The Ultimate Canadian Grocery Savings Guide

The Grocery Game Challenge Oct 22-28,2012-Welfare Food Challenge Final Thoughts

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This is the last week to post your shop for The Grocery Game Challenge in October. You can post your October shops all the way back to the beginning of the month if you have your totals. I will post the WINNER next Tuesday when I post the first week of The Grocery Game Challenge for November.

As you might have heard this past week I participated in The Welfare Food Challenge run out of British Columbia although I’m in Ontario. Last weeks Grocery Game challenge I showed you my grocery list and what products I was able to purchase with the $26 I was told that I had to use for a weeks worth of food. The food for the first two days of the challenge wasn’t so bad and as I went along new ideas kept popping into my head. I promised I would do a final follow-up about how the week went and today is the day! Yesterday was the 7th and final day of the challenge and I want to share with you what Mrs. CBB and I have learned.

We learned that $26 was a struggle to purchase groceries with an empty pantry. We argued alot doing this shop and we weren’t happy with the frustrations it caused. We weren’t arguing in a bad way but we were trying to work as a team but it was near impossible at times with other shoppers trying to go around us. If we were given the full amount or even double the original $26 at $52 it would have been much easier to pick up items in bigger bags for less. It also would have opened up the opportunity to purchase more flavours, fruits and other items so I could have had a bit more variety. I certainly don’t think the $109 a month is enough for 2 people but I don’t think it is impossible for 1 you just won’t have luxury. You won’t be able to eat much meat in this budget but over time you can slowly stock items. Mrs.CBB helped eat 3 bowls of my tomato minestrone and half the portion of the beet risotto. I tried to stop her.. it didn’t work but that’s ok there was more than enough. I made the black bean Basa burgers again for a second time with only 5 burgers and she ate 2 of those as well leaving me 3 which I split into 3 different meals.

I must say that I am very happy I purchased the salt and pepper along with the lemon, lime, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Those ingredients are what saved me from flavour boredom. Without flavour nothing tastes right especially if you are used to having flavour. Life doesn’t have to be that way though and everyone should have a pantry with the essentials to cook a healthy homemade meal. Even at the dollar store it was full of spices and flavours so over time I could stock a pantry but it would take planning and time.  If someone is using the money to purchase convenience type foods it won’t go far at all. If the person has no stove and just a microwave it won’t go far.

You have to keep in mind though that everyone’s dietary needs are different. You may also have someone that has no cooking skills whatsoever and that could be challenging  for them in the kitchen. How much your grocery budget needs to be depends on your needs. I didn’t starve this week but I did get hungry between meals as I didn’t know how much I could portion for the products I had to make it last. The first week would be the hardest in my opinion.If you are used to eating huge portions of food which I am not you may have struggled. I’m used to small portions of food as I space my meals throughout the day or only eat when I’m hungry. Some days I might only have 2 or 3 small meals. I don’t normally eat snacks  unless it’s a splurge day on the weekend so I didn’t miss that but I did miss having a bowl of fruit. I also missed oatmeal which I should have purchased in place of the Bran Flakes cereal. Like others mentioned to me this would have filled me up in the morning.

Lastly I missed my coffee in the morning although I did drink quite a bit of water and my tea. Yes I’m addicted to coffee and I admit it but all I know is I’m thankful I bought the tea but now I can add some sugar or honey to flavour my tea as it’s horrible with just milk.

I didn’t exercise like I normally do or I would have been even hungrier so we just did our normal walks every day with the odd run.

What I took away from this challenge was that I don’t really think about how much food I waste and take for granted. For instance I skinned, boiled and squeezed the life out of that lime and lemon something I would just toss in the bin normally. There was an awareness in the CBB kitchen and at the grocery store that we never felt before. It was hard to look at all the products and not being able to purchase them. Now we will make sure that we use up everything we have. It also challenged me to think outside the box and create food out of what I had like mayonnaise for example which I used for my egg sandwiches and topping for my burgers.

In closing, this challenge will stay with us for a long time mostly myself but Mrs.CBB who came along for the visual experience took it all in and knows this wasn’t an easy task. Thanks to raise the rates we now have a very small understanding of what life may be like in the kitchen of someone receiving welfare benefits in B.C and in Ontario.

The Food that I made and ate all week with my $26 included

  • Tea with milk

  • Egg Sandwich with lettuce

  • Egg and Carrot Sandwich with lettuce and homemade mayonnaise

  • Black Bean Basa Fish Burgers with homemade mayonnaise on garlic rice
  • Garlic Fried Rice with onion,extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper

  • Garlic Fried Rice and Black Beans
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Fried Egg Sandwich with salt and pepper

  • Bran Flakes Cereal with Milk

  • Carrot and Beet Salad

  • Lettuce Salad with lemon, garlic, salt ,pepper and extra virgin olive oil (sometimes I added carrot and onion)

  • Dry Toast

  • Beet Risotto inspired by Aunt B’s Beet Risotto Recipe although I didn’t have all the ingredients I compromised so I will post my version on the blog shortly.

  • Chicken Vegetable Rice Soup

  • Pot of Vegetable Stock with all the vegetable and garlic bits I saved.

