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9 Ways To DIY Fast Food To Save Money On Everyday Convenience Foods- The Grocery Game Challenge #4 Aug 24-30, 2015

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Life is always a balance between time and money.

When we feel pressed for time, it’s easy to spend more money than we realize on fast food and convenience products.

This can be true especially when there’s a whole industry based on making us believe that these foods will transform our lives

There are instances when convenience is worth the price in terms of time and money.

Most often we are paying more for less in terms of taste, nutrition and the time savings are not always as great as they appear to be.


It can make sense to buy prepared convenience foods


Frozen rising crust pizzas are a good example. These regularly go on sale for $3.99 and with the price of cheese and toppings it can be hard to beat that cost with homemade pizza.

On a busy night, frozen store-bought pizza can be a definite money and time-saver. It takes just as long to bake one in the oven as it would to wait for take-out. We can make our fast-food and eat it, too.

Pre-washed boxes of salad greens ($4.99 and Walmart and Superstore, $2.99 at Costco) are another convenience item that may be worth paying for. They might be slightly more expensive than the equivalent quantity of bulk produce (especially in the summer) but the ease with which you can toss together a salad after a busy day balances that extra cost.


Sometimes saving time just isn’t worth the cost


Some convenience items are so vastly over-priced that it never makes sense to pay for them. Pre-cut vegetables are a good example.

These are often 3 – 5 times the price (or even more!) of the same product bought whole. Not only do pre-cut vegetables cost more, they also lose their nutritional value more quickly and may have additives to prolong shelf- life.

Cutting your own carrots, potatoes and broccoli is well-worth the minimal amount of extra time in terms of the money you get to keep in your pocket.

If you really want the convenience of pre-cut veggies, your best bet for the budget and nutritional quality is in the frozen food aisle. These vegetables are flash frozen soon after picking, so they maintain much more of their original vitamin content and can match fresh produce in terms of cost for much of the year.

Grated cheese is another item you may be paying an unnecessary premium for. It makes much more sense to purchase a block of cheese on sale and grate it yourself. Toss the grated cheese with a tablespoon of cornstarch and keep in the freezer. The cornstarch will keep the cheese from getting clumpy, and it’s ready to use when you need it.


9 ways to DIY fast food


There are lots of ways you can start saving money and reducing your reliance on fast food and store-bought convenience foods, but before looking at any suggestions it’s important to realize the most important one: planning ahead.

Take some time at the start of the week when you have a clear head and a few minutes to think ahead. Think about what you will prepare for meals that week. Half the battle is avoiding that after school or after work panic of ‘What will I cook tonight?’ or the early morning scramble of getting food and people ready for the day.

Your menu doesn’t have to be rigid, but having the items you need on hand for at-home meals will reduce the chances of finding yourself (again) waiting in line at a fast-food restaurant, or in the rush-hour checkout line spending a good chunk of your weekly food budget on fast food or over-priced convenience foods.

Here are 9 tips and suggestions to help you stock your cupboards, fridge and freezer with cheaper and healthier alternatives (that can also save you time).




How to prepare quick and easy chicken main dishes ahead of time

  1. Dump Chicken’: take chicken thighs or other pieces, and place a meal-sized portion in each of 4 freezer bags. Toss the following into the bags:
  • Bag 1: ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon each oregano and basil
  •  Bag 2: 2 tablespoons soy sauce, ¼ cup orange juice concentrate, 1 teaspoon dried ginger, ½ teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 clove fresh, minced), ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  •  Bag 3: 2 tablespoons olive oil, ¼ cup lemon juice, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper
  •  Bag 4: ½ cup salsa, 1 teaspoon cumin, ½ cup frozen or canned corn, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon ground pepper

Zip the freezer bags shut, or close securely and shake the bags until the ingredients are mixed. Store in freezer. You’ve got four quick and easy main dishes prepared in less than 15 minutes.

Take the chicken out the night before you need it and thaw in fridge. Dump the thawed contents into a baking dish and cook in a 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes until the meat is cooked through. Serve with rice or noodles and salad.

  1. Homemade Mac and Cheese Ham Bake: How to make Homemade Mac and Cheese– This version of Mac and Cheese is super fast and simple – no need for the over-priced boxed version. The hardest part is cooking the noodles. You can prepare this the night before and leave it in the fridge until you are ready to bake it. You can switch it up by adding a cup of salsa or ham like in this recipe.




