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The Paleo Diet- Can you afford to eat like this? : The Grocery Game Challenge #3 Mar 16-22, 2015

Can you afford to eat the paleo diet

My Version of the Paleo Diet:  The Plan


Doesn’t it seem like every time you turn around there’s another new diet plan to try? Well, the Paleo diet isn’t exactly a new diet; it’s been around for the last 2.5 million years, at least in the form that our Paleolithic ancestors ate it.

The diet I’ve actually been following is called The Plan by Lyn-Genet Recitas and you could call it a type of Paleo diet based on what I’m able to eat but it’s actually considered an elimination diet.

I heard about it from a friend of ours in her late 50’s who I thought was healthy and reasonably physically active (she works in her farm-yard weeding, mowing grass, tending garden).

What I didn’t know was that she suffered from pretty bad migraine headaches most of her adult life. She said the migraines started in her 20s, would last for 2-3 days/week and she’d often lose a couple of days of work a month because they caused her to be bedridden & vomiting. Such was her life.

The day she told me about this diet, I was visiting with her and some other women at a dinner party and glanced across the island at her and thought “Wow!

I didn’t think she was the kind of woman who would be into plastic surgery”. Literally, her face looked 10 years younger than the last time I’d seen her about a year earlier.

As I went around the island to tell her how good she looked I made eye contact with her and she got off her chair to meet me halfway. Holy smokes! She’d lost weight too!

Not that she was what I’d call “overweight” before but she was a robust woman who I attributed to her being physically active on the small farm she lived and worked on with her husband in addition to her part-time job.

What had she done?

The Plan. She said it helped her figure out and eliminate (hence the term “elimination diet”) which foods worked well for her specific body chemistry & which foods caused inflammation.

Inflammation, she told me showed up for her as migraines which she finally managed to get rid of after suffering with them for over 30 years!

A nice side perk was that she also lost a fair bit of weight & yes, she said people were starting to ask what face cream she was using (which she thought was a bit odd).

Inflammation! I was just interested in getting my face to look 10 years younger. Oh—and dropping at least 10 lbs too. I’ve struggled with my weight since hitting puberty and while I’ve managed to finally lose just over 30lbs.

In the last 8 years I’ve been battling with another 10 lbs that has slowly found it’s way back onto my thighs & butt. Heading into my mid-40s now I’ve also been experiencing lower energy levels and severe seasonal allergies that drugs don’t help much.

Complete the mix with other hormonal changes that my doctor and I thought were perimenopause. My cravings for carbohydrates and increasingly sweets had also gotten out of control.


My health challenges before The Plan


I had no idea where to start with The Plan so my husband went out and bought the book for me. That was just over five months ago now.

I haven’t lost that much weight, maybe 7 pounds but I haven’t gained any weight either. And I’m close to my goal weight.

What’s even more amazing to me is the fact that I was recovering from a back injury when I started this diet so I’ve been unable to exercise or work for the past 5 months except for some walking and gentle swimming just recently.

I’ve STILL lost weight and had a huge increase in my energy levels. Before my injury I was a pretty faithful gym go-er 4 days a week with weight training for roughly 1 hour or running on the treadmill for 30-40 minutes until I was red-faced and soggy with sweat.

I’ve been physically active since I was a young teen and played several high school sports and continued as a young adult with swimming & college volleyball.

Over the years I found that regular exercise made me feel good but I never lost weight being active. As I got older I found that I was starting to gain weight when I exercised harder. It seemed like I was gaining muscle mass but not losing the excess body fat.


Other diets I’ve tried


When I was in my mid 30’s I was at my highest weight of 192 lbs. On a whim one day after work I decided to stop at this place called U-Weight Loss center on my way home.

To my surprise I signed up, got some recipes and supplements and went home. Just 4 months later, I had lost 28 pounds.

I was definitely eating better food and feeling like I had more energy in the morning after my workouts. However, I was also working out 6 days a week for at least an hour and that left me feeling tired by late afternoon.

About 6 months after starting the U-Weight Loss program I decided to leave that program because it was too expensive and “go it on my own”.

I’d heard people refer to my new way of eating as “cleaning eating” so I searched Google for the term online. I discovered that “clean eating” was simply eating healthy, unrefined food with good amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fats at each meal..

That would equate to roughly 30% protein, 40% carbohydrates and 30% fats. I also signed up for a subscription to a magazine called Clean Eating because of all the great recipes and to learn how to make this my new lifestyle.


Foods I used to eat for weight loss


From that time until discovering The Plan 5 months ago I ate things like

  • Cottage cheese with berries and real cheese slices
  • Steel-cut oats with protein powder/almond milk/berries/sliced almonds
  • Greek yogurt with whey protein powder/berries/1/2 banana/sliced almonds for breakfasts.

Some of our suppers were

  • Curried pork tenderloin with dried apricots and rice or Wasa bread (delish!) Grilled salmon and a Greek salad with homemade Greek dressing (our favorite—back then).

At supper we’d make sure we made enough to have 2 leftover meals the next day for lunches.

Super simple!

