grocery game monthly challenge

How To Calculate and Track Only Your Food Expenses : The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #3 Dec 19-25

how to calculate and track only food expenseshow to calculate and track only food expenses

A FOOD COST ANALYSIS IS A GREAT WAY TO CALCULATE THE EXACT AMOUNT YOU’RE SPENDING ON JUST FOOD.

 

Working out food costs might sound boring but what’s exciting is knowing you’re working hard to save money by understanding your spending habits and tracking numbers. Over the years we’ve began to track our food expenses a bit differently than we have in the past.

Originally we would calculate any receipt that came from the grocery store and classified those numbers our grocery budget. This is fine if all you want is a estimate of how much your food expenses are but you won’t get a true number. Some of you budget fans might not want to break it down and just dump the full expense into a dominant category depending on the store you shop at.

Some savers like to keep their budget very simple with basic budget categories and then there is the wife and I who like to dig a little more. By this I mean we take our monthly budget and any category that we can think of that should be on its own or that we want to exclusively track throughout the year we give it a line on the budget.

If you are new to budgeting or haven’t had experience venturing away from the standard budget categories calculating your monthly food expenses can be a bit frustrating until you get the hang of it. There is one major thing that we’ve started to do that has helped us speed up the process and confident about our numbers.

Let me explain…

 

Only Food Expenses

 

Hi Mr.CBB,

Sorry to bother you but I have a question that I was hoping you could help me with. My husband and I would like to start calculating food costs every month. Last year we tracked our grocery receipts in full and considered them part of the grocery budget. However for 2017 we want to exclusively track food expenses so we are better able to work out food costs for 2018. Anything else on our grocery receipt will be going to assigned categories in our budget.

I’m just wondering if there was an easy way to do this or if I’m out of my mind crazy for doing this?

Thanks,

Judy. L

Well hello Judy,

Don’t be sorry I encourage blog readers to contact me if they are stumped on something with their finances and you’ve actually come up with an excellent question. You’re not out of your mind at all.

Working out only your food expenses is a great way to learn how to budget without the stress of a full budget. I’ve had many fans who email me who don’t budget their entire monthly expenses but would like to track food expenses. Either way do what works for you. Full Budget or specific category tracking.

How much does food cost?

Food costs in Canada seem to be all over the place right now but come early 2017 we will see increases on prices of food which will affect everyone’s food expenses from the start. Canadians are expected to spend an extra $420 in 2017 on food expenses compared to 2016 according to a recent Food Canada Report.

Grocery costs vary depending on where you live and the best way to get familiar with prices at your neighbourhood grocer is to create a food price book and track products you typically buy. Tracking allows you find out approximately when the prices increase, decrease and the best time of year to stock up.

I’ve been in Canada for just over 9 years now and if you’ve recently immigrated to Canada like I did you’re likely overwhelmed. You’ll need some practice and over time grocery shopping becomes a breeze.

Related: How to create a grocery price book? (free template)

 

Typical monthly expenses

 

Your food expenses will fluctuate from month to month based on food prices as how much you actually spend. What shouldn’t change is how much your grocery budget actually is. For example, if you have a grocery budget of $250 for food expenses only each month you either spend it all or spend less. Unless of course you have the spare cash to bump up your grocery budget any time of year.

For most, just because food prices increase that doesn’t necessarily mean that your grocery budget should too. Some shoppers just don’t have the cash to do so which means sticking to your budgeted numbers. If you’re dedicated to tracking only your food expenses for the year it’s suggested you stick to that number. If you go over then try to scale back the next month to cover that overage. This keeps your overall budget balanced.

 

Save Receipts

 

The worst thing you can do for your budget is not get a receipt,  lose it or forget where you put it.

I know I’m stating the obvious here but if you’re not used to asking for your receipt or you toss it out, stop and listen. That piece of paper is gold to you so treat as such. Without your grocery receipt you cannot accurately calculate your food expenses. You wouldn’t want your employer to estimate your pay cheque because he’d either pay to little or too much. The same approach is applied to your food expenses. The numbers are critical.

Related: Why you should always say YES to your receipt.

 

Removing the extras

 

Any time we analyze a receipt we review everything that was purchased and then begin to break everything down. For example, If we went to Canadian Tire

  • Expense Motor Oil $12.99
  • Wiper Blades $18.48
  • Granulated Sugar Sale $1.88

Total Out-Of-Pocket $33.35

If you aren’t worried about the accuracy of your grocery budget you might just put this under Vehicle Maintenance in your budget. Fair enough, but what about that granulated sugar? That’s not going help run your car is it? So, you  must carry the $1.88 and treat it as food expenses.

