How we eat healthy on a tight budget: The Grocery Game Challenge #4 Nov 24-30, 2014

Eat Healthy



We always have people who find out about our grocery game challenge ask how we manage to eat healthy on such a tight budget.

To be honest it’s not that difficult to do especially if you are open to trying new foods and staying away from the foods you don’t need.

Last week I blogged about grocery shopping at the Dollar Store and sure you might be able to pick up a few bits but you can’t eat healthy buying food in a store like that unless fresh produce and veg is offered.


Eat healthy for life


Everyone and I repeat everyone will have their own idea of what “healthy eating” means to them. You may feel that eating a healthy diet of fruits and veg is healthy where another may think that only eating organic is the way to live the healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy means eating whole foods that are prepared fresh and not eating more than your body needs.

This is why when people ask me “How much should my grocery budget be?” I can’t answer them because based on personal needs they are the only one’s who can come up with that number. Your budget is your budget and depending on your financial health your grocery budget will be up to you how much money you can put towards eating every month.

I don’t tell people that they should or shouldn’t buy certain foods because you know your health, you know what you can or can’t eat. There are different levels of eating healthy and that doesn’t mean you have to buy the best cuts of meat or all name-brand products to get the proper nourishment your body craves. Creating inexpensive meals in line with your budget is easier than you think.

Often people who are on a limited income have a smaller grocery budget to work with and feel that the only way to stretch that dollar is to buy pre-made foods. The real surprise comes when we look at the overall costs of these convenience foods and find out they really aren’t that cheap at all.


Smart grocery shopping


On the odd occasion we like to buy foods that aren’t so good for us like full-fat ice-cream, cookies and crackers but we don’t do it every single week.

Everyone knows that most foods to avoid are in the middle aisles of the grocery store so they say if you want to stay away from processed foods don’t bother going down them unless you have willpower. That is true but there still are many grocery items you can buy down those aisles that will help you create healthy meals.

Now that we have a son we know as he gets older we want to teach him the importance of cooking at home and  purchasing fresh ingredients. Buying local and from the farms is great but not always possible throughout the year so taking him grocery shopping and teaching him how to shop will be a goal of ours.

There’s also plenty of frozen fruits and vegetables that are delicious and are flash frozen just after picking that are nutritious and if you want to eat healthy there’s no reason not to buy them.

Our monthly grocery budget for two is $235 or $2820 for the year. Most people can’t get over how little we spend but we’re not the only one’s who don’t need to spend a large amount to eat healthy. There are plenty other people who eat healthy on less but not everyone has pricing and product options like the next person.

You might live in a small town with one grocery store and the prices are higher so you may be forced to shop there which could drive your grocery budget up.

Many of our meals are 30 minute-meals but on occasion we like to make a roast or bake other goodies in the oven such as a casserole or we even turn to the loved crock-pot. Buying certain foods in bulk such as dry beans, spices and even vegetable when on sale can save money and contribute to eating healthy.

Some of our favourite go-to meals involve rapini, cheap cuts of meat, fish, potatoes, rice, cous-cous, beans, beans and more beans plus loads of fruits and vegetables. On occasion we enjoy baking our own bread but when we don’t we like to buy different types of bread ranging from flat-bread to pita bread. There’s also some delicious pasta meals you can make with frozen tortellini, ravioli, gnocchi and perogies.

How can you eat healthy without going broke? Easy… in these four steps that I will share with you today.


Meal planning


This is one area where lots of people fail. Why? We don’t like to plan what we eat because we don’t know where we will be from one night to the next nor what we will feel like eating.

While that might be true it’s better than having no plan at all. When we plan what meals we want to eat it also helps us to build a healthy grocery list when we go shopping.

You see this keeps all the junk out of your shopping cart because you’ve already invested the time needed to know what meals you will create, what products you need and the approximate costs involved.