So why did I change to something that now closely resembles a Paleo diet? Gas (sorry! that was the first thing that came to mind).

No point skirting around the issue. I was stinky and I wasn’t sure why exactly although I was pretty sure that my body didn’t like milk products.

For example, I noticed having issues with gas and abdominal cramping after my dairy-laden breakfasts—or after having feta cheese in my beloved Greek salad.

I also still felt hungry after eating many of the recipes or menu plans I’d received on the U-Weight Loss program. I was having difficulty keeping up the 6-day/week intense exercise program just to keep my weight stabilized down to where I’d lost.

Finally, I was pooped and tired past lunch everyday and getting more irritable. I knew I had to keep reading books and online to find out what else might be the magic bullet for me in terms of an ideal diet that my body would

  • Tolerate
  • Find satisfying
  • Help me keep my weight in check without exercising like a crazy woman

I happened to be at a party one evening with our friend I describe above and noticed that she looked 10 yrs. younger. She told me she had done “The Plan”. I was hooked and was curious if it could work for me too.


Foods I’ve had to stop eating


Fast forward a couple of years since that lucky exchange. What I have learned on The Plan is how much better I feel eating certain foods & how much worse I feel eating other foods.

For example, I know now that drinking red wine really seems to make my seasonal allergies a lot worse and my sinuses plug up. So does eating things like grains (except for a little rice cereal no more than twice a week), cow dairy, anything with gluten and too much sugar (even naturally in fruit).

My energy levels have REALLY increased—I no longer need my afternoon naps that I regularly needed so badly before but could only take after work and on weekends. I don’t have this whole “Plan” thing figured out completely yet but I plan to stick with it because I’m feeling so good.

I think it’s the right way to eat for me—at least for now.


Our grocery budget on a Paleo Diet


The big question is what has this type of Paleo diet done to our grocery budget?

Before I started following The Plan, we were spending between $500-$600 a month on groceries for 2 adults. I know because I tracked it for the last two years out of curiosity.

This January, I started playing the Grocery Game Challenge over at Canadian Budget Binder and set a goal for our budget to be approximately $260/month for groceries (I had to start somewhere!).

I started tracking our grocery budget again this January 2015 while playing the Grocery Game Challenge and found that over the last 3 months I’ve spent about $300 a month on our groceries (I say “I” because I do almost all the grocery shopping in our house).

Of course this happened by setting a grocery budget, weekly menu planning, and shopping for sales and good deals on food but it was definitely doable and very worth it to me.


Foods I now eat to lose weight… and Feel Great!


So I’m sure you’re just a bit curious what we eat on this Paleo-type diet for about $300/month? (I say “we” because my husband jokingly calls himself “an unwilling participant”.

He says our meals are good or he wouldn’t be eating them). I’m constantly trying new Paleo  recipes and ideas.

Paleo Diet Food List

Weekly, we eat things like:

  • Steak
  • Spicy apricot chicken
  • Shepherd’s pie (made with ground turkey, butternut squash, whipped cauliflower, & kale)
  • Vegetable timbale (to die for!)
  • Apple streusel (for breakfast; made with ground almonds for the topping)
  • Flax granola with Silk coconut milk, raisins, Craisins, sliced almonds (breakfast)
  • Eggs (over easy) with vegetarian hash
  • Carrot soup
  • Broccoli soup
  • Leek, zucchini & kale soup (so simple!)
  • Omelette
  • Grilled salmon
  • Sautéed broccoli/zucchini/carrots/onions with manchego (sheep’s milk) cheese
  • Sautéed kale with avocado & sunflower seeds
  • Grilled Ahi tuna with fresh parsley/lemon juice/garlic/olive oil marinade
  • Hamburger “steaks” without the bun & half a plate of sautéed veggies
  • Italian roasted vegetables (made with Italian seasoning)


Can YOU afford to eat a Paleo Diet?


The Paleo Diet Can you afford to eat like thisOften, one of the reasons people give for not trying a Paleo diet is the cost. They assume that the cost of meat will blow their budget before they even buy all the groceries they need.

I have to say I was very surprised myself that eating meat everyday was not insanely expensive (at least not for 2 people).

I’m certain we could spend even less than $300/month on groceries if I was not avoiding ALL processed meats.

I’m talking about meats such as breakfast sausages (which can often be found on sale), deli & luncheon meats, pork, canned fish like tuna and well cooked meats like stews and roasts.

I’ve also had to restrict eating eggs to just 1 or 2 times a week, otherwise my weight loss stalls as well. If I could eat ANYTHING Paleo, I know I’d be able to make our grocery budget go even further.

So don’t assume you can’t afford to eat a Paleo diet if this is something you’d like to try for whatever reason. With some menu planning, setting a grocery budget for the month (and then each week) and shopping for sales, you could be well on your way to a healthier way of eating.

Do you eat a Paleo Diet or would you?

Post Contribution: CBB FAN Leona W.

If you are a CBB fan or PF Blogger and you want to contribute a Food article to The Grocery Game Challenge, email me today! I’m open to all Food and Grocery related topics in Canada.


