How To Keep An Organized Pantry: The Grocery Game Challenge 2015 #1 Feb 2-8

How to keep an organized pantryORGANIZED= SAVINGS


Keeping an organized pantry is very important for us especially after the pantry pests in our pasta and dry beans cabinet two weeks ago. 

We knew it was time to get serious and put more time into our kitchen organization since it hasn’t been a priority for us the past year.

When I started blogging in 2012 I wrote about why having a pantry list was a great way to save money and eat healthy.

Having a pantry full of food is great but sometimes shoppers can go overboard and simply buy too much stuff.

What happens then is you have a pantry that is an organized pantry disaster unless of course you are on top of your organization game.

I’m sure some of you say your pantry is organized chaos and you can find your way around it no problem. BUT… are you making sure you aren’t wasting food?

That WAS us but no longer and wasting food was NOT our intention as we are such a frugal couple and I kid you not use vegetable scraps to make broth.

We try not to waste anything if we can help it because we know there are people out there that are starving so why not use what we have to create beautiful food.

It was hard to pass by unadvertised deals at the grocery store and somehow we convinced each other that we needed it because it was a great deal.

Sound like you?

How many times have you pulled something out of your so-called organized pantry only to say…”Oh I forgot I had this“? I’m betting more times than you care to admit but it’s true, it happens.

We’ve since learned that a stocked pantry is only good if you;

  • Shop wisely to get the best savings you can for the product you purchase
  • Buy only buy what you need or will use up before it expires or creates an overflow of food in the pantry.

To our sadness when we found the flour mites we had to throw out so much food that we were forced to evaluate the way were grocery shopping and storing products in our kitchen pantry.

The one cabinet that is now empty got a complete scrub down although it wasn’t dirty more so dusty. We wanted to make sure nothing was lurking in the cracks and we’re happy to report it’s been pest free ever since.

One thing we are doing different is that we are buying less food and stockpiling only what we need. This week our combat mission was our pantry and kitchen cupboards so Mrs. CBB and I got busy and starting tearing our kitchen apart.


Organized Pantry


It was time we made sure 100% that we had an organized pantry and not only by keeping a list of what was in our pantry but by making sure we were following a few more steps to keep the cabinet chaos under control.

In the process of the war zone which WE created WE realized some things WE wanted in our next kitchen. That’s lots of we’s…Can I even say that, ha! That’s what most people would call taking ownership of a concern along with an action.


Pantry and our Kitchen Reno


Probably not this year but with-in the next year now that our mortgage is paid off we are hoping to do a full kitchen re-model as this kitchen doesn’t quite suit our needs.

I’ve been surfing the web looking at different websites and found this really cool site called Houzz which showed us some ways to keep an organized pantry with modern kitchen ideas. I’ll warn you though once you visit the Houzz website you will drool over some of the amazing pantry designs.


One kitchen pantry organization idea that we liked the most was of course the walk-in pantry but sadly we don’t have the space in our home for one. I promised my wife the next house we get will have a walk-in pantry.

Upon looking at the designs we realized that with our kitchen layout we might be able to install a pantry that would suit our needs.

What we really want is a pantry that is easy to keep organized and so that we can see all of the products. There’s nothing worse than having a dark kitchen pantry that you can’t even see what is in it.


She also would like a pantry that is big enough to store our little kitchen appliances so we can get them off the counter-top and hidden away.

This frees up space on the counters so we  I can have a bigger area to cook and prep food.

So what did we do to our unorganized pantry? We organized it!!


This is how we now have an organized pantry


We made sure we took our time to sort the kitchen and we are proud to say we now have an organized pantry!

Here’s what we did!

  • First things first, we cleaned off the kitchen table that has all sorts of bits and bobs on it and one counter-top.

Then the wife got out her whip… haha! She asked me to take all of the products out of the kitchen pantry and cupboards. Since I am taller than her I brought the products out and she put them on the table.

What did we learn at this point?

We learned we have lots of crap in our pantry that needs using up. Yes we have a pantry list that tells us all of the great items we should stock and the expiry dates but lets be honest, we just had a baby.

Keeping organized is not easy and we’re the first to admit that lists are awesome but in order for them to work you have to keep on top of them.

We’re a bit ashamed to say we’ve let it go a bit but at the same time we realize that now that baby CBB is here and finally sleeping we can get our lives back to some sort of respectable normal like before.

  • Next order of business was to take all of the open boxes and make sure 100% that they were sealed with clips and not past expiry. We sat all these boxes in one group.
  • It was important for us to inspect the open boxes as well because you never know what lurks even if you are the cleanest of homeowners.

The products that were unopened and checked for expiry we kept in another group. If there were products near expiry I dropped them off at the Food Bank.

There wasn’t too much but we even got rid of products that we really knew we wouldn’t eat. Our diet has somewhat changed over the past year so this clear-out was good for us. It was like a big weight off of our shoulders.

  • After we cleaned the pantry from top to bottom and it had time to dry we completed our pantry list and started to put the products back in the pantry.
  • If there were any doubles of products we moved them to our basement cold room where we stockpile our food even though there’s not much of it these days.

When putting the products back in we made sure to space everything out so we could visually see what we had as well using the pantry list. Keeping like products together is a great way to manouver around so you grab products that go together like jam and peanut butter.

  • Lastly we are label freaks so we made sure that all of the labels were facing us so we didn’t have to waste time turning them around. Time is money after all… I kid you not!

I’m happy to say that our pantry is now an organized pantry and even though it’s not our dream pantry for the time being it’s our pantry and we will make do with what we have.

Our simple pantry organization day took up about one hour of our time and it was time well worth spending in the kitchen with my wife.

How do you organize your pantry?


February 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 Grocery Game Challenge WINNER for January 2015 goes to…… #12 Angela~~ Congrats Angela. Please contact me so I can send you your coupon prize pack!


Grocery Saving Tips


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

2014 Free Money Saving ToolsFree 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


the ultimate grocery shopping guide cbbEverything 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.


2015 Grocery shop results


If you are a foodie like I am you will enjoy going through my Free Recipe Index where recipes from CBB Home Chef Nicola Don and myself are shared every Sunday on the blog. Check it out!

Yearly grocery budget for two 2015: $2820

(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $240 per year or $25 per month.


