GROCERY BUDGET SAVINGS INCLUDES EXPERIMENTING WITH RECIPES THAT MAKE LIFE A LITTLE LESS HECTIC IN THE KITCHEN
I don’t know about you but when I cook a meal the first thing I consider are the ingredients I have on hand and how I can make tasty recipes with them. For us this means less time in the kitchen, homemade and lowered costs depending on the product.
These days meal planning is a big part of our grocery budget challenge in the CBB house but even then it gets tough when unexpected events get in the way.
I’m one of those types of people who say if I haven’t tried to do something then I don’t know if I will be good at it or not. The same rings true in our kitchen. Just because a product sells for a buck doesn’t mean I should be forever faithful to buying it. For all you know you can make it for less money using healthier ingredients and no preservatives.
I often like to try and make recipes myself for a few reasons;
- Cut costs
- Because I can and maybe I should
- I want to learn about the food I eat
- Trying new flavours and ingredients
Simply because you are reading this post about creating tasty recipes which will help cut costs and keep your ingredients in check means that you care or want to care more about the foods you put in front of you or your family. This isn’t a post about who can or can’t afford something it’s perhaps simple suggestions on how everyone can learn to cook better by experience.
Failure in the kitchen is one of the number one reasons I’ve heard from readers over the years who want to chop their grocery budget but lack kitchen skills. Don’t let failure get in the way or making food that tastes good even if the presentation sucks!
Related: How to cook in the kitchen
If you burn something once hopefully you’ll learn from that experience and won’t do it a second or third time. Eventually the more you experiment the better you will get with cooking homemade meals. This is how I would describe my first years in the kitchen alone when I bought my first property at age 19. YIKES…but thankfully going to University and having a mum who cooked from the time we got up until night-time helped.
Don’t be the person who falls off and stays off
If you’re anything like us you know that we don’t have time to make homemade food every single day so food prep in advance is very important. Even then we suck at keeping that schedule but we always seem to make it work so there is little to no food waste in our house.
Life gets in the way, stuff happens but getting back on track is super important. One month you might not feel up to making your famous tasty recipes that you’ve mastered and opt to buy pre-made. That’s fine as long as you consider it short-term if you have grocery goals in mind.
This year you might have set your sights on eating out less, homemade tasty recipes, food prep, meal planning, grocery budget balancing and so on. Whatever you choose to do with your money and how you eat is up to you. There is no one special grocery list, grocery budget or diet that fits all. This is what makes us all unique and our grocery shopping stories and cooking fiascos fun to hear about.
Learn to take your grocery budget to new heights
When was the last time you had a good look at your grocery store receipts, documented your food purchases and evaluated your overall grocery budget? If the answer is never or not often enough perhaps this year will be the year you tighten up the grocery budget by learning about where your food money is going and areas you can improve on.
Homemade food has and always be my pride and joy even if when (and I do) make mistakes. I’m not a huge kitchen lover but I don’t mind immersing myself in new recipe creations. Easy food to make at home is one of our goals for 2018 where Mrs. CBB and I are going to focus in on money-saving recipes that we could be making at home rather than purchasing.
Over the years I’ve made homemade mayonnaise, guacamole , taco seasoning and tonnes of other homemade tasty recipes that continue to help us save grocery money. The idea behind learning how to make tasty recipes that are widely used in other recipes you make is where the money savings is at.
Your pantry is your wardrobe
Now that we are parents to an almost 4-year-old boy we’ve learned just how important easy family meals are and the need to prepare recipes in advance. When we think about recipes that we like to make strictly homemade we consider cost comparison but also nutrition and ingredients.
What we enjoy the most about knowing how to make recipes that can either help another recipe or bulk out other recipes we create is important. Consider it similar to mixing and matching your clothing wardrobe. Pasta sauce for example could be a lovely pair of jeans that would match up equally well with pizza, lasagna, chili, soups etc.
The idea is to take simple recipes with the ability to turn them into something else. No one really likes eating the same foods day in and day out. Saying that, when I lived on my own in the UK I was eating lots of tortellini pasta and sausages with red bell peppers. It was simple to make and inexpensive. I was that person who used to buy jars of pasta sauce but transitioned to homemade sauce.
Since I loved eating pasta so much it made sense for me to make a pot and freeze it into portions. With the size of my refrigerator resembling a Canadian beer fridge I couldn’t fit much in so on occasion I would preserve/can the jars instead. There are always options if you are willing to put in the effort and time.
5 Tasty Recipes You Should TRY to Make Homemade
Whether you create tasty recipes via your crock-pot, oven, stove-top or even BBQ or outdoor wood stove you the idea is that you consider costs, ingredients and what it means to you.
- Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
Making homemade macaroni and cheese is wonderful because you can add all sorts of meats and vegetables to jazz it up. You can even go a step further and add other sauces along with the cheese sauce. The big winner here is homemade cheese sauce. It’s dead-easy to make and you probably won’t go back to buying boxed pasta and sauce again.
