grocery game monthly challenge

Budget Friendly Easy Dinner Ideas: The Grocery Game Challenge #4 Oct 26-26,2014

Easy Dinner Ideas

SIMPLE RECIPES IN A FLASH!   Life in the kitchen was great until our son came into this world and now we are counting on easy dinner ideas just so we eat decent food. Over the course of the past 7 weeks our diet has went from eating homemade foods with fresh vegetables and fruits to canned soup, sandwiches and cereal. Lately I’ve been on the hunt for fast meals that pack a nutritious punch in a short amount of time. Sure we could have planned freezer meals ahead of time but we prefer to cook hot meals rather than turning on the oven to re-heat frozen food if we don’t have to. We do enjoy frozen foods such as perogies, ravioli, tortellini, fish and some vegetables but we’ve never ventured into batch cooking.   Cheap meals   I know that many parents and working couples rely on 15 minute meals just to make sure they get something hot into their stomachs and to avoid the dreaded TV dinner or even costlier….eating out. Another reason that homemade quick meals are important is because most are budget friendly depending on the type of ingredients you purchase. I know many of my […]

Why I No Longer Hate Making a Budget

why i no longer hate making a budget

YOU EITHER LOVE THEM OR HATE THEM   Fifteen years ago you could not have twisted my arm enough to make a budget. It wasn’t going to happen. My wife had tried several times making a budget but I hadn’t given any input and I certainly didn’t think one was necessary. It’s safe to say I hated them. Budgets were for “those people” who were in massive debt or who wanted to control an overspending spouse. They weren’t for normal people like us who lived off our paycheck from week to week and could afford pretty much everything we needed. Some months we’d have some money left over at the end of the month to put into our savings account. Other months we wouldn’t. Things seemed fine to me so I didn’t see the big deal. Then came the first kid. Suddenly spending patterns changed. No longer was it just my wife and I. We had another person to account for, one who would have some very expensive habits. Can anyone say 10 diapers and 6 meals a day? So we set out again to tackle the monthly budget. We actually managed to make a budget that we thought would […]

Tiramisu in a flash!

easy tiramisu recipe

EASY DINNER PARTY DESSERT   If there is one easy dessert that is made with everyday ingredients from the pantry in my house it’s an Italian tiramisu. When I make a tiramisu I don’t always use the traditional Italian tiramisu ingredients as you will find out today. This evening I have friends coming over for dinner and I somehow managed to forget some ingredients on my grocery list to make my tiramisu cake, oops! This tiramisu dessert could have easily turned into a disaster but since I keep a well stalked pantry I was able to create my signature tiramisu in a flash. Experimenting and taking everyday ingredients out of the pantry and making something extraordinary is why I love cooking so much. Instead of using a creamy mascarpone cheese mixture I found a packet of vanilla pudding to use in place of the creamy custard type layers. Since I bake quite often I had chocolate on hand. The other week I bulked out on Italian “S Cookies” as they were on sale for $0.88 for a pack of 12. You can also use Italian lady fingers which is a traditional cookie in the tiramisu recipe. I use lady fingers […]

Should business owners control student group shopping? : The Saturday Weekend Review #94

student shopping group

HANGING OUT WITH FRIENDS   Student group shopping is not new and neither is theft in retail stores across the world. Living in a city where there is a University we see plenty of students come September roaming the streets in large groups. The same goes for high school students. The shops in our city are jam-packed with students and line-ups are huge especially if the shop is in a school district. I know the Shoppers Drug Mart we go to is always packed with groups of University students from September until school breaks for summer holidays.   Large student groups are hard to control   Theft happens every day but for Dollar store giant Dollarama in Toronto a policy of one student in the store shopping at a time is being called discriminatory by local area high school students. The store is taking preventive measures to control the mobs of students that come in but not saying they don’t want students as customers rather they want to protect themselves from loss. Shoplifting is a big deal to any store and sometimes students dare each other to steal just to see if they get caught because it seems like something […]

