The Grocery Game Challenge #3 Nov 18-24, 2013: Back to basics with more for less

grocery-shop-3-novemberIN-STOCK AND PRICES LOCKED DOWN

Food Basics wants to make sure they are taking good care of their customers and that’s a smart move on their part with new lowered and locked down prices and a new in-stock policy.

Always fresh is the new motto at Food Basics and if you aren’t satisfied they want you to let them know and you will get your money back.

Grocery is a big business so if they want the customers they have to make them happy.

While shopping last night at Food Basics I also noticed that they have new lowered prices and highlight “more for less” all around the store. What I found interesting was the color choice that they used to show us how they have lowered the prices on the products in-store.

If you look carefully you will see that the new locked down tags are a red tag. If you are a coupon fanatic or a deals guru like we have been and still are (although not so much couponing these days) your brain will immediately think “sale” or “reduced product” because those are the colors used by many other stores. In this case it is.

If you head to a PC store such as RCSS or Zehrs you will notice they have the pink stickers and everyone knows that they mean 50% off and in some cases less but for the most part it’s a super deal.

If they turned around and did the same thing as Food Basics and used pink to highlight “more for less” or “locked down” prices  your brain would automatically think, “amazing deal” and potentially you might spend more.

That’s they way I felt when I started to see all these red tags with lowered prices all around Food Basics. To be honest they were a bit distracting to me because it kept me thinking there were rock bottom deals all over the store and my eyes just kept staring at them.

I guess it’s a win-win for the store because they had my attention and focus that’s for sure. The price is essentially locked down meaning it’s the new regular price and not on sale. Is that how you would look at it?

If you are scouring the stores for deals and reduced or blow out products you know the types of mark down stickers and over time they catch your eye. You take note of the colors, the big giant X across a price or the rack with reduced products and make sure you check them out.

new lowered prices food basics 1

Don’t forget that in many shops you can ask for a rain check which we have also discussed here at The Grocery Game yet many people tend to forget about that perk which many stores offer.

Amazing weekly flyer deals at your local grocery store might mean that the shelves are empty if you don’t get to the sale on time. Not all grocery stores get enough stock in for a super sale and run out which means you are out of luck.

Food Basics also has another new policy and for many this is very important including us.

We all hate when a store runs out of product when a huge flyer sale happens and Food Basics is going to make sure that we are kept happy customers.

They have set out an in-stock policy which I will quote below for us.

We will try our hardest to ensure the items advertised in our weekly flyer are always in stock. Bit if one of them isn’t', we will give you a Raincheck + 10% off the advertised price for your next visit.

In most cases you might find the seasoned veterans who use coupons and source out deals and even newbies might end up price matching the sales at a store like No Frills, Freshco or even Wal-mart just to ensure they get the sale price, don’t have to go back for a second trip and so they don’t have to battle the masses of customers who want in on the grocery budget savings.

I’m a fairly frequent customer at Canadian Tire and we also love to go to Sears looking for deals. I know that if you find a lower price at each of these stores you can price match and they will beat it by 10% which is a great way to keep the customers happy.

I can honestly say that I think it’s great that Food Basics has promised us in-stock product, more great deals and locked down prices because in today’s economy not everyone can afford to shop at Sobey’s or Metro with the high prices that we all see.

The only reason they get me through the door is for the Air Miles program and the odd flyer specials that I know I can’t get cheaper anywhere else.

You’d be a fool to spend more money in your grocery budget than you had to IF you had the opportunity to shop at a store with the exact same product for less. I realize that not everyone has all the shops or might live in a small town with one grocery store but when options are available source out the best deals and save the cash if you can.

A bucket of feta at Metro is $17.99 and the exact same bucket at Food Basics is $13.99. I don’t know about you but I work hard for my money and that $4.00 could certainly be put to better use.

 

What do you think of the new Food Basics guarantee to the customers?

 

November Grocery Game Challenge Posts

 

If you missed any grocery game posts for the month I will post the line-up for the month each week here in this section for you.

 

Grocery saving tips

 

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

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.

I hope you take the time to get back on track and start the saving process in your grocery budget today.

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

NEW!! You can now download the Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel…… Grab it while you can… It’s FREE! We use it to budget.. check it out!

 

download symbol

 

Missed past Grocery Game posts? Catch up on all the latest grocery saving posts below!

 

Food food and more food

 

what_s-in-mrcbbs-shopping-cart

Food Basics

  • Chipits $6.88
  • Produce $1/49
  • Selection Tea $2.49
  • Havarti- $10.00
  • 2x Cantaloupe Sale $0.99 each
  • Premium Bananas $1.69
  • Sweet Potatoes $3.03
  • Bread Crumbs $1.49
  • Avocado $2.97
  • 2 x lean ground beef sale $3.76
  • Oranges $1.97
  • Apple Red Delicious $1.97
  • Bok Choy $3.10

Total out of pocket $46.58

Metro

  • Selection Tea Bags Sale $2.49
  • 2x Pineapples Sale $2.50
  • Clementines case $3.44

Total out of pocket $15.22

 

Yearly grocery budget for two: $2819.38

 

  • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00 or $78.33 week with one no-shop week per month or $58.75 for 4 weeks per month. (During the months with 5 weeks we just make it work)
  • Total Budget For November $235.00
  • Total Coupons Used this Week : $0
  • Total Discounts this Week: $0
  • Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points Used: $0
  • Stockpile Budget: $0 Used $0
  • Total Spent This Week: $61.80
  • Total Spent So Far for November $142.85
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $0
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month of (November): $0
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $92.15
  • Total Coupons Used This Month: $2.00
  • Total to Carry Over Next Month: $0
  • Total Spent To Date This Year: $206.95 (Jan)+ $160.77 (Feb) + (March)$169.62 + (April) $397.74+(May) $155.68 + (June) $216.01+ (July) $235.83 + (August) $182.35 + (September) $255.69 + (October) $196.64=  $2177.28 (does not include stockpile budget)
  • Rendezvous Account: $65.38+$17.24 =$82.62<> This is money saved if there is any leftover at the end of a month of grocery shopping for a date night for the wife and I.
  • Weekly Overview: We didn’t need much in the way of meat this week so we loaded up on fruits at Metro for a great price and some other odds and sods at Food Basics that was needed in the pantry. We went with some lean ground beef this time so we can mix it up and make some meatballs, lasagna or even a pot of taco soup. We normally use turkey mince but since this was a great deal we opted for beef since it’s been a long while. We are not opposed to certain proteins we just moderate how much we eat and try to get leaner cuts when possible.

 

Canadian Coupons Found

 

canadian-coupons-november-2013

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

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.

 

  • Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?

 

No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops only to win a monthly prize. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.

 

  • 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. You can post your shops all month-long.

 

  • Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?

 

Yes our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. 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 more. It’s just one way to help cut your budget to save money.

 

 

Here are your latest Coupon Match-ups of the week including Checkout 51 from 25 Newspaper Inserts around Canada compliments of Save Big Live Better that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge.

 

  • What is an FPC?

 

An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.

 

 

You can find all your store coupon policies here. If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.

 

 

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. Over time you will gradually learn where you should and shouldn’t go in the grocery store or at least how to say no, I’m on a budget I need to buy this or that.

You may also substitute items in order to stick to your budget to make it work. Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this t of our budget like many people do and this is why the grocery game challenge was created.

If you have just joined The Grocery Game Challenge get ready to dive deep into your grocery budget and learn just where you are spending, how much you are spending and what you are saving.

You’ve made a wise decision.

Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge Canada!

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Are You New To Canadian Budget Binder?

 

 

 

The Grocery Game Challenge Oct 7-13, 2013 #1: Grocery store activities for kids

junk-food-grocery-store-pics

Knowing When To Say No To Your Kids

 

I’m always on the hunt for my next grocery game challenge topic and while we were out this morning I walked by the grocery store stocker only to hear a child throwing a fit with his mother.

We don’t have any kids so the screaming is something I’m not used to in my daily life (although I wouldn’t complain).

The child who looked about 4 or 5 was in the chip and pop aisle (come on it’s your favourite aisle and you know it lol) throwing a wobbler because he wanted a bag of Ruffles chips and the mother flat-out said, “No you can’t have them put them back now Johnny” so he screamed louder.

Then he said, “can I have some cookies then?” and you know what she said?

Sure, just pick out the kind that you want. Well sure enough he grabbed a bag of the Halloween Oreo cookies and my blog post was born.

I don’t imagine shopping with a toddler is much fun if he/she is crying let alone a child that likes to use the “I want” after everything they see and desire.

Keeping the kids busy while grocery shopping must be a tough job but there must be ways to keep them occupied or maybe a way to enhance the life skills for kids by turning your grocery shop into a grocery shopping game for kids.

If you are grocery shopping on a budget like most people are the last thing you want is to give in to your kids every time they want something.

Giving up and giving in to your kids only drives the cost of your grocery shop up and for some it might pressure them to stretch the budget or even worse, run short.

In a perfect world we want to keep kids healthy and fit so we send them off to play sports and to hang out with their friends.Playing outside and keeping active is only one part of being healthy.

When bringing the kids grocery shopping what you could do is make the shopping environment for kids a place where they feel they are participating in the grocery shop.

There’s nothing worse than being forced to go somewhere or do something you don’t like to do so make it fun for them.

 

Creating a grocery game for kids

 

When you are going through your weekly flyers to make your grocery list for the week you could talk about a snack the kids can make and create a grocery list for the kids and have them cut out the photos from the flyers and glue them to the  list.

I guess it would be more of an activity to keep kids busy but it’s also a way for them to participate in the grocery shop while interacting with them and spending time with them.

I know some parents that are couponers include their children in coupon clipping so why not include them with another aspect, the budget and cooking.

You could easily talk about money and budgets with kids but it depends on their age as well.

That would be up to the parent to know if their child is ready for grocery budget 101.. baby steps.

According to my lovely friend Shannon at The Heavy Purse you should talk to your kids about money at different stages and ages in their lives but there is also phrases you should avoid when talking to kids about money such as, “we can’t afford it”.

Creating a grocery list for kids means that they can help you with the shop. While you are pushing them in the shopping cart or if they are walking about they can keep busy by looking for products on their grocery list.

 

Snacks kids can help make

 

One easy snack kids can make instead of buying cookies is a banana slathered in peanut butter, rolled in coconut and raisins and chocolate chips or a mixture of the items.

You could also create mixed dry fruit and nuts or talk about recipes because cooking with kids is such a rewarding experience and one that I just recently did with my best friends young daughter.

We made Dark Ally Chocolate Chip cookies homemade instead of buying them. You could also whip up a batch of sweet potato chips or even take a homemade olive bread or regular pita, chop into triangles and bake them for a healthy snack for kids.

