How a small town family saves money on groceries

small town grocery bananasSMALL TOWN SAVINGS

 

Today we have a guest post from a small town fan of Canadian Budget Binder who wants to share her insights into grocery shopping on a budget when your options are limited.

If you are a fan or a personal finance blogger and would like to share a story please read my guest post guidelines and contact me.

My name is Christine and I live in a small town in Ontario and have followed Mr CBB for quite a while now on the blog and participating in posting my grocery shops with his Grocery Game Challenge since Sept 2012.

 

Our grocery budget

 

I shop for my family of 4 which includes my two adult children, my husband and I. We also can’t forget our family pet fat cat Stuart who eats up a part of our grocery budget as well.

Our grocery budget is $650 per month so I have to make that money stretch and living in a small town can make that challenging for me.

I have tried very hard to keep things within my budget, not always successfully. It’s been a learning experience to say the least.

If you have been hesitating about posting your grocery shops because you think that you can’t save on groceries, think again. If I can do it …you can too.

 

Small town shopping

 

If you are thinking that the people that post their shops have all these stores to go to to help them save money but you are in a small town and just don’t have access to all those stores…..keep reading.

One of the things I have had to deal with in trying to keep the grocery budget in line is the fact that I live in a small town, roughly 6000 people. We have all of two grocery stores to choose from.

One our our small town gems is a grocery store called Foodland which is part of the Sobey’s chain. Another of the small town grocery stores that we have is a Your Independent Grocer, part of the Loblaw’s chain.

Foodland is right across the street from me so I can walk over and get what I need a great part of my small town life. This cuts down on time and petrol another factor to think about when planning my grocery list.

The Your Independent Grocer is out at the east end of our small town and I need to drive there. My options are limited to these two stores unless I go out of town.

This is not always an option depending on the weather, my husbands health on any given day and a lack of flyers for the out of town stores.

Most of the time I shop at Foodland which is available in most small towns. It’s convenient and believe it or not…cheaper than the Your Independent Grocer store another small town grocery store.

 

Product pricing

 

The fact above underscores one of the biggest issues if you want to save money on your groceries. You need to know your prices.

It doesn’t matter how many stores you go to you still need to know the prices for all those regular items we are always buying.

Because there are only the two options for my groceries I don’t price match in town although I do shop the sales and I coupon.

I use a grocery list every time! If you know the regular prices on those items you buy on a regular basis then you can tell when you look at the flyers if it’s a good sale price or a really good price or even a Good Price!!

Lets look at these items one at a time. Knowing your prices… I plan my stock ups by how good the price is. Foodland has the regular flyer deals but they also have price cuts that last 4-5 weeks at a stretch.

I believe Food Basics is doing this now too. It tends to not be that great a sale but every penny helps. If the price cut is on what is considered a basic item for my family I will try to pick up one or two items on price cut every time I go.

By the end of the price cut time I have a nice amount of product stocked in my pantry that I didn’t have to pay full price for! I do much the same thing for the weekly sales but, usually, on a smaller scale.

 

Coupon clipping

 

I also coupon but not to the extent that some people do but I do use them. I get the inserts that show up in our weekend papers and sometimes even manage to get more than one copy of an insert.

Those are red letter days. I look in the store while I’m shopping for the tear pad coupons too. The best source of coupons is online in my opinion.

Sites like Gocoupons.ca, Save.ca, Websaver.ca are great and they mail those coupons to you. They also have printable coupons. Other sources like Smartsource are printable.

There are also sites like Save Big Live Better, Mrs January and Coupon Christine that post deals and such you can take advantage of, and they post daily.

Lets not forget our own Mr CBB!

I always shop with a grocery list when I shop. There are lists online you can print off like Mr CBB’s Free Money Saving Tools.

I have my own way to list what I need to buy with prices listed right on my list and if I have a coupon to use for the product. Figure out what works best for you and then make sure you use that list.

Hopefully these ideas will help you save money on your groceries.

