The Ultimate Kitchen Renovation Meal Survival Guide : The Grocery Game Challenge 2017 #5 May 29-June 4

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It won’t be long before Mrs. CBB and I start thinking about our kitchen renovation that has been in the works for 8 years. We decided to wait because it was important that we saved the money first so we could finally get our dream kitchen.

When is the best time to think about beginning a kitchen renovation?

Never. It sucks to live through it BUT think about the end-goal and how exciting it will be to bring your visions to life. As soon as the snow melts and the windows are opened in our house all we hear is large delivery trucks, hammers, drills, saws and plenty of renovation noise happening. That being said a kitchen renovation during any season other than winter seems to be your best bet.

Since we plan to live in our home until our son graduates elementary school it seems reasonable to renovate the kitchen to suit our growing family. Right now it’s functional but needs a face-lift and a dishwasher would be nice so I can quit my side-job.


Eating out during a kitchen renovation


The cost of an average new kitchen renovation will cost thousands of dollars and the last thing you want to be doing is eating out and crushing your grocery budget. Mrs. CBB and I have talked about ways we can survive our upcoming kitchen renovation with a toddler which makes things a bit more challenging.

Challenge accepted. I know what you’re thinking, “You say that now but wait and see Mr.CBB you’ll be eating out in no time”. You may be right but in the mean-time we are going to fight through this kitchen renovation and survive meal-time without the added extra costs to our budget.

There really is no need to take the restaurant route during a kitchen renovation provided you plan and think about ways you can create a temporary kitchen in another space of your home. This space might even be called a kitchenette something similar that you would find in a hotel setting. You may also run into a kitchenette area in the basement of a home which doubles up as a bar area.

What is the difference between a kitchen and a kitchenette?

A kitchen is a space that is functional which means you have counter-space, plenty of storage and the basics that most kitchens include. A kitchenette however might have a sink, tiny counter-top, microwave, mini-fridge and very basic kitchen tools. The idea is to create a space where food can be prepared even if you don’t need to cook it.


My UK IKEA Kitchen renovation


When I was living in the UK I survived a kitchen renovation that I installed just before I sold my house to move to Canada. The reason I did this was because it was relatively inexpensive and I was able to get far more money for my house. Not many people knew that my brand-new white IKEA kitchen was inexpensive to install because it looked like a modern, pricey space.

Although my kitchen renovation didn’t take me months to complete I was able to work full-time and finish the kitchen just in time to list the house. Kitchen remodel companies may get the job done quicker depending on manpower or it could take longer if you plan for a posh kitchen update.


My temporary kitchen space


During my kitchen renovation I had to make do with a small kitchenette that I set up in the living-room area. The kitchen renovation took place during the end of summer into fall months which offered me a few cooking options for financial survival.

I had no intentions of eating out during my kitchen renovation so it was very important for me to plan ahead. I’m a planner and a list-maker at the best of times and this was one of those occasions that I’m happy I set aside the time to do so.

Although I was the only person that had to live through the kitchen renovation I was living on a budget with limited funds for food. I rarely ever ate out so stepping it up and going outside of that grocery budget comfort zone I felt was unnecessary.

Purchasing a large plastic tub for dishes from the Dollar Store will work just fine if you don’t care to use biodegradable plates and utensils. Personally, I’d skip doing the dishes and opt for the easiest route possible. I washed what I needed in my bathroom tub or outdoors with the garden hose.

I wasn’t a fan of having grease, tomato sauce and food bits in my tub so the hose worked just fine. However, a winter kitchen renovation might be tough for this. The harder you make meal-time during a kitchen renovation the likelihood you will start eating out. Fight the urge even if you are exhausted after a long day of work and dealing with contractors or a DIY kitchen renovation.


Basement kitchen to the rescue


I had zero basement space in the UK unlike our 1000 square feet of unfinished basement we have in Canada. Even my mum and dad were excited to take the underground tour when they came for a visit. It may sound strange but for those people who don’t have a basement this space can be exciting.

What I would love about having a walk-out basement is the ability to add a basement kitchen whether it be for a rental unit or personal use. Currently we don’t have this option but a small kitchenette is an option when we finish renovating the basement.

Many old-school Europeans living in Canada have two kitchens in their house one on the main level and a second kitchen in the basement. The basement kitchen gets used often as it tends to be a space where everyone hangs out. The main kitchen is more for show and the occasional meals. It seems odd but that’s the way it goes.


Where to station a temporary kitchen in your home


If you don’t have a basement area where you can set-up a kitchenette relocating your kitchen to a temporary spot such as the living-room, dining-room or even a bedroom may be your alternative. Plenty of people have successfully moved their refrigerator from the kitchen to the living-room so they can continue to chill their food and use the freezer.

