Are you a helpful grocery shopper?-The Grocery Game Challenge Jan 27- Feb 2, 2014 #5

crispy minisHELP IS ONLY A QUESTION AWAY

 

If you are a grocery shopper and have a question, ask. It’s as simple as that.

I’ve always said that there are no stupid questions no matter what situation you are in, even if it’s at the grocery store.

It’s always better to ask then to guess especially around you that might know the answer.

I believe that learning how to be a smart grocery shopper not only begins with the budget but it begins with you.

I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been grocery shopping and another grocery shopper has asked if one of us was an employee because they are desperate for help.

In a silly way it’s more the shoppers grocery store than it is the grocery stores store… if that makes sense. We help each other out when we can.

I don’t know about you but the last place I want to be without help is the grocery store because I just don’t want to hang out there any longer than I have to.

I’d like to think that every grocery store has its ups and downs and busy times so although they are willing to help waiting or trying to find someone can get challenging.

With most people having a cell phone with internet access by their side it’s easy for them to get access to all the information they need about various products if they are not sure about them but not everyone owns a cell phone.

 

The helpful grocery shopper

 

You’ve heard it before… “Sir/Madam could you please reach that bottle of sauce from the top shelf for me?” and of course you don’t mind  being a helpful grocery shopper, do you? I certainly don’t.

I have had people come right up to me and ask me if I know where a certain product is and to be honest, most times I do.

Having been so involved with The Grocery Game Challenge, being an avid grocery shopper, coupon user and deal hunter you get to know where all the products are.

 

Show them the product

 

I am never shy to point someone in the right direction and many times I’ve simply walked them right to the product to show them.

I know that when I ask an employee where a product is and they just say aisle 2 or point and say somewhere down that aisle on the bottom shelf it’s a bit unsatisfactory to me.

I want to know exactly where the product is but I know when I’m not getting paid by the store I’m under no obligation to do that for a total stranger, but I do.

I’m a helpful kind of person and I believe what goes around comes around so taking a minute out of my day to make someone else’s a bit easier is a no-brainer for me.

Although not every grocery shopper will have the time to take an extra minute out of their shop especially if there are kids in tow so having someone at least give a general direction is better than nothing. If you fail, you ask again.

 

Waiting at the cash register

 

I’ve even went as far as to leave the check-out to go get a product for the cashier because the stock person they called on the P.A system was either busy with someone else or not responding.

In your mind you can see the product on the shelf and you’re getting your engine ready to roll because you know you can have the product on the belt with-in in a minute.

In reality it really only would have taken me a minute or two to run to the other side of the store or down a close aisle to grab a replacement product for the grocery shopper in line ahead of me.People helping people, that’s a good thing.

Not only did it make the grocery shopper happy but I don’t have to wait in line any longer than I need to. In essence I’m doing two things at once, helping them and speeding things up for me.

 

In-store product review

 

There have been times when I’m minding my own business when I hear someone talking to themselves about a product. Come on you know you’ve done it before, lol.

I don’t mind speaking up as a grocery shopper and offering my two cents if I know about the product and in one form or another it’s almost as if you are giving the customer an in-store review on the product that you’ve tried before to help them make a smart shopping decision.

I’m brutally honest when another grocery shopper asks for my opinion or if I say something about a product. If I didn’t like I will tell them why. I won’t simply bash the product because they may have different tastes than me but I tell them what I think of it. It’s ultimately up to them to make their own decision.

Walking down the produce section there have been times I see fruits and vegetables that I have never seen before nor tried and have no idea how to prepare them.

I’m not shy to ask another grocery shopper who might have that product in their shopping cart about the product. Most times people are thrilled to talk about their cultures food if it something that is common to their cuisine and how to prepare it and other times I get the shrug off.

I don’t miss my opportunity to learn something new if I want to learn or if I want to teach. How many times as a grocery shopper waiting in line have you spoken up about the Scanning Code of Practice?

You know if you don’t say something the customer will end up paying for something that they could potentially get free and you just can’t wait to say it… you might even fight with yourself inside to mind your own business but you can’t help it and just blurt it out. Hey, did you know about SCOP?

 

Product knowledge

 

I remember a time I was listening to a lady grocery shopper talk to herself about rapini. She was reading the sign above the bunches of rapini and said “how do you even cook this?”.

Well of course I’m conveniently standing right behind her and I speak up without a care in the world and explained the product to her. It’s a product that my wife has used for years but it’s also an alternative to always eating broccoli or spinach all the time.