Posting on Mr CBB’s Grocery Game Challenge helps to see just what it is we are buying. Speaking for myself it does make me stop and think about what I am getting knowing that Mr CBB will see what I am purchasing.

Below is a sample shop from January that I posted in the Grocery Game. As you will see I came so close to making my grocery budget and without posting my shops I might not have been able to track my money so well.

Here we go!!! I made it into No Frills for a shop this week for a quick prowl around, but the rest was at Foodland.

Foodland, Jan 24

  • 2 tomato paste @.89- 1.78
  • 3 cans pasta sauce @1.25- 3.75
  • 3 cans tomato sauce @1.88-5.64
  • 1 bread crumbs- 1.99
  • 1 cider mix- 3.99
  • 1 jug water- 5.49
  • 2 eye of round roasts- 8.68+ 9.21, stockpile
  • Tax- .52
  • Total- $41.05, part was stockpile

 

No Frills, Jan 24

  • 1 yogurt- 5.97, 50% discount- 2.99
  • 1 box Bear Paws- 2.44
  • 3 bags frozen veggies @2.97- 8.91
  • 4 Hot Stuffs @1.00- 4.00
  • 2 4l milk @3.97- 7.94
  • 1 cranberry cocktail- 2.97
  • 1 large Royale TP- 7.97
  • 2 boxes 144 count Tetley tea bags @4.97- 9.94
  • 1 bagels- 1.97
  • 1 pork loin- 5.21
  • 2 packs X-lean ground beef- 9.48+9.92
  • bananas- .96
  • cole slaw- 1.27, 50% discount- .64
  • 3lbs carrots- 1.49
  • 2 Sensodyne toothpaste @3.97- 7.94
  • 2 Dove body wash @4.72- 9.44, $2.00 coupon
  • 1 Vasaline body lotion- 4.97, $2.50 coupon
  • Tax- 3.94
  • Total- $98.60, $4.50 coupons, $3.63 discounts

 

Foodland, Jan 30

  • 2 cans soup @ .79- 1.58
  • bananas- .30
  • 1 onions- 1.99
  • 2 boxes cereal @1.99- 3.98, reduced
  • 1 sweet and sour bbq sauce- 2.79
  • 1 doz eggs- 2.99
  • 1 apple juice- 3.29, 1.00 coupon
  • 1 cider mix- 3.99
  • Tax- .52
  • Total- $20.43, 1.00 coupon

 

  • Total budget for the month- $650.00
    Total coupons this week- $5.50
    Total discounts this week- $3.63
    Total spent this week- $151.99
    Total stockpile this week- $8.09, roast
    Total spent this month- $653.06+ $8.09 stockpile
    Total over/under for week- over $21.99
    Total over/under for month- over $3.06
    Left for month- $0.00
    Total coupons/discounts for month- $44.83
    Total carry over- $3.06
    Total YTD- $653.06, $25.00 stockpile

Final Thoughts on Grocery Shop:

So I finished the month over by a whole $3.06, on a 5 week month!!! So much better than last year!!! Last Jan. I was over by some $200.00!!!!

The roasts were a good deal as was the extra lean ground beef. The ground beef was broken up into a number of smaller meal size packs for the freezer.

The stockpile amount helped a lot. The coupons for NF were what I think as the cashier just rang it in as one big coupon for $4.50. The pork loin was a super good price!! $1.00 lb.

It was dollar days at No Frills. I won’t argue with those prices. I am pleased that this month went as well as it did. The first three weeks were low so that helped with the last two weeks when there was some stocking up done.

I have had to wrap my head around 4 and 5 week months as that was part of what messed with me last year. This time I was more aware. All in all a good start to the new year….

 

Grocery savings

 

We all have ways to save money on groceries and we all have to work with what is available to us, whether it is the amount we can afford to spend or the limitations we have in places to do the actual shopping.

Whats for dinner

Another way to save on your grocery bill is to join us every night for the What’s For Dinner post on Facebook at Canadian Budget Binder. The post runs from 5pm until 10pm 7 days a week.