If you are someone who works odd hours or more hours than you’d like meal planning can work in your favour if you set one day a week aside and prep all your meals. You can get all of your meals ready to go in aluminum trays and freeze them so all you need to do is warm them up or bake in the oven.

Setting the crock-pot before you leave for work or running your errands also helps you from wanting to reach for unhealthy foods.


Try new foods/recipes


If you are someone who gets bored eating the same foods over and over and would rather go out to eat because of variety remember you can always create take-out food at home.

All you need to do is find new recipes that suit your dietary and budget needs and start cooking. If you don’t have the internet at home go to your local library and print recipes, take out books from the library or even go to a second-hand shop where you will find cheap recipe books or magazines.

You might even get lucky looking for free stuff on Kijiji or Facebook that people are giving away. With these recipes you are now armed with what I like to call “cooking power” because without this we may not want to experiment.

If you are someone who doesn’t want or need a recipe but would rather create new meals on your own that’s fine too as long as you are enjoying what you do.

Cooking is all about trial and error so if you mess up on one recipe you know what you don’t want to do the next time. Be advised that this type of experimenting might yield waste if you create a disaster meal.

The choice is yours though. Having a mindset to eat healthy starts with you so don’t be afraid to test the waters with new products that you’ve never cooked with before.


Watch what you eat


If you don’t want to eat unhealthy foods, don’t. No one is shovelling it down your throat and you can’t use the excuse that you couldn’t afford to eat healthy yet you are buying fast food, smoking, drinking and so on… or spending your money on junk you don’t need. Even if you aren’t doing any of that you can little by little build a healthy stash of food for your pantry so you can broaden the foods that you cook.

I know someone who would rather spend $90 a month on a cell phone she thinks she needs because everyone else has one yet she complains she can’t afford to eat healthy. No one NEEDS a cell phone we just need that security blanket which is something that we didn’t need years ago and survived just fine. Most often the cell phone is used for everything but making a phone call, what it was intended to do.

If eating healthy is important to you than sometimes we have to make sacrifices to achieve certain goals. We were smokers for many years but we decided to kick the habit coming up 3 years smoke-free in January so we could get fit, eat healthy and be healthy. The more time that has passed we no longer think about it and more money in our pockets.

It’s not easy to quit a habit even if it is over-eating or other addictions but it’s important to try. You might just surprise yourself. Always consult your doctor though as he/she may have some professional advice for you.




It’s great if you have a grocery budget BUT if your grocery budget is too tight then you might get frustrated or bored with it quickly. No one says that just because you have a $20 weekly grocery budget that you must buy crap to eat.

You are after all in charge of your own body so don’t deny eating healthy meals because you are too lazy to cook or don’t know how. Unless you are physically unable to cook you should be able to get in the kitchen to get your hands dirty. There are lots of cooking classes you can attend or even watch You Tube videos to get your creative juices flowing in the kitchen.

If you are used to eating certain foods or need certain foods and your budget isn’t covering the costs you might have to look at adjusting the budget amount, find cheaper product alternative or ways to stretch healthy foods so you switch up meals so you eat something different each night.

Although I’ve only scratched the surface sharing some of the ways you can eat healthy the above starter tips will get you on track to eating healthy. Once your engine is roaring you know what you need to do and you find new ways to keep the body fueled with good eats without breaking the bank.

What ways do you eat healthy with your grocery budget?


November 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!


Grocery Saving Tips


Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!

NEW: Sign up today!!>>> Homescan Canada! Join the Neilson Homescan consumer panel. If chosen you will receive rewards by scanning the barcode on your grocery purchases and completing fun surveys with the scanner provided to you from Homescan Canada. One registration per household. Once you sign up using the link above you will be put on a reserve waiting list and randomly selected households will be chosen. Sign up now…. it’s worth it!!

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 are new here and haven’t had a chance to read past posts grab yourself a beverage, sit down, relax and enjoy some educational reading material on ways to save money in your grocery budget.

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.


Grocery shop results



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!