  1. Biscuit Mix: How to make Biscuit Mix– These are great for breakfast or to accompany an evening meal. You can also use it in recipes that call for store-bought biscuit mix.
  1. Refrigerator Bran Muffins : A batch of this muffin batter only takes a few minutes to mix up, then can be kept in the fridge for up to 6 weeks for quick breakfasts and snacks.
  1. Instant oatmeal: How to make instant oatmeal– Toss 4 cups oatmeal, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ cup brown sugar and 1 cup powdered milk (optional) into bowl of food processor. Pulse for 1-2 minutes until oats are broken up a bit and ingredients are mixed. Add raisins or other dried fruit and store in an airtight container. For each serving, place ½ cup of the instant oatmeal in bowl. Cover with 2/3 cup boiling water. Let sit 2-3 minutes and serve.




  1. Brownie Mix: How to make Brownie Mix– Having a few batches of this on hand makes it easy to put together a quick treat or dessert at a moment’s notice. It’s perfect for when you need to bring something to work or school and cheaper than stopping off at Tim’s or the supermarket.
  1. Condensed Milk: How to make condensed milk– Condensed milk is used in many quick and easy dessert recipes, but it can be very pricey. It’s easy to make your own at home for a fraction of the cost.


Sides and seasonings


  1. Salad Dressing: How to make salad dressing- A simple vinaigrette is cheaper than store-bought, without all the additives. It is infinitely variable, and will keep in the fridge for up to a week.
  1. Taco Seasoning: How to make Taco Seasoning– Lots of fast and easy recipes call for taco seasoning. Don’t bother buying it when you can make your own in seconds for a fraction of the cost.


One step at a time


Don’t try to make too many changes at once. If you find you are relying heavily on fast foods and convenience foods, set a goal of reducing one or two meals out a week and eliminating one prepackaged food to start.

Once you see how easy it can be to DIY, eating more healthily and cheaply, you’ll wonder why you’ve spent time waiting in line for food that isn’t really all that fast or convenient after all.

Here are a couple more good reads to get you started making your own fast food at home.

What convenience foods have you made at home instead of buying at the grocery store?

Post Contribution: Mary Gillespie lives in New Brunswick and shares recipes and tips on her
blog ‘Ketchup With That‘.


August 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


Yearly grocery budget for two 2015: $2820

(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $235 per year or $25 per month.

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 $229.08
  • Total Gift Cards used to date: $32.40
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $20.00
  • PC Points Plus Earned to date: 124736
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0

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

  • Snap Groupon to date: $15.00
  • Zweet to date: $14.50
  • Cart Smart to date: $0
  • Checkout51 to date: $6.00


Grocery Shop This Week


(add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)

Shoppers Drug Mart

  • 1x Neilson Homo Milk 4L $4.97

Total Out-of-Pocket $4.97

  • Total to spend this month $235-$5.92 (over July) $229.08
  • Stockpile budget 2015 ($25.00): (Jan/Feb) $50.00 +$0 (Mar)+$16.94+$25.00 (April)+$25.00+ May $25.00+ June $25.00+July $14.44+Aug $
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $25.00
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $30.50
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $0
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $564.59
  • Total spent this week: $5.97
  • Total spent so far this month: $50.82
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: $under
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: $under
  • Total left to spend for the month: $203.21
  • Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $166.49+ Feb $261.51+ Mar $231.02 + April $258.44+May $218.12+ June $235.67+July $212.16+August $0

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

This was no-shop week which means we didn’t go into any grocery stores.


Canadian Coupons Found This Week


Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons!

I found a few coupons last week but nothing new for this week so I’ll share the same coupons again for those that missed them last week.

We’re finding less and less coupons in the stores these days. What are your thoughts? Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons?

I didn’t find any coupons this week as it was a no-shop week.


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.
  • Canadian Coupons: Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest  Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
  • Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading out but mobile coupon apps are the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site that mailed coupons to households have gotten involved with their new mobile app joining forces with the many apps that are already out there.
  • 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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  • If you like FREE then click this link for my FREE Excel Budget Spreadsheet and all my Free Money Saving Lists.

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Similar Posts


  1. Our weekly budget is $125 making this month $500
    Save on foods
    $19.45 3kg frozen chicken breasts
    $11.59 4pk tums
    $9.39×2 40 pk cheese strings -crazy cheap price and good till dec
    $30.95 total oop
    $1×6-$2Cx2 chocolate milk
    $6.17×3-$2C Armstrong cheese 700G
    $1.87×6-$1.50Cx2 top dogs – rain cheque
    $5.47×2-fpcwub3mlproducts spicy jalapeno chicken smokies
    $32.03 total oop
    $19.94 total coupons
    $2.85 jalapenos
    $5.42 4L milk
    $4.52-$4.19 staff coupon 2L chocolate milk
    $1.99 coffee creamer
    $10.60 total oop
    $4.19 total coupons
    $6.99×2-$1Cx2 folgers kcups
    $2.99×4-$2Cx4 off clip ons – clearance
    .79 aero chocolate bar
    $17.40 total oop
    $10.90 total coupons

    $109.43 weekly total oop
    $35.03 weekly total coupons
    $281.74 monthly total oop
    $71.79 monthly total coupons
    $4285.14 yearly total oop
    $1335.66 yearly total coupons

    some great deals this week and stocked up on some staples!