We post what we are making for dinner that night and we share recipes and general chatter and have a lot of fun. All of us are generous with our recipe collections and if you need ideas on what to make your family we have ideas.

If you are wondering what is coming up on sale at your store, chances are someone can tell you as long as you ask.

If you bought something on sale and are wondering how to cook it, again just ask as we are a diverse group of fans on Canadian Budget Binder from an array of cultures.

We have recipes we can post for you and everyone else to try or you can check out the free recipes Mr.CBB posts from other food bloggers at The Free Recipe Depot on Facebook. Another great free source for recipes to help keep your budget in check.

Come join us in the Grocery Game Challenge!! We don’t judge but are there to help you any way we can. Even better, after you have your groceries, come join us on What’s For Dinner! Trust me…you won’t be sorry…….

I hope that if you live in a small town like I do you don’t let the small shops deter you from saving money in your grocery budget because it is possible, I’m proof of that. Planning is important so if you want to save the savings are there as long as you are willing to put in the effort.

-Christine

 

Money-quote

 

Are You New To Canadian Budget Binder?

 

Related posts:

How super are supermarkets in Canada?

shopping-cart-walmartTHE CHANGING FACE OF THE CANADIAN SUPERMARKET

 

Every year I’m a resident in Canada it seems to me were getting more and more like the Britain I left behind.

The Supermarket is a prime example of the changing face that always seems to be behind the times. But what I tend to notice is a large shift to emulating the old country and the ways we do things.

 

The point of points

 

The brand new PC Plus points and coupon scheme recently launched caught my eye mainly due to the fact that is so similar to Tesco’s Clubcard points program in the UK.

Every time you shop in that supermarket data is collected and used to determine what you buy most often, how much, your average budget spend on groceries and other revealing facts etc.

This data collected is analysed and used to send you offers and coupons that are more tailored to the individual rather than the masses through a flyer.

Tesco’s Clubcard rewards launched in the UK approximately 9 years ago has been part of the huge success leading to the company’s phenomenal growth.

The highly personalized Clubcard vouchers or coupons and offers it generates for its customer base tries to encourage more spending by targeting a specific part of our spending habits.

 

Delivering the goods

 

I can’t say that I’ve seen it yet, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see an online shopping and delivery service start here in Canada very soon. I would imagine that for geographical reasons that the delivery service would probably be restricted to more densely populated areas.

Back home (yes, it is still considered home) in the UK before I left there was a growing trend in online grocery shopping combined with a delivery service. The idea being that those of us with extremely busy lives or those who don’t have a car can still do the weekly shop without the hassle of actually going there.

There is Tesco groceries online, Waitrose online groceries and Sainsbury’s online groceries to mention but a few. There could well be many more that have since jumped on to the home delivery service bandwagon.

It sounds great, but it’s not something I ever indulged in. I’m a much more tactile guy who actually likes to see what he’s buying and check the quality of the fruit and veg that I’m going to purchase. I like to pick up products and compare them side by side.

The problem is with the online experience is that you only click what you want to buy. Someone in a picking and distribution warehouse actually does the shopping for you and they’re not as picky as you.

I’ve seen first had the results of online shopping because my sister used the service on multiple occasions and some of the product does not look pretty upon receiving the goods.

The other concern with online grocery shopping is the fact that if the product is out of stock then nothing will be sent to you unless you have stated an alternative. This leads to the question, How do I know that they really ran out of stock and they aren’t just pushing another product?

 

The finest

 

Our-Finest-Walmart-Dijon-MustardWhen you visit a Wal-mart these days you’ll notice they introduced a range called “Our Finest” which is presented in snazzy silver cardboard presentation packaging. Looks pretty good, like an up market no name brand.

Sorry Wal-mart but Tesco’s from the UK was there before you and by quite a number of years. Strangely enough Tesco’s Finest range is also presented in a snazzy silver cardboard presentation package.