 Check Out 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 November $235.00 This months grocery shop leaves us $265.78 over budget!! Our November and December grocery budget total will be as follows $470-$265.78=$204.22 or $102.11 to spend each month to keep us on track for 2014.
  • Total Coupons Used this Week : $4.00
  • Total Coupons Used to date: $68.19
  • Total Discounts this Week: $0
  • Total Discounts Used to date: $70.75
  • Total Gift Cards Used to date: $33.18
  • Total Rewards Points Used: $20.00
  • Total Rewards Points Used to date: $40.00
  • Stockpile Budget ($20.00): $15.52 Black Diamond Cheese Bars
  • 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 $19.92+November $0
  • Snap Groupon to date: $19.25
  • Zweet to date: $4.00
  • Cart Smart to date: $0
  • Checkout51 to date: $12.75
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) $2.99
  • Total Spent This Week: $55.82
  • Total Spent So Far November $36.89+$21.79+$55.82=$114.50-$102.11=$12.39 over budget
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: -$12.39
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month: over -$12.39
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $0
  • Total to Carry Over Next Month: -$12.39
  • 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 $451.48+Nov $114.50

Weekly Overview: This was a no-shop week for us and our last shop for November. We have also been fortunate to have our neighbour bring us a few meals to help with our new baby. If we stock up on anything we will use up the stockpile budget of $20. I will report the expense next shop if used this week.


 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.

Since we did not grocery shop this week we have no coupons to report.


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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  1. I struggle with this because of buying organic wherever possible. At least where I live in the US, that adds up significantly to our bottom line. I have hust recently become more conscious about how much we are spending on groceries, but I can’t see a great way around it than buying non organic (maybe we can do this for certain items).

    1. Hi and Welcome!
      I’d love to have you join us in The Grocery Game Challenge for 2015. It’s been going on for years now but the new year will start a new GGC!! It will help you to stick to the budget plus find new ways to buy more for less, share tips and motivate each other. Rules are on the blog. Post goes live every Tuesday and the GGC is open to everyone around the world. Mr.CBB

  2. lol when I send you pics of the basement I can show you my stockpile 🙂 The Ziploc were from a booklet that had robinhood products and such in it. I’ve actually saved way more in rebates this year as my parents save their receipts for me too and I claim from them too. I just can’t really include them in my GGC because I haven’t bought those items lol. They also earn me PC plus points and petro points 🙂 Many years ago I signed up for Neilson home scan and hated it. I sent it back pretty quick lol.

    1. Should we be scared to see how big it is lol. I had no idea there was a Robin Hood booklet, crap.. where did you find it? I saw a woman asking for receipts with huggies diapers on them but they had to be bought in the last 2 days and moving forward… ya you know what she was doing with them. Amazing how far people will go for money, sad! You did awesome with the rebates this year. I hope in 2015 we do better with ours since we are all hooked up. If there are any new deals I need to know about let me know… I miss everything!!

  3. I shop for 2 adults and a 4 year old boy. Our budget is $85/week or $425 for this month and includes laundry, health/beauty, etc.
    Smuckers (PM RCSS) 2 x $1.98 – 2 x $1.00 coupons
    Distilled water 2 x $1.12
    Coupons $2.00
    OOP $4.20

    Ziploc sandwich bags (100 ct) (PM WM) 8 x $1.97 – 4 x $1.50 coupons
    Quaker bars 4 x $2.00 (earned 1600 PC plus points)
    Hershey’s nuggets $3.00 – $1.00 coupon – $1.00 CO51
    NN parchment paper $2.00
    Excel gum 2 x $2.88
    Eggs (PM SDM) $1.99
    Milk $3.97
    HL fish (PM) $3.99
    Silk almond milk (PM Ample) $2.99 – $.50 Zweet
    Romaine $1.79
    Bananas $2.44
    ML bacon (PM NF) $3.97
    Croissant $1.19
    Vitality bread (PM Longos) $2.00
    Wonder bread $2.00
    Magazine $3.49
    Coupons $7.00
    Rebates $1.50
    Tax free day $5.26
    OOP $54.94