    1. Hi Juanita,
      How many Tums are in each Jar? I am on prescription drugs now but I use no name TUMS or even Zantac just to kill some of the heartburn. Great bargain on the OFF clip ons. What is the reg price of the cheese strings? We always buy blocks but they are good for lunches. Well done. You get ballot 5. MR.CBB

  2. Yearly grocery budget for four adults and two cats

    (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $235 per year or $25 per month.

    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 $636.43
    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: 11250
    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: $24.50
    Cart Smart to date: $0
    Checkout51 to date: $0, cashed out $24.50

    Grocery Shop This Week
    Foodland #1
    Royale TP -3.99
    Royale 6 pack tissues -3.99
    Royale paper towels -3.99, $1.50 coupon
    Soya sauce -3.49
    Plum sauce -2.98
    2 tomato paste @.59
    2 4l milk @4.88
    1 doz large eggs -2.99
    1 yogurt -1.99
    1 3# bag onions -2.99, discount 1.50
    Bananas -.95
    1 pack lean ground beef -5.54
    2 W/W bread @2.50
    Tax- 1.88
    Total OOP -$50.21, 1.50 coupon and 1.50 duiscount
    Foodland #2
    1 jug water -5.49
    1 box crackers -4.29
    1 yogurt -3.00
    1 pancake syrup -2.99
    1 pack pasta -2.79
    1 4l milk -4.88
    1 lean ground beef -4.84
    1 pack sausage -3.50
    1 grated parmenan cheese -5.23
    2 W/W bread @2.50
    Total OOP $42.50
    Jacksons Pharmacy, stock pile
    2 cases pop @3.50
    Tax -.91
    Total OOP $7.91

    Total to spend this month $650.00-13.57= $636.43
    Stockpile budget 2015 ($25.00):Jan $22.20= Feb $24.50+ Mar $22.18+ Apr $18.32+ May $40.95+ June $24.15+ July $45.32+ Aug
    Stockpile budget used this month: $32.92
    Total coupons used this week: $1.50
    Total coupons used to date: $119.14
    Total in-store discounts this week: $1.50 (air miles discount at Foodland)
    Total in-store discounts to date: $117.62
    Total spent this week: $92.71
    Total spent so far this month: $530.31
    Total over/Under spend this shop: $under
    Total over/Under spend for the month: $under
    Total left to spend for the month: $106.12
    Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $640.13+ Feb $572.63+ Mar $786.52 + April $515.95+May $621.33+ June $760.66+July $552.91+August $0

    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)I am under so far for the month. That may not last as there are some good sales for the next week. The pop was good so I got 2 cases. The discount on the onions was from air miles with Sobeys/Foodland. Kind of like Sobeys had with their card. I’m saving the miles to use at the end of the year for groceries and to help with holidays groceries. That is when I really need the help as we both know from past years. So far I have $50.00 worth on the cash miles there……

    1. Hi Christine,
      Not too much spent this week. I had to laugh when you said you were under for the month BUT there are some good sales next week. Isn’t that the way it always happens? You think you get ahead and then BAM a great sale comes out but if you are getting great deals on stuff you need then you are still going to be ahead. How about saving what you will spend in December throughout the year so you have the money saved like a projected expense? That’s what we do for many budget categories. Great shop. You get ballot 26. Mr.CBB

  3. For the month of August (1-31)
    Name Your Store: i.e. Superstore (Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $2.20+2.09+1.86+1.74+1.31+2.21
    Total Out Of Pocket: $7.05+1.00+ $76.94+$4.25
    Gift card- $7.33+10.00+8.13+22.11+13.07
    PC points redeemed–
    plastic bag rebate- $0.02+.04+ .08+.03

    month of August- 1-31 August 2015

    2 pkgs cookies reduced 2 @ $1.69- $.85= $1.68
    2 doz eggs 2 @ 2.49 = $4.98
    carrots reduced $3.99- $2.00= $1.99
    produce reduced 5 @ $.99 +$4.95
    reduced produce 2 @ $1.49 = $2.98
    2 brown sugar 2/$5.00 = $5.00
    4 L milk =$5.99
    2 apple juice 2 @ $1.00 (400 PC pts) $2.00
    4 L milk = $5.99
    kidney beans $1.00

    lemon juice ( 300 PC pts) = $2.49
    4 tuna 4/$5.00 = $5.00
    2 juice @ $.99= $1.98
    coffee creamer $4.49
    coffee creamer (1400 PC pts) $2.99
    4 L milk $5.99
    cheese reduced 2 @ $4.48 – $4.48= $4.48
    naan bread reduced $2.99- $1.50= $1.49

