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10 Food Staples To Buy When You’re Broke : The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #3 Aug 15-21

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Instead of saying, “I am broke” look at what you can do to change that and create an action plan. It may sound like boring financial advice but I can tell you that if you have no interest in making changes you will always have a negative mindset.

Guess what? No one cares. That’s right although people may feel sorry for you and some people will help you out they are likely fighting their own battles, have fought them or just don’t want to deal with someone else’s problems.

Where does that leave you? At the mercy of yourself because you CAN make changes if you want to. You CAN get out of debt if you want to. You CAN live the life you dream of BUT not if you’re going to sit there and complain about why it isn’t happening, why it won’t happen, why it can’t happen and you continue to make excuses for yourself. Forget about everyone else and focus on YOU!


The Broke Pantry


Most people I run into want to know either how to start saving money or how to survive when they are broke. Today is no exception when a heart-felt email was received by a fan who is looking for tips on what foods she should buy to build her pantry when she is broke.

The name of the game is not to buy stuff you will never use. I know so many people, ourselves included who buy foods they think they will eat but end up getting buried in the back of the cupboard.

I know you are all kind of nodding in suit with me because at one point you’ve done the same. We’re  all guilty of it but this kind of food waste whether you donate it or trash it becomes a financial drain on your food budget and when it’s tight every bit counts.

I know plenty of people who buy tonnes of foods because they are going to start a diet but never do. The costs of some of these diet foods can be outrageous especially when it can feed a family for a month. Just the other day my wife’s friend was trying to sell a bag shakeology for $100 because she no longer was interested in the program. I don’t know what the original cost was but those are some expensive shakes especially if they end up in the bin because no one uses them.

Let’s read her email here and I’ll explain more below.


Broke and Motivated


Hi Mr.CBB,

I’m on a very tight budget for my daughter and I as most of my welfare cheque goes to paying rent, transportation and debt repayment. I was in a relationship with my daughter’s father where I ended up spending too much money on credit cards because I was lonely and he was mentally abusive.

At the time I had a good job and a few good credit cards but stayed home after our daughter was born. In 2 years I managed to buy clothing, make-up, travelled, smartphones, computers, laptops, stuff I didn’t need and I helped out family when I could.

I also have student loans tied into this debt repayment which is why it’s so important for me to get rid of it and start with a fresh slate even if I have to build up a savings fund from scratch again. I do have a small one tucked away of $500 but I don’t dare touch it as it’s my safety net and all I’ve got.

I’ve since left the relationship but have to deal with the $35,000 financial mess I’ve gotten myself into. I get no child support at this time but am thankful for the government assistance I’ve been able to use.

I’m doing better now that I am on my own and I feel like a new person. I want my life to change all around where I am budgeting money and looking after my daughter so we aren’t stressed about money all the time.

I would also like to find a job as I do have a degree but for now I need to repair my life and get back on track. Even then trying to find a job is always challenging but my goal is not to stay on welfare but to utilize it to get back on my feet.

My daughter deserves that much and I’ve already been called a welfare bum, poor girl but the haters are my motivators. Although I’d love to jump right back into the world I have a little girl to think about any my self healing. I’ll get there.

After paying for expenses and debt repayment I have approximately $150-$200 a month to spend on groceries, household supplies and health and beauty items. I’ve followed your blog for about a month now, specifically about food shopping as this is one of my biggest challenges.

I’m hoping that with-in 2 years to have all of my debts paid back with an aggressive payment plan and a tight budget. I’ve downloaded your free budget (thanks) and now I’m stumped as to what main foods should I buy since I’m so broke after paying bills?

I’m hoping to create a list of staples that I can use in the kitchen to create healthy meals that I can stretch but are also filling. I do have a small apartment freezer that I bought used and it’s begging to be filled with food. I thought maybe you would have some insight or maybe the fans might be able to help this mama get back on track.


