Grocery Shopping at Dollarama – How much can you save?

It’s no secret that grocery prices like everything else are going through the roof but can you really do grocery shopping at the Dollarama? How much can you save? Is it worth the trip or should you not bother?

What did I get for my $70? Was it worth it or not?

The grocery bills are soaring , the gas bills are soaring, all our bills are soaring and we need to find ways to save. Remember when grocery stores use to have dollar days and when items at the Dollarama were only $1? Those were the good old days. Now you cannot pick up anything for a dollar unless you really look and it is more and more important to know your prices.

Tonight I noticed the pantry cupboard was getting pretty low and after dropping the one of the girls off to Brownies , me and the other child headed for Dollarama to see what deals we could find!.

The first items were the kids favouite to have for the weekend lunch day or to put in a thermos for school lunch but these items have skyrocketed in the last while. Regular price at Superstore is $2.19 a can. If you buy a minimum of 4 you can save $0.44 a can. If I was to buy the 8 cans at full price would be $17.52 and at the discounted rate of $1.75 I would be looking at $14.00. The great news is that Dollarama has these for $1.25 each! I was able to get 8 of them for $10.00 saving me $4.00 off the multi buy price or a whooping $7.52 off the single can pricing!

I was pumped saving $4.00 off just one of my items I needed to stock the pantry with so I was excited for the next items the kids enjoy, which is rice and pasta! Normally we do a lot of cooking from scratch but some days who has time and well somethings are just easier all ready spiced up and ready.

Knorr Sidekicks noodles and Ben’s Fast & Fancy Rices

Knorr Sidekicks sell for $2.19 each as well at the local Atlantic Superstore but if you buy 3 you can get them for the discounted price of $2.00 each saving $0.19 each package! I was grabbing 4 packages of them, 2 different kinds. If I was to purchase signally at Supestore we are looking at $8.76 but since I was buying 4 I could save and only need to spend $8 saving $0.76! The Dollarama sells them for $1.50 each making four of them $6.00 . I’m saving $2.00 from the bulk price and $2.76 from the single price.

Ben’s rice for the simply Fast & Fancy retails for $1.99 each but if you buy 3 you can pay only $1.33 each saving $0.66 EACH! Once again the Dollarama charges only $1.25. I was buying 8 of them and only paid $10.00!

Those hot chicken gravy packages are 2/$1.25 , comparable gravy packages are $1.99 or if you buy more than 3 you can get them for $1.66 but at Dollarama you are paying approximately $0.63. You save $1.03 EACH!! I bought 4 and saved $4.12 .

These 4 items alone and I have saved $14.78 at Minimum.

’m not going to explain every single item but each and every item you save money on! I spent $69.87 and purchased 49 items! Bag of chips were $2 each, chocolate bars $0.87, Basmati Rice, $1.00, Manwich $1.50, Vermicelli $1.50 and lots of extra’s to keep the kiddos happy. I will admit I did splurge $3.50 on Salsa . I saved about $25 over all compared to the lowest price at the cheapest grocery store prices locally. We didn’t need bread or canned meats or tuna but if I needed them I would too have purchased them here as the savings cannot be beat!

Let us know what other finds we need to check out next time we are trying to fill our pantry!

Is Private Label Store Brand Food Really Cheaper?

You have seen all the tips and trick of grocery shopping but is the private label brand food really cheaper than the brand name food? Today I looked at various foods and found that the way things are placed on the shelf and their pricing strategy are designed to make you think that private label is cheaper and increasing their sale. Are you really getting the best bang for you buck?

I’ve always been conscious of pricing of things and always looking for the best deal. I have a fairly good idea on what is a price point that is expensive, reasonable and fill that cart and stock up price. A large majority of people know this for most items they buy on a regular basis and grab deals when they can. How many people based that on habit of buying the item opposed to actual math and signage? Everyone looks at the big sticker price but very few check the small print on the tag . I watched today at the grocery store and never saw a single person look at the small print on the tag . You than have the added confusion of stores strategically placing similar private label along side of brand name items but with a lower sticker price on the big price tag even if the packing was smaller. Most people, because their is a significant price different quickly rationalize the smaller portion as the price is so good and it is not that much smaller so you are saving money. That however is not true at all and I have some pictures to show you.

I needed some canned pumpkin and it is not an item I normally buy on a regular basis so I have no idea what a good price or bad price is for this item. I looked at both the private label and the brand name quickly, noted the price difference and initially had the private label one as it appeared without really looking to be the best deal. I stopped and thought, wait, let me check and I was like “WHAT??”

