Maritimes, though, I remember being unhappy with the fruit and vegetable selections at both the big chain grocery stores in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. The prices were between reasonable and high, but the quality was terrible. And many items I can easily get here were not even for sale.

Where you live will likely play a big factor in your grocery budget. If you have to pay $7 to get a bus to and from the store, that is another big cost that affects those that can least afford it.

Budgeting for a Typical Day’s Food And Its Costs

Ok, let’s try any way.

Breakfast
1 /2 cup of oatmeal
1 / 4 cup of milk
1 serving of coffee

Snack
2 clementines

Lunch
2 cups nappa cabbage
1 /4 c craisins
1 english muffin
1 /4 c pork tenderloin, leftovers
1 tea bag

Snack
1 gala apple

Supper
1 /4 of a store-made roast chicken
1 cup broccoli
1 /4 cup cherry tomatoes
1 cup jasmine rice
2 home made chocolate chip cookies

Snack
1 /2 cup Rice Krispies
1 /2 cup milk
1 mini Kit Kat

My total cost? About $9.

Could I do this in another location though? I doubt it. The fruits and vegetables I buy almost always are purchased at the independent grocery stores. They have noticeably lower prices. I’m sure that many people who don’t live in a “food oasis” like this must pay much more for the same food.

What Will I Budget for Food Costs for Retirement?

I don’t know exactly what I should budget for food costs for retirement, but I know it will be more than $8.33 per day.

It’s especially important to remember that the $8.33 per day includes

  • Any food lost due to spoilage. (Ever open a carton of eggs and find one is cracked? Opened a head of lettuce and found brown leaves in the middle?)
  • Any food for special holidays such as a turkey, fancy dessert, cheeses.
  • All snacks even the occasional candy bar or soda pop.


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Checking Into Auto Insurance with TD Meloche Monnex for a New Teenaged Driver

Several of our nieces, nephews and other relatives are approaching that magic age—16—at which they can begin learning to drive legally in Ontario. Hearing the moans and groans of neighbouring parents about car insurance for young drivers, I decided to call TD Meloche Monnex and ask what rates they would charge for a new teenaged driver and when.

What’s the First Level of Driver’s Licence in Ontario?

Ontario uses a graduated licensing program. A new driver learning for the first time usually starts by writing a test on signs and road rules. If they pass with a high enough score they are granted a G1 license. With a G1, a student driver can learn to drive with a licensed, insured driver sitting beside them in the front passenger seat. There are a whole string of other conditions about what times of day they can drive, what roads they can drive on, what amount of alcohol they can have in their blood stream while driving (0!) and so on. Check the MTO website for the current rules and restrictions. They change.

Every driver should, of course, be insured. So I called Monnex to find out what their insurance rules are for new drivers who are the children of insured drivers.

What Does TD Meloche Monnex Charge for the Teenage Child with a G1 of an Insured Driver?

We have our car insurance with TD Meloche Monnex. They’ve been reasonable to deal with and they have a group discount rate for Professional Engineers in Ontario. (PEO members)

So I posed them the theoretical question of: If my child is 16 and passes the written test to get their G1, what do I have to do to insure my child?

I was surprised to learn I just have to phone Monnex and add the child’s name to our policy. There is no annual fee for us to have a child student driver added to our policy! No wonder some parents are not in a rush for their child to take their G2 road test.

What’s the Second Level of Driver’s Licence in Ontario?

After learning to drive, and after practicing for one year, a student driver can take the road test to upgrade their license to the second level. If they pass the test they will be granted a G2.

The student can take the G2 test a bit earlier if they take a Driver’s Education course approved by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.

I found it interesting that the government is actually listing driver’s education companies to avoid. They provide a list of “Unlicensed driving schools to avoid.”

What Does TD Meloche Monnex Charge for the Teenage Child with a G2 of an Insured Driver ?

We have our insurance with Monnex. We would want to add our child to our policy when they earn their G2.

Monnex wasn’t keen to quote me a rate yet, since this is years in advance. They did say the rate will depend on many factors. It could be around $1200/year for a driver in the GTA.

I mentioned that the driver would be one of three people in a household with only two licensed vehicles. In that case, the agent said the insurance will be more likely to be in the range of $400-800 per year.

Does TD Meloche Monnex Offer an Insurance Discount for G2 Drivers With Driver’s Education and for How Long?

I asked if our child took driver’s ed from, say, Young Drivers of Canada, would it affect the premium.

The agent said generally having drivers’ education from an approved school would reduce the insurance cost by about 5% a year.

The discount would apply for three years after the driver gets their G2 license.

What’s the Third Level of Driver’s Licence in Ontario?

Most drivers will take an “exit test” a year after getting their G2 license in Ontario. This is another more complicated road test. If they pass it, they are granted a full G class driver’s licence. That’s the usual licence us “old folks” have had for years.

What Happens to Our Child’s Car Insurance Rate Once They Get Their G1 License?

That was so far out in the future that the agent wouldn’t quote me a rate. I’ll have to write about that if and when any of our children grow up enough to get their licence so it will be a few years! If your own child has already reached this stage, please leave a comment with any info about insurance costs. I’m sure other readers will appreciate it!

For now, we have nothing to worry about. Our children aren’t old enough to be a menace on the highways, yet. When they are, however, it looks like we’ll have to add a few more thousand to our annual budget.


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Do you have a young driver in your household? Has car insurance been reasonable or a killer? Please share your experiences with a comment.