A favorite of my nephew is cheese and crackers with fruit so you can keep it simple or create a recipe that might require participation.

Teaching kids that convenience foods are the only way to buy snacks is like saying that money doesn’t exist and everything is put on credit.

Maybe it’s a far-fetched idea but trying to shop for groceries on a budget and having your kids upset because they don’t get their way and then you give in means you are potentially wasting valuable time when you can be teaching kids about the value of money.

Instead of saying “no” to your kids teach them lessons that are rewarding because teamwork for kids is a skill that will carry through their life for many years to come if they know that they are an integral part of the process.

You might even find they want to help you bring the groceries in and put them away… kill two birds with one stone. :-)

Do you have any grocery type activities you play with your kids to keep them busy while grocery shopping so they don’t get upset because they want stuff? 

 

 

grocery-came-challenge-1-October-2013

 

Grocery saving tips

 

Free Money Saving Downloads is lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals. Get organized with a freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comison list and much more all for FREE.

NEW!! You can now download the Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel…… Grab it while you can… It’s FREE! We use it to budget.. check it out!

 

September Grocery Game Challenge Posts

Congratulations to BALLOT 4 for WINNING the September Grocery Game Challenge- Allyson T (please email me your address for your prize)

I will post the previous week’s grocery game here for ease of finding them each week if you need to go back and post your shops for the month.

 

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

 

 Food food and more food

Shopping-cart

Food Basics

  • 3 x Pineapple Sale $5.00
  • 7 x Cashews Sale $1.97
  • Apples Mcintosh $2.30
  • British Coconut Oil Sale $2.97
  • 2x White Mushrooms 1lb sale $1.97
  • Real Lemon Juice Sale $2.29
  • Ground Beef Lean $5.00-30%
  • Seedless cucumber Sale $0.98
  • Fresh Ginger- $0.79
  • Bananas $1.40
  • 4 x Black Diamond Cheese 500g Sale $3.88
  • 7 x Black forest ham Sale $3.00
  • Basmati Rice Bag 5kg Sale $6.99 rang up $9.99 scanning code of practice- Free

Total out of pocket $77.77

Shoppers Drug Mart

  • Milk $3.97
  • Sugar $1.99 x4- 1x Scanning code of practice $1.99 returned- Free

Total out of pocket $9.94

 

Yearly grocery budget for two: $2819.38

 

  • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00 or $78.33 week with one no-shop week per month or $58.75 for 4 weeks per month. (During the months with 5 weeks we just make it work)
  • Total Budget For October $235.00-$21.12 (overage September)= $213.88
  • Total Coupons Used this Week : $0
  • Total Discounts this Week: $0
  • Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points Used: $0
  • Stockpile Budget: $20.00 Used $20.00 (ham)
  • Total Spent This Week: $87.71- $20.00 stockpile $67.71
  • Total Spent So Far for October $67.71
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $0
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month of (October): $0
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $146.17
  • Total Coupons Used This Month: $0
  • Total to Carry Over Next Month: $0
  • Total Spent To Date This Year: $206.95 (Jan)+ $160.77 (Feb) + (March)$169.62 + (April)$397.74+(May) $155.68 + (June) $216.01+ (July) $235.83 (August) $182.35 + (September) $255.69 = $1980.64 (does not include stockpile budget)
  • Rendezvous Account: $65.38 This is money saved if there is any leftover at the end of a month of grocery shopping for a date night for the wife and I.
  • Weekly Overview: We loaded up on ham and cheese again this week while it was on sale. The cashews were a great price and perfect for cashew butter, Christmas baking and general eating as we love mixed nuts. We may have a tight month but we will be gone away for a week for Thanksgiving so we may just pull it off. Guess we will have to watch our shops to see what happens.

 grocery-game-challenge-1-October-2013

Canadian Coupons

 coupons ggc 1 oct

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

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.

 

  • Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?

 

No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops only to win a monthly prize. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.

 

  • 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. You can post your shops all month-long.

 

  • Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?

 

Yes our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. 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 more. It’s just one way to help cut your budget to save money.

 

 

Here are your latest Coupon Match-ups of the week including Checkout 51 from 25 Newspaper Inserts around Canada compliments of Save Big Live Better that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge.

 

  • What is an FPC?

 

An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.

 

 

You can find all your store coupon policies here. If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.

 

 

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. Over time you will gradually learn where you should and shouldn’t go in the grocery store or at least how to say no, I’m on a budget I need to buy this or that.

You may also substitute items in order to stick to your budget to make it work. Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this t of our budget like many people do and this is why the grocery game challenge was created.

If you have just joined The Grocery Game Challenge get ready to dive deep into your grocery budget and learn just where you are spending, how much you are spending and what you are saving. You’ve made a wise decision.

Money-quote

Are You New To Canadian Budget Binder?

The Grocery Game Challenge June 10-16,2013 #2: Grocery Store Self Checkouts

Grocery Game June 2013

Grocery store self checkouts are popping up in many food store chains around Canada in hopes of saving the company money and getting the consumer in and out of the store as efficiently as possible. Another one of those grocery store ideas gone mad and now many others are thinking it’s a smart way to save time and money.

I can see it now, the new grocery store name of the future, “Self Scan and Save“, but are we really that far ahead of the rest? It’s not only grocery stores needing “fewer employees” to run cash registers it’s also big box stores such as Home Depot and Wal-mart to name a couple. Pretty soon you might not be asking, “what grocery stores have self checkouts” as they might all have them down the road as their popularity increases.

