The Grocery Game Challenge #12 March 18-24,2013- Pass The Salt Please!


Table Salt Sodium

How much salt do you consume on a daily basis in your diet? If it’s more than 1500 mg a day you may want to start learning more about sodium and how much you are shaking on your food, putting in you meals and purchasing in pre-made foods. It’s something we don’t normally think about when we buy food but after watching this past weeks Marketplace episode “What’s On Your Plate” things changed.

While at the supermarket we started investigating labels ourselves. Needless to say the wife and I were shocked when we turned labels over and started doing the maths. We literally walked up and down the cracker and pasta aisle reading labels and trying to make sense of it all. After watching the show we concluded that we likely have far more salt than we need in our diet and hope to make some changes.

Sometimes it’s television shows like this that really open our eyes to what most of us tend to just “forget” or pretend to hear. If you are not sure about your sodium level head over to Marketplace and test your plate for sodium with their interactive sodium calculator, I bet you will be surprised.  It’s interesting as you get to drag food to your plate starting with breakfast right up until dinner including snacks.

How Much Sodium Does The Body Need?

I used the interactive sodium calculator and this is what mine read: 

  • Breakfast- Oatmeal,  Coffee and Toast Total 167 mg sodium
  • Lunch- Club Sandwich, 2 shakes of salt, Bowl of Tomato Soup, Mustard – Total 2121 mg sodium
  • Snack-Banana, Latte Cafe -Total 67 mg sodium
  • Dinner- Pork Chop, Green Salad, Italian Dressing, 2 shakes of salt, Baked Potato, Spinach -Total 799 mg
  • Late Night Snack- Nothing, I don’t snack much

Total- 3154 mg sodium (ouch) consumed for the day which is 137% of the 2300 mg maximum daily limited recommended by Health Canada. You actually only need 1500 mg of sodium every day. In other words, I need to lower my sodium intake. Mind you I don’t really eat club sandwiches maybe a tomato sandwich with cheese, nor do I have a latte rather a cup of reg coffee. It was a good eye opener though so I hope you test your plate.

Although the recommended number above seems like alot once you start to read labels on products you consume you will quickly realize it adds up very quickly. The National average according to Marketplace is 3400 mg per person each day which is far too much. Our bodies need sodium as it is an “essential mineral and electrolyte  which controls the body’s acid base balance and fluid volume”.

Most times we turn a blind eye to all the health concerns that can surface slowly over the years because it’s not present now. What I mean is that it seems every time we turn around something is not good enough for us. I often joke that we should just live off of twigs and berries but in reality it’s not so bad of an idea to go back to basics. Sticking to a healthy meal of fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy especially organic home-grown fruits and vegetables if you can afford it in the budget.

Alternatively growing your own food from seed in the garden may encourage healthier eating. Probably one of the scariest tips they gave was “too much sodium has been linked to increased risks down the road such as osteoporosis  stomach cancer and severity of asthma”. They also state that if we take steps to “lowering your sodium intake will reduce the risk of high blood pressure, stroke as well as heart and kidney disease”.

Marketplace went around Canada taking urine samples of every day people including young students and athletes to see just how much sodium was in their system.  Just like the participants themselves we were in awe seeing how much sodium was in their urine.Even the people who thought they led a healthy lifestyle and ate top-notch meals and exercised had higher levels of sodium.

Bush's Baked Beans

Read Product Labels

I went in our pantry to check the labels on some of the products we have and one in particular was a can of bush’s baked beans. Seems healthy enough as they are beans and we have lots of them because we do enjoy them and used a coupon to get them for around a $0.25 a can. We don’t stockpile food so much these days as we weren’t going through it fast enough but this is some of the last cans of what we have left. The sodium was a whopping 550 mg, 23%, per 1/2 cup serving or 125 ml.

