grocery game monthly challenge

Should You Buy Into The Costco Membership Consumer Hype? : The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #2 Feb 8-14

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COSTCO WHOLESALE STOCKS YOU UP BUT DOES IT STACK UP $$

 

Put away your coupon binder if you plan to shop at Costco as they don’t accept manufacturer coupons because they have their own coupons and promotions for private members. They also boast having the best deals because their buyers are able to negotiate great prices. Just how great are these prices though compared to your typical grocery store paired with sales, coupons and coupon apps?

Let’s find out….

Related: How to chop everyday food prices without coupons

I think not owning a smartphone and Costco membership at the same time either means you’re very frugal, don’t see the benefit or there is no Costco location nearby so there’s no point considering if there are any budget savings to be had. I don’t have either BUT we do have a Costco very close to our house so we wanted to see if there was a benefit for us to stop in and shop on my way home from work.

What I found interesting was that Costco motivates shoppers who entertain saving money by buying in bulk every frugal persons’ dream but they also offer a Costco Concierge Service. Can we say frugal and posh at the same time? Not really, it just sounds like it is. After reading about the concierge service I realized it was just frosting for the typical “Customer Service” help that almost every store has for customers.

 

Costco History

 

Costco was born in 1976….

The Costco story begins in 1976, when entrepreneur Sol Price introduced a groundbreaking retail concept in San Diego, California. Price Club was the world’s first membership warehouse club, a place where efficient buying and operating practices gave members access to unmatched savings.

Most of you might not care about the history but the key point here is just how long consumers have been motivated to buy in bulk keeping the doors open to what has become a giant success story for Costco.

 

Welcome to Costco

 

Friends of ours took us to Costco last week for a final decision-making walk around the store to investigate prices and worthiness of our money towards a Costco Membership. Besides that we had a non-friendly door host the overall experience was very good and so were the delicious samples.

When you walk through the front door of Costco you grab a massive shopping cart (more to fill and more money to spend) and if you aren’t prepared for what’s around the corner you’ll get hit with a super clean massive warehouse. The fans on the ceiling are massive, the lighting very bright, tunes playing, food smells all over the place and shopping carts filling up.

It’s easy to see how anyone would want to shop in bulk BUT do we really need to stockpile food? If you toss out food that is still in boxes or bags because no one eats it or your super-sized jars of condiments are going bad or past expiry you should consider not buying in large measure like that.

I think it would be a great experiment to purchase some items that you would normally buy at a regular grocery store but buy it at Costco. From there you’ll want to see how long it takes to get through the product before it puts a dent in your pantry or freezer. If you notice food waste, cut back. There’s nothing worse than saving to flush money down the toilet because you can’t get it back again.

As we raced from aisle to aisle my mathematical brain was going full-speed tapping into the regular Costco price, Costco sale price and whether we could pick a product up for less at the grocery store. Don’t just look at the price either. You need to read the size, units, weight and so on to find out if you are getting the best bang for your buck.

For those unsuspecting customers who don’t know their prices they will potentially pay more at Costco on some items had they waited for a good sale at the grocery store. A 3 pack of bacon at Costco will run you $15.99 but if you wait for a sale at the grocery store for $2.99 you’ll save more. It also depends on product urgency as well but for the most part you’ll see a savings on many products at Costco if the need is immediate.

I couldn’t justify the prices on paper products because they always go on sale at the grocery store. Just that day we bought a 6 pack of  Supreme Kleenex tissues on sale for $3.88- $1.50 Snap Groupon rebate on each pack making them $2.38. Toilet paper and paper towel always goes on sale and you can easily save more if you wait. A 12 pack of Kleenex tissue at Costco was priced at $15.99 so you can see how patience really can save you money by waiting for grocery store sales sometimes.

We found that the produce was not something we would purchase often because we can’t inspect what we are buying like we do at the grocery store. You can’t pick and choose at Costco like you can at Zehrs for example. It either is, or it isn’t. The reason for this is to cut down on waste.

Oddly enough there are people who have no need for the typical grocery store and don’t even step food inside one. Costco is the only grocery store they will shop at and for many membership holders that makes sense for them. Costco for the most part will give you the immediate sale price so you don’t have to wait for the grocery store sale. That makes sense if you don’t care to wait it out.

If you have a smartphone you can download the Costco Canada App to do some price searching while you are in the store IF you have a data plan. We didn’t read about any free WI-fi in the store while we were shopping which saddened us but I’m sure one day all stores will entertain the WI-fi idea for their customers. The great thing about having online ability is that you can price match and base your buying decisions on price searches.

We didn’t end up buying anything during this trip to Costco but it sure was fun taking time to research what they offered and the prices available. The toys, clothes and home appliance aisles were a few aisles that we splashed through but didn’t investigate into too much.

From what we could see toys were reasonably priced and books were very popular as the section was packed with shoppers. Were the prices good? Well, we buy books second-hand or go to the library so free and dirt cheap are how we roll when it comes to reading books. You’ll always pay premium for new books no matter where you shop but with Costco you’ll likely save a bit more as you would with Chapters.

 

Costco sells what?

 

They aren’t kidding around at Costco.. they probably sell a little bit of everything.

Even this…

The most shocking product I found at Costco Canada was a casket. I honestly was not ready for that because typically when you need or want to pre-purchase a casket you go to the casket place don’t you? Uh, I’m so not informed about where to buy caskets but don’t worry you won’t bump into one on display at the Costco store.

You can only order the casket online for $1599.99 along with flower arrangements for $99.99. Not every funeral home will accept this and not every Costco ships Caskets. They offer this as a service to their members. I suppose this is one way to say, they care.

 

Costco Store Hours

 

If you don’t know where your closest Costco Store is they have a handy Costco Store Locator link on their website where you can type in your city and it will locate the closest Costco stores to you.

Every time I drive by our local Costco store the place is packed, day and night. The Costco store hours are 10am-8:30 pm Monday to Friday, Saturday 9:30am-6pm and Sunday 10am to 5 pm. I bet if Costco was a 24- hour warehouse operation that it probably would be packed at night too.

Everything about Costco is bulk in size and in some cases, price too. Ask anyone where to get the best price on pharmacy prescription refills and they will tell you, Costco. A little tid-bit I learned is that you don’t have to purchase a Costco membership to use the pharmacy either. Certainly give your local store a call and ask. I know we pay $11.99 filling fees at Shoppers Drug Mart which are outrageous so right away a pharmacy savings can add up over the course of a year.

Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick residents can now order prescriptions online and have them delivered in the convenience of their home. Register online.

The pharmacy hours at Costco are as follows:

Ontario
Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 9:00 pm
Saturday closed
Sunday 9:00 am to 5:30 pm

Alberta
Monday to Friday 10:00am to 8:30pm
Saturday 9:30am to 6:00pm
Sunday 10:00am to 5:00pm
Nova Scotia
Monday to Friday 10:00 am to 8:30 pm
Saturday 9:30am to 6:00pm
Sunday 10:00am to 5:00pm

When we first went to Costco years ago with my sister-in-law we did not own a house as I was back in school so renting a room was a viable option for us so we could save more money for a down-payment on a house. There was not much storage space in our room so we were limited about what we could buy.

My first trip into Costco went as expected especially with the wide aisles, pallet stacks, bulk packaging, smells and sights. The samples clearly became the highlight of the show and I quickly realized that those sample booths are huge money-makers for the warehouse giant.

Food marketing is an extensive business of making sure that customers can taste, visualize and hold products before they put them in the shopping cart. If a store can successfully draw a customer in with free food they know that is money in their pocket.

Just about everyone I know who talks about Costco tells me how much they love going to eat the free food samples. This makes it fun and engaging for the customer and when you have happy customers they tend to spend more money. Do you necessarily need that massive box of shrimp? Probably not but because you just had the best tasting grilled shrimp on a skewer at around lunch time paying $75 for a big bag seems like the reasonable thing to do.

I’m betting just like any other grocery store if you don’t go in with a shopping list you’re risking your grocery budget. If you go into Costco and try to justify every bulk product you put in your shopping cart you WILL spend more than you set out to spend. Humans have a strange way of having a conversation with themselves to come up with answers to questions in which not much thought is needed. Either it’s yes or no. If you have to think about it then you likely don’t need it.

 

How much is a Costco membership?

 

Buying a membership for Costco will either A) Help your grocery budget or B) Kill it and there’s no in-between because the minute you walk through any Costco Warehouse doors it’s game on for spending big bucks if you’re not careful. If you’re not satisfied with your Costco membership they have no problem refunding your money so you can move on.

Your company at work may offer to pay a portion of your Costco membership as a benefits perk so make sure to talk to Human Resources or refer to your employee benefits book to see if you are that lucky person. Costco regularly visits big companies to sign employees up but from what my wife remembers there were no discounts available. It was the convenience of them coming to you.

If you are an Aeroplan collector you can register your membership and Aeroplan card so you can collect Aeroplan miles promotions.

When you purchase your Costco Membership the card will have your photo on it and it is non-transferable which means you can’t just hand it to your relatives and friends to use. If you want to buy your friends a Costco gift card they can shop in-store without needing the Costco membership. This is a great Christmas gift for someone who may not be familiar with the store so they can shop at their own convenience.

Gold Star Costco Membership Fee: $55.00

Gold Star Membership allows you to purchase products for personal use at any Costco Wholesale worldwide, and at Costco.ca. The annual membership fee is $55.  A free Spouse card is also included for a spouse or family member 18 years of age or older living at the same address.

Business Costco Membership Fee $55.00

Business Membership is available to owners and managers of licensed businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies, and to farmers and ranchers. A Business Membership allows you to purchase products for business, personal and resale** use. The membership fee is $55 annually. A free Spouse card is also included for a spouse or family member 18 years of age or older living at the same address.

Executive Costco Membership Fee $110.00

How much does an executive Costco Membership cost?

Executive Membership benefits are available only to the primary Executive Membership cardholder and the Spouse cardholder (Spouse refers to either a spouse or a family member 18 years of age or older living at the same address). Additional Secondary cards and their Spouse cardholders are not eligible for Executive Membership benefits or the 2% Reward.