Survey Says

Although a couple of years old, a survey conducted in 2011 by Empathica Inc. who specializes in customer experience management solutions across Canada and the USA. The survey of 16000 consumers asking about expectations being met at the grocery store turned up that many shoppers love self checkouts. The information below was shared at the progressive grocer website where you can read more about the survey.

When evaluating grocery technologies, 65 percent of U.S. consumers considered self checkouts important, compared to only 54 percent of Canadian consumers. In fact, more than half of Canadians said self checkouts were “not applicable” in their grocery experience, indicating that not all Canadian grocers have this option available in stores.

It’s obvious but no surprise that technology is very important to consumers and they want to shop at grocery stores that offer these perks to consumers. I think that self scanners are more visible in Canadian stores now rather than back in 2011 although I don’t know how the survey results would differ today.

What grocery shopping experiences do you value?

Self Checkout UK

Also known as self-serve checkout or self-service checkouts these services have been around for at least 8 years in the UK grocery store chains. I remember my wife being enthused when we went to Tesco’s for groceries and I used the self scanner as she had never seen them before. No different that the credit card with the chip another thing that was new to her because it simply was not yet available in Canada. I find we are behind with the times in Canada with everything from food to fashion and much more, but hey, I’m biased.

I’ve used the grocery store checkout for many years as it was a quicker way to get my grocery shopping done but things have changed over the years. In its infancy it was simple and although they had a computer where  someone would watch over the checkouts rarely did I ever see someone standing there like we do today.

Self checkout software has also improved significantly since I started to use the grocery store checkouts. I remember most shops back home you would use the touch screen to touch what the product was so for example, apples and a screen with all the apples and price per pound would pop up and you just touch which product you had. The simplicity of this system led to self checkout theft. What would happen is people would buy the most expensive apples yet say they bought the cheapest apples.

Today we find one cashier will stand at a desk and watch a computer screen so he/she knows exactly what the customers are scanning in. You now have to manually type in codes found on fruits and vegetables which is different but I presume deters people from trying to get products for less money. They also have cameras that look over the self scanners in many store to make sure customers aren’t cheating the system.

Pros and Cons of  Self Checkouts

One pro that I see consistently is the amount of space you have when checking out in ‘some’ not all Canadian stores. It’s great for those with disabilities, in a scooter or wheel chair that want to have that independence and space when checking out their groceries. You can take your time but as far as I’m concerned when it’s your time, it’s your time.

If you have kids with you while grocery shopping it’s also nicer to have the room for a baby stroller and for kids to move around. You also don’t have to worry, (yet) in most stores about chocolate bars, pop, chips, magazines in your face to entice you or the kiddies to ‘last-minute’ purchase while at the checkout sending your grocery budget out of whack.

Packing your groceries is made easier for some who want to pack them on their own like I do. I may be a bit more critical about what I pack with what products as I don’t want to have damaged products by the time I get home. When we shop at stores that don’t have self checkout I pack my own groceries in boxes or bags if that convenience is not already built into the price of the products with an employee dedicated to bagging orders like some stores still have. Another plus on the self checkout for those that struggle with packing their own groceries but it may cost them paying a premium for higher priced products.

We are seeing more stores with self checkouts because that means they can have less employees while getting more bang for their buck with new technology. Sounds great, but does it really save you, the consumer time. I’ve found it does and it doesn’t depending on what you are purchasing. I believe there are pros and cons to everything in life and self checkout are no exception. I’m sure on a personal level we can all come up with our own reasons why we like or dislike self checkouts simply from personal experience.

Coupons and Price Matching

We also find that when we have to rely on the cashier to come and manually put in our discounts from reduced items it takes longer and not worth our time to use a self checkout. If you plan to use coupons and price matching at a self checkout be prepared for an even longer wait depending on what time of day you shop. The good part is you don’t have to worry so much about the person having a fit behind you in the grocery lane for using coupons, although I rarely worry, because it’s MY TIME.

Some self checkouts allow us to put our coupons in and others the cashier still has to do it so there’s no real control over what gets entered. One pro about the self checkout is the cashier normally can manually override coupon usage but at a cash if your cashier doesn’t have that ability they have to call over a supervisor hen the total goes over a certain amount. At Zehrs it’s $10 where we shop and at Wal-Mart it’s a $50 coupon usage limit and once you hit that limit the cashier needs an override. More time wasted.

Either way you can still watch your order whether at a self checkout or while using the full-service cashier. From our experience most times we will go to a regular cashier. We would rather go to a cashier that can ring us through and give us his/her undivided attention especially if we have to have our coupons and price matches looked over either way.

There’s nothing worse than having to wait in a grocery store. Everyone just stands around and people watches, looks at the time, taps their feet, stares you down, looks in your cart and some make friends and score a date with a single shopper. It’s no wonder some people hate to grocery shop unless your single of course and want to find that foodie lover in a grocery store.

Compensation Claims

There may be less injury opportunity for a cashier working at self checkout. At self checkouts keep in mind you only have 1 cashier tending to upwards of 8 or more anxious consumers  at any given time. It’s not any less hazardous but the repetitive nature may be eliminated. Most self checkout cashiers may just look over the process and assist unlike a regular cashier whose work is repetitive and not an easy job by any stretch of the imagination.