Your receipt will now look like this:

  • Motor Oil $12.99
  • Wiper Blades $18.48
  • Granulated Sugar Sale $1.88

Total Out-Of-Pocket $33.35

Budget Totals– Vehicle Maintenance ($31.47) Food Expenses ($1.88)

Obviously any taxes would be applied but for this example I kept it simple. Remember this is all about how much detailed information you want from your overall budget.

 

Tracking and Making Notes

 

On every receipt that I review I do the above calculations and either on the back or in a space on the front of the receipt I document my calculations for quick reference. This way when it comes time to enter the data into my budget spreadsheet I’ve already taken care of breaking down the receipt.

Don’t do what I used to do and think that you will remember later, you won’t. You’ll be scratching your head in confusion and wasting valuable time. I’d suggest doing the above documentation of reviewing receipts as soon as you put your groceries away or make time later that same day. When your mind is fresh it’s easier to capture the data and any notes you want to make rather than wait.

 

Sub Categories

 

Your budget categories are entirely up to you which means you track what you want to track. For instance with our monthly budget we have grocery (food only) Health and Beauty, Prescriptions and Health Care, Baby, Home maintenance. Each of these categories will capture what we typically purchase at the grocery store or any related store. If you have a pet for instance you might buy pet food at the grocery store but not part of your food expenses.

If we have something that we haven’t classified or included in our original budgeted numbers we track it in miscellaneous and document what the expenses were. This way when we design our budget for the next year we make sure we include the expense in the budget whether it’s projected or not.

Related: What are projected expenses and how do I calculate them?

 

Meals expenses, tax deductions and reimbursements

 

I was asked once by a fan why her grocery expenses were not balancing so I had a look at her budget information. During my review I noticed that she was able to claim any meals expenses while she worked on the road. This included if she bought groceries to cook wherever she was staying. Sometimes she would stay in rented condos by her company other times she didn’t want to go for food so she just bought snacks.

While she felt it was important to tally these expenses into her monthly food expenses she was forgetting to remove them because her company was reimbursing her the money. She possibly could have missed food expenses during her monthly budget tally because she submitted grocery receipts without making a copy.

On the receipts she submitted she mentioned that there may have been food that she purchased for personal at home cooking. It’s very important when tracking your food expenses to always make notes on receipts so you have them for later reference.

 

How to track food expenses

 

Honestly you can do all the above by using our free budget download spreadsheet even if you only want to track food expenses for the year. There’s lots of room to make notes as well. Alternatively you can create an excel spreadsheet simply to track your monthly food expenses or write it in a budget binder.

What is a budget binder?

Ah, it’s similar to what you may be familiar with if you’ve watched Canadian finance guru Gail Vaz Oxlade in the past on television. A budget binder essentially is your budget bible. It is a place where you document everything from your budget to your expenses and everything else in between.

Making a budget binder is simple to do and if you want to find a fab budget binder for less go to the second-hand shops. There always seems to be tonnes of binders and you’ll often find one that will be perfect for what you’re looking for.

You may have printed budget tracking sheets, dividers, insert pockets to stash receipts and a pad of paper to make notes. If your binder has room for a calculator and other important supplies stash it all together in one spot. This way your finances are portable which is great if you are on the road and need to complete your budget while gone.

Related: Our Free Money Tools and Budget Downloads

This has worked out great for us especially when we are away from the house for a week or two. It’s all about organization and doing what works for you. If you struggle to keep your receipts, get a file folder. It’s that easy, rely on yourself but fix what you’re not good at doing with positive goals and improve along the way.

Overall, this is a trouble-free process especially if your goals is simply tracking food expenses for the month so you can calculate your annual total. That end number will be a number that most people don’t know because it takes a special person to dedicate time to finding this number out.

Best of luck and again if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.

Discussion Question: How do you decide what goes in which budget category when reviewing your receipts?

 

December Grocery Game Challenge

 

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.

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 $10 Canadian. 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.

December Grocery Game Posts

 

Free Money Saving Tools 2016

 

You WILL want to check this out!