The annual membership fee for an Executive Membership is $110.

Executive Gold Star Membership allows you to purchase products, access a wide variety of consumer services, and can be used at any Costco Wholesale worldwide or online at Costco.ca.

Everything you need to know about getting a Costco Membership.

 

Costco Membership Renewal Options

 

You can renew your Costco membership easily and you don’t have to leave home to do this. If your membership has expired you can renew by signing into your account at Costco.ca, Go into any Costco store, Call Costco or you can renew online through your bank.

 

Costco Coupons Online

 

Costco shopping for most people means they can stock up on products that they frequently use at home so they are not going back and forth to the grocery store every month or so. Costco mails members coupons and promotions at various times of year. So be on the lookout for those extra savings on your favourite products.

 

Costco Prices

 

Not all Costco stores are created equally which means you may find different prices between brick and mortar stores just as you would online compared to in-store.

This is why:

There may be several reasons for a change or difference in the price of an item among our locations.
Our location managers and buying team keep a very close watch on inventory and pricing. There may be times that our vendors will be able to offer a lower price for an item on additional shipments. Finally, local competition may also be a reason for us to adjust our prices.

Our friends were asking why I was taking so many photos of products at Costco so I had to tell a white-lie and say that I was doing price research on products that interest us. It would be nice to walk around with a phone for a few hours to check everything out but with a toddler who was hungry and the size of the store there was no way that was going to happen.

What I did notice was that milk is a couple of cents cheaper but with rounding up and down these days because of the loss of the penny in Canada it didn’t make a lick of difference. Meat for the most part looked delicious, clean and the butcher shop out back was thriving with staff rushing around to bring product to the masses of customers. I was very impressed by the meat counter at Costco and the prices were very reasonable compared to the grocery store.

The Costco bakery was no different with racks and bunkers full of fresh products. The price for buns were cheap and certainly cost less than what we would pay at a local bakery or in the grocery store bakery. We normally hit the 50% off rack for bread but if you’re looking for fresh stuff, Costco has it. If you’re looking for full on artisian bakery bread, you’ll pay for it but that typically comes from a mom and pop shop in town. Of course if you’re handy in the kitchen you can bake your own batch of buns at home for even less. Not everyone has the time nor skill to do so though.

While we were walking round, drooling over the sweets section, our friends told us that they ate an entire Mile High cake by themselves one night. For the size and price of the cake I thought that was a huge savings because to order 2 slices at a restaurant would certainly cover that cost and then some. Baking at home is the smartest way to save but not everyone knows how to bake either.

Related: Homemade vs Store-Bought

 

Costco In-store Offers

 

We had a general idea of what to expect but didn’t realize that they had someone at the front door with Costco deals flyer. Silly me thought they were coupons but they are not so when I found the product I would subtract that coupon flyer coupon and wanted to cut them out. I didn’t have scissors until our friends told us they were only flyers. Doh!

A deals flyer with in-store specials is a great way to target customers by handing them out at the front door after showing a Costco membership card to staff. (they are very strict by the way so have your membership card ready to show). We were told to stand over to the side until our Costco membership holder friends showed up. Honestly, we felt like Costco criminals because he wasn’t the friendliest greeter we’ve ever encountered.

 

Costco Online Offers

 

Costco Online offers are available if you visit the Costco website to see what deals you can score before you go shopping. I did find price discrepancy for the Kirkland baby wipes which makes me wonder how accurate Costco online pricing is compared to the actual in-store prices.

I wasn’t complaining as the price for the baby wipes were $4 less in-store. A potential customer who is doing some price research may turn away from shopping at a Costco store or buying a Costco membership if the pricing is not reflective of in-store prices. I’m not sure why Costco online prices would or should be any different.

Then I found this which means if you don’t read the fine print you might not know that online prices include shipping and handling. So you’re going to pay a premium price on products if you can’t get to the store.

Costco.ca carries thousands of products not available in your local Costco warehouse. Pricing on Costco.ca often includes shipping and handling; therefore, Costco.ca does not price-match our warehouses.

What I learned about this is that it’s always important to read the FAQ’s , store hours online or call your local Costco and ask a customer service agent what you are looking for.

If you want to find the current Costco Warehouse offers click the “In the Warehouse” banner on their website along with the province and you will see the list of promotions available to you.

 

Costco Return Policy

 

You can bring products back to Costco for a return, refund or replacement. If you request a product pick-up for return it may take up to 3-4 weeks and Costco requires you to send it back the same way you got it. This is why my wife tells me to never throw out product packaging because you never know when you will need it.

Costco.ca offers convenient returns at any one of our Costco warehouses worldwide. To expedite the return process, please have your order confirmation email with you. You may use our warehouse locator to find your local Costco, or if you wish to return merchandise directly, contact us at customer service. Please select “Costco.ca Returns” as the subject of the e-mail and be sure to include the product’s item number and your order number to expedite the return process.

Costco has no problem with returns as long as you have your receipt but they do have some exceptions that you should be aware of before you make purchase that you can’t return.

Costco Return Policy Exceptions:

  • Electronics- You have 90 days from the date on your receipt
  • Diamonds need to be verified so it can take days to do a return
  • Cigarettes and alcohol you cannot return
  • Check the warranty on tires and batteries or other products with a limited life span
  • Customer installation services unless you are claiming a warranty.

 

Costco Services

 

I had no idea that Costco had so many types of services available to members which also factors into the decision as to whether we want to purchase a Costco Membership.

  • Bakery
  • Food Court
  • Fresh Produce
  • Fresh Deli
  • Propane
  • Service Deli
  • Membership Services
  • Gas Station
  • Fresh Meat
  • Photo Centre
  • Rotisserie Chicken
  • Optical Department
  • Hearing Aids
  • Tire Service Centre
  • Pharmacy

Filling up at the Costco gas station with your Costco membership will always save you money compared to what city gas stations are charging. Don’t try and cheat the system either because you’ll need that membership card in good standing to even pump gas. If you have an expired card Costco will allow you a courtesy pump but if you try a second time they will block you and send you to renew your membership. Just an FYI if you plan to try and get cheap gas without a valid membership card.

I do follow gas prices and every time I drive by Costco the price is very competitive and worth it because I find myself thinking, damn that’s a good price.

So just the pharmacy and gas alone is a huge savings to the budget IF you plan to use those Costco services. Mind you I’m not sure if we are ready to move our prescriptions to Costco if we did get a membership but it would certainly be something we’d consider.

 

Overall Thoughts

 

Our trip ended at the Costco food bar as we all decided to enjoy dinner at Costco instead of going to McDonald’s which was the plan with the kids since we had them out at dinner time. The food bar only accepts cash so make sure to hit the ATM or your cash budget envelope before you go if you plan to grab a hot-dog or ice-cream cone.

Prices at the food bar were not overly expensive but definitely hit the spot after all that walking around and enjoying food samples which kick-started my appetite in the first place. Both IKEA and Costco know how to target food to customers after a long walk around their massive facilities.

See Costco succeeds!! That’s how marketing is done.

There are pros and cons to just about every store out there and Costco is no exception. The biggest pitfall would be to buy too much of one item either because it’s on sale or you think you will get through it but you don’t. This creates waste and loss of money. I also believe that buying massive amounts of food in bulk packaging also contributes to over-eating because of larger sizing. The bags of chips are massive and for someone who can’t stop at one this bag can easily become a food devil. Sometimes it pays to shop smaller but that all depends on how you approach bulk shopping.

I believe that yes we will purchase a Costco Membership for $55 even if it’s for the cheap gas, cheese and other products that are comparable at the grocery store that might never go on sale.

 

CBB Fans Speak Up About Costco

 

Some of my fans shared their thoughts about shopping at Costco and this is what they had to say:

KNOW your prices, both regular and sale, before you shop there – we go every month and spend anywhere from 2 to 4 hundred each time – we buy food, clothes, treats, gifts, computer stuff, camping stuff, books, etc – only one in our area sells gas so we do fill up if we go to that one – I like their meat, it’s good quality at a decent price – I buy ground beef and repack it into 1 lb bags at home – chicken goes into bags too, 2 or 3 pieces each bag – need lots of storage room for some items – pharmacy prices are very good for both scripts and over the counter stuff – iron at Costco for me is 8 at the pharmacy where we get our drugs it’s 13 or 14 – you must know your prices in order to make it worth your time and money – we spend enough there that we get a rebate cheque each February that more than pays for our membership each year- Sharon

We buy a certain brand of Soy Milk & I figured out if I buy it at Costco most of the time I will save more than the cost of membership. I have been relieved that I have spent responsibly there, no purchases that I later regretted. I buy a few items on discount & we may buy an appliance there, we’ll check out & compare first.- Faith

I love Costco – but my budget doesn’t. I tend to overspend and come out with a $500 bill which then just blows my budget. Now that the kids have moved out – I don’t really need all that food and I can usually get better deals with coupons and sale items. I find it’s good for Christmas gifts. Propane is one thing that we do buy there for our barbeque – but that’s like once a year. I don’t buy gas there as it is about 40 KM’s from me – so not really worth the drive and the lineups. I would rather fill up at RCSS and collect my points for free groceries. If we are travelling in the USA – we do however stop at Costco for gas – as it is cheaper and a hot-dog and drink for lunch is really cheap too!- Christine M

I used to have a membership to Costco- not worth it when there is only two of us in a small house, and I have always religiously followed the grocery store flyers, plus now I coupon and price match, so can get most food in the quantity we use, cheaper elsewhere. I know plenty of people with a membership though, so I will go 2-3 times a year for the few things I love and feel is worth it.

The bed sheets, both flannel and cotton, are super inexpensive for the high quality , the packs of Contigo water bottles and coffee mugs are super handy and a great price, and I will stock up on pharmacy items like vitamins and Advil, which are super cheap. Not a lot of people know this, but the Costco pharmacy has the best prices around, and you don’t need a membership to use it! (it’s Ontario law). Just say you are heading to the pharmacy – you can only get the prescription items though, NO over the counter and NO supplements, just the stuff you need a script- Beth B.