    4 coffee @ $3.99 = $15.96
    12 pk NN mac and cheese =$6.29
    4 tomato soup @ 2/$1.00= $2.00
    50g summer savory =$5.69
    blueberry (800 PC pts) =$2.50
    onions (400 PC pts) =$2.50
    2 bananas = $0.55
    whole chicken $7.86
    whole chicken $7.46
    ground beef (2000 PC pts) $10.49
    ground beef (2000 PC pts) $9.77
    spent $60.00 = $6000 PC pts)
    2c off a litre for fuel.
    4 graves apple juice @ $0.88 (800 PC pts) = $3.52
    4L milk =$5.99
    pogo- $1.00
    hamburger rolls reduced $4.39-$2.20=$2.19
    reduced produce 3 @ $1.49= $4.47
    naan bread =$1.99

    Name Your Store: i.e. Giant Tiger (Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $
    Total Out Of Pocket: $0.99

    bananas= $0.99

    Name Your Store: i.e. Lawton’s Drug store (Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $39.10

    38 cans compliments tuna @.099 =$37.62
    $35 ‘compliments’ purchase bonus=95 air miles
    chocolate bar-$1.29

    Name Your Store: i.e. Sobeys (Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $6.49
    Gift card- $4.77
    redeemed Airmiles- $

    4 L milk – $6.49
    4 juice 2/$1.00 =$2.00
    3 canned baked beans @ $0.79 (2 air miles) = $2.37

    Name Your Store: i.e. Stirling’s Fruit Market (Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $13.71

    apple pie – $3.99
    peaches- $2.00
    broccoli- $2.00
    mushrooms $1.40
    apple/blueberry juice 2/$2.25= $2.25
    sweet potato- $1.87

    Overall for the month of August

    $149.53 out of pocket
    $11.41 coupons (coupon and star bucks)
    $60.64 gift cards (I use my PC points and Air miles to buy them )

    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 $

    Total Gift Cards used to date: =$76.08+$6.46=(25-31 May)=$82.54 + $50.39 (month of June)= $132.93= $86.07 (July) = $219.00+$60.64 (Aug)=$279.64
    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: $9.73+24.23 (month of June) =$33.96+$18.52 (month of July) =$52.48+$11.41 (month of Aug)=$63.89
    Total in-store discounts this week: $0.00
    Total in-store discounts to date: 0.00
    Total spent this week: $0
    Total spent so far this month: $149.53
    Total over/Under spend this shop: $
    Total over/Under spend for the month $149.53

    Total left to spend for the month : $353.02+$216.67 June=$569.69-$36.90 (spent in June)=$532.79+ $216.67 –$4.15 (spent in July ) =$745.31+$216.67-$149.53=$812.45

    Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) $730.33+ $36.90 ( month of June)=$767.23+ $4.15 (month of July) =$771.38+$149.53 (Aug)=$920.91

    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts): a lot of the same things went on sale this month…and we took advantage of it Smile
    Sobeys is starting to become more active with their air mile specials which is similar to PC points…..and we are taking advantage of that.

    1. Hi Kathryn,
      Great deal with the Apple Juice and the PC Points! Sometimes I’m amazed when we see points appear that we never thought we were getting in the first place. How much is 95 Air Miles worth again? Is it about $10? That was a great deal on the tuna to start with but with the Air Miles, even better! Great shopping this month! I’ll be following those Air Miles you’re starting to get now too! You get ballot 25. Mr.CBB

  4. Week 4 – August 23 – 29

    • Grocery budget to work with in August: $240
    • Total coupons used this week: $9.29
    • Total coupons used to date: $109.65
    • Total RCSS gas coupons used this week: $0
    • Total RCSS gas coupons used to date: $12.49
    • Total value PC Plus points redeemed this week: $0
    • Total value PC Plus points redeemed to date: $320
    • Total gift cards/certificates/gifts used this week: $0
    • Total gift cards/certificates/gifts used to date: $38.76
    • Total student discounts this week: $3.57
    • Total student discounts to date: $161.40
    • Total tax savings RCSS this week: $0
    • Total tax savings RCSS to date: $11.98
    • Total spent this week: $60.10
    • Total spent so far this month: $238.45
    • Total left to spend for the month: $1.55
    • Carry over: $1.55
    • Total in carry over jar: $53.80
    • Total Spent To Date 2015: $2069.80

    Walmart: IOGO Nano yogurt 2 x 3.77 less 2 FPC, Great value glass cleaner large refill 3.00, Greenworks cleaner 3.37 – less 1.00 coupon, taxes .83: Total paid 6.20

