Types of food bank donations and ways to save: The Grocery Game Challenge #1 Dec 1-7, 2014

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food bank donations



Donations and food drives around the holidays are ramped up all over the world in hopes of making sure that all families have something to eat for the holidays.

It’s not easy to come forward and ask for help but there are people who could really benefit from your generosity.

Last year was the first time at my place of employment that we were able to help a family in the community who wasn’t able to provide their children with gifts to open on Christmas morning.

Not only did we make sure that the kids were taken care of we all donated a few dollars to buy them a gift card to a local grocery store so they could buy food to make a festive family dinner.


Ways to give


During the year we make Salvation Army donations and give away free clothing and other items we don’t need via Kijiji and Facebook. Most of these places make it easy to donate like the Salvation Army drop-off centers so you don’t even have to go into the store. You can make a Goodwill donation, Bibles for Missions and a Value Village donation much the same way.

Over the course of  the holiday season you could offer a Christmas gift donation to a family along with non-perishable items to be added into a Christmas hamper. You can also help by donating your time to a local soup kitchen or church group.

Other ways we like to give to our community is by donating to the local food bank once or twice a year. There are many companies who send out coupons or place coupons in grocery stores or offer printable coupons. Coupons are a great way to reduce the cost to you and/or allows you to purchase more items to donate. If you are not a couponer but want to give to a local charity keep coupons in mind.

Related: Ontario Food Bank Hunger Report 2016

If you have products at home that you bought but no longer need or you don’t think you will use them consider turning them into donations. There’s no point letting them collect dust on a shelf.

By participating in a rewards card program you can save up points then cash out when you see fit to donate to your local food bank. We have over $1000 in Shoppers Optimum Reward points so we will be cashing in on redemption day to make some food donations. I don’t think that the food bank will accept grocery store gift cards but you can certainly make a cash donation.


Filling the Food Bank


The food bank is not the only place that accepts food donations as many other organizations hold a food drive all year-long. The food bank may put out a donation request more so near the holidays and with that request they ask for non-perishable food items.

What are non-perishable food items? Some people might think to donate canned goods but there’s more items you can add to the list.

These are items that won’t necessarily spoil. I’ve put a mini list together below and yes you can donate baby formula because babies have to eat too! This is not an exclusive list as there are so many food products available for donation but keep in mind that each community food bank may differ slightly with what they will accept.

  • Canned fish
  • Dry Pasta
  • Soups
  • Tea bags
  • Coffee
  • Canned pastas
  • Cereal bars
  • Crackers
  • Pancake syrup or mix
  • Dry beans
  • Sugars
  • Canned bean
  • Canned vegetables
  • Powdered milk
  • Flour
  • Baby formula/ Samples
  • Peanut butter
  • Cake mixes
  • Icing sugar
  • Jam/Jelly
  • Pudding mix
  • Jello mixes
  • Pretty much any canned food
  • Juice boxes
  • Herbs and spices
  • Rice
  • Fruit bars
  • Dried fruits, meat and nuts
  • Pretty much anything that comes in a box
  • Dehydrated potato flakes
  • Cereals
  • Oils
  • Frosting
  • Cous-cous, Quinoa
  • Cornmeal

What are some non-food items to donate?

I’ve come up with what I can think of but I’m sure there are more items we can add to this list. Leave a comment on this post with more items to add!

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Soap
  • Body lotion
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Hairspray
  • Mousse
  • Shaving cream/gel
  • Baby disposable diapers
  • Baby wipes
  • Laundry soap
  • Facial tissue
  • Liquid hand soap
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Paper towel
  • Toilet paper
  • Sandwich bags/paper lunch bags
  • Unopened hair brushes
  • Unopened razors
  • Floss
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Cleaning products

If you are not 100% sure what your local food bank or charity will accept for non-perishable or non-food related items simply drop by and ask or give them a call.

For more inspiration I asked my Facebook fans to share stories about donations they may give or types of volunteer work they do not only for the holidays but throughout the year.

Jen Peacock: I donate every year at this time. At work we make note of needy families within the school. We call and ask if they’re willing to receive help for Christmas. Different departments taken on families to provide for. Most people contribute money to buy items.

I use coupons to donate. I tend to stick to certain brands for some items like bar soap so if I see a free or cheap deal for another brand I will pick them up for donating ( I am donating a ton of Ivory and Lever 2000 bar soap this year. Last year it was Olay soap).