- Italian Pasta Sauce and Meatballs
You can take your pasta sauce and turn it into a pot of chili or make homemade soup such as cauliflower and meatball tomato soup. You can freeze pasta sauce or jar it for the season and use as needed. Either way this staple is a must to make homemade and the taste is the number one reason.
Related: Low carb meatballs
If you grow organic or buy organic tomatoes you also know what I mean when I say there is a distinct taste difference. You can buy pasta sauce for a buck but you’ll taste a buck. Spend an extra buck or two and you can make twice as much and the flavours will blow your mind! You might even think you are eating out when in fact, you made it yourself.
You can use the meatballs or meatball mixture in a chili, inside cabbage rolls, stuffed peppers, stuffed spaghetti squash and so on. They also freeze nicely.
- Basil Pesto
Honestly, you can make basil pesto at home for far less than you can buy it at the shop. Opt for walnuts instead of pine nuts which can be pricey. Not every pesto you buy uses traditional pine nuts so always read the ingredient list. In the summer we grow so much basil and this is what we do with it besides adding it to tomato and bean salads.
Related: Basil Garlic Cubes
Basil pesto is great for salads, pastas cold or hot, on top of meats and fish dishes. This is certainly one of those tasty recipes that you can prepare in advance and have on hand throughout the year.
- Homemade Broth
Homemade broth is easy to make and in different flavours such as beef, lamb, chicken, vegetable etc. Nicola shared her Scotch Broth soup on CBB in 2015 and ever since we’ve made our own broth. When I was in the UK I would do it often but let it slide when I moved to Canada. These days we make broth any time we have bones or vegetables that need using up.
We use homemade broth in all sorts of recipes to add flavour or liquid base to the dish such as a stir-fry, soups, pasta sauce etc.
Related: Homemade Scottish Baps
- Homemade BBQ Sauce
Once I started creating tasty recipes for BBQ sauce there was no turning back. The idea here is to make sure your pantry is stocked with the basic ingredients to make just about any BBQ sauce.
Over the years we’ve made a blueberry Teriyaki BBQ sauce and many others based on what we had on hand at the time. You can use your BBQ sauce for the grill, rice dishes, casseroles, pasta and so on. Really, you can’t go wrong and again you are in control of the ingredient list.
Discussion: What tasty recipes can you recommend for Mrs. CBB and I to make homemade this year instead of buying it? Even if we don’t currently purchase what you suggest we’d love to hear your suggestions as we are open to trying new recipes all the time.
January Grocery Game Challenge
Join in the 2018 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) but before you do you must read The Grocery Game Challenge Rules and Print the 2018 Schedule. In this section I will post each weeks grocery game challenge blog posts for the month.
New Prize Schedule : See the Grocery Game Rules
- Grocery Budget Basics-5 Must-Read Tips About Your Food Expenses GGC#1
- How to Create a Master Food List- GGC#2
- Grocery Shopping Tips without A Vehicle– GGC#3
Free Money Saving Tools 2018
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.
Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists created to get us on track working 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 2018
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.
2018 Grocery Shop Results
Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2018: $3600 or $300/month (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 or that you would like to track on your own)
- Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $300
- Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $300
- 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: 750,000
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
- Shoppers Optimum: 995,000 points
Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
- Zweet -$0.
- Checkout51- $1.50
Our Grocery Shop This Week
- 4 x 10% Lactancia Coffee Cream sale $1.45 each
- 4 x Bacon $2.88 each
Total Out-of-Pocket $17.32
- 2 x frozen strawberries $2.88 each
- Cucumbers $1.29
Total Out-of-Pocket $7.05
Note: All totals below already have tax factored into them.
- Total to spend this month : $300
- Stockpile budget 2018 : $25.00/month
- Stockpile budget used this month: $19.50
- Christmas Reserve Fund : $35/month Jan $35 Saved
- Total coupons used this week: $0
- Total coupons used to date: $0
- Total in-store discounts this week: $0
- Total in-store discounts to date: $0
- Total spent this week: $24.37
- Total spent so far this month: $237.84
- Total over/Under spend this shop: under
- Total left to spend for the month: $62.16
- Total Spent To Date 2018: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $+Feb $+March $ + April $+ May $ + June $+July $+August $+September $+ October $+ November $ + December $
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
We didn’t need much this week after our shop last week and being away this past weekend at the hospital and the in-laws house to check on things. We’re hoping this week to make a big pot of soup using some beef and tomatoes that I froze from the garden in the summer. Hmm, any good soup ideas for me?
2018 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!!
Plus check out these other hidden areas online to get more coupons!!
If any of the links below don’t open properly please report them to my email address or use comment form.
- 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
- MySavings.com 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 Save.ca, Brandsaver, Smart Source etc.
Grocery Game Challenge 2018 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 2018 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 prize payout?- I’ve changed the prize to yearly so I’ll be tracking everyone’s shop and draw accordingly for larger prize payouts.
- When does the Grocery Game close each month? Ideally you would want to have all your shops in by the end of the month so you can review your month so you make improvements for the next.
- 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 2014-2017 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 Save.ca that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile Save.ca 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.
If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2018 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! 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 2018!
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