    HL fish (PM) 2 x $3.99 – 2 x $2.00 coupons
    Coupons $4.00
    OOP $4.69

    Total Grocery Amount Budgeted For the Year: $4,420 ($85/week) + Meat order $172.85/month for 9 months $1555.65=$5975.65 for the year including the meat order. THE MEAT ORDER IS PAID IN FULL NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (we still have tons left too).
    • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $425 (5 weeks this month) + $32.79 carried over if needed
    • Total Coupons Used this Week: $13.00
    • Total Coupons Used This Month: $38.50
    • Total Coupons Used this Year: $1013.92
    • Total rebates this week (Checkout 51, Snapsaves, CartSmart, zweet, $1.50
    • Total rebates this month (Checkout 51, Snapsaves, CartSmart, zweet, $5.25
    • Total rebates this year (Checkout 51, Snapsaves, CartSmart, zweet, $166.75
    • Total SCOP this week: $0
    • Toal SCOP this month: $0
    • Total SCOP this year: $7.10
    • Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: $0
    • Total Gift Cards Used this year: $298.04
    • Total Reward Points Used this week: 0
    • Total Reward Points Used this year: 140,000 or $140.00
    • Total tax free day this week: $5.26
    • Total tax free day this month: $5.26
    • Total tax free day this year: $81.98
    • Colleague Discount (this year): $19.92
    • Total Spent This Week: $63.83
    • Total Spent So Far for this month: $414.42
    • Total Over/Under spent for the month: N/A
    • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $10.58
    • Total to Carry over Next Month (if needed): $43.37
    • Total Spent To Date This Year: $3835.11
    Weekly overview: I did it! I am under budget for the month and I managed to stock up on Ziploc bags too!

    1. Hey Jen,
      One of these days I would love to see what your pantry or stockpile looks like. It must be huge. Where do you keep all your stuff? Great deal on the jam. We are still working on the jam we made two years ago so we don’t really buy any. Where did the $1.50 coupons come from for Ziploc? You’ve done awesome with your rebates this year $166.xx good for you. We just claimed our first rebate haha… but I’m glad we are all set up now with the apps. I also added the Neilson Home Scan to this post and on the sidebar of the blog did you see it? You can apply to get a scanner and get rewards. I believe Nicola does this. Well done Jen…. you get ballot 18. Mr.CBB

  4. My final shops for the month of November. I came in under for the month itself and I’m using the new way to work out how much I’m over. I only went to Foodland so I picked up a few more turkey bucks.

    Nov. 21
    2 KD @1.25 -2.50
    2 pasta sauce @1.25 -2.5
    2 cans pineapple @1.49 -2.98
    Bananas -1.46
    1 tomato sauce -1.89
    3 w/w bread @1.99 -5.97
    1 bread crumbs -1.99
    1 brown sugar -1.99
    1l eggnog -2.49
    1 pack shredded coconut -1.49
    1 cranberry cocktail -2.98
    2 18 count eggs @2.99 -5.98
    1 yogurt -3.29
    1 cider mix -3.49
    1 raisin bread -3.49
    1 Canadian Living magazine -3.99
    1 pancake syrup -3.99
    2 4l milk @4.99 -9.98
    1 Rice Crispies -5.49
    1 jug water -5.49
    2 packs ground chicken @5.49, both 50%stickers, saved 2X2.75
    1 Parmesan cheese grated -6.09
    1 Whiskas dry cat food -9.29, 3.00 coupon
    Tax -2.18
    Total -$93.47, 3.00 coupon, 5.50 discounts
    3 turkey bucks