I also have baby rice cereal from a Free Product Coupon (FPC), gluten-free pasta from an FPC, Barilla pasta cheap or free with coupons, toothbrushes and toothpaste free with coupons, wrapping paper bought on clearance, tons of sample products from all the sample boxes that P&G and sample source send out.

I have Purex and Sunlight detergent bought cheap with coupons (I’m a Tide girl). I collect these items all year in a box and then donate them at Christmas to the selected needy families within our school community.

Michelle Kelson: Yes. Every year. I learned there is not enough to go around and that what is given hardly gives a healthy meal. I do a hundred-dollar challenge where I collect coupons and maximize my $100 donation.

Tanis Good Gloe:  We keep a grocery cart in our narthex. The food bank lets us know what they are low on. I would give protein with a long shelf life, like tuna or peanut butter. I have volunteered at a church camp cook, a relief driver for Meals on Wheels, and as a volunteer for a mass Thanksgiving dinner for senior citizens.

Faith Loewen: We used to contribute with a bunch of families & donate a large sack of red lentils. Dollar for dollar excellent protein & fibre. The food bank divided them into small portions for distribution.

If I were putting them in a hamper I would include a few recipes (curry – with a can of coconut milk and good curry spice or paste; burritos- with chili powder or taco spice mix plus a box of tacos, etc). Also in my community we add other stuff the family could use – clothes etc. Whatever we see as a need, on top of the food.

Nancy Patriarca: Hi this will be my 2nd year putting together a food drive. Last year was for the daily food bank and this year it will go to another charity that helps feed 320 families that are in need we raise money and food.

Christine Weadick: The younger boy used to work for the Thrift store here in town. Last year and this year he has helped out at the food bank, and with the Hampers doing sorting, set-up and any reaching that is beyond what the ladies can do. I have baked for the bake sale in June they have every year for the last while.

The boys and I have all manned the kettles as well. They are always asking for things like peanut butter and canned fruit other than pineapple, snacks and lunch type things for the kids, juice and juice boxes, bread, canned beans(so many don’t know how to cook the dry) and that kind of non-perishable things.

Colleen Knudsen: Yes both myself and my partner have volunteered (sorry he was paid for part of it…..he drove the truck for pick ups). I helped with sorting and making hampers. I learned that there is way too many people who have to utilize food banks.

Also the food bank provided muffins for a school breakfast program and it is really sad that people can’t eat healthy off a hamper….canned meat….distressed produce…no dairy…no eggs…lots of bread and donuts too. That’s about it.

Juanita Paul: I haven’t but when in high school I was very involved in the food drive and organizing everything into boxes to be delivered to local families.

I always do what I can to help donate items to the food bank or to some ladies that head downtown and hand out directly to the homeless. Also when some of the other local couponers do a shout out to help a family in need I always keep extra on hand to help donate.

What other tips could you add for those who want to make donations in their community?


December 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!

The GGC Winner for November goes to….. #15 Christine Weadick!! Email me for your prize!


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!

No Frills

  • 4 x Lactancia butter sale $2.97 each
  • Pork chops reduced $3.00-$0.90
  • Mild Italian Sausages reduced $4.40-$1.32
  • Mild Italian Sausages reduced $4.20-$1.26
  • Rapini $2.47

Total out-of-pocket $20.17

Food Basics

  • 6 x Black Diamond Cheese Sale $4.44- $2.00 wub 2 coupons (stockpile budget $20.64 (over $0.64 but we were under last month so we are good)
  • 2 x light ricotta Silani Sale $2.00 each
  • 2 x Parmalat Milk 4l $3.97 each
  • 2 x frozen spinach $1.49 Rachel Ray says it’s best to use frozen as you’ll get more bang for your buck. She’s right it would take me lots of spinach to get what you get in this brick)
  • 3 x Russet Potatoes 3/$5.00
  • Bananas $1.32
  • Chipits chocolate chips sale $6.99 (the monster bag lol)
  • Cheerios Sale $4.00 Jumbo box
  • Premium plus crackers $2.98
  • Roasted red peppers $1.79
  • Baking Powder $2.49

Total out-of-pocket $39.49



  • 4 x jars of Italian Pesto Sale $0.50 each WOW!! Awesome deal! They were reg $4.xx
  • Philadelphia Cream Cheese Sale $1.99
  • Olympic Coconut Yogurt $4.19-pink sticker 50% (this is my new favourite yogurt in Canada)
  • 2 x bacon Sale $3.99 each

