Everyone knows that you can’t rush a recipe if you want it to taste delicious but the reality is most families opt for food products that save time.
Today we are going to talk about food products you can purchase at the grocery store to save you time and money.
You may look at the list of food products below and not find any one product that you use in the house. That’s fine.
The point of this exercise is to get you thinking about all those foods on the market today, what do you really need to stock up on and what can you make at home.
Making the plans work for you
I know you’ve all heard about meal planning and picking one day a week where you can cook lots of homemade meals to freeze and use during the week.
That is a great idea IF you have the time to do it. If you are in the mood for gourmet foods you WILL need the time to create these dishes.
Sure, some can be made faster than others but again if you don’t have time or the mindset to focus on a recipe you can easily mess it up which will cost you MORE money and Time.
I’m a huge advocate of cooking homemade rather than buying anything in a box or can but I realize that there are times when certain food products do come in handy even when making a gourmet meal.
I was watching The Food Network last week and even Rachel Ray has no issues using canned tomatoes nor do many chefs on Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives.
Not everything is homemade!
The food industry is well aware that the home chef is NOT going to make everything homemade so many manufacturers do their best to create homemade food products for us. You may pay extra for them or you may find that they are cheaper to buy than make from scratch.
It’s up to you and your budget to decide what foods you want to spend time and money on making and which you would rather buy.
Food Products That Save Time
Tip: Remember not to substitute so much that your entire grocery shop is from a can, box or jar. You still need to have that balance in your meals where you are creating meals or part meals from scratch.
Saving time in the kitchen doesn’t mean you have to eat crap food it means you have to pick and choose food products based on your experience and needs.
I know I said there would be 10 Food Products but reality is there are many food products that could fit list depending on your lifestyle and budget.
That being said that Canadian Budget Binder fans and I came up with this list below of 14 food products we wanted to share with you.
Most fans said they would purchase because they would save them time or they’d rather not make them homemade because they could save more money buying it pre-made depending on the products.
Although making pasta for some is as easy as opening a box most people don’t have the time to whip up a fresh batch of pasta after a long day at work or with kids wanting dinner. Sure, you can prepare fresh pasta ahead of time or buy it from a local pasta shop but it will cost more and time has to be on your side.
Buying food products that come in a box are not all bad for you as there are many healthy pastas on the market today. The best part is they take minutes to cook and they won’t bust your wallet. You can buy a 900g box of pasta on sale for $1.00 which is when you want to stock up.
I like all the different shapes you can get with boxed dry pasta. Dry pasta works better than fresh for butter/oil based sauces…my favourites.- Sue
This has to be one of the top canned food products that I see in so many grocery shoppers carts when I’m food shopping. I’m not a fan of canned pasta sauce at all because I find it too sweet. I don’t mind making homemade sauce and because I’ve done it so many times it’s quick for me.
If you really enjoy homemade pasta sauce I’d suggest trying to make it weekly until you get the hang of it OR you buy the canned or jarred pasta sauce to save time.
I know that my friend Aunt B makes her own Yogurt in a Thermos and she says it’s easy but she’s likely done it many times. For any newbie it can be discouraging to make yogurt especially when you need to source your starter for the yogurt.
Most shoppers would rather just grab a container or 2 and be done with it especially if the yogurt it on sale. You can’t beat paying $1.88 for a large container of yogurt BUT some people like homemade. So, if you don’t fancy making your own yogurt you can buy another kitchen gadget to add to the millions you already have OR you can buy yogurt at the grocery store.
Both are acceptable.
Some of my fans had their say about making homemade Yogurt.
