The Ultimate Canadian Grocery Savings Guide

The Grocery Game Challenge #5 Jan 28-Feb 3~Will You Target Your Budget

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Grocery Basket

This is the last shop for January and I’m happy to say that we beat our budget for the month. I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it especially since we’ve noticed price increases of grocery store products since the beginning of 2013.  I find if we can time the flyer specials we are able to get products we need similar to last weeks 10 lbs of potatoes for $0.95 for a great price. Another thing we noticed is that coupons aren’t like they used to be. We’ve seen a dramatic change in wording and the amount of coupon savings from the manufacturer go down over the last few years and this year proves no exception thus far.

Gone are the days where we would get products for free or near free, granted on the very odd occasion that still happens. Really, there’s nothing to complain about because no one has to give us anything.  For the most part they are holding out their hands waving deals and discounts in our faces just so we shop with them and not the competitor.

Zellers was a great store to use coupons at and find deals, at least for us. Since they have closed up shop we are left with Wal-Mart which we rarely shop at due to driving distance or Shoppers Drug Mart (SDM) where the prices are higher than the competitor at times. You really have to pick your grocery budget battles. The only occasions it’s feasible to shop SDM is when you match sales with coupons to build your points during optimum points events. Looking back,  in 2012 we did “zero” redemptions compared to 2011 where we redeemed our optimum points for 4 mega redemptions at max value. It was only bound to happen as coupons are not valued as high as they once were, wages are not keeping in line with inflation coupled with price rises on products.

Don’t get me wrong there are still savings to be had, in 2012 we racked up over 100k in points but that’s simply from bonus coupons mailed to us and the odd 20x the points events. It’s still one of the most lucrative rewards programs around for Canadians. We typically go in to get milk, sugar, eggs, cream and paper towel when they are on offer to help us save money in our grocery budget, but that’s about all. So you still can maximize your optimum points, it’s just up to you how good a deal you think you are getting compared to knowing the prices with competing shops. Lately there has been a rash of optimum points coupons coming in the mail and now I think I know why, and it’s not because they want to give us a big kiss of appreciation, they don’t want us to leave.

Many Canadians are looking forward to the huge US discount shop Target arriving this year in local communities. The anticipation of what’s in store and hopes that they prove to be a big hit with flyer specials, price and discounts are the topic of conversation. Steve Zussino, president at Grocery Alerts Canada an online coupon and deals community did a write-up on his website about the Target loyalty rewards program.

The REDcard will be available starting in February 2013 according to the Globe and Mail report Steve references in his post. The Target REDcard is said to give consumers a whopping 5% flat discount on almost everything in the store if they use it with the Target debit or Credit card. Heck, I’m not complaining I’ll take what I can get and that’s mighty generous to me. That’s certainly going to light a fire under the chairs of other retailers who have programs that reward approx 1-2 % but there’s nothing better than a bit of healthy competition. Target sounds like they are coming in like thunder and are telling consumers they are “the one” especially if you are looking to save some money in the budget. Move over Canada there’s a new shop coming to town, and we’re all waiting to see how they stack up to the competition.

I agree that retailers will have to sort out something new and exciting for consumers as they will get bored with the old and want something else to entice them to spend their money. With the recent addition of Checkout51 offering consumers cash back on purchases made that are in their line-up of products we are already seeing how saving money is going to shape the future. I do agree with Ms. Halvinka in the article who says, “carrying yet another piece of plastic for their wallet will be a drawback”. With consumer debt at an all time high for Canadians they simply don’t want more credit at their disposal, then again 5% discount might just be like striking gold in the eye of the beholder. Will you checkout Target when it comes to your community and how does 5% off your purchase sound to you?

Coupons Found This Week
Coupons Canada January 2013
Coupons Canada January 2013
Our Grocery Shop This Week
Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Neilson Milk 4 Litres  Sale $3.99

Total Out of Pocket: $3.99

Our Grocery Game Challenge Results 
Total Grocery Amount Budgeted For the Year : $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 Coupons Used this Week : $0
  • Total Discounts this Week: $0
  • Total Checkout 51 rebates this Week: $0 Don’t Use this service
  • Total Checkout 51 rebates this Month: $0 Don’t Use this service
  • Total Colleague Discounts (CD) this Week: $0 I wish I had a discount
  • Total Colleague Discounts (CD) this Month:$0 see above 
  • Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points Used: $0
  • Stockpile Budget: $20.00 Used: $0 nothing left in it for the month it’s spent.
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $36.23
  • Total Spent This Week:$3.99
  • Total Spent So Far for (January): $40.11+89.29+31.46+$42.10+$3.99=$206.95
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $36.23
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month of  (January): $ 32.04 under
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $28.05
  • Total Coupons Used This Month : $17.89+19.50+37.10+5.00=$79.49
  • Total to Carry Over Next Month : $ n/a We don’t carry over + only –
  • Total Spent To Date This Year: $206.95

Weekly Overview: Not a bad month we came under budget which left I spending just over $200 for the month plus our $20 stockpile budget which we used. I’m hoping in February we can pull off the same type of month as we are still pretty stocked up with meats and veg in the freezer. 

FAQ’s- Grocery Game Challenge RULES…..

  • 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.

  • 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?

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.

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.>>> Check out the awesome NEW Website design at SBLB…. It's Not About How Much Money You Make It's How You Spend It

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Photo Credit: 123RF.com

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