Once I was done with her she had 2 bunches in her shopping cart. In fact, just yesterday on the food network I watched “You Gotta Eat Here” and John Catucci was at a pizza shop.

The pizza shop made authentic Italian homemade pizza with pasta sauce, fresh mozzarella, and rapini on top with fresh grated Parmigiano and put it in the wood stove for 90 seconds.

It looked so good I’m contemplating making my homemade pizza very soon and including the rapini on top. When you have food knowledge it’s nice to share that with other people especially if you are as passionate about cooking like I am.

I hope when the time comes that I need help at the grocery store and there is no employees in sight and going to customer service for help just to ask a question that someone will be willing to help me out.

Do you help other customers out at the grocery store?

Has another grocery shopper gone above and beyond for you at the grocery store who was a total stranger?

 

January 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.

This is your last Grocery Game shop for January if you follow my weeks of the year. Next week I will post the January grocery game WINNER right here so check back to see if it’s your ballot number that gets drawn.

 

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 saving 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 Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel…… Grab it while you can… It’s FREE! We use it to budget.. check it out!

 

Ultimate grocery shopping guide

 

download symbol

 

Everything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is below with new information added monthly. If you missed a Grocery Game Challenge post some of the most popular posts are listed below.

If you know a topic that should be discussed, speak up. I want to know. Happy reading.

 

 

Food food and more food

 

shopping-cart

Note: This was a no-shop week for us so we spent $0 in our grocery budget.

Yearly grocery budget for two: $2820

 

(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $240 per year or $20 per month.)

  • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00 or $78.33 week with potentially 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 Budget for January $235.00
  • Total Coupons Used this Week : $0
  • Total Coupons Used to date: $15.31
  • Total Discounts this Week: $0
  • Total Discounts Used to date: $0.50
  • Total Gift Cards Used to date: $33.18
  • Total Rewards Points Used: $0
  • Total Rewards Points Used to date: $0
  • Stockpile Budget ($20.00): $15.80 (ham) ($4.20 Chicken Breast)
  • Stockpile Budget Used to Date: $20.00
  • Total Spent This Week: $0
  • Total Spent So Far January: $83.97+95.43+63.26=$242.66-$235.00=7.66 over budget
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $7.66 over budget
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month: $7.66 over budget
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $0
  • Total to Carry Over Next Month: $7.66 overspend
  • Total Spent To Date This Year: Jan $242.66 (does not include stockpile budget)
  • Weekly Overview: No shopping as it was a no shop week.

 

Canadian Coupons Found

 

buy 3 get 1 free cadbury coupon

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

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. You can post your shops all month-long.

 

  • Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?

 

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 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.

 

 

Here are your latest Coupon Match-ups of the week and your weekly Checkout 51 offers 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.

 

  • What is an FPC?

 

An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.

 

 

You can find all your store coupon policies here. If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.

 

 

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 2014 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.

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 Canada 2014!

-Mr.CBB

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Is cord cutting part of your new budget plan?- PF Friday Grab a brew #54

grab-a-brew-cutting cordNOT EVERYONE WANTS THE SAME SERVICES

 

I have to admit that “cord cutting” is not part of our new budget for 2014 but it may be in the future. All that cord cutting boils down to is whether you want to pay for cable TV or not.

I’m a huge fan of watching movies but not as much as my wife who is a movie buff and has her fair share of DVD’s, VHS movies (boxes full and she still has the player) and the odd Blue Ray movies these days.

When she was younger she had basic cable and loved watching movies so she would buy them at the local Blockbuster or Rogers store as previously viewed for cheaper than buying a ticket to go to the movies. It wasn’t worth it to her besides she got to keep the movie and watch it as many times as she wanted.

Many people are doing away with the traditional TV packages from their communications providers simply because the pricing has become so unrealistic, they don’t watch much TV or streaming TV programs is more the way they want to roll. Throw in some free streaming and watching DVD’s and Blue Ray movies and most people can sit happily in front of the tube Monday to Sunday with a smile.

I learned about all of the different “cord cutting buzzwords” as they call them this morning while reading about Rogers moving more towards offering streaming for their customers similar to Netflix. If you are a “cord shaver” apparently that means just what it sound like, you are shaving a bit from your TV package to stream more from the internet which many people can honestly say they do.

 

Cord cutting

 

Back around September I remember being in the Rogers store where you can sort out all your communications needs. I was bringing back our internet modem box which decided to stop working and while I was waiting, I was listening. The place was littered with students wanting to get their cell phones sorted out and their internet for the school year.

