Category Archives: Tips and tricks

Welcome back readers.

It has been a wild and busy year in the Common Cents household. I apologize for dropping off the face of the earth for the last 6 months, but real life has demanded my time.

I have had so many things I have wanted to share in that time, but trying to write it out was on the bottom of my priority list.

I’m going to come back and give you what I can. I won’t be posting the weekly prices anymore. My grocery shopping habits have lost their schedule. I find that I have stocked up on so many things that I mostly only buy some fresh food and a couple sale items each week or two. I will gladly pass on copies of my spreadsheets if anyone wants to use them for their own.

What I would like to bring you are recipes that I try, money saving tips, online shopping resources, and health related news. I can’t guarantee any sort of scheduling, and I won’t be waxing poetic in my posts, but I will share what I have played with.

You are also more than welcome to ask me anything you think I may be able to give you an answer (or opinion) about. I’m also willing to test out recipes or techniques and share my results.

Let me know what I can do for you to make this a blog you want to keep coming back to. You can email me through the website, drop me a note on Facebook, or rant at me on Twitter.


Talk to you soon!


Can we talk school lunches?

My son starts kindergarten in 2 weeks! OMG, where has the time gone. It just recently dawned on me that I will have to prepare a lunch for him every day from now until at least 2020. Where do I start? What if he can’t take peanut butter? How do I keep foods safe to eat?


I ask you, the readers, for any and all advice you can give me about school lunches.

What are you feeding your kids? Are you packing a drink in a container or a juice box? What kind of containers are you using? Are you leaving them notes?

Inspire us with your fun ideas, include links to your favorite websites.

Why we canceled our TV service

Easy answer: because it is expensive, there is never anything on, and it is all free on the internet.


I have been a TV aficionado pretty much my whole life.  When I was growing up a meaningful family evening consisted of Home Improvement  or Law & Order. I have always had cable or satellite service as an adult paying my own bills. Until recently, our TV was always on when we were awake, whether we were watching it or not.

We still love TV, but we have developed a different relationship with it. These days we only want to watch specific shows on our schedule. Watching TV on the internet has given us completely different control over our TV watching. Now we watch what we want when we want. We don’t have to worry about if the VCR or DVR was set to record properly. We can watch our favorite shows where every we have access to internet. The lack of commercials doesn’t hurt either. At most you get one commercial between segments, but most websites don’t have any commercials at all.

Every Canadian network has some or all of their programming available online now. A high percentage is available in high definition. Most TV shows are available the day after it originally aired. If you are a person who records shows, this wouldn’t be any different for you.

To make internet streaming TV seem more normal we connect a laptop to our TV with an HDMI cable and change the display settings to use extended desktop. Check into the connection options of your hardware.  I also recommend you check the bandwidth limitations of your internet service level.  Shaw customers can log into their account online to see their limits and their usage stats, I’m not familiar with Telus.

We do pay for Netflix. I know most of the content is older, or low budget, but there are a lot of movies and programs I have never watched. For $8 a month it gives us a little extra selection.

Here is a list of the channel websites I have found that stream free TV content within Canada:


Much Music

Learning & lifestyle:
Knowledge network
National Geographic
Food Network

Disney Junior

Free documentaries
Spike TV

Tell us about any other websites you watch TV on. Is there a specific show you are looking for that I can help you find? Tell us about your TV preferences in the comments below.

Where to find coupons in Canada

I’ve had many people ask where I get all my coupons. It’s really not hard once you start looking.

One of my eastern Canada counterparts has written a very informative post on how to find coupons in Canada. There are more out there than you realize.

Miss Savings Girl: Where to find coupons in Canada.

Tell us in the comments where you find coupons. I always like a good tip.

Reading around the interweb:

Strange things happening in China’s food supply. Are we any safer here? Mark Bittman discusses

What do the labels really mean? This is American, but the Canadian labels are almost identical.

Watch those restaurant calories Even labeled items can be inaccurate.

How do food prices affect childhood obesity?


Looking for a healthier pancake?
The Eat Clean cottage cheese pancake packs a load of protein into breakfast, and you won’t even notice.


1 1/4 cups/300ml whole-wheat flour
1 tsp/5ml baking powder
2 tbsp/30ml maple sugar flakes (or sugar)
1/2 tsp/2.5ml ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp/1.25ml sea salt
8 egg whites (or 1 cup of whole eggs)
1 cup/240ml fat-free cottage cheese
1 cup/240ml fat-free plain yogurt
Cooking Spray


1. Combine first five ingredients in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center.

2. Combine eggs, cottage cheese and yogurt in a small bowl. Pour into well. Stir until just moistened.

3. Heat a nonstick pan or griddle or prepare a skillet with cooking spray. Heat should be medium high. Use 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook until lightly browned on both sides.

Nutritional Value per Pancake Calories: 81 Calories from Fat: 2 Protein: 7g Carbs: 12g Dietary Fiber: 1g Sugars: 3g Fat: 0.3g Sodium: 112mg

Find more healthy recipes in one of my favorite cook books

Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook: Great-tasting Recipes That Keep You Lean

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