30 Must-Have Student Food Pantry Staples

Estimated reading time: 14 minutes

There’s no need to be a starving student while getting an education if you stock your food pantry with budget-friendly staples

I’ve been a student at University, and both times I had a stocked food pantry to stop me from eating out, which is a huge waste of money for any student.

You may or may not be a student or have a child off to College or University.

If yes, spend 10 minutes reading this post about cooking and living independently away from the family home.

It’s one thing to be social and another to be lazy in the kitchen if you can cook at home.

30 food products to stock in your frugal student pantry(1)
30 food products to stock in your frugal student pantry

Begin With A Grocery Budget

I had many friends who considered themselves starving students only because most of their student budget went to booze, partying, and eating fast food.

That’s a surefire way to starve your budget and your tummy of nutritious food.

I’ve learned throughout my student years that you can eat decent meals at home and kick the fast-food habits many students take on when they leave school.

First, you need a student budget; this will be the one financial tool that will save you from a lifetime of unwanted debt.

If your food budget is tight, visit your local food bank or check if your school has an on-campus food bank to get you through tough times.

Related: Types of Food Bank Donations and Ways To Save

Food Pantry 101- Stack it, Store it, Eat it

What do I consider a food pantry?

A food pantry is exactly what it sounds like an area where you stock food.

Related: Frozen Food To Stock Up On To Save Time and Money

A typical food pantry may be a free-standing spare cupboard in the kitchen or a walk-in food pantry (our dream), or a built-in food pantry cupboard.

You may have a cold room to stock food and other products like ours.

Your refrigerator and freezer may also be included in your food pantry stock-up list.

Your food pantry will differ from your parents, who likely will have double or triple the amount of products.

Feeding more mouths and living in a permanent residence will add significantly more to your food pantry.

Related: Help Stock My Pantry

Single Students

For the single student, keep your food pantry simple and stock foods you can mix and match with your favourite meals or staples to most recipes.

Think of your food pantry as your wardrobe.

Make-Shift Cupboard Space

For the student who doesn’t have a spare cupboard, refrigerator space, or freezer space, you can do what we did when renting.

Use a box high off the ground to prevent pests from getting inside the food.

You can also use a large cooler which you can pick up at most second-hand shops or for around $20 at most retail stores.

Related: Kitchen flour mites and how to avoid and get rid of them

When my refrigerator broke down in the UK, I remember using a cooler and sitting it on the back deck in the winter.

The snow kept it cold, but you may attract outdoor friends with this, so keep that in mind.

I’m sorry, let me get my nose out from inside your cart

I’m a grocery cart geek because I’m nosey and check out what other people buy.

If you see some goofball checking out what’s in your cart who happens to have a British accent, don’t be shy and say hello, Mr.CBB.

We live in a large University and College city, and the grocery stores are flooded with students every day when the semester is full.

Mistakes I Wish I Never Made

I will share The first two tips with you, which I learned quickly by making mistakes.

  • Don’t get a shopping cart.
  • Don’t buy more food than you can eat that is perishable.

If you’re cooking for one, you won’t need a massive shopping cart that only encourages shoppers to fill it up.

Stick with the shopping basket, and you’re guaranteed to keep costs low and only buy the food you will eat.

Food waste is a huge global problem, so being mindful of what you buy is imperative.

How do you do this? You plan your meals.

Meal Planning Tips

If you’re moving away to school for the first time, grocery shopping and meal planning may be a new concept for you or you’ve had some training from your parents.

Related: Meal Planning 101

With school only a month away, I encourage parents out there who haven’t taught their adult children how to grocery shop to make plans to do so.

Pass this valuable parenting lesson to your children because you want them to eat healthy and encourage home cooking.

Not every college or university student stays in residence where a full or partial meal plan is part of the housing package.

That means you need to buckle down and get organized if you can’t afford a meal plan because they are costly or have moved off campus.

Live By The List

I’m writing this post before the start of the school year to motivate parents and students to cross this chore off the list.

Grocery shopping is a task that most people don’t care to take on, which only leads to eating out often or spending more money than needed.

No more forgetting anything!!

Using a list will help you at the grocery store and for everything in daily life.

Life only gets hectic from this point, moving forward.

Writing a list keeps things organized between studying, part-time work, and those with a family.

Once you figure out how much your grocery budget should be, you will be tasked with creating a simple student meal plan.

Studying and student life is a big deal, and the last thing you want is to be stuck in a kitchen cooking and cleaning.

Once you decide what you want to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, you’ll better understand what you want.

You must make cooking fun, so switching up your favourite recipes is key to meal planning.

If you need recipe ideas, Pinterest is loaded with them and the perfect place to PIN your favourite recipes for later.

Related: Canadian Budget Binder Recipe Index (Awesome frugal recipes you should check out)

Save Using Flyers, Coupons, and Apps

Working with weekly sale flyers and coupon apps to create a standard grocery list will give you the frugal edge to find deals and keep costs low.

