grocery game monthly challenge

10 Affordable Meatless Meals To Help Shrink Your Grocery Bill : The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #1 May 2-8

Affordable Meatless Meals

  BALANCE THE MEAL PLAN TO HELP BALANCE YOUR BUDGET   Meatless meals have become a regular on our menu plan not only for the savings but because we enjoy the simplicity of a veg dish with simple alternate proteins other than meat and fish. That might sound a bit awkward to someone who doesn’t use a grocery budget but for our family a budget is essential to keeping us accountable for the food that we purchase.   Meatless meal day is any day   If you aren’t already aware there is a day dedicated to meatless meals and that day is Monday. Just because it sounds good though doesn’t mean you are required to forgo meat on a Monday. After a weekend of comfort food with the family a Meatless Monday is a nice way to start the week but it’s also a nice way to end the week or slow it down in the middle. What I love about ditching the meat once or twice a week is that I can batch cook easy meatless meals and enjoy leftovers the next day. I’m not a huge fan of re-heated meat especially if it is a steak, chicken, roast […]

30 Minute Meal : Tortellini with a Sausage Pasta Sauce

30 minute meal tortellini with sausage

FRUGAL MEAL TIME-SAVER THAT TASTES DELICIOUS   Italian tortellini are some of the best stuffed pasta you’ll find at the grocery store in the frozen food section for about $1.99 a bag. Tortellini is a meal that your family will love especially when you are in a pinch for time or are on a tight budget. If you are adventurous and want to make fresh tortellini they would beat out any store-bought brand but it can be a bit time consuming. Since we have a busy toddler running around and I’m working 2 jobs we’re cheating today with frozen ricotta stuffed tortellini for this 30 minute-meal. Since having our boy things have changed a bit in the kitchen which means until he is a bit older we have to compromise on some of the store-bought items that we normally would attempt to make at home. I’ve been a tortellini lover for years now because when I lived in the UK tortellini was very inexpensive to buy and fit nicely with my tight budget. What I like about tortellini is how you can bulk out the meal with meat and vegetables to stretch it. Back then I would eat tortellini about […]

grocery game monthly challenge

7 Secrets Of The Grocery Shopping Deal Sniffer : The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #4 Apr 25- May 1

7 secrets of the grocery shopping deal sniffer

BLINK AND YOU’LL MISS THE SAVINGS   I would consider myself a grocery shopping deal sniffer because I’ve taken the time to learn as much as I possibly can about grocery shopping in Canada even though I knew nothing only 8 years ago. What is a deal sniffer? When I moved to Canada I had no idea about any prices and was led by my wife who helped get me on board with how things happened at the grocery store. I was always a deal sniffer in the UK and I even had a hand scanner similar to the Nielsen Hand Scanner where I scanned my groceries for rewards points. I did just about anything to save money as long as it was legal even if that meant eating the same foods week after week. My kitchen isn’t that boring these days because now I’ve got my grocery shopping goggles on the second I walk through the door. A deal sniffer is someone who knows their stuff when it comes to grocery prices, the grocery store and other places that sell food products. They know where the deals are how to find them and what they need to do in […]

Baked Frittata with Mozzarella and Fennel Greens (Low-Carb)

baked frittata with mozzarella and fennel greens(1)

NUTRITIOUS EGGS ARE INEXPENSIVE AND GOOD ANY TIME OF DAY   Ever since my wife started making changes to her diet to incorporate the low-carb methodology we’ve been working on new recipes like this baked frittata with mozzarella and fennel greens also known as fennel fronds. If you have never tried fennel before you must dive in and spend the few dollars  to buy one. Fennel is crunchy like celery but has an anise flavour too it that is gorgeous to eat raw, in salads or you can roast, grill and saute it. For this baked frittata recipe I only used the fennel greens as opposed to just the fennel bulb since most people don’t know what to use the fronds for and toss them in the garbage. You can use the fennel fronds to infuse water to make a healthy tea, fennel infused oil, stuffed in fish or to make a lovely soup stock. The sky really is the limit if you love the flavour of fennel fronds when cooking and adding it to your favourite recipes. How to clean fennel When I use the fennel bulb I chop the tough stems like cabbage after I slice the fennel […]