We buy all our gas for our truck at Costco as well as propane. Also I make a detailed list when shopping, my go to items are laundry pods, bounce sheets, freezer bags, toilet paper, paper towel, Kleenex, gravy base( the one they use for their poutine…YUM), spices, garlic, ketchup in the tin, Miracle Whip, Ranch dressing, mustard….I find these items are of a great value for what you get and one shop will normally last us for 2-3 months.

I don’t find the meat or produce worth it for our family. If I can shop only 3 to 4 times a year and spend approx. $250 each time I am happy/ I hate the parking, I have a meltdown before I even get into the store lol, it is very busy and line ups are horrible always…that is my 2 cents worth. I also get a free membership as a perk through my work.- Tammy B.

I always pick up the 4 pack of farmer sausage as it’s the same price for 2 at any other store. Also picked up 2 beef roasts for $20. I forgot to check price per kg but each roast will easily feed us 3 meals. Their fresh chicken wings are really good too and you get probably 3x (or more!) the amount compared to M&M’s. I don’t think we’ve bought much meat from there as our freezer is always full when we go. – Samantha J.

First make a list of the things I know are good value, spices, flour, sugar, yeast they are at least 1/2 price if not more from Costco compared to the superstore. I often buy my coffee for my Tassimo there.- Nicola

Don’t belong to Costco, but have been twice, once in Denver CO and once in Winston-Salem NC. We shop at Sam’s Club and find some really good deals, but some things aren’t. You just have to know what is a good price and what isn’t. Buy gas there a lot, but a lot of time gas is cheaper elsewhere. The prices at their snack bar are cheap.- Pat

Things we buy there: polish sausages (like they sell in their canteen because they are huge and my family loves them compared to regular hot dogs); flour and yeast because I bake most of our bread products as well as cookies etc; chocolate chips, cocoa and vanilla extract; toilet paper because their rolls last a long time so it’s a better value; some meat and poultry if it’s on sale; and sometimes bagels. Even just buying those few items makes the price of the basic membership worth it for us, particularly the baking supplies.

What I don’t like about it is how busy it is most of the time – I now go only at opening. I also don’t like the checkout area – it could be done in a much more logical way that doesn’t block that entire front shelf. Some winding theatre roping and one dedicated person at the front guiding the next shopper in line to an open cash would work so much better! What I like: the price per unit of many of the items I use a lot of. What’s for dinner: frozen pizza, because I baked 8 dozen cookies today and wore myself out!- Tracey R.

If you are careful, Costco can be a big money-saver. I try to go just once a month, and do a big shop when I do, but I move fast and don’t let myself get distracted by bargains that aren’t on my list. I find the Kirkland brand products to be very good. I definitely save enough money to make it worth the membership. And I know the workers there are paid decently and get good benefits, which I like. They have good clothing, so though I usually buy used clothes, when I do buy new it is usually at Costco. You have to know your prices for food, though, and be disciplined. If you like to bake, they have excellent prices on bulk flour and white sugar. Excellent place to buy prescriptions and prescription glasses. If you have bad eyes like me, and purchase just one pair of glasses, your membership will pay for itself.- Ketchup With That

We love Costco! There are of course some things that aren’t that much of a deal but if you like to buy in bulk and all at once than it’s worth not having to go another store. Other things are just so incredibly cheaper that it just makes sense to buy in bulk. It’s just the 2 of us plus my 4 daycare children so we freeze what we won’t eat right away….meat, cheese, bread, cookies, veggies. Things like coffee, toilet paper, peanut butter, pickles and most baking supplies are SO much cheaper! Their pasta is another thing we always buy as 3 of theirs is just under the price of 2 at Walmart and are bigger packs. The non food items are nice too and often hard to find at other places. Service has always been great which is more than I can say for other stores.- Samantha

We have bought the commercial rolls of film (food wrap), both the 12″ and the 18″ wide. They last me five-six years (I put my date on the box), so averages $2.00 to $3.00 per year and I would guess a roll of Saran Wrap or Glad Wrap costs more.- Pat

After recording every penny of groceries I purchased last month, I’ve come to the conclusion that I should buy all of our dairy products there. I’ve always purchased flour there. The bagels are not cheaper, but so good! I bought my son’s glasses their last month and was able to get 2 pairs for just under our $200 insurance coverage. I’m starting to appreciate Costco more.- Heather

As much as I am a fan of buying in bulk and at great prices….we just won’t pay a membership to shop at any store….I buy what I need when the stores have the items I need on sale and stock up….and…I am 3 hours away from the closest one.- Colleen

We pay $110 for our executive membership and get a rebate cheque each year for more than that – so in the long run we pay nothing, they pay us- Sharon

We shop at Costco but rarely. Last trip was just freezer bags and Finish dishwasher pucks. Most things I find cheaper on sale elsewhere, especially using coupons.- Debbie

I’m ready to give up our membership I really don’t find groceries that much cheaper ,I’m not impressed with their clothing, the only thing we really purchase is the gas and I been noticing this week it is cheaper at the corner gas station ,I’m speaking about Costco Canada- Hazel

I love Costco though I don’t shop there a lot, probably once a month. We didn’t sign up the membership till we had a baby. I remember we bought a Braun brand ear thermometer for 49.99 while RCSS had it for $79.99. That alone already saved us 30 dollars. I also find their rotisserie chicken is cheaper than anywhere else and it tastes good (well, slightly saltier). We also like to buy their fresh wild pacific salmon.

Great selection on healthy snacks like kale chips, chickpea chips and organic products at a fraction price compared to Loblaws. I regularly buy frozen organic blueberries for smoothies. One 1.2 kg bag for 9.99 while PCO charges me 5.99 for 400 g or something. After shopping around for winter tires last fall, we also found they have the best price for tires and free installation for members. Hey, can’t beat that! I also shop online on Costco and they have a speedy shipping and I love their return policy. They make everything so easy if you’re not satisfied with their products. Tonight’s dinner: salad with roasted beets and fennel, jerk chicken. –Juyenty

I buy cereal, yogurt, hummus, wraps coffee beans, flour, spices, fruit, and some meat.at Costco because it is a lot cheaper than the grocery store. You need to know your prices, not everything is cheaper. Yes, we buy gas at Costco. –Pam

My best tip about Costco is KNOW your prices!!!! I have staple items that we buy there like tums($11.49 4pk), brown sugar (2kg $3.29), lemon concentrate (2pk $4.29 just went up from $3.99), 4L homo milk($4.99), coffee creamer 10% ($1.99 1L), date night at the movies ($26ish), Kirkland AA batteries ($13.99), beef gravy powder ($5ish), ground black pepper($6), yeast ($4.49 2lb), stamps ($84 for 100pk), also coconut oil ($27.99 for 2.7L) but unfortunately they are outta stock for those, iced tea powder ($6.59 2.35kg), also books and movies can be a great deal if you’re looking for those things.

We don’t gas up there anymore as the one close to us has crazy long line ups and isn’t always a great deal. The garden center flowers are amazing and the baskets at mother’s day start at $12.99 and go up in price and are better quality than you can get at RCSS or Walmart. Speaking of quality they have a great return policy! You can return within the year with almost no hassle about the return (having the receipt makes the return faster and easier). We bought little miss sleepers from there and she tore a hole in the knees on a pair and a hole in the toes on another pair and I received a full refund! They also have their own price matching policy that if you buy something and it goes on sale for less you can get the difference back when you bring in your receipt. –Juanita

 

So… either you love it or hate it at Costco. We’ll give it a try for one year and see what we think and revisit this post then for a further review.

Do you have a Costco Membership? Why or Why not?

 

February 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 below for you so you don’t have to go looking for past GGC posts for the month. Alternatively, just click on the “Grocery Game Challenge” tab on the blog side-bar to see past posts.

 

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 $217.05
  • Total Gift Cards used to date: $50
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
  • PC Points Plus Earned to date: 58570
  • 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: $0 (Cashed out $45.00)
  • Zweet to cash out : $18.25
  • Checkout51 to cash out : $7.00

 

Grocery Shop This Week

 

Food Basics

  • 2 x 2% milk 4L- $3.97
  • 2 x Homo 3.25 % Milk 4 L $4.97

Total Out-of-Pocket: $17.98

  • Total to spend this month $235.00-$17.95 over Jan = $217.05
  • Stockpile budget 2016 ($25.00):$25.00
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $0
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $4
  • Total in-store discounts this week:$0
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $128.10
  • Total spent this week: $17.98
  • Total spent so far this month: $74.07
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: under
  • Total over/Under spend for the month:- $n/a
  • Total left to spend for the month: $160.87
  • Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $252.95+ Feb $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

We didn’t need much this week as we have lots of leftovers from the pulled pork, pig roast party we attended on the weekend. There was so much food that we took some home with us. Boring I know…. but the savings are nice.

 

Coupons and Coupon Apps 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?

coupons grocery game challenge Canada 2016 Feb g2

 

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

Are You New To Canadian Budget Binder?

  • Follow Me on Social media by clicking any of the buttons below on the blog.
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  • If you like FREE then click this link for my FREE Excel Budget Spreadsheet and all my Free Money Saving List
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. Mary F Campbell says:

    FEBRUARY – Week #2 of 5- Feb 8-14, 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:

    Here we are with another one of our NO SHOP WEEKS except for getting some more milk. We paid cash this time since there was a $1.50 off coupon at Safeway and with the recent Supreme Court ruling that we can’t collect reward points on our prescriptions, the MORE points will be a little harder to come by for us. I figure we’ll redeem when the milk is full price but we’ll pay cash when the milk is discounted.

    We did score some more nice rain checks on whole chickens, chicken breasts and Clamato Juice. Keep those rain checks coming!! I love locking in a good price!!!

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

    OUR “CANADIAN” SHOPPING THIS WEEK:

    Safeway – Maple Ridge –

    1 4L Lucerne Skim Milk ($4.79-$1.50 COUPON)

    • TOTAL Grocery Budget OOP: $3.29
    • TOTAL Stocking Up Budget OOP: $0.00

    ** Earned 1 Air Miles on this shop **
    ** SAVED $1.50 in Rain Check Coupons **
    ** SAVED $22.57 Loyalty Savings on this shop **

    Hubby bought some non-grocery items that earned the savings and air miles reported above.