The cool thing about using apps like Flipp is that you can also create a shopping list on your phone.

If you’re anything like my wife, she always loses our grocery list, but she’s old-fashioned and likes her paper list.

Related: Where to find Coupons in Canada

You will probably surprise your peers with your vast amount of grocery store knowledge and how to keep things simple, fresh, and cheap in the kitchen.

Most of all, delicious.

Source Foods That Work For You

Forget about all the impulsive food-crazed diets in the celebrity world and keep things fresh, healthy, and simple for the win.

You’ll spend more money if you are chasing food for the perfect body than if you invest in a way of eating that suits your body.

I often get emails from students who ask me what products they should stock in their food pantry to create meals apart from the obvious.

Foods such as granola bars, fruit roll-ups, protein bars, and other snack-related/meal replacement items aren’t part of the pantry stock-up idea.

Those foods are called Student-Survival-Foods or emergency food when you’re on the run or late for class.

I used to stock up on my favourite snacks, so I wasn’t running to the corner shop buying a bag of double the price of crisps.

Splurge, you deserve it.

You can still eat healthily and enjoy your favourite snacks in moderation; however, they are not considered a full meal.

Today I want to focus on specific food pantry products that worked for my diet.

They may not work for your way of eating.

However, the idea of this post is to start building a food pantry that will work for you.

Once you have key recipe basics in stock, you can then create any of your favourite meals as long as you have your vegetables and proteins ready to go.

If the school has you tied to your desk, try to take a break and go grocery shopping.

Use click-and-collect orders, then pick up the groceries from select Loblaws stores.

Do online grocery shopping with delivery, or visit any 24-hour grocery stores.

Keep in mind these convenience services come with small fees.

Top 30 Products to Stock Your Food Pantry

I’m giving options, allowing you to decide your needs based on diet, lifestyle, and budget.

These are just foods that I would stock in my food pantry as a student to cook meals that I loved at home.

Remember to keep your food pantry simple and consistent so you are rotating stock and keeping meals interesting.

Pantry Food Product Must-Have (Non-Refrigerated)

  • Whole-grain Cereal/Instant-Oatmeal (sugar-reduced), Steel cut oats, Large Flake Oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, etc.
  • Raisins and Nuts- Cashew, Peanuts, Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds, Hemp hearts, Sunflower Seeds, Dried Fruits, etc.
  • Beans (all kinds) Dry is cheaper (use crock-pot to hydrate fast) Chickpeas, Black Beans, Kidney Beans, Tahini Paste *You can easily make homemade hummus.
  • Spices *Buy all your favourites to flavour your meals *including sugars, garlic, and chicken broth. Check out my free printable spice list.
  • Flours- All-purpose, Whole Wheat, Flax Meal/Flour, Almond Flour etc.
  • Oils- Extra Virgin, Coconut Oil, Walnut oil, Peanut Oil, Sesame Oil, Vegetable Oil, Cooking spray, etc.
  • Honey/Peanut Butter/Almond Butter/ Sunflower seed butter etc.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder and other baking basics, Vanilla extract, chocolate chips, marshmallows, jello, cooked instant pudding/custards, Baking powder, Baking soda, Corn Starch.
  • Whole Wheat Pasta, Cous-Cous, Brown Rice, White Rice, Wild Rice, Quinoa, etc.
  • Canned foods- Tomatoes, Pizza Sauce, vegetables and fruit, olives, mushrooms, tomato paste, etc.
  • Vinegar– White, Apple Cider, Wine Vinegar, Rice Wine Vinegar, lemon juice, Lime Juice, etc.

Must-Have Refrigerated Pantry Food  (Refrigerated)

  • Butter/Margarine
  • Milk/Coconut Milk/Almond Milk (Your favourites)
  • Eggs/Egg Substitutes
  • Cheese (any), Cheddar, Ricotta, Feta, Brie, etc.
  • Fresh fruits/vegetables
  • Condiments (pick your favourite most-used only) Mayo, Ketchup, Mustard, BBQ Sauce, etc.
  • Deli Meats/Bacon/Rotisserie Chickens Pre-cooked or buy your own
  • Yogurt, Kiefer
  • Pickles, Olives, Hot pepper rings, marinated vegetables.

Freezer Pantry Food Must-Have (Frozen)

  • Frozen Fruits
  • Frozen Vegetables
  • Wraps/Pita/Tortillas/Bread/English muffins/Flat Bread
  • Hotdogs or Veggie Dogs
  • Sausages or Vegetarian option
  • Minced Beef/Pork/Lamb/Chicken/Turkey or Vegetarian Mince
  • Frozen egg cartons (these are great because you can defrost them and use them as needed)
  • Other cuts of meat- Pork Chops, Chicken Breast, Turkey Breast, Ribs, Chicken Wings
  • You can freeze fresh ginger.

Watch For Sales

Don’t forget to keep your eyes open for blow-out prices, reduced prices, and in-store specials.

These will help stretch your grocery budget so you can spend more on must-have products that rarely go on sale.

