Saving Money When You Buy Groceries




We all like to find ways to make our paydays stretch further.  How about some tips on making our groceries go a little further too?


Here’s a few tips I’ve recently come across that may help:

  • beet greens can make a great spinach or kale substitute
  • chicken bones or beef bones are cheap to purchase and great for homemade broths
  • Use your vegetable trimmings for soups and stews
  • Leek greens are often tossed away but can be delicious if cooked a little longer. (Try them in with mac and cheese.)
  • Mushroom stems are great when chopped and used in dishes.



tight budget



Here’s a few other tips to keep in mind when shopping:

1.  Shop the Periphery
Concentrate your shopping in the periphery of the grocery store – this is where you’ll find all the healthy essentials like meat, fresh produce, dairy and bread. The more superfluous products are found in the centre aisles.

2. Buy Value-cuts of Meat
Slow-cooking and marinating are great ways to tenderize value-cuts of meat and produce flavourful, nutritious dishes. Try it with value priced cuts of Canadian beef such as Blade Simmering Steak or Sirloin Tip Marinating Steak.

3. Buy Fruits and Veggies that are in Season
Seasonal produce is not only more flavour but it’s also less expensive. Look for Canadian-grown cabbage, carrots and asparagus in the spring or year-round favourites such as mushrooms, peppers and  cucumbers. You can also buy in bulk and freeze.

4. Buy in Bulk
Many dry goods like oats, nuts, pasta, dried fruit, spices, flour, sugar and cereals are less expensive when bought in bulk. Buying Club Pack meats like ground beef and salmon provide great value and ensure you always have a supply of high quality protein. You can also freeze individual servings in resealable freezer bags.

5. Search High and Low
The least expensive products are often located at the top and at the bottom of the shelves, whereas the most expensive products are placed at eye level.

6. Check your Bill
It’s a good idea to watch each item as it’s scanned through to ensure you’re charged the correct price – especially when using coupons!

7. Store your Groceries Properly to Avoid Waste
Store meats, fish and dairy products at the back of your fridge where it’s coldest, wrap foods well and keep your fridge at 4°Celsius or colder to reduce spoilage. Keep meats on the bottom shelf so they don’t drip on other foods. Store eggs in their original carton in the body of the fridge (not on the door). Throwing out food is like throwing away money!

What are some ways that you save money?

8 Simple DIY Projects To Prepare Your Home For Fall


Canadian Basics



Weatherproof windows and doors

Unless your home and windows are brand new, there are probably some gaps that let the fall chill creep in, wrecking havoc on your electricity bill. Luckily, there are some DIY options to keep the cold weather outside, where it belongs. Caulk and less permanent weather strips can both be bought on the cheap at your local hardware store. The process of adhering weather stripping is easy, and there are many guides available, like this one from Home Depot

Winterize sprinklers

If you have a sprinkler system, it’s wise to blow it out before the first freeze. This will prevent pipes from freezing, which can cause costly plumbing repairs. Blowing out your sprinklers requires the purchase or rental of an air compressor. Though this may seem like a pricey job, ensuring your sprinkler system is properly winterized will save you a ton of money repairing it. The process itself is a fairly simple and painless procedure with simple step-by-step instructions.

Clean gutters

Over the summer months, leaves, debris and dirt have no doubt clogged your home’s only run off option. Once snow and rain start falling, these clogged gutters can cause the water to pool up in undesirable places, which can cause many problems. As the cheapest DIY option on this list, cleaning your gutters only costs the time it takes to complete. While you’re up there, it doesn’t hurt to check for any roof or gutter issues that can be dealt with before they require costly repairs.

Maintain fireplace and chimney

If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home, remember that if you clean and maintain it before winter rolls in then you can cozy up to a toasty fire when the first snow falls. It’s up to you whether you want to maintain your own chimney or hire someone to take care of it for you. Should you opt to take care of your own, there are many things to keep in mind, including inhalation, mess, wear and tear and proper damper position. To properly prepare, make sure you have a drop cloth on the floor, you wear a mask and you are ready with a vacuum to suck up the ashes. Other than the basic clean up it is also important to ensure the bricks in your chimney are holding up to avoid more costly problems down the line.

Fall colors

If you’re looking for a subtle change that’s easy on the back and wallet, simply working in some fall colors into your current décor can add autumn spice. Rather than going out and buying a bunch of new blankets or throw pillows, there are some simple color options that only cost as much as a sample bucket of paint. Pick up a few cheap picture frames from a thrift store or garage sale and a few sample cans in your favorite fall hues. Paint the frames one solid color and (ta-da!) you have a new décor. You can use these frames to re-frame current wall photos, or get more creative to make an interesting piece of art using leaves or other fall items on your mantel piece, like this one.