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

    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 $36.76 + Feb $87.08 = $123.84

    •Total Coupons/Rain Checks Used This Year:

    Jan $0.00 + Feb $1.50= $1.50

    •Total Price Match Savings Used This Year:

    Jan $0.00 + Feb $0.00 = $0.00

    •Total More Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 10 + Feb 71 = 81 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year:

    Jan 6 + Feb 42 = 48 Air Miles

    •Total PC PLUS Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 1800 + Feb 3400 = 5200 Points

    •Total Optimum Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 0 + Feb 0 = 0 Points

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

    2016 Y-T-D GROCERY SPENDING:

    •Total OOP Year-To-Date:
    Jan $196.78 + Feb ($83.22 trf to reserves+$3.38+$6.99+$5.19+$14.08+$15.68+$24.94+$8.17+$3.29 = $164.94) = $361.72

    •Total Year-To-Date Grocery Budget:
    Jan $190.00+ Feb $190.00 = $380.00

    •Total Over/Under on Year-To-Date Grocery Budget:
    $18.28 AVAILABLE

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

    2016 POINTS REDEEMED RESERVE:

    2015 Fwd $0.00+Jan $4.69+ Feb $5.19= $9.88

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

    2016 US GROCERY RESERVE:

    2015 Fwd $0.00+Jan $45.00+Feb $45.00= $90.00

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

    2016 RE-STOCKING RESERVE:

    2015 Fwd $217.50+Jan -$49.65 + Feb ($15.00-4.97-$39.48 = -$29.45) = $138.40

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

    2016 Y-T-D HOLIDAY SEASON RESERVE:

    2015 Fwd $81.51+Jan $15.00 + Feb $11.61 = $108.12

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

    2016 Y-T-D SUMMER RESERVE:

    2015 Fwd $100.00+ $537.50 Trf from Borscht Fund+Jan $15.00 + Feb $11.61= $664.11

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

    • SUMMARY OF FUNDS Y-T-D:

    $ 380.00 Grocery Budget JAN

    $ 9.88 Redeemed Points to Purchase
    Groceries

    ($ 83.22) ADDITION TO: Misc Reserves
    (Re-Stocking, Xmas & Summer)

    $ 109.10 REDUCTION TO: Misc Reserves
    (Re-Stocking, Xmas & Summer)

    ($ 90.00) Trf to US Grocery Reserve

    ($ 9.88) Set in reserve to offset
    Redeemed Points

    ($ 297.60) Actual CASH SPENT

    $ 18.28 AVAILABLE Y-T-D SPENDING

    • VALUE POINTS REDEEMED Y-T-D:

    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – JAN
    $ 5.19 Whole Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – FEB

    $ 9.88 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”:

    $138.40 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $108.12 Holiday Season Fund
    $664.11 Summer Season Fund
    $ 90.00 US Shopping Reserve
    $ 9.88 Points Redeemed Reserve

    OUR CURRENT TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES ARE $1,010.51. This means the $936.51 that we carried forward from 2015 PLUS AN ADDITIONAL $183.10 that we have added in 2016, LESS $109.10 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 for 10 Air Miles

    2 Pork Loin Roasts @ $3.88/lb – Good until April 28/16

    4 Ground Beef @ $3.88/lb – Good until April 28/16

    2 Whole Fryer Chickens @ $1.99/lb – Good until May 4/16

    12 Motts Clamato Juice 945-960 ml @ $1.00 ea – Good until May 6/16

    12 Motts Clamato Juice 945-960 ml @ $1.00 ea – Good until May 8/16

    Save On Foods:

    2 Whole Pork Loins @ $1.89/lb – Good until Feb 11/16

    1 Maple Leaf Prime 8-pk Chicken Breasts @ $18 – Good until Feb 18/16

    Thrifty Foods:

    6 Island Bakery WW Bread @ $1.00 per loaf – Good until April 22/16

    6 Island Bakery WW Bread @ $1.00 per loaf – Good until April 25/16

    1 x 2-pack BC Fresh Whole Fryer Chickens @ $2.49/lb – Good until April 27/16

    1 x 2-pack BC Fresh Whole Fryer Chickens @ $2.49/lb – Good until April 27/16

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

    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 cereal with skim milk

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

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

    This week’s LUNCH menu plan:

    MON: Ham and Cheese Omelettes with Sauteed Mushrooms and Kale

    TUES: Pork Roast Sandwiches, Potato Salad & Christmas Banana Bread

    WED: Ham & Cheese on Multigrain Buns with Zuppa Toscano Soup and Rice Pudding

    THURS: Tuna Salad Sandwiches & Red Delicious Apple

    FRI: Egg Salad Sandwiches with Rice Pudding

    SAT: Leftover BBQ Chili & Maple Corn Muffins

    SUN: Red Pepper and Red Lentil Soup & Cheese Muffins + Valentine’s Day date at the ice cream parlor for a shared treat

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

    This week’s DINNER menu plan:

    MON: BBQ Chili + Cheese Muffins

    SHROVE TUES: Gingerbread Pancakes with Spinach Salad

    WED: Tuna Casserole with Roasted Mushrooms & Onions

    THURS: Leftover Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana + buttered Cottage Cheese Bread

    FRI: Leftover BBQ Chili & Maple Corn Muffins

    SAT: Slow Cooker Bacon Corn Chowder + Quick Peppery Cheese Bread

    SUN (Valentine’s Day): Large Caesar Salad with Sauteed Garlic Shrimp

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

    • Hi Mary,
      I just love the variety in your meals! It’s nice to see a meal plan that is not boring. We aren’t the best at making meal plans that shine like you do. I think for us it comes down to time because I’m hardly home at dinner time and it’s hard to even plan when I will come through the door. If an emergency happens before I’m leaving work and they need me… guess who’s not coming home. Does breakfast pretty much stay the same for the both of you? Oh so the milk was paid with rewards points from prescriptions. I wish SDM gave points for prescriptions here but they never did. What a great score on the rain checks. I love your saying, “Way to lock in good prices”.. That would have made a great blog post title!! Ha. Have a great week Mary and Larry. 🙂 Mr.CBB You get ballot 11. Mr.CBB

  2. I don’t have a membership to Costco as it doesn’t make sense for my tiny budget. The last I heard, my sister has one so if I wanted anything there, I could ask my sister to get it or go with my sister to get it myself. I’ve been to our local store once and yes, you definitely need to know your prices because it’s too easy to fall into the trap of “well it’s 3.5kg so $15.00 is a good price” logic.

  3. Honestly, I don’t have much to add except this: most Costco locations will open their doors about 20-30 minutes before the posted opening time in the morning. Without fail, if I get there at 9:30AM on the weekends, I am in and out, no crowds, before 10AM – the time it supposedly opens! It’s a great time saver and you skip the crowds and lines.

  4. Yearly grocery budget for 4 adults 5000

    Total Out Of Pocket: $ 117.73
    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $ 500
    PC Points Plus Earned to date: 7900

    Grocery Shop This Week
    No Frills
    • 1 dozen run eggs $2.78

    • 3 Coconut milk 3 X $.88
    • 400g PC Gouda – 6.99
    • PC OJ- $2.97
    • PC Spinach/Tomato Sauce- 3.19
    • 2 PC Whole Wheat Spaghetti- 2 X $1.69
    • Rice 3.97
    • Astro Coconut yogurt- 2.99
    • 2 kg PC Frozen California Blend 7.97
    • Roasted Pumpkin Seeds- $6.00
    • Bananas- $1.82
    • Spartan Apples- 3.97
    • PC Organic Kale/ spinach blend- $3.97
    • Organic Carrots- $2.27
    • Organic Arugula- $3.97
    • Onions 3 lbs- $1.97
    • Kiwi Fruit 1 Kg- 3.97
    • Pears- 2.18
    • Cantaloupe- $1.97
    • Red globe grapes- $2.79
    • Grapefruit- 5 lbs- $3.77
    • Delissio Vintage Frozen Pizza 2 X $4.44
    • Pinty’s Chicken Wings- 9.97 – $2 coupon
    • 3 Bread Ancient Grains- 3 X $2.77
    • Frozen Garlic Parmesan Bread- $3.00
    Safeway
    Sour Cream- $1.00
    2 L. Milk- $1.00
    Perogies- $ 1.99
    Organic mushrooms 2.58
    Fresh Basil Pasta- 3.49 %50 off sticker

    GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK (add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)
    • Total coupons used this week: $2.00
    • Total coupons used to date: $13.25
    • Total in-store discounts this week: 7.50 (Safeway only)
    • Total in-store discounts to date: $165.80
    • Total spent this week: $ 117.73
    • Total spent so far this month: 235.47
    • Total over/Under spend for the month:
    • Total left to spend for the month: $ 264.53
    • Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include pet foods, paper or personal) Jan $489.86
    • Total Airmiles this week = NA
    • Total PC Points- 7900
    Weekly Overview : Do you use Cashout 51? I signed up and I may give it a go….. This week I bought a frozen entrée (chicken wings) because I knew today (my shopping day) was going to be a bit nuts, so I would need something mindless and easy. I chose the Pinty’s because I had a $2 coupon and there was a 1500 pc bonus points offered ( and because they are very yummy ). That would make a quick meal along with a quick side dish of stir fried leftover rice and greens. I also like to keep a frozen pizza on hand for any other “emergencies”, and I new there could be a possibility of at least one coming up. But then I decided to buy a second one because if I bought over $5 worth of Delissio pizza I would get 2000 PC points and I would get $ 2 back from Cashout 51. So I figure it was worth getting that second pizza and stuff it into the freezer. Just wished I had a coupon for them too! I will buy a premade meal and keep it in the freezer if I don’t have an extra home cooked meal already tucked in there. Sometimes the pizza sits in there for quite sometime! But then if a daughter brings a friend home it is gone in a wink.
    The Safeway purchase was the Monday meal deal- 2 L milk, sour cream and perogies for $3.99. And I couldn’t resist the %50 off the fresh basil pasta. Nice treat.
    My meal planning consists of me making a list of meals based on what I have in the freezer and pantry. Then as I make the meals I cross them off the list.
    So we had : Thurs- Vegetarian Tomato sauce with pasta with kale and spinach salad. Fri.- Perogies with bacon and fried onions and sour cream with tangerines. Sat. Chicken Asian Stir fry with Edamame Sunday- Cream of Vegetable Chowder with Grilled Cheese sandwiches Monday- Pinty’s frozen chicken wings with stir fried greens and left over rice. My daughter also made lemon muffins and cinnamon oatmeal muffins.
    So For next week I have a choice of- New Orleans Red beans and rice, Sausage and potato stir fry, Home made Mac and cheese with vegetables, Chick pea curry, Creamy pasta with sour cream, Sausage cream gravy with biscuits, Oven baked sole, ( Pizza and soup) times two, Chicken stir fry and Edamame, spaghetti.