Any time someone has to repeat the same actions over and over there is potential for injury. Workplace accidents happen every single day but with proper safety training and standards from both the employer and the employee this doesn’t have to happen. Certainly a huge plus for the store because compensation ratings can go through the roof the more claims they have especially if  it’s a “lost time injury”. Think, Safety First.

Using A Self-Checkout Checkout

If we have a regular shop, meaning no discounted or pink sticker items it’s not so bad getting through the self checkout. If we run into a problem when we scan items we have to wait until it’s our turn to get assistance from the on duty cashier. This can take quite a long time if there are lots of self scanners that are having problems.

How many of you that used a self scanner for the first time knew what you were doing? Learning to use a self scanner seems basic but some people really do struggle with them which backs up traffic.

The Future Of Checkouts

I don’t think cashiers will be obsolete but they will be far less needed as the years go on and self checkouts take over. We will always have those people who enjoy the chat with their favourite cashier every week, who enjoy getting their products bagged or simply getting more bang for their buck at shops like No Frills, Food Basics and Freshco that don’t have self checkouts but reasonably lower prices on most of their products.

Any good consumer knows you will potentially pay higher prices for all the “conveniences” of  the shops that include grocery store self checkouts and grocery baggers but for some, these conveniences are worth every penny.

June Grocery Game Recap

This is the start of the June Grocery Game Challenge which means we are almost half way through the year. In July I plan to do a 6 month grocery budget recap to see just where we stand with our budget and if we need to make any improvements.

If you missed grocery game posts for this month just click on the links below and post your shops in the comment section. Each week I will add the previous weeks Grocery Game Post here.

Grocery Saving Tips

Free Money Saving Downloads just for YOU!!! Get organized with a freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more!!! Click, Save and Print.. It’s that easy~ Also look back on previous grocery game posts for loads of grocery shopping tips and information.

What’s In MrCBB's Shopping Cart

No Frills

  • 5 x Armstrong Cheese 500g Sale $3.66-$1.00 coupons
  • 1 x Neilson Milk $3.97
  • 1 x Pomegranate $0.79
  • 3 bunches of Asparagus Sale $1.97lb $6.86

Total Out Of Pocket $24.88

Zehrs

  • 2 loaves of RYE bread $2.99 each-50% Pink Sticker
  • Neilson 2% Milk $3.99
  • 4 x Redpath Sugar Sale $1.77
  • Cherries Sale $1.97lb $4.75
  • Green Onions Sale 4/$1.00

Total Out Of Pocket $ 19.80

Yearly Grocery Budget For 2 : $2819.38
  • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00 or $78.33 week with one no-shop week per month or $58.75 for 4 weeks per month. (During the months with 5 weeks we just make it work)
  • Total Budget For June: $235.00- $72.24= $162.76 ($83.42-$11.18=$72.24 will be carried over to June)
  • Total Coupons Used this Week : $5.00
  • Total Discounts this Week: $2.99
  • Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points Used: $0
  • Stockpile Budget: $20.00 Used: $0
  • Total Spent This Week:$44.68
  • Total Spent So Far for (June): $23.89+$44.68 ($68.57)
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $ N/A
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month of  (June): $N/A
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $162.76-68.57= $94.19
  • Total Coupons Used This Month :$5.00
  • Total to Carry Over Next Month : N/A
  • Total Spent To Date This Year: $206.95 (Jan)+ $160.77 (Feb) + (March)$169.62 + (April)$397.74+(May) $155.68=$1090.76
  • Rendezvous Account: $65.38 (this will be used for a date night or a summer holiday)

Weekly Overview: We ended up going back to Zehrs last week to pick up more plants from the garden centre and realized we forgot to buy sugar that was on sale. So we went in for “sugar” and came out with cherries, onions and milk… at least it wasn’t too much. It’s so hard but we’re getting better at it. We skipped all the middle aisles and find we are doing that more and more unless we need to go down them.

Canadian Coupons Found In June 

I thought I would try something a bit different for all of you. I had one fan ask if I could type out the details of the coupons that we find. I thought I would give it a try, that way if you want to trade coupons you have the UPC and expiry date of the coupons as well. I also added in where we found the coupons although you may find them in a multitude of grocery stores.

Canadian Coupons Photos June 2013

  • Vidal Sassoon Save $2.00 when you buy (wub) any Vidal Sassoon Shampoo or Conditioner UPC 66014052 Exp Sept 30,2013 (mail-out)
  • Save $3.00 wub any box of Vidal Sassoon Hair Color UPC 66014065 Exp Sept 30,2013- (mail-out)
  • Save $.200 wub any Vidal Sassoon Styling Product UPC 66014052 Exp Sept 30,2013 (mail-out)
  • Save $1.00 on any 2% Liberte Greek Yogurt UPC 1440099 Exp Sept 30,2013 (Zehrs)
  • Save $0.50 on any Oasis Smoothie 1.75L UPC 2250936 Expiry Dec 31,2013 (Metro, Food Basics)
  • Save $0.50 on any Oasis Health Break 1.75 L UPC 2250935 Exp Dec 31,2013 (Metro, Food Basics)
  • Save $0.75 on any 500ml or 1L Lactancia Cream UPC 13611877 Exp Sept 31,2013  (Metro)
  • Save $0.75 off Liberte baby  Yogurt 4 x 75g format UPC 1440096 Exp July 30,2013 (Zehrs)
  • Save $1.00 on Gay Lea Spreadables with Canola Oil UPC 02707932 Expiry Nov 30,2013 (Zehrs)
  • Save $3.00 on the purchase of any 3 Oikos Products UPC 29506923 Expiry July 31,2013
  • Save $0.75 on any one pkg of Keebler Waffle bowls or Waffle Cones UPC 84400157 No Expiry (NED) (Food Basics)
  • Save $0.50 on Christie Potato Thins 115g size any UPC 15043157 Expiry Dec 31,2013 (Zehrs)
  • Save $1.00 off any Skinny Cow Treat 76g-112g) UPC 10036785 Expiry Dec 31,2013 (Zehrs)
  • Save $2.00 off any KY, OB , Carefree, Stayfree, Tucks products Expiry June 30, 2014 (Call-In)