    RCSS: Goldfish crackers 1.88, Alcan foil 4 x 1.00 (PM), NN 1.89L vinegar 1.88, PC pop 2L 2 x .97, NN Chips 3 x 1.00 (PM), Crispers 3 x 1.00 (PM), Triscuits 1.88, Unico vegetable oil 4.98, 710mL ranch dressing Kraft 2.97, Hellmans mayo 2.98, Cavendish fries 2 x 1.50 less .75 coupon, Chapmans popsicles 2 x 2.00 (PM), tax 1.86, less student discount 3.57: Total paid 33.05

    Walmart: Milk 3.95: Total 3.95

    Walmart: Milk to go 6 pack 200 ml 3 x 2.97, ground cinnamon 2.00: Total paid 10.90 rounded down 1 cent

    We came in just under budget and that bit has been added to the carryover jar. Next month is the Walmart anniversary sale, and that is the time I stock up on toilet paper for the year. I anticipate that will be the time to use what’s left in the jar. We are actually running low on paper products, so this will be a good thing. Yes, it’s an assumption that they will have a good deal on toilet paper at this time, however, they have every year up to this point.

    I did a lot of shopping at Walmart this week, which I do not normally do. In this case, their unadvertised prices are better for items we needed like glass cleaner, cleaning solution and spices. The two FPCs I used there, that product was unavailable at RCSS and I couldn’t imagine letting free yogurt go to waste.

    RCSS was typical for just before a trip. We don’t keep as much snack food in the house these days and we needed some non-perishable snacks for our journey to see relatives. To them we brought beans, carrots and tomatoes out of our garden. My mom also brought zucchini, tomatoes and beans. Our contribution to the food situation during our visit since we can’t afford to give them a gift card like they do for us.

    The chocolate milk to go is for my son for school. They go on great prices before school starts, with making it almost on par for cost. That way he can recycle the container and I don’t have to fight with stinky stale milk smells at the end of the school day. Spices are often cheaper at Walmart.

    We did alright this month, even though I left the increased budget from 50 to 60 for an additional month. I will do the same next month to accommodate the pantry stock up. I guess you could call it a $10 weekly stockpile budget for three months. The more I have on hand with school starting for my kiddo as well as myself will help tremendously.

    1. Hi Angela,
      I was just thinking about your GGC post as I was moderating last night and surprise, here it is. I hate when we have an FPC and can’t find the product. It seems so wrong to let that product waste so I know what you mean although I hardly get FPC’s any longer. Ah, I remember when I used to bring my drink container home and it smelled like rotten milk lol. I know what you mean. There you go it’s nice to see you coming up with ideas for your stockpile budget and how you plan to approach the situation. It’s all about planning and thinking ahead and you are doing a wonderful job. How do you like the Greenworks products? My wife hates the glass cleaner and prefers Windex. You get ballot 20. Mr.CBB

      1. We have never used the greenworks glass cleaner or the great value before. We are trying great value because of the cost. I have always bought windex up until now, but they are charging so much for it. No verdict on the great value cleaner yet, I’m just finishing up the last drips of windex and don’t want to mix them. As for the Greenworks, we pretty much use that brand for everything else. Dish soap, floor cleaner (smudges a bit, but not as bad as many other brands), bathroom cleaner and the all purpose cleaner. The smell of them doesn’t bother my son with his fragrance allergies, so I don’t deviate from them often. Glass cleaner tends to smell the same brand to brand, doesn’t always clean the same.

        I did miss one receipt on the list, however it was included in the overall monthly value. It was from IKEA of all places. I don’t get there often and there are a few things we get from time to time, I was in for straws. However, I did find a bag of coffee for 6.00. We haven’t tried it yet, we are on the last few grounds from our Winners purchase of coffee grounds earlier in the summer. I hope it tastes alright, but not too good, we don’t live close enough to IKEA to get there regularly. LOL.

        My son was feeling left out at school because I stopped ordering milk from the school. I just couldn’t justify the expense any longer. They are charging 1.00 for each milk ordered. Ridiculous for such a little container. I know council isn’t making much off of it, so I don’t feel bad not taking part. I am on the parent council and fundraise for the school and I do my best to support the fundraising as much as I can. In this case, the cost is almost equal to the expense of council. So, if I can find it cheaper in the store to pack for my son, then I have no guilt associated with it. These containers of milk run 50 cents each, half the cost. And, I am reducing the amount of vinegar I am using getting those containers clean and not smelling.

        1. Hi Angela,
          I was just trying to picture where you bought coffee at Ikea and now I remember. We hardly ever go there. WOW that is pricey for those tiny containers of milk . You do what works for your family and your budget. I hope your son doesn’t feel left out and realizes it’s just milk. It’s amazing how the small things are big things to the kids.
          Let me know what you think of the window cleaner.