March grocery game challenge posts


If you missed any grocery game posts for the month I will post the line-up for the month each week here in this section for you.

Join in the Grocery Game Challenge fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each blog post… here are the GGC rules!


Grocery Saving Tips


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

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.


  • 2x Palmolive dish soap  $1.67
  • 2x Astro Coconut $2.49- $1.00 coupons
  • Iogo Pro Mandarine Yogurt $1.88
  • Bok Choy $2.90-50%
  • Manns Sugar Snap Peas (so good) $5.99- 50%
  • 2x Bavarian Multi-grain bread $6.00-50%
  • 2 x Parmigiano Regiano $10.96, $10.71 plus 1775 pts each (these were 50% off reg price…it was crazy. We bought 6 for other family members)
  • 2x Irish Mature Cheddar $3.49-50% 350pts each

Total-out-pocket $40.82

No Frills

  • 2x Schneiders Bacon $2.77 ea
  • 2 x unsweetened apple sauce $1.67 ea
  • Astro Coconut Yogurt $1.97

Total out-pocket $10.85

Shoppers Drug Mart

Total out-of-pocket $3.97-$0.20 coupon =$3.77

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: 28786
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0

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

  • Snap Groupon to date: $1.50
  • Zweet to date: $1.50
  • Cart Smart to date: $0
  • Checkout51 to date: $1.50

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

  • Total to spend this month $204.49 (includes overage from February)
  • Stockpile budget 2015 ($25.00): (Jan/Feb) $50.00 +$0
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $0
  • Total coupons used this week: $2.00
  • Total coupons used to date: $8.00
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $11.14
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $84.69
  • Total spent this week: $54.44
  • Total spent so far this month: $124.47
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: over $over
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: $n/a
  • Total left to spend for the month: $80.02
  • Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $166.49+ Feb $261.51+ Mar $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts):

We didn’t spend lots this week but we did score some cheap cheese again. It was weird because some pieces had it at $54.90 a kilo and others half that.

It was the same cheese, authentic Parmigiano Regiano with the Italian stamp on the rind. I’m guessing someone priced it wrong.

We loaded up as we had no way to tell but knew it was cheap. Other than that we still have enough to get us to the end of the month which is good because of last months overage.


 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.

Uncle Bens 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.



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  1. I’m late posting, but I still have been keeping track. I want to make myself stay on top of the groceries this year, so better late than never, lol!

    Week 3 – March 15 -21

    • Grocery budget to work with in March: $400 (Breaks down to $80 weekly, I classify March as a 5 week month)
    • Total coupons used this week: $5.75
    • Total coupons used to date: $16.25
    • Total RCSS gas coupons used this week: $.91
    • Total RCSS gas coupons used to date: $5.37
    • Total value PC Plus points redeemed this week: $0
    • Total value PC Plus points redeemed to date: $90
    • Total gift cards/certificates/gifts used this week: $0
    • Total gift cards/certificates/gifts used to date: $38.76
    • Total student discounts this week: $5.31
    • Total student discounts to date: $61.09
    • Total tax savings RCSS this week: $2.30
    • Total tax savings RCSS to date: $4.25
    • Total spent this week: $92.20
    • Total spent so far this month: $231.80
    • Total left to spend for the month: $170.20
    • Weekly carry over: $0
    • Total in carry over jar: $183.90
    • Total Spent To Date 2015: $729.15

    Shoppers Drug Mart: Crest Kids mouthwash 2.97, milk 3.97, NN Evaporated milk .99 x 2, tax .39: 10.65 rounded down 2 cents

    Dollarama: wooden stir sticks 1.00, tax .13: 1.15 rounded up 2 cents

    Target: Brookside chocolate acai 4.49 – 1.80 discount, polysporin kids 7.44 – 2.98 discount, crushed tomato 1.07 x 2 -.86 discount, olay bar soap 2.99 x 4 less 4.79, tax 1.86: 17.45 rounded down 1 cent

    RCSS: green works wipes 1.74 x 4 less 30% less 2.00 coupons, pc zero cola 3.99 x 2, miss vickies chips 2.75 less 2.00 coupons, less tax 2.30: 13.69 rounded up 1 cent

    RCSS: milk 3.97: 3.95 rounded down 2 cents

    RCSS: Quaker bars .97 x 6 (PM), NN chocolate syrup 2.67, eggs 1.99 x 2 less 1.00 coupon (PM), Saputo mozza 5.98 less .75 coupon, chefmaster margarine .77 x 3 (PM), Cavendish potato wedges 1.95, Cavendish from the farm 1.95, Veggie straws 1.77 x 3 (PM), grape tomatoes 1.97 x 2, romaine hearts 2.98, white mushrooms 1 lb 1.88 (PM), NN potatoes .98, bananas .98 less 30%, bananas 1.96, grapes 3.04 (PM), cucumber .77 (PM), Country Naturals hot dogs 2.47 (PM), turkey breast cold meat 3.97 (PM), less 5.31 student discount: 46.60 rounded up 1 cent

    An expensive week, but we stocked up on a few things and the fridge was empty so we needed food. It’s ok, we are still under budget for the month.