Sometimes you just have to spend money : September 2014 Budget Update

bust-our-budget-budget-update

DIG INTO YOUR WALLETS   I’m probably the last person you thought who would tell you that sometimes you simply have to spend money. Spend money… that’s right. You can’t go to the grave with it so why not spend the money you worked hard to save? It’s true that it’s great to make money and watch your net worth grow but you can’t hang on to every penny without spending some of it.   Spend money using a plan   It’s fine and dandy saving money but there will come a time when you have expenses that you might not want to pay for but you’ll have to. There will also be times where you want to splurge on yourself because you’ve reached your financial milestones or any goals that you’ve set for yourself. The key to remember is that you shouldn’t spend money that you don’t have. What that means is if you haven’t saved the money yet you shouldn’t be rewarding yourself. This only contributes to debt and even though your intentions to pay back debt are important remember that anything could happen. As you will see below in the charts our budget for September was way […]

grocery game monthly challenge

Why you should always get a product price check: The Grocery Game Challenge #3 Oct 13-19, 2014

price checker free product

BE A GROCERY BUDGET MONEY SAVER   Not everyone has patience when they are grocery shopping and the last thing you want is to hop into a line when the customer ahead of you needs a price check. I know what you might be thinking….Moron, why didn’t you check for a price before throwing it in your grocery cart!! Don’t be so harsh because one day it might be you. These days we rely on computer scanning systems along with a UPC scanning bar code to bring up the price automatically. The problem is not every product has this code and some stores don’t have computer technology. Back in the day the cashier had to manually input prices which was even more reason to watch your prices. Even the cashier can make a mistake today putting in codes to bring up a product’s price. While watching a comedy show on Just For Laughs the other evening with my wife one comedian had me think of all the times I shut down a line for a price check. Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco said he has a problem with people who hold up the grocery line and he would rather tell the cashier […]

Saving for retirement on a lower-income

saving for retirement lower-income

EVERY DOLLAR COUNTS   Let’s face it, saving for retirement is tough work. I mean, the concept is not difficult for us to wrap our heads around but finding the money, putting it away consistently and not spending it is challenging stuff. I suspect this is the case because money is an emotional subject and it’s easy to become attached to it; we work hard for it and want to reward ourselves with it. Saving for retirement takes discipline. When you’re not relying on paycheque to paycheque for living expenses, saving some money should be easy enough. You also have options on where to put your money for retirement, into Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), real estate properties, Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), non-registered brokerage accounts and more. High-income earners are often advised to contribute to their RRSPs in their highest-income earning years, and rightly so. This RRSP account is optimized when you contribute money when your income taxes are the highest, so monies can be withdrawn in the future when you’re in the lowest (or lower) income tax bracket, presumably in retirement. Low-income earners probably shouldn’t follow this advice, and they probably need different financial advice altogether. Today’s post will […]

Crockpot Pulled pork with a Blueberry Teriyaki Sauce

pulled pork in teriyaki and blueberry sauce

SWEET AND SAVOURY ON YOUR PLATE   I have felt under the weather lately and needed to make supper tonight so I am making a simple crock-pot pulled pork recipe but changing it up by adding blueberries and teriyaki. I really do just want to stay in bed and sip on my lemon and honey hot drink but supper needs to be organized. This is one of those recipes that you can set and forget it. This is also one of those budget-friendly recipes that you can make ahead of time and even freeze for another day. You all know me well enough now that I have a few recipes up my sleeve that are fast such as 15 minute meals or a one-pot wonder. Today I’ve taken out the crock-pot which I just love as you can make just about anything in it from bread to jam, soups and stews to my all-time favourite pulled pork.     Pulled Pork   Today I am going to make for you today my version of crock-pot pulled pork that’s made with teriyaki sauce, Worcester sauce (also known as Worcestershire) and blueberries as well my homemade tomato sauce to top it all […]