Does this mean that Wal-mart is trying to emulate Tesco’s success? Maybe, considering they do already compete directly with each other in the UK with Wal-mart going under a different moniker that is Asda.

 

Check it out

 

I’ve previously talked about the self-scan checkout and how they were already in use in the UK approximately 10 years ago.

It just seems we’re a little behind the times here on a constant basis. That being said I still enjoy the face to face experience you get with a cashier. The friendly and sometimes not so friendly faces that serve you at the checkout can actually process your shopping faster than you can at the self-service.

The point of the self scan I’m guessing is to get as many people through the exit with shopping in hand without having to pay out more wages. Machines don’t need health benefits either and certainly don’t require breaks. It makes me wonder what the face of the future supermarket will look like.

 

The British invasion

 

I couldn’t believe my eyes a few weeks ago when I saw Chef Jaime Oliver doing a celebrity endorsement for Sobey’s and then again promoting his new Jaime Oliver Discovers Canada range for the supermarket chain. He’s probably one of the more likeable TV chefs possibly because he’s so down to earth and honest when he’s showing the audience that cooking can be fun and flavourful at the same time.

The thing that worried me is the fact that Mr Oliver always prided himself on the fresh ingredients used in his cooking but now his knocking out pre-made dinners in plastic tubs. There’s always a bunch of UK cooking shows on TV these days too, mainly on the wife’s favourite “Food Network”. Unfortunately they haven’t got my favourite in to the country yet, Nigella Lawson, but they do have Nigella Lawson recipes and her TV show.

 

Extras

 

Correct me if I’m wrong people of the UK but I could have swore shopping bags were not free when I left the country. I believe you have to pay for a plastic shopping bags just as we do in Canada but yet again I think we got stung for those first too.

The going rate for a shopping bag in Canadian supermarkets is 5 cents, but it’s been so long I don’t know how much is costs my fellow Brits to buy a bag. There are alternatives to paying for bags though. Take you own reusable shopping bags or use the free traditional cardboard boxes from the front of the store.

Shopping carts here in Canada take a deposit of 25 cents which is crazy cheap for the deposit while shopping trolleys in the UK usually take a £1 coin, which converted to Canadian dollars is $1.68. Would you pay that much for a shopping cart? I know one thing for certain, you wouldn’t find many carts with the deposit left inside.

 

Expanding the influence

 

Now I have seen a small number of these gas stations owned and operated I’m assuming by the associated supermarket they share the land with. Grocery stores with Petrol filling stations combined together in the UK are very popular.

All the big players in the UK have gas stations attached and usually combine deals to get more customers spending more of their money at one store.

The main idea is, when you spend “X” amount in store you’ll receive a discount or coupon for the filling station to get cheaper gas per litre. That’s great and I should know because I used to take advantage of that one every time.

Now I just use the online application Ontario Gas Prices to check the local area and save myself some extra cash. Knowledge is power.

No doubt the face of the Canadian Supermarket will change over the coming years, but will it be Super?

 

Money-quote

 

Are You New To Canadian Budget Binder?

 

Related articles

 

Grocery budget: Our kids are eating us out of house and home

got-hungry-kids-grocery-budget

How to Save on Groceries With Hungry Kids On Board

 

Hello, fans of Mr. CBB, John here from Frugal Rules today!

I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my thoughts here before, but I thought I’d come back for some more.

What comes to mind when you think of Mr. CBB? I know the easy answer is budgets, I mean it IS a part of his blog name after all!

You could also say that he is known for the recipes he cooks up that make you want to lick the computer screen because they look so good – come on…I know I am not the only one out there! ;-).

Well, what comes to mind when I think of Mr. CBB is his Grocery Game Challenge.

Mr. CBB certainly knows how to stretch his grocery budget and I applaud him for being so proactive about doing so and sharing his tips.

Well, having three growing little ones, means that we have come up with a few ways we save on groceries, which is vital when trying to stay on a budget.

Anyone who is a parent to children, especially boys, knows that they can eat a side of beef at most meals, thus making it a growing challenge to keep a tight lid on that grocery budget.

