The Grocery Game Challenge Oct 22-28,2012-Welfare Food Challenge Final Thoughts

This is the last week to post your shop for The Grocery Game Challenge in October. You can post your October shops all the way back to the beginning of the month if you have your totals. I will post the WINNER next Tuesday when I post the first week of The Grocery Game Challenge for November.

As you might have heard this past week I participated in The Welfare Food Challenge run out of British Columbia although I’m in Ontario. Last weeks Grocery Game challenge I showed you my grocery list and what products I was able to purchase with the $26 I was told that I had to use for a weeks worth of food. The food for the first two days of the challenge wasn’t so bad and as I went along new ideas kept popping into my head. I promised I would do a final follow-up about how the week went and today is the day! Yesterday was the 7th and final day of the challenge and I want to share with you what Mrs. CBB and I have learned.

We learned that $26 was a struggle to purchase groceries with an empty pantry. We argued alot doing this shop and we weren’t happy with the frustrations it caused. We weren’t arguing in a bad way but we were trying to work as a team but it was near impossible at times with other shoppers trying to go around us. If we were given the full amount or even double the original $26 at $52 it would have been much easier to pick up items in bigger bags for less. It also would have opened up the opportunity to purchase more flavours, fruits and other items so I could have had a bit more variety. I certainly don’t think the $109 a month is enough for 2 people but I don’t think it is impossible for 1 you just won’t have luxury. You won’t be able to eat much meat in this budget but over time you can slowly stock items. Mrs.CBB helped eat 3 bowls of my tomato minestrone and half the portion of the beet risotto. I tried to stop her.. it didn’t work but that’s ok there was more than enough. I made the black bean Basa burgers again for a second time with only 5 burgers and she ate 2 of those as well leaving me 3 which I split into 3 different meals.

I must say that I am very happy I purchased the salt and pepper along with the lemon, lime, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Those ingredients are what saved me from flavour boredom. Without flavour nothing tastes right especially if you are used to having flavour. Life doesn’t have to be that way though and everyone should have a pantry with the essentials to cook a healthy homemade meal. Even at the dollar store it was full of spices and flavours so over time I could stock a pantry but it would take planning and time.  If someone is using the money to purchase convenience type foods it won’t go far at all. If the person has no stove and just a microwave it won’t go far.

You have to keep in mind though that everyone’s dietary needs are different. You may also have someone that has no cooking skills whatsoever and that could be challenging  for them in the kitchen. How much your grocery budget needs to be depends on your needs. I didn’t starve this week but I did get hungry between meals as I didn’t know how much I could portion for the products I had to make it last. The first week would be the hardest in my opinion.If you are used to eating huge portions of food which I am not you may have struggled. I’m used to small portions of food as I space my meals throughout the day or only eat when I’m hungry. Some days I might only have 2 or 3 small meals. I don’t normally eat snacks  unless it’s a splurge day on the weekend so I didn’t miss that but I did miss having a bowl of fruit. I also missed oatmeal which I should have purchased in place of the Bran Flakes cereal. Like others mentioned to me this would have filled me up in the morning.

Lastly I missed my coffee in the morning although I did drink quite a bit of water and my tea. Yes I’m addicted to coffee and I admit it but all I know is I’m thankful I bought the tea but now I can add some sugar or honey to flavour my tea as it’s horrible with just milk.

I didn’t exercise like I normally do or I would have been even hungrier so we just did our normal walks every day with the odd run.

What I took away from this challenge was that I don’t really think about how much food I waste and take for granted. For instance I skinned, boiled and squeezed the life out of that lime and lemon something I would just toss in the bin normally. There was an awareness in the CBB kitchen and at the grocery store that we never felt before. It was hard to look at all the products and not being able to purchase them. Now we will make sure that we use up everything we have. It also challenged me to think outside the box and create food out of what I had like mayonnaise for example which I used for my egg sandwiches and topping for my burgers.

