Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Last Trip of 2014

Reg. Price: $57.20
I Paid: $19.84

Cereal: Paid $1.25 at Dollar Tree
Crispers: Wal Mart Boxing Day sale
Sweet Crisps: Cost $3.17 at Wal Mart with $3.00 cash back on Checkout51
Special K: $3.99 on sale at Shoppers with $1.00 cash back
Vector Bars: $3.47 at Target, used $1.00 coupon and got $1.00 cashback
Shredded Cheese: On sale $5.97 at No Frills, used $2 coupon
Onions: On sale $0.97 with $0.25 cashback
Minute Rice: Got $3.50 Cashback on 2
Catelli Sauce: $1.25 at Dollar Tree
Classico Sauce: $1.25 at Dollar Tree with $0.75 cashback from Zweet
Tuna: $1.00 Boxing Day sale at Wal Mart plus $0.25 cashback
Cheese: On sale $5.98 plus $3.00 coupon
Healthy Harvest Pasta: Paid $1.79 each and got $2.50 cashback 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

$175 Grocery Budget - Part 1

Although it's hard to believe that it's already the end of December, I have decided to embrace the coming new year. Even though nothing specifically changes the second that the clock hits midnight on December 31st, new years always feels like a fresh start. I'm looking forward to 2015 and the new experiences and experiments that are coming with it.

With the 2015 just around the corner, I decided to look back over our budget and spending from 2014 and set some new goals. Throughout the last 6 months, I learnt a lot about meal planning, couponing, once a month shopping, cash back and price matching, along with a ton of new recipes. I believe that if I put all that knowledge into action in the coming months, I can keep our monthly grocery expense under $175 and keep the same basic eating habits. That includes feeding myself, my husband (who is apparently constantly "bulking") and our kitty.

I know some people spend a ton of money on groceries every month and that amount may sound crazy low. I've also read and heard people say that it's impossible to eat well/healthy/enough without spending $300 - $400 a month but I diasgree. This year, our average bill was about $240 and, while our meals are not fancy or completely organic or anything like that, they have been fairly healthy and totally filling. Below are some examples so that you can get a better idea of who we are and what we eat.

Our Little Family 


Meat, cheese and pepper omelette
Peanut Butter on Toast

Sausage Cheese Scone


Tuna with Greek Yogurt
Crackers + Cheese

Red Pepper + Cantaloupe
Homemade Bread 


Homemade Garlic Toast

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Chicken Rice

We don't normally eat peas with EVERY meal (or barely every actually) but they just happened to be on sale the week I took pictures. As you can see, we definitely aren't starving or eating meals totally void of nutrients. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing more about how I plan to meet this goal of $175 a month, including information on couponing, cash-back apps, meal planning, things that I make homemade and some of my favourite cheap meals and recipes. Be sure to check Part 2 Here. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate

Besides being my favourite food, chocolate is also a great stocking-stuffer. Thanks to Checkout51 and their Double Up December offers, I am now the proud owner of 10 free chocolate bars plus I got an extra $1.18 just for taking them off the shelf. 

Regular Price: $12.00
I paid: $0.00 (+ $1.18 Cashback)

I got all my chocolate on sale for $0.78 each and then got $10.00 cachback from the Checkout51. app. If you don't already have this app, it's time to check it out! 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Great Granola Bars

This has been one of my favourite things to make at home, even before I started comparing prices. These granola bars are so good, soft, chewy and I can spice them up with anything I want. Dried fruit, chocolate, candy, nuts, seeds and basically anything else I think might taste good. For the sake of the blog (and my budget) I was glad to see they are also cheaper than store bought.

Simple Ingredients

The Final Product

What I really like to do with these (other than walking through the kitchen and stealing little chunks of granola bar all day long) is throw them individually into baggies, toss some in the freezer and then use them in my husbands lunches. I just put it in his lunch bag the night before (or that morning if I'm  being lazy) and it's thawed by lunch. 

Price Breakdown
These were the cheapest, most similar ones that I could find from the store. One box, with 5 granola bars, is $1.57
At the store: $0.31 per bar
Homemade: $0.26 per bar

We eat about 10 bars, or 2 boxes worth, each week. By making them homemade, I will have saved us about $25 in one year. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Baked Beans

I have always loved baked beans. Anytime of the day, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack time. So easy and so delicious. I loved the homemade baked beans people used to bring to potlucks when I was younger but I basically forgot about them until this fall, when we went to a corn roast and someone brought homemade baked beans. So good. I decided to make my own a few days later and I'm so glad I did. Check out the recipe links below and the breakdown on the average price of homemade beans vs. store bought.

Slow Cooker Baked Beans

Cowboy Baked Beans

Boston Baked Beans

Dr. Pepper Baked Beans

Price Breakdown (One Can)

At the store: $1-$2
Homemade (with beef/pork/bacon): $1.01
Homemade (omit ground beef): $0.66

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Buying VS Freezing: Time and Money

Washing, chopping and freezing fruits or vegetables when you can buy a premade bag at the store for less than $5 may seem totally ridiculous to some people but it can actually be a great way to save money. If you're used to simply grabbing a bag from the frozen section, it may seem like a lot of effort but I enjoy spending time in my kitchen (unless it's to do dishes), so I don't mind the work and the amount of money saved is worth it for us. I decided to do some calculating and give a little break down of the time involved and the money saved so that you can see if self freezing is worth it for you and your family.


In my area, a 600g bag of fruit costs about $5. The cost for me to freeze my own 600g of regular price raspberries would be $3.48 but I almost always get my fruit on discount meaning it`s usually closer to $2.22. We use about two bags per month. 

Savings per month: $5.56
Savings per year: $66.72

Even if I always had to buy my fruit at regular price, I would save about $36 a year. 

Freezing berries literally takes me about 1 minute. I rinse them in the container and then bag them and throw them in the freezer. Obviously other things like mango, peach and pineapple take a little longer because of the cutting. 


To buy frozen vegetables is pretty cheap, I can get a 1 kg bag for $4 but freezing my own is even better. Today I froze a 1kg bag of carrots for $1.10. Generally, we use about two bags per month.

Savings per month: $5.80
Savings per year: $69.60

Carrots and other vegetables do take more time and effort than fruit, however. It took me about 10 minutes to peel and cut them and then just under 10 more minutes for the blanching process. 

I don't find that it's too much effort and I think it's worth the $125 for us. I don't know how big of a difference it makes, but I also like the fact that everything is processed by me in my own kitchen. It just feels healthier. Looking forward to growing and freezing my own garden vegetables next summer as well!