Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Great Grocery Project - Mid August Recap

We are just a few weeks away now from the end of the Great Grocery Project's inaugural year.  The next post in this series will be a major, and I mean MAJOR, recap of a full year of grocery spending in our house.  Yikes.

So far in August, I have spent $464.56 on groceries.  Just over $150.00 of this was entirely spent on produce (in particular blueberries) that were frozen for the year ahead.  The Dairy category this month was also a big spend because I was completely out of butter - I picked up 6 lbs of butter at Costco for $3.65 a pound, which is about as cheap as you are going to find it in these parts, aside from the increasingly rare $2.99/lb sale.

Other things I picked up this month included Lean Ground Beef on sale at No Frills for $2.77/lb.  I bought two large packages.  One package was used to make a meatloaf and 10 frozen hamburger patties - currently thawing for tonight's dinner.  Another package is in the freezer.

When I did my massive produce run to a local farm I picked up a dozen corn on the cob (which is actually cheaper at most grocery stores).  I made Southern Style Creamy Corn, which I love and I find this stretches the corn more than just eating on the cob (which is also amazing).  Creamy Corn is served as a side with fish, poultry, beef, pork - pretty much any protein including baked beans.  I also serve it with Baked Beans and cornbread.  My favourite is setting aside 3 cups of the Creamy Corn to make Corn Chowder which is very economical, delicious, and provides yet more meals derived from a dozen cobs of corn.

I was also (finally) able to pick up a 10kg bag of flour at Costco.  They had been out of stock for quite some time as a result of the E coli recall that stretched across Canada.  We tend not to think of flour as a raw agricultural product, but it is.  This story received widespread coverage across Canada, in particular because a toddler became extremely ill after consuming raw flour.  Now, all flour packages have a HUGE warning label on them warning you not to eat it raw.  This is a bummer because what fun is making cookies and cakes if you cannot eat the dough???  Alas, I finally have a good supply of flour.

How have we saved money this month?

1.  Vacation  - We have just been on a family holiday.   Virtually no spend holidays this year mean keeping it simple.  Nobody has complained about this.  We went to stay with family for 6 days and we just relaxed (as much as you can with kids), visited with a few friends, and did lots of swimming.  One day we picked up some treats for everyone at a grocery store (we got pizza, watermelon, raspberries, a cheese ball with crackers, some freshly baked goods, etc.) and we spent $40.00 on that.  I went out for breakfast with friends one day and spend $7.00 including tax and tip.  We allowed our son to pick out one book for himself to read (he can't read yet - but loves to look through books) on the way home, this cost $8.00.  So - all in our 6 day vacation (not including gas) cost us $56.00.  In case you are wondering - I did volunteer to bring groceries and cook - but our host - my mother-in-law did not want us to do that.

2.  Free Fruit Tray  - I went to visit some friends from university for lunch, and there was a fruit tray leftover.  My friend and her husband were leaving that night to go on vacation, so she sent me home with the fruit tray.  Great snacks for everyone!

3.  Garden Harvest - It was looking doubtful, but I have finally been able to get a harvest from my garden.  We have been enjoying zucchini bread, chocolate zucchini bread, green beans, yellow beans, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and soon we will have beets as well.  Hurray!!!  I found a new recipe for chocolate zucchini bread in the current issue of Ricardo that uses much less sugar than my current recipe, so I am looking forward to trying it.

4.  Cereal Clearance - We (generally) do not eat cold cereal because it is not filling and very expensive.  I do keep a box of Cheerios on hand for snacks when we go to the park, but this tends to last a loooong time.  I was in Walmart one day and they had Maple Cheerios and Canada Day Fruit Loops (all special editions because of Canada's 150th birthday) on clearance for $1.00 a box.  This is very, very cheap.  Even on sale, these boxes would be typically $3.00 a box in Canada.  I bought 3 boxes and we have been enjoying them as special treats and snacks.  And this also reminded me how not filling cold cereal is.

5.  Ebates and Sephora - I ordered foundation from Sephora via Ebates in order to earn cashback.  I also ordered my 3 free samples - perfume samples and blush.  I love high end perfumes - I have never bought a bottle in my life - the free samples keep me going!!

6.  Parks, parks, parks!!  We continue to hit up parks all around us.  I have been trying to get my boys outside for 3-4 hours every day and it has been awesome.  And FREE!!!!!!  It is a bit of a hassle packing a picnic and loading/unloading the car most days, but it is so worth it.  Outdoor play is like therapy.  As long as it's not too hot!

7.  Anniversary - We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.  There is something I really want to get for my husband, but it is not in the budget right now.  Instead I got a special treat from Amadeus Patisserie in Thornhill (the absolute best).  It was a fraction of the price - and incredibly delicious.  This is the one place where I would choose purchasing over making from scratch.  Hello - St Honor√©, Cheesecake, Pistachio Delight.  Yes!!  Wait.....these were for my husband.....not me.......

That is all I have time to write for now.  I will be posting another update on our renovation shortly as soon as I can.

Flour Warning

The best desserts.  Ever.

Produce Haul

Tray freezing for bagging


  1. Completely agree with you as regards the cold cereal - I only purchase it when it's on for about $2 at No Frills and it's normally for a light supper or late night snack - not breakfast. Those boxes for $1 was a great deal especially since you have kids.
    I'm getting ready to replace all my flours as well - bought a small bag of All Purpose flour a week ago but I'll restock all the other kinds that I use before the end of Sept. (I don't bake in the summer) as I dumped everything during the E-Coli scare!
    I've heard others mention the free samples from Sephora so I'll have to check it out as I'm in the market for some new perfume but want to try something new. Good luck with your ongoing grocery project.

    1. The best way to get the free samples is to order online. Usually you can pick 3 samples with each purchase. Shoppers Drug Mart Beauty Boutique (their online store) does this as well. I love the Beauty Boutique and use it to get free samples, Optimum Points, and cashback through Ebates - but Shoppers does not carry a brand I love (Bare Minerals) so I order that through Sephora which you can also do through Ebates. Sephora has a rewards program too, but I prefer Optimum Rewards.

  2. Good deal on the cereal for $1.00 a box. I would always have to hide it on the top shelf or the boys would devour it all in one sitting. I wanted to save it as a special treat when we were running errands and each one would get their own little baggie full. It was so much cheaper than grabbing something from beside the cash register.

    Jeannie @

    1. Yes, Jeannie you are so right. It is cheaper to have a little cereal on hand than to pick up sugary treats. And boys can sure pack away the cereal when they want to!!