  • 4 x Ancient Grains Bread 2 for $5.00-50% stickers 🙂
  • 2 x Neilson 2% milk $3.97 each
  • Salerno ricotta $4.99-50% pink sticker 🙂
  • 3 x PC Cabbage rolls Reg $13.99 Sale $6.99

Total-out-pocket $36.50

Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)

  • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $235.00
  • Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $20.00
  • PC Points Plus Earned to date: 11202
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0

Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

  • Snap Groupon to date: $ 0
  • Zweet to date: $0.50
  • Cart Smart to date: $0
  • Checkout51 to date: $0

GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK (add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)

  • Stockpile budget 2015 ($25.00): $0
  • Stockpile budget used to date: $0
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $0
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $7.51
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $7.51
  • Total spent this week: $36.50
  • Total spent so far this month: $36.50
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: $under
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: $n/a
  • Total left to spend for the month: $198.50
  • Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $166.49+ Feb $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts): I broke down and bought some cabbage rolls for us only because I can’t make them for that cheap. You can’t beat the price and we do love them. I have made them in the past but with me working 6 days a week and the baby it’s not possible. Beef and pork is not cheap so we thought $6.99 was well worth us eating something better than sandwiches and soup all the time. I would not purchase them at regular price though.

Get your shops posted!! I’m waiting. :) Happy shopping everyone.


 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.

This lovely Crest coupon was found in a pad at our Dentist office 🙂 Expiry is March 2015.

Crest toothpaste coupon Canada


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 but you will still get a ballot when you post your shops even if they are late but I encourage you to stay on schedule. It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something that is scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it all together. Don’t let that be you! You can post your shops all month-long.
  • Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: Yes No, our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014-2015 we no longer include such items in our grocery budget so we can see actual food numbers at the end of the year so we can plan accordingly for our budget. 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.
  • What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
  • 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 2015 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. If you are brave and want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! It’s FREE!

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 2015!

Join in and become money savers and take control of your grocery budget.



its not about how much money you make its how you save it logo

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  1. Hey Mr.CBB
    The pork loin I bought was the one with the least amount of fat on it. Unfortunately they do not cut fresh or really any meat at save on foods so I cant have them trim it for me like I would do at work, don’t get me wrong there is always fat on meat but it depends on which company the meat comes from and how much fat they trim off because well they are running a business too. I was just already extremely frustrated with having to waste my time and go back to the store because they were sold out the first time I went. I never email companies to complain bit I sure did after my disappointing, frustrating and none existent discount Tuesday shop, as you have to spend $50 or more to receive the 15% they offer. may just buy the same thing at Costco or wait till it goes on sae at my work.
    The discount Tuesday at my Sobeys is 10% off on the first Tuesday of the month wub $35 or more. It is the same for my local Safeway and Co-op. I don’t receive a store/employee discount unfortunately but my store was just franchised and purchased by the current store manager so I am not sure if he will let us have an employee discount , I have heard of stores giving a 15% discount to their employees on every Thursday. I would love that!!!!!
    Yes the roasts were a super awesome deal! Cheaper than Costco! We will also get a leftover meal from it as well to really help stretch it. I always do a break down of meat and how much I wanna spend on meat per meal/dinner and I always like to try for $5 or less. Plus you know me I am not buying any meat unless it is on sale or clearance!!

  2. Week 1 – February 2 – 8

    • Grocery budget to work with in February: $320
    • Total coupons used this week: $1
    • Total coupons used to date: $6
    • Total RCSS gas coupons used this week: $.48
    • Total RCSS gas coupons used to date: $2.77
    • Total value PC Plus points redeemed this week: $0
    • Total value PC Plus points redeemed to date: $40
    • Total gift cards used this week: $0
    • Total gift cards used to date: $0
    • Total student discounts this week: $6.81
    • Total student discounts to date: $28.50
    • Total tax savings RCSS this week: 0
    • Total tax savings RCSS to date: $1.95
    • Total spent this week: $65.35
    • Total spent so far this month: $65.35
    • Total left to spend for the month: $254.65
    • Total Spent To Date 2015: $319.45

    RCSS: candy treat for son (always get something after allergy appointment and we just happened to be at the grocery store) 1.99, Gum .74 less 30% x 12 (8.88-2.64), mushroom soup 2 x 2, peanut butter 2.88 x 2 – 1 coupon (PM), oasis large jug orange juice 3.98, Welches frozen blueberries 3.98, less .48 superbucks, less 2.58 student discount, plus tax .97: Total 22.85 rounded down 1 cent

    RCSS: NN lunch snack 1.10 x 2, lactose free margarine 1, eggs 1.99 (PM), milk 3.97, amooza twists 3.98, Veggie straws 2.50 x 2, grape tomatoes 1.97 x 3, bananas 1.31, snap peas 2.99, pepperoni 4.94 less 30% (4.94-1.48), extra lean ground beef 14.33, less student discount 4.23 plus tax .59: 42.50

    Ok start to the month. Some frivolous stuff like gum and candy for son, but gum is a requirement for hubby (mouthwash doesn’t work as well). Lots of snack items for on the go to hockey. It’s handy to have a few prepackaged items when I’m getting the cooler bag ready to mix with the snacks I dole out into containers.

    1. Hi Angela,
      So if you weren’t at the grocery store it would be wherever you were that he would get a treat. Awe.. I bet it’s no fun having allergies. My wife has them as well. Great price for the PB. Where did you find the coupons? We like the Welches blueberries here as well for smoothies. We bought a couple of bags last year some time and gave some to our boy and he likes them. I love that student discount. When is it that they have that again, I forget? I go through lots of gum as well buy my wife makes me take it from my allowance lol. You still have a decent budget left for the month. Happy Shopping. Mr.CBB you get ballot 15.

      1. Yes, on allergy shot day, he gets a treat regardless. Deal is it’s $2-3 dollars, I prefer less. If we are at the grocery store, he tends to get something special there and it comes out of grocery. If he wants a donut or slushie or something, it comes out of my allowance (and my allowance is $5 week, so it’s nice to split it between the two). And, actually my and hubby’s allowance stops at the end of March (due to necessity), so I’ve been saving up mine for treat day. Thankfully we are on shots once a month right now until May when it’s weekly for 6 weeks or so, then back to once a month. New serum time.
        The peanut butter coupons came out of a Christmas Kraft cookie kit which included a plastic container, jar of peanut butter and a cookie cutter along with the coupon. I bought two – on clearance and wish I had gotten more. So I have one more peanut butter coupon on standby.
        RCSS in my town has the student discount on Tuesdays. They have a number of their stores offer it, generally in college towns. I love it!

