Tips and Hints:

There was a time when being penny wise was an essential part of my every day life.  I had two daughters that I was raising on my own and naturally I wanted to give them a certain quality of life and wasn`t prepared to sacrifice nutrition for inexpensive. Now, being `frugal`is a matter of principal.  Why would I pay more for things if I don`t have to? Here are some tips, all of which you've probably heard before, but in combination, I promise, you'll see a difference in your monthly grocery bill:

 

  1. Scan Flyers: I go through the flyers every week when they arrive, recycling those I won't need, paying particular attention to the grocery store flyers. I see what proteins are on sale, whether that's chicken, pork, beef, turkey, fish, etc., and I start from there.

  2. Make a Weekly Menu: Ok, so I know pre-planning a full week in advance as to what you might be in the mood for or what you might actually have time to make, is being a tad optimistic.  But I'm not suggesting that you be totally rigid with it...flexibility is key. See that chicken is on sale, think of a couple of things you could do with chicken, and, when the mood strikes, you have what you need. It's much easier to do in winter....no one wants to venture out the door more than they have to. Either which way, check out your flyers, see what's on sale where, open yourself up to the possibilities.

  3. Coupons: I love coupons! I love a good deal! I particularly love when something is on sale at a really good price AND I have a coupon! Its enough to make me do the Snoopy Happy Dance! My mother initially was mortified by my using coupons, but given that its not a matter of poverty or using food stamps, she now thinks its pretty cool! To my mind, running a household is no different than running a small business and keeping costs low, is important.

  4. Brand Names and Bulk Buying: First of all, I'm not really a brand shopper. I read the labels, I go for the product with the least amount of sodium, cholesterol, saturated fats and chemicals, providing it's not grossly overpriced.  Its a delicate balancing act.  I don't believe in buying in bulk simply because there's always a sale on somewhere.  I have limited space, I try to stick to my self-imposed monthly budget, and buying in bulk can compromise both of those things. 

  5. Bonus Points: I sign up for every points plan a store or chain has...Optimum, AIrmiles, PC Plus, Yay, Canadian Tire Money...you name it, I sign up.  I thrill at getting $10 taken off of my grocery bill, or free gas, or free toilet paper and make-up, and recently, with Canadian Tire money, we got a water cooler with mini-fridge, Hepa filter for my youngest daughter's room AND a table top burner for the patio. 

 

Perhaps you've noticed that all of the healthier option items in the grocery store are always a little more expensive - I sure have. With these simple tips you can save money and eat healthier, and really, that's part of the battle for me.  Now all you have to do is make your food easy to prepare and delicious, and we're on the same page! Armed with these few tips, using my recipes,  you'll be well on your way!

 

Products I LOVE!!

Every now and then, I come across a product that stands head and shoulders above others I've tried of the same variety.  And when that happens....I wanna share it!

 

  • Robin Hood Nutri Blend Flour, Omega-3 & Fibre is made of whole wheat flour and ground flax seed and I use it for everything that requires flour, from gravies and batters to baking.

  • Miracle Whip with Olive Oil - the saturated fat content is greatly reduced, but the flavor is the same.

  • Terra Beata Homestyle Cranberry Orange Sauce - it contains 100% Canadian cranberries, sugar, water and oranges...no preservatives, no chemicals.

  • Sobey's Compliments Balance Margarine made with Olive Oil - it has the exact same nutirtional percentages, fats and Omegas included, as Becel, except that its lower in sodium AND much cheaper - by about $2.00 for a 907g tub

  • Sobey's Sensations Ancient Grain Rice Blend - contains a blend of brown rice, red and white quinoa and wild rice.  It costs about $5.00 for a 454g bag, which is about $7.00 cheaper than an equal size bag of quinoa from the organic section.

  • Tetley Green Tea for Tassimo - I've been drinking green tea exclusively for almost 20 years, long before it was trendy, and Tetley's Green Tea for Tassimo is my favorite - it comes out perfect every time!

Gadgets:

I'm a long way from having my dream kitchen, trust me. My current kitchen is small but it is efficient. I don't have a lot of space for gadgets and appliances, so I chose wisely.  Here are some I don't want to cook without!

 

  • T-Fal Actifry - my husband gave me this as part of my Christmas present and I am ecstatic with it! It makes the most perfect, crispy, golden brown french fries and sweet potato fries in as little as 1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil but you can also make sauces, desserts, cook mussels and make entrees like Spicy Thai Chicken Curry in it! I love it!

  • Paderno Non-Stick Skillets - they cost a little bit more but you can get a good deal at your local outlet store.  They're really worth the extra few dollars.

  • Paderno Non-Stick Utensils. I have had cheaper non-stick utensils in the past but happened to spy a complete set of Paderno on sale at the outlet for $14.99. That was two years ago and they're still in mint condition despite daily use.

  • Henckels Knives - my daughter gave me a 4" paring knife in my stocking a few years ago and they are really superior quality knives.

  • Stove Top Grill Pan - I got one for $9.99 at Walmart and use it for everything from grilling bread to cooking bacon to grilling steaks.  A must for any kitchen.

  • Magic Bullet - My kids love smoothies and with the complete starter kit, you can make protein smoothies to go for those mornings when you don't have time to sit down to breakfast. Works like a charm, easy to use, easy to clean, inexpensive.

  • Tassimo Brew System - I'm not much of a coffee drinker, but my husband is.  I prefer green tea, my youngest daughter likes hot chocolate, my oldest likes lattes and fancy coffees, and my dad is a decaf guy...the Tassimo is perfect for making individual beverages.