Must-Have Flashfood App For All Students

The Flashfood app allows users to save up to 75% off the retail price of products near expiry.

We save loads of money yearly on almost everything at Loblaws stores, including No Frills and Zehrs.

Use my referral code, MOCD28ZN4, to get the $3 credit, and your first purchase must be over $15.

From the start, I will tell you that if you buy reduced products, sign up for the Flashfood app now.

  • Open the Flashfood App
  • Your referral can enter your code MOCD28ZN4 within 2 locations in the app: During Sign-up On the earn/rewards screen.
  • Please copy and paste my referral code MOCD28ZN4
  • Your first purchase must be over$15 for you and your referral to get the $3 credit.
  • A $3 credit is applied to their first order at checkout!

A user can only be a referee once; the $15 minimum must be made in a single transaction

You can read my full review of the Flashfood app here.

Kitchenware Essentials

Stay tuned for next week’s blog post, where I will talk about what appliances and kitchenware are essentials for the student kitchen and where you can find them cheap!!

Discussion: What other must-have food pantry items would you suggest to cook healthy basic meals for students?

Please leave me your comments below.

Thanks for reading,

August Grocery Game Challenge

Join in the 2016 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each GGC blog post.

Here are the rules to get you started, and where you’ll also find a link for the updated 2016 GGC schedule.

Please feel free to download, save and even print the schedule so it’s handy.

August Grocery Game Posts

Free Money-Saving Tools

I know I blast you every which way I can on this blog about my free money-saving tools, and that’s because I want you to take advantage of them being FREE.

So many people pay for budgets and tools on the internet to help them save money, and honestly, you don’t need to.

Even paper and pen will do the trick.

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

This budget brought us to debt freedom in 2013, and now I’m offering it to all of you for FREE.

We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.

2014 Free Money Saving Tools

Don’t pay someone for these services; I’ve done the work for you, along with some help from other amazing bloggers.

You can download the FREE Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel.

Grab it while you can, as 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!

Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists created to get us on track to reach our budgeting goals, and now we are sharing them with you.

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 our family budget spreadsheet.

So many free resources at your fingertips.

Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide

the ultimate grocery shopping guide cbb

Everything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is packed into this amazing FREE guide that has taken over 4 years to create.

The Ultimate Grocery Shopping guide is ongoing, with new informative money-saving posts added every month.

Even if you don’t live in Canada, some excellent budget-saving tips will help put you on the path to more savings at the supermarket.

Share this guide with your friends and tell them about Canadian Budget Binder, especially if they struggle with their grocery budget.

The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries, so please enjoy the many money-saving posts in The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.

Grocery Shop Results

Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2016: $2820

(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.

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

  • Total Grocery Budget for the Month:$235.00-$40.93=$194.07
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $194.07
  • Total Gift Cards used to date: $60
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
  • PC Points Plus Earned to date: 248,000
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
  • Shoppers Optimum: Just under 850,000 Optimum points  (I will update this twice a year)
  • Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money
    • Zweet to cash out: $18.25
    • Checkout51 to cash out: $22.00

Our Grocery Shop This Week

Below is the breakdown of the groceries we purchased this week.

  • 1 x Sealtest Milk $4.27
  • Total Out-of-pocket $18.12

Food Basics

  • 6 x Selection Mozzarella and Old Cheddar $3.88 450g (Stockpile)
  • Avocado Bag of 5 $2.88
  • Bananas $1.80
  • Green Zucchini $1.90
  • Bottle of Aurora Strained tomatoes $0.99
  • Hothouse Tomatoes $1.76
  • 4 x Astro coconut Yogurt $1.99 ea
  • Cinnamon $1.29
  • Apple Cider Vinegar $2.99
  • Total Out-of-pocket $21.57

Total Out-of-pocket $21.57

  • Total to spend this month : $194.07 $235.00-$40.93 overage from July
  • Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $23.88
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $15.36
  • Total in-store discounts this week:$
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $402.65
  • Total spent this week: $39.69
  • Total spent so far this month: $39.69
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: under
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: under
  • Total left to spend for the month: $154.38
  • Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $252.95 + Feb $249.46 + March $211.11 + April $248.11 + May $279.07 + June $231.96 + July $244.40 + Aug $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

This week was mostly about stocking up our food pantry with staples we found on sale.

We have to pick up a giant bag of Swiss chard this week that was given to us, which will add to the vegetables once we get that.

I might even freeze it if there’s too much.

Any good Swiss Chard recipes out there? How was your shopping week?

Coupons and Coupon Apps

Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons!

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 and is the most popular hang-out spot for Canadians who want to save money on groceries.

If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2016, prepare to look at your grocery budget by learning…

  • How much money are you saving every month?
  • Where are you spending money?
  • How much money are you spending?

If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada, check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide!

You’ve decided to take control of your grocery budget.

Now show me your shops and let’s get saving!

Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2016!



Subscribe To Canadian Budget Binder


Share to...