        1. Nice to see someone else with an allowance like me. 🙂 I never even seen that Kraft cookie kit… not that I would have bought it though as we don’ tneed any of that stuff. It was a great coupon though.

  3. Our weekly budget is $100 a week making this month $400
    Save on foods
    $22.50 boneless pork loin (7 meals worth, not happy because there was a lot of at on it that I had to trim off)
    $4.99 blueberries (little miss loves them)
    $4×5-$2instoreC breakfast sausages (sausage gravy and biscuits soon)
    $37.50 total oop
    $7.99 case of kd
    $1.25×4 hunts sauce
    $2.50×4-$1C astr yogurt
    $2.99 compliments cream cheese
    $1.99×12-$2Cx3 small international coffee creamer
    $13.08,$15.76 sirloin tip roasts (4 meals)
    $6.09,$6.45,$6.36 whole chickens
    $1.49 pizza pepperoni
    $2.15 sliced ham
    $3.62 bologna
    .90 mango iced tea
    $35.30 total oop
    $12 total coupons
    $10.49 10% discount Tuesday
    $47.95 used Sobeys gift card

    $72.80 weekly total oop
    $22.49 weekly coupons/discounts
    $47.95 gift card used
    $639.82 yearly total oop
    $223.32 yearly total coupons

    1. Hi Juanita,
      You could have returned it to the store if you weren’t happy with it. I would have. If you pay for garbage then bring it back. No shame in that trust me I’ve done it. Our son likes blueberries as well but we only have frozen one’s that we mush up as he’s too young with no teeth lol. I like discount Tuesday. That’s employee discount I’m guessing? You should track that all year. I’d love to see that end number. Not too bad of a deal on the roasts considering you will get 4 meals from them. I like how you think like that. You get ballot. 9

  4. Name Your Store: i.e. Food Barn (Australia)
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $31.41

    Week 4- 02-09 Feb, 2015

    3 kg oranges- $4.99

    500g mixed nuts- $10.89

    500g smoked almonds-$12.49

    2 (.61kg) bananas- $3.04

    Do the above for each receipt you have then copy the template below and paste it to the bottom of your shop so we can see your results.
    Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)

    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $216.67
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $117.92
    Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
    Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
    Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
    PC Points Plus Earned to date:0
    Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0

    Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

    Snap Groupon to date: $0
    Zweet to date: $0
    Cart Smart to date: $0
    Checkout51 to date: $0

    GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK (add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)

    Stockpile budget 2015 ($0.00): $0
    Stockpile budget used to date: $0
    Total coupons used this week: $0
    Total coupons used to date: $0
    Total in-store discounts this week: $0
    Total in-store discounts to date: $0
    Total spent this week: $0
    Total spent so far this month: $31.41
    Total over/Under spend this shop: $
    Total over/Under spend for the month: $185.26(under)
    Total left to spend for the month: $303.18
    Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) $130.16

    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts):

    We have noticed the prices have increased. I didn’t look at the price of the 2 bananas until at the cash registered. OMG. I thought about putting them back, but since we can afford them, we bought them. In Canada, during manager’s special we can buy them for 34c lb…or 69c everyday.

    1. Hi Kathryn,
      You didn’t buy much this week. You seem to love your nuts. Is this your go-to snack? Yes we can find bananas pretty cheap around here even on the reduced rack for much less. It’s crazy what they are charging. I hope you savour those bananas. What about other fruits are they just as costly. I know you said there have been price increases or is that everything in general? Keep at it! You get ballot 7. Mr.CBB

      1. We have only really been eating these nuts consistantly while here…but we leave in a few days for more a civilized area.
        They have strawberries $4.99 for a small package, or $6.99 for blueberries. …love them, but too much here..
        We did pick up some grapes once.. We cut the banana in half, and share, so they last us 2 days 🙂

  5. Yearly grocery budget for four adults and two cats- $7800.00
    2 tomato soup @.88
    Bananas -1.44
    2 cider mix @2.79, stockpile
    1 cranberry cocktail -2.98
    1 raisin bread -2.99
    3cases pop @3.33
    1 dozen eggs -2.99
    2 yogurt @3.33
    1 Gain laundry -3.99
    Sliced ham -4.71
    Kolbassa chub -4.79
    2 4l milk @4.88
    1 jug water -5.49
    1 pepperoni stick -5.99
    1 mozzarella cheese -9.59
    1-144 count Tetley tea bags -9.99
    Tax -2.54
    Total OOP -93.03

    No Frills
    3 unsweetened Apple sauce @1.67
    2 Cheerios @4.77
    1 Downie -9.99
    2 Dawn dish soap @2.47
    1 Whiskas cat food -6.97
    2 dozen eggs @2.64
    2 4l milk @3.97
    1 frozen fries -2.00
    1 frozen stir fry veggies -2.97
    1 frozen peas 2.97
    1-214 count Tetley tea bags -9.47, stockpile
    2 pasta sauce @.97
    2 tomato paste @.55
    4 KD @.77
    2 blocks chees @3.97, PM to WM
    2 bagels @1.97
    1 stewing beef -11.98, PM to WM -discounted 5.76
    1 Oktobervest sausage -1.97
    4 mini sizzles sausage @1.97
    1 chicken nuggets -6.99, PM to FB
    3lb carrots -1.79
    Bananas. -.93
    3lbs onions -.97
    Tax -3.27
    Total OOP -$118.39

    1 pickles -1.79
    10lbs potatoes -2.49
    1 cider mix -2.79
    1 bakery bread -2.99, discount 50%
    1 jug water -5.49
    1 promo coupon booklet -2.00
    Tax -.36
    Total OOP -$16.41

    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $650.00
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $650.00
    Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
    Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
    Total Rewards Points used to date: 0
    PC Points Plus Earned to date: 0
    Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
    Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
    Snap Groupon to date: $ 3.00
    Zweet to date: $14.50
    Cart Smart to date: $0
    Checkout51 to date: $5.50
    GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK (add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)
    Stockpile budget 2015 ($25.00): $17.84
    Stockpile budget used to date: $22.20+$17.84=$40.04
    Total coupons used this week: $0
    Total coupons used to date: $5.29
    Total in-store discounts this week: $1.50
    Total in-store discounts to date: $21.10
    Total spent this week: $209.99
    Total spent so far this month: $209.99
    Total over/Under spend this shop: $47.49 over
    Total over/Under spend for the month: $n/a
    Total left to spend for the month: $440.01
    Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $640.13+Feb$209.99=$850.12
    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts): I went over for the week by quite a bit. The good part is it’s the first week so I have time to get back in line. It was the older boy’s birthday this week and he wanted the little sausages for his birthday dinner so we were lucky to get them on sale. Price matching the stewing beef was nice to have for a change. We’ve already had 2 meals from it and there is more left in the freezer for later. Hubby had a doctors appointment in town so I was able to get to No Frills which is always good even if it does do a number on my budget for that week. It does help long run on things like the tea bags, Apple sauce, cat food, milk and such so I do try to grab a few extras to save longer term. I still have plenty to get to the end of the month especially if I try to keep to just the badly needed stuff. The ads are not that great around here for the next week so that will help.