At initial glance the 389 ml of No Name Pumpkin at $3.29 looked like the best deal compared to the 796 ml of E.D Smith pumpkin for $4.99 that was directly beside it on the shelf. Due to the shapes of the can, just looking at them didn’t seem like a big difference, until you look at the small print. The small print written to the left of the shelf tag above the bar code gives you the numbers you need to compare to see if you are really getting the best deal. The name brand one is Actually 20 cents cheaper per 100 ml of product that the no name one! That should be the opposite way around shouldn’t it, if private label really is the cheaper option?? The private label no name pumpkin cost you $0.82 per 100 ml of product whereas the brand name E.D. Smith pumpkin will only cost you $0.62 per 100 ml of product! This wasn’t even an item that was on sale, this is regular every day prices. It was a common theme throughout the store that product after product, the private label was actually more expensive than the brand name product.

Tips to Cut down on Food Cost by Wasting Less :) #Wasteless #Foodcosts

  • Watch out for the Bulk Trap/Costco Trap – Do you really need a HUGE box or package; even though it’s an amazing deal! Will you use up all the items before it goes bad?
  • Skip the Keurig and buy reusable pods instead
  • Organic Milk lasts longer than regular
  • Add Popsicle sticks to the top of single-serve yogurt and place them in the freezer; they make amazing Yogurt popsicles.
  • Other leftover yogurts can be placed in the freezer and are great for making smoothies!
  • Know what needs to go in the fridge and what should be left on the counter
  • Organize the Fridge
  • Don’t mix fruits and Veggies they spoil each other,
  • Watch your local supermarket’s clearance rack, you can often get vegetables and fruit at up to 50% off due to one or two brown spots! A brown spot has never sent anyone to the hospital 🙂 Loblaws has a great app FlashFoods that is perfect for that!
  • One bad apple can ruin the bunch! Apples, berries, potatoes, onions — all of them can be jeopardized by just one rotten spoiler. Check the bag before you put it away.
  • You can place leftover cooked vegetables such as corn, peas, etc into a bag and place in the freezer; they re a great addition to the next time hamburger helper, or any other addition!
  • Non-cooked vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, etc can be placed into a baggie and into the freezer; next time you cook pizza or pasta they are right there 🙂
  • Break your bananas apart and increase their counter-life. if you MUST keep them bunched, wrap the stems in aluminum foil.
  • Banana’s not ripe yet? Simply place them in a brown paper bag loosely shut for a day or pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  • When using lettuce, either rip the lettuce or use a plastic lettuce knife (you can purchase at the dollar store) when cutting your lettuce; it allows it to last longer and prevents it from going brown!
  • Make your scallions last longer by keeping them in a jar of water in the fridge.
  • Keep items such as carrots cut up in cold water in the fridge; kids are more apt to eat them quickly and no waste.
  • Hang onions in pantyhose and they will last for up to eight months!
  • Placing an apple in with potatoes stops the potatoes from sprouting
  • Extend your bread’s life with a celery stalk. The moisture in the celery helps keep the bread soft.
  • First wrap in wax or cheese paper, then stick in a plastic baggie. Gently place the precious cheese in the warmest part of the fridge (vegetable or cheese drawer).
  • Cheese can easily be frozen; simply place it in the freezer and place it in the fridge and allow it to thaw naturally; you will never know the difference
  • A new use for those ice trays. Rosemary, sage, thyme and oregano will all freeze well. Dill, basil, and mint, however, should only be used fresh.
  • Ice trays are also great storage for leftover baby food; fill the tray and freeze and it helps prolong the life of those leftovers instead of throwing them in the trash
  • You’re more likely to store your food properly if you have the right equipment. Invest in reusable, glass Tupperware (stores better than the plastic disposable kind), as well as chip clips, and cookie tins. Ensure you label things correctly!
  • Left-over pasta sauce, etc is great to be placed in the freezer to have in a pinch, great for homemade pizza’s
  • Use your kitchen scraps to make homemade vegetable stock.
  • Use all parts of your fruits and vegetables
  • Turn day-old rice into fried rice.
  • Don’t be fooled by their shrivelling exterior: Dried-up mushrooms can reconstitute and cook up just fine. (To be clear: Dried up is fine. Slimy is not.)
  • You can pickle pretty much anything, so if you’re wondering what to do with all that kohlrabi your CSA keeps giving to you or even your watermelon rinds, this might just be the answer.
  • (Pro-tip: Save your pickle brine and use it again.
  • Turn leftover bread into croutons.
  • Use brown bananas to make banana bread.
  • Add cheese rinds to soups and sauces for extra flavour.
  • Save leftover wine in the freezer Another new use for your ice trays: Pour leftover wine and freeze. Next time a recipe calls for wine, use these.
  • Don’t confuse “sell-by,” “best-by,” or “use-by” with “toss-by.”
  • You can refreeze cooked meat to prolong the use.
  • Eggs that are close to being rotten; cook the eggs and the cooked eggs will last longer or pickle the eggs for even more prolonged use.
  • Donate what you don’t want
  • Always take a doggie bag
  • If you cannot clean your plate feed the dog! {Remember dogs can’t eat chocolate, raisins, grapes, garlic & onions }
  • Compost – it is law in most places.

