grocery game monthly challenge

How To Calculate Your Monthly Grocery Costs: The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #2 Jan 11-17

how to calculate your monthly grocery costs(1)BUDGET ONE STEP AT A TIME

 

One of the top questions I get asked is “How much should my grocery budget be?” and I reply,  “How much are your current monthly grocery costs?”

Before determining your grocery budget it’s important to know what your current situation is costing you. 

Most often my question goes unanswered or I get a response of “I don’t know” because for some consumers grocery shopping is simply buying food for the week and paying the bill.

Unfortunately budgeting and frugality are not normally part of the shopping trip until it becomes necessary for some people. Don’t make this be you.

A food budget should be essential for everyone unless you have unlimited income where money is of no object to you. Not many of us reading the blog are that fortunate I’m afraid.

Typical grocery costs per month will differ from person to person depending on many factors such as size of the family, income level, health and special diets and so on. You can read all about that in the post I linked above.

Currently it’s high-season for budgets now that new year has arrived and people want to get back on track financially or they’ve set goals for the year to pay off debt. The blog is busting with people looking for answers about food costs and budgeting which happens every year. Although I do my best to answer every email or message I get sometimes it’s easier to just write about what the majority of readers are asking me.

I do my best to explain how we budget and what we did to arrive at our current numbers so the readers will have some sort of benchmark idea of what to do. I’m not saying our way is perfect but it has worked for us and contributed to helping us pay off our mortgage in 5 years.

A typical months grocery expenses for our household is $235 for 2 people and a toddler plus a $25 stockpile budget. Although this may seem like a tight budget to you remember it depends on many factors all of which should pertain to your situation. Even then this years budget may not work for us with price increases across the board which means we will have to review our situation before it gets out of hand.

Before you can start any type of grocery budget I’m going to share with you a few things you should do in order to be a successful shopper.

 

How did we come up with our grocery budget?

 

Over the years we have learned so much about grocery budgets and shopping in general that I wonder why more people don’t invest a bit more time learning how to save more money on groceries. With the prices of groceries slated to go up this year many of you have told me that it’s time to buckle down and get serious with your grocery budget.

I don’t blame you one bit.

 

Document your monthly grocery costs

 

If you don’t know what you are currently spending at the grocery store every month the first thing you need to do is document. We did this and realized we were spending far too much money on food even though we thought we were saving money using coupons.

Even if you are on a fixed income you need to know how much money you can spend freely without going into debt. No one wants to create debt buying food or even pay interest on a credit card because you are spending more than you can afford.

Take a month to document everything you buy at the grocery store on a typical shop without thinking about money unless you already have a set amount to spend. You might not even know if that amount is enough money but you will know when you’ve done these exercises.

Keep in mind the monthly food total that you get will be an average grocery cost because there may be some months that you spend more money to buy those one-off items. You know when you run out of ketchup or horseradish. Stuff like that.

Typing out your weekly grocery shop and reviewing what you are buying including the prices will give you a estimate of just how much your monthly grocery costs are. You may or may not be shocked by this number but if you are shocked it’s imperative that you get on a grocery budget that works in your favour.

I’ve chatted to many fans over the years who said they couldn’t believe they were spending $1200 a month on groceries for their small family. One reader even wrote a blog post for CBB to share just how she cut her grocery budget from $1100 a month to $600 in just 6 months. This post is very popular which leads me to believe that many people are struggling with their expenses and want to learn how to make changes. This is good news.

This is what we did to figure out just how much money we needed to save each month for food after we got paid.

 

Start budgeting

 

You can’t complain about the cost of food if you aren’t budgeting or at least know the exact amount you can spend on monthly food costs. If you just go to the grocery store and spend money and complain that you aren’t buying much maybe you should review the way you grocery shop and how to get more out of your money.

Once you find out how much your monthly grocery costs are you need to figure out if you should add more to your grocery budget allowance or spend less. Typically I would track expenses for 2-3 months to get the best idea but if you are time-strapped then one month will do.

If you can pull off a year of documenting your monthly grocery costs you will have an even better number for the start of the year. Even then, prices change so it’s just an estimate but certainly a number that’s worth it’s weigh in gold when it comes to you financial health.

If you have no idea what your monthly grocery allowance is because you don’t budget I would suggest downloading my free budget or finding a budget that works for you. It takes no time at all to fill in a budget which will give you numbers that will change your financial life if you stick with it.

By now you should know how much you can afford to spend at the grocery store.

What should you do next?

 

Learning about your shopping expenses

 

If you found that you were spending too much money on groceries during your one month of documenting monthly grocery costs I would recommend that you continue to document your shops. Posting your shops in the grocery game challenge is a great way to see how much you are spending, interact with a team of savers and potentially win a PC Gift Card to cut down on food expenses on your next shop.

Alternatively just track what you are buying at home just so you know. Not knowing is like pulling the covers over your budget and telling it to do what it wants. That always ends bad or costs you money you could have saved towards retirement or to put towards your education, debt or other life goals.

If you only want to find out how much money you’re spending on food every month all you need to do is document what you are spending on food. It’s that easy. Some people like to split their grocery category into a few categories like Food, Pet, Health and Beauty and Cleaning supplies. The reason behind this is so they can track just how much they are spending in each category to give them a more accurate number. This is what we chose to do a couple of years back and it has worked out great for us.

So before you do a search online about how much you think your grocery budget should be realize that the only way you are going to find out is by doing research on your own spending habits and by using a budget. Even trying to estimate or use budget costs that other families use will never work. Every situation is different.

It’s true that it’s easier to say that food is costing you more money and you just keep on paying for it but when you realize just how much you can save you’ll never turn back. If you don’t care, you wouldn’t be here right now so don’t click x and leave, read my Ultimate Grocery Guide and start saving money today.

How did you first find out how much you were really spending on groceries before you started to use a budget?

 

January Grocery Game Challenge posts 2016

 

Join in the 2016 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each GGC blog post. Here are the rules to get you started and where you’ll also find a link for the updated 2016 GGC schedule. Please feel free to download, save and even print the schedule so it’s handy. Thanks to Mary for putting this together for us again this year. If you need any help please let me know.

New monthly prize: $10 President’s Choice Gift Card for Canadian residents only BUT If you want to play from outside of Canada and have PayPal and you win I will pay you $10CDN. I use a random online generator to pick the winning ballot every month.

If you missed any grocery game posts for the month I will post the line-up each week here for you so you don’t have to go looking for past GGC posts for the month. This makes posting a bit easier although all you need to do is click on The Grocery Game Challenge on the homepage sidebar and you will see them all.

 

Free Money Saving Tools 2016

 

I know I blast you every which way I can on this blog about my free money saving tools and that’s because I want you to take advantage of them being FREE. So many people pay for budgets and tools on the internet to help them save money and honestly you don’t need to. Even a paper and pen will do the trick.

Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!

This is the budget that brought us to debt freedom back in 2013 and now I’m offering to all of you for FREE. We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.

2014 Free Money Saving ToolsDon’t pay someone for these services, I’ve done the work for you along with some help from other amazing bloggers.

You can download the FREE Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel…Grab it while you can… It’s FREE! We use it to budget and in large part a reason we could pay our mortgage off in 5 years, check it out!

Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.

Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE.

CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet. So many free resources at your fingertips.

 

Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2016

 

the ultimate grocery shopping guide cbbEverything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is packed into this amazing FREE grocery shopping guide that has taken over 4 years to create.

The Ultimate Grocery Shopping guide is ongoing with new informative money-saving posts added every month.

Even if you don’t live in Canada there are some amazing budget saving tips that will help put you on the path to more savings at the supermarket.

Share this guide with your friends and tell them about Canadian Budget Binder especially if they are struggling with their grocery budget.

The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the  many money-saving posts in the The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.

 

2016 Grocery Shop Results

 

Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2016: $2820

(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.

Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)

  • Total Grocery Budget for the Month:$235.00
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $0
  • Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
  • PC Points Plus Earned to date: 56670
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP)to date $0
  • Shoppers Optimum: Over 700,000 points ( I will update this twice a year)

Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

  • Snap Groupon to cash out: $40.00
  • Zweet to cash out : $18.25
  • Checkout51 to cash out : $7.00

 

Grocery Shop This Week

 

No Frills

  • 4 x Tasters Choice Coffee Sale $3.97 stockpile
  • 4 x Condensed milk Sale $1.88
  • NN black Olives $1.00
  • PC Ranch dressing $1.88
  • 2X 1KG beef ravioli $2 ea
  • 2 x 1KG meat tortellini $2 ea
  • 2 x 5pk avocado Sale $2.47 ea
  • Bananas $2.09 plus 400 PC Plus points
  • 2 x pineapple Sale $2 ea
  • 2 x large cream cheese Philadelphia $3.00 ea

Total out-of-pocket $35.43 plus $15.88 to stockpile budget for coffee

Food Basics

  • Green onions $0.99
  • Cucumber $1.29
  • Ham Sale $4.99
  • 2 x Gnocchi Sale $0.99
  • Boxed mixed greens $3.00
  • Boxed Spinach $3.00

Total out-of-pocket $15.25

Zehrs

  • 2% Milk $3.97
  • Homo Milk $4.97
  • 10lb potatoes  Sale $1.88
  • Strawberries Sale 2/$5
  • Astro Yogurt Sale $2
  • 2x Cream 10% Sale $3
  • PC Mayo $4.99-50%= $2.50
  • PC Creamy Vanilla Yogurt $3.49-50%= $1.75
  • 1lb PC mushrooms $4.69-50%=$2.35
  • 2 x PC Bacon Sale $3.99 ea
  • PC Pepper Bacon 1lb $6.99-50%=$3.50
  • 2 x D’Italiano Bread $3.89 each-50%= $3.90
  • 15 x PC Forest Salami Reg $5.99 each Blowout $0.50 plus 1 SCOP $0.50 +1400 PC Plus Points (stockpile) $7.00
  • 4 x PC Onion Mushroom Burgers $12.99 ea-50%= $26.00 + 5000 PC Plus Points

Under baby we got a great deal on formula 4 cans of Enfamil A+ Vanilla $19.99-50%-$5 coupons- 1 x $5 coupon app… so out of pocket before taxes we paid $15 for $80 worth of formula. 🙂

Total Out-of-Pocket: $71.80

  • Total to spend this month $235.00
  • Stockpile budget 2016 ($25.00):$0
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $15.88+$7.00=$22.88
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $0
  • Total in-store discounts this week:$128.10
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $128.10
  • Total spent this week: $62.49+$122.56=$185.05
  • Total spent so far this month: $185.05
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: over
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: N/A so far
  • Total left to spend for the month: $49.95
  • Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

We spent quite a bit this shop and it was because we went into Zehrs and were hit with pink stickers everywhere. The deals were too good to pass up especially that salami which was reg $5.99 each. It tastes so good and it’s great for lunches.

With limited money left for the month we will have to get creative. We will need to buy milk which will eat up at least $17.94 of $49.95 and the rest will strictly go to veg and fruit. We can do this!! Although we had a grocery list we failed this shop terribly because of in-store sales. Just look at the in-store discount already for the first month of the year.

 

Canadian Coupons 2016

 

Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons! These are your latest Checkout 51 offers which you can use to help save money. We’re finding less and less coupons in the stores these days. What are your thoughts? Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons?

If you buy chicken from Flamingo that $5 coupon is sweet!! The chicken goes on sale regularly so may even score a freebie.

january ggc 2 2016 canadian coupons(1)

 

Grocery Game Challenge 2016 FAQ’s

 

  • Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible. The rules have been updated for the 2016 challenge year.
  • Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
  • What is the monthly prize and who can claim it?- The monthly prize is a $10 PC Loblaws Gift Card and for our out of country friends it’s $10 CDN via Paypal if they win. As more people join I will add more money to the gift card or I will split it up and offer 2 prizes every month.
  • When does the Grocery Game close each month?: The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month but you will still get a ballot when you post your shops even if they are late but I encourage you to stay on schedule. If you choose to post monthly  or bi-weekly you will only get 1 ballot for that shop. It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something that is scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it altogether. Don’t let that be you! You can post your shops all month-long.
  • Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014-2015 we no longer include such items in our grocery budget so we can see actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly our budget.
  • Do you stockpile food? We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
  • Canadian Coupons:Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest  Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
  • Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site Save.ca that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile Save.ca app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
  • What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our Iphone so if you wan to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
  • What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.
  • What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
  • How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.

Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget like many people do. This is why the grocery game challenge was created back in 2012 and is one of the most popular hang out spots for people who want to save money on groceries in Canada.

If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 get ready to examine your grocery budget by learning…

  • Where you are spending money
  • How much money you are spending
  • How much money you are saving every month

If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! It’s FREE!

If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email. If I use your topic I will put your name in a draw for a prize at the end of the year.

You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!

Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2016!

-Mr.CBB

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Mr. CBB
Mr. CBB was born and raised in the United Kingdom who then moved to Canada where he is a permanent resident. He recently became a father to a very busy toddler who allows him to be a kid at heart. He bought his first house at the age of 21 after University and his second at the age of 24. Both Mr.CBB and his wife are Debt and Mortgage Free and they did it all in under 5 years using a Budget. Canadian Budget Binder is a place where he shares their financial experiences with his readers and hopes to learn about theirs. Welcome to CBB!
Mr. CBB
Mr. CBB

Comments

  1. Lori-Lynn says:

    Yearly Grocery Budget For 2016: $9,100 (5 people)

    Points Overview:

    • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $700
    • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs: $700
    • Total Gift Cards used to date: 0
    • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: 0
    • Total Rewards Points used to date: 0
    • PC Points Plus Earned to date: 4300
    • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date: 0

    Grocery Shop This Week: January 08 – 14, 2016

    Superstore
    • Juice boxes 2 x $2.00 (+ deposit $2.00) = $6.00 (20)
    • Danone Creamy Yogurt (750 ml) 2 x $3.99 – (50%) = $3.98
    • Iogo Nano 3 x $2.99 – $3.00 coupons = $5.97 (12)
    • Carrots 6 lbs. $3.00
    • Potatoes 10lbs. $2.00
    • Celery $4.29
    • Broccoli 2 x $2.00 = $4.00
    • Mushrooms (Bulk) $3.77
    • Caprese Chicken Burger $3.99 (6)
    • Sausage Buns $3.89 – (50%) = $1.94
    • Coleslaw $3.49 – (50%) = $1.74
    Total Out-of-Pocket: $ 40.32

    PC Points Earned = 1,000
    Balance 5,300

    Sobeys
    • Pepsi 3 x $6.97 (24 cans) = $20.91 (+ deposit $7.20)
    • Special K Fruit Crisps 3 x 1.99 = $5.97 (15 bars)
    • Mozzarella Cheese $4.99
    Total Out-of-Pocket: $ 41.79
    Air Miles Earned: 1

    Shoppers Drug Mart
    • Eggs 2 x 2.29 = $4.58
    • Ritz Crackers (200g) 2 x $1.50 = 3.00
    Total Out-of-Pocket: $ 7.58

    Current Points Balance: 56,136
    Regular Points & Bonus Points Earned: 70
    New Balance: 56,206

    Wal-Mart
    • Avocados (Pack of 5) $3.97
    • Grape Tomatoes (283g) $1.97
    • Cantaloupe 2 x $1.77 = $3.54
    Total Out-of-Pocket: $ 9.48

    • Total to spend this month: $700
    • Total coupons used this week: $3.00
    • Total coupons used to date: $3.00
    • Total in-store discounts this week: $40.24
    • Total in-store discounts to date: $59.13
    • Total spent this week: $ 99.17
    • Total spent so far this month: $351.71
    • Total over/Under spend this shop: UNDER $75.83
    • Total over/Under spend for the month: OVER $1.71
    • Total left to spend for the month: $348.29
    • Total Spent To Date 2016: Jan $

    Weekly Overview:

    Hi, I am Lori and I am addicted to grocery shopping!! Ha Ha! Before starting this challenge I now realize I went to the grocery store almost everyday. As soon as we would run out of something I went to the store and picked up that item along with whatever else I found on special or marked down. After going over budget last week I was not able to go to the grocery store again that week, so I believe that this is not only going to help my budget but also my time management as I now have more time to get things done. It’s a WIN-WIN! I bought the Pepsi as it was on special and there was a coupon, if you buy $20 of Pepsi products you get $20 back in free coupons.