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 this Month: $233.25
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $233.25
  • Total Gift Cards used to date: $65
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
  • PC Points Plus Earned to date: 390,000
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $6.00
  • Shoppers Optimum: Just under 850,000 Optimum points  (I will update this twice a year)

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

  • Zweet to cash out : $18.25
  • Checkout51 to cash out : $22.00

 

Our Grocery Shop This Week

 

Food Basics

  • 2 x 4L 2% Milk Sealtest $4.27
  • 2 x 10% Cream $3.49 each

Total Out-Of-Pocket $15.52

  • Total to spend this month : $235.00-$1.75 overage from November= $233.25
  • Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $26.19 over $1.19
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $15.36
  • Total in-store discounts this week:$0
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $511.24
  • Total spent this week: $15.52
  • Total spent so far this month: $195.76
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: under
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: under
  • Total left to spend for the month: $21.98
  • Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $252.95 + Feb $249.46 + March $211.11 + April $248.11 + May $279.07 + June $231.96 + July $244.40 + Aug $201.30+ Sept $238.12+ October $236.77+ November $227.30+December $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

We only purchased milk and cream this week as we are stocked up for the week until we go away for the rest of the month to enjoy Christmas holidays.
How can I make the GGC better? Share your thoughts in the comments or email me. I appreciate all feedback and will take it into consideration. Let’s take the GGC to new heights and show the world just how challenging it can be to be frugal but conquer it.

Get ready for some NEW prize amounts next year too!!! I challenge you to play the grocery game challenge 2017.

Your online savings partner,

Mr.CBB

 

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?

If you notice I’m missing a valuable link please message me and I’ll get it added to the savings list below.

Sign up for the Nielsen Canada Home Scan Program and you can earn rewards points fast to redeem for awesome products or gift cards. I did this in the UK and loved it!!

Where can I find Canadian Coupons 2016?

Plus check out these other hidden areas online to get more coupons!!

  • Healthy Essentials Printable Coupons (Johnson and Johnson)
  • Danone Coupons Get up to $25 in coupons
  • Clorox Coupons Sign up to print coupons in the Clorox family which include Greenworks, Glad etc.
  • Kraft Canada Sign up and receive recipes and coupons by email
  • MySavings.com Printable Smart Source Coupons
  • Walmart Canada Printable Coupons
  • Proctor and Gamble PandG Sign up for printable coupons
  • Hidden Coupon Portals You Should know about – I found this over at Save a Loonie and you’ll want to sign up for notifications and check out the site so you get notified every time a hidden coupon is available from Save.ca, Brandsaver, Smart Source etc.

 

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 Know what stores accept coupons?:  If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
  • 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 look at 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?

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

Comments

  1. Mary F Campbell says:

    DECEMBER – Week #3 of 4- Dec 19-25, 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:

    Happy holidays have begun at our house…hubby is off on vacation now thru until the new year. Yay! 🙂

    This week’s shopping is all about whatever we need for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. We’ll be having our Christmas dinner at my Dad’s house so we really didn’t need an awful lot.

    But, we did on the spur of the moment decide to go for lunch in the US to celebrate the first day of hubby’s holidays and we picked up a few items instead of leaving our entire US shop for New Year’s Eve.

    Hubby scored a rain check for us on pop for the new year. I hate paying full price so $0.95 for a 2L bottle suits me just fine. He also scored a SCOP freebie on seafood! Way to go sweetie!!

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

    OUR “CANADIAN” SHOPPING THIS WEEK:

    Safeway – Maple Ridge –

    1 pkg Imitation Crab – correct price $4.99 – SCOP FREEBIE!

    • TOTAL Grocery Budget OOP: $0.00

    ** Earned 0 Air Miles on this shop **
    ** SAVED $4.99 in SCOP Discount **
    ** SAVED $0.00 Loyalty Savings on this shop **

    —————————————————————–

    RCSS – Pitt Meadows –

    1 Raw Vegetable Platter– for holiday treats = $9.99 << We'll pick it up on Thurs on the way back from North Vancouver

    Total Holiday Reserve Spending $9.99

    ** Earned 0 PC.Plus Points on this shop **
    ** SAVED $0.00 in Rain Check/ Coupons **
    ** SAVED $0.00 Loyalty Savings on this shop **

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

    OUR “US RESERVE” SHOPPING LAST WEEKEND:

    Franz Bakery Outlet – Bellingham

    3 Loaves WW Bread +
    1 pkg of 6 sourdough hoagie buns (4 for $5)
    1 pkg of 4 Butterhorns $2.99
    1 pkg of 8 Sourdough Submarine Buns $3.99
    1 loaf of Salted Caramel Multigrain Bread +
    1 loaf Gingerbread Multi Grain Bread $4.00
    2 pkg of 8 French Bread Submarine Buns FREE

    • US Grocery OOP: $15.98 << Hubby is all set with some lovely breads for the holidays!