A couple of young ladies were talking to a rep fairly close to me and I’ll be honest I was jealous of the deals she was offering the students with their student plan for cable TV, internet and home phone. Yes please… over here… I’ll take that package but no such luck…. I’m not a student anymore.

That just means I have to continue to call them up every year as a preferred customer to ask for those promotional specials they offer to those who take a minute to call customer relations. Sure, it’s worth it, they want your business. They don’t want you to cut the cord, they want you to stay so they will haggle a decent deal with you.

What stuck out the most was when the girls spoke up and said that there were 5 people living in the house they were renting for University and none of them watch Cable TV they all stream off the internet. They wanted to make sure they had a stellar internet package because it wasn’t worth it  for them to pay for cable, nor did they want a home phone. These types of customers are called the “cord nevers”, people who have no interest in Cable TV and would rather stream from the internet.

I was a cord never in University as well but I also didn’t have internet although I’m sure if technology was as explosive as it is today that might have been different for me.

I could understand the home phone because I think eventually they will become a thing of the past or many people simply will do away with owning a home phone as it’s hardly used. My best friend owns a home phone which he only needs for a few minutes per night for work related purposes otherwise he’s paying to own a home phone for nothing as he uses his cell phone exclusively. Pity he can’t get away with it otherwise but until he finds the new career he dreams of the home phone stays I guess.

I wasn’t shocked to read that Rogers communications is going to get in on the streaming aspect like NETFLIX because they’d be silly not to. The younger generation craves the streaming so why leave profits sitting on the table when it’s what the masses want.

It’s no different from Pizza Hut in the USA using the XBOX 360 to add an app for XBOX Live Gold Members to order pizza using the gaming system without even having to pick up the phone. This brilliant move scored Pizza Hut 1 million dollars in sales in 4 months, no surprise there. If people don’t have to move, they won’t. It’s all part of keeping the focus of the customer and practically handing them what they want on a silver platter… convenience.

Life is getting much more convenient for everyone with new technology provided you own such technology otherwise you are stuck with the tried and true traditional methods.

We have Rogers cable in our house and to be honest we don’t stream movies although we do watch plenty of You Tube on our SMART TV. Now that we upgraded our internet package back a couple of months ago we might as well make the best use of it rather than paying for something we’re not using. I’m not sure if we will be doing any cord cutting  as part of our budget in the future but for now we will stick with cable and see where it takes us.

Do you have cable or do you find you stream more from the internet, use Netflix or watch DVD/Blue Ray  movies?

 

Top recipe

 

Whole-Wheat-Pierogi

Every day Food Bloggers from around the world pass by my other love the Free Recipe Depot Facebook page to share a daily recipe which I share with my fans.

This weeks Top Recipe comes from a blog called “Five Little Homesteaders” with a simple recipe for “Whole Wheat Pierogies” that you must check out.

 

Weekly CBB Posts

 

If you missed any CBB posts from the week here is the list of posts you can catch up on reading!

 

Weekly reads

 

Every week I share a few of the best personal finance blog posts that I read over the past week with all of you so please enjoy my top picks.

Well, that’s a wrap for this Friday’s grab a brew #54 so happy budgeting and I’ll see you here again next week when I do it all over again.

-Mr. CBB

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Easy Crustless Quiche

easy-crustless-quiche-wm

CREATE EASY EGG RECIPES THAT THE FAMILY WILL LOVE

 

My easy to make crustless Quiche can be served with any type of salad or as an appetizer for any meal of the day.

To be honest the list is endless as are the ingredients you can add to the egg mixture to customize your own Quiche. That’s the beauty of a Quiche because you can add what you like and take away what you don’t like and it’s pretty simple to do if you have picky eaters in your household.

 

 Cut calories and fat

 

If you don’t fancy using bacon to make a bacon cheese Quiche and want to opt for a low-fat Quiche then you can fill up your egg mixture with loads of vegetables and keep it simple. A popular recipe is a spinach mushroom Quiche which is simply the egg mixture, chopped spinach and fresh mushrooms.

Since I’m not using a crust for this Quiche recipe that also eliminates many of the unwanted calories and fat you might not desire. You can also make mini-crustless Quiche like I did here today or opt for a bigger muffin tin or smaller pie plates or tin designs.