  • Mayonnaise

What I have left of my $26 Grocery Spend 

  • 1/2 bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 bulb of garlic
  • 1/2 bag of rice
  • 1 bag of milk
  • Almost all the salt
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 loaf of bread
  • 3/4 of a bag of beets
  • 3 pieces of Basa fish
  • 20 tea bags ( I used my bags twice if  I didn’t break them)

Weekly Grocery Game Challenge Results for Mr. and Mrs. CBB

Total Grocery Budget for the Month for 2 Adults:$190.00 at $63.33 for 3 weeks of shopping with 1 No-Shop Week per month.
No Frills $23.35

  • 1x green garbage bags $3.19
  • 10 x Loneys  Pasta Sauce $3.49 reduced $0.25 pink sticker 50% off $1.20 for all exp 2014 (will donate these to the food bank)
  • 2 x old cheddar sale $3.88
  • 1x pineapple $1.00
  • 4x limes $1.00
  • 1x bean sprouts $0.88
  • 1x 10lb potatoes $1.88
  • 2x ground extra lean beef -30% = $2.99 each

Food Basics $18.97

  • 2x broccoli Sale $0.88
  • Royal Apples $1.01
  • Ham $4.00
  • Fresh ginger $0.57
  • Astro Yogurt $1.67
  • Villagio Bread Sale $1.99-$1.50
  • Baking Powder $2.49
  • Total Grocery Budget for the Week: $63.33
  • Total Coupons Used this Week : $1.50
  • Total Scanning Code of Practice: $0
  • Total Spent This Week:$18.97=$23.35=$42.32
  • Total Spent So Far for October: $25.35+$0+$26+$42.32=$93.67
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $21.01
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month of October: $96.33
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $96.33
  • Total Coupons Used This Month : $4.00+$0+$6.00+$1.50=$11.50

Overall: Even though we spent less than our $190 a month the extra money will go towards overspends during the year that we didn’t account for month to month.

If you missed posting your shop last couple of weeks you can post it now.

What did you spend this week in your Grocery Budget? Post your shop to WIN!!

What are your reasons for joining the Grocery Game Challenge?

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 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 posters from around 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 so if you miss a week you can go back and post so you still get your entry in the monthly contest.

  • 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 are currently well stocked with those products since we used coupons heavily the past couple of years. We haven’t really stocked up on much but we have taken every opportunity to purchase more paper towel, toilet paper, fabric softener and a host of other items that are an excellent price with coupon.
Canadian Coupon Match-Ups- Match your coupons with flyer sales!

Here are your Coupon Match-ups for the week October 12-18,2012  from around Canada compliments of Save Big Live Better. Just one of my favourite Couponing sites for finding the hottest grocery deals in Canada! Check it out!

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  1. Even though this Challenge was a year ago, I still enjoyed reading it. The items you purchased were pretty good. My husband and I generally on spend this amount per person anyways. The challenge is starting from an empty pantry. After the first month, it would be easy. I loved your ‘make do’ approach with salad dressing. We ‘make do’ a lot, and sometimes the results are better than the original recipe. We camp/ travel a lot, for extended periods of time (7 months) so keeping pantry items to a minimum is important to us.
    I don’t think increasing the welfare budget will alleviate most people’s woes. I think being required to take ‘home economics’ to all new recipients, might be the most useful tool available to them. Maybe a refresher every year after. Of course, the lessons would need to be taught by ‘frugals’.

    1. Hi Kathryn,
      Thank you so much for commenting on this post. The Welfare Food Challenge certainly opened my eyes to the challenges out there but I also agree that more money might not solve the problem. Money management, and other life skills may make huge improvements in the lives of people who live on less. Eating food doesn’t have to cost a fortune as long as staying away from boxed and processed foods is part of the plan. The pantry, well that is very important and starting from scratch in this challenge really did put my thought process to the test. I believe they ran the challenge again this year however I did not participate. Cheers mate and hope to see you around often. Mr. CBB

  2. Really late in posting this but better late than never.

    My grocery budget for the week is $92.31 for 2 adults and 1 child and includes all food, household items, personal hygiene items etc.

    Fruite drink – sale 6 x $1.17
    Potatoes – $1.97
    Tangerines – $4.97
    Catelli pasta – sale $1.27 – $1c
    Crest toothpaste – sale 2x$1.00 (this will be donated)
    Lindt chocolate bar – $3.48 – FPC
    Parmigiano-Reggiano – $5.97
    Blueberry Muffins – $2.00

    •Total Coupons Used: $4.48
    •Total Out Of Pocket: $25.83

    Food Basics
    Tomato – $.52
    Pineapple – sale $1.00
    Alcan Foil – sale $1.99
    Salsa – sale $1.99
    Habitant soup – sale 3 x $.97

    •Total Coupons Used: 0
    •Total Out Of Pocket: $8.67

    Food Basics #2
    Clubhouse gravy – sale 2 x $.79
    Clubhouse mix – $1.49 – Free when buy 2 clubhouse gravy
    Lean ground beef – sale 2 x $3.94
    White mushrooms – sale $.88
    Sauerkraut – $1.99
    Blackdiamond cheese slices – sale 2 x $2.49 – $1.50c
    Stovetop stuffing – $1.39
    Honey garlic sausage – $3.49
    Primo pasta sauce – sale 3x$.88
    Strawberries – $2.47
    Raspberries – $1.97
    Seedless cucumber – $.88
    Baby carrots – $1.27
    Sour cream – $1.49

    •Total Coupons Used: $2.99
    •Total Out Of Pocket: $31.51

    •Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $400
    •Total Coupons Used this Week : $7.47
    •Total Spent This Week:$66.01
    •Total Spent So Far for October: $249.73
    •Total Under spend this shop: $26.30
    •Total Under spend for the month of October: $150.27
    •Total Coupons Used This Month : $25.72 + $12.96 + $12.17 + $7.47= $58.32

    So I had a really good month. I have decided that I have overestimated how much I need each month for groceries when I made my budget. As a result I am going to lower it by $50.00 starting in November. The savings will be put into my savings and not put towards anything else at the moment.