Total out-of-pocket $14.07


 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 : $6.00
  • Total Coupons Used to date: $74.19
  • Total Discounts this Week: $3.48
  • Total Discounts Used to date: $74.23
  • Total Gift Cards Used to date: $33.18
  • Total Rewards Points Used: $0
  • Total Rewards Points Used to date: $40.00
  • Stockpile Budget ($20.00): $20.64
  • 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+Dec $
  • Snap Groupon to date: $2.00 (cashed out $23.xx this week) 🙂
  • 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: $73.73
  • Total Spent So Far December $73.73  (we have $89.72 to spend for the month)
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $n/a
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month: over $
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $15.99
  • 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+ August $228.26+ Sept $272.80+ Oct $451.48+Nov $114.50+ Dec $

Weekly Overview: 

We spent almost the entire budget this shop but we loaded up on items on sale. Next week will be our last shop for the month as we are heading to my wife’s parents for the holidays and won’t need food. I’ll still be posting the GGC though.

The past couple of months have been hard for us in the kitchen as our son is not sleeping at night and our hours are all messed up. I’m hoping in the next month or two this boy can get back in the kitchen cooking more. I’ve wanted to bake olive bread for ages. I know that I’ll be baking extra to bring to our neighbours who have fed us since our son was born.

We may just make our yearly goal for the 2014 year grocery budget!


 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.

Canada Coupons December 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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  1. 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.

    NN spinach $.98
    Cavendish fries $1.67
    OOP $2.65

    GG yellow beans 11 x $.99
    Tortillas $2.00
    Dipps $1.97
    Granola bars $1.97
    OOP $17.34

    Del Monte veggies 7 x $.80
    Mio 2 x $5.00
    UB rice 2 x $.97
    PC Italian dressing $1.88
    Smartfood $2.00
    Muchies $2.00
    Nutrigrain bars $1.97
    Ritz 8 x $1.44
    Pot of Gold chocolates 2 x $3.98 – 2 x $1.00 rebates CO51
    Kraft dressing 2 x $2.00
    Miracle whip $2.97
    Nestle water 2 x $1.88
    McCain fries $1.66
    Almond milk 4 x $2.99 – 2 x $1.25 coupons – 2 x $1.00 coupons
    Romaine $1.79
    Bananas $1.54
    Green pepper $.77
    Chocolate croissant 2 x $1.19
    Wonderbread $1.88
    Vitality bread $1.97
    Spinach dip 2 x $3.00
    Turkey pepperoni $4.29
    Kolbassa $4.00
    Magazine $3.49
    Coupons $5.25
    Rebates $2.75
    Total $76.99
    OOP $5.51 (Cashier though she heard me say I wanted to use all of my PC points so I ended up only paying this)
    ****Because I am doing this so late I cannot remember what I price matched and to where and exactly what coupons were used and where so this may not be completely accurate****
    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: $340 + $32.79 carried over if needed
    • Total Coupons Used this Week: $5.25
    • Total Coupons Used This Month: $5.25
    • Total Coupons Used this Year: $1019.17
    • Total rebates this week (Checkout 51, Snapsaves, CartSmart, zweet, Save.ca): $2.75
    • Total rebates this month (Checkout 51, Snapsaves, CartSmart, zweet, Save.ca): $2.75
    • Total rebates this year (Checkout 51, Snapsaves, CartSmart, zweet, Save.ca): $169.50
    • 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: 70,000
    • Total Reward Points Used this year: 210,000 or $210.00
    • Total tax free day this week: $0
    • Total tax free day this month: $0
    • Total tax free day this year: $81.98
    • Colleague Discount (this year): $19.92
    • Total Spent This Week: $25.50
    • Total Spent So Far for this month: $25.50
    • Total Over/Under spent for the month: N/A
    • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $314.50
    • Total to Carry over Next Month (if needed): $43.37
    • Total Spent To Date This Year: $3860.61
    Weekly overview: Under this week due to a mix up with the cashier. I really didn’t want to use that many points 🙁 Looks like I will be way under budget for the year!

    1. Hi Jen,
      When do you get you next meat order? Do you even have room for it lol? Whether you use the points now or later it all goes to the same pile. Great news that you are under budget for the year why the sad face? You did phenomenal with your grocery shopping in 2014 and Ken should be very proud of you and you should be proud of yourself. You work very hard to save your family money. Well done Jen!! You get ballot. 6.