    1. Hi Christine,
      I can’t get over the price of the tea bags. Have you ever tried TATA tea… it’s in the international aisle at Food Basics or No Frills. It’s wonderful and half the price. I noticed you went over and now you have to work hard to make up for it. I’m sure you can easily do it. Have you seen the price of meat lately? It’s getting so expensive. Does Food Basics PM where you are? We tried to make apple sauce but it’s not worth it. We might as well buy it for the little guy as it’s much cheaper unless we get a really good deal on apples. Good luck with your next shops! You get ballot 6 🙂

  6. Yearly grocery budget for two 2015: $3120

    Fry’s Marketplace
    Lay’s chips 2 x $1.77
    Thai Kitchen coconut milk 2 x $1.99
    pork baby back ribs Reg. $83.33, sale $20.75 ($1.99/lb. on sale)
    white mushrooms $1.99

    Total Out-Of-Pocket: $30.26

    Sprouts Farmers Market
    organic red peppers 2 x $0.99
    So Delicious coconut milk coffee creamer $2.59 ($1.00 coupon used)
    dried basil (bulk) $0.28
    raw hulled sunflower seeds (bulk) $1.41

    Total Out-Of-Pocket: $5.26

    broccoli crowns $3.91
    7.7 lbs. yellow onions $2.54 (pm’d Food City 3 lbs/$0.99 & saved $4.23)
    dried cranberries $4.88
    Tetley tea $3.18

    Total Out-Of-Pocket: $14.51

    Sam’s Club
    dozen croissants $5.99
    hot rotisserie chicken $4.98
    3lbs. frozen salmon $24.98
    5 lbs. ground turkey $12.95
    baby spinach $3.98
    5lbs. organic carrots $2.98

    Total Out-Of-Pocket: $55.86

    2 dozen eggs x $1.29

    Total Out-Of-Pocket: $2.58

    Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)

    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $260
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs: $0
    Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
    Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
    Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
    PC Points Plus Earned to date: None
    Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
    Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

    Snap Groupon to date: $ 0
    Zweet to date: $0
    Cart Smart to date: $0
    Checkout51 to date: $0

    GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK (add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)

    Total coupons used this week: $1.00
    Total coupons used to date: $1.00
    Total in-store discounts this week: $0.00
    Total in-store discounts to date: $0.00
    Total saved by price matching: $4.23
    Total spent this week: $108.47
    Total spent so far this month: $137.62 (diff. spent on Feb. 1st)
    Total over/under spend this shop: $43.47 over
    Total over/under spend for the month: $72.62 over
    Total left to spend for the month: $122.38
    Total Spent To Date 2015: $397.07

    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts):

    Heh, heh! Well, so much for my first time posting (we’re Canadian snow birds living in the U.S. for part of the winter). I’ve spent more than half our monthly budget already just this first week! lol I actually kept track with all of you last month for the first time but didn’t get around to entering all of my receipts until the end of the month & ran out of time (lesson learned hopefully!). Last month (January) I spent $259.45; my budget was $260—success! This month? Not so much—so far. Truth is, I’m not sure what our budget should be just yet. It’s just my husband & me so I took Mr. CBB’s budget for 2 (& now baby!), added his stockpile budget to it, & settled on a starting budget of $260/month.

    So what happened this first week of February? Seems we ran out of so many things at the same time this week (I think I used everything up in January trying to stay on budget!). We ran out of meat which of course is usually the priciest part of one’s grocery budget PLUS we came across a great deal on baby back ribs we couldn’t pass up since we’re expecting company to come for a week. Going forward into week 2 of February, I just see this as another challenge though & an opportunity to do some extra creative menu planning this coming week with what we already have. Fingers crossed. I just hope I don’t have to increase our budget upwards but time will tell. I welcome feedback from everyone as I learn to post these weekly accountings.

    1. Hi Leona,
      WELCOME to the GCC!! I’m sure all of us will be thrilled to have someone else join us!
      Your ribs were a smashing price and no wonder you bulk bought on that product. We would have too. Do you normally buy all organic produce or just what’s on sale? When you go into Sam’s Club do you make a list or have a specific budget? I always find that going to Costco can bust our budget even though we don’t have a membership. My wife has gone in with her sister.
      It’s amazing how much we can see once we start documenting our grocery shops. I remember when my wife and I started the GGC it was only then when we really had to give our head a shake. We knew we had to really start cutting back especially with using coupons. We were buying too much. It’s been since 2010-2012 when we were heavy coupon users and we’ve hardly put a dent in our stockpile.

      Only time will tell if you need to increase your budget but if you try your best to stick to the budget you’ve given yourselves then you might not have to. Some of us have actually dropped our budget over the years because we were just buying stuff because we could. Meal planning has helped curb the need to buy too much food. We still bulk buy some items though. The meat you got was a great deal and with company coming over you can’t go wrong.

      In January you couldn’t have done any better as you were bang on with the budget well done!!
      When do you normally come back to Canada? You know we are all jealous of you right now. It’s cold and we have lots of snow… brrr. My wife keeps telling me to plan a trip. I would if I can get some time off from work.

      You get ballot. 4. I know you and I talked about ballots and if you win I can send it to you when you land back in Canada. 🙂 Welcome again and if you have any questions please let any of us know.