    Nov. 24
    Bananas -.81
    1 jar pickles -1.79
    1 unsweetened Apple sauce -1.98
    1 tomato sauce -2.49
    1 yogurt -3.29
    1 raisin bread -3.49, 2.50 coupon
    1 cider mix -3.49
    1 bagels -3.49, .50 coupon
    1 sausage -4.14, 50%sticker, 2.07 saved
    2 4l milk @4.99 -9.98
    1 yogurt -4.99, 1.00 coupon
    1 jug water -5.49
    Tomatoes -3.24
    1 sausage -5.65, 50% sticker -2.83 saved
    Tax -.45
    Total -$46.27, 4.00 coupons, 4.90 discounts
    1 turkey buck

    Total budget for month -$650.00, $162.50 week
    Total spent for week -$139.74
    Total coupon/discounts for week -$17.40
    Total spent for month -$156.17+$208.32+$143.46+$139.74=$647.69
    Total over/under for week -$22.76 under
    Total over/under for month -$2.32 under
    Total coupons/discounts for month -$$5.99+$12.50+$4.50+$17.40=$40.39
    Left for month -N/A
    Carry over to next month -$63.17
    Total YTD -J$653.06+F$594.21+M$633.19+A$672.42+M$647.70+J$660.14+J$694.95+A$629.08+S$732.59+O$648.14+N$647.69=$7213.17
    Stockpile -$25.00, spent all
    Turkey bucks -$4.00
    So I am under for the month and the carry over looks better now that I worked it out better. It takes I to account more those months that I was under for the month which the other way didn’t. At this rate I should be able to keep the same amounts for next year as well especially if I can do better with the coupons. I manage to find good sales and/or discounts for my meat which is fine by me! I don’t see the Christmas dinner doing much to the budget as I try to buy ahead and on sale, spreading out the costs as much as possible. I might change things around slightly next year to better show the discounts and such…we shall see how I do for the year….

    1. Hi Christine,
      WOW you’re all caught up now. I’m proud of you! Can you explain your tracking system to me please 🙂 Well done being under for the month. I had no doubts you would do it! I think it’s smart to always buy ahead for large dinners because waiting until the last minute could cost you. On the other hand you might shake your head because they drop the prices. I’d still prep in advance like you have. What I love about reading your conclusion is that you have changed the way you look at your grocery budget and you want to make improvements to the visual. You can see that almost all of us have done this over the course of the year. Keep up the great work. You get ballot. 17. Mr.CBB

      1. Before I was taking the amount I was over for a single month and that was my carryover. Add it up if I go over a month or two in a row and it was hard to get back to the budget amount. So then what I did was add up all the months (in this case 11 months worth) then subtract each month right from January…..gave me a more accurate figure on my carryover as it takes into account the months I was under for the month which the other way didn’t!!! Clear now?
        If I’m buying ahead I’m watching the sales and after a while you get to know a really good price when you see it!!! As an example….Foodland’s turkey bucks, what they have done the last few years with these is flat rate the prices come redemption time…$20.00 is a certain weight spread, $25.00, $30.00… and so on. Last year I went through the pile and found the biggest by weight of the $25.00 birds. Best deal for me. This year at Thanksgiving they were selling Grade A birds for .99!!!!!! I got one for Christmas. I will use my turkey bucks to buy a bird for Easter when the sales are not quite as good as you see in October and December….. It’s knowing your prices and knowing the sales calender as well…..I work as much of that in my favour as I can!!!

  5. Wow this was a really inclusive list.
    I do the monthly budget for food but we are loose about it. Some times we are over sometimes under. But its 500 a month for 5 people so I think its pretty good

    I also agree a lot of times people go out to eat because thy want variety. Well learn some new dishes. In our home the adults have to make one new dish a month. Its only one but with 2 adults that is 24 new recipes a year. Not to bad.

  6. I agree that the middle aisle is one place of temptations. I still go there no matter what because I have a list of grocery items that I will need to have so I don’t worry much. What I worry is that I need to get the less pricey quality products so I spend so much time doing price comparing and getting the healthy choice.

  7. I understand the frustration in trying to determine a viable food budget but I’m getting better at figuring out what I should have and still have enough money for the rest of my bills.