  2. Here are my shops for the first week of Dec. Looks like it will be a 5 week month the way I break things down. Either way I was over for the week. There were a couple of things I bought in the groceries that will be for Christmas as well. I stayed in town for this week so all shops are at Foodland.

    Nov. 11
    2 cans pineapple @1.19 -2.38
    Bananas -1.68
    1 Icing sugar -1.99
    1 green pepper -.64
    2 loaves W/W bread @2/5.00 -5.00
    1 cranberry cocktail -2.98
    1 raisin bread -3.49
    2 packs frozen veggies @3.49 -6.98
    1 cider mix -3.49
    1 yogurt -3.49, .50 coupon
    2 After Eight mints @3.88 -7.76, 1.00 coupon
    1 bagels -3.89, .50 coupon
    1 honey garlic sausage -3.99
    1 pack gravy powder -3.99
    1 Rice Krispies -4.49
    2 4l milk @4.88 -9.76
    3 blocks cheese @4.97 -14.97
    1 pork tenderloin -8.09
    1 Tetley tea bags 144 count -9.99
    Tax – 1.46
    Total -$108.43, 2.00 coupons

    Nov. 30
    1 can pineapple -1.19
    Bananas -.52
    1 pop up timer for turkey -1.99
    1 yogurt -3.49, 50% sticker,1.75 off
    1 After Eights mints -3.88
    1 Bakers unsweetened chocolate -3.99
    1 pack sausage -4.84, 50% sticker -2.42 saved
    2 4l milk @4.88 -9.76
    1 block cheese -4.97
    1 pack sausage @5.35, 50% sticker, 2.68 saved
    1 jug water -5.49
    Tax -.76
    Total -$39.38, 6.85 discounts

    Dec. 3
    1 can pineapple -1.19
    Bananas -1.24
    1 frozen orange juice -1.79
    1 unsweetened Apple sauce -1.98
    1 bag jelly beans -2.49
    1 W/W bread -3.69, .50 coupon
    1 bagels -3.89 ,.50 coupon
    1 20lb bag potatoes -4.99
    1 jug water -5.49
    Tax -.32
    Total -$29.06, 1.00 coupons

    Total budget for month -$650.00, 5 weeks-$130.00wk
    Total spent for week -$176.87
    Total coupons -3.00
    Total discounts -$6.85
    Total spent for month -$176.87
    Carry over from last month -$63.17
    Left for month -$473.13
    Total over/under for month -N/A
    Total over/under for week -$46.87 over
    Total coupons for month -$3.00
    Total discounts for month -$6.85
    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+D$176.87=$7390.04
    Stock pile -$25.00, none spent

    So I was over by a good chunk for the week but I still have lots of room for the month and the stockpile is there too. Picking up a little here and there for Christmas is my normal routine to spread the cost out as far as I can so I am continuing that plan. I already have a turkey for then but will use my turkey bucks to get a turkey, likely for Easter. I got 5 bucks this week on the last week to collect them and I managed to get $21.00 worth for the promotion. Every little bit helps.

    1. Hi Christine,
      Upon first scan I see Chocolate, Chocolate and Jelly beans haha. It’s Christmas and it’s nice to have chocolates, cheese and crackers around for guests. Mary has kindly put together the GGC weeks for 2015 which I am so thankful for. Maybe we will all be on the same page then. 🙂 I can’t wait for the New Year of savings. That’s great that you spread out the costs so you aren’t killing the budget one month. I wish we had Foodland here so I could get in on the turkey bucks. My inlaws have a Foodland in their city just up the road from them. Sometimes when we go home we pop in to see what’s going on. For the most part it’s pricey but there are some deals to be had. Are you making rice krispie squares…………….for me.. hehe!! You get ballot 6. Mr.CBB

      1. Foodland is thought of as pricey but when you compare the prices there to the other choice I have here, Your Independent Grocer, it’s not as bad. I have compared prices at both stores as have a few others I know and Foodland does come cheaper than YIG!!! The After Eights were a three day sale so I grabbed some and had a coupon for one of the boxes from Halloween chocolates. It was a small bag of jelly beans that will be split between all of us in the stockings so it won’t go far with the 6 of us counting the grandson. I’m the one eating the rice krispies..Lol!!! I like a little snack before I call it a night!! Hubby has his Cheerios and I have my RK!!! Would you be coming here to eat the rice krispie squares????? I don’t usually deliver.
        That just might be a good plan to get everyone working together. My thought for going Friday to Thursday was that is the way the ads run and I tend to go in at the start of the ad for the best deals… I’ll see how things go from here on in.