The wife and I can eat one can split between the two of us with a protein and vegetable. The beans alone rings in at 389 ml of beans per can which means there is just over 3 (3 x 125 ml = 375 ml) servings in one can. If we finish one can between the 2 of us we will have ingested around 825 mg of sodium, JUST WITH BEANS and that’s not including the rest of the meal. Needless to say we won’t be eating beans in the can any longer once the few cans we have are gone.

Our Plans

Now when we shop we are going to try and be aware of labels and look for foods that are “less than 360 mg of sodium per serving” according to the guidelines. One percentage that really hit home and I’m sure you can all relate is that 88% of the sodium in our diet is added when we are cooking our meal or was manufactured with salt added. That means that we are likely ingesting far more salt than we need that is not naturally occurring in the products we buy.

What we plan to do is learn how to make our own homemade vs store-bought baked beans so we can control the amount of salt that goes into out food. I know we only live once and trying to control every morsel that goes into our mouth might be tough but I thinks it’s at least important to be aware of what we are putting into our bodies. Just like budgeting, knowledge is power and the more you do something the better at it you should get. We will work on lowering our sodium little by little and see if it we can eliminate adding too much salt to our meals.

Tell us how you did if you used the sodium calculator and what you plan to do to lower the sodium in your diet?

The Grocery Game Challenge

Grocery Game Shop #12 March 2013

This is the third Grocery Game Challenge week for March 2013~~ Post your Shop and you might be our next Grocery Game Winner!

For Inspiration read about Canadian Budget Binder fan Donna R who shares her secrets for lowering her family’s grocery budget from a whopping $1100 a month to $600 give it a read now.

Our Grocery Game Challenge Results 

No Frills

  • 10 cans of tomato paste Sale $0.40 each
  • 3 Club Packs Boneless Pork Chops $5.71, $6.55, $5.66
  • 1 x Bean Sprouts $0.97
  • 1 x 3lb Onions $1.67
  • 2 x Rooster Garlic 3 pack Sale $0.59

Total Out of Pocket $25.74


  • 2x 60 count Wrigley Peppermint Gum Sale $2.04 each reg $4.99 each
  • Mexicana Cheddar Cheese $9.73-50% pink sticker
  • Hirten Cheese $11.01-50% pink sticker
  • Ace Olive Bread $2.49-50% pink sticker
  • Ace Sun dried Tomato Bread $2.49- 50% pink sticker
  • Romaine Hearts 3 pk Sale $1.99

Total Out of Pocket $19.44

Total Grocery Amount Budgeted For the Year : $2819.38
  • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00 or $78.33 week with one no-shop week per month or $58.75 for 4 weeks per month. (During the months with 5 weeks we just make it work)
  • Total Coupons Used this Week : $0 (WOW) only on pet treats we used a coupon
  • Total Discounts this Week: $0
  • Total Checkout 51 rebates this Week: $0 Don’t Use this service
  • Total Checkout 51 rebates this Month: $0 Don’t Use this service
  • Total Colleague Discounts (CD) this Week: $0 
  • Total Colleague Discounts (CD) this Month:$0 
  • Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points Used: $0
  • Stockpile Budget: $20.00 Used: $20.00 (done for the month of March)
  • Total Spent This Week:$45.18
  • Total Spent So Far for (March): $169.62
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: Under $33.15
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month of  (March): Under $65.38
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $65.38
  • Total Coupons Used This Month :$17.23+$7.50+$0
  • Total to Carry Over Next Month : $ n/a We don’t carry over 
  • Total Spent To Date This Year: $206.95 (Jan)+ $160.77 (Feb) =$367.72

Weekly Overview: Next week is a no-shop week for us but we shouldn’t need to run out to buy anything. There is a bit of money left in the grocery budget but let’s just see if we can stay out of the shops. This week we did find some great deals with pink stickers on pet treats. That will go in under our pet category in the budget not the grocery budget. We also were able to get some posh cheese with pink stickers 50% and since we likely wouldn’t buy it at full price it was a treat to find it half off. We can’t wait to try them out. Mrs.CBB also spotted boneless pork chops for half price at No Frills which we couldn’t resist. Another couple stuck their head in the bunker and we said, yes it’s a great deal so they walked off with 3 club packs as well. Great shopping week for us and some new coupons found as well! Next week is the last week for March Grocery Game Challenge so make sure you get all your shops posted.