  8. This week’s GGCs……

    Name Your Store: Superstore
    Total Coupons Used: $0.00
    Total Out Of Pocket: $40.42

    2 Robin Hood Quick Bread – 2/$5.00 = $5.00
    Unsalted Crackers = $1.99
    Certo = $3.29
    Sour Cream = $2.19
    Minute Maid Frozen Punch – (2000 PC Points) 5/$3.00 = $3.00
    2 Hungry Man Dinners – 2/$5.00 = $5.00
    3L Apple Cider – (450 PC Points) = $4.98
    Tourtiere = $2.99
    Bologna = $4.99
    Cheese Stick Buns – (500 PC Points) = $5.00
    Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins – (200 PC Points) = $1.99

    Weekly Grocery Game Challenge Results
    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $50.00/week ($40.00 Human & $10.00 Pet)
    Total Coupons Used this Week : $0.00
    Total Coupons Used This Month: $1.00
    Total Discounts/SCOP this Week: $0.00
    Total Checkout 51 rebates this Week: $0.00
    Total Checkout 51 rebates this Month: $0.50
    Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: $0.00
    Total PC Points Received this week: 2150
    Total Rewards Points Used: $20.00+40.00
    Stockpile Budget: $0.00
    Total Over/Under spend this shop: $0.42 over
    Total Spent This Week: $40.42
    Total Spent So Far for November: $84.68+39.56+57.62+40.42
    Total Over/Under spend for the month of November: $22.28 over
    Total Left to Spend for the Month: ($22.28)
    Total to Carry Over Next Month: $N/A
    Total Spent To Date This Year: $3,149.75
    Weekly Overview: This week I bought a few things that would give me extra PC Points. We laminated your freezer and pantry sheets so that we can re-use them over and over again. My daughter and I went thru our cupboards and freezer and recorded what we had. I was actually amazed at how much we had and therefore I decided we didn’t really need much so most of what we bought today was for our wants.

    1. Hi Dee,
      Have you tried that Quick Bread before? What is it like? Do you make jam and jelly with the certo? Smart idea to laminate the freezer and pantry sheets. Where can I do that? I don’t have a laminator. Would Staples do it? I think we are going to do a clean-out as well. You’re not the only one who will be shocked. So many of us collect stuff and it never gets used up. So you are over $22.28 for the month of November? Not too shabby! Good for you. You get ballot 14. Mr.CBB

      1. Staples might have a lamination service, I’m not sure. I bought my own lamination machine years ago and it appears that it will get some more work in recent weeks. I haven’t made jam since my daughter was really young (and my mom helped me) so I’m scared as to how this batch of jam turned out. I make freezer jam with the certo. I haven’t tried the quick bread, might try one this weekend but I would think it should taste okay. I’ve been looking at next year’s budget and how I can enter my items easier to understand and so that values make sense. This has definitely been a work in progress. I’m hoping that next year, I’m closer to breaking even, if not staying in the black.

  9. We’re not very healthy with our groceries… we do get treats. But to still get healthy food in my budget and I know my prices and will make substitutions. For fruit and berries we’ll buy what’s on sale. For meat, I’ll look for sale prices that are actually sales or look for meat that had been marked down (which usually gets cooked or goes in the freezer).

    1. I think the rain check will probably go unused. I have both ground sausage and ground beef in the deep freeze to use before I buy any more ground anything and really we have a vacation coming up so what do we really need? I have to become “Mrs Scrooge” with all things wanted but not needed if I want to finish our year on budget! LOL 😀

  10. NOVEMBER – Week #4 of 4- Nov 24-30, 2014


    •Total Grocery Budgeted For Year: $142.50 x 12 = $1,710.00 for 2 adults
    •Total Stockpile Budgeted For Year: $47.50 x 12 = $570.00 for 2 adults
    •Combined Grocery Budget for 2013: $190.00 x 12 = $2,280.00



    This week is a “No Shop” week – end of story!