    • Hi Lori!~
      Welcome to the GGC and acknowledging you are addicted to grocery shopping. I kind of don’t mind it myself. 🙂 Back in the UK I would go every other day only because I had a tiny refrigerator. If I went everyday now our grocery budget may just go through the roof. You will have more time to focus on other things rather than spending your time spending money at the grocery store. There will always be deals, there will always be sales. It’s so hard to do as we love those in-store deals as well. We continue to work on this. Oh is that the Superbowl promo again? I think we did this back in 2012 and got back some coupons for pop and chips…etc. You have to pay a deposit on Juice Boxes? That’s news to me. Our son loves those Nano things. They were giving them away once at a grocery store and we made two rounds around just to get a second one lol. Was that the PC Caprese Chicken Burgers? If yes that’s an amazing price. They are $12.99 here. You are doing pretty good so far but you have a nice starting budget as well. How many people are you feeding every month? Well done and I love all the deals you find!! You get ballot # 7 Mr.CBB

    • Mary F Campbell says:

      Hi Lori! Welcome to the GGC challenge! I find that the more frequently I am in the stores, the more I spend. I have to have a list before I go and then stick to the list or my budget goes completely sideways. 🙁 Good luck with getting your grocery budget to a place where you are happy with the amount you are spending. 🙂

  2. If you pay with credit card many budgeting software will automatically compile your spending into the groceries category and give you a good estimate based on previous spending, so you don’t have to go dig through receipts. Another way to go without receipts would be to have a cash envelope with grocery money and see how much is left by the end of the month.
    I stopped tracking but my shops are pretty much always the same so no surprises.

  3. Jan 8 to 14, 2016
    Name Your Store: Superstore
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Points = 3500
    Total Out Of Pocket: $81.16

    Human
    3 – 900 g Rotini Pasta = $3.00
    4 L Skim Milk = $3.97
    10 lb Farmer’s Market Russet Potatoes – $3.28 (PM Zehrs @ $1.88) = $1.88
    Bananas = $2.70
    Stewing Beef = $9.06
    2 Wonder WW Bread – $2.99 (PM No Frills @ $2.00) = $4.00

    Cats
    2 – 12 pk Friskies Cat Food – $7.98 (PM Walmart @ 2/$15.00) = $15.00
    7.5 Kg Friskies Chef’s Blend – 1500 PC Points = $18.98
    2 – 18 Kg NN Cat Litter – 1400 PC Points = $13.96
    2 – 500 g Baking Soda = $2.38

    Grocery Game Challenge Results
    Total Grocery Budget for the 2 Adults ($1890.00, for the pay period – $70.00)
    Total Grocery Budget for the 3 Cats ($364, for the pay period – $14.00)
    Total Grocery Budget for Stockpile ($520)
    Total Grocery Budget for the Personal Hygiene ($182)
    Total Grocery Budget for Wholesale Meat ($500.00)
    Total Grocery Budget for Canning Produce ($400.00)

    Total Human (Adults) this Week Period: $24.61
    Over/Under this week: Under
    Left for the Month: $157.29
    Total Human (Adults) to Date: $52.71

    Total Cats this Week Period: $56.55
    Over/Under this week: Over
    Left for the Month: $(19.06)
    Total Cats to Date: $61.06

    Total Stockpile this Week Period: $0
    Total Stockpile to Date: $3.90
    Total Personal Hygiene this Week Period: $25.98
    Total Personal Hygiene to Date: $32.69
    Total Wholesale Meat this Week Period: $0
    Total Wholesale Meat to Date: $0.00
    Total Canning Produce this Week Period: $0
    Total Canning Produce to Date: $0.00

    Total Coupons Used this Week Period: $
    Total Coupons Used To Date: $0.00

    Total Discounts/SCOP this Week Period: $
    Total Discounts/SCOP to Date: $0.59

    Total Checkout 51 rebates this Week Period: $0
    Total Checkout 51 rebates to Date: $10.00

    Total Snap rebates this Week Period: $0.00
    Total Snap rebates to Date: $1.00

    Total Price Match for this Week Period: $11.34
    Total Price Match to Date: $23.00

    Total PC Points Received this Week Period: 3500
    Total PC Rewards Points Used this Week Period: 0
    Total PC Rewards To Date: 19415

    Overview: This week was stocking up on the cat supplies. We are still living off the freezer and pantry with little additions being made to for current and future meals. This is the year that my debt is going to be my top priority to vanish. I’m also looking at some items that I can stock-up on now, while I can get a decent price for it.

    • Hi Dee,
      The first thing I read was “This year my debt is going to be top priority” and that is wonderful. You are going to kill that debt fast with your attitude. Sometimes that’s all it takes. Short shop but like you said you are still living on the freezer which is great. What types of products are must-haves to stock up on this year? You get ballot 8 MR.CBB

    • At the end of last year, I was looking at my Cleaning Supplies and “Beauty Products” and looked how much we purchased over the course of the year. So if I can find a good price on some of those items, I’m going to stock up (maybe the full year’s worth) so that they are on hand. As far as groceries, the “must-haves” to stock up on are tuna, cheese, bread (if I have freezer space), meat, etc. Just like with this shop, I stocked up on the cat supplies, which should last them anywhere from a couple months to 6 months. So yes, my budget takes a hit now while I have the funds but that will be made up and be back on track by year-end.

    • Mary F Campbell says:

      Nice price on the potatoes! That’ll fill out a few meals. 🙂

  4. Mary F Campbell says:

    JANUARY – Week #2 of 4- Jan 11-17, 2016

    2016 GROCERY BUDGET / STOCKPILE BUDGET AND US RESERVE:

    •Total Grocery Budgeted For Year: $190.00 x 12 = $2,280.00 for 2 adults

    ============================================================================================

    REMARKS FOR THE WEEK:

    This week our shopping is about “the absolute basics” that I need… no extras. I have a lot of soup leftovers in the fridges…Peasant Cabbage and Tomato, Chicken Vegetable with Nugget Potatoes and a creamy Yellow Split Pea with Ham.

    I had my grocery list and meal plan all made up then – I did something that I have started to do in 2016. I went to the fridge to see what I have to use up FIRST! Hmmm. The list shrank from about 30 items to 4! Well there’s an easy budget saver folks!!

    I, like many of us, read the online sales flyers and mark down the “terrific sales” on a grocery list. Then I get all excited about the “deals” & try to build a meal plan around the sales. BUT, I wasn’t looking at was how much do I really NEED this week…for only this 7 day period. Will I survive without it? Can I stretch what I already have into a tasty, healthy plan for the week? If not, what do I need to make that happen? It’s easy to find another sale, maybe not next week but certainly within the next 6-8 weeks. On the other hand, it’s hard to put the money back into my pocket once it has been spent. Have you noticed I REALLY like to hang onto our pennies?? Ha ha ha.

    I am slated to make another batch of the Chicken-Mushroom-Onion with Dill Soup that we have fallen in love with and for a treat we’ll also be enjoying a pot of Velveeta Cheesy Broccoli Soup.

    Five soups in rotation will warm and fill all the tummies at our house! We have about 1.5 loaves of our homemade Cottage Cheese Dill bread left, a whole loaf of the Christmas Banana Bread and I plan to bake a Quick Peppery Cheese bread & Apple Cornbread this weekend. If I don’t run out of steam, some muffins may get added into the mix as well but we shall see. I could make either Pumpkin Spice muffins, Banana-Pineapple-Coconut muffins, Mincemeat Muffins or Applesauce Raisin and Walnut muffins with the supplies I have on hand.

    Obviously, I am not saying that I don’t stockpile – I do! But, I only have 2 items currently on my “Watch For Sales” list… 28 oz canned Diced No Salt Tomatoes and rice noodles.

    For me, if I decide I want to make a dish, I can add my missing ingredients to the “Watch For Sales” list and WAIT (there’s that darned delayed gratification cropping up again)… until I can get what I need at a good price. Then, and only then, I add that dish to my meal plan rotation.

    I am absolutely committed to ZERO WASTE this year. I can’t afford to just burn money putting food out in the trash. Can you?