          1. Well, verdict on the window cleaner is that it is alright. It works well on our marble countertop in the bathroom and just takes a bit of extra elbow grease to make sure there are no streaks on mirrors. Haven’t tried the windows yet. I still prefer Windex, but now I know if it isn’t on sale, I can make do with the Walmart Great Value brand.

  5. This two period GGC….

    Aug 14 -27, 2015
    Name Your Store: Superstore
    Total Coupons Used: $1.00
    Total Points = 3600
    Total Out Of Pocket: $158.98 (includes Stockpile & Meat)

    2 Goldfish – (400 PC Points) = $3.94
    NN Vegetable Spray = $4.99
    10 Cans Tuna – (2000 PC Points) = $10.00
    1.43 kg PC Rice = $4.97
    Wide Mouth Lids/Rings = $6.99
    12 Rolls Toilet Paper = $9.89
    Cheerios – $3.99 (PM Giant Tiger @ $2.97) = $2.97
    2 450 g Pasta = $1.76
    1 kg Kraft Peanut Butter = $3.48
    Silhoute Yogurt – $3.49 (PM Food Basics @ $1.97) = $1.97
    Danone Yogurt – $4.27 (PM Food Basics @ $1.97) = $1.97
    4 L Skim Milk = $3.97
    24 Slices Kraft Cheese = $3.98 ($1.00 Coupon)
    Pillsbury Biscuits = $2.99
    Bananas – 0.935 kg @ $1.26/kg (200 PC Points) = $1.18
    Celery – $1.97 (PM No Frills @ $0.97) = $0.97
    Peppers – 0.635 kg @ $4.37/kg (400 PC Points) = $2.77
    NN Wieners = $1.28
    500g Bologna – $5.49 (PM Giant Tiger @ $2.73) = $2.73
    Ham = $11.99
    Lean Ground Beef = $24.55
    Chicken Thigh = $15.88
    Raisin Bread = $2.00
    Wonder WW Bread – 2/$4.00 (600 PC Points) = $4.00

    4 Cans Friskies = $3.16
    1.5 kg Friskies = $4.98
    20 kg NN Cat Litter = $9.19

    Name Your Store: Herrle’s Country Farm Market
    Total Coupons Used: $0.00
    Total Points = N/A
    Total Out Of Pocket: $93.80 (Produce Budget)

    15 Dozen Corn = $93.80

    Name Your Store: Superstore
    Total Coupons Used: $0.00
    Total Points = 0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $19.27

    3 NN Frozen Juice – 3/$1.98 = $1.98
    Cheerios – $6.97 (PM Walmart @ $3.88) = $3.88
    24 Bottle Nestle Water – $2.66 (PM No Frills @ $1.88) = $1.88
    4 L Skim Milk = $3.97
    Bananas – 0.890 kg @ $1.26/kg = $1.12
    Weiners – $4.99 ( PM Sobeys @ $2.99) = $2.99

    4 cans Friskies – $0.79 (PM Frescho @ $0.50) = $2.00
    Baking Soda = $1.19

    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: $1.00
    Total Coupons Used To Date: $11.25
    Total Discounts/SCOP this 2 Week Period: $0.00
    Total Discounts/SCOP to Date: $9.59
    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: $8.61 + 7.03
    Total Price Match to Date: $378.41
    Total Produce this 2 Week Period: $93.80
    Total Produce to Date: $93.80
    Total Adhoc Stockpile this 2 Week Period: $46.98
    Total Adhoc Stockpile to Date: $492.30
    Total PC Points Received this 2 Week Period: 3600 + 0
    Total PC Rewards Points Used this 2 Week Period: 0
    Total PC Rewards To Date: 7760

    Total Over/Under spend this Human shop: $24.18 under
    Total Left to Spend for the Human Month: $104.18
    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+0.80+50.41+5.00+26.07+52.01; Apr $11.23+58.66+17.83+6.84+7.74+3.96+28.58+23.51; May $90.90+18.36+3.94+45.75; Jun $41.920+61.15+28.90+24.52; Jul $43.63+21.36+30.63+41.96+36.59; Aug $35.28+40.00+15.82 ; Sept $ ; Oct $ ; Nov $ ; Dec $ = $1,307.98

    Total Over/Under spend this Cat shop: $8.03 over
    Total Left to Spend for the Cat Month: $6.97
    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+0+13.06; Apr $9.58+11.77+1.96; May $10.15+9.20+5.65; Jun $10.15+7.89+2.00+18.61+(-9.59); Jul $5.65+0+5.63+5.63+6.76; Aug $5.63+19.58+3.45 ; Sept $ ; Oct $ ; Nov $ ; Dec $ = $233.11

    Overview: 1st week – Stocked up on some meat, in addition to what we are getting in a couple of weeks. Trying to add new meals into the mix, which is not easy to try and think what to make that’s cost efficent, we’ll like and easy to make homemade. I want to try and make some freezer meals so that it can be ready for me when I get home from work…just need to find the recipes that I make large quantities and put into the freezer.
    Overview: 2nd Week – I’ve decided to create a Produce account so that I’ll have money set aside for next year. I want to ramp up my canning since not a lot was completed this year. Due to the large shop last week, didn’t need to get much in the way of groceries. Will be putting away 15 doz cobs of corn into the freezer and that should last us all year but it will be worth it.