How We Let House Prices Influence Our Real Estate Budget: The Saturday Weekend Review #169

HOUSE PRICES 2 INFLUENCED OUR REAL ESTATE BUDGET

REAL ESTATE DECISION-MAKING CAN BE SCARY FOR ANY BUDGET   House prices can make or break you financially so it’s important to know your finances inside-out and make a decision to purchase a home based on affordability and sanity. Everyone knows that house prices have not burst as expected rather they have exploded and keep going up which means first-time buyers and graduates are struggling to slip into the housing market. Living in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) I’ve seen some of the most expensive real estate in Ontario. Back in the UK house prices were and still are astronomical in comparison to what you can buy in Canada. I was never one to complain about house prices in Canada until I started earning a pay cheque and life in Ontario kicked in. When you are a tourist from out-of-town where the money is practically double and house prices are high it’s easy to get excited about the prospects of owning a gorgeous home with space. Although I didn’t struggle to sell my house in the UK when I moved to Canada the current owner is struggling and has been for years to sell because no one can afford the […]

grocery game monthly challenge

Strange Things People Do At The Grocery Store To Save Money: The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #3 Apr 17-24

strange things people do at the grocery store to save money(1)

SAVING MONEY CAN BECOME A CHALLENGE HIGH   I’ve blogged about grocery shopping for 5 years now and have learned so much about how Canadians grocery shop. I’ve learned the good and the ugly about how far people will go to save money on one of the biggest budget expenses apart from mortgage/rent and vehicle payments- food. While at the supermarket I’m on full radar and see so many strange things people do to save money that it amazes me how they can be so easy-going about it. When cracks in the savings system are found some consumers cash in because they want more than a little, they want it all even if it’s a bit underhanded. Financial times are tough in many households as grocery prices and living expenses are steadily increasing where the tightest grocery budget will feel the strain. You may think that only people who are struggling to buy food will conquer the grocery store using crooked ways just to save a few bucks but this is far from true. Even the richest of people are frugal and will do just about anything to keep money flowing through their bank account even if it is cheating […]

What Should Your Retirement Savings Plan Look Like? : March Net Worth Update 2016 (+2.27%)

Net Worth Update March 2016 CBB

WE WON’T KNOW THE FUTURE UNTIL WE GET THERE BUT WE CAN PLAN TODAY FOR TOMORROW, EVEN IF IT’S NOT GUARANTEED.   Our financial advisor told us once that our retirement savings plan was looking good for our ages even though we knew we had a long way to go before we’d feel any thrill of what is yet to come. It’s hard to get excited about financial freedom when you don’t really know what you will need. Most of my colleagues don’t often talk about retirement likely because we want to work and use our expertise as this is what we wanted to do with our lives. I remember when I was working in dead-end jobs or jobs I hated retirement sounded good every morning, before and after coffee. Retirement may not be a hot topic at work but I’m sure behind the scenes money is being saved for when the time comes to say hello to a new way of life.  I’m only a newbie on the block so I suspect some of the long-standing employees are making in excess of 6 figures a year and have a decent retirement savings plan. Even though a large income may […]

grocery game monthly challenge

How Customer Feedback Will Make You Richer : The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #2 Apr 11-17

CUSTOMER FEEDBACK(1)

THERE’S ONE FEEDBACK TOOL THAT YOU NEVER WANT TO MISS OUT ON USING- YOUR VOICE   As a consumer whether you are happy or unsatisfied where you shop they most likely have a customer feedback opportunity in which you can share your opinion in order to praise or help improve the shopping experience. The last thing you want to do after finishing your grocery shopping is to fill out a customer feedback report for the grocery store even if there are perks involved. I’m here to tell you that if you do participate in customer feedback that the results will come back to you in the form of riches. A couple of years back my wife took the time to fill out an online customer survey for Giant Tiger after a positive experience. The survey also offered a monthly prize although my wife was more interested in sharing how impressed she was with the service she was given by the lovely cashier who was absolutely pleasant. The odds of winning a prize based out of all the Giant Tiger stores was slim. We received a phone call one late afternoon to be told that it was Giant Tiger and that […]