  2. Yearly grocery budget for four adults and two cats -$7800.00
    (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $240 per year or $25 per month.
    Foodland #1
    4 pasta sauce @.89
    Bananas -.97
    1 yogurt -2.99
    2 cases pop @3.49
    1 package serviettes -3.99
    1 yogurt -3.99
    1 container cocoa -3.99
    2 4l milk @4.88
    1 Cheerios -4.99
    1 jug water -5.49
    Tax -1.43
    Total OOP $48.14
    Foodland #2
    2 tomato soup @.99
    2 cans pineapple @1.19
    Bananas -1.29
    1 SOS soap pads -2.59
    1 cranberry cocktail -2.98
    1 yogurt -2.99
    1 10# bag potatoes -3.99
    1 4l milk -4.88
    1 lean ground beef -5.03
    1 jug water -5.49
    Tax -34
    Total OOP -$33.94
    Foodland #3
    10 tomato soup @2/1.00
    2 chicken soup @2/1.00
    Bananas -.60
    1 yogurt -1.99
    4 Chez Whiz @3.00
    2 4l milk @4.88
    1 mango -1.67
    1 jug water -5.49
    Green grapes -3.98
    Total OOP -$41.49

    Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)
    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: $
    PC Points Plus Earned to date: 3950
    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: $15.75
    Cart Smart to date: $0
    Checkout51 to date: $12.00
    GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK (add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)
    Total to spend this month $650.00
    Stockpile budget 2015 ($25.00): J$22.20+F$24.50
    Stockpile budget used this month: $16.87
    Total coupons used this week: $0
    Total coupons used to date: $8.79
    Total in-store discounts this week: $0
    Total in-store discounts to date: $32.97
    Total spent this week: $123.57
    Total spent so far this month: $492.59
    Total over/Under spend this shop: Under -$6.43
    Total over/Under spend for the month: $n/a
    Total left to spend for the month: $157.41
    Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $640.13+Feb$572.63+Mar$492.59=$1705.35
    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts):
    I did get some extras that were on sale but we will go through that quickly enough that I’m not using the stockpile amounts. I have roughly a weeks worth left in the budget to do me two weeks. Not going to be easy and I will need a trip into No Frills to get hubby more Apple sauce. Worse case I have extra funds from being under in Jan and Feb to the tune of $244.65 as a cushion to fall back on. Looks like I will need that to get through the month but I will be trying to use as little as possible.

    1. Hi Christine
      You are using the PC Plus app or signed up on the computer to add products to your list so you get PC Plus points correct? See, it’s good to have that extra stash of money for times like this when you might go over. I think if there are some good sales and you can what you need then you might even pull this off. Can you try to use up what you already have in the house? Do you start stocking up on Gatorade if it goes on sale now? You get ballot 23. MR.CBB

      1. I have the PC plus on the computer but I don’t have enough points to do anything yet. I check the list on Friday night. What I will still need to get will be things like milk, raisin bread and bananas that hubby goes through. There is no point in telling him to take it easy on something like milk as he won’t listen. Other stuff I can try to stretch as much as I can. I will keep an eye out for the Gatorade but likely won’t buy it yet as we still have, I think 5 bottles from last summer. Once the older boy starts drinking those I’ll buy more depending on the sales. It hasn’t been warm enough for him to drink those just yet.
        I think about Thursday I will pull the Turkey from the freezer to thaw in the fridge for Sunday….looking forward to all those delicious leftovers!!!

  3. Yearly grocery budget for two 2015: $3120 ($260/month)
    March 16-22

    2 cans Cento tomato puree ($1.96/each) $3.92
    1 container Great Value raisins $2.84
    1 acorn squash ($0.98/lb) $1.44
    1 box (100 bags) Tetley tea $2.98
    4 cans (5 oz.) light tuna in water (pm’d Fry’s 2/$1; WM price $0.75) $2.00
    1 green pepper (pm’d Food City 4/$1; WM price $1.78/each) $0.25
    1.46 lbs zucchini (pm’d Sprouts $0.98/lb; WM price $1.48/lb) $1.43
    1 red pepper (pm’d Sprouts $0.48/each; WM price $1.78/each) $0.48
    5 lbs bag russet potatoes (pm’d Bashas $0.77/bag; WM price $1.48) $0.77

    Total Out-Of-Pocket: $16.11

    1 kiwi $0.50
    1 pkg. (2 steaks) fresh sirloin tip steak ($5.99/lb in-store sale; reg. price $7.99/lb) $6.05

    Total Out-Of-Pocket: $6.55

    Fry’s Marketplace
    3 (6oz) containers of blueberries ($0.97/each) $2.91

    Total Out-Of-Pocket: $2.91

    3 lbs raw local honey $8.99
    2 large cans Kirkland pan spray $4.99

    Total Out-Of-Pocket: $14.33

    Trader Joe’s
    3 cans light coconut milk ($0.99/each) $2.97
    1 can coconut cream $1.49

    Total Out-Of-Pocket: $4.46

    Points Overview

    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $260
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs: $260
    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


    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 saved by price matching this week: $5.27
    Total saved by price matching this year: $49.73
    Total spent this week: $44.36
    Total spent so far this month: $183.38
    Total over/under spend this shop: $20.64 under
    Total over/under spend for the month: $11.62 under
    Total left to spend for the month: $76.62
    Total Spent To Date 2015: $765.72

    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts):

    I don’t know what to think! This week I was under budget when last week I was over budget. I guess we’ll see how the budget all works out after I’ve been doing it for a while & through a variety of seasons. I’m guessing it’ll take me a year to get a handle on it. I’m certain it will change again too when we return home to Canada in roughly a month’s time.

