grocery game monthly challenge

The Ultimate Guide for Budget Christmas Desserts : The Grocery Game Challenge 2017 #1 Dec 4-10

budget Christmas Desserts Ultimate Guide



When you host a holiday party you must consider the costs of the food you prepare in your meal plan. Apart from the main meal Christmas desserts can get just as expensive as the dinner itself. Prices for baked goods and ingredients sky-rocket during the Christmas holidays which means a bit of planning goes a long way.

Just the other day I found a lady who was selling Christmas shortbread cookies on Facebook that were gorgeous to look at and I’m sure delicious but not for $20/dozen. Nope, not happening.

Mrs. CBB and I have never hosted a Christmas dinner at our house because we don’t have any family here to invite. Every year since I’ve been in Canada we’ve celebrated Christmas at my in-laws house which has come to be somewhat of a tradition.

Below you will find lots of great Christmas desserts that you can make at home for a fraction of the cost of buying them pre-made at a bakery. I’ve also included below the Ultimate Guide links to past articles I’ve written about holiday baking including tips to stocking your pantry with baking needs.

Finally, I went searching for some of the best frugal Christmas desserts that I could find. They are easy to make and certainly recipes that I would make for our friends and family for the holidays.


Learning to bake with grandma


Mr.CBB's Coconut Balls image

Before I met Mrs. CBB she was already well into making nostalgic Christmas desserts for her family that her grandmother used to make.

Her grandmother passed just last year and an avid baker she was in her younger years. “Boy, could she bake”, Mrs. CBB said to me while we sat down to discuss Christmas desserts to bring home this holiday.

While staying with her grandparents to complete a job placement for school Mrs. CBB took the opportunity to learn as much as she could from her grandmother in the kitchen.

First on the list was how to make homemade pasta, meatballs, stuffed green peppers and chicken noodle soup. She can always remember hearing the pressure cooker on the stove-top (we have this now) with some magic going on inside.

I read a meme once that said the problem with people today is that they don’t spend enough time shelling peas with their grandmother. I found that interesting because life isn’t as traditional in that sense as it used to be. Life is faster and most families don’t have time or make the time to cook homemade meals or even bake for that matter.

We are a world of convenience and if it saves time then it’s a winner. The problem with this is that buying quality homemade foods and baked goods are pricey. If you want to compare apples to apples you can always bake at home for less.


Christmas with boarders


In her younger years Mrs. CBB’s grandmother was a host to many men workers in the area looking for room and board. This is why cooking and baking was her specialty. Back in the 1950’s and 60’s money was tight for everyone which is why homemade was the way to go.

Her grandmother would talk about her boarders as if they were family even though they would come and go. For her feeding people was part of a family affair no matter who they were especially in her home.

Each day she would serve homemade breakfast, lunch and dinner for the men. She also included many baked goods for them to snack on along with fruits in a large basket sitting on the basement table.

My grandmother had the biggest table I’d ever seen in that basement. It must have sat 30 people easily.- Mr.CBB

Some of these men had no family to go home to for the holidays so she would invite them to stay for Christmas dinner. This meant that she had a tight budget to work with but as an avid coupon saver she managed to stretch funds to always have enough food for everyone.

Meal planning was very important as was creating a holiday baking plan that included all the favourites everyone had come to love.


Christmas Desserts from Grandma


chocolate-peanut-butter-balls-cover-canvaIf you’ve read CBB for the past six years you more than likely have seen many of the traditional Christmas desserts we’ve shared that belong to grandma CBB.

During this time we’ve add a few of our own but this year we’re focusing on keto desserts such as our low carb holiday biscotti and sugar-free chocolate coconut balls and keto snowballs.

Mrs. CBB’s parents are both diabetic now so bringing home the traditional Christmas desserts is no longer.

The plan is to revise grandmas snowball recipe so it will be keto-friendly which means sugar-free. For example we will use our Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups that are sugar-free and keto-friendly and turn them into Keto Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls without the cherries or dates inside.

