ENHANCE YOUR FOOD SUPPLY WITH A LITTLE BIT OF WORK AND FUN
Your food supply is important for survival and although the first place most people go to is the supermarket there are other ways to get food without the extra costs in Canada.
Since moving to Canada from the UK over 10 years ago I’ve had to learn about a country that I wasn’t too familiar with. I had no idea about farm land and the seasons in Canada certainly through me for a loop. If you’d lived in the UK then you know what I mean.
Since becoming a permanent fixture in this glorious land I’ve learned the most important survival tips when it comes to food supply and it came from my wife and father-in-law. Most of all exploring Ontario by going on nature walks along with educating myself about what grows in Ontario has certainly increased my knowledge on the topic.
I’m not pro by any means but I’ve had my fair share of experience in the woods, on the farms and processing and growing gardens from seed to know it’s one of the easiest ways to supplement a food supply when in need. It may not be a fast fix but most certainly one to explore if you don’t mind getting out and about in the Spring, Summer and Fall months.
If you live in a community with like-minded people like you want to learn about nature and what grows in your community perhaps starting a Facebook group or creating an ad on Kijiji under community looking for people who want to forage and learn together is a smart idea.
One thing I do know for sure is that most foragers don’t like to give up their source of food supply as it likely will show up year after year in the same area. This is why educating yourself is your best bet and if you do have a knowledgeable friend who doesn’t mind taking you along, go for it.
Strengthen Your Food Supply For Free
This post is not just about foraging because I plan to explore this topic in-depth in a future post but all the ways you can enrich your food supply without adding to your grocery budget costs. Let’s explore all of the ways I can think of and perhaps if you have some ideas to share please leave me comments below!
Just recently Mrs. CBB and I had a chat about what to do with all the fruit growing on my in-laws property. My mother-in-law has no interest in the fruit and won’t pick it. We did find out that there are groups and organizations in the city that will come to the house and pick the fruit for free.
There are also groups on Facebook where homeowners have excess fruits and vegetables on their property and offer it to the group members. It’s a wonderful way to allow people to pick what you won’t be able to use which eliminates food waste. Having a group of people on the same food supply and savings wavelength also allows you to make friends so come the next season they know who to call.
On our property we have a massive mulberry tree and crab apple tree along with the rhubarb bush that keeps on giving month after month during the summer. We can’t possibly pick and eat all of this fruit so we offer it for free to those in the public who want to come and pick it themselves.
Grow a garden
Unless you hook up a rain barrel which I highly suggest you will pay for watering costs.
Related: How to start your garden from seed
If you are a seasoned grower you will learn how to keep seeds from each crop to use the following year and which herbs and other produce grow year after year without having to plant such as mint and fennel.
It was amazing to see all of the vegetables that were growing in my father-in-laws garden this year considering he did not plant the garden since he passed early 2018.
You may also find lettuce and tomatoes popping up in areas where you had plants growing at one time as well just like we did apart from other greens but we weren’t sure how to name them.
Seeds blow and sometimes plant under the soil and when Spring comes around, poof they come up for sunshine.
Apart from sowing the garden, starting your seedlings, fertilizer and water if you plan it out right you can supplement your grocery budget nicely throughout the spring and summer. If you grow enough you can also process the food and keep it for the winter months.
My father-in-law was a huge foraging fan and taught Mrs. CBB from a young age how to pick berries, fiddle-heads, wild mint, wild leeks, asparagus, wild strawberries, dandelion, grapes, mushrooms galore all growing in the wild. I nearly lost my mind when I saw the size asparagus can grow in the wild.
There were many times he’d come home with wild mushrooms specifically Chicken of the Woods also known as a sulfur shelf mushroom and grows around the world after a short walk up the nature trail. One year he even bet us that we wouldn’t find an asparagus because he picked them all. There was 5 bucks on the line and we didn’t win a thing.
Laetiporus is a genus of edible mushrooms found throughout much of the world. Some species, especially Laetiporus sulphureus, are commonly known as sulphur shelf, chicken of the woods, the chicken mushroom, or the chicken fungus because many think they taste like chicken.
I’m sure he foraged for many other things but these are some of the common foods we’d see him bring home from his walks or during his hunting expeditions.
There are also plenty of local farmers in Ontario who have massive lands and allow foraging so that food does not go to waste. I know that in some parts of Ontario you can find wild asparagus growing in ditches and on farmland. If you spot it or if the farmers want it gone they may allow you to pick it for free thus helping you to increase your food supply without cost. It’s worth becoming friends with your local farmers for this reason and of course to help each other out.
Foraging is a great way to supplement your food supply but remember to only forage what you know and where you are allowed to go. Trespassing on private property or picking what you are not allowed because it is on a covered nature trail may land you with a fine if caught. I also must mention that you should never forage what you don’t know or eat what you don’t know especially wild mushrooms as they can cause illness and potentially be fatal.
I do plan to create an Ultimate Guide for Foraging in Ontario but it will take me some time to put together. If you’d like to contribute or know someone please have them contact me.
Barter and Trade
Over the years my father-in-law got to know many farmers in the area many of whom grew vegetables and fruits to sell during the spring and summer months.