A festive centerpiece

Autumn is the season for gatherings. Whether it’s a football Sunday, Thanksgiving dinner or a Halloween party, there are many reasons to get together with friends and family come autumn. With everyone gathered around the table, why not put together a pretty centerpiece to get people talking? Pumpkins, leaves and corn are common fall adornments, but rather than simply spreading them all over the table, try a new trend that will get people talking. What you’ll need is a pumpkin, some fake flowers (preferably autumn hued) and some hot glue. Take your flowers and glue them to the pumpkin until completely covered. This unique floral project is appealing to the eye and can be made in any color scheme that suits your home.


Oh the joys of pumpkins! Simply putting a few on your porch can evoke nostalgia, but if you’re feeling a little more ambitious, try making flower pots or vases with these seasonal gourds. For a festive flower pot, empty out a pumpkin or gourd as you would if you were carving a jack-o-lantern. Rather than filling with a candle, top it with soil and plant your favorite seasonal flowers. Another fun option is to use a gourd as a vase. Empty out the gourd and it’s ready to be filled with water and flowers as a beautiful table display. Gourds will stay water tight for about a week, but you can also insert a bud vase to ensure there’s no leakage.

Autumn foliage

There are many cool ways to use leaves in your fall décor. Some people adhere them to candles or use them in center pieces or wreaths, but there are other creative options. Make an interesting wall hanging or shelf topper by using an old book, some colorful leaves and picture frames. To create this look, remove a few choice pages from an old book. Select your page based on the passage or simply the look of the page (think dog eared or with gold finish.) Before you start, select your favorite colorful leaves then press them between newspaper in a heavy book. After a few days, you’ll have a dry and flat leaf for decoration use. Once the leaves are ready use the book page as the backdrop and place the leaves over it in a frame and you’ll have a very pretty piece of art.

Homemade Coffee Creamer


A lot of us use coffee creamer in our morning coffees.

It takes 15 chemicals to make up coffee creamer.

The best alternative is to make your own with 3 ingredients.

I am not able to have store bought creamer with my health diet for my kidney failure.

But with these recipes I can at least have cream in my coffee!

Canadian Basics


14oz sweetened can of condensed milk

2 cups of milk

(optional) Add one of these to give the creamer a flavour:

1/3 cup flavoured syrup

Cocoa Powder

Vanilla Extract

Almond Extract


1/3 flavoured syrup

Mix together and enjoy!


2 tsps. Vanilla Extract- French Vanilla 

1 Tblsp Cinnamon, Vanilla, and Almond Extract- Strudel Cake

2 tbsps. chocolate syrup, 1 teaspoon instant coffee, 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract & 1 teaspoon almond extract – Irish Cream 

Experiment in making your own flavours!

Let us know what flavour you made and how!

$10 Meals #Simple #Kidfriendly




It is hard sometimes to get the food budget to stretch farther.

Here are some recipes that will help to feed your family and not drain the bank!


  1. Spaghetti Bake ~ Everyone in my family loves it! 
  2. Turkey Stuffing Casserole ~ You can make it with shredded chicken
  3. Tator Tot Casserole ~ You can make this with hashbrowns instead of tator tots
  4. Creamy Chicken and Rotini Primavera ~ $1.25 a serving


Canadian Basics

17 Uses For Coca-Cola




 Cleaning with Coca-Cola #DIY #Cleaners

The great thing about a product like Coca-Cola is that many of us either have it in our homes or can purchase it for great price. Coca-Cola has so many uses beyond drinking that it is great to have handy in your home.

Here is a list below on many uses for your home.

  1. Removes rust and loosens rusty bolts.
  2. Cleans oil stains from garage floors. Just pour cola on and then rinse.
  3. Kills slugs and snails. The acid kills them.
  4. Cleans burnt pans. Let pan soak in cola and then rinse them.
  5. Descales a kettle. Same method as burnt pans.
  6. Removes blood stains from fabric and clothing.
  7. Clean car battery terminals by pouring a small amount of cola over each one.
  8. Makes pennies shine. Soaking old pennies in cola will remove tarnish.
  9. Cleans tile grout. Pour on kitchen floor and then mop it up.
  10. Removes gum from hair.  Dip hair in a bowl of cola and leave for a few minutes.
  11. Removes stains from china.
  12. Remove or fade dye from hair by pouring diet Cola over it.
  13. Remove marker stains from the carpet.  Pour cola over it and scrub. And then clean with soapy water.
  14. Cleans your toilets. Pour around bowl. Leave and then flush.
  15. Cola and Aluminum foil will bring chrome to a shine.
  16. Strips paint off of metal furniture. Soak a towel in cola and leave it on paint surface.
  17. Make better compost; Coke increases the acidity, adds sugars and feeds microorganisms.

What other ways can you clean with Cola?