If you want to call SC Johnson they allow you in some areas to call in once per month to order max 2 coupons that are not available on their website. We call the SC Johnson Consumer Care Centre at 1-866-565-229 and kindly ask if we can order coupons.

Canadian Coupons Photos June 2013

Canadian Coupons Photos June 2013

Frequently Asked Questions

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. 

  1. Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop? No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops only to win a monthly prize. We have a few players from around the world.
  2. 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. You can post your shops all month-long.
  3. Does Your Grocery Budget Include Health and Beauty and Laundry? Yes our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be effected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any more. It’s just one way to help cut your budget to save money.
  4. Where can I find Canadian CouponsHere are your latest Coupon Match-ups  of the week including Checkout 51 from 25 Newspaper Inserts around Canada compliments of Save Big Live Better that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge.
  5. How Do I Know what stores accept coupons? You can find all your store coupon policies here. If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
  6. 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.

Over time you will gradually learn where you should and shouldn’t go in the grocery store or at least how to say no, I’m on a budget I don’t need to buy this or that. You may also substitute items in order to stick to your budget to make it work. If you have just joined The Grocery Game Challenge get ready to dive deep into your grocery budget and learn just where you are spending, how much you are spending and what you are saving. You’ve made a wise decision.

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The Grocery Game Challenge May 27-June 2, 2013 #4:Shopping Hungry

The Grocery Game Challenge #4 May

Grocery shopping problem number 1, shopping hungry which should be a big no-no for everyone, and I’ll tell you why. This weeks Grocery Game Challenge (GGC)#4 shop was only supposed to be $11.18 or less. We would have accomplished our grocery budget for May but we needed some fresh produce. We did manage to get some really cheap food, but we went over budget again.

Grocery Shop Planning

It’s been such a busy week for us with our dog being ill there wasn’t much meal planning going on so a half arsed grocery list was made last-minute using the flyers and coupon match-ups. I was hoping we could pull off the month of May under budget as we had already carried over from April. I thought with some cheap food shopping and using up what we had that we would make it but we didn’t. It’s a no-win this month but it’s not as bad as you think. I still think we did well.

Trying to buy cheap food on a budget such as fresh foods and vegetables is not that difficult this time of year which makes it easy to do healthy food shopping even when it’s not planned. You will see we managed to get lots of fruits and vegetables this shop as well as a couple of dozen eggs.

We’ve worked so hard to get caught up this week, I’m still not sure I’m going to make it. I’ve already lost a few pounds as I’ve had to tighten a couple of notches in my belt this month. I’m pretty back to my weight when I smoked although I didn’t have much to lose so I won’t moan about it.  We’ve been working on eating less like I mentioned in last weeks GGC post and it’s been working well for the both of us.

My Grocery Shopping Problem

My problem is shopping on an empty stomach because my eyes take over and I want to eat everything in sight. Since we didn’t have a full grocery list we ended up buying too much food and now we have more than we bargained for. I will say that Zehrs is by far one of the best grocery stores to shop at when you are hungry. It’s clean, organized and offers us way too many foods and smells that entice us to buy more. I did have a box of Chapman’s ice-cream sandwiches in the grocery cart but I ended up putting it back once I found the cheap Liberte yogurt with %50 off tickets.

Pink sticker shopping is budget grocery shopping at it’s best and even when you shop hungry you know that going over budget is the easiest way to blow the budget. We didn’t do too bad today but I wanted to get strawberries to make some strawberry muffins loaded with a cream cheese and cool-whip (my neighbour gave to us as they cleaned out their freezer and didn’t want it) so I could enjoy one with my tea and bring a couple to our neighbours. (speaking of which I think I might go have a bowl with fresh fruit now)

Shopping hungry at lunch time was probably not the best time to go grocery shopping as my stomach was rumbling. You will see I picked up some great deals on chicken thighs and chicken mince which I didn’t think were too bad of a price. I found lots of food for cheap but it’s a good thing the wife told me enough we better get home as she knew I was hungry.

I’ve just not had good eating practices this week as I should have been so I’m paying the price and I’m not myself this week. I’m trying to get back on track now because shopping hungry is the worst thing I can do especially if saving money on food is your goal. I know this but I did it anyway so shame on me.

Tips For Saving Money At The Grocery Store

My plan to solve shopping hungry is to do the common sense thing and eat something. I’d rather spend a couple of dollars to buy a sandwich and a fruit if I’m on the road and have no snacks with me than to go grocery shopping with a stomach that is rumbling and eyes bigger than head.

If I do go shopping again without eating I’m going to focus on sticking to the plan while keeping healthy food shopping on the brain. I will avoid all snack aisles which we already do but just continue to ignore them like they are not there. Lastly, I think if we reiterate to ourselves in our head why we are purchasing something and why we may or may not need it that will help us come to a proper decision.