One Broke Girl-Ontario, Canada

(she would like to remain anonymous)

Hey there One Broke Girl,

Thanks for your email and although it’s not always easy to read emails like this I applaud you for coming forward and wanting to change your path.

The first thing is to acknowledge your challenges and you’ve done just that which is very important for motivation and success. You have a daughter to look after, yourself to look after, you want to kill your debt and get back to working in your field of study like you were before your daughter came along.

Most times I’m working with people who want financial advice and although you do too you are looking for a list of foods that would help you create meals that are healthy. You made me put on my thinking cap since I’ve taken it off here and there since our son was born.

I can now see how easily parents can get side-tracked when all they want to do is make a fast meal, feed the kids and hopefully feed themselves. It’s not easy and why it’s important to meal plan by factoring in foods that will get eaten.

When I was in the UK one thing I did was shop more than once a week because my kitchen only fit an apartment size refrigerator. There were plenty of perks having to grocery shop a few times a week. Having the grocery close to my house was helpful as well.

  • I always had fresh fruits and vegetables in the house
  • I was able to find more deals
  • I only bought what I could eat for the week

Although for some people grocery shopping more than once a week is near impossible if you can do it you will find that food stays fresh longer. You’ll also notice more in-store deals that are reduced in price to help curb your budget even further although you must be cautious of your grocery budget as this could also hinder it.

This is a food demon we fight with every month but we’ve saved so much money buying reduced foods that normally cost 50% higher than what we pay. The key here is if you add something to your shopping cart that shouldn’t be there than you must take something away. If you can’t do that you WILL spend more than you anticipated on spending. Keep that in mind.


Food and Fashion go together


Lastly, I would only buy what I could eat for a week to cut down on food waste and had limited space. It worked out great for me as a single guy at the time which might help both you and your daughter.

My cupboards weren’t bare but I made sure they were stocked with the bare necessities to cook meals that I knew I would make or that I could switch up.

Stocking your pantry can be compared to building a wardrobe. You must have some key products that you can mix and match with others to create unique meals.


Food shopping education


If you have lots of time and I only say that because there are lots to read sit back and start swimming through the articles in my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.

You will find loads of informative articles, tips from fans and lots of motivation. Aside from the articles today we’re looking at the types of foods you should buy to have the bare essentials to mix and match to create meals that aren’t boring or the same every week.

Three important articles I picked for you are as follows:


Free food sources


Buy what you can’t typically find at the Food Bank or other community organizations that offer free food and necessities to those in need. The Food Bank is more than food for the poor it’s a lifeline and certainly for many friendly faces to chat to especially for the homeless or those who are lonely.

Community outlets that offer free food bring people together and I’ve met many volunteers who give up their time to help out. I remember walking through a local centre down-town Toronto which also held breastfeeding clinics. On the way out the ladies behind the desk were adoring our son and told us to grab a few bags of free green peppers on the way out if we needed them.

The warmth and kindness my wife and I felt made us tear up because we didn’t need the help and how important it is to treat everyone with respect whether they have money or not.

I’d suggest that you talk to the kind people in your community who offer free food and see what products they typically stock so you know what to cross off your grocery list.


Dietary needs


Everyone has different dietary needs so although I’d like to have the master list of all lists of foods to stock your pantry with when you’re broke let’s consider personal tastes.

The products I will suggest to you below will be in part my personal preferences but I’m also going to keep to the basics. You may or may not like a product I suggest but what’s important is that I get your mind thinking about food.

One of the starting points is to create a menu plan and write down some meals that you love or think you’d love to try. Include snacks as well. Keep in mind when you are creating your meal plan that you want to come up with meals that are healthy, filling and if you can stretch it for a couple of meals you can count on that being a winner.

Not everyone likes leftovers either but when you’re broke you can’t really be picky about eating the same food two days in a row.  Focus on keeping your belly full and having the energy and motivation to reach your goals. You don’t need to eat crap food to do that either.