A couple of farmers in particular he became friends with over the years allowed him to barter his hunting services to help legally control the animal population on the farm. By doing this one farmer allowed him to grow a massive garden on a section of their land and the other to pick fruits and vegetables for free or deeply discounted depending on what it was.
It was a great way to get the family out to learn about farming and picking produce fresh rather than buying it from the grocery store. I’m certain this is why Mrs. CBB feels so strongly about getting our son out for nature trail walks to explore what Ontario has to offer plus picking fruits at the local farms. Just recently we picked strawberries and he had a blast doing so.
Get to know the egg farmers and pork farmers in your area and you may be able to barter your services for free eggs and bacon. A friend of ours who owns Ontario farmland supplements their food supply by trading their goods with other farmers in the area.
The most obvious way to supplement your food supply is to visit the food bank if your pantry is looking slim and you are in need. Almost every community in Ontario has a food bank or community centre that will offer singles and families free food when they are in need. We’ve visited our local food bank a couple of times with a friend who needed to stock up her kitchen and it was interesting to see how the food bank operates.
It’s always a learning experience especially if you aren’t familiar with the process but it also opens your eyes to the needs in the community. You may also find that volunteering at your local food bank is a great way to give back to your community. Consider donating if you have food you won’t use at home or while grocery shopping there are bins in most stores for food bank donations.
Being an informed shopper means you know the in’s and out’s of how to save money and get free food along the way. There are free product coupons offered from many Canadian companies via social media, coupon websites, in-store displays and during promotions and marketing days.
Sometimes using coupons means you get products for free because the coupon is the same amount as the product is selling for so certainly something to watch out for.
- Mystery Food Shopper
- Collecting rewards points
- Free Product Coupons
Collecting rewards can add extra food to your grocery cart when collected carefully which means following the rewards program, loading promotions via your app or online. With over 3 million PC Optimum Points Mrs. CBB and I can spend around $3000 to get free food at PC stores or just about anything at Shoppers Drug Mart.
Lastly you can become a mystery shopper for Mystery Shopper Canada or scan your purchases for Nielsen Home Scan Canada who provide you with a hand scanner. By doing so you get points which you can redeem for free stuff from their catalogue.
I used to do this when I lived in the UK and bought myself a new refrigerator so I didn’t have to store my food on the back porch in a cooler with ice. I was also able to redeem my points for gift cards which allowed me to get free food at the grocery store.
Discussion: What other ways can you supplement your food supply in Canada?
Leave me a comment below with your other ideas.
July 2018 Grocery Game Challenge
Join the 2018 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) but before you do you must read The Grocery Game Challenge Rules and Print the 2018 Schedule which includes new prizes!
- Last shop June- 12 Cold Supper Recipes That Are Budget Friendly
- Strawberry Picking Tips Fun For The Entire Family – July 2018 Shop #1
- How to Pack Food for a Theme Park Visit – July Shop #2
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
Everything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is packed into this amazing FREE grocery shopping guide that has taken 6 years to create.
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-$13.63=$286.37
- Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
- Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
- Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
- PC Optimum Points to Spend: 3,200,000
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
- Zweet -$0
- Checkout51- $1.50
Our Grocery Shop This Week
Food Basics Canada
- Ontario Strawberries 1lb $2.50
- 2 x White Mushrooms 1lb $5.00 2/$5
- Case of 24 Coke Zero $6.35
- Kale $2.99
- Radishes $2.49
- Bananas $0.73
- Iceberg lettuce $1.99
- 2 x Spring Onion bunches $1.96
- Romaine Lettuce $1.48
- Olymel Pepperoni $3.99
Total Out-of-Pocket $29.48
Note: All totals below already have tax factored into them.
- Total to spend this month : $300.00
- Stockpile budget 2018 : $25.00/month
- Stockpile budget used this month: $25.00
- Christmas Reserve Fund : $35/month $245 Saved
- Total coupons used this week: $0
- Total coupons used to date: $1
- Total in-store discounts this week: $1.65
- Total in-store discounts to date: $118.19
- Total spent this week: $29.48
- Total spent so far this month: $241.72
- Total over/Under spend this shop: $212.24
- Total left to spend for the month: $58.28
- Total Spent To Date 2018: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $323.04+Feb $169.42+March $228.70 + April $337.84+ May $275.79 + June $271.88 +July $+August $+September $+ October $+ November $ + December $
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
We loaded up on produce mainly at Food Basics for the week since we were down to half a cucumber. This week will be crazy busy for us as I am working on the fence and I spent the entire weekend at my old employer so no time to do any farms this week. We did plan to pick blueberries but decided to wait until apple picking season to go back again.
The only veg we didn’t find at Food Basics was cucumbers so we may have to drop by another grocery store or the farmers market by the weekend to get a few since our son will only eat cucumbers at the moment so it’s best we have some.
Have a great week everyone.
2018 Coupons and Coupon Apps
Related: Find all the latest coupon apps in Canada right here>> 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!!
Plus check out these other hidden portals 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
- 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
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 for review in order to make improvements for the next.
- Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget does not include such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014 we no longer included such items in our grocery budget so we could see our actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly.
- 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. Some of these coupons have an expiry date and others no expiry date so be sure to check.
- 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!
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.
- If you notice and broken links or errors please email me or leave a comment below