        1. I could come yes as long as you keep your camera at home… sure why not 🙂 We love Rice Krispie Squares! You know it really doesn’t matter though with the weeks as long as we all track our own. I normally was on the same weeks as Mary but this year I messed up at the beginning of the year so I was always off from all of you.

  3. November 28 to December 5th….

    Name Your Store: Superstore
    Total Coupons Used: $0.00
    Total Out Of Pocket: $46.98

    2 Bags of Cat Food – 7.98 = $15.96
    3 Boxes of Baking Soda – 0.98 = $2.94
    Crackers = $1.99
    2 Bags of Pasta – $1.59 = $3.18
    PC Jam – (600 PC Points) = $2.98
    Butter Pecan Cake Mix = $.98
    2 Boxes of Stove Top Stuffing – 0.99 (PM FB) = $1.98
    Eggs = $2.68
    4L Skim Milk = $3.97
    Kraft Cheese – $5.97 (50% Pink Sticker) = $2.99
    Oreo Ice Cream – (400 PC Points) = $3.98
    Bananas – 1.105kg @ $1.26/kg = $1.39
    Thomas Cinnamon Raisin – (PM NF) = $1.97

    Name Your Store: Bulk Barn
    Total Coupons Used: $0.00
    Total Out Of Pocket: $25.80

    M&M Plain Chocolate Candy – 1.135 kg @ 14.30/kg = $16.23
    Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips – 0.815 kg @ 9.16/kg = $7.47

    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: 1000
    Total Rewards Points Used: $20.00+40.00
    Stockpile Budget: $0.00
    Total Over/Under spend this shop: $16.84 over (Human); 5.96 over (Pet)
    Total Spent This Week: $56.80 (Human); 15.96 (Pet)
    Total Spent So Far for November: $84.68+39.56+57.62+40.42+72.78
    Total Over/Under spend for the month of November: $95.06 over
    Total Left to Spend for the Month: ($95.06)
    Total to Carry Over Next Month: $N/A
    Total Spent To Date This Year: $3,222.53
    Weekly Overview: My daughter decided to make some mason jar mixes for Christmas so we had to pick up some sweets at Bulk Barn to ensure there would be enough. Otherwise, the regular shopping was encompassing some special treats that I don’t normally buy.

    1. Hi Dee,
      What a great idea to make the mason jar mixes. I’ve heard of them and seen them but never attempted them before but I like the concept. I still think the chocolate chips were pricey but the Bulk Barn is pricey for most items unless they are on sale and if we use the coupon (when available) it’s even better. What did you make in the mason jars for mixes? I think this time of year it’s hard not to buy treats hehe. You still have a decent amount left to spend for the month…. almost done for 2015.. on the home stretch. Then a new year of savings begins. You get ballot. 2. Mr.CBB

  4. Other items that I use a lot of that could really help with the creation of some economical but tasty meals are:

    – tomato sauce
    – tomato paste
    – cartons of broth
    – vinegar
    – lemon juice
    – ketchup
    – tea and coffee
    – dried fruits
    – nuts and seeds
    – assorted pickles/olives

    Sometimes it’s nice to have these expensive items to make things just a little nicer when times are tough and it is the holiday season. 🙂

  5. Many food banks accept gift cards. It gives them an opportunity to purchase perishable items like milk , eggs and produce.

  6. DECEMBER – Week #1 of 5- Dec 1-7, 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



    Before we start our DECEMBER off though, I am going to make my “reserve” transfers for the month:


    ($13.44) Overage from last month
    $142.50 for the month
    ( $12.50) trf to borscht reserve-normally $12.50
    ($ 0.00) trf to holiday – normally $20.00
    ($ 20.00) trf to Summer Reserve –instead of Holiday Reserve
    ($67.50) trf to US Reserve
    ($ 0.00) trf to re-stocking – normally $17.50

    Grocery Balance $29.06 for DECEMBER


    $47.50 for the month
    ($17.50) trf to re-stocking – normally $17.50
    ($30.00) trf to US Reserve – normally $30.00