10 Pantry Foods To Stock When You’re Broke


Below is what I would stock my pantry with if I was broke. Although there are sub-sections that hold more than 1 item the key is to build your pantry until you have these basics in place. Your cooking world will open up over time as you build your stash but remember to only buy what you will use.

  • Grain Products (Rice, Pasta, Cous-Cous, Cereal, Oatmeal etc.)
  • Canned Tomatoes, Tuna and Salmon
  • Dry Legumes (dry beans)
  • Honey, Jam and Peanut Butter
  • Milk (also evaporated milk, powdered milk)
  • Baking Ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, yeast etc)
  • Eggs
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Spices/Oils/Herbs/Vinegar/Butter/Margarine
  • Meat and fish in freezer (this helps to build and bulk out your meals)

Keep in mind with the baking ingredients you can make homemade breads, tortillas, pita, breadcrumbs, cakes, muffins, hot chocolate etc. Open your world of recipes.

This is an infographic I put together but it is not the master list of what you should have on hand. These are staples that I would purchase so I could make a variety of meals.

What would you add and what would you take away? Leave a comment below.



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.

New monthly prize: $10 President’s Choice Gift Card for Canadian residents only BUT If you want to play from outside of Canada and have PayPal and you win I will pay you $10 Canadian. I use a random online generator to pick the winning ballot every month.

If you missed any grocery game posts for the month I will post the line-up each week below for you so you don’t have to go looking for past GGC posts for the month. Alternatively, just click on the “Grocery Game Challenge” tab on the blog side-bar to see past posts.

August Grocery Game Posts


Free Money Saving Tools 2016


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 a paper and pen will do the trick.

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

This is the budget that brought us to debt freedom back in 2013 and now I’m offering 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 ToolsDon’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… 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 that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching 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 even our family budget spreadsheet. So many free resources at your fingertips.


Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2016


the ultimate grocery shopping guide cbbEverything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is packed into this amazing FREE grocery shopping 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 there are some amazing budget saving tips that 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 are struggling 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 The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.


2016 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


Food Basics

  • 6 x tuna $0.99 each
  • 2 x 2% Milk $4.27
  • 2 x Whipping Cream $2.49

Total Out-of-pocket $19.46

  • 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:$0
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $407.65
  • Total spent this week: $19.46
  • Total spent so far this month: $107.90
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: under
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: under
  • Total left to spend for the month: $88.17
  • 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)

The grocery shop is slim this week because I’m on 16 days holiday and we’ll be doing some road trips and likely eating out which is fine as we have a trip fund set up and haven’t done anything this year. When we get back we will also be stocked up on fruit and veg as the inlaws told us they have tonnes of garlic, tomatoes, greens, plums, cherries etc. They are so good to us.

Well have a wonderful shopping week and I’ll catch you next week!! Hopefully. If I don’t post you know I’m having a good time somewhere. 🙂 Just post your next shop here as well in the comments in the event something happens.


Coupons and Coupon Apps 2016


Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons! These are your latest Checkout 51 offers which you can use to help save money. We’re finding less and less coupons in the stores these days. What are your thoughts? Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons?

Sign up for the Nielsen Canada Home Scan Program and you can earn rewards points fast to redeem for awesome products or gift cards. I did this in the UK and loved it!!

Where can I find Canadian Coupons 2016?

Plus check out these other hidden areas online to get more coupons!!

  • Healthy Essentials Printable Coupons (Johnson and Johnson)
  • Clorox Coupons Sign up to print coupons in the Clorox family which include Greenworks, Glad etc.
  • Kraft Canada Sign up and receive recipes and coupons by email
  • Printable Smart Source Coupons
  • Walmart Canada Printable Coupons
  • Proctor and Gamble PandG Sign up for printable coupons
  • Hidden Coupon Portals You Should know about – I found this over at Save a Loonie and you’ll want to sign up for notifications and check out the site so you get notified every time a hidden coupon is available from, Brandsaver, Smart Source etc.