Please share with us any more you may have in the comments

Food Creating Kindness

Food Creating Kindness in the Chaos of 2020 #Kindness

Creating Kindness in the Chaos of 2020

The year 2020 has been like no other we have ever experienced. We are in the worst pandemic and financial crisis in our lifetimes. Covid-19 shut us all down quickly as it swept the globe. Cities and countries SHUT DOWN. What followed after that was not any better, with every month bringing more and more hardships and uncertainty. I personally couldn’t wait for this year to be over and then something unexpected happened. I know they say everything happens for a reason, I’m not sure the real reason but I am so grateful that I got to be part of and witness the pure kindness and willingness to help others that I witnessed over the last few days. The chaos of this year has brought out the worst in people and I didn’t have hope until this happened.

We have farm animals and we are always telling stores, employees, and people with gardens we will take your old food, greens from gardens, pumpkins from Halloween, or any free food our pigs, chickens and other poultry will eat. We use to get bread from the bread store in the city all the time to feed the animals but it was usually expired or pretty darn close. This experience was going to be different. Stores that sell food are very picky about what they put on shelves, so if the food comes in partial frozen, frozen, they run out of room, it’s going to expire before they can sell it and a new order comes in, there are tons of reasons that a store needs to unload food and in a hurry. We got just such a call the other night saying did we want fruits and veggies at about 7:30 at night. We had no idea what we were going was about to happen.

We got to the store a while later as we live in a rural area of Nova Scotia, and the closest community with street lights is a 15-minute drive. We get there and they are taking the plastic off the pallet to loading the truck. We filled the truck not once but twice. The store tried to get a hold of local non-profits and was only able to get one that took as much as they could. The amount of food was overwhelming. I was thankful it did not get tossed as it so often happens with retailers. I am not mentioning the retailer as I do not need them getting any grief from anyone, they had reasons to discard the stock and did everything to ensure it got not to be wasted if it was people or animals who got it as long as it didn’t end up in a landfill.

I’m sure you have been screaming at the screen asking what we got and what it looks like, I’m getting to it. I took the opportunity to take lots of pictures and write down steps to show everyone how much food I was able to preserve and how. Did I mention the day before this gift of food my husband got a deer; it’s muzzleloader season here so we had that we were ready to process but got distracted.

The List of Fruits and Vegetables includes:

  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Baby Carrots
  • Lemons
  • Avocados
  • Limes
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Baby Tomatoes
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honey Dew Melon
  • Beets
  • Red, Orange & Yellow Peppers
  • Kiwis
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Pineapple
  • Oranges
  • Nectarines
  • Grapefruit
  • Onions

There were single boxes of some and multiple boxes of others, some were in bags and all were wrapped in plastic. We called the neighbour, my daughter was home from university on study week, and we loaded all the stuff on our deck for the night until we could come up with a game plan. My husband gathered a bunch of things to hand to our neighbour for help and told him to come back tomorrow and we would fill him and his family up. They are a young couple with a child, new to the area and she is a vegetarian and well Covid has not been kind to anyone’s pocketbook.

I checked over the food and my jaw dropped with each box, realizing the list of food described above in that list and began to bring in all the products I knew 100% sure we were going to use in this house. I knew I would have a lot of work ahead of me but there was no way the pigs were getting this food. Instead of buying groceries, hubby went to the local furniture store and purchased a new deep freezer. I really couldn’t wait until the next day so I grabbed boxes and placed them all over our house. I took 12 pieces of paper out of the printer and put 12 families’ names on them and placed 2 boxes or bags when we had no boxes emptied yet. I then began to load them up with everything and when I mean everything, I don’t mean if one of each thing or one container of each thing, I mean multiple of each thing.