Similar Posts


  1. Yearly grocery budget for 4 adults and 2 cats -$7800
    (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.
    Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)
    Total Grocery Budget for the Month:$650
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $650
    Total Gift Cards used to date: $140
    Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
    Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
    PC Points Plus Earned to date: 43810
    Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
    Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
    Zweet to cash out : $10.50
    Checkout51 to cash out : $24.25

    Our Grocery Shop This Week

    No Frills
    2 Downy @6.97, 2000 PC points
    1 Frenches mustard -2.19
    2 packs tetra juices @2.00
    2-216 count Tetley tea @9.27
    1 Palmolive dish soap -1.77
    2 cans tomato sauce@1.79
    2 cans pasta sauce @1.49
    1 bag NN white rice -2.99
    1 NN cinnamon -1.69
    3 cranberry cocktail @2.69
    1 apple sauce -1.29
    1 jar pickles -2.49
    1 pack NN tetras -1.88
    1 jar pickled onions-1.89
    2 A&H laundry @4.99
    4 tomato paste @.55
    1 block cheese -4.97
    1 doz large eggs -2.49
    2 4l milk @4.29
    4 1l chocolate milk@1.00
    3 bags GG frozen veggies @2.97
    3lb bag onions -2.99
    Bananas -.76
    1 bunch green onions -.79
    1 bunch celery -1.79, 250 PC points
    1 white onion-.93
    2 Oktoberfest sausage @2.00
    2 bagels @1.67, 50% stickers-1.68, 800 PC points
    2 OM raisin bread @3.00, 50% stickers -3.00
    1 pack hot cross buns -2.50, 50% sticker -1.25
    4 packs tortellini @2.00
    Tax -3.34
    Total OOP -$136.90, 5.93 discounts, 3050 PC points
    Foodland #1
    1 jug water -5.49
    1 jug ice tea -3.99
    2 cases pop @3.69
    2 ham steaks @2.99
    Tax -.96
    Total OOP -$23.80
    Foodland #2
    1 jug water -5.49
    2 Royale TP, 12dr @3.99
    1 jar relish -1.99
    2 cans pasta sauce @1.99
    2 4l milk @4.99
    2-18 count large eggs @2.99
    Bananas -1.59
    1 box Angus burgers -7.99
    1 blueberry maple sausages -5.76, 30% discount -1.73
    2 W/W bread @2.99
    1 pack hamburger buns -2.99
    Tax- 1.04
    Total OOP -$59.04, $1.73 discount

    Total to spend this month : $650.00
    Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00
    Stockpile budget used this month: $0
    Total coupons used this week: $0
    Total coupons used to date: $96.62
    Total in-store discounts this week:$7.66
    Total in-store discounts to date: $135.07
    Total spent this week: $219.74
    Total spent so far this month: $219.74
    Total over/Under spend this shop: way over
    Total over/Under spend for the month: under
    Total left to spend for the month: $430.26
    Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $579.69+ Feb $628.96+ March $605.28+ April $584.23+ May $475.36+ June $747.58+ July $631.00+ Aug $
    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
    Well I went over for the week big time. I did make it to No Frills so that was a big part of the overage but I saved long term with better prices for some staples. I still have a good amount to get through the rest of the month depending on sales. Still in good shape for cat food thanks to those BOGO coupons for Stuart and Molly’s Whiskas. Hubby is on a pickle kick right now so there were pickles on the bill. Eggs are on sale this week at Foodland for the 18 count containers. I might get another one before the sale is over….

    1. Hi Christine,
      I see you made the trip to No Frills! You picked up some great deals including the half off bread. We don’t eat much bread around here these days but we used to toss it in the freezer and stock up when we could. That’s a great price.
      You will be fine for the month.. it’s always shocking when you grocery shop outside of your regular scheduled shopping trips because of the extra money spent. You picked up some great deals all of which will contribute to more savings for your family. A pickle kick? hahah.. we fed our son a pickle today and all he did was lick itl. I’d grab more eggs too… while you can especially if you go through them like we do. Well done… head up for a challenging month.. back to school deals coming! You get ballot 4.Mr.CBB

      1. The freezer is where the breads went as soon as I got them unpacked… Yes, with the staples I grabbed at NF I should be good for the month. The pickles and the tetras of juice were for hubby and they are going fast. He does this every so often and it can drive me batty. He wants to stock up of this or that and once I have lots on hand he stops eating the food. I have learned to not get too far ahead on his treats but he is already talking about going back to NF as he is almost out of the pickled onions and the other jar is gone. I’m in no rush and have no trip there planned. The grandson loves dill pickles so he will ask for a pickle when here.
        Your son and the pickle reminds me of the time the grandson caught his mom eating sour keys candies and wanted on, he was just under a year then. So she gave him one and he licked all the sugar off it then bit into it…the faces were so funny!!! But he ate it!!!