That said, I know it is possible to keep their tummies full AND keep the grocery spending at a minimum if you work at it.

 

Blow up your list

 

Virtually any post you read on saving money on groceries will tell you that you need to go with a list. I know, been there done that! Well, the crazy thing is that a list can and does work. The key is to tie it to an established meal plan and automate it as much as you can.

Not only will this save you time, but money as well. My lovely wife has a pre-printed sheet that she uses every month. It has listed all of the basics we buy on a regular basis. When we get the circulars, we compare the list with them to find what we want to match and go from there.

We take it to the next level by involving the kids when they do go so they can begin to learn the need to be purposeful with our grocery spending and not give into every boxed treat that gets marketed to them.

 

Bust out those envelopes

 

It has been said and I have experienced it on my own, but it hurts much more to part with your cash as opposed to swiping that credit card when buying something. How does this apply to feeding the kids?

Well, we have found that paying by cash forces us to truly buy what we need instead of filling the grocery cart with all sorts of non-essentials. I know that using the cash method is not for everyone and it was a challenge for us to get started with it, but it really can help you keep a better control over how much you spend on groceries.

We have seen that this forces us to buy items at the grocery store that’ll not only feed our growing kids but also think twice before buying something that may not be on that list we’re carrying.

Buying one or two things not on the list is one thing, but they add up quickly and can easily derail your wanting to keep the grocery budget in check.

 

Know when to go

 

What kid doesn’t like to go to the grocery store? I can remember wanting to go with my parents as a kid and that was largely so I could ask for things.

Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret – if you don’t take them, then the problem is solved! Ok, I know it may not be as easy as that, but it does help keep the grocery costs down if you’re able to do it.

We always try to keep at least two of the three little Frugal Rules’ at home so we can shop without distraction and not mysteriously end up with 20 items we didn’t select in the shopping cart.

On top of leaving a few of the kids home, we also have cut back significantly on our number of trips to the grocery store to the point that we now go once every two weeks.

How do we do that you ask?

It’s very simple actually – we plan. We know what we go through in that amount of time and buy towards that end. This helps us stretch our grocery budget further by teaching the kids about not wasting food and eating what we have purchased.

We even try to be strategic about how we eat our fruit. We buy a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and try to purchase as much that’s on sale as possible. When we bring home oranges, apples and peaches we eat the peaches first, refrigerate the apples and save the oranges for last.

When the kids want an orange, we remind them that we’re eating our way through the other produce first. It gives us all something to look forward to and teaches them the importance of delayed gratification and variety without being wasteful.

This has allowed us to shave $100 easily per month from the grocery bill without losing out on what we eat. I will say that if we do need a few items of produce, we will make a quick trip on the off week to pick up a few things, especially if it’s not summer when we are able to pull things from the garden.

 

Make green your kids’ favorite colour

 

Probably the biggest thing we’ve done with our kids over the past year or two to help fill their tummies and cut back on the grocery spending is to introduce more green into their lives.

We do that in two ways, by involving them in our gardening as they get excited about seeing the food grow and by buying more produce at the store. On the latter, we watch the circulars specifically to find items that are on sale.

We commonly find many fruits for under $1 per pound and load up on it. While we do allow them to have fruit snacks from time to time, the real fruit snacks are so much better for them and so much cheaper.

This has an added benefit that we’re teaching them to eat healthily while also being excited to eat food that’s real and not processed.

How many growing kids are you feeding at home? How are you keeping the grocery bill at bay while feeding them?

 

Contribution By:

John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a finance blog that regularly discusses investing, budgeting, and frugal living. John is a father, husband, and veteran of the financial services industry who’s passionate about helping people find freedom through frugality.

 

Money-quote

 

Are you NEW to Canadian Budget Binder?

 

Related articles

 

 

Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) In Canada…Did You Know?