    1. Hi Joanna!
      I’m so proud of you taking the initiative to lower your grocery budget instead of thinking of ways to spend that grocery money each month on more food that you don’t need. SO BIG round of applause for you. I would love it if you would be interested in writing a guest post on “How We Lowered Our Grocery Budget This Year”- email me if you want and I’ll help you. You get ballot #10 Mr.CBB

  3. I figured I’d keep trying to carry over the extra as I will probably need it in Dec for Christmas and family pot lucks, etc 🙂

  4. Top notch Mr. CBB! Glad you did the challenge and taught so many people how hard it is for others.
    I have a cousin in BC on welfare due to mental issues and I collect things in a bag for her all year and give it to her for her bday and xmas, things that I know she can’t afford or buy herslef due to the amount she gets from the government.
    We budget $100 a week for groceries, cleaners, laundry and haba items
    $1.99 coffee creamer
    $6.99 35pk chocolate bar flavoured hot chocolate
    $9.08 total oop
    Save on foods
    $2×2-$3C hand soap
    $1.20 total oop
    $3 total coupons
    $1.69 coffee creamer
    $2.18×3 spring rolls
    $1.25 green cabbage
    $1.48 celery
    $2×4-$6C hand soap
    $2.50 chips
    $2.98-pink sticker 🙂 caramel coffee cake mini muffins – yummiers
    $17.48 total oop
    $7.49 total coupons
    $2×3-$6C resolve refills
    $4.75 4L milk
    $1.57 cucumber dressing
    $2 windshield washer fluid
    $1 lettuce
    $2.47×2 alfredo sauce
    $1.57 three cheese ranch
    $16.13 total oop
    $6 total coupons
    $4.99 frozen pizza
    $2.99 500g bologna
    $1 wintergreen ice breakers – clearance
    .60×4 1L pop
    .57 jalapenos
    $2×2 sandwich – marked down
    $1.39 rice vermicelle
    $4.87 ground pork
    $2.10 ground pork
    $1.73 ground pork
    $1.49 2lb carrots
    $1.49 cucumber
    .69 lemon
    $5.29-$1C taco kit
    $12.16-$4C ground beef
    $2 dzn eggs
    $2.79×2(men/women)-$4C shave gel
    .89 kimchi instant noodle
    $47.26 total oop
    $9 toal coupons
    $10 gift card from work for being a key to success employee 🙂

    weekly total oop $81.15
    weekly total coupons $35.49
    Under budget again 🙂
    Not ready to take our budget to a lower amount but happy that we can stay within it.

  5. 22 – 28 Oct

    Giant Tiger

    •1x Compostable Liner = $2.97

    •Total Coupons Used: $0
    •Total Out Of Pocket: $2.97

    Shoppers Drug Mart

    •2x Reese Peanut Cups = $1.99
    •1x Neilson Milk = $4.29
    •1x Eggs = $2.29
    •1x Dempsters Bread $1.99 – $1 coupon = $0.99
    •2x Clover Leaf Tuna $4 – $2 coupon =$ 2
    •1x Polysporin $11.99 – $3 coupon = $8.99 (Received 20X bonus points yippee)
    •3x Royale Bath Tissue $14.97 – $3 coupon = $11.97 (Received 20X bonus points yippee)

    •Total Coupons Used: $9.00
    •Total Out Of Pocket: $36.28

    Weekly Grocery Game Challenge Results

    •Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $240 (2 adults & 1 child)
    •Total Coupons Used this Week : $9.00
    •Total SCOP this Week : $0
    •Total SCOP for the Month: $1.99
    •Total Spent This Week: $39.25
    •Total Spent So Far for Oct: $80.92 + $ 17.91 + $43.13 + $39.25 = $181.21
    •Total Under spend this shop: $ 20.75
    •Total Under spend for the month of Oct: $58.79
    •Total Left to Spend for the Month: $ 58.79 (to be put towards X’mas eating session or beef)
    •Total Coupons Used This Month : $6.22 + $1 + 9.83 + 9.00 = $26.05

    My 1st completed month (4 weeks) of groceries.

    1. Hey Adeline,
      So, do you scream YIPPIE at the cash too lol… $9.00 in coupons is better than nothing good for you. You did very well this shop and for the month. Your shops potentially will be off from mine some months but the important part is your tracking and posting. So don’t get confused when I post off from all of you. Just keep tracking the numbers. You finished one month and you did super awesome! I’m proud of you. Wait until you see the numbers at the end of the year. Come January we will start fresh so I can’t wait!! Hopefully with a new site as well… ya! Mr.CBB you get the last ballot #47 for Oct.

  6. I don’t get how Shoppers has their milk at different prices in different areas. Ours is $4.23 for 4L, but in a city south of us it is $4.19. Not a huge difference but a few cents is a few cents. You would think they are all the same.

    CBB the chickens were slaughtered, (undressed- de feathered), then frozen for me. at $1.14 a chicken. Since these girls have been giving me eggs for two years now, having stewing chicken for$1.14 is fantastic deal.

    1. That’s odd that it’s different prices as ours is the $4.19. A few cents is a few cents, heck if I see a penny on the ground I pick it up. That’s a great deal for the chickens so I assume they were your chickens that you used for eggs then had someone slaughter for you? How many eggs do you get from a chicken daily?

  7. I felt so bad having to make you read my enormous shop last week that i was determined this week to make it a small shop!! And i was successful 🙂 Also, yes my budget is not 6 dollars as this tired mommy typed out in my last entry but 600. This month again….I was under….so i can definetly readjust my budget i think to cut out some money….think im going to try for 550 in november. Here is my shop for the last week of october.