    1. You know some weeks are better than others. What I’ve found over the years is that when we go over budget it really bothers me. I hate having to make up for it the next week or month. Some shopping trips it’s so hard because of in-store deals you don’t see in the flyer so I’m forver catching up with the budget but do my best not to go over at the end of the month.
      It may take you 6 months or a year, you are right. After the first year you can go back and review your shops to see where the money went and decide on your actions for the next year from that data. You get ballot. 22. Mr.CBB

  4. Our weekly budget is $125 a week making this month $500
    Didn’t have a lot of time to shop this week and that was good for the budget.
    $3.33×3 4kg sugar
    $10 total oop
    $2.30 chocolate milk 2L – clearance
    $2.30 total oop
    .90 tomato
    $3.17, $3.31 chicken drumettes – clearance
    .99×14-$1Cx14 small can of bush beans – donated to the food bank
    .99×2 Russian dressing
    $9.25 total oop
    $14 total coupons
    $5.32 4L homo milk
    $2.48×2-$2.50C&$1CO51 old spice deo – stocking up because these coupons aren’t always in the inserts all year
    $2.50×12-$2C assorted garnier products
    $15.55 total oop
    $26.50 total coupons

    $37.10 weekly total oop
    $40.50 weekly total coupons
    $369.81 monthly total oop
    $126.64 monthly total coupons
    $1401.24 yearly total oop
    $408.91 yearly total coupons
    $84.46 yearly gift cards

    1. Hey Juanita,
      WOW this was a small shop for you but you did well. You always seem to find all the best deals at your stores. I don’t think we received our insert this past week I’ll have to check. I loaded up on so much Old Spice in 2011 and 2012 I have enough deoderant to last me about 10 years lol. It was pretty much near free with the PandG coupons buy 3 save $5.00 and they were on sale for $1.99 each… no more good coupons like that any more. I have to see if I got any of those Garnier coupons…. I bet I do and I”m missing out on some deals. You get ballot 19. Almost done the month!! Mr.CBB

      1. Hey Mr.CBB
        I do plan my shops and try to get the best deals at each store.
        I have also been getting really lucky finding inserts so that really helps.
        Oh yes I miss that coupon!!! I wish I had bought more back then, oh well. So I will just keep stocking up while the coupons are good, specially with summer coming up!

        1. We used to go mad getting inserts and we got amazing deals but we haven’t paid much attention the past two years. Have the deals with coupons from the inserts been as lucrative as they used to be back in 2011-2012?

  5. Mar 13 – 26, 2015
    Name Your Store: Target
    Total Coupons Used: $0.00
    Total Points = N/A
    Total Out Of Pocket: $3.77

    450 g Black Diamond Cheese – 6.29 (40% off) = $3.77

    Name Your Store: St. Jacobs Farmer Market
    Total Coupons Used: $0.00
    Total Points = 0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $39.95 (Adhoc Stockpile)

    10lbs Ground Pork – $1.99/lb = $19.99
    10 Honey Garlic Sausages = $13.95
    2 – 1 lb Strawberries – 2/$5.00 = $5.00
    2 Cucumbers – 2/$1.00 = $1.00

    Name Your Store: Superstore
    Total Coupons Used: $0.00
    Total Points = 0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $42.74

    2 Unico Pasta – 2/$3.00 = $3.00
    Quaker Instant Oatmeal = $2.48
    3 Cans Primo Spaghetti Sauce – 1.79 (PM Food Basics @ $0.99) = $2.97
    2 Cans NN Mushrooms – $1.00 = $2.00
    4 Cans Cloverleaf Tuna – $1.69 (PM Zehrs @ $0.88) = $3.52
    2 Cans Campbells Tomato Soup – $0.97 (PM Zehrs @ $0.88) = $1.76
    2 Cans Campbells Cream of Mushroom Soup – $0.97 (PM Zehrs @ $0.88) = $1.76
    685 g Honey Nut Cheerios – $5.98 (PM No Frills @ $3.77) = $3.77
    4 L Skim Milk = $3.97
    Bananas – 1.170 kg @ $1.26/kg = $1.47

    18 kg NN Cat Litter = $8.48
    2 boxes Baking Soda – $0.98 = $1.96
    1.4 kg Cat Food = $3.98

    Name Your Store: Superstore
    Total Coupons Used: $0.00
    Total Points = 1400
    Total Out Of Pocket: $50.41