Once you have the basic Quiche recipe like you have here today the sky really is the limit. If you are like me and don’t like to waste food because you know it’s costly to the grocery budget you can clean out your refrigerator using up different veggies and meats like ham, chicken or pork to add to your Quiche recipe.

Crustless Quiche is a versatile dish that be used in many ways and if you do prefer to use a crust all you need to do is prepare the crust and pour the mixture in the pastry and bake it.

We love crustless Quiche in our house and I have made it on many occasions to take to a pot-luck and parties because it’s an easy, frugal recipe and transports well.

 

 Quiche storage

 

These mini crustless Quiches do freeze well and can keep for up to 2 months in the freezer so another reason to make them ahead of time so you aren’t rushing to prep something for a party or for something to eat for the day.  Just remember to cook them right through and test to make sure the egg mixture is springy to the touch.

crustless-easy-quiche-steps

Preparation Time:  25 mins
Cooking time:  20-25 mins
Makes: 12 mini Quiche or one flan
Oven temp:    325oF/

4.0 from 1 reviews

Easy Crustless Quiche
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
An easy to make crustless Quiche made with fresh ingredients that will add a splash of pizzazz to any brunch, breakfast, snack or lunch.
Author:
Recipe type: Easy
Cuisine: Eggs
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • ½ onion chopped
  • ½ pack bacon
  • 5 eggs (including one yolk)
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • ⅓ cup cream
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup strong cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Chop onion, bacon and any vegetables you may have finely
  2. Break 4 whole eggs and a yolk of an egg into a dish
  3. Add the milk, cream and mayonnaise into the eggs and beat well with an electric whisk.
  4. In a pan fry off your onion, bacon and vegetables until the bacon is crispy.
  5. Drain any excess oil onto a piece of paper then add into the egg mixture and stir
  6. Grease your muffin tin if you are using the non-crust and pour gently as not to spill. (if you are using the pre-made flan dishes just pour)
  7. Place in the oven and cook for 20-25 mins until the Quiche springy to the touch.

In many ways the crustless Quiche recipe is smart to have on hand at all times as its and easy, especially if you don’t wont to cook anything although they are dead easy to make.

Enjoy

Nicky

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PF Weekly grab a brew #53: Free excel budget template takes off for 2014

grab-a-brew-online-reviewBUDGET ON THE BRAIN?

 

Unlike New Years diet and exercise videos, budgeting your finances doesn’t have to be painful.

Having only enjoyed two days of the New Year I have noticed a common influx from viewing site statistics.

My Free Excel Budget Templates for creating your own budgets have been popular to say the least.

There is no better time than right now to start your budget and for some eager viewers, they have wasted no time in showing that.

The beginning of the year is the best time to start your new budget if you’re already familiar with them or to start your first budget from scratch.

 

A reason to budget

 

For some people January bills can be daunting especially after the holiday period. I’m sure there’s always some items you bought before Christmas in the grand hopes of using them and yet failed to utilise them.

I’ve done it a few times, I just learned and moved on. That’s what budgeting is all about, learning where your money goes and then correcting the situation. Information is the best tool you have and only you have all the information to start your own budget spread sheet.

 

Being on a budget is good for you

 

As you may have read from one of my recent posts we will not be changing the grocery budget and we we’re spot on for the year. We have honed down our budget to work for us and at a good degree of accuracy.

Our January bills will be in the post-box with everybody else’s, but we have budgeted the money we make to have those bills paid as soon as they arrive.

 

Kick-start your finances

 

I created a budget for our household and then proceeded to create an ongoing Excel Spreadsheet to contain all the information we enter into it. This in turn then generates meaningful figures and facts about our monthly and yearly expenses and what money we have left over for investing and fun.

You may say it all sounds a little boring and tedious but bear with me. If you want to take control of your finances then this is the year to do it.

Stop procrastinating and read our budgeting series and then download the Free Excel Budget Spreadsheet that is right for you.

 

Our Budgeting Series

 

  1. How We Designed Our Budget Step 1- Gathering All the information
  2. How We Designed Our Budget Step 2- Categories
  3. How We Designed Our Budget Step 3- Tracking Receipts
  4. How We Designed Our Budget Step 4- Note-taking
  5. How We Designed Our Budget Step 5- 5S Organization
  6. How We Designed Our Budget Step 6- Who Does What and When?
  7. How We Designed Our Budget Step 7- Balancing Our Budget
  8. How We Designed Our Budget Step 8- Knowing our Coupon Savings
  9. How We Designed Our Budget Step 9- Reading Our Bills
  10. How We Designed Our Budget Step 10- Projected Expenses

 

Top recipe

 

meatball-vegetable-soup

Every day Food Bloggers from around the world pass by my other love the Free Recipe Depot Facebook page to share a daily recipe which I share with my fans.