  2. Week 31 – July 29 – Aug 4, 2016
    Name Your Store: Superstore
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Points = 1200
    Total Out Of Pocket: $22.30

    450g NN Marble Cheese = $4.98
    4 pk Peppers = $2.98
    10″ Tortilla = $4.19

    4 cans Friskies Salmon – $0.79 (PM No Frills @ 4/$2.00) = $2.00
    18 Kg NN Cat Litter – (1200 PC Points) = $6.98

    Name Your Store: No Frills
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Points = 2900
    Total Out Of Pocket: $69.13 (Including Stockpile & Meat)

    4 – 900g NN Pasta – (800 PC Points) = $4.00 – Stockpile
    2 NN Mushrooms – (400 PC Points) = $1.98
    4 cans NN Tuna = $3.88 – Stockpile
    6 Cans Campbells Cream of Mushroom Soup = $5.94
    6 Cans NN Cream of Mushroom Soup – (1200 PC Points) = $5.94 – Stockpile
    18 – 500 mL Water = $1.97
    4L 2% Milk = $4.27
    1.89 L Breyers Ice Cream = $2.00
    2 – 10 lb White Potatoes = $2.50
    Celery Stalks – (500 PC Points) = $1.79
    Apples – .730 Kg = $1.61
    Cucumber = $0.99
    Strawberries = $2.00
    4 pkg Schneiders Hot Dogs = $8.00 – Stockpile
    Ground Beef = $14.11 – Meat

    8 cans Friskies – 4/$2.00 = $4.00
    Baking Soda = $1.13

    Name Your Store: Food Basics
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Points =
    Total Out Of Pocket: $20.40 (Includes Meat)

    2 Ham = $9.76
    3L Peaches = $2.88
    2 – 450g Marble Cheese = $7.76

    Name Your Store: Wholesale Club
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Points =
    Total Out Of Pocket: $68.94 (Meat)

    4.54 Kg Diced Chicken = $44.97
    4.54 Kg Burgers = $23.97

    Grocery Game Challenge Results
    Total Grocery Budget for the 2 Adults ($1890.00, for the pay period – $70.00)
    Total Human (Adults) this Week Period: $50.34
    Left for the Month: $89.66
    Total Human (Adults) to Date: $874.94

    Total Grocery Budget for the 3 Cats ($364, for the pay period – $14.00)
    Total Cats this Week Period: $15.80
    Total Cats to Date: $186.27

    Total Grocery Budget for Stockpile ($520)
    Total Stockpile this Week Period: $21.82
    Total Stockpile to Date: $165.53

    Total Grocery Budget for the Personal Hygiene ($182)
    Total Personal Hygiene this Week Period: $
    Total Personal Hygiene to Date: $132.75

    Total Grocery Budget for Meat ($500.00)
    Total Meat this Week Period: $92.81
    Total Meat to Date: $297.27

    Total Coupons Used this Week Period: $
    Total Coupons Used To Date: $8.00

    Total Discounts/SCOP this Week Period: $
    Total Discounts/SCOP to Date: $4.09

    Total Checkout 51 rebates this Week Period: $0
    Total Checkout 51 rebates to Date: $10.00

    Total Snap rebates this Week Period: $0.00
    Total Snap rebates to Date: $1.00

    Total Price Match for this Week Period: $1.16
    Total Price Match to Date: $235.68

    Total PC Points Received this Week Period: 4100
    Total PC Rewards Points Used this Week Period:
    Total PC Rewards To Date: 17986

    Overview: We decided to do the bulk shopping every other week and then on the other week, we’ll get milk and produce. This week, we stocked up on meat to cut down on future purchases and gives us a variety of options.

    1. Hi Dee!!
      This is actually a smart thing to do but for us it might mean we miss out on super duper deals in the reduced section on produce and meats. We don’t often pay sale or regular price for meat so it’s hit or miss when we grocery shop. I don’t add it to our grocery list every week but leave shopping room just in case we find some bargains. It’s important to do what works for your budget though. Love the deals and the PC points on the veg you bought. That’s the way to do it!! You get ballot 2. Mr.CBB

      1. You have to pick your battles. Yes, it means more meals are decided earlier but depending on what you have in the house already, it can be easily changed. We like meat in our house so I was willing to spending the $100 on meat this round and know that it will last quite a while, as well as make many different types of meals.

  3. AUGUST – Week #1 of 5- Aug 1-7, 2016


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



    Before we start our AUGUST shopping off though, I am going to make my usual monthly “reserve” transfers:


    $ 190.00 for the month
    ($ 12.07) Overage from JULY
    ($ 17.93) trf to re-stocking – normally $15.00
    ($ 15.00) trf to holiday reserve–normally 15.00
    ($ 15.00) trf to summer reserve–normally 15.00
    ($ 45.00) trf to US Reserve –normally $45.00

    CANADIAN Grocery Balance $85.00


    This is STAY-CATION WEEK for us so we splurged a little! When you consider the cost of a 10 day vacation though, we really kept the spending to a dull roar and still had a lot of fun! In addition to our regular groceries, we spent the following funds out of our vacation savings:

    – Chinese Take-out: Approx $25

    – Ricky’s Restaurant for lunch: Used gift cards

    – Red Robin lunch with MIL & SIL: Approx $45

    – Wings Night at Black Sheep Pub: Approx $35

    – Splurge Vacation Groceries & Drinks: Approx $101

    All together that’s $206 for the entire week and we had a really great time! We had picnics, several barbecues, walks, gym work-outs, family get- togethers, a corn roast at the farm market, free music performances, “dinner & a movie night” at home & we still managed to sleep in most days. That’s not too shabby for controlling the vacation budget but having oodles of fun! I have some pretty scoocum leftovers for hubby’s 1st week back to work too! Vacation Week 1 down, 4 more vacation weeks to go!