    • Hey!!
      What is Cashout51 or do you mean Checkoout51? If yes, then I do yes. Astro coconut is the best and our son loves it. What do you use the coconut milk for? I like how you plan your meals. What happens if you miss a meal or aren’t able to make one? Do you bump it to the next day? I’d love the sausage cream biscuits recipe. My wife can eat sausage, cream but I’d have to make her almond flour or coconut flour biscuits. Your grocery shops are always so healthy and clean. Good for you!! I think that if the box is cheaper and helps families then certainly go for it. Prices in Ontario are skyrocketing as well and it’s getting tough to find the good deals like we used to but we keep on looking. Well done!! You get ballot 13 Mr.CBB

      • Oops… yes I meant Checkout 51 LOL.
        Coconut milk is for curry, I love curry.
        The meals I list are not to be used in any particular order, they are just meals I have ingredients for and I decide the day before which meal I will make the next days so I can pull out the ingredients to defrost, or soak beans or…. So for instance I had oven baked sole on my meal list for a couple of weeks, but finally made it last night. So now it is struck off the list. Does that make sense?

        • I do the same thing as I don’t know what I want until the day before or even that day. The gravy and biscuit recipe below sounds good.

      • I love southern food. I spent a couple of weeks in New Orleans, and eating red beans and rice or sausage gravy with biscuits just transports me back every time. And they are frugal foods!

        One pound bulk pork sausage (I use Johnsonville original)
        2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
        2 cups milk
        Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
        Baking Powder Biscuits, recipe follows
        Baking Powder Biscuits
        Biscuits:
        2 cups all-purpose flour (about 8 ounces), plus more for dusting
        1 tablespoon baking powder
        1 teaspoon sugar
        1 teaspoon fine salt
        7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, sliced
        3/4 cup milk
        Directions

        Saute and break up sausage stirring until well browned and cooked through.

        Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a bowl, leaving the fat in the skillet. Whisk the flour into the fat and cook for about 1 minute. While whisking, pour the milk slowly into the skillet and bring the gravy to a simmer. Simmer gently for about 2 minutes. Stir in the sausage and season with pepper. Split the biscuits in half top each biscuit with some of the gravy and serve immediately.

        To make the biscuits: Preheat to 450 degrees F.

        In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Cut the butter into the flour until it is in even pieces about the size of a pea. Gently stir the milk into the flour mixture to make a loose dough. Do not warm with hands! It must barely stick together. The more you handle the dough the less flakey it will be.

        Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Pat the dough into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle. Use a 2- to 3-inch round cutter to make biscuits, and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet. Press together the scraps of dough and cut remaining biscuits.
        Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes.

        Makes about 8 biscuits

  5. Feb 4 – 11, 2016
    Name Your Store: Superstore
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Points = 0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $17.69

    Human
    4 L Skim Milk = $4.28
    Bananas = $1.84
    Whole Chicken (PC) = $11.57

    Cats
    No Shop

    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: $17.69
    Over/Under this week: Under
    Left for the Month: $0
    Total Human (Adults) to Date: $156.91

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

    Total Stockpile this Week Period: $
    Total Stockpile to Date: $42.01
    Total Personal Hygiene this Week Period: $
    Total Personal Hygiene to Date: $46.23
    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: $
    Total Price Match to Date: $45.44

    Total PC Points Received this Week Period: 0
    Total PC Rewards Points Used this Week Period: 0
    Total PC Rewards To Date: 25630

    Overview: The only thing I need this week for our supper meals is chicken. We always need milk and for as much as my daughter drinks milk, we should have a cow. I like having bananas when I have my oatmeal at work and my daughter also gobbles up the bananas so that’s also a weekly food item in my house. We didn’t anything else so instead of spending the rest on wants, I’ll be making an additional payment to slowly chip away at my debt.

    • Hey Dee
      Haha.. I’m laughing because many of us have a no shop or low shop week this week lol. Hey there’s a blog post idea!! How to have a low-shop week!! 🙂 See you’re helping me without even knowing it. 🙂 I wonder if you’re allowed cows in condo living, haha!! We always need milk for the boy mainly. My wife doesn’t drink it and I use it once in a while but mainly to drink at night or in my coffee. Love those debt payments Dee!! I can’t wait until the day comes that you are debt free!!! You get ballot 14 Mr.CBB

  6. Lori-Lynn says:

    Yearly Grocery Budget For 2016: $8,400 (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: 9,900
    • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date: 0

    Grocery Shop This Week: February 05 – 11, 2016

    Superstore
    4L 2% Baxter Milk $6.59
    PC Butter Puff Pastry $4.49
    4 pk. Peppers $2.99
    3lb. Carrots $2.50
    3lb. Onions $2.50
    Bagels $3.69 – (50%) = $1.84
    Weiner Buns $4.49 – (50%) = $2.24
    PC Balsamic Vinegar $3.49
    White Vinegar $2.79
    Chilli Powder $1.99
    Sultana Raisins 2 x $3.29 = $6.58
    Can Crabmeat $3.49
    Danone Plain Greek Yogurt $5.49 – (50%) = $2.74
    1L Chocolate Milk 2 x $1.99 = $3.98
    Sunflower Seeds $3.49
    Celery Sticks $4.29
    Chris Brothers Pepperoni $3.73
    Donair Meat 2 x $6.29 – (50%) = $6.28
    Avocado (bag 5) $2.50
    Brussel Sprouts $4.49 – (50%) = $2.24
    Broccoli $2.99
    Green Onion $1.34
    Total Out-of-Pocket: $ 32.15
    **Used $57.60 from Gift Card (Christmas Present)**

    PC Points Earned = 600
    Balance 10,500

    Costco
    Multigrain Cheerios (1.18kg) 2 x $8.79 – $4.00 = $13.58
    Goldfish Crackers (1.64kg) $9.99
    3lb. Bananas $1.99
    Frozen Pineapple (1.81 kg) $9.49
    Cheddar Cheese (907g) $9.99
    Molasses (1.35kg) $8.99 (2)
    Baby Dills (2L) $4.99
    Liquid Honey (750g) $10.99 (2)
    Pumpkin Seeds (908g) $10.99
    Total Out-of-Pocket: $ 82.43

    Sobeys
    • VH Teriyaki Sauce $2.50
    • Cranberry Cocktail $3.59 + .10 deposit = $3.69
    • Chapman’s Ice Cream $3.49
    • Fresh Mushrooms $3.99
    • Baby Spinach $3.99
    • Bananas .89/lb = $1.49
    • 6 oz. Radishes $1.49
    Total Out-of-Pocket: $ 20.48

    Shoppers Drug Mart
    Eggs 2 x $2.49 = $4.98
    1L Chocolate Milk $1.79
    Marshmallows $2.49
    Total Out-of-Pocket: $ 9.58

    • Total to spend this month: $700
    • Total coupons used this week: $ 0
    • Total coupons used to date: $20.48
    • Total in-store discounts this week: $ 29.29
    • Total in-store discounts to date: $131.25
    • Total spent this week: $ 144.64
    • Total spent so far this month: $325.86
    • Total over/Under spend this shop: OVER $4.64
    • Total over/Under spend for the month: OVER $45.86
    • Total left to spend for the month: $374.14
    • Total Spent To Date 2016: Jan $706.52 +

    • Hey Lori-Lynn
      What do you use carrot sticks for? Are they tiny sticks or big sticks and how much comes in the bag? You bought 2 honey jars so I’m curious what you use your honey on too. I love honey but don’t eat it often enough. Ah, I see you’re a Costco shopper. I hope you like my post from today about Costco. If you ever want to find cheap spices go to an International store in town. I often find they have the best prices on spices. How do you prepare your brussel sprouts? I’m not a big fan of them unless there is bacon and parm cheese 🙂 You have a great shopping list. You’re over but you still have time to catch that up. See why that line is so important? So many people don’t think they spend more than they should but they do, lots more. Well done. You get ballot 15 Mr.CBB

    • Nice shop Lori-Lynn,

      I would be price matching the sobey products to RCSS so that I obtain more PC Points, but then that’s me. I’ll get to a point where I can take my PM savings and put that into a savings account for future use.