    Shoppers Drug Mart




    Juice 1.17×2=2.34
    Bread 2.27-FPC=FREE 🙂

    Total coupons=2.27


    Hand Soap 1.93-1.50=0.43
    Pita Bread-1.29

    Total Coupons=1.50
    I had won a 25 dollar gift card so this purchase was free 🙂

    My Grand shopping total out of pocket this week was 6.51. I had 123 left for the month. So in all i came out under budget by 119.49. 🙂 Which was great as I had to buy treats for my daughters class (erasers, pencils, spider rings and such as no food allowed….which i hadn’t realized.) And i managed to snag some great costumes/shirts for my pets at 3 dollars each and use a gift card for there i had won as well 🙂

    1. Hey Joanne,
      Glad to hear your budget is more than $6 a month haha.. You did awesome this week wow. I’m so happy to hear you are lowering your grocery budget woohooo… thatagirl! Oh, you won a gc.. how did you do that? Keep up the good work and can’t wait to see you battle your new budget and WIN!! You get ballot #46! Mr.CBB

      1. Well i got the gift card from a company for hosting a playdate to supply the snacks….i already hosted the playdate and i made a lasagna, cupcakes, cheese platter and tea with food i already had. There was no need to buy anything extra if i already had it. And yes….trying to trim the budget as much as i can. SHould be easy as when i return to work i bring food home sometimes…and there will be one less person to feed at dinner time as i usually work later evenings. 🙂 Gotta offset the cost of daycare for two kids :S

  8. Family of 7, two adults(parents) a 25 yrs, 21 yrs, 16yrs, 4,yrs,3,yrs, two dogs and two cats. Budget of $300. a month

    2 x Milk @ 3.93 each $7.86 (used rain checks from last week)

    6 x 454g I can’t believe its not butter @ 1.00 each, $6.00

    No Frills:
    yogurt (12) $ 2.88
    cat food (4kg) $6.98
    cheese (500g) $3.88
    dog food (18kg)$9.98
    2 x Demster bread @ 1.88 each $3.76 less coupon for $1.00 = 2.76
    pork loin (7 pieces @ 30% off) $3.62
    broccoli $.88
    English cucumber $.97
    3lbs oranges $2.88
    2 tomatoes $.90

    24 hens processed $27.93

    Budget $300.00
    Total what spent this month: $374.88
    coupons this week: $1.00
    Total this week: $77.52
    Total Over: $74.88

    I have to admit I was a little scared this week shopping. I knew I would be over my set amount because of the chickens being dressed. That said I have 24 chickens in my freezer for the winter, which is really comforting to know. I also have 10 tubs of margarine in the freezer for baking. The one item I was willing to go $40.00 bucks on this week was Kraft Peanut butter which was on sale at a fantastic low price of $3.88L but I priced matched everywhere and there was NO peanut butter to be found.

    1. Hi,
      Welcome back! That’s a great deal for all those hens wow. What do you mean the chickens being dressed? The margarine is a great price and we load up as well. What I learned from you is that we should put in the freezer rather than in the cold room as it takes us time to get through it all. That was a great deal on the peanut butter but do you remember when it was on sale for a $1.99 before the big peanut price hike.. we stocked up but it’s one of those things that you never would think would go up. You did awesome this week… considering you didn’t get your peanut butter. Can you get a rain check? You get ballot #45

  9. Mr. CBB, this is it for the month. I had a few small, determined shops. We have 120.48 remaining in our monthly budget of $350.


    Ground Beef 6.24-1.39
    Laughing Cow Swiss cheese wheel 4.99-.50-2.11 Just 4 U savings
    3lbs apples 3.99
    1.57 lbs bananas .86-.13 Just 4U
    Hot Dog buns 2.79-1.00 coupon
    2 cartons Almond Milk 5.98-.60-.75 Just 4U-.75 coupon
    Ice Cream 5.99-3.00
    Ice Cream 2.99-.49
    2lb Safeway yogurt 1.89-.20 Just 4U
    Safeway sour cream 1.89-.10
    2 pkgs Pillsbury cinnamon rolls 3.98-1.98-.40 Just 4 U
    3 pkgs Pillsbury Crescent Rolls 5.97-2.97-.50 Just 4 U
    Penne Pasta 2.69-.98 Just 4 U
    Long spaghetti 2.69-.98 Just 4 U
    v8 Fusion juice 3.99-1.24-1.00 Just 4U
    2 Powerade Sports Drink 1.98-.20
    2Powerade Sports Drink 1.98-.20-.75 Just 4U
    Chips Ahoy 4.19-1.20
    Kellog Raisin Bran 3.79-.80
    Quaker chewy Granola Bars 3.49-.99..62 Just 4U
    Quaker Chewy Granola Bars 3.49-.99-.62 Just 4U
    2 Quaker Chewy Granola Bars 6.98-1.98-1.24Just 4U
    Tostitos Corn Chips 3.99-1.00-1.00 Just 4 U
    Ruffles potato chips 4.29-1.29

    Total 18.80 Total Store Card Savings 20.92 Total Just 4U Savings 10.53 Coupon Savings 1.75 Total Savings 33.20

    Safeway #2

    2 boxes Safeway Granola Bars 4.58-.58
    Safeway String Cheese 4.99-1.00
    Almond Milk 3.19-.75 coupon
    1.93 lbs bananas 1.06-.15 Just 4U

    Total 11.82 Card Savings 1.58 Just 4U savings .15 Coupon savings .75 Total Savings 2.48

    City Market

    16 oz Blueberries 4.49-.20
    Kashi Cereal 3.69
    Doritos 3.29-.79

    Total 10.91 Card Savings .99 Total savings .99


    Cracklin Oat Bran Cereal 3.68
    v8 Fusion 6 pk 2.89
    Dannon Yogurt Drinks 4.68
    Kashi Cereal 2.98

    Total 15.21 No savings 🙁

    Total for shops 56.74 Total savings with store card/coupons 36.67

    Under Budget by $ 63.74!!!! That means we spent under $300 for groceries for the month. That has NEVER happened in our house, even before we had a child.