    We still have some pretty nice vacation times ahead this year not including all our day trips to picnic sites, at home barbecues, free music & movies in the park, days at various lakes and enjoying fun places to go walking…

    – a weekend stay-cation in Vancouver using points for the hotel & doing some picnics in the parks (Stanley Park & Queen Elizabeth). There’s a grocery store a couple blocks from the hotel where I can pick up goodies to make some nice picnic lunches. I’m planning a supper at Dunn’s (smoked meat sandwiches), Taqueria (Tacos) and a fish an chip supper out in Steveston after a lovely walk on the dyke. I do plan to splurge at the hotel each morning though on their hot/cold breakfast buffet. The best part is we earn more points on those meals. Perhaps the most expensive part of the weekend is the 2 nights of downtown parking. 🙁

    – a “walk-on” ferry day trip to Vancouver Island to see a friend in Nanaimo for lunch and to have a good visit. We haven’t seen her in a couple years but I talk on the phone to her every week.

    – a few days mid-week in Bellevue, WA in the fall again using hotel points plus they have a Club floor for our breakfast and dinner needs leaving us to pay for our lunches only & I know where to get great food for small prices! I’ll also re-stock some of my gluten free supplies on this trip.

    – an overnight stay in Burlington, WA for our anniversary celebration but we PAY for the hotel on this trip to keep our points active for another year. It’s only one night though and we already have the funds just sitting & waiting in our vacation savings. Dinner will be at our favorite steakhouse. It’s not fancy but the food is sure good and the prices are great! It’s a relatively inexpensive 22nd anniversary get-away but a nice romantic one that we’ll both enjoy.

    – and finally a post-Christmas few days in Bellevue, WA where we have free hotel (thanks to our points & have Club Floor breakfasts and suppers included). We take our cooler along so that any holiday treats that we want to enjoy in the in the room are bought at the grocery store. We also have a small fridge but the cooler helps give us a little more flexibility. Our splurges are some nice lunches out, including my birthday lunch.

    I’m thinking we can probably have a grand old time with all these plans for less than $1,000. I’ll post the vacation spending & activities here to see how we actually make out though. Most of the spending is food with 1 hotel night, 2 nights parking & 1 ferry ride so it makes sense to share it here. Vacationing means we pay less for groceries at home but we spend from the vacation savings…juggle, juggle.

    Just because we aren’t expecting to need a huge vacation budget this year, I am already saving for 2017 when we return to our timeshare in Palm Desert, CA. I am sure looking forward to it! 🙂



    Shopper’s – Maple Ridge –

    2 GRADE “A” LARGE WHITE EGGS 1 Dozen @ $2.29 ea = $4.58

    Total OOP: $4.58

    ** Earned 40 Optimum Points on this shop **
    ** SAVED $0.00 in Rain Check Coupons **
    ** SAVED $1.00 Loyalty Savings on this shop **


    MERIDIAN FARM MARKET – Maple Ridge –

    9 Tomatoes on the Vine $0.98/lb = 2.91
    2 Free Range NY Strip steaks @ $7.99 ea = $15.98
    3 Assorted Color Peppers $5.32
    1 Cauliflower $2.00
    2 Compari Tomatoes on the Vine @ $2.00 per box = $4.00

    • Summer Reserve Budget OOP: $30.21


    BRUCE’s MARKET – Maple Ridge –

    3 Transparent Apples @ $3.28/kg = $2.23

    • Summer Reserve Budget OOP: $2.23


    Safeway – Maple Ridge –

    8 Walla Walla Onions $0.99/lb = $7.20
    1 Cantaloupe = $2.99

    • TOTAL Grocery Budget OOP: $10.19

    ** Earned 0 Air Miles on this shop **
    ** SAVED $0.00 in Rain Check Coupons **
    ** SAVED $6.12 Loyalty Savings on this shop **


    RCSS – Pitt Meadows –

    6 Nectarines $0.96/lb = $1.81
    12 Roma Tomatoes $0.96/lb = $2.81
    4 Pkg of 3 English Cucumbers $2.58 for a 3-pack = $10.32
    1 Green Cabbage $0.46/lb = $2.05
    2 Zucchini $0.87/lb = $0.87
    4 Red Peppers = $7.02
    1 Iceberg Salad 2kg = $4.98