    Unfortunately, I was going about the meal planning process backwards to accomplish my goal. I feel a little like Santa these days: I’m making my list, checking it twice, finding out who is wasting or nice! LOL 🙂

    How about you? Do you NEED everything on your list? Or are you like me and have to watch that you don’t get drawn into the lure of a sale? Maybe it’s those pretty pink stickers on the discounted merchandise weaving a spell on you?

    Remember… a pink sticker is only a deal if you actually NEED that item and it was on your list BEFORE you walked through the doors of the grocery store. Failing that, for every pink sticker item that’s not on my original list that I add to our cart, I remove a similarly priced item off of my original grocery list. It keeps the weekly spending in check and I don’t have to miss an item that is normally an unaffordable treat for us. Win-Win I’d say!

    ============================================================================================

    OUR “CANADIAN” SHOPPING THIS WEEK:

    RCSS – Pitt Meadows –

    2 pkg 2 Lb Baby Carrots $1.98 ea = $3.96
    1 Bag of Fresh Whole Mushrooms = $5.19
    1 Large Bag Coleslaw $4.98
    1 Celery = $3.78

    • TOTAL Grocery Budget OOP: $17.91
    • TOTAL Stocking Up Budget OOP: $0.00

    ** Earned 1800 PC.Plus Points on this shop **
    ** SAVED $0.00 in Rain Check/ Coupons **
    ** SAVED $0.00 Loyalty Savings on this shop **

    ============================================================================================

    OUR “US RESERVE” SHOPPING THIS WEEK:

    OUR NEXT USA SHOP WILL BE LATER IN 2016.

    ============================================================================================

    2016 Y-T-D GROCERY SAVINGS:

    •Total Loyalty Card Price Reductions This Year:

    Jan $22.13= $22.13

    •Total Coupons/Rain Checks Used This Year:

    Jan $0.00= $0.00

    •Total Price Match Savings Used This Year:

    Jan $0.00= $0.00

    •Total More Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 0 = 0 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year:

    Jan 5 = 5 Air Miles

    •Total PC PLUS Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 1800 = 1800 Points

    •Total Optimum Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 0 = 0 Points

    ============================================================================================

    2016 Y-T-D GROCERY SPENDING:

    •Total OOP Year-To-Date:
    Jan ($90.00 trf to various reserves + $13.99+$23.77+$26.95+$17.91) = $172.62

    •Total Year-To-Date Grocery Budget:
    Jan $190.00 = $190.00

    •Total Over/Under on Year-To-Date Grocery Budget: $17.38 AVAILABLE

    ============================================================================================

    2016 POINTS REDEEMED RESERVE:

    2015 Fwd $0.00+Jan $0.00= $0.00

    ============================================================================================

    2016 US GROCERY RESERVE:

    2015 Fwd $0.00+Jan $45.00= $45.00

    ============================================================================================

    2016 RE-STOCKING RESERVE:

    2015 Fwd $217.50+Jan ($15.00-$20.00-$32.65 = -$37.65) = $179.85

    ============================================================================================

    2016 Y-T-D HOLIDAY SEASON RESERVE:

    2015 Fwd $81.51+Jan $15.00 = $96.51

    ============================================================================================

    2016 Y-T-D SUMMER RESERVE:

    2015 Fwd $100.00+ $537.50 Trf from Borscht Fund+Jan $15.00 = $652.50

    =============================================================================================

    • SUMMARY OF FUNDS Y-T-D:

    $ 190.00 Grocery Budget JAN

    $ 0.00 Redeemed Points to Purchase
    Groceries

    ($ 45.00) ADDITION TO: Misc Reserves
    (Re-Stocking, Xmas & Summer)

    $ 52.65 REDUCTION TO: Misc Reserves
    (Re-Stocking, Xmas & Summer)

    ($ 45.00) Trf to US Grocery Reserve

    ($ 0.00) Set in Xmas reserve to offset
    Redeemed Points

    ($ 135.27) Actual CASH SPENT (including
    reserve funds)

    $ 17.38 AVAILABLE FOR Y-T-D SPENDING

    • VALUE POINTS REDEEMED Y-T-D:

    $ 0.00 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – JAN

    $ 0.00 Total $ Value of Points Redeemed

    THE VALUE will be added month to month to our Holiday Reserve for next Christmas.

    So far $190.00 has been budgeted Y-T-D for 2016 and we have recorded $90.00 of these funds as “spent” and in fact they have been “saved”:

    $179.85 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $ 96.51 Holiday Season Fund
    $652.50 Summer Season Fund
    $ 45.00 US Shopping Reserve

    OUR CURRENT TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES ARE $973.86. This means the $936.51 that we carried forward from 2015 PLUS AN ADDITIONAL $90.00 that we have added in 2016 LESS $52.65 that we have drawn out for use in 2016.

    ============================================================================================

    The valid rain checks I hold are as follows:

    Safeway:

    1 Compliments 10″ Tortillas. 720G – Rain Check is for 10 Air Miles

    ============================================================================================

    This week’s BREAKFAST menu plan:

    HUBBY: Earl Grey Tea with Lemon Juice + toast with peanut butter, English Muffins with cinnamon spread or Cheez Whiz, Bagels with cream cheese or Rice Krispies

    MYSELF: Tetley Tea with Skim Milk & Equal + apple slices, mandarins or hard boiled eggs

    ============================================================================================

    This week’s LUNCH menu plan:

    MON: Ham & Cheese Sandwiches with side dish of cottage cheese

    TUES: Egg Salad Sandwiches with yogurt & thermos of chocolate milk

    WED: Pork Roast Sandwiches, a dill pickle & apple slices

    THURS: Chicken Salad Sandwiches with carrot & celery sticks and spinach dip

    FRI: Tuna Salad Sandwiches with 2 slices Christmas Banana Bread for hubby (has marachino cherries, chopped walnuts and chocolate chips in it)

    SAT: Split a can of Stagg Chili with a slice of homemade Quick Peppery Cheese Bread

    SUN: Toasted Bacon-Tomato-Cheddar Sandwiches

    ============================================================================================

    This week’s DINNER menu plan:

    MON: Homemade Chicken Vegetable Soup with Nugget Potatoes + Cottage Cheese Dill Bread

    TUES: Leftover Peasant Cabbage & Tomato Soup with Garlic Bread

    WED: Homemade Dry Garlic Meatballs with Roasted Potatoes, Carrots and Onion (Extra Potatoes & Onion done for Sat)

    THURS: Poached Eggs on Toast

    FRI: Slow Cooker Swedish Split Pea Soup with Cottage Cheese Dill Bread

    SAT: Bacon & Eggs with fried leftover potato & onion

    SUN: Chicken-Mushroom-Onion-Dill Soup with homemade Quick Peppery Cheese Bread

    ============================================================================================

    • Hi Mary,
      Cuppa in hand! 🙂
      The first thing I read was poached eggs on toast. I love poached eggs. Is dill your favourite spice? I’d love to try that bread you make. I love the idea of the Christmas banana bread. Is that your own recipe? I’d love to make that next Christmas for the family. Haha.. like Santa. You crack me up. I love your idea and it’s a great post idea too. I think many of us like you mention look at the sales and build around that. For us we look at what we have but we could do better I know that. I don’t like waste either but most of our waste is coming from our son. He wastes food because he doesn’t eat it all. We try to save what we can but that’s not always possible. It saddens us sometimes. I’m sure it will get better though. I could say we fall prey to the pink sticker. The salami I found for $0.50 I wasn’t going to pass that up but yes that could easily drive our expenses up. We typically go in with a basic grocery list as we see what we have on hand to build with. This year we are focusing on buying only what we need. We hardly stockpile food these days. The cold room shelves where the food stockpile used to be is getting bare. Lots of work still to do and great questions you asked tonight. I hope the rest of the GGC players have a read and respond as well. Thanks Mary for the insights tonight, sometimes we all need to hear it as a reminder. You get ballot 9 Mr.CBB

      • I know for myself, I look at Reebee and tag the items that I would like to get but don’t seriously look at them until I’ve made my supper meal list. I start with what we need to accomplish those meals plus milk and then do I look at the other things that I’ve tagged. Since my decrease in my bi-weekly purchases, I have to fairly strict on what I’m purchasing.