Yogurt machine! It’s like crock-pot cooking only it’s yogurt. Easy peasy and pretty foolproof.-Sue
I make my yogurt too – just sometimes hard to find the kefir starter in my town– Christine B
I keep saying I’m going to buy a yogurt maker but I have no more room for any more kitchen gadgets or appliances. Apparently it is quite easy to make. I buy plain unsweetened yogurt for 5.49 at Costco for 2 litres, can’t get cheaper than that.-Pam
I bought my yogurt machine from Amazon. They have a large selection, loads of reviews, and yogurt making supplies. Homemade food always takes more time than bought. For me, I sacrifice time to get better quality food from local sources if possible and have control of the ingredients in the food I eat. Personal choice.-Sue
I have heard of people using their slow cookers for making yogurt – instead of buying a yogurt maker- Google it – there are lots of different blogs about it – not sure if it works or not but worth a try if it works.-Christine B
It really boils down to… Do you really want to make your own yogurt or does buying a tub fit better into your budget and schedule?
Angel Food Cake
I’ve never made an angel food cake before but they do require lots of egg whites. If you don’t fancy having egg yolks hanging around or you’re just not comfortable making this fluffy white cake you can buy a boxed version for about $1.00 when they go on sale.
You can also buy food products such as angel food cake if there is an in-store bakery for about $3.99 and up depending on where you shop. If a dozen eggs is costing $3.00 plus factor in the other ingredients plus time and hydro your homemade angel food cake will be costly and time-consuming to make.
It’s up to you but if you’re not a baker like I am, head for the box or the pre-made bakery versions.
I asked one fan what she would do with the egg yolks.
I would mix them, freeze them in ice-cube tray and add to an omelette, baking, custards, dipping meat in for coating, etc- Colleen
My wife and I are both guilty of buying Bisto gravy granules and even had my mum and dad to bring us a couple in their suitcase when they came for a visit because it is so expensive in Canada.
These days I know better because with a couple of beef bouillon cubes, seasoning, flour and water you can make a delicious gravy without opening a packet or can.
The issue here is learning how to do it. I think once people learn how to create certain recipes they will always rely on the quick method such as opening a can.
Not all food ingredients are created equal which means just because you can make ketchup at home doesn’t mean it’s going to taste like Heinz ketchup.
I don’t know many people who don’t know the name Heinz and associate it with Ketchup. I don’t mind making a homemade BBQ sauce but if you grew up enjoying Heinz ketchup you WILL know the difference.
Many people don’t have a problem buying no-name ketchup and leaving the name-brand behind because they say it tastes the same. Other people will argue with you until you are blue in the face and they MUST have their daily dose of authentic Heinz Ketchup.
Ketchup – canning process to boil down the tomatoes is very lengthy and taste is only OK. Yes the store varieties have more sugar, but it is ready to go when you need it.– Angela
Not everyone wants to make a pot of soup nor do they have the time to even though it’s dead easy to make. Reality is that many people find reading a recipe difficult and overwhelming. Unless they have someone to support them while making the recipe they may never try it.
If you only have the odd cuppa soup here and there then there is no point stocking up on products to make huge pots of soup because you simply won’t eat it. You can freeze it but who wants food products in their freezer for so long if you’re not a huge fan? Certainly, not me.
Soup, we tend to buy Campbell’s when it’s .50 a can..quick cheap meal.- Edna
I don’t know about you but I don’t have time to be out fishing every night so for us opening a can of tuna makes this to be one of the food products that will always come in handy canned.
Canned tuna – fresh tuna is more expensive and canned is very versatile in sandwiches, casseroles, pasta, etc. It is a quick and easy add from the can.- Angela
I do make my mayonnaise on occasion and if I find it on sale for $2.99 I may buy a couple jars for me which lasts me ages. If you aren’t a fan of making mayo homemade then watch the sales and stock up when you get a chance.
Mayonnaise – not expensive to buy and has a longer shelf life than fresh if you don’t use a lot in one week. And it’s ready to go when you need it.– Angela
With the price of nuts these days I agree that making Almond milk would take time and if you don’t have it then spending $2.50 to buy a carton seems like the best way to go. Buying almonds at the bulk store can run you $9.99lb or more depending on if they are on sale or regular price.