 

 

Keep An Eye On Scanned Prices 

Scanning Code of Practice, if it sounds like legal jargon to you don’t worry that’s far from the truth. What is your reaction when something rings in more expensive than advertised on the shelf at check out?

My reaction is to jump up and down in excitement!

Huh?!?!

Yes, you heard me. I look forward to being overcharged on a product. Now I am really confusing you aren’t I. Now that I have your full attention, I can explain myself.

Scanning Practice

What is the Scanning Code of Practice?

A little secret that a lot of shoppers do not know about is something called “SCOP”. The Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) is a promise from the retailer to their customers that there will be accurate scanning at the register on all Universal Product Codes (UPCs).

SCOP is a scanning code that almost every major retailer in Canada abides by. If you are unsure you can ask or keep your eyes open for the scanning code of practice photo ( you will see it in this blog post) of SCOP on the entry doors or at the cash register where you scan your debit and credit card. It’s typically right in front of our faces but we miss it.  It essentially means “the price we have listed on our shelves will be the price that rings up at the register”.

If the product scans in at a price HIGHER than the price listed on the shelf, the customer is entitled to receive the item free, up to a $10 maximum (customer will receive $10 off when the item costs $10 or more).

The code does not include pharmacy related products or price-ticketed items (ex. markdowns, 50% off tickets or red ticket items for quick sales).

The Scanning Code of Practice is endorsed by the Competition Bureau of Canada and was created from the collaborative efforts of the Retail Council of Canada, the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores, the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers and the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors.

Questions and Answers about SCOP

Scanning Code Participants

What stores participate in SCOP?
Almost every major retailer in Canada participates in SCOP (Rexall and Zellers are not scanning code of practice participants, except in Quebec where it is law that all stores participate).

If the SCOP sign or logos do not appear on the store doors or register, and the store name appears on this list, they participate in SCOP.  

  • I have never had a cashier ever mention this to me before?
  • Do I need to remind them of SCOP?

In all my years of shopping, I have never been told about SCOP until I started to learn more about couponing and saving money.

From one situation to the next, you may not be told about SCOP for various reasons. For example, cashier forgot or cashier was never trained on SCOP.

Either situation, it appears as though the customer has to be more on the ball then the cashier. If you see something ring up incorrectly, bring it to the attention of the cashier.

If you were overcharged, such that the product rang in as more than what was advertised on the shelf, remind the cashier of SCOP. If they are not sure about SCOP, you may need to ask a store manager at customer service after you have checked out.

If the store is listed above and will not apply SCOP, call 1-866-499-4599 to list your complaint.

  • What if I had 2 of the same item and they both scan in wrong? Are they both FREE?

SCOP only applies to the first item. The other item would ring in with the adjusted lower price that was advertised on the shelf.

  • *GREAT TIP* What if I had 3 items all with unique UPCs ring in incorrectly?

Each item with a unique UPC would be FREE. For example, often shampoos, conditioners and hairspray have different UPC codes even though the store may be advertising a sale of $3 each.

If all three items ring in incorrectly, you would get the shampoo, conditioner and hairspray free if they have different UPC codes on the bottles.

  • What about items that ring in incorrectly that have price tags on them or ticketed for quick sale (ex. 50% off)? 

SCOP does not apply when items have price tickets on them. It only applies for displayed signs in stores.

  • What about if my store has not taken down a sign, and they say that sale was from yesterday and it is over? Does SCOP apply?

Yes, if the store has not removed their sign and is still advertising a lower price and your item rings in as higher, SCOP applies. This goes back to the original intention of SCOP – it is a promise from a retailer to their customer for accurate pricing and scanning.

  • What if I get out to my car and realize the price is wrong on my receipt? Can I go back in and ask for SCOP?

Yes, absolutely and you should ALWAYS check your bill before you leave the parking lot. Just go back in with the item(s) to customer service. Do not go back to the cashier as he/she has no ability to refund your money.

  • OK Coupon Christine, I understand all the rules, but I am still nervous about screaming out “SCOP!!!!” when I see I am entitled to it – can you help me?