    NO USA SHOPS UNTIL Dec 28th!



    •Total Loyalty Card Price Reductions This Year:

    Jan $81.89+Feb $48.32+Mar $0.00+April $22.88+May $44.18+June $39.58+July $4.10+Aug $0.00+Sept $19.68+Oct $7.75+Nov $0.00= $257.47

    •Total Coupons/Rain Checks Used This Year:

    Jan $2.58+Feb $7.18+Mar $0.00+April $9.20+May $20.19+June $1.00 + July $15.50+Aug $12.98+Sept $5.19+Oct $33.28+Nov $0.00 = 109.97

    •Total Price Match Savings Used This Year:

    Jan $0.00+Feb $0.00+Mar $0.00+April $0.00+May $5.31+June $0.00 + July $0.00+Aug $0.00+Sept $0.00+Oct $0.00+Nov $0.00 = $5.31

    •Total More Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 0+Feb 0+Mar 11 +April 0+May 5+June 0+July 52+Aug 0+
    Sept 32+Oct 31+Nov 103= 236 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year:

    Jan 456+Feb 584+Mar 0+April 4+May 125+June 3+July 210+Aug 88 + Sept 157+Oct 2+Nov 0= 1,631 Air Miles

    •Total Thrifty’s Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 25+Feb 15+Mar 0+April 0+May 39+June 11+July 145+Aug 0+ Sept 24 = 259 Points
    Program Discontinued on Sept 12th – We received $20.00 + 14 Air Miles

    •Total PC PLUS Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 0+Feb 0+Mar 650+April 0+May 5,400+June 2400+July 3,300+Aug 0 + Sept 1,450+Oct 0+Nov 0= 13,200 Points

    •Total Optimum Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 0+Feb 0+Mar 0+April 0+May 30+June 0+July 100+Aug 0+Sept 0+ Oct 10+Nov 40= 180 Points



    •Total OOP Year-To-Date:
    Jan $167.06+Feb $155.74+Mar $105.76+April $145.56+
    May $228.38+June $186.11+July $110.63+Aug $130.76+Sept $185.68+ Oct $96.45+Nov($12.50 trf to borscht+$20.00 to Summer+$17.50 trf to re-stocking+$60.00 trf to US Reserve + $4.69+$40.14+$3.98= $158.81)= $1,670.94

    •Total Year-To-Date Grocery Budget:
    Jan $142.50+Feb $142.50+Mar $142.50+April $142.50+May $232.50 +June $142.50+July $142.50+Aug $142.50+Sept $142.50+Oct $142.50+Nov $142.50 = $1,657.50

    •Total Over/Under on Year-To-Date Grocery Budget: ($13.44) AVAILABLE



    •Total Stockpile OOP Year-To-Date:
    Jan $47.50+Feb $47.50+Mar $47.50+April $47.50+May $47.50+June $47.50+July $47.50+Aug $47.50+Sept $47.50+Oct$47.50+Nov($17.50 trf to re-stocking + $30 trf to US Reserve = $47.50) = $612.50

    •Total Year-To-Date Stockpile Budget:
    Jan $47.50+Feb $47.50+Mar $47.50+April $47.50+May $47.50+June $47.50+July $47.50+Aug $47.50+Sept $47.50+Oct $47.50+Nov$47.50 = $612.50

    •Total Over/Under Year-To-Date Stockpile Budget: $0.00 AVAILABLE



    •Total 2014 Re-Stocking Budget:
    2013 Fwd $125.00+Jan $17.50+Feb $17.50+Mar $17.50+April $17.50 +May $17.50+June $0.00+July $17.50+Aug $17.50+Sept $17.50+Oct $7.50+Nov($17.50+$17.50= $35.00)= $307.50 AVAILABLE



    •Total 2014 Borscht Stockpile Budget:
    2013 Fwd $275.00+Jan $12.50+Feb $12.50+Mar $12.50+April $12.50 +May $12.50+June $0.00+July $12.50+Aug $12.50+Sept $12.50+Oct $12.50+Nov$12.50= $400.00 AVAILABLE