    Toilet Paper = $7.88
    3 Tidbit Pineapple – 3/$3.99 (1200 PC Points) = $3.99
    10 kg NN All Purpose Flour = $7.49
    4L NN Vinegar = $1.99
    NN Elbow Pasta – 3/$4.98 = $1.99
    170 g Pam – $4.77 (PM No Frills @ 2.97) = $2.97
    18 Eggs – $4.79 (PM No Frills @ 2.88) = $2.88
    4L Skim Milk = $3.97
    450 g Black Diamond Cheese – $6.99 (PM Food Basics @ 4.44) = $4.44
    5 kg Potatoes – (200 PC Points) = $1.48
    Bananas – 1.025 kg @ $1.26/kg = $1.29
    NN Hot Dogs = $1.77
    Chicken Thighs = $8.27

    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: $0.00
    Total Coupons Used To Date: $9.00
    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: $10.00
    Total Snap rebates this 2 Week Period: $0.00
    Total Snap rebates to Date: $1.00
    Total Price Match for this 2 Week Period: $14.47
    Total Price Match to Date: $131.83
    Total Adhoc Stockpile this 2 Week Period: $39.50
    Total Adhoc Stockpile to Date: $39.50
    Total PC Points Received this 2 Week Period: 1400
    Total PC Rewards Points Used this 2 Week Period: N/A
    Total PC Rewards To Date: 16850

    Total Over/Under spend this Human shop: $2.89 under
    Total Over/Under spend for the Human month: $N/A
    Total Left to Spend for the Human Month: $82.89
    Total Spent To Date – Human: Jan $69.59+$34.74+35.42+47.21+47.89+24.54 ; Feb $32.86+39.96+32.86 ; Mar $26.70+50.41 ; Apr $ ; May $ ; Jun $ ; Jul $ ; Aug $ ; Sept $ ; Oct $ ; Nov $ ; Dec $ = $479.75

    Total Over/Under spend this Cat shop: $1.04 over
    Total Over/Under spend for the Cat month: $N/A
    Total Left to Spend for the Cat Month: $13.96
    Total Spent To Date – Cat: Jan $3.22+11.28+32.17+0+0.98 ; Feb $12.50+$0.00+9.58+4.59 ; Mar $16.04+ ; Apr $ ; May $ ; Jun $ ; Jul $ ; Aug $ ; Sept $ ; Oct $ ; Nov $ ; Dec $ = $90.36

    Overview: 1st week – This week I received my some of last year’s pay from the bookstore so that was used to buy food from the market. This was over and above my grocery budget so I’ve included it as an adhoc stock pile, not the true sense of the word, but it’s still included and accounted for. Work is just about back to regular pace so that will give me some time to find a 3rd job and my job at the market should be soon starting again. This will help with knocking the debt down faster as well as bring more produce into the house for winter supply.
    Overview: 2nd Week – Well I’m under budget for this 2 week which is great. I still can’t believe the price matching that I’m doing and the money that I’m technically saving because of it. I would love to take that money and put that into a savings account and watch it grow on a weekly/bi-weekly basis. Well I’m starting back to 6 days a week working, started back at the St. Jacobs Farmers Market today. Next Saturday is Elmira Maple Syrup festival so I’ll be working at the market that day as well. I’m looking for a 3rd job so that I can take care of the debt within 3 years and start having a life before I retire.

    1. Ah ok now I understand what is going on. Thanks for explaining it. Oh, I can’t wait to hear about your produce. What happens at the Maple Syrup Festival? Take some piccies if you can. I’m SO proud of you hearing that you are looking for a 3rd job to get out of debt sooner. In 3 years or earlier when you are debt free I hope you will share your success story on the blog with the fans. I’ve got a spot waiting for you because I know without a doubt you will reach your goals. Good for you!! You get ballot 17

      1. I won’t be there this year, actually I don’t ever remember being there but in the past I’ve heard that about 10K or more persons come out to the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival. I know that many vendors sell maple syrup and because of the tourism, many other vendors sells their wares. Typically when people are done there, they come over to the St. Jacobs Farmers Market and buy their meat, produce, etc and that’s where I’m going to be….working. At the moment, I need the gumption to seriously get looking but it will come.

        You should google “Elmira Maple Syrup Festival” and see all the pictures that are posted online. I know that there’s an old train that starts at the St Jacobs Farmers Market and goes to Elmira and back again. I think there are 4 round trips in total.