Grocery Game Challenge 2016 FAQ’s


  • 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. The rules have been updated for the 2016 challenge year.
  • Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
  • What is the monthly prize and who can claim it?- The monthly prize is a $10 PC Loblaws Gift Card and for our out of country friends it’s $10 CDN via Paypal if they win. As more people join I will add more money to the gift card or I will split it up and offer 2 prizes every month.
  • 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. If you choose to post monthly  or bi-weekly you will only get 1 ballot for that shop. It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something that is scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it altogether. 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?: 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 in order to plan accordingly our budget.
  • Do you stockpile food? 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 longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
  • 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 with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
  • What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our Iphone so if you wan to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
  • 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.

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 back in 2012 and is one of the most popular hang out spots for people who want to save money on groceries in Canada.

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

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

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

If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email. If I use your topic I will put your name in a draw for a prize at the end of the year.

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 2016!

Please Note: Some of the links in the body of the blog post are affiliate links which means I may get paid if you buy something from Amazon. The items I’ve chosen are products we use at home or similar to.


Are You New To Canadian Budget Binder?

  • Follow Me on Social media by clicking any of the buttons below on the blog.
  • Check out my new Free Recipe Index
  • If you like FREE then click this link for my FREE Excel Budget Spreadsheet and all my Free Money Saving List
  • Don’t forget to Subscribe to Canadian Budget Binder by Email to get my daily email. Once you subscribe you MUST VERIFY your email account so check your spam folder and inbox for that email! By Subscribing you get all the inside scoops first plus any new finance tools and tips.
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  1. Yearly grocery budget for 4 adults and 2 cats -$7800.00
    (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:$650.00
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $650.00
    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 : $10.00
    Checkout51 to cash out : $24.75

    Our Grocery Shop This Week

    Foodland #1
    Cheerios -3.99, .50 coupon
    1 jug water -5.49
    3 Powerade @3/5.00
    2 pasta sauce @1.99
    4 cans tomato soup @.59
    2 4l milk @4.99
    Bananas -1.19
    1 pack pork tenderloin -8.64
    1 grated Parmesan cheese -4.94
    1 bread crumbs -2.49
    2 W/W bread @2.99
    Tax -.65
    Total OOP -$52.13, .50 coupon
    Foodland #2
    1 jug water -5.49
    1 Rice Krispies -4.99
    1 pack macaroni -2.00
    2 packs tetra drinks @1.99
    1 jar apple sauce -1.89
    2 4l milk @4.99
    4lbs butter -@2.88
    1 ice cream -1.99
    10lb potatoes -4.99, AM discount -1.50
    Bananas -1.04
    1 frozen grade A turkey -14.88-stockpile
    1 pack blueberry maple sausage -6.20, 30% discount -1.86
    Total OOP -$50.71 , $14.88 stockpile
    Jackson’s Pharmacy
    2 Purex laundry @2.99, stockpile
    Total OOP -5.98 stockpile
    Total to spend this month : $650.
    Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00
    Stockpile budget used this month: $20.86
    Total coupons used this week: $.50
    Total coupons used to date: $97.12
    Total in-store discounts this week:$3.36
    Total in-store discounts to date: $139.40
    Total spent this week: $102.84
    Total spent so far this month: $452.07
    Total over/Under spend this shop: under
    Total over/Under spend for the month: under
    Total left to spend for the month: $197.93
    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)
    So far so good for the month and I have a couple of things in the stockpile. Foodland has grade A turkeys on sale for $.99!! I would have to be crazy to walk away from that!! If I think I can fit another one in the freezer I might even get another one. This will set me up for Thanksgiving, and Christmas will be here soon enough too.jacksons was having a 40 Anniversary celebration this week on Thursday, Friday and Saturday so I grabbed the laundry soap. The pork tenderloins are two in a pack. Over the ad I bought two packs and we are one so far. Hubby is looking to make it worth his buying a new burner for our BBQ so he wants to cook more stuff. I picked up a couple of things I put away for gifts come December at the sale at Jacksons too.