Opting for a bar-fridge type refrigerator is also another option that works in just about every room in the house. You can find a mini-fridge on Kijiji for about $50 or even less if you are planning ahead for meal-time prep.

Wherever you choose to station your temporary kitchen space make sure it is clean and free from any dust that might come from the renovations. Ask your contractor to cover the renovation space to help control dust throughout the house. Opening up the garage space as a renovation area is a great way to keep tools, saw dust and tile remnants out of the house.

What foods can you make in a temporary kitchen?

I kept my meals simple opting more for meals that I didn’t have to cook that were healthy. I didn’t own a microwave oven or any fancy kitchen tools so it was basic survival for me. A few of my favourite types of food to make during my kitchen renovation were mostly salads, soups, sandwiches and wraps, porridge and smoothies.

For all of you who don’t mind eating a raw diet there are so many healthy recipes that you can whip up that would be perfect for a kitchen renovation. These are perfect for the vegan foodie or someone who just wants to be adventurous with new recipe ideas.

You can find a full list of 31 Healthy recipes that require no cooking over at the Greatist website.

Alternatively you could stay at a hotel or family and friends house during a kitchen renovation which might ease the stress involved with living through the process. Be prepared for lots of noise, foot traffic, dust and loss of some utilities at times. You should always consider food standards and health and safety wherever you prep your foods.

If you have small kids or have just become a new parent you may want to consider holding off on the kitchen renovation or finding alternate living arrangements.


Foods you can cook during a kitchen renovation


Meal prep ahead of a kitchen renovation will save time, money and stress from not knowing what to cook. If you can batch cook ahead of time and freeze meals into portion sizes that can easily be microwaved or cooked on the BBQ or side-burner this would be ideal.

Some of our favourite freezer meals are comfort foods such as soups, lasagna, taco mixture, cottage pie, crustless quiche, homemade perogi casserole, chili etc. You can also prep these meals as you go if you don’t have freezer space but have the small appliances to do so.

It’s always handy to have a pantry stocked with snack items, condiments, drinks, crackers, popcorn, granola bars, peanut butter, rice, couscous, jam, instant coffee or drip coffee, powdered milk etc. You may not be a fan of processed foods but they will get you by during your kitchen renovation.

Canned foods such as pasta, chili, soup, vegetables, SPAM, tuna, chicken and so on will be more than handy to have stocked up in the pantry. The freezer might benefit from frozen pizza, burgers, hotdogs, wraps, pita bread, buns, bread, milk, cheese etc.

Don’t be afraid to buy a pre-cooked chicken at the grocery store when you are doing grocery shopping during the kitchen renovation. They are inexpensive and already cooked so all you need to do is eat it. Pair it with a salad or make chicken salad for sandwiches.


Handy must-have Small Appliances to get you through a kitchen renovation


We also have a waffle maker, panini press and toaster oven. These gadgets will allow us to make sandwiches, waffles and cook just about anything we can stuff in the toaster oven.

  • Hot plate or Electric Skillet
  • Panini Press
  • Blender
  • Rice cooker
  • Pots and Pans for a BBQ
  • Crock-pot
  • BBQ with side burners
  • Charcoal BBQ
  • Kitchen utensils (as needed)
  • Toaster or Toaster oven
  • Microwave
  • Mini fridge
  • Coffee pot/kettle

These 3 items will help with leftover storage.

  • Juice pitcher
  • Tupperware containers
  • Plastic Wrap and Tin-foil

What else could we add to the above lists?

This is what the CBB fans had to say about living through a kitchen renovation and opting to stay away from the restaurants. I love how creative some of these ideas are. Before you go today leave a comment below telling us what you did to survive a kitchen renovation during meal-time.

It was a lot of BBQ, take out and eating at my parents when we gutted our kitchen last year.- Mel F.

Re: Kitchen Renovations. I would suggest doing batch cooking before hand so you can rewarm in the microwave. But our biggest saviour when we did our kitchen 5 years ago was the BBQ even better is if has a side burner. Crock-pots are handy as well.

Also people must consider that they will be without a kitchen sink & dishwasher so don’t cook those meals that get sticky pans etc. because you will end up doing dishes in your bathtub or laundry sink if you have one.- Nancy T. B.

We redid our counter-top when we first moved in, but it got dismantled and didn’t get put back together for three weeks. No sink, counter, etc. We were fortunate enough to have use of our stove, but dishes however were not the easiest. This was during the time when our first dishwasher was being installed as well as the electrical wiring etc.

I did change our meals to make them as friendly as possible with dishes. Simple meals. Nothing that took a lot of prep. Also, the BBQ was helpful even though it was in November. We relied on our crock-pot but that didn’t change from everyday use. Our go-to meals besides BBQ and crock-pot meals were soup, sandwiches, eggs and single pan meals.- Angela M.