      • Mary F Campbell says:

        I do like my dill but I have lots of spices that I like to use. This just happens to be a week loaded with dill because of the dishes I chose to make. Black pepper is also huge around here too! I have taken to using a lot more chili powder, ground ginger, onion powder and garlic powder too. Then the baking has to feature cinnamon-nutmeg-ginger-allspice. I actually have a bookshelf of herbs and spices that I use constantly. 🙂

        The Christmas Banana Bread was a recipe I found online BUT as with all recipes, I see it only as a suggestion so I lightened it up & changed what went into it for a gluten free diet and based on the Christmas supplies that I had on hand. Next time, hubby wants double the amount of maraschino cherries and I may also throw in some candied citrus as well.

        I am still stockpiling Mr CBB because there are some items, like Salt Free Chicken Stock, canned tuna in water and No Salt Diced Tomatoes, that get used absolutely EVERY week, at least once! I might as well have a sale priced supply on hand. 🙂

  5. Hi everyone. This is my haul for the week.

    Total Yearly Food Budget for one adult (combined Grocery and Stockpile Budgets): $1200.00

    Yearly Grocery Budget: $960.00
    Monthly Grocery Budget 2016: $80.00 ($20/week/4wk month or $18.46/week/5wk month)
    Total spent last week: $16.63 ($3.37 under)
    Total spent this week: $17.75 ($1.75 under)
    Total spent so far this month: $34.38
    Total left to spend for the month: $45.62
    Total Grocery Budget Spent To Date 2016: Jan $

    Yearly Stockpile Budget: $240.00
    Monthly Stockpile Budget 2016: $20.00
    Total spent this week: $3.50
    Total spent so far this month: $15.13
    Total left to spend for the month: $4.87
    Total Stockpile Budget used to date: Jan $

    Bulk Barn
    $0.44 Spices
    $0.34 Baking yeast
    Total Out Of Pocket: $0.78

    Costco
    $4.69 Silhouette yogurt (24)
    $3.95 Flour (5kg from a 10 kg bag split with son)
    $3.50 Quaker oats (2.5 kg from a 5 kg box split with son) (stockpile)
    Total Out Of Pocket: $12.14

    Dollar Tree
    $1.25 Koop Dijon mustard 375 ml.
    Total Out Of Pocket: $1.25

    Loblaws
    1.69 10 lb. potatoes ($1.88 – $0.19 student discount)
    Total Out Of Pocket: $1.69

    Metro
    $4.50 Pork Roast ($1.99 lb)
    Total Out Of Pocket: $4.50

    Walmart
    $0.89 Cantaloupe ($1.77 whole cantaloupe split in half with daughter)
    Total Out Of Pocket: $0.89

    So this is my shop this week. I didn’t need a whole lot and there were not many great bargains so I came in under budget again this week. I wouldn’t say that you failed because you were over budget this week Mr.CBB. You were able to snag some real bargains that will help you out later on in the year like the salami. Awesome deal! You also have a plan to deal with shortfall for the rest of the month.

    While I was shopping this week I was surprised to see that the tofu I bought at Food Basics last week for $1.15 is only $1.00 at Walmart. May have to check out Walmart’s other prices more seriously! I’ve always tended to shy away from Walmart because of the crowds and stocking problems but maybe it’s worth another look.

    Thanks to whoever posted about the 3 litre milk at Shoppers. I hadn’t noticed.

    Look forward your posts

    • Hey,
      Yes, I noticed the milk went from 4L to 3L at Shoppers Drug Mart so we stopped buying it there. This year we really need to focus on what Mary talks about in her GGC post today and that is building a shopping list around what we already have in the house and what is on sale. Those pink stickers are great and we love them so have to make sure we leave room in the budget for items that kind of pop up that we want to get.Lots of times we see cheese we would like to try but the price is too expensive. If we find it half off than we may just give it a try. It’s going to be a tough year. I see you split some items with your son. Does he live with you or do you actually split the products? I think that’s a great idea by the way!! Well done this week. Your $20 a week budget is one that I really want to watch this year. I would love to see a menu plan of what you would eat in a week or even a day. 🙂 You get ballot 10 Mr.CBB 🙂 Happy Shopping.. 🙂

      • Hey Mr.CBB

        I have been trying to do what Mary suggests and use up food I have so as not to waste and overspend. That’s why my shops have been relatively small the last few weeks. Will comment separately on Mary’s post.

        Yeah I love the pink stickers too but I am also wary of them because I can easily overspend and buy products that I don’t really need or can’t use before the product goes bad. For example, yesterday my daughter dissuaded me from picking up a great looking cheese tray that had a pink sticker on it or I might have bought it and overspent for the week on something that wouldn’t have helped me in the long run. I’m a sucker for bargains so I avoid some of the temptation by not shopping on Mondays.

        My kids all live with me or maybe I’m getting old enough to start conditioning them into thinking I live with them and they need to practice taking care of me so it won’t be so much of a shock later on when I need them too. 🙂 Unfortunately with all the different schedules and food preferences sharing meals doesn’t always work out so everyone buys/cooks their own food although there are lots of time everyone will contribute ingredients or share what they’ve made. This means that when I split food with them it is a physical/financial split. They take a portion of the product and pay for that portion.I know it sound horribly and unnecessarily complicated but it didn’t seem that any of the other ways we tried worked very satisfactorily either so this was the lesser of the evils.

        With regard to meal plans, sad to say I’m not much of a planner. I don’t usually plan much more that a day or two ahead. I go through the fridge, freezer, and pantry periodically to see what needs to be used up and take it from there. I certainly do see the advantages to planning for the whole week haven’t been able to make it work so far because I like flexibility. That being said I think you’ve inspired me to set a new goal this year is to start making weekly meal plans with some flexibility built in. Anyone got ideas?

        This is what I ate today and plan to have tomorrow.

        January 13, 2016

        Breakfast: black coffee/chicken and kale dumpling soup
        Lunch: cottage cheese/apple/coffee with creamer
        Supper: shepherds pie
        Snack: bagel with cream cheese/sunflower seeds

        January 14, 2016

        Breakfast: black coffee/oats cooked with milk and craisins/hemp seeds
        Lunch: lentil soup(dal)/rice/carrot/kale/decaf
        Snack: yogurt/Manna bread/cantaloupe
        Supper: chicken and kale dumpling soup
        Snack: hot chocolate

        Thanks for the accountability and inspiration

    • Mary F Campbell says:

      What a wonderful idea to split food products with your son and daughter. I am sure that allows you a lot more variety than if you had to pay the full shot. We just got a Walmart here in town so I plan to add their flyer to my list of flyers to check each week. A few pennies savings here, a few pennies there…it all adds up!

      • Hi Mary,
        Loved your earlier post about planning meals around what you already have in the house and making 2016 a no waste year. We’re on the same wavelength but you put it into words so beautifully. Thanks

        Splitting food with my kids really helps provide variety as you pointed out. It also allows me to take advantage of buying in quantity to save money too. Everything helps.

        Just curious, what’s in the Swedish Split Pea Soup and how long does it take to cook in the slow cooker?