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

    Yearly Grocery Budget: $720.00
    Monthly Grocery Budget 2016: $60.00 ($15.00/wk/4wk month or $12.00/week/5wk month)
    Total Carried Over From Last Month: $4.32
    Total Spent This Month Previous To This Shop: $10.29
    Total spent this week: $11.27 (under $0.73)
    Total spent so far this month: $21.56
    Total left to spend for the month: $4.32 + ($12 – $10.29) + (12 – 11.27) + $36.00 = $42.76
    Total Grocery Budget Spent To Date 2016: (Jan: $75.68) (Feb: $)

    Yearly Stockpile Budget: $480.00
    Monthly Stockpile Budget 2016: $40.00
    Total carried over from last month: – $1.10
    Total spent so far this month: $9.04 + 23.79 = $32.83
    Total left to spend for the month: -$1.10 – $32.83 + $40 = $6.07
    Total Stockpile Budget used to date: Jan $21.10

    This weeks shop

    Your Independent Grocer
    $1.99 Orville Redenbacher Smart Pop pop up bowls (package of 6) (Stockpile)
    $3.00 Hellmann’s light mayonnaise (3.33 – 10% student discount) (stockpile)
    $3.58 Black Diamond cheese slices (2 x $1.99 – 10%)
    $9.78 Medium ground beef ($5.49/kg) (stockpile)
    $9.02 Medium ground beef ($14.31 – 30% – 10% student discount) ($6.59/kg – 30% – 10% = $4.15 kg) (stockpile)
    $0.72 No Name diet cola ($0.71 – 10% SD + tax)
    $28.79 OOP

    Shoppers Drug Mart
    $4.58 Dairyland cottage cheese (500 g x 2 x $2.29)

    Food Basics
    $0.98 onions (2 pounds)

    Dollar Tree
    $1.41 Cilantro, sweet basil, parsley, and mustard spinach seeds (4 for $1.25 plus tax)

    End thoughts

    It was awesome that beef was on sale this week as I was totally out. Was getting pretty sick of pork, chicken and fish. I was going to get lean ground beef but the medium looked just as lean so happy to have saved a bit there and have a stash in the freezer again! I picked up the first pack on the weekend because it was only on sale then. When I got the rest of the groceries today they had an even better deal so I scooped up another one!

    Optimistically I was thinking about how spring wasn’t too far off so got the seeds. Little did I know that four days of extreme cold are coming up soon! Anybody got any ideas for planters made out of inert material like glass that won’t contaminate the plants? They would also have to stand up to high wind gusts.

    I don’t know about everyone else but I will be glad when this 5 week month is over!

    Happy shopping 🙂

    • Hey Mimsie,
      I’m just in awe over your grocery budget and how well you shop. I’d love to see a meal plan of your week. How did you come up with the $60 a week grocery budget? Is that by necessity or are you watching your spending to help pay down debt? I think it’s great if you can feed yourself good food for less like that. The beef was an awesome priceI agree and if you see it grab it. I find beef prices are getting higher and higher every week. I remember a time we found meat discounted at 75% off last year. We scooped up as much as we could that time. It was a great score. If you read the gardening and landscaping category of the blog you will see LOTS of blog posts from Katrina who used to write for CBB. She has since moved on in endeavors (for now until I corner her haha) but she’s great with horticulture and gardening. She wrote some very informative posts on here. You must check them out. I saw the seeds at the dollar store so I might pick up a few packs. We plant lots of herbs but that’s about it because we don’t have the time to look after them with me working so much and the baby. On the flip side the relatives have a massive garden we shop in when we go to my wife’s parents house haha!! You get ballot 17 Mr.CBB

      • Ditto! I am in awe too! I would love to see your meal plans, I could learn so much from you.

        • That’s so funny Rose because I actually stole your idea for suggested meals because it fits more with my personality than a rigid meal plan. Wish I was more like Mary but got work with what I’ve got. I included my “meal plans” in my post for next week so you can see for yourself.

          Totally agree about the southern food. I spent some time in Texas a few years ago and really miss all the Tex-mex food. There was also a great little hole in the wall restaurant owned by a couple from New Orleans near where I stayed too Awesome food, I ate there a lot. It was very cheap and good. Weird how you don’t need to go too far south before getting the sausage gravy and biscuits. They even had them at our hotel buffet in Detroit. Thanks for posting the recipe 🙂

      • Hey Mr. CBB

        Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

        As for your questions:

        I posted an almost menu plan on my post for this week. Suffice it to say I don’t have Mary’s discipline but it mostly works out. I’m on a low budget for several reasons. The biggest is that my income is low right now because I am a student. My goal is to finish my degree in April with no debt and I’m well on my way. Barring some unseen circumstances I will make it. I’ve also always been interested in seeing how to spend as little as possible not always with success. That’s why I joined the challenge!

        Thanks for the info about the gardening segment of the blog. Will check it out. Awesome you have a garden to raid in the summer. Must save you a bunch!

  8. Angela Mainse says:

    We used to have a Costco membership years ago, we let it go. I think it’s been 7 years now since we had one. Once the gas prices started to skyrocket, our issue was driving an hour each way to the nearest Costco (which doesn’t have a gas station to reap the savings) was costing us more than we wanted to spend. Our trips out of our town became less and less frequent over the years which meant we could not benefit from any savings over regular use and the cost of the membership wasn’t even saved over the year. If we had a Costco locally, within 15 minutes, yes we would likely get a membership again. It was not for the food (except cold meat, cheese and milk – which was actually a 50 cent savings then), but it was competitive for current movie releases to DVD, discounted movie theatre tickets, appliances, and it was always the best for batteries (then). I am sure some things have changed over the years, but we tended to buy a lot of our gifts for family and friends there because the prices were brought down to more affordable – like corelle dishes for wedding gifts, certain decorative Christmas things, etc. I still actually use my Roots backpack a decade later that I got for under $20 and I have been using it daily for school the last two years, and it is only just falling apart (yes, I will be sewing it up a bit, I’m not even close to done with it, it could last another 10 years). When our son was small, we always bought bulk Vaseline and Penaten there, it was the best price anywhere, and you would think we could have walked into a dollar store and just picked up petroleum jelly or other barrier cream, but with his allergies (and we didn’t know it was allergy related then), that was the only thing he didn’t react to. As he got older, we didn’t need the Vaseline, and it helped in our decision because Costco got less and less appealing to us. Also, we used to get our glasses prescriptions there, but we ended up dissatisfied with the service and warranty of the actual product, so we paid a higher price elsewhere to get something that lasted. Granted, I still have a pair of prescription sunglasses that are still “close” to my current prescription and they are still great 10 years later, so I guess it’s all about luck on that one. The return policy and the “fixing” of the glasses that were either defective or the coating was incorrect, or the lenses were all incorrect was enough to put me off of that location – however, I have friends who currently promote it, so things could have changed, I just don’t risk it. I would have kept my membership if I could have regularly saved money on glasses over the years as it is a big expense for us. All in all, I would likely get another membership if we had one locally. We would never buy enough big ticket items to make the cost worth it to us. However, I would love to just walk through one again to see how much it’s changed and how the prices have changed with it.

  9. I have a Costco membership and we are a two person household. It has definitely been worth it. There are certain items we buys there like oatmeal, the bulk size, lasts us months if not almost the whole year. Frozen veggie and frozen fruit are great as well. And I prefer to buy the tissue paper in bulk there. For the brand we buy, we save when we purchase from Costco. We have done the math and there are indeed certain items we save money on and those we buy. As always shop with a list. The crowds and line ups are not fun. I always want to get in and out as fast as I can. Having a list makes sure I am focused

  10. Anne Russell says:

    The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 Weekly to February 7, 2016
    • No Frills 39 items
    • Dare cookies X 2 @ $1.77,
    • Sliced Water chestnuts $1.29,
    • Hunts Tomato Sauce X 2 @ .97,
    • Mr. Noodles bowls (childs impulse) $2.98,
    • 4 pack Kit Kat $2.88 (less Checkout 51 $2.00) Valentines Day
    • NN Worchestershire sauce $2.00
    • NN Cobs corn (PC Points 200) $1.09 X 2
    • PC Salsa X Chunky $2.99
    • Canada Dry 12 pk ginger ale $3.33 Flipp
    • Tim Horton’s coffee X 2 reg. $17.99 each, $31.98
    • Coca Cola 12 pk $3.33 Flipp
    • Oxo beef boullion PC points 700, $3.39
    • Maxx scoop cat litter $7.99
    • Pocky Chocolate (childs allowance) $2.69
    • Campbells Healthy Request soup X 2 $5.00 (Flipp + coupon)
    • Imperial Margarine 907g tub X 2 @ $1.97
    • No Name sour cream X 2 @ $1.97 PC Points 400
    • Kraft Shredded parmesan $6.49
    • PC Thai blend frozen veg 2 kg $7.97
    • Delissio Pizza 2 @ $4.44
    • Baby carrots .97
    • Dole Spring Mix $3.49
    • Bananas $1.66
    • Broccoli X 2 @ $1.49 (Flipp)
    • Celery $2.49
    • Pillers large ham 2.02 kg, reg $15.37 kg, sale $6.55 kg (coupon) $13.23 3 meals
    • Pork Loin 3.16 kg reg $6.99 kg sale $3.24 kg $10.24 3 meals
    • Ground Beef/Pork 1.18kg reg $8.75 kg, sale $3.98 kg 4 meals
    • Old Mill bagels $2.00 (PC points 400)
    • Ziggys Mild cheddar slices reg $3.97, sale $2.97 X 2
    • Hungarian Salami $4.00
    • Bath Foam (huge!) $9.00
    • PC Points on Fresh Beef, Fresh Pork, 4000 points Delissio and KitKat combined
    • Instant savings $67.58
    • Flipp Price Match $8.24
    • PC Points earned 9200, Redeemed $20
    • Total Coupons Used: $2.25 (Pillers, Healthy Request)
    • Total Out Of Pocket: $162.30


    • Shoppers Drug Mart
    • Eggs X 2 reg. $2.99, sale $2.49
    • Dawn dish soap X 2, reg. $3.99, sale $2.98 less .50 coupon
    • Wonder Bread reg. $3.19,, sale $1.88 less $1 coupon
    • D’Italiano Bread reg. $3.29, sale $2.99, less $2 coupon
    • Neilson Choc. Milk 4 X 1 litre, reg. $3.19, sale $1.00
    • Healthy Choice frozen lunches, reg. $4.99, sale $2.99, buy 1 get 1 free coupon
    • Various OTC medicine, personal care, $6.50 off, $63.95
    • Instant savings $27.09
    • Used 50,000 points, $85.00 off
    • Total Coupons Used: $6.49
    • Bonus iTunes Card $20.00
    • Total Out Of Pocket: $13.78

