How quick meals can be a life saver for new parents: The Grocery Game Challenge #1 Sept 29-Oct 5, 2014

convenience food canned goods MEALS ON THE GO


I honestly never thought we’d be writing about filling our shopping cart with cheap meals in a can, box or container but now is the time.

As you all know in the past few weeks we welcomed a baby boy into the CBB family.

One CBB fan asked why we didn’t prepare freezer meals ahead of time and to be honest we literally didn’t have the time. I’ve worked non-stop and trying to renovate and although I’m my worst enemy I knew something would have to give.

My wife and I are simple when it comes to eating that we both decided that we’d be fine with soups and sandwiches, cereal and toast etc once baby arrived. Silly us! We have stretched our days so far that there wasn’t much time left although looking back maybe I should have bulked out some meals.

I’m the first person to encourage people to make time to budget (solid advice) so taking my own advice here should have been a priority. Just another learning experience for us.

Meals for us normally consist of fresh vegetables and a protein and we love cooking homemade meals from scratch not to mention homemade breads and desserts.


Quick meal ideas


Some of the meals we have made this past month indeed came from a can such as tuna and soup which might not be your considered healthy menu but it has been for us. I’m proud to say we didn’t resort to any form of TV dinners or junk food fiestas.

Now we know why parents want those quick meal recipes because there really isn’t much time in the day to prepare recipes around parenting. The most important thing we learned was to be prepared with that meal plan revolving around how your week will be. If you know you will be home more you can prepare recipes that take time but if not quick meals like pasta, casseroles or even using the crock-pot will be your life-saver.

We are both not big fans of prepared frozen meals as we’d rather cook something fresh and eat it right away rather than freezing it but for others it’s a meal that saves time.

If we didn’t have soup and sandwiches as many times as we had we might have been forced to buy fast food or ordering in food. We’ve been that tired with Baby CBB having his days and nights mixed up.

Maybe we underestimated how difficult parenting would be but now we know better. It’s not something you can prepare for entirely as it’s a learning experience.


Eating healthy on a budget


If we could go back I might make a few freezer meals such as lasagna, shepherd’s pie, perogies as well as soup and portioned it out in containers. Come to think of it there are plenty of easy meals we could have made in advance but we can’t turn back the clock.

I will say that I had loaves of homemade bread in the freezer that I made which helped us get by for sandwiches for a week or so. My mother-in-law while visiting made us some tortillas and pita bread with my recipes which was great plus she learned to make two new breads. I’ll be keeping an eye out for flour now as I’m running short but it’s a staple that should always be in any pantry as you can make so many meals with flour.

I will add that we are only a few weeks in now and we have been cooking more which only means we are getting used to the no-sleeping schedule. We have lots of food in our freezer so we’ve been using that up such as green peppers, and plenty of meat and fish. Our relatives dropped off some garden fresh tomatoes, lettuce and green peppers which we’ve been piling though.

Some of our friends have also come around and brought food over to us which has been a blessing. In the photo above we managed to score a great deal at Shoppers Drug Mart on tuna, fat-free cottage cheese, fat-free pudding and canned soup. I know we could have made a big pot of soup for less but sometimes having these canned foods on hand are great for those times you are not prepared for a meal and you want something relatively healthy.

We love tuna sandwiches, cold tuna pasta salad and considering a can of solid tuna costs upwards of $3.00 a can we didn’t think $0.50 a can was too bad of a deal.

The soup was also $0.50 a can regular prices coming in at just under $3.00 a can. Our receipt said we saved $124.12 just on soup and tuna alone. We also managed to spend $75.00 with our Enfamil ready feed baby formula to get back 18,500 Shoppers Optimum Points worth $25.00. This made the shop even cheaper on our grocery budget.

Overall although we weren’t as prepared as we would have liked for the arrival of our son and our meals but you can bet we will be next time. After this experience my wife and I have talked about focusing on creating quick 15 minute meals for the blog so even the new parents who are unprepared like us don’t have to simply eat from a can.

Have you ever bought cheap meals that are quick to make for those times you need food fast?


October 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. The grocery game winner for September goes to Jen P!! Send me an email to collect your coupon prize pack Jen. 🙂

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.

NEW!! You can now download the FREE Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel…Grab it while you can… It’s FREE! We use it to budget and in large part a reason we could pay our mortgage off in 5 years, check it out!


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.


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!


Grocery shop results


Shoppers Drug Mart

  • 26x cans of soup $0.50
  • 2 x cans of beans $0.50
  • 18 x cans of solid white tuna $0.50
  • Milk 4 litres $3.97
  • 2 x fat-free cottage cheese $1.00
  • 4 x Triscuit brown rice with sweet potato and onion $1.99
  • International Delight Iced coffee $3.99-$2.00 checkout51

Total out-of-pocket $40.92 plus $2.00 back Checkout 51 and $25.00 in Optimum points.


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 October $235.00-$49.30 (overspend in September)=$185.70
  • Total Coupons Used this Week : $0
  • Total Coupons Used to date: $59.19
  • Total Discounts this Week: $0
  • Total Discounts Used to date: $48.86
  • 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): $0
  • Stockpile Budget Used to Date: $20.00+$19.08+$17.94+ $2.06+$20.00+$15.10 + $20.00 (June)+ $22.44 (July) + (August) $8.00+ (September) $0 + October $
  • Snap Groupon to date: $19.25
  • Zweet to date: $4.00
  • Cart Smart to date: $0
  • Checkout51 to date: $12.75
  • Total Spent This Week: $40.92
  • Total Spent So Far September:$40.92
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $n/a
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month: over $n/a
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $0
  • Total to Carry Over Next Month: $
  • 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+ August $228.26+ Sept $272.80+ Oct $
  • Weekly Overview: We didn’t do too much grocery shopping this past week but we did manage to score some great deals and lots of savings.


 Coupon Sleuth


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.

October coupons 2014

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.
  • 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 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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