    The difference is planning and thought. The Just 4 U program gives me weekly internet coupons on things I regularly buy and if I combine those with store sales, it saves tons of money. I also used to buy whatever was on sale whether I needed it or not. I am trying to only buy what we are out of. If we could give up snacks, we’d spend almost nothing, but you have to walk before you can run. The big deal for this month is my husband’s breakfast granola bars. I switched to a store brand and he likes those just as well! Thank you Mr. CBB. This is a huge break through.

    As for the welfare challenge, congrats on doing that. It really opens your eyes when you have to walk in someone else’s shoes.

    1. It occured to me after I posted this that I forgot to include my daughter’s school lunches. We pack a lunch once a week, and she eats in the cafeteria the other days. For October, we bought 17 school lunches at $1.60 each for a total of $27.20, so I have to add that to my total for the month. So we are over $300 but still under budget for the month. Could I pack more lunches for under 1.60 per day? I’ll have to think on that one.

      Updated monthly total $313.46 Under budget by $36.54

    2. Wow, those Ruffles Potato Chips hit the budget where it hurts.. I’ve never ever seen them that pricey mainly $2.99. Is that like the KING bag. Ah well can’t win them all I guess.You get some great savings with that store card I’m jealous. Do you have to apply for this card at the store or can you do it online and they mail it to you? I love how the American system has their coupons. That Just 4 U program sounds pretty nifty if you ask me. Yes, snacks are a huge part of the grocery budget for many. We have slowly replaced those treats with snacks like fruits, almonds, or we make cookies or pudding if we really want a treat. Ok… sometimes I make cakes but that’s just to showcase my manly baking skills on the blog haha. Sometimes it’s good to take it one step at a time like we did. You will start to find areas to cut back on like getting dry beans instead of canned beans, or cutting back on all the treats and replacing them with healthier options. You will get there but hopefully the family is all on board with you.. that helps. Cheers and keep at it my dear.. you are doing so well. I still want to hear what you get for $1.60 at lunch in the cafeteria for your daughter’s lunches. Mr.CBB

      1. Usually they have a protein/starch main item, like chicken/rice bowl w/ veggies, tacos, or brunch for lunch with ham and eggs. There is usually a vegetable or fruit or sometimes salad and fruit, plus milk. Not too bad. I could probably get a sandwich made for that cost, but I have to send the single serve milk that don’t spoil at room temperature when she packs lunch and those can be expensive. Plus, our daughter is not a picky eater at all and I credit that to her preschool that served lunch and all the kids had to try everything whether they ate it or not. I’m afraid if I only send turkey or peanut butter sandwiches, she will lose her desire to try new foods and eat what is served. We do eat pretty healthy meals at our house, but we buy snacks. None of us is overweight and we work out regularly, so I think it’s OK. The Ruffles were for a camping trip. I am trying hard to limit chips, and it’s working pretty well. We do slip occasionally.

        1. Oh, there’s nothing wrong with treats, heck I love peanuts and that’s my treat but only if they go on sale. Life is all about balance and that’s what we do we balance it.That sounds pretty good what she can get and for that price you can’t really beat that.

  10. I shop for two adults and a 23 month old toddler. Our budget is $100/week and it includes baby items, health/beauty, laundry/cleaning.

    I had $13.64 left over from last week.

    12 pack diet coke $2.97
    12 pack root beer $2.97
    Cambell’s soups (PM) 5 x $.59
    Catelli pasta (PM Walmart) (various) 15 x $1.27 – 14 x $1.00 coupons (I miss counted my pasta boxes 🙁
    CL tuna 6 x $1.00
    Cheerios (PM) 3 x $2.88 – 2 x $1.00 coupons – 1 x FPC (Each box had a Yoplait FPC 🙂
    Peanut butter (PM) 2 x $3.88
    Kleenex (PM) $4.98 – $1.00 coupon
    Minigo (PM Walmart) 2 x $2.00 – 1 x $.50 – 1 x $1.00
    WW bread $3.59 – 50% pink sticker $1.80
    Apple (PM) $2.79
    Bananas $1.84
    Grapes $1.66
    Strawberries (PM) 3 x $1.74
    Tomatoes $1.29
    Baby Mum Mums $1.54

    Coupons $21.38
    CD $7.51
    OOP $47.49

    Fresh Co
    Canned mushrooms 5 x $.97
    Canned diced tomatoes $.99
    5lbs Carrots $.99
    Fresh mushrooms $1.77
    Whole chicken $5.06

    OOP $13.66

    Food Basics
    Distilled water $.89
    Kidney beans 4 x $.77
    Ground turkey $3.72

    OOP $7.69

    12 pack Diet Coke $2.97
    Cheerios (PM) 3 x $2.88 – 3 x $1.00
    Hot dog buns $2.99

    Coupons $3.00
    CD $1.47
    OOP $10.48

    $47.49 + $13.66 + $7.69 + $10.48=$79.32

    $100 – $79.32=$20.68 + $13.64=$34.32

    I was $20.68 under budget and now I have $34.32 left to carry over 🙂 Yay me!

    1. Hey Jen!!
      Wow can you believe you are ballot #43 for the month.When you started the challenge with me many moons ago ok a months.. there were not as many players. I’m so happy to see others taking control of their grocery budget. You my dear are a warrior.. proud of you. As for your shopping this week YAY you are under budget, wow.. can you believe that. Little by little you make magic happen Jen, keep up the good work. And if you don’t spend that carry over put it towards something else in the budget. Cheers Mr.CBB

  11. Finally getting to this… I went over budget for the week partly due to some nice sales and partly because of the turkey bucks promotion that started this week at Foodland across the street. I managed to get 4 turkey bucks this week that will help with Christmas dinner. This promotion is yearly and normally you have to spend $50.00 to get a buck, first and usually last week it’s two bucks for $50.00. All but a quick trip to the Guardian drugstore down the street for soup, everything was at Foodland as usual.