      1. We don’t usually buy organic–just too costly in our minds & so many difficult issues around “organic” that it’s hard to know what one’s truly getting & paying for. Having said that, I think most people have heard of the “dirty dozen” in terms of the top 12 veggies & fruits that tend to have the most pesticide contamination so I’ve been trying to buy those items organic when they go on sale. Down here where we are in Arizona right now, organic apples go on sale for $0.99/lb. as do regular apples & same with red & green peppers so I figure the price is right so I buy them when I can.

        I’ve always made a list when I go to the grocery store & Sam’s & Costco is no different (unless we’re going to look for non-food items or just to check out their books). I remember going into Costco back home in Canada a few years ago & I bought just a pkg. of deli turkey meat for lunches because I was in the area & the price couldn’t be beat. The cashier looked at me in shock & said “That’s it! Just 1 item?” and I told her that’s all I came in for. She said “I think you’ll be the first person who’s come into Costco & left with just 1 item”. I was proud of that! I’ve never been much of an impulse spender. In fact, those who know me well say I spend too much time over-thinking everything I buy. “You like it so just buy it–you deserve it. You hardly buy anything for yourself” they say. Well, that’s just how I am!

        I have started weekly meal planning since starting to follow a diet called The Plan about 5 months ago. It’s very similar to the Paleo diet approach but is an elimination diet. I’ve been doing it to address some health issues & to lose some stubborn weight. It’s much easier to stick within a budget with a meal plan but I often feel torn when things go on sale for a really good price that I could use another week but there’s no room in my budget. That’s where a stockpile budget would come in handy I guess. I’ll have to see how things go. As I’m experimenting with this elimination diet, what I eat one week may not be something I eat going forward so there’s no sense stalking up on it but there’s some things like meat where I probably won’t be able to not buy the meat if I find a really good sale, esp. when I get back home to Canada where I find the great deals are fewer & farther between.

        Which brings me to when we normally return to Canada. We usually return sometime in May but this year it’ll be sooner since we’re building a house & need to sell our current one. Exciting stuff!

        And finally, thanks for the ballot. 🙂 I look forward to learning lots here & hopefully contributing in a meaningful way to others as well.

    2. Welcome to GGC Leona! Have you got the loyalty cards for your local stores in Arizona and are you on their email/downloadable coupons? I save huge amounts in Palm Desert, CA by downloading coupons online right onto my Ralph’s card, printing coupons from and shopping in the fresh produce section of the 99 Cent store. Who knew they had fresh produce, right? But for water, and I use oodles, Walmart gallons are still king for us! I have never found it cheaper than 78 cents a gallon anywhere. I probably go thru at least 6-8 gal. a week since we have refillable stainless steel water bottles that we refill with ice and water. I also like to get to the certified organic farmer’s markets twice a week. I have gotten better at my “haggling” skills by getting there late in the day. They really don’t want to pack up their remainders and I want a small discount…win-win for both of us. 🙂 One year soon we’re thinking of heading for another Arizona trip and I am dying to take hubby to Texas so I’ll arrange my discounts in those states too. 🙂

      1. Yes, Mary, getting the local loyalty cards & signing up online was one of the first things we did when we got here our first year. I’ve seen a 99 Cent Store in our area & I’ve been feeling like I wanna check it out but I DIDN’T know they had fresh produce in their stores. Maybe that’s why I’ve felt so drawn! In terms of water, we can’t bring ourselves to buy water–& the water down here is really hard water & terrible tasting. My hubby just put a water filter on our tap that we change every few months & voila! great tasting water. I’ve been wanting to get to some of the farmer’s markets in the area but have to find out where & when they’re held. And thanks for the great tip about going LATER in the day vs. morning. There might not be a lot left to choose from at the end of the day but it’s worth experimenting with, esp. if there isn’t something I just HAVE TO have & I’m just looking for some good deals on produce. We’ve been eating a lot of spaghetti squash, zucchini, & some butternut squash this past year & I’d like to buy a bunch when I find great deal & I’m wondering if any of these freeze well if frozen in their raw state or if I’d need to cook them first? Have you ever frozen any squash? If so, which ones, how, & how well do they un-thaw?

        1. My hubby isn’t a big squash lover so I don’t actually freeze it. Maybe one of the other gals can help out there. 🙂 I can however get him to eat it if I do canned tomato-onion-zucchini since the taste of the squash is masked by my spices and the tomato flavor. Remember the old Delmonte cans of the stuff? This is similar but my spices are different. My grandmother used to grow assorted squashes and then she just keep them in her cold room or made soup with them and canned that. Will you have access to cold storage in your new place? If not, maybe there’s a pressure canner in your future. 🙂

        2. I’ve froze squash but only after it’s been cooked. My squash is a bit watery but still very good. I’ve never froze it in the raw but I can’t see that it would be a problem.

          1. Thanks everyone re the input about freezing squash. I’ll do a little looking online too & maybe experiment myself with cooked vs. raw & different types of squash. I’ll try remember to let you know what I discover!

  7. Jan 30-Feb 12, 2015
    Name Your Store: Superstore
    Total Coupons Used: $0.00
    Total Points = 700 (Joanne’s PC Plus Points)
    Total Out Of Pocket: $3.97

    2.63L Simply Orange Juice – $6.99 (PM FB) = $3.97

    Name Your Store: Superstore
    Total Coupons Used: $3.00
    Total Points = 1900
    Total Out Of Pocket: $44.90


    2 Loaves Bread – 2/$4.00 = $4.00
    700g Minute Rice = $4.29
    Worchestershire Sauce = $1.99
    3 Cans Tuna – $1.17 = $3.51
    Toilet Paper – 500 PC Points = $7.98
    1 kg Kraft Peanut Butter – $5.98 (PM Zehrs) = $2.88
    890 mL Hellman’s Mayo – $4.49 (PM Zehrs) = $2.99
    2 500 mL NN Cheese – 5.78 (PM Zehrs) = $7.98
    500 mL GayLea Sour Sour Cream – $2.69 (PM Zehrs) = $1.44
    4L Skim Milk = $3.97
    4 Minute Maid Frozen Juices – 4/$2.00 (800 PC Points) = $2.00
    2 750g Frozen Vegetables – $2.78 = $5.56
    2 700g High Liner Fish Sticks – $6.98 ($3.00 Coupon WUB2) (PM NF) = $7.94
    10 lb Potatoes – (600 PC Points) = $3.48
    Bananas – 1.270 kg @ $1.26*kg = $1.60
    Cabbage – $3.285 kg @ 1.30/kg = $4.27