    —————————————————————–

    Walmart – Burlington

    2 pkgs – 15 Bean Soup Mix @ $2.58 ea = $5.16

    • US Grocery OOP: $5.16

    —————————————————————–

    Fred Meyers – Burlington

    4 x 6-pack English Muffins ($1.00 ea) = $4.00
    2 x Coffeemate Light Peppermint Mocha Creamer @ $2.50 ea = $5.00
    6 x canned Kroeger peanuts @ $1.89 ea = $11.34 << I plan to make some Peanut Brittles

    • US Grocery OOP: $20.34

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

    2016 Y-T-D GROCERY SAVINGS:

    •Total Loyalty Card Price Reductions This Year:

    Jan $36.76 + Feb $160.96 + Mar $27.00+ Apr $117.96 +May $55.61+June $8.50+ July $46.99+ Aug $13.85+Sept $0.60+Oct $12.84+ Nov $0.00 + Dec $5.87 = $486.94

    •Total Coupons/Rain Checks Used This Year:

    Jan $0.00 + Feb $20.46+ Mar $1.00 +Apr $5.23 + May $10.68 + June $0.00+ July $0.00 + Aug $0.00+ Sept $0.00 Oct $6.32+ Nov $0.00 + Dec $10.62 = $54.31

    •Total Price Match Savings Used This Year:

    Jan $0.00 + Feb $0.00 + Mar $0.00 + Apr $0.00 + May $0.00 + June $0.00+ July $0.00 + Aug $0.00 + Sept $0.00 Oct $0.00+ Nov $0.00 +Dec $0.00 = $0.00

    •Total More Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 10 + Feb 182 + Mar 3 +April 48 + May 96 + June 0+ July 573 + Aug 208 + Sept 11 + Oct 23 + Nov 0 + Dec 16 = 1,170 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year:

    Jan 6 + Feb 43 +Mar 182 + April 32 + May 24 + June 3+ July 0 + Aug 0 + Sept 0 + Oct 0 + Nov 0 + Dec 1 = 291 Air Miles

    •Total PC PLUS Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 1800 + Feb 5000 +Mar 5200= April 3,100 + May 0 + June 2,600+ July 0 + Aug 6,600 + Sept 0 + Oct 0 + Nov 1400 + Dec 1000 = 26,700 Points

    •Total Optimum Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 0 + Feb 0 +Mar 0 + April 0 + May 0 + June 40+ July 0 + Aug 40 + Sept 20 + Oct 31 + Nov 0 + Dec 20 = 151 Points

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

    2016 Y-T-D GROCERY SPENDING:

    •Total OOP Year-To-Date:
    Jan $196.78 + Feb $193.74 + Mar $182.77 + April $255.43 + May $143.05 +June $182.79 +July $188.72+ Aug $171.07+ Sept $195.65 + Oct $190.00+ Nov $178.55 + Dec (Trf to US $150 + Trf to Re-Stocking $15+$16.40+$5.00+$2.49 = $188.89) = $2,268.44

    •Total Year-To-Date Grocery Budget:
    Jan $190.00+ Feb $190.00 + Mar $190.00 + April $190.00 +May $190.00 + June $190.00+July $190.00+Aug $190.00 +Sept $190.00 + Oct $190.00+ Nov $190.00 + Dec $190= $2,280.00

    •Total Over/Under on Year-To-Date Grocery Budget: $11.56 AVAILABLE << Still in the black! 🙂

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

    2016 POINTS REDEEMED RESERVE:

    2015 Fwd $0.00+Jan $4.69+ Feb $5.19+ Mar $0.00+ Apr $0.00 + May $4.69 + June $0.00+ July $0.00 + Aug $0.00+Sept $0.00 + Oct $0.00+Nov $0.00+ Dec (-14.57 trf to Holiday Reserve) = $0.00

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

    2016 US GROCERY RESERVE:

    2015 Fwd $0.00+Jan $45.00+Feb $45.00+ Mar -$59.58+ Apr $45.00+ May -$22.79 + June -$48.42 + July $45.00 + Aug $45.00+Sept $112.62 + Oct $62.37 +Nov $43.74 + Dec ($150-$15.98-$5.16-$20.34 = $108.52) = $421.46