    1. Hey Christine,
      Great score on the laundry soap, butter and turkey!!! If you can stock up on turkeys for the holidays now is the time to do it. It’s always nice to transfer savings to other things that will help bring the dinners altogether. We have a burner on our BBQ but we don’t really use it. I guess it’s nice when it’s too hot to cook inside. I didn’t know your husband was a master chef on the BBQ. Does he like to eat his own food or does he turn a nose up to that sometimes? hehe!! Well done this week Christine. You get ballot #10. Mr.CBB

  2. Week 33 – Aug 12 – 18, 2016
    Name Your Store: Superstore
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Points = 0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $66.16 (includes Stockpile)

    4 Italpasta Pasta – 4/$5.00 = $5.00 – Stockpile
    NN Crunchy Peanut Butter = $2.97 – Stockpile
    4 Tins Garlic Pasta Sauce = $3.76
    2 – 500 mL Baking Soda = $2.00 – Stockpile
    Apple Cinnamon Cheerios = $3.98
    Lucky Charms = $3.98
    Kraft Smooth Peanut Butter = $2.98 – Stockpile
    4 L 2% Milk = $4.27
    Hagen Daz Ice Cream Bars = $1.94
    2 Pizzas = $7.96
    Breyers Mint Chocolate Chip – $3.98 (PM Valu-mart @ $2.99) = $2.99
    M&C Powder – .225 Kg = $2.23
    Peaches = $3.98
    Bananas – 1.420 Kg = $1.79
    Green Pepper – .240 Kg = $0.30

    2 – 18 Kg NN Cat Litter = $15.77

    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: $53.44
    Left for the Month: $86.56
    Total Human (Adults) to Date: $947.51

    Total Grocery Budget for the 3 Cats ($364, for the pay period – $14.00)
    Total Cats this Week Period: $15.77
    Total Cats to Date: $219.64

    Total Grocery Budget for Stockpile ($520)
    Total Stockpile this Week Period: $12.95
    Total Stockpile to Date: $178.48

    Total Grocery Budget for the Personal Hygiene ($182)
    Total Personal Hygiene this Week Period: $17.82
    Total Personal Hygiene to Date: $150.57

    Total Grocery Budget for Meat ($500.00)
    Total Meat this Week Period: $
    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: $0.99
    Total Price Match to Date: $236.67

    Total PC Points Received this Week Period:
    Total PC Rewards Points Used this Week Period:
    Total PC Rewards To Date: 19806

    Overview: Second round in the new regime and so far so good. Nothing really new to report, staying as status quo 😀

    1. Hi Dee!!
      Great shop this week, more than you have over the last month but stockpiling is great especially when stuff is on sale. Peanut butter has been a decent price lately but I’m betting after the summer we will see the prices back up to $7.99 a kg. Do you buy any of your fruits and vegetables at the market? I thought since you might be there it would be convenient. It says you have $86 left for the month. What are your plans to stretch that until the end? Well done Dee. You get ballot #9. Mr.CBB

      1. I sometimes buy my fruit and vegetables from the market, if I have cash on me and I have time before I have to start work. $86 will be more than enough to last as I only spend $70 every two weeks and don’t follow a monthly schedule. I don’t doubt peanut butter will be going back up after school starts but as long as it’s cheap, I’ll stock up as both my daughter and I like it but we don’t necessarily like the same type. She likes smooth and I like crunchy.

        1. I’m sure it will as it’s prime selling season as soon as the kids are back in class. Time to stock up when it’s cheap. I think you both just want your own jar to sink a spoon in hahaha… I’ve never had the crunchy before only the smooth.