  6. Week shop Jan 11-17, 2016
    budget 380.00

    No Frills
    ranch dressing 2.39
    2x cheese twist@ 3.00 each = 6.00
    Ice cream treats 2.00
    baby spinach 3.99
    banana 1.87
    clementine 2.00
    2x bread @ 2.00 each = 4.00
    Tax. 26

    Total 22.51

    Total spent this week: 23.51
    Total spent so far this month: 211.33+ 22.51=233.84
    Total over/ under spent this shop: under 72.49
    Total over/under spend for the month: over 43.80
    Total left to spend this month: 146.16

    An in between shop.
    Farmgirl

    • Hi Farmgirl,
      Thanks for your shop and welcome back to the GGC. Do you use any coupon apps at all? How many people does your shop feed and do you give yourself a weekly budget to spend or just the monthly budget? If you are able to use brands so we know how to compare prices that would be great. ex: No name Ketchup, Heinz Ketchup.
      Overall it looks like you are doing well this month. 🙂 Well done you get ballot #11. Mr.CBB

      Here is the Grocery Game Form that I ask fans who participate that they fill out the best they can each week so I can review their post. 🙂

      Name Your Store ie: Zehrs
      1 x Hunts Pasta Sauce Sale $1.00- $0.50 coupon
      Total Coupons Used: $0.50
      Total Out Of Pocket: $0.50

      Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)

      Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $
      Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $
      Total Gift Cards used to date: $
      Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $
      Total Rewards Points used to date: $
      PC Points Plus Earned to date:
      Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $

      Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

      Snap Groupon to date: $
      Zweet to date: $
      Cart Smart to date: $
      Checkout51 to date: $
      Save.ca to date: $

      GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK (add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)

      Stockpile budget 2016 ($25.00): $
      Stockpile budget used to date: $
      Total coupons used this week: $
      Total coupons used to date: $
      Total in-store discounts this week: $
      Total in-store discounts to date: $
      Total spent this week: $
      Total spent so far this month: $
      Total over/Under spend this shop: $
      Total over/Under spend for the month: $
      Total left to spend for the month: $
      Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $

      Weekly Overview (your final thoughts):

  7. Mary F Campbell says:

    Mimsie,

    I have some health issues that I adjust my recipes to suit…I lower the fat, eliminate the salt, boost some spices like black pepper and in the dead of winter I won’t pay for fresh herbs so I use dried. It’s much cheaper. For example, 1 TBSP fresh = 1 heaping TSP dried. This soup can be made stove top but I like to double the recipe, fire it in the slow cooker on Low for the day. I work from home so using the slow cooker frees me up to do other things. 🙂

    Here’s a link to estimate the time conversion from stove top to slow cooker:

    http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2014/06/stovetopoven-crockpot-conversion-chart.html

    With all that in mind, here’s the original split pea recipe link that I doubled and modified:

    powerhungry.com/2012/11/swedish-yellow-split-pea-soup/

  8. Thanks for the recipe and the awesome conversion chart Mary.

    Best

  9. Taylor Davidson says:

    Whoa.. I usually use todo list apps to keep a tab on my monthly grocery cost. They help me in following my expense and list. I have never done so much of hard work in maintaining the grocery cost. Thanks for some of the nice ideas. I should implement them soon

  10. SHOP: METRO
    4x Primo strained Tomatoes – $5 on sale + 5 Airmiles
    2x Classico Pasta Sauce – $1.99 on sale
    2x VH Butter Chicken Sauce – $3.49 each + 3 Airmiles
    2x Minute Instant Rice Cups – 2/$4 on sale + 2×1$ coupons + $1 CO51 = $1 for 2
    5x small cans Mandarin Oranges – 1.29 each
    2x canned Lentils – 99 cents each on sale
    3x Healthy Choice whole wheat Pasta – 3/$5 + 1.50$ CO51 = $3.50 for 3
    2x Lean Ground Beef on sale ($4.40/lb) – $11.34 and $10.89
    4x Chicken breast skinless, boneless on sale – 10.89
    2x Broccoli – 2.99 each on sale
    3x frozen fruit, store brand – 3.99 each on sale
    4l Beatrice 2% milk – $3.97 on sale
    1x tub Activia Yoghurt – $3.49 on sale + $1 coupon = $2.49
    2x 8x100g Activia Yoghurt – $5.29 each +2x $1.25 coupons
    1x 1.89l Orangejuice – $2.99 on sale
    2x 400g Cracker Barrel Havarti – $4.49 each (on sale / half price)
    14 Kaiser buns – reduced bread rack – $4.32 (30% off)

    Total Coupons used: 5.50$
    Total Airmiles: 13
    Total out of pocket – $113.29

    SHOP: WALMART online
    15 Dole Fruit Jars – $45
    Total Coupons used: 0$
    Total out of pocket – $45
    +++++
    POINTS OVERVIEW
    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $360
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs: $360
    Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
    Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $30 ($10 on food)

    Total Rewards Points used to date: $30
    PC Plus points earned to date: 33,800
    Airmiles earned to date: 230
    Shoppers Points earned to date: 55,378
    SCOP to date: $0

    COUPON APPS
    Zweet: $0.50
    Checkout51: $6.50 ($77 total so far)
    Save.ca: $0.50
    Snap: $16.00
    +++++
    Total coupons used this week: $ 5.50
    Total coupons used to date: $ 8.00
    Total in-store discounts this week: $ 1.86
    Total in-store discounts to date: $ 24.12
    Total spent this week: $ 158.29
    Total spent so far this month: $155.42+158.29= 313.71
    Total over/Under spend this shop: OVER
    Total over/Under spend for the month: OVER
    Total left to spend for the month: $ 46.29
    Total Spent To Date 2016: Jan $313.71

    ++++++
    This is going to be interesting…
    Originally my budget for groceries was $360 ( i.e. $90 per week). Then I thought I could try for $320/month (i.e. $80 per week). As I sit here now I wonder how $46.29 are supposed to get me to months’ end – not even thinking about $6.29. February will be a new chance to aim for the lower budget.

    The good thing is that this shop was a lot of stocking up and I was able to pre cook so much, that it will take me to next weekend and beyond. The ground beef and tomato/pasta sauce has become delicious meatballs. The Minute Rice Cups are now in my drawer at work for simple and fast microwaving. The reduced Kaiser Buns will become bread pudding over the weekend (also freezes well). The Chicken will be used with Broccoli and Carrots and frozen Peas for Butter Chicken. I’ll be baking a bread again and an apple cake.

    My freezer and pantry is full, so a no shop week from Jan 18-25 (other than milk maybe) is definitely doable. I will do my best to stay away from stores – I suppose that’s the only way to really save and stay within budget).
    ++++++
    My meals next week include:
    Breakfast: cereal & milk, cream of wheat or rice pudding with frozen berries, bread pudding
    Lunch: Butter Chicken w Veggies & Rice, Meatballs with whole wheat Pasta or Rice, pulled pork w homemade bread
    Dinner: Pulled pork with homemade bread or cheese / salami sandwiches
    Desserts: Canned peaches/mandarins, chocolate, apple cake, hazelnut wafers
    Snacks: Activia Yoghurt, cereal bars, canned fruit…

    • Hi Birgit
      That’s quite the shop but almost everything was on sale. I’m thinking you can find the mandarin oranges for less at No Frills or Food Basics if you have one near you. If you love beans buy them in bulk you’ll save a tonne of money. The hard part for us is staying away from the stores. lol…. good luck with that. Let me know how that goes. What kind of bread pudding do you make? I’d love your apple cake recipe. If you take good photos and it’s your own recipe I always entertain fan recipes on the blog. 🙂 What were those fruit cups you got from Walmart? Were they a smashing deal? Looks like you are ahead of yourself here and have things all planned out. It’s up to you if you want to decrease your budget but keep in mind those months with 5 weeks. We had the once a month no shop week but that never worked for us. We try it still. Laughable sometimes really but it does help to stay away. You get ballot 12. MR.CBB

      • Hi Mr CBB,

        no, those fruit cups from Walmart turned out to be too expensive and a complete luxury. They went on sale at Metro three days later for a dollar less each. UGH! I am going to scratch them from my list going forward. They take up way too much of my budget for little to no nutritional value! And yes! I have a No Frills close by and will pick up some canned mandarins there if I can’t live without them at all.

        My bread pudding is really easy and I eyeball the ingredients usually. But if you like I am happy to write up the recipe and take a pic for your post.
        The German Apple Cake is really easy as well and I am happy to share it. It’s based on an online recipe, but I have made a few changes to it. Next time I make it, I’ll make sure to take a picture and write up the recipe.

        It turns out staying away from the stores is really hard – especially when I have a handful coupons that are about to expire.
        I have to admit that I completely went over budget this weekend – right after vowing not to go shopping again – and spent the next 3 months of my Beauty/Household/Cleaning Budget. But everything again was on sale, with 32$ worth of coupons, my first SCOP success and extra shoppers points/miles. Oh well… There is always room for improvement.

        This week will be a no shop week – I can at least aim for it. My freezer is way too full anyway.