Who doesn’t like FREE stuff? What if I told you that each year you could be getting upwards of $100 maybe more worth of free stuff by looking at your receipts and finding those errors, would you be more inclined to say SCOP?

You are not taking money from the cashiers pocket and they will not be in trouble if you bring to their attention a pricing discrepancy. So stand proud and save yourself some CASH!

One extra tip is that SCOP happens A LOT more often on Friday mornings.  Sales from the previous week are over and new sales are up. Some UPCs are not put into their computer programs correctly and often times you benefit from the switch to new sales.

My favourite experience of SCOP was when I was out buying 5 jugs of laundry detergent. The sale price listed was $3.99, but the detergent was ringing in at $5.99.

The cashier and I discussed the discrepancy and she asked a fellow employee to go back to check. It took just a few minutes, but while he was checking, I was scanning over the UPCs since I had 3 different scents of the detergent.  I was mentally high fiving as 3 of them had different UPCs.

I was about to get 3 FREE jugs of laundry detergent!  The employee came back, I was right and the cashier scanned them in at the sale price.

I let her put in a few, then said “hmm, I have this friend, Coupon Christine (wink) and I was reading on her website that because the price of the item was incorrectly scanned, I am entitled to that product for free.

I also read that with each unique UPC code, these 3 bottles are also free and I would just pay for the remaining 2 bottles at the correct price”. She looked at me and simply said .. “wow, I really need to meet your friend Coupon Christine (second wink)!

I never knew that and I have been working here for months”. After we spoke to the store manager, I walked out with 5 jugs of laundry detergent for under $9!

  • So does it PAY to watch the register prices as they go in or scan the receipt on your way out of the store?

ABSOLUTELY!  No one likes to be ripped off, it PAYS to watch – trust me, you will thank me in the long run after you get FREE stuff!

If you would like more information you can read more at the Competition Bureau of Canada.

Editor’s Response:

Mrs.CBB and I often get items for free or $10 off by scanning products on self-scanners, by watching the cashier as she is scanning a code and by reading our receipts. The scanning code of practice in Ontario has allowed us to get free products but it also helps the retailer to find blips in the scanning system them employ with their organization.

If you’re looking to save some cash in the budget and help the retailer be mindful of the prices. Fans are always asking me what is a code of practice and why is it needed? The Canadian Scanning Code of Practice is in place for both the customers and the retailers to ensure pricing is accurate. It seems many stores interpret the definition of SCOP differently but it’s in black and white and should be followed if the store follows SCOP.

Have you had a cashier apply the Scanning Code of Practice? What was your SCOP experience like? Is this the first time you have heard about the Scanning Code of Practice?

Contribution Post By:

Christine (aka Coupon Christine) is passionate about couponing and saving money. CouponChristine.com started with just a few hundred fans earlier this spring and she now has almost 4000 fans on her Facebook page.

She is also the brains behind Coupon Allstars Canada. Coupon Christine has bloggers that feature deals and coupon match-ups for their provinces like she does for her Ontario fans.

Quote-Budget and Money

Are you NEW to Canadian Budget Binder?

You can Follow Canadian Budget Binder on Twitter HERE or Facebook HERE and Pinterest Here. 

You can also subscribe to Canadian Budget Binder so you don’t miss a blog post. Fill in your email address on the HOME page of the blog off to the left where it says “Subscribe Via Email”- No Spam, I promise!

Main Photo Credit: 123RF

Scanning Code Photo Credit Competition Bureau of Canada

How to Start Saving Money on Groceries in Canada


With the cost of living in Canada getting more expensive by the day, grocery bills are on the increase more than ever. For a lot of people, saving money on food is crucial and especially a priority for those who have large families and pets. Some people simply rely on coupons to put a hot meal on the table for their children and family. Grocery coupons go a long way to helping to cut down the cost of food and household items, but there are also several other things you can do to save quite a bit of money in this area.