We also have White  Chocolate Winter Macaroons that are sugar-free on the Christmas desserts menu.

Related: 20 Baking Essentials to Power Up Your Kitchen


Savings tips for Christmas baking


One of the most important tips I’ve ever shared on this blog is to plan. If you are reading this post as I’ve published it you’re too late. I hope by reading this today that next year you’ll be on top of your baking game.

Most Christmas desserts can be frozen and brought to room temperature when you host your Christmas party. This makes pre-baking a smart move for anyone who has a bit of time but knows they will be super busy for the holidays.

Related: Inexpensive Christmas Baking Ingredients to stock up on now


Inexpensive Christmas Desserts for You- See recipe links


Eggnog Fudge

eggnog fudge

Gingerbread Bars with Eggnog Cream Cheese Frosting


Holiday Wine Filled Gummy Bears


Holiday Pillow Shortbread Cookies

the-best-shortbread-recipe holiday pillows

Christmas Mincemeat Loaf


Country Apple Fritter Bread


Gingerbread Gooey Butter Cookies


Peppermint Kiss Oreo Balls


Cannoli Cupcakes



Related: Holiday Baking on a Budget

Discussion Question: What are some of your favourite nostalgic Christmas desserts that you make at home year after year? How do you keep the costs low?

Check out our full Free Recipe Index on CBB for tonnes of recipes including Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Low-carb/keto-friendly.


December Grocery Game Challenge


Join in the 2017 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each GGC blog post. Here are The Grocery Game Challenge rules to get you started and where you’ll also find a link for the 2017 GGC schedule. Please feel free to download, save and even print the schedule.

Post your shop and you can be next.

Note: I missed last weeks GGC post as I was away so post both last weeks shop and this weeks shop in the comment section of this post please. Thanks.

Note: I will post winner shortly from November GGC.

New monthly prize: See the Grocery Game Rules


Free Money Saving Tools 2017


Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!

This is the budget that brought us to debt freedom back in 2013 and now I’m offering to all of you for FREE. We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.

2014 Free Money Saving ToolsDon’t pay someone for these services, I’ve done the work for you along with some help from other amazing bloggers.

You can download the FREE Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel 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!

Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists created to get us on track working towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.

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. So many free resources at your fingertips.


Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2017


the ultimate grocery shopping guide cbbEverything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is packed into this amazing FREE grocery shopping guide that has taken over 5 years to create.

The Ultimate Grocery Shopping guide is ongoing with new informative money-saving posts added every month.

Even if you don’t live in Canada there are some amazing budget saving tips that will help put you on the path to more savings at the supermarket.

Share this guide with your friends and tell them about Canadian Budget Binder especially if they are struggling with their grocery budget.

The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the  many money-saving posts in the The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.


2017 Grocery Shop Results


Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2017: $3180 or $265/month (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)

  • Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $265
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $265
  • Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
  • PC Points Plus Earned to date: 750,000
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
  • Shoppers Optimum: 995,000 points

Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

  • Zweet to cash out : $18.25… no idea where the money went but it seems we have $0.
  • Checkout51 to cash out : $24.50 we cashed out so we’re back at O.


Our Grocery Shop This Week



  • Double Pack Extra Large eggs $4.99
  • Milk 2% $4.27
  • 6 x 10% Cream $2.05 each
  • Bananas $1.49
  • Mozzarella $20.99
  • Avocados $7.99
  • Caesar Dressing $6.99
  • 2 x Almond Flour $16.99 each
  • Portobello Mushrooms $4.99
  • Blackberries $3.99
  • Pillers Sausage Whips $10.99


Total Out-of-Pocket $112.88 yikes!

Note: All totals below already have tax factored into them.