    • Giant Tiger
    • Clark Baked Beans X 4 reg. $1.27, sale .77
    • Smoked Cheddar sausages reg. $4.47, sale $3.00
    • 3 lb Sweet Onions, $3.77
    • Lactantia cream X 2 reg. $3.97, $2.49 Flipp
    • Black Diamond 454g cheese X 2, reg. $6.07, $4.88 Flipp less $1. coupon
    • Saved $3.47 instant, Flipp $5.34
    • Total Coupons Used: $1.00
    • Total Out Of Pocket: $24.24

    • Walmart
    • Reduced Bakery $2.23 reg. $3.25
    • The rest of the items were price matched with Flipp
    • 3 bottles Pepsi, reg. $1.99, PM $1.00 each
    • Philly cream cheese X 2 reg. $3.97, PM $2.49
    • Dempsters Tortillas X 2 reg. $3.38, PM $2.50
    • Dempsters Bagels X 2 reg. $3.48, PM $2.50
    • Astro Yogurt reg. $3.99, sale $1.99
    • Cauliflower reg. $3.97, PM $1.88
    • Janes Pub Style Chicken Fingers reg. $11.99, PM $4.88
    • Pinty’s Chicken Chunks reg. $15.99, PM $9.97 and coupon
    • Total Flipp savings: $21.05
    • Total Coupons Used: $2.00
    • Total Out Of Pocket: $40.70

    • Staples
    • Pringles X 3 (reg. $2.99) $1.00 each, less discount .75, $2.00 Checkout51, .50 Caddle Canada challenge=$2.30 for 3
    • Total Coupons Used: 0
    • Total Out Of Pocket: $4.80 (instead of $9.49) for 3 Pringles

    Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)
    • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $940.00
    • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $981.70
    • Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
    • Total Rewards Points this week: $105.00
    • Total Rewards Points used to date: $185.00
    • PC Points Plus Earned this week: 9600

    2016 Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
    • Zweet this week: $.25
    • Zweet to date: $1.00
    • Checkout51 this week: $4.00
    • Checkout51 to date: $19.50
    • Flipp this week: $39.12
    • Flipp to date: $124.35
    • Caddle this week $1.80
    • Caddle to date: $5.05

    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: $11.74
    • Total coupons used to date: $79.51
    • Total in-store discounts this week: $104.91
    • Total in-store discounts to date: $410.80
    • Total spent this week: $253.08 (overcharged $3.38 double scan, will get back)
    • Total spent so far this month: $253.08
    • Total over/Under spend this shop: $23.73
    • Total over/Under spend for the month: $23.73
    • Total left to spend for the month: $723.17

    • Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $1113.10 (5 week shop) + Feb $253.08=$1386.18

    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts):
    First time contributing to the Grocery Game Challenge!

    My biggest win this week was Shoppers, I got $152.36 of product for $13.78. I generally stock up on personal care and over the counter medications and vitamins when I have a big points redemption. Although the iTunes card was not on my list, it was a bonus at no cost and will go to Valentines Day presents.

    My Grocery Budget this week included $20.43 for Pet Supplies.

    My Total Spend without using any of the rewards, apps, price matching, etc. would have been $548.70, which means I saved 53% of my spend. This is not typical, as usually it’s 30%-40%.

    Last year, the weekly average for 52 weeks was $280.71. For the 3 months ending December (including holiday meals) was $233.18. My weekly budget has been adjusted to $235/week to reflect my current shopping trends.

    I have yet to determine my stockpile budget, as generally I buy when I see a good deal and then use it up accordingly. It seems that jus

    • Hi Anne,
      How many people do you feed with your grocery budget? Great deal on the Kit Kat! Our stockpile budget was kept to a minimum based on what we felt we were spending on average over the course of a few months tracking it. With Shoppers Drug Mart my tip would be to save those points and redeem on mega redemption day to get more bang for your points if you can. Not everyone can wait as the points are needed at certain times throughout the year. Just a thought. Great out of pocket on that shop. So, your grocery budget includes pet, household cleaners, toilet paper and health and beauty?
      Overall, a great shop. I love how detailed you are with your posts including the product name, the app you used to price match etc. I find the more organized I am with our data the easier it is for us to review it and base financial decisions from it. Well done, You get ballot 18 Mr.CBB

      • Anne Russell says:

        Hello back Mr. CBB!
        We have 3 adults and 2 teenagers to feed. One dog, one cat and 3 lizards, plus two large fish. I used to save all my points up, then I determined 2 things about my points redemption…..95,000 points is the maximum redemption (which could be $200 on “Spend your points events” and that I tended to reward myself with things I don’t need like too many colours of nail polish and handbags from the Boutique Shop just to spend all the points I had! I’m also somewhat afraid that the program will change and limit me in some way. Now I use it to supplement my regular shops. My grocery budget at this point in time includes all products for the house that are consumables. I stockpile with things that have overly long expiry dates, have points benefits, coupons, deep discounts and I have lots of room for storage technically.
        I definitely agree with the organization part of my shop. I sometimes question whether I really need something or am driven to buy based on sales this week. Another element I added yesterday was to evaluate everything hitting the checkout belt, and I put 4 things back. I don’t really *need* Miss Vickies chips although I love them, lol!

  11. Anne Russell says:

    RE: Costco….
    I don’t have a membership but have family that do. They swear that they save huge $$ on prescriptions, eyeglasses, over the counter and clothes. They shop for food as well, and go weekly. I live too far to make it worth my time, but that could change in the fall of 2016 when my city will open a new one. I call it the $200 club, because every time I’ve gone, I’ve spent $200. I love the different Kirkland Christmas and holiday decorations!

  12. Angela Mainse says:

    Week 2 – Feb 7 – 13

    • Grocery budget to work with in January: $250
    • Total coupons used this week: $0
    • Total coupons used to date: $0
    • Total RCSS gas coupons used this week: $0
    • Total RCSS gas coupons used to date: $4.42
    • Total Giant Tiger Enviro bag credit this week: $0
    • Total Giant Tiger Enviro bag credit to date: $0.06
    • Total value PC Plus points redeemed this week: $0
    • Total value PC Plus points redeemed to date: $20
    • Total gift cards/certificates/gifts used this week: $0
    • Total gift cards/certificates/gifts used to date: $25
    • Total student discounts this week: $0
    • Total student discounts to date: $7.25
    • Total tax savings RCSS this week: $0
    • Total tax savings RCSS to date: $0
    • Total spent this week: $17.65
    • Total spent so far this month: $17.65
    • Total left to spend for the month: $150
    • Carry over: $0
    • Total in carry over jar: $0
    • Total overspent to make up in future months: $134.95
    • Total Spent To Date 2015: $434.95

    Walmart: carrots 1.97, bananas 1.83, English cucumber .97, red delicious apples 2.97: Total 7.75 rounded up 1 cent

    RCSS: Blueberries 4.98, grape tomatoes 2 x 1.47 (PM), pretzel baguette 2.00: 9.90 rounded down 2 cents

    Well, off of last week’s no shop is this week’s small shop. It’s not bad at all at 17.65 and we have made some headway toward reducing the extra spending from January. We were under our ballpark of $25 week and did not feel like we were missing anything. Frankly, we’ve been eating better in the last couple of weeks than the last six months (healthy food and meat, couldn’t ask for more!). No student discount this week, not possible to shop on Tuesday, so I made the most of what I could. I do wish I had the discount, but with school and working until 8 that night and hubby off later than that, no car at my disposal, but that’s ok. I took this job knowing that it may not be convenient with my school and discount day schedule. Small price to pay. Next week will be a little more, we will need milk, fresh fruit and veg and eggs. But, all in all, we can still make it work, still aiming to be $25 or under next week too.

    • Hi Angela
      How are you finding the fruit and veg this time of year? Personally, I think it’s crap and I miss the summer garden veg. I love how your outlook is so enthusiastic about the way you both are eating. It’s true that the simple things in life really do mean more to us than we know. It’s only until they are missing or unattainable that we understand just how precious they were. I read this every time you post. You inspire me.You might even get away with a couple of big shops every 6 months and then the $25 a week budget to fill in the gaps. You might amaze yourself just how little you will need. What was the price of the pretzel baguette? $2.00 or $9.90? Well done… keep up the happy spirits…. You get ballot 19 Mr.CBB

      • Angela Mainse says:

        The fruit and veg right now is awful, aside from carrots. Sizes are small and quality is not great and of course costs went up. But, we are doing what we can to get as much as we can for as little as we can. Can’t wait for the garden and a fresh tomato the most. The grape tomatoes are pretty tasteless right now. What I really need is frozen blueberries, we haven’t had too many smoothies lately because we are out of them. It’s a big staple that I am hoping to target next week. No Frills has them on sale and I hope to get some PM’d at RCSS if they have any in stock. We still have frozen strawberries in our freezer from our local berry farm, so the smoothies are still the most tasty fruit snack we have. Or at least my son says they are great since, sadly, I am allergic to strawberries (not anaphylactic so we have them in the house, I just don’t handle them without gloves and my smoothie is mixed first).

        The pretzel baguette was 2.00, forgot the word total in front of the 9.90, that was the full shop worth. My brain ahead of the fingers typing!

        It is possible for the bigger shops every so often. It will be a bit tougher when we run low on the meat, but I just spent the last day getting the chick peas and black beans hydrated, so we will have some protein quickly available, I’m thinking something Mexican style for the black beans and crunchy chick peas for snacks. Most of it will hit the freezer tomorrow. I suppose the goal to stick with the lower budget will work for a while, at least until we make up for January, but often we come in under each month. And, I recall a massive meat stock up last spring at our butcher’s annual sale, so I think I will have that in mind. Soon, it will be time to build up the carryover jar just in case. So, I am crossing my fingers that they have another great sale, or the PC points start building up again.

        Milk is finally gone and we will need eggs. We still have a few apples, a bit of lettuce and a few carrots, but this week will be a tough one to stick with it. Tomorrow should be shop day to snag the student discount since I don’t work this Tuesday, so I will see what happens. It has to stay under $50, $25 is still the goal, but $30 would still be alright. We just need a bit more this week. And, I am looking down the road to a hockey tournament we are staying in a hotel for, so I am trying to build up the needs for that week as far ahead as I can. Snacks particularly – maybe some granola bars, yogurt raisins, crackers, cheese, instant oatmeal, that sort of thing (I’m bringing the kettle, lol). I will get the fresh fruit and a 1L milk just before we go, room is supposed to have small fridge. Three weeks planning ahead should work an item or two into the budget without feeling too much of a hit. Better than takeout the whole time. I do anticipate there will be a meal where the team goes out together.