Combining the use of grocery coupons with effective meal planning is probably the most effective technique, and these are habits that can be learned just by making a few simple changes in your daily routine. Making some simple sacrifices in the way you plan, shop and cook your food can substantially decrease your grocery bill if you follow a few simple guidelines.

Over the past couple of years I have worked towards making some simple changes to my shopping habits and now they’ve become part of my routine.

Where should you begin? Start by setting a goal… here’s how we did it.

  • I began by sitting down with my family and talking about how much we spend per month on  groceries.  An open and frank discussion about what money is being spent as well as  what potential sacrifices could be made can go a long way to starting off in the right direction. We also needed to answer the question, how much money should our grocery budget be?

It’s important to come to some compromises about what each family member might be willing to sacrifice or substitute and set a realistic goal of what you want to spend over the course of one month on grocery items.

  • Talk about your eating habits, such as how often you eat at restaurants or fast food establishments.
  • Get excited about the prospects of cooking more home-cooked, fresh foods which in itself should help to trim the grocery bill substantially.
My husband asked me not to use grocery coupons just because I had them in my grocery binder. Initially one of my downfalls when it came to couponing was to use coupons “for the sake of using coupons” although they do save us alot of money. We just needed to scale it down and understand what we consumed for our family. I understood his point and we agreed to only redeem coupons for select items and most importantly, food or household items that we would use anyway. The remaining coupons would be traded for useful ones or donated.
How has it worked for our family?
This simple technique has proven to be very efficient for our grocery budget. Becoming active on coupon trains and swapping events really helps to accumulate more great coupons  for healthy foods as well as meet new people and share stories and frugal tips. Coupons are distributed by various companies all over Canada. What one city has another might not so trading coupons allows us to get coupons not available in our own city.
  • The next step in saving money on your grocery bills is to really put your heads together and make a list of some simple switches that could be done which would save money and yet not leave you feeling too deprived on what you eat and drink.

Examples might be:

  • Pack (healthy) brown bag lunches to take to work and school instead of buying ready-made sandwiches or regularly visiting the vending machine for snacks or pop.
  • If you consider the purchase of alcohol to be part of your monthly food budget then buy beer from the liquor store (look out for packs that are on sale) instead of drinking at the pub.
  • If you’re having a family gathering, have a “pot-luck” feast where everyone brings food, rather than going to a restaurant to dine and footing a huge bill
  • Cook hearty and cost-effective family meals such as lasagna, chili and shepherd’s pie and then freeze portions for later use.  After a busy day, simply thaw, re-heat and serve with a delicious salad or vegetables.  Not only does it make a convenient family meal, but it will save the temptation of grabbing convenience food from the store.
  • Before you shop at the supermarket, take some time to look at the online flyers of stores such as Wal-Mart, Safeway, Sobeys, Save on Foods and so on.  You are likely to find many items on sale which can help you to plan your shopping list accordingly.  With a shopping list in hand, you will also be  more likely to stick to your budget.
  • Never shop hungry!  Shopping on an empty stomach is a big no-no if you want to save money. If you’ve already eaten then you can shop according to your list and not be dominated by your tempted taste buds!

With these few simple tips, you should be well on your way to saving money on your grocery bills!

To get hold of some free Canadian grocery coupons, online discounts and more tips on ways to save money in Canada visit CanadianCouponSaver.com.

Guest Post By:
Louise Fiolek is the author of CanadianCouponSaver.com, a website dedicated to helping Canadians save money with coupons, daily deals, free stuff and frugal living tips.  She enjoys encouraging others to live well and enjoy life to the fullest, while being savvy to money-saving opportunities.

You can Follow Canadian Budget Binder on Twitter HERE or Facebook HERE and Pinterest Here. 

You can also subscribe to Canadian Budget Binder so you don’t miss a blog post. It will come straight to your email inbox here. 

Come join the conversation, we’re waiting! Cheers Mr.CBB

Photo Credit all photos-Copyright (c) <a href=’http://www.123rf.com’>123RF Stock Photos</a>