  3. If it is going to be a hard month go to the food bank early in the month and then use your small amount of cash to round out the meals after making menus. Many wait until in dire straits and find the food given doesn’t stretch far enough or make balanced nutritious meals or lunches for school.
    Become familiar with all the food options offered in your community. My community offers a box of fresh produce and vegetables $25 for 25 pounds. I plan my menus around this produce. Others offer special meals at different times of the year or hampers for Christmas. Taking advantage of these options helps to stretch your meager food budget.
    Watch for marked down produce (ex peppers), meat and day old bread to freeze. If you don’t want to eat the same meal multiple times in a row then freeze leftovers for meals later in the week or month. Ziplock bags work well for freezing until you build up a quantity of jars and containers to freeze in.
    Casseroles and soups can be extended by pasta, rice and beans to last longer. Use every bit of everything ex.dry bread can be used for stuffing, ground in a blender for breadcrumbs, cut into cubes and made into croutons or bread pudding.
    Dry beans are much less expensive than canned beans just soak overnight and cook in a crock pot or on back of the stove at low. Shop for staples on sale if possible.
    Also compare bulk bin prices to packaged prices. Try buying spices in bulk bins and getting just what you need of expensive or rare herbs and spices. Save jars or use ziplock bags to store them in. Full jars of spices can be very expensive and use up a big part of your budget.
    Consider making your own laundry and dish soap. There are several recipes on line.

  4. AUGUST – Week #3 of 5- Aug 15-21, 2016


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



    This is a LOW SHOP WEEK since we really didn’t need an awful lot… mostly because I have a weekend romantic retreat planned where we’ll using our vacation budget instead of the grocery budget.

    But in the interest of full disclosure, hubby went to the US last weekend but his shopping trip was for medications, vitamins and sugar free cough lozenges. They are about half the price we usually pay at home, so it’s really worthwhile doing the drive to stock up – especially when you can gas up the car so cheaply as well! We’ll do the groceries in September.

    Hubby did treat himself to brunch at McDonalds – breakfast burritos are so cheap down there if you get in before 11:00 am! They don’t work for my gluten free diet, because they are flour tortillas, but it’s a nice treat for him when I am not with him.

    He also picked up some Arby’s value sandwiches (about $1 apiece because I sent him with a coupon), our Route 44 Diet Cherry Limeade Sonic drinks (at 50% off because he picked them up during the sale hours between lunch and dinner) and a quart of iced coffee (using a manufacturer’s coupon for 50 cents off). All total, the food that came back across the border was only about $7. They must have been shocked with his small border declaration this time! I have no doubt they have records of this stuff in their computers.

    I won’t bother to report those purchases as a GGC expenditure though because I sent him with US cash from my wallet that’s been just sitting there for the last 3 years. I still have $20 in there, tucked in my hiding spot, so I can surprise him with a few more splurges at another time!

    He deserves those few little treats with how very kind and considerate he has been to me during my recovery over the last year. I have a truly amazing husband & I don’t think it hurts at all to let him know, regularly, that I appreciate all that he does and says!

    Truth be known, it also makes me feel wonderful to bestow a little generosity. I don’t take an allowance from our budget, so my ability to “treat” him is really limited & consequently a big surprise when it happens and usually relegated to the bottle return refund a couple times a year. He certainly enjoyed getting his few treats and I felt great watching him enjoy them! 🙂



    RCSS – Pitt Meadows –

    4 x PC Bacon 500g $3.98 ea = $15.92 << can’t complain about that price!