Spicy Sweet Potatoes #Recipe









Spicy Sweet Potatoes Recipe

Spicy Sweet Potatoes #Recipe
Cuisine: side dish
Author: Canadian Basics
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Spicy Sweet Potato Recipe
  • 3 Large Sweet Potatoes (cut into 1 inch pieces)
  • 6 teaspoons of Olive Oil
  • 6 teaspoons of Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of Chili Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
  1. In a ziploc plastic bag, toss in potatoes and oil.
  2. Combine rest of the ingredients and add to the ziploc bag and coat.
  3. Transfer to a baking dish. (greased)
  4. Bake uncovered at 400 oF for 40-45mins until potatoes are tender. (stir every 15 mins)



Homemade No-Bake Granola Bars

homemade granola bars







No-Bake Granola Bars

(recipe makes a 9×13 pan)

Homemade No-Bake Granola Bars
Author: Canadian Basics
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
2 cups quick cooking oats (or pulse whole oats in a food processor a bit) 1 C rice crispy cereal 1/4 C shredded coconut 1/4 C butter 1/4 C honey 1/2 C brown sugar 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats (or pulse whole oats in a food processor a bit)
  • 1 C rice crispy cereal
  • 1/4 C shredded coconut
  • 1/4 C butter
  • 1/4 C honey
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  1. Mix in variations listed below:
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the oats, cereal and coconut. Set a small saucepan over medium high heat and melt the butter. Add the honey, brown sugar and salt. Stir together then leave it alone as it comes to a boil. Once the boil has reached all the way around the edges of the pan, begin timing. Allow this mixture to boil for 2 minutes and 15 seconds. During this time, you may need to turn the heat down a bit so it doesn’t overflow, but be sure it keeps boiling.
  3. Pour the mixture over the oats, using a rubber spatula to get all the sugar mixture out of the pan. Mix the ingredients together until the oats are completely coated. Add in your desired mix-in then press very firmly into a lightly greased 9×13″ pan. If you like your bars thicker, you can use a smaller pan. If you do not press firmly enough, the bars will fall apart when you eat them. Place them in the fridge for 20 minutes then cut to size.
  4. Chocolate Chip
  5. Add 1/2 C of mini chocolate chips to the finished mixture before pressing into the pan, allowing it cool just a bit or you will end up with melted chips. Sprinkle on a few extra chips over the top after they are pressed into the pan.
  6. White Chocolate Cranberry
  7. Add 1/3 C of white chocolate chips and 1/3 C of Craisins to the finished mixture before pressing into the pan, allowing it to cool just a bit first or you will end up with melted chips.
  8. Candy Bar
  9. Add 1/3 C of Heath bar pieces, 1/3 C of mini M&M’s and 1/3 C of chopped pretzels to the finished mixture before pressing into the pan.
  10. Peanut Butter
  11. Add 2 Tb of peanut butter to the finished sugar mixture before pouring it over the oats. Once mixed with the oats, add 1/2 C peanut butter chips before pressing into the pan.
  12. Raisin Nut
  13. Add 1/3 C of chopped raisins and 1/3 C of chopped pecans to the finished mixture before pressing into the pan.





Frugal Valentine's Day Ideas!


With Valentine’s Day around the corner, many are thinking about how to spend the day with their special someone! 

Doing so doesn’t mean spending a lot.

Here are some frugal ways to enjoy the day!


  1. Make a coupon booklet up for your special someone. Add your hearts desire into the book. (Date night, night off from cooking, foot rub, etc) Just a fun booklet for your special someone to be able to use those coupons when they wish throughout the year.  Click HERE to use the free template!

  2. Instead of going out, eat dinner in! Make supper together or surprise your special someone with a romantic dinner by candle light.

  3. If you have Netflix, pick a movie and enjoy it with some snacks.

  4. Give is a college of photos of your life together. If you have saved any items from the past like ticket stubs or brochures from trips, include them as well!

  5. Stick love notes in areas your special someone will look in the morning. (sock drawer, bathroom mirror, coffee maker) Brighten their morning with notes about why you love them.

  6. If you have a firepit in your backyard,  pour yourselves each a drink and sit out under the stars at night with a blanket and enjoy a fire. You can sit and talk and share some laughs.

  7. If you are spending the day with your children, you can spend the day doing Valentine’s Day crafts and make Heart Shaped meals. (heart shaped mini pizzas, salads with heart shaped boiled eggs, pancakes with hearts made from strawberries) and end the day with a kid-friendly movie on Netflix or from your own collection of movies.


There are lots of ways to enjoy the day!

Let your imagination run wild and share the day with your loved ones!

Regrowing Food From Scraps ~ So Simple!

regrowing food




 Regrowing Food

 Help shave valuable dollars off your grocery bill and make the most of what you’ve already purchased by regrowing common produce items. In addition, try your hand at growing with seeds and other materials. It’s a great way to teach kids about how to grow food.