    500 mL Baking Soda = $0.98

    Name Your Store: Superstore
    Total Coupons Used: $0.00
    Total Points = 1000
    Total Out Of Pocket: $24.54

    Cream of Tartar = $6.69
    2 – 500 mL NN Sour Cream – 2/$4.00 = $4.00
    4L Skim Milk = $3.97
    1 kg Hashbrowns = $1.99
    2 – 750 g Frozen Vegetables – $2.78 (PM Zehrs) (400 PC Plus Points) = $4.58
    Bananas – 2.625 kg @ $1.26/kg (600 PC Plus Points) = $3.31

    No Shop

    Grocery Game Challenge Results
    Total Grocery Budget for the Human Year ($2080.00, for the pay period – $80.00)
    Total Grocery Budget for the Cat Year ($390, for the pay period – $15.00)

    Total Coupons Used this 2 Week Period: $3.00
    Total Coupons Used To Date: $5.00
    Total Discounts/SCOP this 2 Week Period: $0.00
    Total Checkout 51 rebates this 2 Week Period: $0.00
    Total Checkout 51 rebates to Date: $7.50
    Total Snap rebates this 2 Week Period: $0.00
    Total Snap rebates to Date: $1.00
    Total Price Match for this 2 Week Period: $19.45
    Total Price Match to Date: $84.64
    Total PC Points Received this 2 Week Period: 2900
    Total PC Rewards Points Used this 2 Week Period: 20000
    Total PC Rewards To Date: 10375

    Total Over/Under spend this Human shop: 7.57 under
    Total Over/Under spend for the Human month: $19.39 over
    Total Left to Spend for the Human Month: $19.39 reduction next month
    Total Spent To Date – Human: Jan $69.59+$34.74+35.42+47.21+47.89+24.54 ; Feb $ ; Mar $ ; Apr $ ; May $ ; Jun $ ; Jul $ ; Aug $ ; Sept $ ; Oct $ ; Nov $ ; Dec $ = $259.39

    Total Over/Under spend this Cat shop: $0.98 over
    Total Over/Under spend for the Cat month: $2.65 over
    Total Left to Spend for the Cat Month: $2.65 reduction to next month’s budget
    Total Spent To Date – Cat: Jan $3.22+11.28+32.17+0+0.98 ; Feb $ ; Mar $ ; Apr $ ; May $ ; Jun $ ; Jul $ ; Aug $ ; Sept $ ; Oct $ ; Nov $ ; Dec $ = $47.65

    Overview: 1st week – I’m surprised that I’m still under budget for the month. I know that next shop, I’m going to be over since this pay period overlaps between January and February, I’ll have to see how I can do. I definitely like seeing the savings that I’m getting by price matching.
    Overview: 2nd Week – I know that I’m over for the month. Last week went really well with supper planning and only buying what I needed for those suppers. I’m doing that again this week and hopefully I can start planning the other meals as well. Baby steps is all that I can do and it’s a start. After this week, I can’t believe that we have used all the meat that I bought from my friend back in October, that’s going to take a hit on my grocery shopping as we like our meat. I’m going to have to look at setting more $ aside so I can double my order for next year (if he’s going to be doing it again) and if not then will have this money available to bulk up at the market.

    1. Hi Dee,
      WOW you scored some great deals this week which all look like Pantry stock items. The butter, cheese, mayo and peanut butter were great prices. Meal planning makes a HUGE difference to the grocery budget. It’s nice to read that you are doing this. You are right, take your time. Sometimes when people rush things they make mistakes or get bored and give up. How much is a full order of meat? Is it worth it compared to buying it all at the grocery store? Keep up the great work. You get ballot 3.. Mr.CBB

      1. Last fall I purchased 1/4 beef and 4 Chickens for about $460.00. The beef was $4.00 per pound and chicken was $3.50 per pound. Now that I’ve used up most of my groceries so I’m now scared on how much I’m going to be over. This will be the big test to see how meal planning will work with my grocery budget.

        1. Don’t be scared DEE, you have us plus you are also armed with lots of knowledge with your budget, meal planning and grocery shopping. I have every faith in you that you WILL succeed!!

          1. Mr. CBB question…..What size freezer would that require? It also saves you time from looking at flyers and at the grocery store. More money saved because time is money after all. 🙂

            Dee’s response….My freezer is just an apt size and there was enough room. Last year I did give some of it to a couple of people (Christine being one person) but I did have enough room for it all. I do plan on getting a bigger freezer but an upright this time so it will be easier to organize the contents within.

            I do find though that by price matching, I’m spending more time at the grocery store than when I would just use coupons and the self check-out lines. I keep in mind the money that I’m saving by price matching and keep going forward.

    2. Hang in there Dee, you can do it! I see a “meat reserve” in your future! You can set aside a little each week towards the purchase in the fall. Even $5 per week will make the replacement cost hurt a lot less! 😀

      1. I am starting a “meat fund” with the intention of getting more meat this fall. I have that listed in my projected expenses so it’s already outside of my grocery budget.

        1. What is the cost of the expense? Or did I miss that? Jen gets a meat order as well. I’m sure she won’t be posting her GGC until she’s sorted with baby but she loves her meat order.

          1. I paid $460.00 last fall for about 97 lbs of beef and 25 lbs of chicken. I purchased mine from a friend of mine. It was nice having that quantity of meat in the house….just wished that it lasted longer.

          2. What size freezer would that require? It also saves you time from looking at flyers and at the grocery store. More money saved because time is money after all. 🙂

          3. And I’m sure the quality is likely quite a bit better too, Dee, since you bought local from your friend. I’m guessing your friend isn’t a mass producer so you know how they care for their animals & they obviously do their own butchering which means the animal isn’t stressed as it’s shipped to market which can affect the chemicals that are released into the meat prior to slaughter. It may sound kinda terrible but a farmer friend of ours who takes good care of his small herd of cattle & raises them for their meat needs says “A happy animal makes for a much better tasting steak.”