In closing, this challenge will stay with us for a long time mostly myself but Mrs.CBB who came along for the visual experience took it all in and knows this wasn’t an easy task. Thanks to raise the rates we now have a very small understanding of what life may be like in the kitchen of someone receiving welfare benefits in B.C and in Ontario.

The Food that I made and ate all week with my $26 included

  • Tea with milk

  • Egg Sandwich with lettuce

  • Egg and Carrot Sandwich with lettuce and homemade mayonnaise

  • Black Bean Basa Fish Burgers with homemade mayonnaise on garlic rice
  • Garlic Fried Rice with onion,extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper

  • Garlic Fried Rice and Black Beans
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Fried Egg Sandwich with salt and pepper

  • Bran Flakes Cereal with Milk

  • Carrot and Beet Salad

  • Lettuce Salad with lemon, garlic, salt ,pepper and extra virgin olive oil (sometimes I added carrot and onion)

  • Dry Toast

  • Beet Risotto inspired by Aunt B’s Beet Risotto Recipe although I didn’t have all the ingredients I compromised so I will post my version on the blog shortly.

  • Chicken Vegetable Rice Soup

  • Pot of Vegetable Stock with all the vegetable and garlic bits I saved.

  • Mayonnaise

What I have left of my $26 Grocery Spend 

  • 1/2 bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 bulb of garlic
  • 1/2 bag of rice
  • 1 bag of milk
  • Almost all the salt
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 loaf of bread
  • 3/4 of a bag of beets
  • 3 pieces of Basa fish
  • 20 tea bags ( I used my bags twice if  I didn’t break them)

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

Total Grocery Budget for the Month for 2 Adults:$190.00 at $63.33 for 3 weeks of shopping with 1 No-Shop Week per month.
No Frills $23.35

  • 1x green garbage bags $3.19
  • 10 x Loneys  Pasta Sauce $3.49 reduced $0.25 pink sticker 50% off $1.20 for all exp 2014 (will donate these to the food bank)
  • 2 x old cheddar sale $3.88
  • 1x pineapple $1.00
  • 4x limes $1.00
  • 1x bean sprouts $0.88
  • 1x 10lb potatoes $1.88
  • 2x ground extra lean beef -30% = $2.99 each

Food Basics $18.97

  • 2x broccoli Sale $0.88
  • Royal Apples $1.01
  • Ham $4.00
  • Fresh ginger $0.57
  • Astro Yogurt $1.67
  • Villagio Bread Sale $1.99-$1.50
  • Baking Powder $2.49
  • Total Grocery Budget for the Week: $63.33
  • Total Coupons Used this Week : $1.50
  • Total Scanning Code of Practice: $0
  • Total Spent This Week:$18.97=$23.35=$42.32
  • Total Spent So Far for October: $25.35+$0+$26+$42.32=$93.67
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $21.01
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month of October: $96.33
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $96.33
  • Total Coupons Used This Month : $4.00+$0+$6.00+$1.50=$11.50

Overall: Even though we spent less than our $190 a month the extra money will go towards overspends during the year that we didn’t account for month to month.

If you missed posting your shop last couple of weeks you can post it now.

What did you spend this week in your Grocery Budget? Post your shop to WIN!!

What are your reasons for joining the Grocery Game Challenge?

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 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 so if you miss a week you can go back and post so you still get your entry in the monthly contest.

  • 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 are currently well stocked with those products since we used coupons heavily the past couple of years. We haven’t really stocked up on much but we have taken every opportunity to purchase more paper towel, toilet paper, fabric softener and a host of other items that are an excellent price with coupon.
Canadian Coupon Match-Ups- Match your coupons with flyer sales!

Here are your Coupon Match-ups for the week October 12-18,2012  from around Canada compliments of Save Big Live Better. Just one of my favourite Couponing sites for finding the hottest grocery deals in Canada! Check it out!

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