    Total OOP: $29.86

    ** Earned 1600 PC.Plus Points on this shop **
    ** SAVED $0.00 in Rain Check/ Coupons **
    ** SAVED $0.00 Loyalty Savings on this shop **


    Save On Foods – Maple Ridge –

    2 Radishes (2 @$0.99) = $1.98
    1 Cottage Cheese $4.99
    1 Red Leaf Lettuce $0.99
    1 Red Leaf Lettuce $0.99
    1 Romaine Lettuce $0.99


    ** Earned 23 MORE Points on this shop **
    ** SAVED $0.00 in Rain Check Coupons **
    ** SAVED $2.70 Loyalty Savings on this shop **


    Walmart – Maple Ridge –

    1 – 2LB Bag of Lemons $4.97



    MERIDIAN FARM MARKET – Maple Ridge –

    10 Limes @ $0.20 ea = $2.00
    3 lb White Nugget Potatoes $3.25
    2 Cauliflower @ $1.78 ea = $3.56
    4 Fresh Free Range Burger Patties $11.96
    4 Crab Cakes $6.00



    RCSS – Pitt Meadows –

    1 x 10 LB Farmer’s Market White Potatoes $4.97
    2 Green Onions (2 for $0.98) = $0.98
    2 D’Italiano Sausage & Hamburger Buns (2 for $4.50)
    12 cans condensed beef broth + 800 Points for ea $4 spent = $21.24
    1 PC Texas Steakhouse Onion Rings + 1000 Points = $5.99


    ** Earned 5,000 PC.Plus Points on this shop **
    ** SAVED $0.00 in Rain Check/ Coupons **
    ** SAVED $0.00 Loyalty Savings on this shop **


    MERIDIAN FARM MARKET – Maple Ridge –

    8 Crab Cakes @ 2 for $3 = $12.00



    Thrifty Foods – Maple Ridge –

    5 Peaches & Cream Corn (5 for $3) = $3.00
    1 Lean Ground Beef Family Pack @ $2.88/lb = $6.99
    Less Bag return -$0.06


    ** Earned 0 Air Miles on this shop **
    ** USED $0.00 in Rain Check Coupons **
    ** SAVED $14.45 Loyalty Savings on this shop **






    •Total Loyalty Card Price Reductions This Year:

    Jan $36.76 + Feb $160.96 + Mar $27.00+ Apr $117.96 +May $55.61+June $8.50+ July $46.99+ Aug $9.82 = $463.60

    •Total Coupons/Rain Checks Used This Year:

    Jan $0.00 + Feb $20.46+ Mar $1.00 +Apr $5.23 + May $10.68 + June $0.00+ July $0.00 + Aug $0.00 = $37.37

    •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 10 + Feb 182 + Mar 3 +April 48 + May 96 + June 0+ July 573 + Aug 23= 935 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year:

    Jan 6 + Feb 43 +Mar 182 + April 32 + May 24 + June 3+ July 0 + Aug 0= 268 Air Miles

    •Total PC PLUS Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 1800 + Feb 5000 +Mar 5200= April 3,100 + May 0 + June 2,600+ July 0 + Aug 6,600 = 24,300 Points

    •Total Optimum Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 0 + Feb 0 +Mar 0 + April 0 + May 0 + June 40+ July 0 + Aug 40 = 80 Points



    •Total OOP Year-To-Date:
    Jan $196.78 + Feb $193.74 + Mar $182.77 + April $255.43 + May $143.05 +June $182.79 +July $188.72+ Aug($17.93+15.00+$15.00+$45.00+$2.23+$4.58+$30.21-$30.21 Trf from Summer Reserve+$10.19+$29.86= $139.79) = $1,481.86

    •Total Year-To-Date Grocery Budget:
    Jan $190.00+ Feb $190.00 + Mar $190.00 + April $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:
    $38.14 AVAILABLE



    2015 Fwd $0.00+Jan $4.69+ Feb $5.19+ Mar $0.00+ Apr $0.00 + May $4.69 + June $0.00+ July $0.00 + Aug $0.00= $14.57



    2015 Fwd $0.00+Jan $45.00+Feb $45.00+ Mar -$59.58+ Apr $45.00+ May -$22.79 + June -$48.42 + July $45.00 + Aug $45.00= $94.21



    2015 Fwd $217.50+Jan -$49.65 + Feb -$140.69 + Mar $25.48 + Apr +
    -$5.29+May -$9.70 +June $15.00+July -$41.81 + Aug $17.93= $28.77



    2015 Fwd $81.51+Jan $15.00 + Feb $11.61 +$15.00+ Apr $15.00 +May $20.00 + June $15.00+ July $15.00+ Aug $15.00= $203.12



    2015 Fwd $100.00+ $537.50 Trf from Borscht Fund+Jan $15.00 + Feb $11.61+ Mar $0.00+Apr $15.00 + May -$51.21+ June $3.23 +July $7.62 +Aug (15.00-30.21=-$15.21)= $623.54