Canadian Coupons Found This Week

Grocery Game Coupons #12 March 2013

How was your grocery shop this week? Post your shop exactly like how I did and let us all know. 

FAQ’s- Grocery Game Challenge RULES…..

  1. 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 a few players from around the world.
  2. 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. You can post your shops all month-long.
  3. Does Your Grocery Budget Include Health and Beauty and Laundry? Yes our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be effected 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.
  4. Where can I find Canadian CouponsHere are your latest Coupon Match-ups  of the week including Checkout 51 from 25 Newspaper Inserts around Canada compliments of Save Big Live Better that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge.
  5. Where can I find updated Coupon Policies? You can find all the updated Canadian Coupon Policies on hand at Mrs. January

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Mr.CBB’s Personal Finance Reading List #7 Air Fare Wars~ Air Canada Price Guarantee!

Personal Finance Weekly Reading List

From Storage Wars to Product Price Wars and now to Air Fare Wars with Air Canada heating up the runway with a promise of an Air Fare Price Guarantee. Yes you heard that right and Air Canada is communicating this to its price savvy customers stating that if they book online they WILL get the BEST price Guaranteed. So, after you book and purchase your ticket “if you find a cheaper price for the same flight, itinerary and fare brand on another Canadian website Air Canada will give you a travel credit $50 plus the difference in the air fare costs”  according to Ben Smith, Air Canada’s chief commercial officer. Wow, I’m impressed although West Jet has something similar promising the lowest prices. This reminds me of the Canadian Tire Price Match Guarantee where they will not only match the price but give you 10% back in Canadian Tire Money to spend in the store. I know I’ve always plotted my purchases around these perks and will continue to do so as long as they are available.

I don’t know what it is any more but every where we look competition gets hotter and options just keep getting better although every dollar counts when it comes to saving. They know what consumers want, “The Best Prices” and they should stop at nothing to provide them to us even if that means price wars, business is business after all. As most Canadians continue to balance the family budget they also tend to stop spending as much money especially when consumer debt is a big part of the picture.

Canadians are always looking for ways to save whether it be price matching, cutting coupons, deal sites, coupon codes and now even money-saving apps like Checkout51 and Freshpoints Canada for the Iphone. Many stores have a price match guarantee and even a price adjustment policy which for some last up to 90 days. We purchased our water softener from Sears Canada which has a price adjustment policy for the 90 days so if they sell it cheaper we can head in and get reimbursed the money. It’s perks like these that the customers want to see because there is nothing worse than finding the same product for less.

With Air Canada I think it’s a great idea and will help bring back some of the customers as prices have always been much higher to fly with Air Canada hence why most people look for cheaper fares. Any time an organization steps outside with it costs, that cost rolls right down to the consumer. With all the technology and marketing a big company like that should be able to take it on themselves rather than shovelling it to online retailers which costs Air Canada a commission. Will this work is the question? Only time will tell but money talks, there’s no doubt about that.

Mrs.CBB and I both never bothered  heading to the Air Canada site after realizing prices were just far too expensive.  I guess you get what you pay for. All I ever worried about was getting from point A to point B safe, a good cuppa tea and space. I don’t care how cheap the flight is but if I must have smokey the bear breathing and drooling on me they can keep their money especially if it is a long flight. If it’s a short flight I’ll suck it up but anything over 8 hours I’ll pay the extra.  I’ve got a few good stories I might share one day.