    Oct 25
    4 mac &cheese dinners@.50-2.00
    2 croissants@.99-1.98
    2 cans spaghetti sauce@1.33-2.66
    Toronto Star-2.38
    apple sauce-2.48
    cider mix-3.99
    2 cases pop@3.99-7.98($2.00 coupon/buy 2)
    raisin bread-4.49
    1 4l milk-4.79
    kashi cereal-5.99(fpc-5.99)
    2 Tetley tea,144 count@6.97-13.94
    1 pack smokes-9.69
    Total $65.80 (7.99 coupons, 2 turkey bucks))

    Oct 23
    2 croissants@.99-1.98
    1pack spaghetti-2.49
    1 raisin bread-3.19
    1 cider mix-3.99
    1 pack lean hamburger-5.77
    1 Tetley tea,144 count-6.97
    1 pack smokes-9.69
    Total- $35.86, no coupons

    Guardian Oct 20
    6 tin tomato soup @.66-3.96
    1 Stratford Beacon Herald-.1.00
    Total $4.91, 49 loyalty points

    Oct 20
    3 bananas-.75
    1 loaf bread 1.99(1.50 coupon)
    1 apple sauce-2.48
    2 doz eggs@2.58-5.16(1.00 coupon when you buy 2)
    1 raisin bread-3.19
    1 bread crumbs-3.19
    1 triscuit crackers-3.49
    1 case gingerale-3.99
    1 box reg crackers-3.99
    1 jug water-5.49
    1 iogo yogurt-5.99(.75 coupon)
    1 Tetley tea,144 count-6.97
    1 Maxwell house ground coffee-6.97
    1 block cheese-7.69(.75 coupon)
    1 roast-8.26
    1 pack chicken breasts-12.30
    Total$78.42, $4.00 coupons, 2 turkey bucks

    Total for the week was $184.99, with $11.99 in coupons and I got 4 turkey bucks. This is over for the week by $34.99. This puts me over for the month by $9.66. I’m good for tea for a little while, and the chicken breasts are the boneless ones, I got the smallest pack but it had 5 nice sized breasts so that will be 5 meals of chicken stir-fry. The roast will be 3 meals for us so it’s not quite as bad as it looks. Hopefully I can go under for next month and those turkey bucks go to the Christmas dinner. I managed the Thanksgiving dinner under budget so it’s looking good for Christmas. Over the next few weeks I’ll be getting things for then and for the baking, especially my dark fruitcake. Given that I have most of the things I need in the pantry I don’t think it will be a big problem… one big bill at the bulk store mind you for the candied fruit and maybe a couple of other treats but I can do this!!!

    1. Hi Christine!
      That’s not too bad over $9.66 for the month, we’ve done alot worse but we learn where we can save more to try and stick to the budget. Ha, we’re good for tea as well, it’s those stock ups that can hurt but we want to carry over our monthly debt to the next so we can keep on track all year long. Christmas can get very costly and now is the time to start shopping you are smart. I would get that nice coupon and split that order up at the bulk barn to get the $3.00 savings.. spend $10 save $3.00 when it comes out as fruit and nuts are crazy prices. Keep up the good work.. You get ballot #42 Cheers Mr.CBB

  12. On your prompting – here is my shop the other night that is the exact opposite of a week’s worth of food!

    Total cost – just over $27

    4 avocados
    8 large buns
    1 package naturals salami
    1 large size PC goat’s cheese
    1 bottle generic nyqil (tastes like liquorice, big fail!)

    …yup. That’s basically 3 days of lunches in my house, not including the veggies that I added to lunch and to the sandwiches!

    1. Hi Anne!
      Is that a normal shop for you? How much is your monthly budget and for how many? I would love if you posted your shop along with all of us each week in The Grocery Game Challenge. You can read the rules at the top of the page but it’s super easy. Copy paste my layout from the rules page and away you go. You can ead everyone’s shops in the comment section of each Grocery Game Post to see how they spend their money and how we help each other out. What are your goals? Cheers Mr.CBB

      1. The contents are fairly normal (except for the buns, usually make bread products at home), but it’s rare to buy so little at once. We usually shop one or two times a week. More frequently if my spouse has decided to do something in particular. Here’s what I got today:
        We don’t have a budget for food (or anything, really). We spend approx $400 per month, for two of us, not including meals out, which are moderately rare. We probably have a full meal out two times a month. That doesn’t include snacks or quick lunches, like bagels from timmies. We probably spend $15/month at tim hortons & competitors.


        Carrot sticks – $2 (sale, from 2.89)
        Broccoli stem – $1.21 (sale)
        cauliflower – $2.29 (sale)
        children’s hospital round up donation – $0.32
        Classico alfredo – $4.99
        peppers mix bag – $3.99 (sale)
        old cheddar – $13.99
        org bananas – $1.36
        org eggs – $6.99
        org milk (2L) – $5.59
        fresh pasta – $6.49
        salmon fillet – $8.62 ($4 off sticker)
        sugar peas – $2.50 (sale)
        large salad box – $5.79
        pizza shells – $5.39
        fresh tortellini – $7.49 (sale)

        total $79
        I didn’t realize most of that produce was “on sale”… though I’m not sure that it truly is, just the regular store attempts at making you feel like you save. (real phenomenon, they’ll put avocados “on sale” by ten cents one week, but up the regular price by 40 cents so you feel like you’re getting more of a deal.)