    Stockpile Balance $0.00 for DECEMBER



    I had expected to need something or other this week but we don’t! We’ll probably need to pick up a tiny single serve size milk for my tea next week but I have got lots of homemade soups in the fridge for fast and easy meals at this busy time of year. We’ve got French Onion, Peasant Cabbage & Tomato, Chicken Cacciatore & Vegetable and Creamy Homemade Tomato Soup. I could make a nice cheesy potato chowder this weekend but now that the temperatures are below zero, the potatoes will survive in the garage until we get back…besides, hubby wants another batch of the French Onion – I am good with that as it will finish off our onions. 🙂

    I also have eggs to make some nice dishes to go with the green salad and coleslaw we are finishing off. I even found a recipe for an Italian Style Macaroni and Cheese Casserole that will make a wonderful comfort food meal & use up some of the spinach I have. We have spareribs planned for one night and we’ll have some of a small ham destined for another night BUT I am dicing up half of the ham and freezing it for a Pea Soup on New Year’s Day for our lunch. See how the meal planning helps? We are looking good to completely clear the fridge crispers again before our vacation that’s coming up. Zero waste! Love it, love it, love it!!!

    I swear by meal planning! I have gotten really serious about meal planning BEFORE making my grocery list. Before doing things in that order though there was always some waste. Now, I can keep our money in the bank and finish off what we have first. Are we doing yucky meals … certainly not! Google is my very best friend. Ingredient + Ingredient + Ingredient and I get suggestions galore. 🙂 Never do our meals have to be repetitive or boring – unless we are repeating because we want to.

    If I have any suggestion for 2015, it’s do your monthly meal plan before you make the week’s grocery list of what you need. Then hit the flyers and find those items on sale! You can always rearrange the meal plan to work with what’s on sale in a given week. 😀


    NO SHOP UNTIL Dec 8th!



    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+ Dec $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+Dec $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+Dec $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+Dec 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+Dec 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+Dec 0= 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$158.81+ Dec ($12.50 trf to borscht+$20.00 to Summer$67.50 trf to US Reserve = $100.00)= $1,770.94

    •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+Dec $142.50 = $1,800.00

    •Total Over/Under on Year-To-Date Grocery Budget: $29.06 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 $47.50+Dec($17.50 trf to re-stocking + $30 trf to US Reserve = $47.50) = $660.00

    •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+Dec $47.50 = $660.00

    •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$35.00+Dec$17.50= $325.00 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+Dec $12.50= $412.50 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+Dec $20.00= $90.00 AVAILABLE


    • TOTAL SPENT Year-To-Date:

    $1,770.94 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 << available still for when we get home!!!
    $250.00 Safeway Gift Card =


    $2,280.00 may have been budgeted for JAN to DECEMBER ‘2014 but we have these funds already accounted for and not yet spent:

    $325.00 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $412.50 Borscht Fund
    $110.00 Holiday Season Fund
    $ 90.00 Summer Season Fund

    TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES $937.50 … that is a $400.00 carry-forward from 2013 and $537.50 in NEW 2014 savings.

    So, if you look at the $2,854.25 calculation that we have spent in 2014 and subtract the $537.50 we have actually saved in our “reserves” and the $240.80 ($146.80+94.00) we have recorded as spent but is actually set aside for future USA grocery shopping… we have actually spent $2,075.95!! That is $204.05 UNDER the $2,280.00 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 $1,556.64 of the budgeted $2,280.00 have a Budgeted Grocery Balance SURPLUS of $723.36 still sitting in our bank account.

    IF you pay any attention to how we paid for the groceries, then we seemingly have $723.36 AVAILABLE. If you count all grocery purchases regardless where the funds came from, we have actually have $204.05 still available this year but most of it is buried in our reserves.

    We still have 2 weeks of vacation coming this month that will help us finish the year pretty darned close to on budget.



    CANADIAN $’s

    Groceries: $29.06
    Stockpile: $0.00
    Cash Hiding Spot: $0.02
    Safeway Cash Card $0.00
    Safeway Savings Reward $0.00

    US $’s

    Our Reserve: $49.30+$67.50+$30.00 = $146.80
    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,
      WOW you have lots of soup ready to go, good for you. I wish we did. What a great idea with the meal planning. I might try that too! I like that you Google ingredient+ingredient as that is something else I never thought to do with random items in the refrigerator. I also keep potatoes in the cold room or in the garage in the winter and they keep just as well. You get ballot #1 … almost to the end Mary.. ya!

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