I’ve travelled to many countries and I’ve never once booked through an agency. I would always search the internet looking for the best prices for air fare and book that way to save some money most often avoiding the direct airline websites due to cost. There were times I would chat to people on the plane and they would tell me what they paid and I would either bite my lip or smile because I knew I got a better deal. It pays to look around but it also helps when the big boys like Air Canada throw these types of money-saving motivators into the mix.  I’m sure this is only the beginning and we will see more air fare wars coming out of hiding because like anything money makes the world go round.

You can read the full story here.

How do you book your travel flights?

What was your worst experience on a flight?


**Please take a moment if you are a Canadian Budget Binder fan and vote for CBB as Top Personal Finance Blog 2012. I would really love to give 1 lucky fan $100 to pay down debt, something that would really make me happy. >> Click here… and vote now for Canadian Budget Binder as well we were nominated for Top Canadian Personal Finance Blog and you can Click here and vote now for Canadian Budget Binder!!! Lastly $500 Cash is up for grabs, open worldwide to those with Paypal.. read my Shopping Tips to Save Money Post and enter via Rafflecopter ends Feb 28,2013!

Thanks for your continued support of Canadian Budget Binder and now I’ll share you with my fans who tell me they look forward to this weekly list and catching up on the best articles I’ve read. Please join me in reading some of the best blog posts of the week that I have picked.  Although I haven’t been feeling well the past week this is one mighty fine list of amazing PF Bloggers so please check them out…

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Three Best Things About Being Single When It Comes To Money

car with kids

A year ago I would have never pictured myself as being a single mother. I’m sure no married mother actually pictures herself on her own raising her children. But life happens and there are just some things that we will never be able to change. Being single isn’t all that bad; there are actually many perks and being able to make your own personal financial decisions is one of them

The three best things about being single for me when it comes to money are…..

1.)    You Can Make Your Own  Financial Plans. My ex-husband and I disagreed a lot when it came to managing our money. While he did let me have most of the control over the cheque book, he would often make comments like “I will work until the day I die.” Of course me being a personal finance junkie would just feel my eyes roll into the back of my head every time I heard this. Well of course, without a plan and some savings you will work until the day you die. I can now organize my game plan without having to beg somebody to jump on board.

What I can Do Being Single….
  • If I want to start a ROTH IRA, I can do it.
  • If I want to buy individual stocks to invest my money, I can do it.
  • If I want to live on beans and rice to save money on groceries (not that I would), there is nobody stopping me, I can do it.

2.)    You are the Only Person in Your Way. Now when I set my goals I am the only person who can keep me from success. If I fail it is all on me. I have nobody to blame but myself. So as long as I can keep my ambition (which I will) I am heading straight for the finish line.

3.)    You Have to Depend on Yourself. Now this third one isn’t quite as fun, but it’s a challenge and I am always up for a challenge. It takes a little bit of time to learn how to be independent again but once you get that down you feel unstoppable.

Believe In Yourself! 

A new-found feeling of independence does wonders for your confidence. Knowing that you are smart enough and above all responsible enough to support yourself and kids (if you have any) and still have the drive to go after your dreams. That is an amazing feeling, especially if it’s one you thought that you would never have.

So those are my favourite three things about being single when it comes to money. Now, I am able to wake up each day, accomplish the most important things and go after my goals, whatever they might be. There’s an upside to every situation and being single isn’t so bad after all.

Guest Post: Alexa is a newly single mother to two beautiful little girls. She chronicles her journey as a single mother trying to make it big at Single Moms Income.

It's Not About How Much Money You Make It's How You Spend It

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Mr.CBB’s Festive Coconut Balls

Mr.CBB's Festive Coconut Balls

Mr.CBB’s Festive Coconut Balls

These Festive Coconut Balls also called snowballs for some are part of our family tradition each year. Just before the Holidays arrive we load up the kitchen with baking ingredients and get to work. If you like coconut cookies or better yet chocolate coconut cookies you will love these coconut balls. The great thing about these treats are not only are they cheap to make they are an easy no-bake coconut balls recipe. So no need to turn on the oven to heat up the house and send your smart meter into overdrive.  If there is one thing I like in the kitchen it is no bake recipes or no bake foods which keeps it simple, at least for me.  Just last week we whipped up a few batches of no-bake chocolate peanut butter balls but we have to hide them because they are so popular around here.