        1. Hi Anne,
          You really need to know your prices because like you just said it’s the stores attempt to make you feel like you are getting a good deal. It drives me up the wall when they do that like they think we aren’t smart enough to figure it out or they really just don’t care. So I assume that you budget is around $100 a week then? Do you use coupons at all? There is a template if you look at The grocery game rules that you can copy past to use so we can follow your shops easily. That might also help you to see the overall picture like it does for us. That way I can better comment on your shop as well. Are you in the USA? If you are in Canada you get ballot #45 in the monthly contest but if not I will just void that number. Cheers Anne. Mr.CBB

      2. Yes, I am in Canada.
        I used coupons for awhile, but found that they were not usually available for things that I buy. The only one really was soy/almond milk. There’s a place to put them at the thrift store, so I did that as well, however now I am at work when the thrift store is open. I use in-store coupons when they are relevant.
        Most of your template doesn’t apply to me… given the lack of coupons and lack of budget!

        My only food goal right now is to get us to stop eating so many simple carbs. It’s a difficult trade off when I’m also trying to encourage more cooking by my spouse.

        1. Hi Anne,
          Thanks for letting me know. So each week your budget is $100 then. I just didn’t know how to comment on whether you did ok or were over or under budget. As for change it takes time and your spouse will love all the new creations you both make together. We do! Cheers Mr.CBB

  13. i totally applaud you mr CBB! i dont think i could do that at all. put your hands together for this wonderful mr CBB!!! do you have to report to the organization that hosted the program? what is their conclusion?? is $26 enough?

    Last month (my month doesnt start on the 1st, but 24th, so Sept 24th to Oct 23, my budget result was $176.57, way under my $260 budget. now put your hands together for ME! go Wing go! lol

    and now here’s my shop for Oct 24-Nov 23:
    Budget for the month $260 for 2 people
    spent: $92.94
    coupons used:$26.11
    Budget for the month $260, for 2 people
    Remaining budget for the month: $260- $92.94= 167.06

    Details of my shop:

    Bulk barn
    cheese sauce mix 0.60

    Food Basics
    acorn squash 0.99
    sweet potato 0.95
    nappa cabbage 3.15
    cucumber 0.97
    chicken broth cubes 0.99
    oakrun farm english muffins 1.99 – FPC = FREE

    delissio 2x 3.99
    jasmine rice 9.98
    vermicelli 0.98
    oyster sauce 1.29
    strawberries 1.99

    catelli smart 3×1.27- 3×1.00= 0.27 ea
    pet spray stain remover 8.93-2.00=6.83
    dog pads 22.93-2.00=20.93
    colgate toothbrush 3.77-1.50= 2.27
    M&Ms 10×1.08-10x FPC= FREE
    pirate cookies 2.00
    reese 1.27
    classico spaghetti sauce 4×2.00
    dog wet food 8.98
    xmas cards 4.00

      1. This one is already in and is the last I received.
        i totally applaud you mr CBB! i dont think i could do that at all. put your hands together for this wonderful mr CBB!!! do you have to report to the organization that hosted the program? what is their conclusion?? is $26 enough?

        Last month (my month doesnt start on the 1st, but 24th, so Sept 24th to Oct 23, my budget result was $176.57, way under my $260 budget. now put your hands together for ME! go Wing go! lol

        and now here’s my shop for Oct 24-Nov 23:
        Budget for the month $260 for 2 people
        spent: $92.94
        coupons used:$26.11
        Budget for the month $260, for 2 people
        Remaining budget for the month: $260- $92.94= 167.06

        Details of my shop:

        Bulk barn
        cheese sauce mix 0.60

        Food Basics
        acorn squash 0.99
        sweet potato 0.95
        nappa cabbage 3.15
        cucumber 0.97
        chicken broth cubes 0.99
        oakrun farm english muffins 1.99 – FPC = FREE

        delissio 2x 3.99
        jasmine rice 9.98
        vermicelli 0.98
        oyster sauce 1.29
        strawberries 1.99

        catelli smart 3×1.27- 3×1.00= 0.27 ea
        pet spray stain remover 8.93-2.00=6.83
        dog pads 22.93-2.00=20.93
        colgate toothbrush 3.77-1.50= 2.27
        M&Ms 10×1.08-10x FPC= FREE
        pirate cookies 2.00
        reese 1.27
        classico spaghetti sauce 4×2.00
        dog wet food 8.98
        xmas cards 4.00

  14. Good for you for undertaking this Mr. CBB. I’m happy to see your comments about kitchen waste.

    I have a friend on Social Services disability who, after her accommodation costs, has less than $85/month to cover all her other expenses. I always thought I was pretty good about managing kitchen waste but, my goodness, her habits were a revelation to me! NOTHING – not one single thing – goes to waste in her kitchen. There is never a comment about being bored with repetitive meals either; because she’s so grateful to have meals at all. On top of it all, she’s the most positive person I’ve ever met. What an inspiration! She’s sure altered my perspective about my own situation.

    1. That Beet Risotto of yours was lovely although like I mentioned I didn’t have all the same ingredients. I will post my version on a Sunday Recipe post as well link your post again. Do you have any other beet recipes? I have lots of beets left! This week has opened Mrs.CBB up to a whole new type of cooking and that is using everything we have to it’s fullest and not waste it. Now we keep all the veg scraps in a bag and will make a stock each week. The stock I made was simply OUT OF THIS WORLD! Who knew? Cheers Aunt B! Mr.CBB

  15. My family used to waste heaps of food a couple of years ago. One day we all made a conscious effort to be more diligent in creating a list before we go shopping and also trying to use as much of the food that we bought as possible.