        2. I think I’ll look into the cost of placing a meat order with a local farmer when we get home to Canada. I may not actually place an order ’til after we move (don’t wanna be haulin’ any excess meat over to the new place if you know what I mean!) but I’d like to see if I can get some beef cheaper than what I buy it for in stores. And I’ve been told by a couple farmers I know back home that their beef is grass-fed beef (suppose to be healthier for you & leaner meat) since they graze their cattle most of the year in local pastures & then give them bales to feed off in the winter rather than feeding them grain. You pay a LOT to buy grass-fed meat of any kind in the U.S. & definitely more in Canada as well. Worth looking into for us…I’m really curious what it would cost, what we’d have to buy, & how much (quantity). We don’t have a ton of freezer space since we have just a small freezer for the 2 of us. I’d also like to find some beef bones & chicken feet and/or backs to make beef & chicken broth with. Suppose to be very healthy vs. buying it & quite healing for the gut & autoimmune issues.

          1. One place I looked into want over $700 for a 1/4 beef and over $1325 for 1/2 beef. I don’t remember how many pounds that was though. Yes, this meat was very lean, much leaner than the extra lean that you get into the stores. He had a local abattoir that did the actual butchering. There is only 2 adults in my house as well so yes, we only have a small apartment chest freezer.

            I like that saying…I think that was true this time.

          2. My sister-in-law bought half a beef one year and ended up bringing a load of it here because they bought another the next summer and needed the space in the freezer. I wasn’t going to complain it was great having free steak all summer. Yes, I agree!

          3. And thanks Dee for the info. about the prices of the beef you were quoted & what you paid your friend. I would’ve had no idea what was a good price or if I was paying thru the nose!

        3. Dee, even though the meat from your friend was very, very lean, how did you find it tasted compared to store-bought meat? Any difference? I went into a butcher down here in Arizona a week ago & the gentleman told me that because grass-fed beef is so much leaner, people often find it tougher meat & not as flavorful or tasty as the fattier meat. He also said you have to adjust cooking times or methods because it’s so lean & gets tough easily. My gut feeling was that he was wrong or misinformed but I’d like to know what you thought, particularly before I look at buying some from a farmer myself when we get back to Canada. I know that fat (marbling) makes for a more tender & tasty steak but I’m not sure all the cuts of beef have to have ample fat to make them tender & flavorful. Thanks in advance for your opinion/insight on this.

          1. I really didn’t find any difference in flavour for the ground beef between the grocery store and my friend. The roast beef was a bit smaller than the grocery store but it was “melt in your mouth”. My daughter doesn’t typically like roast beef because it gets stuck in her teeth and she didn’t have any problems with my friend’s beef.

            The butcher there be correct for that area so you need to look at the area of the country where the beef is being raised, in addition to how the beef is being raised. Yes, marbling is a good fat as it does add extra flavour into the meat.

  8. FEBRUARY – Week #1 of 4- Feb 2-8, 2015


    •Total Grocery Budgeted For Year: $190.00 x 12 = $2,280.00 for 2 adults



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


    $190.00 for the month
    ( $12.50) trf to borscht reserve-normally $12.50
    ($ 22.50) trf to re-stocking – normally $17.50
    ($ 10.00) trf to holiday reserve–normally $10.00
    ($10.00) trf to summer reserve–normally $10.00
    ($60.00) trf to US Reserve

    $75.00 Sub-Total
    ($9.31) Overage from January

    Grocery Balance $65.69 for FEBRUARY

    Here is my Canadian Grocery List for this week:

    4 Whole Mushrooms, 4 L Skim Milk, 1-2L Whole Milk, 1 bunch of celery, 1 small bunch broccoli crowns, 1 Udi’s GF Pizza (to have on hand in the freezer)

    I had planned to do a US shop this week but the weather is nasty…a Pineapple Express is going thru! I don’t relish the thought of doing groceries in the pouring rain so we’ve pushed back our shop for a couple of weeks.



    Save On Foods– Maple Ridge –

    1 x Broccoli Crowns $0.99
    1 x bunch celery $3.54
    1 x 4 whole mushrooms $1.05
    1 x 4L Skim Milk $4.69 – $4.69 = $0.00 re 3,100 Points Redemption
    1 x 2L Whole Milk $3.69
    1 x Udi’s GF Pepperoni Pizza $8.29

    •Total OOP: $17.56

    • Grocery Budget OOP: $17.56
    • More Points Redeemed: $4.69

    ** Earned 41 MORE Points on this shop **
    ** USED $0.00 in Rain Check Coupons **
    ** SAVED $0.00 Loyalty Savings on this shop **
    Thrifty Foods– Maple Ridge –

    2 x 3 LB bags of BC Yellow Onions (2@$3.00) = $3.00

    •Total OOP: $3.00

    • Grocery Budget OOP: $3.00
    • More Points Redeemed: $4.69

    ** Earned 0 Air Miles on this shop **
    ** USED $0.00 in Rain Check Coupons **
    ** SAVED $0.00 Loyalty Savings on this shop **

    The onions were not on the list this week but the few we had left in the garage were sprouting & had gotten very strong so it was time to replace them. There were only 4 left of the 20 lb bag so I am not sad to see them go. And you know me…onions are in everything around here. I had to take part in this week’s sale.






    •Total Loyalty Card Price Reductions This Year:

    Jan $3.58+ Feb $0.00= $3.58

    •Total Coupons/Rain Checks Used This Year:

    Jan $0.00 + Feb $0.00 = 0.00

    •Total Price Match Savings Used This Year:

    Jan $0.00 +Feb $0.00= $0.00

    •Total More Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 22 + Feb 41= 63 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year:

    Jan 0 + Feb 0 = 0 Air Miles

    •Total PC PLUS Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 1200 + Feb 0= 1200 Points

    •Total Optimum Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 30 + Feb 0= 30 Points



    •Total OOP Year-To-Date:
    Jan $199.31+ Feb ($12.50 trf to borscht+$22.50 to Re-Stocking+$10.00 Xmas Reserve+$10.00 to Summer+$60.00 trf to US Reserve+$17.56+$3.00= $135.56)= $334.87

    •Total Year-To-Date Grocery Budget:
    Jan $190.00+Feb $190.00= $380.00

    •Total Over/Under on Year-To-Date Grocery Budget: $45.13 AVAILABLE



    2014 Fwd $325.00+Jan $22.50+Feb $22.50= $370.00 AVAILABLE



    2014 Fwd $412.50+Jan $12.50 + Feb $12.50= $437.50 AVAILABLE



    2014 Fwd $110.00+Jan $10.00 +Feb $10.00= $130.00 AVAILABLE



    2014 Fwd $90.00+Jan $10.00 + Feb $10.00= $110.00 AVAILABLE



    $206.40 Grocery Budget
    $ 0.02 Hiding Spot Cash
    $ 13.45 2014 Costco Rebate Chq



    $ 4.98 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – JAN
    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – FEB
    $ 9.67 TOTAL

    So far $380.00 has been budgeted Y-T-D for 2015 and we have recorded these funds as “spent” and in fact they have been “saved”:

    $370.00 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $437.50 Borscht Fund
    $130.00 Holiday Season Fund
    $110.00 Summer Season Fund

    OUR TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES $1,047.50 … that is a $937.50 carry-forward from 2013 & 2014 and $110.00 in NEW 2015 savings.