  • Total to spend this month : $265- $2.25=$
  • Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00/month
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $0
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $1
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $0
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $756.15
  • Total spent this week: $112.88
  • Total spent so far this month: $112.88
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: under
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: n/a
  • Total left to spend for the month: -$2.24 or $2.25
  • Total Spent To Date 2017: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $231.06+Feb $255.16+March ($5 budget increase) $263.60 + April $273.83+ May $257.15 + June $65.43+July $226.84+August $283.51+September $208.69+ October $226.58+ November $267.24 + December $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

We will be stocking up on a few bits but not too much as we will be heading to the in-laws at the end of the month.  Our freezer is still packed with tomatoes, peppers, cabbage and beans from the garden. The almond flour was a dollar cheaper this week so we stocked up as we’ve been using it more lately. The mozzarella is by far the best deal going at Costco and far better tasting than any bar cheese you can buy at the grocery store.


Coupons and Coupon Apps


Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons! These are your latest Checkout 51 offers which you can use to help save money. We’re finding less and less coupons in the stores these days. What are your thoughts? Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons?

If you notice I’m missing a valuable link please message me and I’ll get it added to the savings list below.

Sign up for the Nielsen Canada Home Scan Program and you can earn rewards points fast to redeem for awesome products or gift cards. I did this in the UK and loved it!!

Where can I find Canadian Coupons 2017?

Plus check out these other hidden areas online to get more coupons!!

If any of the links below don’t open properly please report them to my email address or use comment form.

  • Healthy Essentials Printable Coupons (Johnson and Johnson)
  • Danone Coupons Get up to $25 in coupons
  • Clorox Coupons Sign up to print coupons in the Clorox family which include Greenworks, Glad etc.
  • Kraft Canada Sign up and receive recipes and coupons by email
  • Printable Smart Source Coupons
  • Walmart Canada Printable Coupons
  • Proctor and Gamble PandG Sign up for printable coupons
  • Hidden Coupon Portals You Should know about – I found this over at Save a Loonie and you’ll want to sign up for notifications and check out the site so you get notified every time a hidden coupon is available from, Brandsaver, Smart Source etc.


Grocery Game Challenge 2017 FAQ’s


  • 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. The rules have been updated to reflect changes for the 2017 challenge year.
  • Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
  • What is the monthly prize and who can claim it?- The monthly prize is a $10-$20-$50 PC Loblaws Gift Card and for our out of country friends it’s $CDN via PayPal.  Please see GGC rules.
  • 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. If you choose to post monthly or bi-weekly you will only get 1 ballot for that shop. It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it altogether. 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?: No, 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 in order to plan accordingly our budget.
  • Do you stockpile food? 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 longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
  • 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 with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
  • What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our Iphone so if you wan to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
  • 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.

Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget like many people do. This is why The Grocery Game Challenge is one of the most popular hang out spots for people who want to save money on groceries.

If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2017 get ready to look at your grocery budget by learning;

  • Where you are spending money
  • How much money you are spending
  • How much money you are saving every month

If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! It’s FREE!

If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email. If I use your topic I will put your name in a draw for a prize at the end of the year.

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 2017!


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  1. Dee Ferguson says:

    Week 46 – Dec 1 – 7, 2017
    Name Your Store: Superstore
    Total Coupons Used: $
    Total Points = 1,450
    Total Out Of Pocket: $65.75

    Quaker Corn Squares = $2.48
    4 Stove Top Stuffing – $1.99 (PM Food Basics @ $0.99) = $3.98
    450 g NN Cheese = $4.97
    2.5 Dozen Eggs = $5.00
    2 Astro Yogurt = $4.96
    1.13 Kg PC Chicken Lasagna – (1,000 PC Points) = $9.98
    907 g Shepard’s Pie = $4.98
    907 g Chicken Lasagna = $4.98
    St. Hubert Tourtiere = $7.98
    St. Hubert Chicken Pie = $7.98
    In-Store Cinnamon Raisin Bread – (450 PC Points) = $3.00
    PC Hot Cross Buns = $2.98

    Name Your Store: No Frills
    Total Coupons Used: $
    Total Points =
    Total Out Of Pocket: $36.20