Celery: Cut the bottom 2.5 cm (1 inch) off a stalk of celery and place it in a bowl with the cut side facing up. Put a little bit of water in the bottom of the bowl, and place it in a sunny place. After a few days, roots and leaves will start to form. At this point you can either plant outside in the garden or transfer to a larger pot.

Tip: Save the leafy parts of the celery too! Add them to soup for a little extra flavour!

Potatoes or Sweet Potatoes: Use about a quarter of a potato (a piece with two root eyes is ideal). Either keep it inside to watch and ensure it sprouts, or place directly into the garden, eye side up. If you keep it inside, let it dry out for a day to reduce the chance of mould. Place toothpicks into both sides of the potato piece, then place it on top of a glass of water. The toothpicks will hold some of the potato above water, but the eyes should be submerged. The roots will grow into the water and the leaves will grow toward the top. When there are enough roots, transplant into the garden.

More ideas for Regrowing Food

Ginger: Use a piece of ginger with a knob, or one with an arm sticking out of the main body of the root. Soak the root overnight, then bury it in a pot of rich soil with good drainage. Be sure to keep the soil moist. Ginger does best in the shade or as a houseplant. It cannot tolerate cold weather or drought. If given the right conditions, ginger is very easy to grow.

Green Onions: Cut off the bulb and roots (the white end) and place it roots down in a glass of water overnight. Replant outside or in a large pot the next day, and it will start growing quickly.

Even more ideas for regrowing food

Leeks: Cut off the bulb, just like you would with green onions, and place it in a shallow glass of water. Change the water and wash the roots once a week. Harvest fresh leeks when they’re big enough to eat.

Romaine Lettuce: Cut off the bottom inch of a head of romaine lettuce. Place it roots down into a shallow glass of water, and new leaves will grow from the top.

Yet Even more ideas for regrowing food

Garlic: Plant a single clove of garlic root side down (flat end) into a few inches of potting soil. Once shoots start sprouting, cut them back so the bulb will be able to grow, and eventually you will have a fresh garlic bulb. Use a clove off the new bulb to start growing another for later.

Tip: If you choose not to regrow food scraps, save them in a container in the freezer until you have enough to flavour your favourite soup recipe.

10 Ways to Minimize Your Food Costs #Frugal



With the price of food going up and our wallets going down, here are some ways to minimize your food costs. canadian basics

1. Cook from scratch

I understand sometimes you don’t feel like cooking. What I do for those times is I have foods frozen that we enjoy in the freezer. You can cook up big batches and freeze it that way if you don’t want to cook you can pull out a freezer meal, pop it in the oven and enjoy! Now that’s not saying you can’t use premade food like can soups or frozen meals but purchase them on coupons to get more for your buck.

2. Have a meatless meal

Use beans, tofu, lentils in place of meat for a meal. Have fun experimenting with new meals to have. You might find you want it more than one night a week!

3. Buy in Bulk (on sale of course) or buy several items at sale price

Bulk buying is great if on sale. I will also use the Bulk Barn coupons. Another way to save is buying several items on sale. Is something normally $3 but you can get it for $1? Purchase several of them if you use them. That way you always have some on hand. I do this with cake mixes. I wait until they are $1 and I buy 10 of them. It allows me to always have something available for my kid’s lunches or snacks.


4.Shop with a list

Plan your meal plan. Figure out what you need to make your meals for a certain amount of weeks. I usually go by 2 weeks. So I plan our meals for two weeks and try to stick on that list. I also list any sales I wish to pick up by going through the flyers and coupons. It is a lot of planning but it saves money in the end.

5. Buy vegetables in season

Buying in season allows you to get better value. Farmers stands are also a better value for your buck. You can buy big amounts and freeze them to last you during the winter for stews, soups and pasta sauce.

6. Look at discounted section at your fruit/vegetable area in your grocery store

Discounted vegetables/fruits area is a great way to pick up fruits and vegetables for half the price they regularly cost.  You can see them before you get them and usually they are fine to use right away. Great for using for supper that night or for freezer meals that you are doing.

7. Regrow your own vegetables and fruit with a greenhouse

I have just started this step. With the fact that fruit and vegetables are costly, I have decided to do it through a greenhouse. Mike and I have been building it and it should be finished soon. It is quite easy to build your own and if you have the room it is a great addition to your backyard. You can also purchase them premade.

8. Regrow Your Scraps

If you don’t have a room for a greenhouse or garden, another thing you can do is regrow your scraps. CLICK HERE to see what scraps you can use to regrow your vegetables from!

9.Shop near closing time at markets.

At closing time of markets bake goods are usually marked down to a cheaper price. Buy fresh bread and use that for making stuffing etc. Freeze the bread for later use.

10. Clearance areas

Always check your clearance areas of stores. Make sure you have your coupons with you! (Go to our sister site Coupon Nannie to find out what coupons are HOT right now HERE)