Having a root cellar or cold room in your basement can be a beneficial area of your home when it comes to budgeting and living frugal. All too often I have seen the cold room full of everything but food though.
The root cellar seems to be the ideal place to store even more unwanted stuff when the garage becomes full.
During our rounds of house hunting visiting open houses we noticed some homeowners use a root cellar for bike storage, full of black bags containing unknown items, old furniture and everything else.
It seemed a bit odd to me but leads me to believe that not everyone needs or appreciates a root cellar like the next person.
What is a root cellar?
If you’re unfamiliar with what a root cellar or cold room is then you may want to ask an older generation because they were far more popular years ago. The root cellar is a room in the basement with exterior walls and no insulation and no artificial heating or cooling. The ventilation usually comes from 2 vents to the outside where one vent acts as an intake and the other as an exhaust.
The root cellar tends to stay at a level temperature range as it is below the ground surface. The ground temperature regulates the cold room because it doesn’t fluctuate like air temperature. Think of it as a natural thermostat.
Stockpiling canned goods or non-perishable items can save you some cash in the long run if you purchase it cheap enough on sale but storing too much for too long can have the opposite effect on your finances.
We have been stung by the stockpiling too much bug on occasion but luckily it wasn’t on anything expensive. Buying too much when it is on sale and you can combine a coupon with can sometimes be too good of a deal to miss. The problem is, do you really think you’re going to be able to consume all the product you bought within a set time limit? If yes, that’s great but if no then you can donate the food but be aware this is costing you money.
Canned goods can last a fairly long time but also carry an expiry date. Keeping the food within a well maintained root cellar shouldn’t create too much to be worried about however leaving food in an area where temperatures fluctuate too much can cause premature food decomposition.
Having a well-organized root cellar should allow you to store food off the floor, in a well ventilated room which shouldn’t get hot during the summer months. The root cellar shouldn’t get moldy either or smell particularly damp.
Our root cellar which I call cold room because that’s the term I’m most familiar with used to have a cheap internal door on it and made the walls sweat in the summer and freeze with ice in the winter.
Having replaced the root cellar door with a properly insulated exterior door and fitted draft door seals where needed we don’t get the same issues. The cold room stays at a more consistent temperature and humidity.
Root cellar uses
I built a set of shelves in the cold room to store all of our stockpiling purchases from laundry detergent to tins of beans, coffee to toilet roll.
The problem we had was buying too much of a good thing and regretting it afterwards. If you buy 50 cans of beans because they were at a ridiculously low price, make sure you can eat 50 cans of beans before they go off. It sounds like an easy task but beans can get really boring after the 15th can so beware.
We have made our own jam which is currently preserved in jars and has lasted us quite some time. The jam tastes great but even we had to forgo making jam last year because there is only so much jam one can consume. We tend to stick to storing dried foods in our root cellar which have a longer shelf-life with minimal food preservatives contained within them.
The rest of the contents of our root cellar is home to non-perishable goods like toilet paper which has no expiry date and other products similar in nature. There are a couple of items we don’t store in the cold room and that is aerosols or anything with an accelerant in them as this tends to leak out under warmer or colder conditions. Even aerosols will only last so long before a slow leak begins. Trust me we’ve learned the hard way.
Do you have a root cellar/ cold room and what do you use it for?
August 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. Join in the Grocery Game Challenge fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each blog post… here are the GGC rules!
Each month I hold a draw and one WINNER is chosen. I will post the name of the person who has the winning grocery shop of the month right here so make sure to check back every week.
- Milk in a bag or jug?: The Grocery Game Challenge #1 July 28-Aug 3, 2014 (Post your grocery shop in the comment section of this post for the above dates)
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 savings 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.
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Ultimate grocery shopping guide
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 or you can now find the posts listed on their own page called The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.
If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email and let me know.
Food food and more food
If you are a foodie like I am you will enjoy going through my Free Recipe Index where recipes from CBB foodie Nicola and myself are shared every Sunday on the blog. Check it out! Try a recipe and leave a review for other fans!
NO SHOP WEEK!
You won’t find any shopping this week as we are at the relatives for a few days eating their food, lol.
Grocery shop results
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 August $235.00-$18.24=$216.76/4= $54.19 per week
- Total Coupons Used this Week : $0
- Total Coupons Used to date: $46.25
- Total Discounts this Week: $0
- Total Discounts Used to date: $43.61
- Total Gift Cards Used to date: $33.18
- Total Rewards Points Used: $0
- Total Rewards Points Used to date: $20.00
- Stockpile Budget ($20.00): $17.56 (we went over in July)
- Stockpile Budget Used to Date: $20.00+$19.08+$17.94+ $2.06+$20.00+$15.10 + $20.00 (June)+ $22.44 (July)
- Snap Saves to date: $0.25
- Zweet to date: $0.25
- Total Spent This Week: $0
- Total Spent So Far August:$39.65
- Total Over/Under spend this shop: $n/a
- Total Over/Under spend for the month: $n/a
- Total Left to Spend for the Month: $177.11
- Total to Carry Over Next Month: $n/a
- Total Spent To Date This Year: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $242.66+ Feb $191.74+ March $255.82+April $235.07+May $223.62+June $275.37+ July $203.36
- Weekly Overview: We are away this week so it’s a no-shop week for us. In the event that we do go to the store we will add the shop to next weeks grocery shop.
Did you find any coupons? If so share the details in the comment section of this post where you found it and what the coupon is for with expiry. We didn’t do any grocery shopping this week as we are on holidays.
Frequently Asked Questions
- 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.
- 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.
- Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: 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.
- How Do I Know what stores accept coupons? : You can find all your store coupon policies here. 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.
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!
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Photo Credit: Freedigitalphotos.net/Food Preserves/SimonH