This weeks festive Top Recipe comes from a blog called “Kitchen Dreaming” run by two lovely ladies whom have been featured here before. I just love their food and they never cease to amaze me. When I went searching for a top recipe today I wanted to find a  hot bowl of something. When I found their Meatball Vegetable Soup, I knew this was the recipe for me.

 

Weekly CBB Posts

 

If you missed any CBB posts from the week here is the list of posts you can catch up on reading!

 

Weekly reads

 

Every week I share a few of the best personal finance blog posts that I read over the past week with all of you so please enjoy my top picks.

Well, that’s a wrap for this Friday’s grab a brew #53 so happy budgeting and I’ll see you here again next week when I do it all over again.

-Mr. CBB

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Are You New To Canadian Budget Binder?

 

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PF Weekly Grab a Brew #52: Boxing Day madness wasn’t so mad

grab-a-brew-online-review DEALS WORTH GETTING UP FOR

 

I don’t mind going shopping on Boxing Day as long as long as I don’t have an agenda.

I find that every year we tend to head out to the stores with no goal in mind only to see what bargains are to be found.

It’s more of a tradition each year now just to roam around and see what the stores are getting rid of at rock bottom prices.

We set out early on Boxing Day bright and early at 5:30 with our first stop being Future Shop for 6am only to notice that the line-up wasn’t near as long as it was in 2012.

What is going on? Are people not wanting to spend money on Boxing Day? Are the deals not worth getting up for? To be honest we didn’t even read the Boxing Day flyers as it’s been so busy.

Is online-shopping taking front seat to getting up and venturing out into the cold waiting in line? Not everyone is comfortable shopping online yet but I’m betting over time we will see more people staying home unless the stores come up with better in-store deals.

Future shop even went as far as to offer customers free Tim Hortons coffee which was great if you wanted to take the time to make one at the brewing station. There was no line-up there either, not surprised at that either.

The mall was equally as quiet with the hallways not picking up with foot traffic until about an hour after the mall actually opened which was very surprising.

You would guess that gift card holders would be jamming the stores wanting to take advantage of the sales with the gift cards they received.

Many of the mall deals were standard up to 70% off  or buy one get one free or take and extra 50% off the last ticketed price.

The stores that were packed were the techie type stores that carried everything from cell phones to video games to laptops and TVs.

We ended up picking up a laptop door crasher at Future Shop for our relative but they had so many left that it made it seem like it was any other day of the week.

We weren’t complaining as we didn’t have to fight off hundreds of people just to get save a few bucks. I guess it wasn’t as much of a hit as they thought it would be but it was what we needed to get so a bargain for our relative.

Future shop was crawling with people and probably one of the busiest shops we went into aside from Sears which had some pretty good knock-out sales.

My wife was able to pick up 2 pairs of leather high heel boots regular priced $149.99 and $239.99 for just under $40 a pair where last year she found a white Columbia winter jacket for around the same price with the regular price close to $300.

You can’t pass up those types of deals especially since she’s been looking for boots for a while that she feels comfortable in as she has size 10 feet which is hard for some women to find a comfortable shoe and boot.

We didn’t stay out too long as the wife has been very sick in bed all week and trying to keep up with the festivities at a snail’s pace but still smiling her way through it all.

If we were smart maybe we could have just woke up, made coffee and turned on the laptop and finished our Boxing Day shopping online where I can only assume many Canadians took to.

Did you go out Boxing Day shopping?

 

Top recipe

 anginetti-cookies-Italian

Every day Food Bloggers from around the world pass by my other love the Free Recipe Depot Facebook page to share a daily recipe which I share with my fans.

This weeks festive Top Recipe comes from a blog called Foody Schmoody… I’m just Cooking with Anginetti Lemon drop cookies which are traditional Italian cookies made during the Christmas holidays.

 

Weekly CBB Posts

 

If you missed any CBB posts from the week here is the list of posts you can catch up on reading!

 

Weekly reads

 

Every week I share a few of the best personal finance blog posts that I read over the past week with all of you so please enjoy my top picks.

Well, that’s a wrap for this Friday’s grab a brew #52 so happy saving and I’ll see you here again next week when I do it all over again.

-Mr. CBB

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Are You New To Canadian Budget Binder?

 

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