    •Total 2014 Holiday Season Reserve:
    2013 Fwd $0.00+Jan $20.00+Feb $20.00+Mar $20.00+April $20.00 +May $20.00+June $0.00+July $10.00+Aug $0.00+Sept $0.00 +Oct $0.00= $110.00 AVAILABLE



    •Total 2014 Summer Season Reserve:
    2013 Fwd $0.00+Jan $0.00+Feb $0.00+Mar $0.00+April $0.00+May $0.00+June $0.00+July $0.00+Aug $20.00+Sept $20.00+Oct $10.00+Nov $20.00= $70.00 AVAILABLE


    • TOTAL SPENT Year-To-Date:

    $1,670.94 Grocery Budget
    $104.04 Hiding Spot Cash
    $20.00 Thrifty’s Points Redemption
    $20.00 PC.Plus Points Redemption
    $20.00 Safeway Cash Card
    $565.00 Stockpile Budget
    $80.00 Cash Repayment from neighbor
    $24.27 2013 Costco Rebate Cheque
    $0.00 2014 Costco Rebate Cheque – $13.45
    $250.00 Safeway Gift Card =


    $2,090.00 may have been budgeted for JAN to NOVEMBER ‘2014 but we have these funds already accounted for and not yet spent:

    $307.50 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $400.00 Borscht Fund
    $110.00 Holiday Season Fund
    $ 70.00 Summer Season Fund

    TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES $887.50 … that is a $400.00 carry-forward from 2013 and $487.50 in NEW 2014 savings.

    So, if you look at the $2,754.25 calculation that we have spent in 2014 and subtract the $487.50 we have actually saved in our “reserves” and the $143.30 ($49.30+94.00) we have recorded as spent but is actually set aside for future USA grocery shopping… we have actually spent $2,123.45!! That is $33.45 OVER the $2,090.00 we budgeted for January through November.

    BUT if you also take out the cash that was either a gift, some non-budgeted earning method or a loan repayment: ($104.04 Hiding Spot Cash from bottles etc + FREE $20 Safeway Gift Card + $80.00 Cash Repayment from a neighbor + $24.27 from a 2013 Costco Rebate Cheque + $0.00 used out of a 2014 Costco Rebate Cheque for $13.45 + a Christmas present of a $250.00 Safeway Gift Card+ $20.00 Thrifty’s Points Redeemed and $20.00 PC.Plus Points Redeemed+ $1.00 gift from hubby’s spending money) = $519.31 then we actually only used $1,604.14 of the budgeted $2,090.00 have a Budgeted Grocery Balance SURPLUS of $485.86 still sitting in our bank account.

    IF pay any attention to how we paid for the groceries and only look at the budgeted funds that we have used, then we seemingly we have $485.86 AVAILABLE. If you count everything, regardless of the payment source, we have actually have over spent $33.45 so far this year.

    We also need to remember we still have 2 weeks of vacation coming in December that we’ll transfer to cross border shopping and our “reserves”.



    CANADIAN $’s

    Groceries: ($13.44) << we'll straighten this out in December
    Stockpile: $0.00
    Cash Hiding Spot: $0.02
    Safeway Cash Card $0.00
    Safeway Savings Reward $0.00

    US $’s

    Our Reserve: $168.97-$7.99-$62.84-$48.84 = $49.30 remaining
    US Cash Hiding Spot: $94.00


    The valid rain checks I hold are as follows:


    4 lbs Ground Pork @ $2.99/lb (Good until December 22nd)


    1. Hi Mary,
      The year is drawing to a close. It’s going to be great reflecting on grocery shopping over the course of the year. I see you are down to 1 rain check. Do you think you will end up using it? Looking at your numbers I can tell you’ve done remarkable. It’s not easy but it’s possible and I think many of us prove that just by looking at how well we’ve all done. You get ballot 13. Mr.CBB

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