All you need is a double boiler or a pot and a stainless steel bowl and you are ready to make these elegant treats flavoured with a sweet condensed milk. You can wrap these chocolate coconut balls up for friends and family or place in the centre of a table for your holiday guests. Another great thing about making homemade treats for the holidays is that it’s a conversation piece. Have you ever sunk your teeth into something you love and want to know the who, what, where, when and How. That’s what I mean, so get ready for some real super charged conversations with these easy coconut balls. The fun part is rolling them into the coconut!

Some of our friends make no bake balls like ours but they are coconut balls dipped in chocolate which you could essentially do with these as well for more pizzaz. If you are wondering where we picked up the awesome Santa Boxes to pack our coconut balls and other cookies we made for friends it was at Dollarama! So $1.00 and some homemade treats equals some happy friends and family.

So here is our famous Festive Coconut Balls recipe just for you… you read it first here on Canadian Budget Binder…. enjoy!

Mr.CBB’s Festive Coconut Balls Recipe

Yield: 36 medium sized Balls (smaller than a timbit for all you Tim Horton’s Fans)


  • Double Boiler or a Pot with  Stainless Steel Bowl that fits over
  • Mixing spoon
  • Tray for the coconut ( I use a tin foil lasagna tray)
  • Food Processor to grind Graham Crackers if you have them whole


  • Sweetened condensed milk 1 can
  • 2 pkgs of sweetened coconut
  • 2 squares of semi-sweet chocolate or 2 tablespoons of cacao
  • 1 jar of maraschino cherries chopped small
  • 2 1/2 cup of ground Graham cracker crumbs or if whole blend in the processor to make 2 1/2 cups (these must be fine)
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts Note: (bash them about so they are small as you don’t want big nuts you must have small pieces of nuts)
  • Chopped Dates (optional) add 1/2 cup


  • In a double boiler or a pot half filled with hot water and a stainless bowl over top, melt your chocolate squares. If you don’t have the squares and you have the cocoa add in your sweet condensed milk first then the cocoa.
  • Once the chocolate squares are melted slowly add in your can of condensed milk and mix together.
  • Remove your pot from the heat now.
Add Cherries, Walnuts and Mix for Coconut Balls

Add Cherries, Walnuts and Mix for Coconut Balls

  • Add in your Graham cracker crumbs and mix to blend
  • Add in your cherries and walnuts and mix to blend
  • Cover with cling wrap and put it in the refrigerator for about 1-1.5 hours to chill. This makes them a bit easier to roll.
  • Take the bowl out of the refrigerator and with a spoon take out some of the mixture and roll it into a ball
Roll coconut balls in coconut

Roll coconut balls in coconut

  • Immediately roll it into the coconut and if you have to put some of the coconut in your hand and roll it around the ball so it clings to it.
  • Line them all on a baking sheet with parchment paper, then put in the freezer for at least a day to freeze solid.
  • When frozen you can put in a container until you are ready to take out and serve. They last in the freezer up to 3 months. Let them come to room temperature before you serve them.
  • That’s it.. how easy was that!!!

If you liked this recipe make sure you check out all the other holiday treats that have been made in the CBB Kitchen as well as the food recipes that I’ve created all year-long. Please Share or Pin these recipes to help me spread the word about our awesome blog here at CBB that you are a part of. Join me every Sunday on the blog where we put Budgets to rest and pull out the FOOD!! All money talk and no fun can get boring so join in and share your recipes and enjoy mine like this holiday coconut balls recipe!

Happy Holidays!


It's Not About How Much Money You Make It's How You Spend It

Mr.CBB’s Quote

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The Grocery Game Challenge Dec 10-16, 2012 -2 Weeks Until Christmas!