As mentioned earlier the couple down the road, is a vegetarian, I put a box of avocados aside just for her as I knew the iron is essential for her balanced diet. We filled up 2 huge boxes with enough to fill a small chest freezer and her fridge and that freezer. They were extremely grateful. I contacted the people I was making boxes for to ensure I only had things they liked and added extra things I knew they could use. I think people were in disbelief, and this isn’t even where creating kindness started.

That same night, my mind was racing seeing so much food and thinking about what could be made and what could be frozen and what could be dehydrated and who else needed food was making my mind swirl. I reached out to more people on social media and arranged for them to come out to pick up food the following day. My husband and the oldest were going to hand out boxes while my daughter and I went in town to make deliveries. People were thankful and people were thanking us for creating kindness and thanking them BUT that’s not even the BEST PART…… as we are driving home my phone is going off like crazy people thanking us, people for crying saying how much they appreciated it but also saying, they too knew people who needed some help through this time and they shared what we gave them and those people shared with people. I cried and for the first time this year, my faith in people was restored. These were not rich people by any means and they shared their gifts with others and so on.

I cried when I left . I love u .. ur the kindest lady ever . I had a boxes picked out for them too. I gave my parents a bunch of mine. And I froze all the peppers. Hockey team went through the bananas Both kids teams for them.

One Happy person
This is a person we shared with Creating Kindness to others

I appreciate it a lot! I will also share!

A person who also created Kindness

Thank you so much Dana this is appreciated ♥️♥️♥️ XXXXXX said she was going to make jam with her fruit

A good friend who’s talking about her veggies and someone else I dropped off too

In between prepping a huge list of foods for our home, we continued to sort and contact people. The only thing that shocked me is the people who refused. People with kids who are not well off refused free healthy in plastic, never touched by anyone as I witnessed it myself free food. I have no clue what anyone would offer such a gift but to each their own. This began on Thursday and we are on Sunday and we still are not done. We had to process my husband’s deer as well so we were busy.

I began to post the things I was doing on my personal Facebook and thankfully I got messages asking for more stuff. My husband and I so far have done the following:

  • 12 bags of a dozen lemons – Frozen
  • 6 bags of homemade tomatoes sauce made from baby tomatoes
  • 1 extra large freezer bag of baby carrots for the freezer
  • 4 extra larger freezer bags with 1/2 cabbage and 2 bags of baby carrots each to make homemade coleslaw for the Freezer
  • 12 bottles of beets
  • 1 extra large bag of dehydrated kiwi which is 144 kiwis; I peeled each one
  • 30 lbs of frozen bananas
  • 1 dehydrated pineapple
  • 1 pineapple – Frozen
  • 1 Cantaloupe – Frozen
  • 12 cups avocado baby food (for grandson)
  • 8 containers approx 2 cups each of baby sweet potatoes
  • 24 bottles of salsa
  • 6 lbs of dehydrated apples
  • 10 bottles of tomato sauce (made from bigger tomatoes)
  • 24 lbs of frozen bananas
  • 16 lbs of dehydrated bananas
  • 10 donair loaves (approx 2 1/2 lbs each) of venison
  • 10 packages of Maple Bacon Ground Venison
  • 8 packages of Venison with 6-8 pieces of meat

I have never peeled so many bananas in my life or kiwis. I will have future posts on how I prepared all the food and what we did to show you all and hopefully, you can save money this way as well. Even if you cannot get a donation of fruits and veggies you can use As I was posting the things I was doing people wanted recipes and well were to find more ingredients so I gave out more tomatoes and bananas for salsa and for freezing. So we bundled up more stuff. We got feedback from people who gave lots of things away, sharing with hockey teams and food banks and parking in parking lots giving away food, creating kindness everywhere! People are creating items from their goods and sharing even those items.

The people helped by this, directly and indirectly, were at least 100 people. I have not spoken to one person who didn’t share what they had. We still have some fruit and veggies to finish up for our grandson Noah’s baby food and I still have stuff in the dehydrator and things soaking in the fridge and something in the slow cooker. The food prep is almost done with a 7 cubic chest freezer 3/4 full of fruits, veggies & venison all at no cost to us except labour, wrapping and any spices. We needed a new freezer so filling it for free was a nice treat, creating kindness and having others create kindness.

Be sure to check back for the rest of the posts on how I preserved all this food and how you can save hundreds of dollars as well. You may not get a food donation however getting discount fruits and veggies from Flash Food or saving the food you buy so that you have no waste and use all the food you buy.