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

    2016 RE-STOCKING RESERVE:

    2015 Fwd $217.50+Jan -$49.65 + Feb -$140.69 + Mar $25.48 + Apr +
    -$5.29+May -$9.70 +June $15.00+July -$41.81 + Aug $17.93+Sept $15.00 + Oct $30.00+Nov $15.00 + Dec $15= $123.17

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

    2016 Y-T-D HOLIDAY SEASON RESERVE:

    2015 Fwd $81.51+Jan $15.00 + Feb $11.61 +$15.00+ Apr $15.00 +May $20.00 + June $15.00+ July $15.00+ Aug $15.00+Sept $15.00 + Oct ($-15.19-$35.97 = -$51.16)+ Nov $-39.92 + Dec ($14.57 trf from Points Redeemed-$15.00-$25.00-$10.92-$9.99 = $-46.34) = $80.70 + $140 worth of RCSS POINTS + $10 Dream Air Miles

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

    2016 Y-T-D SUMMER RESERVE:

    2015 Fwd $100.00+ $537.50 Trf from Borscht Fund+Jan $15.00 + Feb $11.61+ Mar $0.00+Apr $15.00 + May -$51.21+ June $3.23 +July $7.62 +Aug (15.00-30.21=-$15.21)+ Sept $15.00+Oct $0.00 + Nov $0.00= $638.54

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

    • SUMMARY OF FUNDS Y-T-D:

    $ 2,280.00 Grocery Budget JAN-DEC

    ($ 327.36) NET RESERVE TRANSFERS

    ($ 1,941.08) Actual CASH SPENT

    $ 11.56 AVAILABLE Y-T-D GGC SPENDING NOT INCL RESERVES

    • RESERVES Y-T-D:

    $ 123.17 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $ 80.70 Holiday Season Fund + $140 RCSS POINTS + $10 Dream Air Miles.
    $ 638.54 Summer Season Fund
    $ 421.46 US Shopping Reserve
    $ 0.00 Points Redeemed Reserve

    OUR CURRENT TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES ARE $1,263.87. This means the $936.51 that we carried forward from 2015 PLUS AN ADDITIONAL $1,289.15 that we have added in 2016, LESS $961.79 that we have drawn out for use in 2016.

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

    The valid rain checks I hold are as follows:

    Thrifty Foods

    8 x 2L Sprite Zero @$0.95 each – Good to Jan. 19/2017

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

    This week’s BREAKFAST menu plan:

    HUBBY: Earl Grey Tea with Lemon Juice + Bagels/English Muffins with fat free cream cheese spread, peanut butter or Cheez Whiz, toaster waffles, hot cross buns OR Rice Krispies cereal with skim milk

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

    ** I am making French Toast with Bacon & Eggs for Christmas Morning **

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

    This week’s LUNCH menu plan:

    MON: Tuna Submarine Sandwiches

    TUES: China Kitchen Buffet

    WED: Chicken Stock with Rice Ramen Noodles, Shrimp and Diced Green Onions

    THURS: CHRISTMAS Lunch with MIL and visit SIL in the hospital

    FRI: Imitation Crab Submarines

    SAT(Christmas Eve): Leftover Peasant Cabbage & Tomato Soup with Cheesy Garlic Crescent Rolls

    SUN(Christmas Day): Hungarian Apple Soup with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

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

    This week’s DINNER menu plan:

    MON: Cold meat & cheese plate with fruitcake and eggnog for dessert

    TUES: Peasant Cabbage & Tomato Soup with Honey Muffins

    WED: Senior’s 3 Course Turkey Dinner at Ricky’s for $12 each

    THURS: Take-out from The Neighborhood Noodle House

    FRI: Leftover Peasant Cabbage & Tomato Soup with Honey Muffins

    SAT(Christmas Eve): Raw Veggie Platter, Cold Meat & Cheese Platter, Pickle/Olive tray with Slow Cooker Peppermint Hot Chocolate and an assorted dessert tray after a walk around the neighborhood to look at the Christmas lights