  6. Name Your Store: i.e. IGA (Australia)
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $8.85+$5.25+9.10=$23.20
    Week 8- 09-15 March, 2015

    425g beetroot-$0.85
    425g baked beans 2 @ $0.69 = $1.38
    1 kg S.R.flour- $0.75
    300 ml sour cream –$1.30
    lettuce $1.99 (reduced) = $1.59
    3L milk= $3.00
    200gr capsicum spicy dip- $2.69 (reduced) =$1.49
    200gr cheese and chive dip – $2.69 (reduced)=$1.49
    1L vegetable oil- $2.25
    3L milk- $3.00
    1kg basmati rice=$4.20
    300gr crumpets $2.39 (reduced) =$1.91

    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 (averages $50 week)
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs :284.59
    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: $3.28
    Total in-store discounts to date: $48.81 +$3.28=52.09
    Total spent this week: $0
    Total spent so far this month: $85.62+23.20=108.82
    Total over/Under spend this shop: $
    Total over/Under spend for the month: $131.05(under)-$23.20=$107.85 (under)
    Total left to spend for the month: $286.61+131.05=$417.66 –23.20=$394.46
    Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) $332.35+23.20=$355.55

    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts):

    We had a lot of fruits and vegetables to use up before they spoiled. Plus silverbeet (we call swiss chard) & tomatoes from the garden ,and eggs from the chooks.

    1. Wow you are doing amazing so far. I read a comment that said there’s no way a family of 4 can eat well on $200 a month but I disagree. With planning and a keen eye for deals it IS possible. Have you considered lowering your budget before? I should go shopping with you. Does temptation ever get the best of you while shopping? What about if you see deals that you didn’t expect? Well done. You get ballot 15.

      1. Honestly, MrCBB, we don’t even try to keep our budget at a certain level, it just happens naturally. Luckily my husband and I are both frugals, and enjoy the thrill of a bargain. I think it is possible for a family of 4 to eat for $200 month…but it would take dedication. Milk would be the biggest expense, if you had children.
        We splurge a lot when something is on sale. For us it helps if we don’t actually plan our menu. Instead we buy sales and reduced food, and then plan our meals. The first place I look is at the reduced food, then fill in the holes of groceries I need. When we get back to Canada (May) almost all of our groceries will be free..because of PC Points and Sobey’s Air miles….and your coupons 🙂
        Believe me, every bit helps….

        1. I might write a post on can you grocery shop without a budget and still eat well. Would you mind helping me out by sharing your grocery shopping tips? I always find it interesting to share how people save money. If not it’s ok just thought I would ask.

  7. Paleo Diet is my favorite diet ever! It allows me still to eat my favorite food compared with others that are strict making me feel to crave more. With regard to budget, Paleo fits everyone’s packet. What I only need to problem is the recipe, but I am glad there are many on the Web.

  8. Thank you Leona for this very interesting article!! I have heard of the Paleo diet but that is about it….it looks like it might be helpful here. My husband has something called Amyloidosis and has issues with his body not absorbing nutrients properly as it affects his digestive system, among other things it affects. It is systemic and affects most of his organs to some degree or other. I will be looking into this much more now that I am curious about it….

    1. You’re welcome Christine. If you’re looking into a Paleo diet for your husband, try google an “AIP Paleo diet”. “AIP” stands for “autoimmune paleo” or “autoimmune protocol” diet and may be something that could help your husband with his condition. I would also highly recommend the book titled “The Plan” by Lyn-Genet Recitas. I hope you find something that works to help your husband heal and feel better.

      1. Thank you Leona, I will be going to the library shortly and I will be looking over what they have on this! That’s my usual method, check out the library books first and if there is one that is really good I might look over Chapters online to buy it.

  9. MARCH – Week #3 of 5- March 16-22, 2015


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



    Here is my Canadian Grocery List for this week:

    GGC #3 (March 16-22): 6 multi-grain rolls for hubby

    Unfortunately, this little shop has placed our budget just over the budget line into the red and we have a $0.12 overage in my Canadian shopping. That overage will be carried forward into April to get sorted out. 🙁

    A combination of feeling poorly, running a fever and another wet weekend are forcing me to push back the US shop again! Thank goodness we still have some loaves of bread in the deep freeze that hubby can use!



    Extra Foods– Maple Ridge –

    6 x multigrain rolls $2.79

    •Total OOP: $2.79

    • Grocery Budget OOP: $3.26

    ** Earned 0 PC.Plus Points on this shop **
    ** USED $0.00 in Rain Check Coupons **
    ** SAVED $0.00 Loyalty Savings on this shop **



    OUR NEXT USA SHOP WILL BE March 28th! << Hopefully! 🙂



    •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 45= 67 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year:

    Jan 0 + Feb 0 = 0 Air Miles

    •Total PC PLUS Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 1200 + Feb 900= 2100 Points

    •Total Optimum Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 30 + Feb 40= 70 Points



    •Total OOP Year-To-Date:
    Jan $199.31+ Feb ($180.69) + Mar ($12.50 trf to borscht+$17.50 to Re-Stocking+$10.00 Xmas Reserve+$15.00 to Summer+$50.00 trf to US Reserve+$20.51 trf to Unused Funds Reserve+$40.23+$3.69+$4.93+$7.98+$4.99 Trf to Unused Funds+$2.79= $190.12 )= $570.12

    •Total Year-To-Date Grocery Budget:
    Jan $190.00+Feb $190.00 + Mar $190.00= $570.00