    This means that with $190.00 to start FEBRUARY less $55.00 for the various reserves & an additional $60.00 saved for our US grocery reserve, we opened the month of FEBRUARY with $75 available, less the overage of $9.31 carried forward from January, PLUS we have spent $20.56 so far this month and thus have $45.13 REMAINING AVAILABLE for the month in our CANADIAN budgeted grocery funds.

    We also have groceries that have been purchased using points redemption(s), rather than the budgeted cash, in the amount of $9.67. If our budget is truly sufficient, when we reach December 31st, those funds should still be available in the form of unused cash. It’ll be interesting to see if they actually are.

    Note: Another reserve of $233.07 IS AVAILABLE for our next US shop currently scheduled for February 21st!

    Of the outstanding US Shopping Reserve $233.07:

    $113.07 is carried forward from 2014

    $120.00 is new 2015 Y-T-D savings

    Less $0.00 that we’ve actually spent in 2015

    = $233.07 US Reserve Available



    CANADIAN $’s

    Groceries: $45.13

    US $’s

    Our Reserve: $79.07+$60.00=$139.07
    US Cash Hiding Spot: $94.00

    Total US Grocery Available $233.07


    The valid rain checks I hold are as follows:


    Broccoli Florets @ $1.99/lb – Good until Apr 7/15
    4 Lean Ground Pork @3.49/lb-Good ‘til Apr 26/15


    1. Hi Mary,
      I don’t blame you that was a good price for onions even if they weren’t on your list. Were they an in-store special that you were made aware of when you went shopping? Those are the hardest to pass up for us. It makes it difficult when we can’t plan the shop because of these great in-store deals.
      If the weather is nasty you are better off waiting. No sense risking anything even if it is piles of rain which can be just as deadly as snow.
      Your GGC for 2015 is just as detailed if not more than 2014, brilliant. I really enjoy the breakdown.
      You get ballot 2. 🙂 Happy Shopping.

    2. Hi Mary!

      I’m a newbie to the GGC. Just curious when you plan to use your various reserves? I noticed that the amounts in these categories have been building since 2013 I think you said. I believe you said you had a borscht reserve & a holiday reserve. When will you be using these reserves? I like the idea of having different “reserves”. My husband, family, & friends that know me laugh when I talk about my “funds” because I’m always talking about my “vacation fund” & my “pay-off the mortgage early fund”. Seems like I’m always coming up with new “funds” at times–esp. when we pay for something I was saving for, I find myself planning what else we should be saving for next! We don’t have a mortgage anymore (worked hard to pay that off 3 years ago so I could semi-retire to join my retired hubby as a snowbird in the winter). Funny thing is I’ve started up another mortgage “fund” again because we’re building a house! There’s always something to save for!

      1. Leona,

        I am saving to get to up to roughly $1,050 ish in the “borscht fund”. It will pay my $150 gas, $550 hotel charges, $100 worth of fresh fruit/veg meals over the 5 days away + approx $250 worth of canned borscht from my Grandmother’s village. So…still saving. 🙁 One of these years I will have enough to go! It’s all part of the cost of my foodie trip and visiting with the relatives. Hubby stays home and it’s a special treat just for me so I have to find a way to make it work financially. I am doing what my Mom did, she saved a few dollars here and there out of the groceries, in order to have a treat for herself/others. I can make the soup at home in the interim…I have Grandma’s recipe.

        My “re-stocking fund” will kick in once I completely empty the 4 freezers I have (2 fridge & 2 chest freezers) which I am working on now. Notice that my shopping in 2015 is extremely minimal. I am trying to use what I have first and only supplement with a few perishables. 2015 hopefully is the year that I empty, wash and downsize my freezers. I plan to unplug one of the chest freezers and reduce my electricity usage as well..

        My “Christmas fund” is for the year that we stay home for Christmas. It won’t be this year though. When we are home, I prepare a lot of extra special meals (Xmas Eve, Xmas Day, my birthday, New Years Eve and New Years Day). We are booked to be away on vacation again this year if nothing horrible happens financially. But for 5 meals and some gluten free baking (which is more expensive)…that’s about $500 needed and I am sure not there yet. I expect we’ll be home in 2016 for the holiday season so I save, save, save. The more I have set aside, the less I have to find in the month’s grocery budget.

        My “Summer Reserve” could be HUGE!!! and I would still have to work very hard at controlling myself because it’s for shopping at our local farmer’s market and going direct from the local farms!!! I love my fruit and veggies and this reserve will evaporate come summer – no matter how much I manage to get into it. 🙂

        1. Thanks Mary! I just HAD to ask since I was so curious & am new to the group. 🙂 I really appreciate the detailed reply.

  9. One of the first things I did when we moved into our house was label the pantry shelves. I love me my label maker!

    Right now we’re eating down our pantry (we were bad with our grocery budget in January) and I’ll see how it needs to be organized next month. I think a good scrub will be in order.

    I used to coupon more, so built up a pretty big stockpile. After we moved it to this house I said we’d never do that again. So, we’re trying to only stockpile stuff that we usually use and that have infrequent sales.

    Honestly I think we’re just trying to eat all the food so we can start fresh with a new pantry plan.

  10. I wish that I had walk in pantry but when your kitchen is 10 X 20, it’s hard to have extra room for a pantry, of any size. I do have a movable pantry/cupboard that stores food and appliances and because of that, there’s no much room for extra stock. Due to laminating your pantry (and freezer) sheets, my daughter and I have been on top of knowing what’s in the cupboards and what food we have.

    Congratulations Angela on the GGC win.

    1. I wish we did too.. BUT I bet we would fill it up pretty fast lol. We did the same laminating them at Staples and they work but since baby it’s been left behind. I hope we can get back on track now.

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