The Grocery Game Challenge Dec 2012

The Grocery Game Challenge Dec 2012

The Grocery Game Challenge is drawing to a close for 2012 and Christmas festivities are about to begin in 2 weeks time. What a year it has been for all who have joined in to post their grocery shops with us. I’ve heard so many great stories from all of you about how some of you have lowered your grocery budget and have made better choices when grocery shopping. Others were able to stick to their budget and continue to strive and set goals for 2013. As the next couple weeks roll in and the festivities start to come to a high this challenge will still be posted so please check in or subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss posting your shop.

If you haven’t had a chance please read a guest post I wrote for my mate John at Frugal Rules titled 10 Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Budget. It really does showcase all the tips we’ve learned this year from all of you and from understanding our shopping habits. When the New Year comes in I will be posting a brand new year of The Grocery Game Challenge and this is the perfect time to join because you can track a full year of shopping with us. I’m excited to have everyone on board and ready to save money so they can put those savings towards other debts, help fund their retirement or other goals.

If you are like us and use coupons you might have alot of Free Product Coupons due to expire the end of December. We have about 10 or more so we are trying to use them up this week and next. Since we went way over budget in November I said in December we would try to make up for it leaving us a budget for 2 of $84.23 . Last week our Grocery Game Challenge shop totalled $38.36 leaving us $45.87 to spend.

What are your goals for your grocery budget for 2013? Will you post your grocery shop in the Grocery Game Challenge all year-long with me?

So without any more chatter here is what we spent yesterday!

Shoppers Drug Mart

  • 1x Milk $4.19

Total Out of Pocket $4.19

Food Basics

  • Oranges $2.00
  • Case of Water Sale $2.44
  • 3x Lactancia Cream Sale $1.99-$0.75

Total Out of Pocket $8.16


  • 2x EggNog Sale $1.24

Total Out of Pocket- $2.48

Metro- received 2 Air Miles YA!

  • 3x Meat Tortellini 1KG reg $5.49 Sale $1.99
  • 1x Meat Ravioli 1KG Reg $5.49 Sale $1.99
  • 1x 500g Gay Lea Cottage Cheese $3.59- FPC=FREE
  • 1x Barilla Pasta Sale $0.97- $0.75 Coupon from insert =$0.24
  • 2x Timothy Coffee- $7.99-FPC’s= FREE
  • 1x Colgate Toothpaste Opti-White Sale $1.99-$1.00=$0.99

Total Out of Pocket- $9.45

Weekly Grocery Game Challenge Results for Mr. and Mrs. CBB

  • Total Grocery Budget for the Week: $84.23 (For the month of Dec)
  • Total Coupons Used this Week:$23.57
  • Total Scanning Code of Practice: $0
  • Total Spent This Week:$24.28
  • Total Spent So Far for December: $24.28+38.36=$62.64
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $N/A this month
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $21.59
  • Total Coupons Used This Month : $8.54+23.57=$32.11

Overall: Not too bad this week as we really don’t need too much but need to use up some FPC’s. We had a binder clean out and found so many great coupons that we hope we can use mainly for health and beauty and laundry but only if we find some great sales. I’m optimistic we will make it to the end of the month on this small budget.

Some Coupons we found this week!

coupons at Zehrs Dec 2012

coupons at Zehrs Dec 2012

It's Not About How Much Money You Make It's How You Spend It

Mr.CBB’s Quote

FAQ’s- Grocery Game Challenge RULES…..

  • 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 a few posters from around 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. You can post your shops all month-long.

  • Does Your Grocery Budget Include Health and Beauty and Laundry?

Yes our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be effected 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.

There are many places you can find Canadian Coupons whether it be in store or via the mail.

Canadian Coupon Match-Ups- Match your coupons with flyer sales!

Here are your latest Coupon Match-ups  of the week from around Canada compliments of Save Big Live Better.

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