    Total OOP: $15.92

    ** Earned 0 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 –

    5 Corn on the Cob (5 for $2.95) = $2.95
    1 green pepper = $1.32
    1 Italian Sausage meat = $4.49
    1 Bag White Mushrooms $2.99/lb = $4.31

    Total Regular Grocery OOP: $13.07

    ** Earned 183 MORE Points on this shop **
    ** SAVED $0.00 in Rain Check Coupons **
    ** SAVED $4.03 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 $13.85 = $467.63

    •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 206= 1,118 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+$15.92+$13.07= $168.78) = $1,510.85

    •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: $9.15 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

    ($ 1,497.72) 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:


    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: Arby’s Value Menu Roast Beef Sandwiches & thermos of Concord Grape Juice

    TUES: PB Sandwiches & Greek Salad + meet hubby for a picnic lunch date and free music concert in the park

    WED: Egg Salad Sandwiches with side of Cottage Cheese

    THURS: Ham & Cheese Sandwiches, side of potato salad

    FRI: Chicken Salad Sandwiches, side of macaroni salad

    SAT: Mediterranean Pasta Caesar Toss for our picnic at Queen Elizabeth Park

    SUN: Brunch at the hotel, fruit snacks in the park


    This week’s DINNER menu plan:

    MON: Cinnamon Apple Pancakes

    TUES: Cottage Cheese Waffles with fresh dill, corn on the cob & ham

    WED: Toasted Clubhouse Sandwich

    THURS: Roasted Potatoes, Onions, Carrots, Celery, Zucchini, Red Peppers with roast turkey

    FRI: Cheesy Apple Biscuits with Habitant Split Pea Soup

    SAT: Cali-Burgers

    SUN: The Neighborhood Noodle House with MIL & SIL after an afternoon at Stanley Park


    1. Hi Mary,
      I would love the recipe for the cheesy apple biscuits. I bet our son would love those as would I. Every time I read your weekly menu plan I drool. I read it to my wife if she’s in the room and she can’t get over the variety you have. Oh a romantic get-away sounds nice. The wife and I could use one of those. Does McDonald’s in Canada have breakfast burritos? WOW Mary, reading your post today was lovely and so full of love for Larry. You are so lucky to both have found each other. What a great deal on the PC bacon. Were they the 500g packages? We need to find a deal like that too. You get ballot #8 Mr.CBB Have a great week.

      1. Here’s the link for the biscuits Mr CBB:

        McDonald’s in Canada has the burritos too but they are a lot cheaper in the US. Yes, they were 500g packages of bacon which is what made that price a not-to-be-missed sale.

        I agree Mr CBB…we count our blessings regularly and right at the top of the list is each other. We had a breakfast date on Sunday then took a leisurely drive along the ocean. It was windy like “your not in Kansas anymore” kind of windy so there were tons of whitecaps! We found a lovely place to park, at a pull out just above Boulevard Park, where we just sat holding hands and enjoying the view. One of the topics we chatted about in the car was how so few people say that are truly happy. Why? Are they not happy? Do they not stop to appreciate their good fortune? We are blessed to be able to say that we are extremely happy…and we are extremely grateful for the love we share. Now, winning a lottery would be nice, so my hubby could be home with me 24/7 but so far it’s just business as usual. The odds are not in our favor so we’ll just appreciate what is and forget about what might be.

        After almost 22 years of marriage, and over 30 years together as a couple, (I was reluctant to re-marry after my 1st disaster of a marriage but I’m very glad hubby was persistent and just kept proposing!) keeping the spark & sparkle on the relationship doesn’t happen by accident, it takes daily maintenance. My heart still skips a beat when I see him coming towards me off in the distance. 🙂 It doesn’t cost money either it’s just daily effort to be the kindest possible you that you can possibly be, no matter how you feel that day, and having a commitment to constantly praise and appreciate all that is good in your partner. When they are down, reach down and lift them up. When they are up, help them reach for the stars. Let there never be a moment’s doubt as to who has your back! lol 🙂

        1. It’s so nice to hear stories like this from couples rather than the break-stories we are all so used to reading these days. I agree it’s nice to have someone always have your back and to always be loving and kind. I bet he’s glad he was persistent too! You both sound like a fun couple. Thanks for the recipe!!

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