    1. Hi Dee,
      You scored a great deal with the tuna and the PC points. Our son likes Goldfish. His friend came to the park with a snack cup and guess who decided to eat them all? lol… I guess we will be buying him some. I’d make them BUT could you imagine how tedious that would be? I love how you take advantage of those PC points. I wish we would get more for fruits and veg. The more you shop there though the better the offers will be. How much money do you hope to have in your produce account for next year? What are the goals of your produce account? Hmm this might be interesting for me to write about. Let me know or email me details all about. You get ballot 4 and 5 for 2 weeks shops. Mr.CBB

  6. I’ll have to look further into these recipes later tonight as I’m trying to move more to homemade foods. I’ll have to see how hard and what ingredients are needed as I typically don’t cook with herbs and spices. Maybe if the recipe is one that I’d make over again, I might invest in those ingredients though.

  7. A very good article Mary!!! I will need to look much farther once I’m on the laptop tonight so I can save and print things!! I will buy the pre-made cole slaw here for holiday dinners as we don’t eat enough to warrant using the whole cabbage worth.hubby isn’t one for eating his veggies and he thumbs his nose at the ‘leafy crap’, so it’s just the two boys and I eating it usually.
    Some place in my files I have a recipe for a home made shake and bake recipe you make up and add a couple of tablespoons worth to bread crumbs and use that way. I also have a recipe or two for home made biscuit mix I should dig out. I have made the taco seasoning in the past but usually buy the kits on sale. It’s not something we eat often and I have had salsa develop mold. Hubby has issues with his immune system so I won’t take that risk.
    I will be looking much deeper into this later…thank you for the information!!

  8. AUGUST – Week #4 of 5- Aug 24-30, 2015


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



    We really did not need much this week, as you will see. I had a burning desire for nachos but we were shopping the “LOW SALT” options to create our dish. There’s lots leftover for a 2nd dinner for two and although the dinner was a little pricey, it was still a lot less expensive than it would have been if we’d done take-out.

    This week we also decided to have two dinners “out” using gift cards we have had for a really long time. One night we’re going to Ricky’s for some nice salads with added protein. Our second outing will be to The Keg so I can enjoy a whole Atlantic lobster, before their lobster special ends on the 30th.



    Save On Foods – Maple Ridge –

    1 WF Spicy Guacamole $3.69
    1 Sour Cream $3.69
    1 WF Mexi Cheese $14.69
    2 WF Low Salt Tortillas Chips $4.00

    Total OOP: $26.07

    ** Earned 126 MORE Points on this shop **
    ** USED $0.00 in Rain Check Coupons **
    ** SAVED $1.90 Loyalty Savings on this shop **



    OUR NEXT USA SHOP WILL BE in 2016 when I am in better health.



    •Total Loyalty Card Price Reductions This Year:

    Jan $3.58+ Feb $0.00 + Mar $14.54 + Apr $15.76 + May $0.00 + June $5.68 + July $0.00 + Aug $35.63 = $75.19

    •Total Coupons/Rain Checks Used This Year:

    Jan $0.00 + Feb $0.00 + Mar $0.00 + Apr $0.00 + May $0.00 + June $14.00 + July $0.00 + Aug $0.00= $14.00

    •Total Price Match Savings Used This Year:

    Jan $0.00 +Feb $0.00 + Mar $0.00 + Apr $0.00 + May $0.00 + June $0.00 + July $0.00 + Aug $0.00= $0.00

    •Total More Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 22 + Feb 45 + Mar 140 + Apr 12 + May 6 + June 12 + July 0 + Aug 160= 397 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year:

    Jan 0 + Feb 0 + Mar 1 + Apr 1 + May 322 + June 0 + July 0 + Aug 4= 328 Air Miles

    •Total PC PLUS Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 1200 + Feb 900 + Mar 900 + Apr 1,500 + May 0 + June 1800 + July 0 + Aug 900= 7,200 Points

    •Total Optimum Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 30 + Feb 40 + Mar 0 + Apr 0 + May 0 + June 20 + July 0 + Aug 0= 90 Points