        Since I don’t have my receipts with me, here is a short form update for my monthly/weekly budget:

        POINTS OVERVIEW
        Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $360
        Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs: $360
        Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
        Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $30 ($10 on food)

        Total Rewards Points used to date: $30
        PC Plus points earned to date: 33,800
        Airmiles earned to date: 232
        Shoppers Points earned to date: 70,778 (105$)
        SCOP to date: $4.99

        COUPON APPS
        Zweet: $0.75
        Checkout51: $9.50 ($80 total so far)
        Save.ca: $0.50
        Snap: $16.00
        +++++
        Total coupons used this week: $ 37.50
        Total coupons used to date: $ 45.50
        Total in-store discounts this week: $ 36.86
        Total in-store discounts to date: $ 60.98
        Total spent this week: $ 158.29 + $ 65.83
        Total spent so far this month: $155.42+158.29 + 65.83 = 379.54
        Total over/Under spend this shop: OVER
        Total over/Under spend for the month: OVER
        Total left to spend for the month: $ (19.54)
        Total Spent To Date 2016: Jan $379.54

        As I am going on vacation in February for 10 days and wont be using my grocery budget while away, things will balance out overall, so I am not giving myself too much pressure for going over budget. It’s a work in progress.

        • Birgit,

          We all go over from time to time. I went shopping on Sunday and I’m over as well but I’ll make that up the following week. The fact that most of the items were on sale is quite accomplishment. I know that my shops are about 1/2 or less of sale items….but then I’m also a work in progress.

          • Mermaid3011 says:

            Thank you Dee! It’s good to know I am not the only one. I actually think that the focus on food and home cooking and “saving” makes me even more vulnerable to sales, discounts and coupons. I have to remember that I am still spending money. Even if it’s 3$ less. If I hadnt had that bulk barn coupon I wouldnt have spent the $15 to begin with. 🙂

            sigh…
            another week, another chance!

  11. Christine Weadick says:

    Yearly grocery budget for 4 adults abs 2 cats -$7800.00
    (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.
    Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)
    Total Grocery Budget for the Month:$650.00
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $650.00
    Total Gift Cards used to date: $10.00
    Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
    Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
    PC Points Plus Earned to date: 23400
    Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP)to date -$0
    Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
    Snap Groupon to cash out: $0
    Zweet to cash out : $2.25($25.75)
    Checkout51 to cash out : $8.76($25.50)

    Grocery Shop This Week
    Foodland #1
    2 yogurt @3.00
    1 cranberry cocktail -2.98
    1 block cheddar cheese -5.99
    2 4l milk @4.88
    1 doz large eggs -2.99
    2 packs frozen fries @2.49
    8 Swanson meat pies @1.00
    10 lbs potatoes -3.99, AM discount-2.00
    1 tray zucchini-3.04
    Bananas -1.49
    2 packs honey garlic sausage -5.68+5.08, 50% stickers=2.84+2.54
    1 grated Parmesan cheese -4.22
    2 bagels @2.99, AM discount on one-.98
    Total OOP -$61.82, 8.36 Discounts
    Foodland #2
    4 packs asst pasta @4/5.00
    2 4l milk @4.88
    4 Swanson meat pies @1.00
    Total OOP -$18.76
    Jackson’s Pharmacy
    2 Dove body wash @2.99, stockpile
    Total OOP -5.98 Stockpile
    Foodland #3
    1 jug water -5.49
    2 yogurt @3.00
    2 4l milk @4.88
    2 fresh cranberries @2.99, 50% stickers -2.98
    Bananas -1.53
    Total OOP -$25.76, 3.00 discounts
    Total to spend this month $650.00
    Stockpile budget 2016 ($25.00):$5.98
    Stockpile budget used this month: $9.92+5.98=$15.90
    Total coupons used this week: $0
    Total coupons used to date: $0
    Total in-store discounts this week:$11.36
    Total in-store discounts to date: $12.86
    Total spent this week: $95.70
    Total spent so far this month: $260.10
    Total over/Under spend this shop: under
    Total over/Under spend for the month: N/A so far
    Total left to spend for the month: $389.90
    Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $
    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts) a number of small shops and some deals. The frozen meat pies were a good sale and hubby and the boys love them. Jackson’s has been having sales on things I use for body wash so it’s a low stock up. I still have lots of room left to work with but I still need to be careful as Feb. is a 5 week month, just the way things went. All in all a decent start to the year.

    • Hi Christine,
      What is AM discount? Is that Air Miles? How do you get discounts like that? Oh I haven’t looked that far ahead to know it is a 5 week month. Those always seem a bit harder. What will you do with your fresh cranberries? You did pick up some great little deals this week. I assume Jackson’s is a local pharmacy not a big box store in your town? You get ballot 21. Mr.CBB

      • Christine Weadick says:

        Sorry, yes AM is Air Miles. As of last April Foodland started taking them for the miles. I have my card on a 50/50 split between the miles and what they call dream cash. Ninety five cash points can get me $10.00 off my groceries, I used it last year to help at the end of the year to help come in on target. I think Sobeys takes them as well. Because of this I get regular emails with offers to load on my card much like Shoppers or PC Plus send out. I load them up and some are discounts and some are for extra miles if I spend a certain amount. Very common is spend $35.00 and get 10 miles over what I normally get. Usually a mile for $20.00 spent. Every little bit helps. I am hoping to save up those cash miles for next Christmas shopping.
        Jackson’s is the local Guardian drug store and I have a loyalty card there too. Works much like the Shoppers card but I don’t need a specific amount to cash out. We get most of hubby’s meds there but I don’t get points for those, just everything else.
        The cranberries are in the freezer to use later for baking and sauce. Thanksgiving until about Christmas is the only time I can get the fresh berries so I grab and freeze while I can.

  12. Yearly grocery budget for 4 adults 5000

    Name Your Store – Safeway
    Total Out Of Pocket: $ 126.20
    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $ 500
    PC Points Plus Earned to date:0

    Grocery Shop This Week

    Safeway
    • 1 dozen free run eggs $3.39
    • 1 Lucerne I litre half and half $2.89
    • Astro yogurt (650 ml) 2 x $1.99 $3.98

    * Picante Salsa- $4
    • Shortening – $3
    • Rice 2 Kg- $5.49
    • Navy Beans- $2 Kg
    • Hellman Olive oil mayo- $3.99
    • Compliments bread and butter pickles- $3.49
    • Simply OJ- $4
    • 4 salted butters 4 X $3.99
    • Sour Cream 750 ml 2.99
    • Frozen Compliments mango 600g $3.99
    • Frozen Compliments cherries 600g $3.99
    • Organic Garlic 1.85
    • Organic apples 6.99
    • Organic onions 3 lbs 3.99
    • Salad Kits 2 X $3
    • Shredded 3 color slaw bags 2 X $1.50
    • Bananas- $1.81
    • Grapefruits 2 X $0.79
    • Chicken drumsticks- family pack $7.64
    • Salmon Fillets – $7.99
    • Shredded parmesan- $4.99
    • Compliments Hummus 2 X 3.49
    • French bread- $0.99
    • Compliments organic multigrain bread 2 X $3
    GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK (add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)
    • Total coupons used this week: $1.50
    • Total coupons used to date: $5.75
    • Total in-store discounts this week: $32.50
    • Total in-store discounts to date: $77.89
    • Total spent this week: $126.20
    • Total spent so far this month: $255.77
    • Total over/Under spend for the month:
    • Total left to spend for the month: $ 244.23
    • Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $ 255.77
    • Weekly Overview :Sorry about being so late with this post… has been that kind of week. I am really happy with the free wine glasses I received for the filled booklet of stamps this week. So far I redeemed 2 booklets. I received 41 airmiles.

    • Hi Rose,
      That’s great that you picked up some free wine glasses! I see you buy organic. Is this something you always do? Have you ever made Hummus before? You can buy everything you need for cheap and make it at home over and over again. It’s worth it! I have the recipe on my blog. 🙂 You have such a variety of foods in your shop. I like it!!! I guess it’s smart to load up on butter while it’s cheap. Is it Safeway that gives you the stamps? That’s great for Air Miles. We always struggle to collect those I’m afraid. What are your secrets? You get ballot 22 Mr.CBB. Keep up the great work.

      • Safeway gives the stamps for the glasses, and I hope to get another two before the deal is over. They are beautiful and great quality. Last year their deal was Henkel knives, I LOVED that deal. Safeway also has great airmile deals, but maybe that is just out west.
        I have made homemade hummus but I don’t like the texture, maybe it is my blender?
        I usually spend $600 to $800 a month on groceries because I love buying organic, and was always tempted by treats. But I found I also wasted alot, and bought too many premade foods (like hummus LOL). So that is why I am taking the challenge. I want to see if this is doable. Wish me luck!