Almond milk is a staple here so although I’ve never attempted to make it almonds are costly so it’s just easier to buy it.-Heather
Pad Thai Sauce
As with any type of sauce most people don’t want to invest in all the different spices and pantry ingredients to make a sauce that they might use once in a while.
Buying food products that will just sit in your pantry and expire or not get used often enough will land them in the garbage. Food waste is costly.
Too many spices involved in it for me to warrant investing so much. And for things I don’t use that often.– Angela
Sloppy Joe mix to figure out yer own blend is a waste of $$$– Jeff
CBB fan Michelle said she would buy canned tomatoes likely because it’s easier than buying or growing tomatoes and having to prepare them to make a pasta sauce which is time-consuming. Most people buy canned tomatoes like San Marzano which are the best kind you can get in a can for under $2.00.
If you aren’t the gardening type but want to enjoy the freshness of tomatoes in your pasta sauce or other meals you use canned tomato food products then you can’t go wrong with buying a can or a jar.
Pizza is great to make at home and your house will smell amazing but it can get costly to make if you start adding in all of those posh ingredients. Food products such as fine mozzarella, prosciutto, sausages and so on all add up.
You can order a large pizza for $10 or buy 2 Delissio pizzas for under $10 when they go on sale. If you can swing making a homemade pizza with toppings for under $10 then you may disagree with this.
Pizza…. it is cheaper to buy than to make, although I love my homemade pizza, cheese is just so expensive now, and all the toppings add up! -Tammy
Believe it or not but many people have no idea how to make homemade dough. I know for a fact that my wife is terrified of making anything that requires yeast because she is not confident with it. She would rather go and buy a packet of ready-made dough from the local bakery for $2.
I love to cook and do not find any dish too difficult to make, but I do not enjoy making pizza crust. So, It is easier to just to purchase frozen dough. – Rhonda
I hope to continue encouraging my wife to make dough but until then buying it from the shop for a buck or so isn’t that bad.
If you want to make a homemade authentic Italian Lasagna you will be buying the best food products and making a homemade pasta sauce. For this reason an amazing lasagna will take you time to make and money.
Lasagna is not a frugal meal by any stretch of the imagination if you have lots of ingredients BUT you can buy a decent tasting PC Lasagna for $5.99 when they go on sale. It’s up to you and your taste buds. We’ve had the PC lasagna and it’s not bad at all.
I can tell you that for $5.99 or even at regular price of $13.99 you won’t get the same layers or ingredients that you would with a homemade lasagna.
Lasagna is easier to buy than to make in my opinion- Sara
Time has to be your friend
Not everyone has the time in their day to create a meal plan which entails cooking all meals from scratch. I know before we had our son we were cooking all sorts of homemade meals but since his birth it has been tough. We’ve had to make some changes to the foods we eat and how we go about preparing meals.
Some nights we might just enjoy a sandwich and a quick bowl of soup from a bouillon cube with some pasta added in with Parmigiano cheese and other nights we will create a lovely meal. It really depends on how much time we have in our day.
As much as we all like to plan our day right down to the hour we have to be realistic and understand that things happen, almost every day.
We must have a back-up plan which does not include eating out because eating out will be far more expensive than buying the odd boxed or canned food product.
Having ready to go foods in the pantry for those nights that time is not your friend can be a savior.
What food products would be worth buying for your family to save time in the kitchen?
August Grocery Game Challenge posts
If you missed any grocery game posts for the month I will post the line-up for the month each week here in this section for you.
Join in the Grocery Game Challenge fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each blog post… here are the GGC rules!
- How to Avoid Paying Full Retail Price At The Grocery Store- Grocery Game #1 August, 2015
Grocery Saving Tips
Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!
Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.
I hope you take the time to get back on track and start the savings process in your grocery budget today.
Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE. CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet for FREE.
NEW!! You can now download the FREE Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel…Grab it while you can… It’s FREE! We use it to budget and in large part a reason we could pay our mortgage off in 5 years, check it out!
Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide
If you are new here and haven’t had a chance to read past posts grab yourself a beverage, sit down, relax and enjoy some educational reading material on ways to save money in your grocery budget.
If you missed a Grocery Game Challenge post some of the most popular posts are listed below or you can now find the posts listed on their own page called The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.
If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email.
2015 Grocery shop results
If you are a foodie like I am you will enjoy going through my Free Recipe Index where recipes from CBB Home Chef Nicola Don and myself are shared every Sunday on the blog. Check it out!
Yearly grocery budget for two 2015: $2820
(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $235 per year or $25 per month.
This was a no-shop week for us
Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)
- Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00
- Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $229.08
- Total Gift Cards used to date: $7.94
- Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
- Total Rewards Points used to date: $20.00
- PC Points Plus Earned to date: 124736
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
- Snap Groupon to date: $15.00
- Zweet to date: $14.50
- Cart Smart to date: $0
- Checkout51 to date: $6.00
GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK (add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)
- 2 x dozen brown eggs $4.00
Total out-of-pocket $4.00
Shoppers Drug Mart
- 2 x Neilson Milk $3.97
Total out-of-pocket $7.95
- 2 x Bavarian Bread $2.29 each
- Bananas $1.79
- Yellow onions $1.29
- Carrots $1.29
Total out-of-pocket $8.95
Grocery Month Tally
- Total to spend this month $235-$5.92 (over July) $229.08
- Stockpile budget 2015 ($25.00): (Jan/Feb) $50.00 +$0 (Mar)+$16.94+$25.00 (April)+$25.00+ May $25.00+ June $25.00+July $14.44+Aug $
- Stockpile budget used this month: $25.00
- Total coupons used this week: $0
- Total coupons used to date: $30.50
- Total in-store discounts this week: $0
- Total in-store discounts to date: $564.59
- Total spent this week: $20.90
- Total spent so far this month: $20.90
- Total over/Under spend this shop: under $under
- Total over/Under spend for the month: $under
- Total left to spend for the month: $208.18
- Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $166.49+ Feb $261.51+ Mar $231.02 + April $258.44+May $218.12+ June $235.67+July $212.16+August $0
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts) We started to buy free-range brown eggs from a local farmer for $2.00 a dozen which is great if you ask me. We didn’t need too much this week plus we don’t want to buy more than we need since we are going on holidays the last 2 weeks of August.
Canadian Coupons Found This Week
Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons!
I found a few coupons last week but nothing new for this week so I’ll share the same coupons again for those that missed them last week.
We’re finding less and less coupons in the stores these days. What are your thoughts? Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons?
Frequently Asked Questions
- Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible.
- Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops only to win a monthly prize. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
- When does the Grocery Game close each month?: The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month but you will still get a ballot when you post your shops even if they are late but I encourage you to stay on schedule. It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something that is scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it all together. Don’t let that be you! You can post your shops all month-long.
- Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?:
YesNo, our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014-2015 we no longer include such items in our grocery budget so we can see actual food numbers at the end of the year so we can plan accordingly for our budget. We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any more. It’s just one way to help cut your budget to save money.
- Canadian Coupons: Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
- Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading out but mobile coupon apps are the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site that mailed coupons to households have gotten involved with their new mobile Save.ca app joining forces with the many apps that are already out there.
- What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.
- What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
- How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?: If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
- How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.
Over time you will gradually learn where you should and shouldn’t go in the grocery store or at least how to say no, I’m on a budget I need to buy this or that.
You may also substitute items in order to stick to your grocery budget to make it work. Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget like many people do.
This is why the grocery game challenge was created to not only show you that we are like everyone else but to bring us all together to work as a team to get our budgets on track.
If you have just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2015 get ready to dive deep into your grocery budget and learn just where you are spending, how much you are spending and what you are saving.
Feel free to read all the above posts that I linked to above which I feel are relevant to learning about the grocery budget and grocery shopping in general.
If you are brave and want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! It’s FREE!
You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!
Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2015!
Join in and become money savers and take control of your grocery budget.
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