Saving money on food shopping always brings with it challenges and this is why the grocery game is so important for us. Without coming back home to go over our shops and our purchases we don’t learn from our mistakes, we just brush them off as if they don’t matter at all.

Question: Do you shop hungry and what tips do you have for others? What is the craziest foods you’ve bought when shopping hungry?

Grocery Game Weeks for May

If you missed grocery game posts for this month just click on the links below and post your shops in the comment section. Today’s post is the last grocery game post for May. Next Monday June 3, 2013 will be the first GGC for June and I will announce the May winner in that post. Good Luck!

Grocery Saving Tips

Free Money Saving Downloads just for YOU!!! Get organized with a freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more!!! Click, Save and Print.. It’s that easy~

What’s In MrCBB's Shopping Cart

Food Basics

  • 1x 1kg Krinos Feta Sale $13.49
  • 3x Packs of Prime boneless skinless chicken thighs $10.00-4.00 each
  • 1x Excel gum $2.99

Total Out Of Pocket $34.87

Food Basics #2 Shop

  • Sweet Potatoes -$2.50
  • 1x Lebanese Whole Wheat Pita $0.99
  • 1x Whole Wheat Pita $1.00
  • Ground Beef $4.57-$1.37 discount
  • 2x Strawberries $1.88 each
  • 1x bag of bean sprouts $1.00
  • Spring Lettuce tub $3.99-$2.00
  • Onion Powder $0.99
  • Romaine Hearts 3pk Sale $1.50

Total Out Of Pocket $20.54

Zehrs

  • 3x Liberte Yogurt- Sale $3.49- %50 pink sticker
  • 6 x Bylos Pita $1.29-%50 pink sticker
  • 4x lean ground chicken sale $3.19,$3.14,$3.19,$3.29- 2x $1.00 coupons
  • 2x English Cucumber $1.50 each

Total Out Of Pocket $22.04

Shoppers Drug Mart

  • 2x eggs Sale $1.99- Buy 2 Save $1.00
  • 4x Colgate Total $1.99-$1.50

Total Out Of Pocket $5.97

The Grocery Game Challenge #4 May 28,2013

Yearly Grocery Budget For 2 : $2819.38
  • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00 or $78.33 week with one no-shop week per month or $58.75 for 4 weeks per month. (During the months with 5 weeks we just make it work)
  • Total Budget For May: $72.26
  • Total Coupons Used this Week : $0
  • Total Discounts this Week: $0
  • Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points Used: $0
  • Stockpile Budget: $20.00 Used: $0
  • Total Spent This Week:$83.42
  • Total Spent So Far for (May): $155.68
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $ N/A
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month of  (May): $N/A
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $Over by $83.42
  • Total Coupons Used This Month :$6.00+$0+$0+$9.00=$15.00 (month of May)
  • Total to Carry Over Next Month : ($83.42-$11.18=$72.24 will be carried over to June)
  • Total Spent To Date This Year: $206.95 (Jan)+ $160.77 (Feb) + (March)$169.62 + (April)$397.74+(May) $155.68=$1090.76
  • Rendezvous Account: $65.38 (this will be used for a date night or a summer holiday)

Weekly Overview: Well, we tried but we went shopping hungry today and that was a big no-no! We will work on using our own tips for our next shops. 

Canadian Coupons Found This Week

Coupons Found This Week Canada May 28, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions

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. 

  1. Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop? No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops only to win a monthly prize. We have a few players from around the world.
  2. 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. You can post your shops all month-long.
  3. Does Your Grocery Budget Include Health and Beauty and Laundry? Yes our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be effected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any more. It’s just one way to help cut your budget to save money.
  4. Where can I find Canadian CouponsHere are your latest Coupon Match-ups  of the week including Checkout 51 from 25 Newspaper Inserts around Canada compliments of Save Big Live Better that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge.
  5. How Do I Know what stores accept coupons? You can find all your store coupon policies here. If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
  6. 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. Over time you will gradually learn where you should and shouldn’t go in the grocery store or at least how to say no, I’m on a budget I don’t need to buy this or that. You may also substitute items in order to stick to your budget to make it work.

Money_quote

  • Are you NEW to Canadian Budget Binder?
  • Follow Me on Social Media:  Twitter, Facebook , Pinterest , StumbleUpon, Reddit and Google+
  • Plus! Don’t forget to Subscribe to the blog so you get my daily email!!
  • If you need to get in touch with me the best way is on Facebook!

I Can Buy It, But Can I Afford It

Can I Afford it

Author: Katrina

I can buy it, but can I afford it. Sounds pretty simple right?  It is!

This last year has been a very educational year for me in terms of finances and managing my money. Every day I am improving and I am further along than I ever thought I could be. I’m actually really enjoying learning everything there is to know about personal finance especially when it comes to my bad habits.

Since starting my landscaping business which is a passion of mine, earning extra money has been an eye opener for me. I have also been able to engage in a few money conversations and actually feel comfortable having an idea of what I am talking about. One of those conversations happened just this past weekend.

What Can You Afford?

I have always enjoyed talking with my one Uncle and this time we talked about money! I loved it! Even more I loved what he shared with me. He mentioned that when he talks finances with people he always brings up the phrase…. ‘I can buy it, but can I afford it’?  These were just the words I needed to hear. Simple and easy to say to myself, which I will…over and over again.

 I’ve got money in my pocket, sure I can afford it.