  13. Christine Weadick says:

    Yearly grocery budget for 4 adults and 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
    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)
    Zweet to cash out : $3.00($25.75)
    Checkout51 to cash out : $8.76($25.50)

    Grocery Shop This Week
    Foodland #1
    Downy -8.99
    1 jug water -5.49
    1 Cheerios -4.99
    2 tomato paste @.59
    2 4l milk @4.88
    1lb Natrel butter -3.99
    1 yogurt -3.49
    1 doz large eggs -2.99
    1 ice cream -3.99
    1 green pepper -1.67
    15lb bag potatoes -4.99
    Tax -1.17
    Total OOP -$55.69
    Foodland _#2
    144 count Tetley teabags -9.99
    1 2kg bag Whiskas cat food -9.99
    1 jug water -5.49
    1 cranberry cocktail -2.99
    1 can pineapple tidbits -1.79
    2 4l milk @4.88
    1 doz large eggs -2.99
    2 packs mushrooms @4.49, 50% stickers-4.50 saved
    Bananas -1.41
    1 bagels -2.50
    Tax -1.30
    Total OOP -5$53.18, 4.50 discounts
    Jackson’s Pharmacy
    1 small can Melitta coffee -1.99
    1 Dove shampoo -3.49
    2 Dove conditioner @3.49
    2 Dove body wash @2.99
    Total OOP -$18.44, stock pile
    Total to spend this month $650.00
    Stockpile budget 2016 ($25.00):$18.44+5.31=$23.75
    Stockpile budget used this month: $23.75
    Total coupons used this week: $0
    Total coupons used to date: $4
    Total in-store discounts this week:$4.50
    Total in-store discounts to date: $42.03
    Total spent this week: $108.87
    Total spent so far this month: $217.62
    Total over/Under spend this shop: under
    Total over/Under spend for the month:- $n/a
    Total left to spend for the month: $432.38
    Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $579.69+ Feb $
    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)Still haven’t made it to No Frills but that’s life in the winter. Worst case there hubby has a doctors appointment Feb 22. The ice cream was for the older boy’s birthday and was still on sale. A little more stocking up at Jackson’s for H&B supplies, may as well do so when I can get it cheap enough.

    • Hi Christine,
      I’m wondering if it’s worth installing some sort of water system in the house over the long-term instead of the water jugs every week. Have you ever looked into that before? What did you learn? What will you make with the pineapple, haha? I noticed today that the milk has gone up in our area. It’s no longer $3.97 and $4.97 it’s $4.27 2% and $5.xx for homo milk. I knew it wouldn’t last. Overall a good week for you and I agree get the deals while you can. You get ballot 21. Mr.CBB

      • Christine Weadick says:

        The water we get in the jugs is reverse osmosis filtered and hubby started getting it for making his beer and wine. The chlorine in town water kills the yeast on him. He doesn’t make beer or wine anymore but I use it for the kettle to help keep the lime for building up in there. Vinegar helps but it still gets nasty. We like the clean taste of tea made with it too. Those systems are very pricey.

  14. Our weekly budget is $125 making this month $500
    H&W Produce
    $2.01 asparagus
    $2.01 jalapenos
    .99 cucumber
    $4.90 total oop
    Save on foods
    $2.49 white chocolate macadamia nut cookies dzn
    London Drugs (stacking)
    .75×8-.75cCx8 aero chocolate bars
    $4.99-$3.75C sponge towel paper towels
    $4.99×4-$4.75Cx2&$3.75Cx2 Scotties 6pk tissues
    $5.85 total oop
    $28.35 total coupons
    Superstore
    $3.97×2 cereal(sugary treats for the hubby and my bigger girl)
    $1.48×4 cake mix & icing
    $3.48×2-$2Cx2 tums
    .93×4-.50cCx4 flaky buns – clearance
    .43×4 crescent rolls – clearance
    $1.40 heart shaped measuring cups – clearance
    $5.20 blueberries
    $2.25-.68(30% off ripe bag) bananas 200P
    $2.97 grape tomatoes 600P
    $2.73 green grapes
    $3.83 pure leaf tea
    $37.94 total oop
    $6 total coupons
    Sobeys
    $1.50×4 dzn eggs
    .57 bananas
    $3×2 5lb carrots – rain cheque
    $3.99-$2GetMyOffers taco kit
    $3.50-$1.75GMO gg frozen veg
    $2.39-$1.20GMO green leaf lettuce
    $4.99×4 comp pizza frozen
    $8.88-weekly sale free wub comp pizza flamingo chicken chunkies buffalo
    $37.45 total oop
    Co-op
    $4.34×3 4L homo milk
    $13.05 total oop

    $101.69 total weekly oop
    $34.35 total weekly coupons
    $262.94 total monthly oop
    $48.01 total monthly coupons

    great sale deals again this week

    • I haven’t done my year to date totals yet but will do when I get them done

    • Hi Juanita
      I saw those heart-shaped measuring cups the other day at Zehrs lol. You picked up tonnes of deals this week. How long does it take you to prepare your grocery list? We have $5 off Flamingo and forgot to use them at Metro this past week as they were on sale for $4.99. Darn, ah well it’s the boy who would eat them more than I. Your homo milk is cheaper than ours wow.. lucky you. Our is now $5.27 as it went up a few days ago. Do you bring your daughter grocery shopping with you? How does that go for you? Our son comes and only likes Zehrs for the free cookie lol. You get ballot 29 Mr.CBB

      • ok gonna try again as my pc crapped out again :/
        It takes me anywhere from 10-45 minutes to write my list aka wish list and then I usually take screen shots of what ever I wanna pm at other stores and I do it when little miss is eating breakie or after work when I am having some down time and the fam is already in bed.
        I love that coupon!!! They will be on sale again for sure since they are really pushing the launch of the new company. I loke everything but the wings cause honestly I only like those homemade.
        Milk was on sale for an awesome deal as it is usually $5.09 and up plus deposit and enviro fee
        I shop after work sometimes as she is already asleep and sometimes take my time walking around and look at everything. But we shop all together all the time! We get her to hold our hands, push the cart, pick and put items in the cart, carry an item around the store. We always have the diaper bag on hand because we are almost potty trained and need to be ready to go the loo anytime and we also keep snacks in there if she really needs one. By the time we get to the till she is in the cart saying hi to the cashiers or watching or playing a game on one of our phones. We aren’t usually in the store long as we are usually grabbing what we need and get out. She has no idea about the cookies at the stores since she has never had one before.

  15. Nothing too exciting here besides the steak we got on sale for a great price ($3.25/lb. or $7.15/kg back in Canada) so we really stocked up as you’ll see below.

    Yearly grocery budget for 2 adults 2016: $5400 ($450/month)
    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $450.00 – $68.92 (Week 1) – $121.02 (this week) = $260.06 remaining
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $0.00
    Total Gift Cards used to date: $0.00
    Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
    Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
    PC Points Plus Earned to date: Unsure (will check when we get back to Canada)
    Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
    Shoppers Optimum: Unsure (will check when we get back to Canada)
    Coupon Apps (I don’t really find it’s worth my time to try use the apps bcz we don’t eat processed food & the produce deals seem to be few & far between plus I can only eat certain veggies with my allergies)
    Snap Groupon to cash out: $0
    Zweet to cash out : $0
    Checkout51 to cash out : $0

    Here’s what I bought this week:

    Costco:
    2 boxes Kirkland green tea – $23.78 ($11.89/each)
    2 cans Kirkland pan spray – $4.99
    Total Spent: $28.77

    Safeway:
    (2) 11oz. containers blueberries – $3.76 ($1.88/each)
    Total Spent: $3.76

    WinCo:
    block of sharp cheddar cheese – $3.66 ($2.56/lb.)
    small can sweet corn – $0.53
    small can sweet peas – $0.54
    baking cocoa (bulk) – $0.26
    raisins (bulk) – $1.18
    dried cranberries (bulk) – $1.75
    zucchini – $1.84 ($1.48/lb.)
    1 can pink salmon – $2.09
    Pompeian extra virgin olive oil (1.5L) – $7.78
    Total Spent: $19.63

    Albertsons:
    4 bags low sodium chips – $3.96 ($0.99/each)
    2 bags low sodium chips – $3.34 ($1.67/each—oops! Bought over limit!)
    no name black tea (100 bags) – $2.99
    (4) 12 paks (regular cans) Pepsi – $8.88 ($2.22/each)
    petite sirloin steak – $37.80 (buy 1@$12.99/lb get 3 free = $3.25/lb so we stocked up!)
    Total Spent: $57.94

    Walmart:
    3 cans coconut milk – $4.44 ($1.48/each)
    2 pkgs. curry powder – $1.76 ($0.88/each)
    cilantro – $0.48
    spaghetti squash – $3.99 ($1.29/lb.)
    1 lime – $0.25
    Total Spent: $10.92

    I don’t drink soft drinks down here in the U.S. because it triggers my allergies so the Pepsi is for my hubby who found it on sale for a great price if you spent at least $25 on groceries which he did picking up the steak on sale. I got caught over limit price on my low sodium chips but they’re still cheaper at $1.67/bag vs. $2.98/bag for the Lay’s.

    • Hi Leona,
      Are you living or vacationing in the USA right now? Do you find Costco has higher priced cheese than the grocery store? When we went I was shocked to see how much cheaper the cheese was at Costco so that was definitely something that intrigued us since we like it so much. I also notice you or someone loves their tea. I do too. I forgot to look at Costco to see if they sold black tea which I prefer. Ah, that has happened to use before, buying over limit. We don’t use the coupon apps as much because we also don’t buy much processed. If anything we use it more for health and beauty. Even the produce I find they are making store specific which eliminates the price matching if that’s what someone does. Have a great week!! You get ballot #30. Mr.CBB

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