    •Total OOP Year-To-Date:
    Jan $199.31+ Feb $180.69 + Mar $274.41 + Apr $105.59+ May $237.00 + June $171.34 + July $53.25 + Aug (trf $15.00 Xmas Reserve+$21.31 to Summer + $20.00 trf to Re-Stocking Reserve + $12.50 trf to Borscht Reserve + $0.00 trf to US + $9.98+$56.98+$14.24+$6.79+$21.06+$8.00+$14.50+$22.56+$9.73+$26.19+$26.07= $284.95)= $1,506.10

    •Total Year-To-Date Grocery Budget:
    Jan $190.00+Feb $190.00 + Mar $190.00 + Apr $190.00 + May $190.00 + June 190.00+July$190.00+Aug $190.00 = $1,520.00

    •Total Over/Under on Year-To-Date Grocery Budget:
    $13.90 AVAILABLE

    2014 Fwd $0.00+Jan $0.00+Feb $3.83+ Mar $32.09 + Apr $4.99 + May $4.69 + June $9.38 + July $4.69 = $59.67


    2014 Fwd $325.00+Jan $22.50+Feb $22.50 + Mar $17.50 + Apr $18.44 + May $17.50 + June $6.56 + July $20.00 + Aug $20.00 = $470.00


    2014 Fwd $412.50+Jan $12.50 + Feb $12.50 + Mar $12.50 + Apr $0.00 + May $20.00 + June $30.00+July $0.00 + Aug $12.50 = $512.50


    2014 Fwd $110.00+Jan $10.00 +Feb $10.00+ Mar $10.00 + Apr $10.00 + May $25.00 + June $10.00 + July 15.00+ Aug 15.00= $215.00


    2014 Fwd $90.00+Jan $10.00 + Feb $10.00 + Mar $15.00 + Apr $15.00 + May $35.00 + June $36.44 + July $13.56+Aug $21.31= $246.31


    $ 1,520.00 Grocery Budget JAN-AUG
    $ 59.67 Redeemed Points to Purchase
    ($ 0.02) Hiding Spot Cash – SPENT
    ($ 13.45) 2014 Costco Rebate Chq – SPENT
    ($505.91) Trf to Misc Reserves (Re-Stocking,
    Borscht, Xmas, Summer)
    ($ 202.50) Trf to US Grocery Reserve
    ($ 59.67) Set in a reserve to offset
    Redeemed Points
    ($ 784.22) Actual CASH SPENT



    $ 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
    $ 1.60 Sprouts- 1,000 MORE Pts – MAR
    $ 4.99 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – MAR
    $ 4.99 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – APR
    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – MAY
    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – JUNE
    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – JUNE
    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – JULY

    $ 59.67 Total $ Value of Points Redeemed

    So far $1,520.00 has been budgeted Y-T-D for 2015 and we have recorded these funds as “spent” and in fact they have been “saved”:

    $470.00 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $512.50 Borscht Fund
    $215.00 Holiday Season Fund
    $246.31 Summer Season Fund

    OUR TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES ARE $1,443.81 … that is a $937.50 carry-forward from 2013 & 2014 and $506.31 in NEW 2015 savings.

    This also means that with $190.00 to start AUGUST plus $108.81 carried forward from JULY less $68.81 transferred to the various savings reserves less $0.00 transferred for Points Redeemed = $230.00 plus an additional $0.00 saved in our US grocery reserve, we opened the month of AUGUST with $230.00 available to spend on the Canadian side of the border LESS we have spent $216.10 on our groceries (cash & points) so far this month and have a $13.90 AVAILABLE for the month of AUGUST

    We have groceries that have been purchased using points redeemed, rather than the budgeted cash in the amount of $59.67. Available as an offset, we currently have $59.67 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 $315.57 IS AVAILABLE for our next US shop!

    Of the outstanding US Shopping Reserve $315.57:

    $113.07 is carried forward from 2014

    $202.50 is new 2015 Y-T-D savings

    Less $0.00 that we’ve actually spent in 2015

    = $315.57 US Reserve Available


    The valid rain checks I hold are as follows:


    24 cans Heinz Maple Baked Beans @ 4 for $5 –
    Good ‘til Sept 4/15
    24 cans Cloverleaf Tuna in Water @ $0.97 ea –
    Good ‘til Sept 14/15


    1. Hi Mary,
      No sense letting those gift cards collect dust 🙂 I’d be enjoying a whole lobster too if I could. I can see why you didn’t want to miss that opportunity. You know you made a valid point about your nachos. Although they seem to have cost more than what you would normally spend it would have been more costly to eat out. Add in a tip and you’ve got a gold plate of nachos. Enjoy them at home… good for you. You get ballot 3. Mr.CBB

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