    4 Heinz Pasta = $4.00
    3 Habitant Pea Soup- 3/$5.00 = $5.00
    4 L 2% Milk = $4.27
    3 – 750 g NN Vegetables – 3/$5.00 = $5.00
    5 lb Clementines = $2.97
    Bananas – 1.215 Kg = $1.49
    2 Acorn Squash – 1.380 Kg = $2.95
    Thomas Cinnamon Raisin Bread = $2.50

    2 – 18 Kg NN Cat Litter = $18.01

    Grocery Game Challenge Results
    Total Grocery Budget for the 2 Adults ($1820.00, for the pay period – $70.00)
    Total Human (Adults) this Week Period: $93.94
    Total Human (Adults) to Date: $1,521.64 (minus Debt pymt & Gift Cards) = $1,355.25

    Total Grocery Budget for the 3 Cats ($364, for the pay period – $14.00)
    Total Cats this Week Period: $18.01
    Total Cats to Date: $368.40

    Total Grocery Budget for Stockpile ($507.69)
    Total Stockpile this Week Period: $
    Total Stockpile to Date: $163.05

    Total Grocery Budget for the Personal Hygiene ($182)
    Total Personal Hygiene this Week Period: $21.85
    Total Personal Hygiene to Date: $249.25

    Total Grocery Budget for Meat ($499.98)
    Total Meat this Week Period: $
    Total Meat to Date: $407.10

    Total Coupons Used this Week Period: $
    Total Coupons Used To Date: $22.48

    Total Grocery Savings for this Week Period: $
    Total Grocery Savings to Date: $89.64

    Total Price Match for this Week Period: $4.00
    Total Price Match to Date: $81.48

    Total PC Points Received this Week Period: 1,450
    Total PC Rewards Points Used this Week Period: 20,000
    Total PC Rewards To Date: 2,878

    Overview: Did more stocking up so we should be good now, except for the little items that we never seem to have enough of.

  2. DECEMBER – Dec 4-10, 2017


    •Total Grocery Budgeted For Year: $190.00 x 12 = $2,280.00 for 2 adults



    Hubby is on holidays now so it’s a perfect opportunity to make lots of wonderful soups!

    I have lots of RCSS Points that I can use for my New Years grocery shop… so I am moving our entire grocery budget for the month of December into our reserves.


    Since hubby is vacationing now, this week I have planned a Wings Night at our local pub, haircuts, a treat night with frozen items from M & M Foods, our quarterly blood tests at the lab, a holiday visit with hubby’s mother and sister, a road trip to check out the Christmas displays in Kilby, a lunch at one of our favorite deli’s in Chilliwack and hopefully a coffee get-together with my Dad.

    With all the running around…it’ll be perfect having a quick bowl of soup when we get in! The plan is also to bake a few items for some holiday treats as well…I have all the ingredients so it’s just a matter of “some assembly required”!









    •Total Loyalty Card Price Reductions This Year: $308.47
    •Total Coupons/Rain Checks Used This Year: $0.00
    •Total Price Match Savings Used This Year: $0.00
    •Total More Points Earned This Year: 324 Points
    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year: 58 Air Miles
    •Total PC PLUS Points Earned This Year: 20,000 Points
    •Total Optimum Points Earned This Year: 4,100 Points



    $ 2,280.00 Grocery Budget JAN-DEC
    ($ 604.57) NET RESERVE SAVINGS
    ($1,675.43) Actual CASH SPENT


    $ 505.69 Re-Stocking Fund
    $ 170.70 Holiday Season Fund + $210 RCSS POINTS +
    $10 Dream Air Miles + $10 RCSS Gift Card (TOTAL $400.70)
    $ 649.59 Summer Season Fund
    $ 511.87 US Shopping Reserve
    $ 41.56 GGC Savings Reserve
    $ 0.00 Points Redeemed Reserve

    OUR CURRENT TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES ARE $1,879.41. This means the $1,274.44 that we carried forward from 2016 PLUS AN ADDITIONAL $1,635.94 that we have added in 2017, LESS $1,030.97 that we have drawn out for use in 2017.


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