    SUN(Christmas Day): Family dinner at Dad’s place

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

    • Hi Mary,
      Merry Christmas to the two of you.
      What a great idea celebrating his vacation time. We should have done that but the only celebrating we do is a trip to the grocery store and the odd trips sitting in at Tim Hortons. Vacation has been busy so far but that’s what I expected.
      I love your bread line-up but that salted caramel bread.. I want to try it. Have you both had this before? French Toast… wow.
      3 Loaves WW Bread +
      1 pkg of 6 sourdough hoagie buns (4 for $5)
      1 pkg of 4 Butterhorns $2.99
      1 pkg of 8 Sourdough Submarine Buns $3.99
      1 loaf of Salted Caramel Multigrain Bread +
      1 loaf Gingerbread Multi Grain Bread $4.00
      2 pkg of 8 French Bread Submarine Buns FREE

      If I read correctly do you have $11.56 left for 2016 to spend in your grocery budget? Impressive but I knew you could do it. Will you be doing a last shop of the year?
      You get Ballot #7
      MR.CBB

      • Mary F Campbell says:

        Yes Mr CBB, I do have $11.56 left in our budget, plus all my reserves, so there will be a final shop of the year.

        We will need celery, milk and maybe a few sweet potatoes. I also have a post-Christmas US shop coming up in my post next week.

        The budget is still working at the current level we since we added $1,289.15 to the reserves in 2016 LESS $961.79 that we have drawn out for our use so at the moment…so we are sitting with $327.36 leftover not including our carry forwards from previous years. That means really we still have $11.56 + $327.36 = $338.92 leftover of our 2016 budgeted funds & that’s without using either the $140 in RCSS points or the $10 in Air Miles Cash. We had lots of splurges this year so I could cinch in the budget belt a lot further if we needed to. First to be eliminated would be all the snack food treats, soft drinks, steaks just because we felt like it and I could focus more on vegetarian/vegan meals.

        I have everything else that we need for New Years Eve and New Year’s Day already. I am also craving soup like crazy person these days, so we have a Creamy Potato & Dill Soup, a Peasant Cabbage and Tomato Soup & a 15-Bean Soup with Ham Soup to use up the leftovers from our New Years Ham dinner. Waste not, want not right? 🙂

  2. Week 51 – Dec 23 – 29, 2016
    Name Your Store: Giant Tiger
    Total Coupons Used: $
    Total Points =
    Total Out Of Pocket: $26.11

    Human
    1.7 Kg Ham = $7.97
    2 Queen Anne Cherries Chocolate = $3.74
    2 St. Hubert Chicken Pies = $13.94

    Name Your Store: Frescho
    Total Coupons Used: $2.00
    Total Savings = $9.20
    Total Points =
    Total Out Of Pocket: $20.23

    Human
    4 Pillsbury Crescant Rolls = $3.96
    2.5 Kg AP Flour = $3.99
    2 Stove Top Dressing = $2.98
    2 Munchies Original = $7.38
    4 Mortimer’s Beef Shepard Pies = $3.96

    Name Your Store: Superstore
    Total Coupons Used: $
    Total Points = 2800
    Total Out Of Pocket: $46.30

    Human
    1.4 Kg Minute Rice = $5.89
    8 NN Tuna – (1600 PC Points) = $7.84
    Eggs = $1.97
    2 – 500 mL Gay Lea Sour Cream – $2.48 (PM No Frills @ $1.47) = $2.94
    4 L 2% Milk = $4.27
    Club Pack Pork Chops – $22.14 (30% Pink Sticker) = $15.50

    Cats
    18 Kg NN Cat Litter – (1200 PC Points) = $6.98

    Grocery Game Challenge Results
    Total Grocery Budget for the 2 Adults ($1890.00, for the pay period – $70.00)
    Total Human (Adults) this Week Period: $53.44
    Left for the Month: $62.51
    Total Human (Adults) to Date: $1491.09

    Total Grocery Budget for the 3 Cats ($364, for the pay period – $14.00)
    Total Cats this Week Period: $7.89
    Total Cats to Date: $321.02

    Total Grocery Budget for Stockpile ($520)
    Total Stockpile this Week Period: $7.84
    Total Stockpile to Date: $238.45

    Total Grocery Budget for the Personal Hygiene ($182)
    Total Personal Hygiene this Week Period: $
    Total Personal Hygiene to Date: $256.10

    Total Grocery Budget for Meat ($500.00)
    Total Meat this Week Period: $23.47
    Total Meat to Date: $507.68

    Total Coupons Used this Week Period: $2.00
    Total Coupons Used To Date: $29.96

    Total Price Match for this Week Period: $2.02
    Total Price Match to Date: $294.28