    The main benefit – Feel really good about yourself
    Secondary benefit – Save about $10-$15 a week on food

    1. That’s a smart move Glen and something we have moved towards this past year. Next year we will work harder knowing what we know now. It’s all a learning experience but well worth it. Wasting food is just awful. Mr.CBB

    1. It’s a case of having to stick to the basics for products that give you one pleasure. It’s not easy with $26 but it would be easier with the $109. The problem is there is no wiggle room for these recipients like we have so we don’t feel the stress so much. This is why we encourage people to budget, know their expenses and save money in an emergency fund even if it is $5 a week while they are working so they have that wiggle room if something were to happen. It’s about choice. Welfare is a temporary measure so when they do get out and work again they will now know how imperative it is to have that wiggle room, at least I should hope so. I hope the government takes this project into consideration and looks at the numbers to see if they can bump them up so that concentration can be more on finding a good job rather than putting food on the table, clothes on their backs and a roof on their head for that temporary time period.

  16. Here is my shop for the week:

    Mixed Greens 4.00
    Spinach 1.27
    3 pack Romaine Hearts 1.97
    Paprika 2.00
    Yams 1.90
    Chips 2.88

    Total Coupons
    Total Out of pocket 14.02

    T Bones 18.70
    Renee Ceasar Dressing 3.50
    Tomato Basil Soup 3.99

    Total Coupons
    Total Out of pocket 26.19

    Mushrooms 2.97
    Alfredo pasta sauce (2) 4.94
    Celery 0.97
    Armstrong Cheese 3.97

    Total Coupons -1.00
    Total Out of pocket 11.85

    No Frills
    Bananas 2.12
    Cheddar Cheese 6.88

    Total Coupons
    Total Out of pocket 9.00

    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $200.00
    Total Coupons Used this Week : $1.00
    Total Spent This Week:$ 49.21
    Total Spent So Far for October: $145.19
    Total Over/Under spend this shop: -$0.79
    Total Over/Under spend for the month of October: -$4.81
    Total Left to Spend for the Month: $54.81

    I finally used a coupon! I was pretty excited; it doesn’t take much, I know. 🙂 I was a bit nervous at the till when they checked over the details and made sure I had the right product, but got $1 off at Walmart. We were also craving steak, so instead of heading out for dinner, we bought the ingredients and stayed in. I usually try to avoid Safeway, unless it is for organic stuff, but we bought everything on sale, and we ended up saving almost $23 on that trip alone.

    I find that I do have to make decisions on what to buy when I have a budget in mind. My pantry is running low though, so I will have to start looking for sales to fill it up again.

    Congrats on completing your challenge! You had quite the variety for $26, and I think it was a great effort; I don’t know if I could have came up with such a wide range of meal ideals. $109 a month for one is doable if you stick with the basics, but it would be really tough for 2 people.

    Have a good week!

    1. Hey Vicky!
      Oh my you used a coupon yay!! Don’t be nervous using them. Just make sure to check your dates and go over the details. I always ask the cashier if he/she wants the coupons at the beginning, end or when they come to the product to be polite. I think that’s awesome that you bought dinner instead of going out. It makes a HUGE difference when you do that and you get more food. Kudos to you! You can also make it so it’s a lovely romantic dinner as well so not to feel deprived of the “going out” feeling. Starting with the basics is key in the pantry, oil, sesame oil, sugar,salt, flour, baking needs, spices, are all key for us.. so important. Every week buy something new especially if it is on sale and build it up, that’s what we do. Keep all your veg scraps don’t toss them out, put them in a freezer bag. When it’s full fill a pot with water, toss all the veg scraps in and boil it to make a stock from veg you would have tossed in the bin. Now you can strain it through a strainer, and you have a nice broth. (the best is keeping the yellow onion peel makes the sauce tasty and colorful). Add salt, pepper and use a stock for rice, soup etc. Keep at it Vicky! Learn something new each week in the kitchen and you will see your budget work for you. Mr.CBB you get ballot #41

  17. This particular challenge was certainly been food for thought in a number of ways for all of us as we journey through it with you. If you had to do this for more than one week what kinds of things do you think you would get to add to the pantry say week 2 or 3 or 4? How would you plan the stocking up? Any thoughts on what you might have done differently besides getting the oatmeal instead of bran flakes??I did get a chuckle out of your comment about drinking your tea with just milk and no sugar….my sister-in-law drinks hers that way, my Mom used to drink hers with sugar, no milk. I kidded both of them that between them they had a decent cuppa!! I take both by the way…..

    1. Ha .. ya I guess they did lol. It’s nice to have my sweetness back lol. If I could do another week I would get flour,oats,lime,lemon,pasta,veg,big bag of beans and maybe a second kind,more spices like pepper,paprika,garlic,parsley,basil,oregano,cumin,tumeric,nutmegm eggs,mustard,more tomato paste,fruits,potatoes. That may be as far as I could go with another 26.00… unless I had some good coupons and flyer deals.

  18. It sounds like it really was an eye opening experience. I can relate to seeing how much food you waste. We used to go shopping every week and when we changed to going shopping every 10-11 days we saw just how much we were wasting or simply throwing it out. It has forced us to be wiser about when we eat what we eat so we can stretch what we bought further. I also agree that if you’re just buying junk food or stuff that is convenient you’re budget won’t go as far.

    1. Yes Food waste can get costly although we never waste food so we thought. It’s the little things we never thought about like tossing the lemon and lime in the bin after squeezing it instead of using the rind and boiling the fruits in our soups to get maximum flavour. Also the veg stock was the kicker using all the scraps to make a stock and it was amazing and really made the beet risotto pop. Mr.CBB

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