    •Total Over/Under on Year-To-Date Grocery Budget: ($0.12) OVER



    2014 Fwd $0.00+Jan $0.00+Feb $3.83+ Mar ($10.53+$9.98+$4.99 = $25.50)= $25.50



    2014 Fwd $325.00+Jan $22.50+Feb $22.50 + Mar $17.50= $387.50



    2014 Fwd $412.50+Jan $12.50 + Feb $12.50 + Mar $12.50= $450.00



    2014 Fwd $110.00+Jan $10.00 +Feb $10.00+ Mar $10.00= $140.00



    2014 Fwd $90.00+Jan $10.00 + Feb $10.00 + Mar $15.00= $125.00



    $ 570.00 Grocery Budget JAN-MARCH
    $ 25.50 Redeemed Points to Purchase Groceries
    ($ 0.02) Hiding Spot Cash – SPENT
    ($ 13.45) 2014 Costco Rebate Chq – SPENT
    ($165.00) Trf to Misc Reserves (Re-Stocking, Borscht, Xmas, Summer)
    ($170.00) Trf to US Grocery Reserve
    ($ 25.50) Set in a reserve to offset Redeemed Points
    ($ 221.65) Actual CASH SPENT

    ($ 0.12) SPENDING OVERAGE!!!! <<< No! Say it isn't so! 🙁


    $ 4.98 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – JAN
    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – FEB
    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – FEB
    $ 4.99 Whole Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – MAR
    $ 4.99 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – MAR
    $ 4.99 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – MAR

    $ 25.50 Total $ Value of Points Redeemed

    So far $570.00 has been budgeted Y-T-D for 2015 and we have recorded these funds as “spent” and in fact they have been “saved”:

    $387.50 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $450.00 Borscht Fund
    $140.00 Holiday Season Fund
    $125.00 Summer Season Fund

    OUR TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES ARE $1,102.50 … that is a $937.50 carry-forward from 2013 & 2014 and $165.00 in NEW 2015 savings.

    This also means that with $190.00 to start MARCH less $55.00 transferred to the various savings reserves less $10.53 transferred for Points Redeemed during JAN/FEB = $75.51 + an additional $50.00 saved in our US grocery reserve, we opened the month of MARCH with $74.47 available to spend on the Canadian side of the border, less an overage of $0.00 carried forward from February, PLUS we have spent $74.59 on our groceries (cash & points) so this month and have $0.12 OVERAGE for the month in our CANADIAN budgeted grocery funds and will carry the overage forward into APRIL.

    We have groceries that have been purchased using points redemption(s), rather than the budgeted cash in the amount of $25.50. Available as an offset, we currently have $25.50 in our UNUSED CASH RESERVE. As at this moment, we need and additional $0.00 in the UNUSED CASH RESERVE. If our budget is truly sufficient, when we reach December 31st, the unused funds should still be equal to, if not greater than, the value of the points redeemed. It’ll be interesting to see if they actually are.

    Note: Another reserve of $283.07 IS AVAILABLE for our next US shop currently scheduled for March 28th!

    Of the outstanding US Shopping Reserve $283.07:

    $113.07 is carried forward from 2014

    $170.00 is new 2015 Y-T-D savings

    Less $0.00 that we’ve actually spent in 2015

    = $283.07 US Reserve Available


    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,
      Oh Mary… I thought it would be worse but $0.12.. you did amazing!!! Sorry you haven’t been feeling so well. I’ve been doing better since that rough start in the year which I never want to experience again in my life. I notice your SDM Optimum points are that high. Do you shop their often? Are you signed up to get monthly coupons? I know you buy eggs there once in a while like we do since the price is the best around most weeks.
      You get ballot 13. 🙂

      1. Oh Mr CBB…wait til you see the overage next week. It’s ugly! I get the coupons from SDM but our store have very little grocery except bread and milk. Those and the occasional loaf of bread are all that we buy there. Next week the eggs were $2.60 with a coupon at SDM but only $2.50 on sale at Thrifty’s so we stocked up on rain checks! LOL 🙂

        1. Haha… You make me smile when you say that. I’m looking forward to that read. Will you be getting more PC Products like Ontario has been getting in the SDM stores? It’s getting quite full with food these days… even lasagna. I would have done the rain checks as well!! We love eggs so we try when we can to get a good deal. Good for you.

  10. Eating Paleo is totally doable on a budget…we did it for all of January! 🙂
    The way we kept the budget down was by not necessarily eating meat every day, there are many vegetarian meals you can explore that still give you the nutrients you need without the cost of meat, so we’d eat meat maybe 3-4 times a week and that helped keep costs down.
    I’d also only buy quick sale meat and cook it up that day, saving usually around 30-50% off the regular price;)
    Since January, we have cut meat back to 1-2 times a week (it was just too much meat for us!) and have added back in some grains, but have otherwise stuck with the Paleo principals of not eating processed foods with ingredients we can’t pronounce;)

    1. One of the good things we’ve found about eating more Paleo on The Plan is what our bodies like & process well & what they don’t. Part of that process has been figuring out how often we should eat various kinds of meat & how we should cook our meat (less cooked, except chicken, seems to process better digestively for both of us). Sounds like you’ve discovered some similar things by eating Paleo, Julia. Good stuff!

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