Spring Cleaning Parents Team Up Early To Save Avoidable Home Repairs : The Saturday Weekend Review #167

The Saturday Weekend Review(1)

DON’T PUT OFF WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY FOR TOMORROW   Spring cleaning is a must for our family and something the wife and I have done every year since we bought our house back in 2009. Cleaning the house inside and out after a harsh winter is not appealing but many of us have had all winter to wind up the motor for these Spring cleaning chores. In 2009 we were dual-income homeowners without a child and we pretty much had all the spare time in the world to keep our home pristine looking. Most times people would compliment us on how tidy and clean our house was and thought it looked magazine ready. Although we chuckled when those compliments came in these days we’d LOVE if just one person would compliment our toy-ridden house that has been taken over by a 19 month old “Wreck it Ralph”. He contributes to 99% of the disaster around this house and thinks it’s hilarious. We do too in a parenting kind of way, lol. As a husband and father who works 6 days a week at 2 jobs and blogs I have a pretty tight schedule to fill these days. What […]

3 Budget Negotiations That Saved Us Money : Our March 2016 Budget Review

budgetupdatepost2016

YOUR MONEY WON’T WORK BY ITSELF SO GIVE IT A PUSH   Treat your finances like you own a company and you are the CEO. Budget negotiations should be part of everyone’s financial plan not just the government and business owners. You may be working for someone else making them rich but when it comes to your money there are ways to achieve the same successes but on a personal level.  It’s amazing how many people take their budget for granted and accept the bills they are given instead of putting the green light on budget negotiations. You’ve worked hard for your money now make your money work for you. Don’t let your cash float away without seeing how much you can save. You don’t have to be an outspoken customer to get a better deal. Before you attack (take that with a grain of salt) you must be armed with details and the outcome you’d like from your budget negotiations. If you need to balance your budget but you’re off by $50 try to see if you can get your bundled-telecommunications services lowered. Make a deal. The top way to trim budget expenses is by negotiating the interest rates […]

grocery game monthly challenge

The Most Annoying Situations When Buying Groceries : The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #1 Apr 4-10

THE MOST ANNOYING SITUATIONSWHEN BUYING GROCERIES(1)

SURVEY SAYS…GROCERY SHOPPING FAILS   Buying groceries is a must for just about everyone so unless you have your groceries delivered or rely on a personal shopper you are in charge of the shopping cart. As someone who doesn’t mind buying groceries from a few competitive stores in our area I notice a difference between grocery chains and when it comes to customers we all fail at something on my grocery shopping annoyance list below. Luckily when buying groceries many of us have the option of where we want to shop but for those of you who may live in a small town or who are without transportation or limited transportation you may have select stores to give your business too. Sometimes we have to take the good with the bad when buying groceries because funds are limited and honestly no one store is perfect and never will be. What we can change is the way we are as customers and voice our concerns so the grocery chains and even small indpendent grocery stores hear what the customers need. I’m not that guy who will fill out a customer survey right now because I’m swamped with work but I have […]

The Dollar Store Should Be Called The Dollars Store : The Saturday Weekend Review #166

The Dollars Store Dollar Store

ONE PRICE DOES NOT FIT ALL: DOLLAR STORE ITEMS ARE GOING UP IN PRICE   It’s easier for consumers to justify spending a dollar on a product but what happens when that same products is now double or triple the price? The everything for a dollar store is now dead and has been for a while but now prices are slated to go up again at Dollarama. Low-income earners are not the only customers that frequent dollar stores to stock up on a variety of products for less. Just about every wallet and bank account finds something they need at the dollar store. Why spend more money than you have to if you can find it cheaper? That’s the way the wife and I have thought over the years as customers to many dollar stores. Almost every store you go into today has some sort of dollar section where they try to compete with dollar stores around Canada. It makes sense because if they can fool all of us into one-stop shopping then they have control over the market which can be bleak at times. There isn’t any money to spend for consumers so less is best yet we all […]