    $ 1,520.00 Grocery Budget JAN-AUG

    $ 14.57 Redeemed Points to Purchase Groceries

    ($ 338.59) ADDITION TO: Misc Reserves (Re-Stocking, Xmas & Summer)

    $ 419.67 REDUCTION TO: Misc Reserves (Re-Stocking, Xmas & Summer)

    ($ 94.21) Trf to US Grocery Reserve Net of 2016 Spending

    ($ 14.57) Set in reserve to offset Redeemed Points

    ($ 1,468.73) Actual CASH SPENT



    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – JAN
    $ 5.19 Whole Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – FEB
    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – MAY
    $ 14.57 Total $ Value of Points Redeemed

    THE VALUE will be added month to month to our Holiday Reserve for next Christmas.

    So far $1,520.00 has been budgeted Y-T-D for 2016 and we have recorded $688.47 of these funds as “spent” and in fact they have been “saved”:

    $ 28.77 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $ 203.12 Holiday Season Fund
    $ 623.54 Summer Season Fund
    $ 94.21 US Shopping Reserve
    $ 14.37 Points Redeemed Reserve

    OUR CURRENT TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES ARE $964.01. This means the $936.51 that we carried forward from 2015 PLUS AN ADDITIONAL $688.47 that we have added in 2016, LESS $660.97 that we have drawn out for use in 2016.


    The valid rain checks I hold are as follows:


    6 x Compliments Garden Salad 340g @ $0.99 ea –
    Good until Aug 11/16

    32 x 1L Diet Pesi @ $0.50 per bottle –
    Good until Nov 20/16


    This week’s BREAKFAST menu plan:

    HUBBY: Earl Grey Tea with Lemon Juice + Bagels/English Muffins with fat free cream cheese spread, peanut butter or Cheez Whiz, toaster waffles, hot cross buns OR Rice Krispies cereal with skim milk

    MYSELF: Tetley Tea with Skim Milk & Equal + yogurt, apples, bananas or hard boiled eggs


    This week’s LUNCH menu plan:

    MON: Large Green Salad with Tomato, Cucumber, Habanero Cheese, Bacon Bits and Salsa Ranch Dressing

    TUES: Tuna Salad Sandwiches, Yogurt and a thermos of iced tea

    WED: Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches, Yogurt, Raw Veggies with dip & a thermos of Pink Lemonade

    THURS: Ham-Cheese-Tomato-Cucumber-Onion-Sprouts Sandwiches, Tortilla Chips with Guacamole & a thermos of Orange Juice

    FRI: Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches, Zuppa Toscano Soup, Raw Veggies with dip & a thermos of Orange Juice

    SAT: Chicago Style Hot Dogs with Sauteed Mushrooms & Coleslaw

    SUN: Crab Cake Burgers & Red Leaf Lettuce Salad


    This week’s DINNER menu plan:

    MON: Onion Rings

    TUES: Sonic in the USA

    WED: French Onion Soup + Swiss Sloppy Joes

    THURS: Grilled Cheeseburgers with Foil Pack Mushrooms, Potatoes & Green Beans

    FRI: Coleslaw, Steamed Green Beans and Crab Cakes

    SAT: Barbecue Birthday dinner at my sister’s place

    SUN: The Keg for Lobsterfest


    1. Mary,
      You would make an excellent vacation planner, wow!! I would hire you in an instant. I love how you’ve detailed your plans the way you have. I find when I am organized like you are here it’s easier to control the vacation budget. I love the idea of a staycation splurge too… might even do a GGC post on it for those people who simply can’t afford to go on a vacation venture or like us where we can’t get the time off to do so.
      What are Swiss Sloppy Joes?
      Limes, Lemons and Cauliflower all great deals. My wife likes to snack on cauliflower as it’s low carb.
      That’s one heck of a delicious grocery shop Mary!!! I’m also going to be making the family zucchini fritters when I get some in light of those delicious pancakes you shared on WFD tonight.
      You get ballot 1 for the start of August. Well done… loved this post!

      1. Mr CBB, we had 2 slices of Swiss Cheese left to use up so I got hubby to top his Sloppy Joes with them & melt the cheese under the broiler before putting the lid on his sandwich. He said it was delightful!

        Yes, we did rather shop our hearts out this week! LOL 🙂 But like all good things, it must come to an end. Next up is a LOW shop week to get us back on the straight and narrow. Picture me standing over the grocery budget with a bull whip in hand! Ha ha ha! 🙂

        1. That’s what I was thinking. I love the idea of adding cheese on top of Sloppy Joe. Sounds like you both had fun. I love the idea of the staycation grocery budget splurge!! I might just write a post about it although you pretty much wrote your own! haha. I can totally picture that!!

          1. I don’t have any bread for mine…I do it as a lettuce wrap or serve it over a potato/sweet potato instead of using butter/sour cream/bacon bits. I’ve even had the meat over a nice big green salad!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.