Wednesday, January 27, 2010

How to have fruit on a budget!

I have been able to keep to my $25/ person per week! So far so good.
We have been eating lots of soup, eggs, beans and pasta dishes. But I have been struggling to keep fresh fruit around. At this time of year it isn't easy. But with athletes and kids around it is important to have fruit for vit. C and as a healthy snack! So I laid out a plan and it is as follows.

The cheapest fruit is that which you’ve grown yourself. I have 3 apple trees ( Northern Spy, Cox pippin and Gravensteine, and a crab) which produce a ton of apples every fall and usually provides fresh apples for a couple of months. We also have several plums which gives us fresh fruit for about 2 weeks at the end of July (but we have to fight the bears for them). There are also wild blackberries, raspberries and salmon berries around our home.

But that doesn't help in Jan., so fresh fruit in season is sometimes a good buy. When kiwi fruits are 5/$1, I buy several dollars worth. The last few weeks citrus fruits have been cheap and the navel oranges have been especially delicious this year. And bananas are always inexpensive.

When fresh fruits are expensive, canned sugar-free fruits can sometimes be a good buy. When peaches, pears, fruit cocktail are under $1 a can I stock up. And when mandarin & pineapple is under $89, I buy a doz each. I keep these on hand when fresh fruits become too expensive for me to serve on a daily basis.

I freeze my own fruits, blueberries, blackberries, rhubarb and apple sauce in season. They are so appreciated in January, a little bit of summer in winter! I use them in baking and smoothies. I also look for frozen fruit on sale and save coupons and sometimes the two combined can come up with some great deals. This past week I was able to buy 3 bags of frozen Strawberries for $2 a bag. We really enjoy frozen strawberries in fruit salad.

Frozen fruit juice concentrates are excellent buys. I find apple juice, orange juice, and purple grape juice are the least expensive. I don’t often buy fresh or refrigerated juices because they are generally priced far outside of my budget.But sometimes ith high value coupons plus sales these can be a great buy too, and a real treat.

The last type of fruit we use is dried. Prunes, cranberries, apricots, raisins, dates and apples are all pretty easy to find and when on sale are a great deal. Dried fruits are great added to hot cereal, granola, and trail mix. In the fall I dry my own apple slices and when ever there is a bargain in fresh fruit I will dehydrate some of the surplus. Dried fruits keep a long time.

So that is my economical fruit strategy!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's been too long. I have been getting very poor sleep dealing with blood sugar problems with my little girl, and so feel so behind in everything. But I have a few minutes to post a few deals.

First: Cooking, I roasted one of my freebie turkeys and had a lovely turkey dinner with the works last Sunday. Then on Monday I did a major cooking and made 2 pot pies, 2 large batches turkey noodle soup, 2 turkey creamy pasta casseroles, and a hot turkey sandwich dinner and cold turkey salad sandwiches (just salad for me)... So I took one turkey out of the dinner and refilled the freezer with quick meals.

Second: Safeway has a great deal on Dole juice this week. $1.25 each AND if you buy 6 you get 40 airmiles.
I also managed to collect 75 cent off coupons for dole juice (I am part of 3 coupon trains). So I bought 12 juice for $6.00 and got 80 airmiles! Even the cashier was impressed.

Yes, I collect airmiles. Through the airmile program, I was able to send my kids to many national and US regattas free of charge... (and buy my son skull candy headphones for Christmas shhhhh.....) so I am always on the look out for airmile deals. I don't spend just to collect but I am amazed at what deals are out there when you look.

Winnings: I won 2 Loverboy tickets for last Friday- I also had a $25 visa GC win from the Just Peeking contest- which covered a few drinks (their virgin ceasars are wonderful).... So DH and I had another hot date for free! Two in one month!

Splurge: I went to a local quilt shop which was advertising 50% to 75% off. I bought my son a down feather mattress cover for $42! It turned his lousy junky mattress in to a bed we all dream about! And I also bought 5 lovely new pillows for $28.

My daughter flies to New Zealand next week- She was one of 4 St. John Ambulance cadets selected to represent Canada at an international youth conference. It is a free two week trip. And will be an amazing experience for her. But I was so pleased with her resourcefulness. She phoned her MP, MLA, and Aldermen and received many provincial, Canadian, and municipal souvenirs (pins, flags, Olympic stickers, tattoos, bracelets etc), to give to the new international friends she will meet.
A chip off of the old block.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


If you sign up to facebook and become a fan of Alberto they will send you a free coupon for their shampoo. Here's the link.

And this site is great for sending Proctor and Gamble samples- they are about to send out another bunch. It isn't active yet but check daily.

And become a member of Yummy Mummy and if you live in Vancouver or Toronto you could win tickets to see.. EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES-
350 tickets per city are being given away

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year! SDM, coupon dels, free turkeys and more...a

Well it is 2010 and yes I made resolutions.
They are as follows.