The Best>>>

I once made an entire Thanksgiving dinner with no stove. Seriously we blew the control board on it one or two days before. We baked our pies in the toaster over, the turkey was in the counter-top roaster and a three crock-pot bay for the side-dishes; stuffing squash and corn.

I have a big crock pot as well so that was filled with the mashed potatoes. Ya, we pulled it off. It was a group effort and some additional side-dishes, rolls and foods came from other family members. 

We did all of our own kitchen renovations.

We pulled out all the cabinets and that same day I made sure we put the kitchen sink one in compete with sink. The stove was plugged in until the new one arrived and we just switched them. We had a huge kitchen table to work on and the next section of the cabinets I made sure that went in contained the dishwasher. My husband and I are the WE by the way.- Dagne G.

We have hurricanes which means no power for up to a week! We have a camping stove that runs in gas.- Cynthia G.

Make ahead casseroles in foil pans you can get at the dollar store and reheat in toaster oven are smart. Using a microwave bowl you can cook your pasta, potatoes and veggies in the microwave. If you can get a hot plate (even a two-burner one) will work for anything you need to fry or for grilled cheese sandwiches. With these few appliances you can survive a kitchen renovation. –Colleen K.

Your best bet is to do the kitchen renovation during the warmer months so you can use your BBQ for cooking. If not then, try making things like chili, pasta and sauce or meat dishes in the slow cooker that can be re-heated in the microwave for meals- Pineapple girl… Christine W.

Lots of BBQ. Crock-pot and rice cooker. I have a steamer too but I’d have to figure out how it works (a gift still in the box). I would do lots of chili and stew. One-pot meals and PAPER PLATES! In that situation the fewer dishes the better. – Nicole J.


May Grocery Game Challenge


Join in the 2017 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each GGC blog post. Here are The Grocery Game Challenge rules to get you started and where you’ll also find a link for the 2017 GGC schedule. Please feel free to download, save and even print the schedule.

Post your shop and you can be next.

New monthly prize: See the Grocery Game Rules

May 2017 Blog Posts:


Free Money Saving Tools 2017


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 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 2017


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 5 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.


2017 Grocery Shop Results


Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2017: $3180 or $265/mth

(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 this Month: $265
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $265
  • 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: 570,000
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
  • Shoppers Optimum: Just under 850,000 Optimum points  (I will update this twice a year) $1500 worth of free stuff.

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

  • Zweet to cash out : $18.25
  • Checkout51 to cash out : $24.50


Our Grocery Shop This Week



  • Banana $1.59 200 PC Plus Points
  • Allens Apple Juice $1.59
  • 2 x Kraft Peanut Butter Just Peanuts Sale $2.99
  • 2 x Liberte yogurt $3.49 each $6.98
  • 3 x half and half cream $2.99 each $8.97
  • 2 x PC frozen strawberries Sale $2.99 each $5.98
  • PC frozen Broccoli Florets, PC Frozen Cauliflower florets, PC Frozen Mixed Vegetables- Final Sale only $1.00 a bag (wow) plus 1400 PC plus points 🙂
  • Large organic Spinach Spring Mix sale $3.99-50%
  • 3 x seedless cucumbers $1.98 400 PC Plus Points
  • Green onions $0.89
  • 2 x organic orange cauliflower $5.99-50% =$6.00
  • Extra lean chicken mince $3.65

Total Out-of-pocket $47.02

All totals below already have tax factored into them.

  • Total to spend this month : $265-$8.83= $256.17 to spend in May.
  • Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00/month
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $20.00
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $1
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $14.00
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $543.07
  • Total spent this week: $47.02
  • Total spent so far this month: $257.15
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: over
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: under
  • Total left to spend for the month: $46.04
  • Total Spent To Date 2017: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $231.06+Feb $255.16+March ($5 budget increase) $263.60 + April $273.83+ May $257.15

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

Ah, we went over by $0.98 this month!!! I’m impressed but there were so many great deals. Our grocery list planning has been slim this month as it has been crazy busy. With the vehicle breakdown, funeral, interviews we haven’t had much time for anything.

We do have $5 left in our stockpile!

Coupons and Coupon Apps


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?

If you notice I’m missing a valuable link please message me and I’ll get it added to the savings list below.

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 2017?

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

If any of these links are broken please report them to me.

  • Healthy Essentials Printable Coupons (Johnson and Johnson)
  • Danone Coupons Get up to $25 in coupons
  • 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 2017 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 to reflect changes for the 2017 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-$20-$50 PC Loblaws Gift Card and for our out of country friends it’s $CDN via PayPal.  Please see GGC rules.
  • 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 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 Know what stores accept coupons?:  If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
  • 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 is one of the most popular hang out spots for people who want to save money on groceries.

If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2017 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 2017!


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