  13. Angela Mainse says:

    Week 2 – January 10 – 16

    • Grocery budget to work with in January: $200
    • Total coupons used this week: $0
    • Total coupons used to date: $0
    • Total RCSS gas coupons used this week: $1.39
    • Total RCSS gas coupons used to date: $1.39
    • Total Giant Tiger Enviro bag credit this week: .06
    • Total Giant Tiger Enviro bag credit to date: .06
    • Total value PC Plus points redeemed this week: $0
    • Total value PC Plus points redeemed to date: $0
    • Total gift cards/certificates/gifts used this week: $0
    • Total gift cards/certificates/gifts used to date: $0
    • Total student discounts this week: $2.50
    • Total student discounts to date: $4.69
    • Total tax savings RCSS this week: $0
    • Total tax savings RCSS to date: $0
    • Total spent this week: $35.05
    • Total spent so far this month: $83.70
    • Total left to spend for the month: $116.30
    • Carry over: $0
    • Total in carry over jar: $0
    • Total overspent to make up in future months: $0
    • Total Spent To Date 2015: $83.70

    Shoppers Drug Mart: Milk 2 x 3.97, Eggs 2 x 2.29: Total Paid 12.50 rounded down 2 cents

    RCSS: VH Sauce 2 x 2.00 (PM), Nutella 2.00 (PM), Lipton instant chicken noodle 3 x 1.00 (PM), Amooza twists 3.00 (PM), PC Frozen lasagna 5.00, PC Candy Cane ice cream clearance 2 x 1.94, bananas 1.15, less student discount 2.20:Total paid 19.85 rounded up 2 cents

    RCSS: Tomatoes grape pint 2 x 1.50 (PM), less student discount .30: Total paid 2.70

    A small week this week. Chinese new year is coming up, so accordingly things are going on sale related to it. Last week I got the wonton wrappers, this week the sauces. I always stock up a bit at this time of year. I hope to get a couple more jars of sauce, but I am waiting for the price to go down a bit more. Shoppers had a one day sale on eggs, so it didn’t pay to wait for price matching and discount day. The milk I got optimum bonus point on loaded to my card, so I bought two bags this week instead of one. They had long expiry dates, so I am not worried about using it. I wish I had gotten more of the tomatoes. I guess our family was missing them, the two pints were gone within 24 hours. But, the sales since have been awful. The ice cream we love went on a better clearance price with a long expiry, so we got two more tubs. Hopefully hubby can control himself. When I have things on hand hoping to use them over a period of time, he goes crazy with them and defeats the purpose. One tub is already gone from last week. Ugh. I wish he had more ability to let it sit for a bit. Moderation…

    The lasagna I couldn’t make for that price and we don’t mind the PC frozen version. It’s alright, so we picked up one. And the amooza twists are a handy healthy snack item for on the run to hockey, so I have already told hubby it’s for the kiddo only. That way it will last. My kiddo loves the instant chicken soup, we buy the lower salt version, and I don’t mind having it around when it’s a great price. That makes lunches easier. We do make most of our soups homemade and he eats it too, so instant is great for convenience and a happier kid. He likes the variety and never complains about the homemade. I don’t think I’m doing him any harm, especially with the lower salt version. He still gets a better balanced diet than I do. I eat way too much of the cheaper stuff because it helps us stay on budget (pastas, carbs, baked goods). Not as good for me, but fresh is so expensive right now, I am making sure he gets the proper nutrition because he is still growing. It’s only my waistline growing, and I know once I get to work more than 8 hours a week, that will change. Yes, I took a part-time job during my last semester of school. As if I wasn’t busy enough, but it’s essential to stay on budget and hubby takes a hit every Jan, Feb and Mar. So, yay, the student job is related in my field I am studying for, so I’m looking at it as a win, win. I’m just tired, lol!

    • Hi Angela,
      Sometimes men and moderation when it comes to food doesn’t happen. My wife gives me crap all the time because I’m into everything. Once I even ate her Bakers squares. I still don’t hear the end of that. haha! Everything is going up and I think we are only seeing the beginning of what is going to happen this year.That’s great news that you are working in your field. It’s the best way to get your foot in the door. This is what I’m doing right now. Was the PC Lasagna you got for $5 the big one? If so that is a great price and no you could not make it for that money. Well done this shop!! You get ballot 26 Mr.CBB

      • Angela Mainse says:

        The job couldn’t have come at a better time. In some cases, I’m having moderation issues same as hubby. We both have a lot to work on. Everyone has their weaknesses! The lasagna was for the 1 kg size. It was two large pieces each and one third the size of the massive one I usually make which costs me easily $30 now. So, it was delicious!

  14. Our weekly budget is $125 a week making this month $500
    H&W Produce
    $2.88 5lb Yukon gold potatoes
    $4.99 blueberries lg package
    .33×3 lemons
    $8.85 total oop
    Sobeys
    $3.99×2-bogo sale snap peas
    $3.49×3-$1Cx3 athentikos yogurt -50 AM!!!
    $3.12 ,$3.03 -.76cwub2 -store promo & $3.03staff coupon roasted peppers and garlic chicken breast
    $2.33×6 2L homo milk
    $27.85 total oop
    $3.03 staff coupon
    No frills
    $2×12 classic sauce – alfredo
    $2×2 4pk gum
    $1.49×4 hunts spaghetti sauce
    $2×2 Cheetos
    $3 Nutella
    $2×3 pizza pops 800P
    $6.66, $7.03 pork tenderloin 2600P
    $2 tortellini
    $2 8pk hot dog buns
    $1×3 English muffins 1200P
    $2 McCain French fries
    $3 sch bologna
    $2×14 Armstrong cheese
    I had coupons for this but the cashier refused to take them because I had already been rung through the till. I called am spoke with the cashier supervisor as what their policy is and the cashier was wrong and should have refunded my cheese and rerung them threw with the coupons and she was gonna retrain him but unfortunately I was sol on being able to use them this time. You live and learn I guess.
    $99.05 total oop
    $3 total coupons
    Superstore
    $1.67×3 bread
    .88×4 coconut milk
    $2 doughnuts
    .95 French bread
    .44 snowman basket
    $3.27 pasta shells
    $2.09×2 coffee creamer
    $24.96 sirloin tip roast – I was able to pick an awesome one with almost no fat or gristle and cut it into 4 smaller roasts and each one will have left overs so technically I will get 8 meals from this or more
    .44×24 paper plates, dessert plates & napkins in 2 different patterns – clearance
    way toooo good of a deal to pass up especially since we are hosting xmas eve this year
    $55.45 total oop

    $191.20 total weekly oop
    $6.03 total weekly coupons
    $253.97 total yearly oop
    $15.53 total yearly coupons

    Really over this week!! But we are only half way through the month and can balance it out. I also wanted to stock up on my staples of cheese and alfredo sauce which will save us in the long run.

    • Hey Juanita,
      How on earth did you get 50 Air Miles buying yogurt? That was awesome. I love how you are thinking about hosting Christmas eve this year. Many people just move on after the holidays. I would hauled over to customer service and had them take the coupons. We have done this MANY times. We even bought 3 toothbrushes and forgot the $10 off coupons at home and my wife called and had no issues using the coupons. All she needed was the receipt and product. I like your rationale with buying a bigger roast. What kind of donuts do you buy for $0.97? You are smart. Well done this week. You get ballot 32. MrCBB

  15. Hey Mr.CBB
    Yep that is the weekly sale with those bonus points!!!!! Neddless to say I bought lots and got a rain cheque or two.
    The hubby and his siblings take turns hosting so my fil doesn’t have to do it anymore.
    There was no csm working the day I was there shopping and was refused by my cashier and the one he asked behind him because they don’t have a customer service desk they have to do it at the till. So when I called it was another day to talk to the csm about what happened she told me because it was no longer the same day they could not redo the transaction. Normally I would have fought it but I am tired and didn’t wanna waste another drive over there.
    We got a dzn doughnuts for $2 and I think they were called annettes at rcss and they were okay especially for that price.

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