To trim and save money so that we can put money into the children's educaion savings accounts and into retirement savings account, and to work towords elliminating all debt incl. our remaining mortage.

And to loseweight (20lbs)! Which is a huge deal in this home. I have three athletes in this house who need LOTS of carbs, and one child with Type 1 diabetes that needs to count carbs. All my children are fit and thin and so is my husband and me....? Well I love to cook.
So I need to find a diet that allows to meet all my families nutritional needs, that is inexpensive and doesn't require me to cook 3 different meals!

So there are my resolutions. It is official they are now in print.

Now onto the deals.
London drugs allows you to stack coupons. that means as long as they are different coupons for the same product you can use them together! For instance I had 2 different $5 coupons for Glades new Sense and spray kit. I used it on a $8.99 kit and received it free, yesterday!
In fact I used 36.46 cents in coupons yesterday and got-
3 cans Bush's Baked beans
4 glade refills
1 glade sense and spray
5 grain Special K cereal
And a smuckers marmalade

And all I paid Out of Pocket (OOP) was 6.13 cents!

This Sunday I will be roasting another Turkey. It is one of two turkeys I received for free using save-on-points. I don't shop much at save-on- foods, but over a year I usually accumulate enough points from the little I buy and the recycling I bring there to get fee turkeys or hams. A real good deal for the amount of points it requires.

Tomorrow, is a date night with Hubby, and it will be free. I won two tickets to see the VSO perform Beethovens 5th and before that we will be going to the keg using a $50 GC I won in another contest....hehe. An amazing evening, I can't wait.

And don't forget tomorrow is 20 times the SDM points at SDM!! Min. purchase is $50 but with all the grocery deals this week it will be easy to make the minimum.
Tuna 59 cents
eggs 1.99
Dempsters 2.49
Bacon 2.99
etc etc..

Meals today were-
Brunch- Omelets (cheese, peppers, mushrooms), HM hashbrowns, toast and sparkly OJ.
(I had an omelet)
Dinner- Chicken fajitas, tortillas and brown rice. Pumpkin and/or Banana bread for dessert.
( I had one fajita, no rice)
Snacks- Smoothies including ripe bananas and tofu, etc..

Making a big pot of sweet potato stew for tomorrow's kids dinner.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Last of the pumpkins...

My 12 year old grew a garden this year and produced, lots of cherry tomatoes, zukes, lettuce, beets and PUMPKINS! She grew 6 and was very proud of them and two were still decorating our hallway. So now they are in my oven baking and will be turned into pumpkin loaves. I make them with chocolate chips and walnuts, 6 at a time! Batch baking saves energy, time and clean-up. Three will be for immediate use and 3 for the freezer.

Lunch is black bean soup and dinner will be Fajitas with spanish rice and corn on the side.

Today will be a no spend day.
I have been running around turning off lights all morning, and keep giving my "green" lecture to the kids. It will sink in some day...

#1-Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Points

If you have a SDM near you, I am going to tell you about one of my number one budget helpers. Shopper Drug Mart Optimum points. By maximizing your points by shopping on bonus days your points can quickly add up to 75,000 points. With 75,000 points you can cash in and go shopping for $150 FOR FREE!!! And if you cash in your points on bonus weekends those 75,000 points can be worth $200 in the east and $170 in the west.

But before you think there is nothing you need at SDM, check out their dairy department. Their milk, cheese and egg prices are often better than the grocery store and there food specials can be outstanding.

This Sat., Jan 2 has 20 times bonus on a $50 min. purchase that is 10,000 points and up..
So I will be doing a stock up on Grocery items etc. this Sat. at SDM

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A New Year and a New Challenge

I have meant to blog for quite sometime, but kept coming up with excuses.
Lack of time being number one.
But I also know that blogging can equal accountability. It can help me attain my goals and focus on my challenges and so I decided that 2010 will be the beginning of my life as a blogger.

A little background. I am an older mom of 3 children 18, 15, and 12. All have challenges. One has a severe peanut allergy. One has colobomas in both eyes and is visually impaired. My youngest has type 1 diabetes. My time and our money is stretched to the max raising these amazing young people and so I have developed some frugal strategies along the way.

I have worked hard to cut down our grocery budget, and have challenged myself to keep the groceries down to $25 per person per week. That would mean $125 per week for our family of 5. That is CANADIAN!

I have found many wonderful bloggers that have managed to cut down their groceries to less but they are in the US and I watch a little enviously at all the deals they have there. Coupon doubling, rebates, countless freebies.... This helps them to cut down their groceries to amazingly low amounts. But I kept thinking, what about me? What about us? Canadians deserve deals too!

So that is what this blog will be about. How a Canadian can trim their budget and save money on groceries and help to keep ourselves in the black and out of the red.

I will post deals, how much I spend, menus some recipes and more. That way I can share with anyone else who would like to cut down expenses too. Stay tuned.