    Total PC Points Received this Week Period: 2800
    Total PC Rewards Points Used this Week Period:
    Total PC Rewards To Date: 8,011

    Overview: Yes, I went over on this pay’s budget but I’m nicely stocked up for next week. I have one more pay for this calendar year which will have one week this year and the other week booked next year. Typically I don’t get pink stickers on my meat due to the time of day I shop. When I was dividing out the pork chops, my daughter called them steaks since they were so thick. To give an update on the reduction of my debt, this year will see the debt (except for the mortgage) reach $24K as there’s one more payment for the car and I’ll be making a payment on Friday (Dec 30) on the consolidated loan. I’ll have paid off approximately $14,500 on the principle portion of the loans. My current goal for next year to have the non-mortgage debt down to $12K or lower.

    • Hi Dee,
      Welcome to our world as it’s so hard to stay to the weekly budget. It seems we carry over until the end of the month when we have to really tighten the pocketbook. Do you like chocolates and cherries? I made a lovely cherry bark last night. WOW what an awesome financial update DEE. You’ll have your debt wiped out in 2 years if all keeps going well. How does that make you feel? Congratulations and good luck with your last shop for 2016. Mr.CBB You get ballot #8

      • I like chocolate, if fact the only chocolate I don’t like is “Simply Delicious” chocolate bars. Since my debt consolidation loan is a variable rate, I’m paying as much as I can before the rates go up. My full goal is to have the consolidated loan paid off as close to July 2018 and then the car by February 2019. That will give me a cushion when I go in to renew my mortgage. The thought of being debt-free except the mortgage is great but I know it won’t last long due to my future plans but I’m taking one step at a time.

        • Hi Dee,
          Really that’s all we can do. Something might come up for us and we’ll be back in debt again unless we have the cash to back it up. As long as debt isn’t holding you down then you’re on your way. I’m proud of you Dee!

        • Anne Russell says:

          Dee, you should give yourself a hearty pat on the back! To have the numbers going down and the dates for completion is a huge step, a plan and a plan for execution! I know that I’m always competing with myself to pay my house debt more and more, accelerating towards completing it at about 40% of the initial amortization.
          It’s a thrill, and last month I went and discussed my current plan with my bank representative. Talk to someone who is impartial and see how great it is that you are doing well if you have forward momentum. Every time I make a unscheduled and increased payment, the tellers cheer me on.
          Why won’t it last long due to your future plans, though? Is there a big expense that you are expecting (like going back to school or a move or career change?) Or is just a gut feeling that you have?

  3. Anne Russell says:

    Dear Mr. CBB and fans….
    In the beginning…I didn’t keep receipts, didn’t track expenses, had only a rough idea of the cost of groceries for my family ($400 per week.)
    I am now that annoying person who notes the cost of every item on my list. My list is on my phone and I now have 2 3/4 years of item history on my phone. My phone has offers, price matches, etc. as well.
    Yesterday I price matched .50 on a cauliflower, .25 cents per kg on ground beef, and $1.30 per case on pop for Christmas.
    This sounds grinding and unimportant BUT in my family of five our yearly grocery spend was:
    $20,598 in 2014 or $400 per week approx. (I only have the total for the year)
    $14,507 in 2015 or $278 per week
    $11,827.38 in 2016 (one week to go!) or $230 per week
    That is a lot of couponing, price matching and planning. And a lot of money that went to debt. Same 5 adult people and same number of pets. Attention to detail pays off. Pay yourself and your family instead of a line in the budget.
    Merry Christmas! Anne

    • Hi Anne,
      I absolutely love this post. Are you ok if I share this on Facebook? Sometimes people don’t believe that it can be done but as you’ve pointed out it can be done. Congratulations on a successful shopping year. Will you join us for 2017 Grocery Game? I would LOVE to see your shops. Merry Christmas Anne. Mr.CBB

      • Anne Russell says:

        Please do…it’s been quite a journey. Merry Christmas to you all!

      • Anne Russell says:

        Oh one more thing…my budget this year was $235 per week and I beat that goal! Another important element was setting a *budget* with a target. What do you look to for next year, given that estimates say food will increase? Hold steady or adopt a waiting and see approach?

        • Hi Anne,
          our grocery budget will increase as our son is eating our food now and my wife eats lots of eggs, cheese, bacon, salami, etc. As for the increased prices we take the wait and see approach. As long as you have some reserve in the event you notice you have to boost your monthly budget you will be fine.

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