Let’s look at a scenario together shall we? So, I walk into a grocery store to buy a bag of milk and I have a $5.00 bill in my pocket and the cost of the milk is $3.99. On my way into the store I see a display of my favourite chocolate bars, I love Mars bars! They are on sale for $1.00. Wow, what a great price I think to myself. I have $5.00 in my pocket, I can buy one! We all know chocolate is a taxable purchase which will bring the total to $1.13.

So after I buy the chocolate bar I am left with $3.87. What did I actually come in here for I ask myself? Oh yes a bag of milk….oops the bag of milk costs $3.99 and now I only have $3.87. So moral of the story here is yes because I had $5.00 in my pocket I could buy the chocolate bar but could I afford it? No!

Now I am leaving the store without what I originally went in for, the milk. I cannot afford the milk now because of an impulse purchase that I really didn’t need. This is just an example to explain the idea behind what my Uncle had to say.

Adjusting The Budget

An extreme example of this might be, say you have $30,000 in your bank account, does that mean you can afford to go down to the dealership and pay cash for a new car? What in your budget have you sacrificed to buy that car? How much are you going to have to adjust your budget for buying something that you really couldn’t afford?

Going in and out of multiple stores for my job challenges my ability to say no to impulse purchases. I usually take advantage of this opportunity to do my grocery shopping kid-free. Those with kids will agree that grocery shopping can easily get more expensive when bringing the kids in the store.

But….being I am in the stores so often it can be easy to walk past a really great sale and convince myself that I need that product when really I could have done without. If you pick up an item and you look at it and tell yourself, ‘I can’t buy it’, likely you shouldn’t be. Listen to yourself more often and you might just save a bundle.

Having the money in my wallet or my bank account allowed me to be able to buy it but it wasn’t in my grocery budget. I do now. Now it has to come out of somewhere else in my budget, so really I couldn’t afford to buy it. This phrase will continually pop into my head every time I am in stores now.

I am preparing to join the Grocery Game Challenge on June 1st , I promise I’m in! Saying this over and over to myself is going to help me stick to my weekly/monthly grocery budget. It is now. I am also starting to enforce ‘no-shopping days’ when I go to work to help me from spending money I don’t need to spend.

Multi-Buy Purchase

After working outside all day yesterday in the garden I had a handful of stuff going into the house. I set my sunglasses on the step in the garage so I could open the door.

I forgot about them until this morning when I stepped into the garage to throw out some garbage and stepped on them, breaking them to pieces instantly. Smart that was, now it’s going to cost me money to replace them.

I do not leave my house without sunglasses, even on a dull day. I find myself wearing them as I seem to get more headaches if I don’t have them on. After I finished work today I stopped in at Ardene’s to buy a new pair of sunglasses.

I usually buy my sunglasses there because they always have a deal, usually either 2 or 3 pairs for $15. Today’s deal was 2/$15. I picked out one pair then continued to look for another.

Ask Yourself This…….

Then I stopped and thought to myself….I was not planning on having to buy one pair of sunglasses, let alone two. If bought individually each pair cost $8.50. In the past I wouldn’t have even thought twice and grabbed two pairs, but in this case being an unexpected purchase saving myself $2.00 by buying two pairs wasn’t worth spending another $6.50.

I reminded myself that yes I could buy two pairs but really I couldn’t afford two. Buying one pair was already something I would have to take money from somewhere else in my budget. I could justify one pair as I need them, but not a second pair.

Every time that I see a multi-buy discount now I will stop and think it out again. Do I really need to buy the second one and is the deal really something that I can afford? If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

What I can afford is patience….

I do occasionally shop for clothes and fun things for myself and the kids, although the majority of my impulse spending is on groceries. I am not the person who has to have every new gadget on the market.

I’m also not someone who will spend $100 on a pair of jeans. I also can’t afford to. When I do buy something for myself I don’t like to feel uneasy about how much I’ve spent. I’ve learned to have a good amount of patience for the things I need to purchase but haven’t saved the money up for yet.

I Love My Job

Working in a retail environment for a few years, I have learned lots about how companies strive to achieve top sales. I work on behalf of multiple companies as an in-store marketing representative. Part of my job includes working with the store to maximize sales and secure optimal placement of their products and advertising materials and displays in-store.

My job is to market products to maximize sales and I understand the reasoning behind why manufacturers want their product seen. I also know that as a consumer I have the right to make informed decisions whether the product is in my face or hiding on a shelf. Alternatively I might decide to buy something the day the product is released, or wait a few weeks/months until the price drops significantly.

It’s a pretty simple concept even though many find difficulty with it like I have in the past. Having it said to me and being a catchy, simple phrase really stuck in my head, and it just makes sense to me. I’m working so hard sticking to my budget so why do I want to throw my budget out the window just to buy something I really can’t afford?

How do you avoid buying things you can’t afford?

Post Contribution By: 

Katrina is regular contributor for Canadian Budget Binder and is as passionate about personal finance as she is gardening. Katrina is a horticulture graduate with over 10 years experience with landscaping and greenhouse production.

Her goal is to share her knowledge and experiences blogging about gardening and her continued passion for personal finance in hopes of motivating others. While being a single mom of two and an in-store marketing representative  for major retail shops she also runs her own Landscaping Services in Southwestern Ontario.

Money_quote

  • Are you NEW to Canadian Budget Binder?
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  • If you need to get in touch with me the best way is on Facebook!

Photo: David Castillo Dminici/Freedigitalphotos. net