The Grocery Game | Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide

The Grocery Game Challenge #2 April 8-14, 2013~Tracking Grocery Expenses

The Grocery Game Challenge #2 April 8-11, 2013
 

We’ve talked in the past about tracking grocery expenses in order to help cut expenses and stay true to your monthly grocery budget. The average household grocery budget is likely to accumulate more in unplanned products in the shopping cart unless they have a list of groceries and a plan of action.

When we started to track grocery spending seriously, I’m not talking when we felt like it, I mean every week, things started to change for us. What we thought were grocery savings actually ended up costing us more in the long run and that’s when things needed to change. No, we don’t use a fancy grocery tracking app, nor do we think it should take hours to know how much money groceries cost us each week.

The Grocery Game Challenge essentially is the simplest grocery expense tracker around and we are growing each week with more fans joining in on the action. The more we learn about grocery bills and how they affect our overall budget the more we want to improve the grocery game.

Many fans have sent in their suggestions and we have implemented them as we go along. The grocery game is a work in progress and  feedback from the fans will help us all to improve and enjoy the experience of how to budget groceries for the optimal learning experience.

We Are Family

I often thought we had some of the best grocery lists when we posted our grocery brags as I like to call them, but some GGC fans blow us out of the water with some impressive grocery lists and savings. Not all of our fans who post live in Canada either so don’t be discouraged if you live in another part of the country because you too can participate.

The best part is seeing how we are improving each week and knowing that there is a safe, non-judgemental environment to post our shops, tips, and questions to help each other out.

The Grocery Expense Tracker

I created a template that each player can use to share a summary at the end of their shop each week. You can customize it how you like as long as you tell us the important, juicy details 1- your budget, 2- How many people will the budget feed, 3- How much you spent along with the list of products you bought.

Follow the data with an overview of your thoughts and goals so we can offer our feedback. It helps us all to follow you but it’s mainly for you to keep track, week after week until the end of the year.

Grocery Game Template

Cooking Homemade Meals

Not everyone grew up eating healthy homemade meals every night of the week so we want to be able to help guide each other to grab an apron and get cooking. Creating meal plans, shopping lists and challenging ourselves to cook a new meal each week will help us all grow our recipe box so we have easy to make, go-to meals every week that are nutritious.

Some people don’t believe they have the skills to make a meal or the time so they generally purchase a ready made meal or canned goods. We try not to but canned or convenience food but like everyone we are working on making better choices.

My Grocery List

There are cases where someone might have picky eaters at home and may want to introduce different foods into their diet but just don’t know where to begin. Our friend, Alexa at Single Mom’s Income shared, “A Single Mom’s Grocery List-What I Buy” on her blog the other day. She is wanting to save money using coupons to lower her grocery budget and experiment to see what her kids will eat to incorporate more nutritious foods into their diet.

Always Ask For A Receipt

Learning how to track your expenses with the grocery game challenge is easy. All you need to do is save your receipts and input the data once a week or when you shop in the comment section of my Tuesday Grocery Game post, like this one today! If you are not used to asking or keeping your receipts it’s up to you to make that change.

Start asking for receipts and being mindful at the cash register. Find a safe place to store your receipts and then track the expenses here. Monthly household expenses differ from person to person, family to family so don’t be shy, post the truth and watch how you will make positive changes.

Monthly food expenses are the next highest category in the budget next to rent/mortgage and in some cases surpass consumer debt for those who make monthly debt repayments. Estimated monthly expenses can be tough and with the grocery game may help ease the pain of overspending especially if you are not tracking your grocery shopping.

Even if you bring cash to the grocery store you still may overspend when you buy products you really don’t need. Planning our meals has been a life changing experience but one that has brought us closer together as a couple and has inspired us to work more in the kitchen as a team.

So, if you think tracking grocery expenses is a waste of time, don’t bother but if you REALLY want to stick to your budget or if you know your food expenses are too high, post your shop and join the rest of us here as we work towards learning how to make a grocery budget work for our families.

Do you keep your grocery receipts? 

The Grocery Game Challenge

This is the Second Grocery Game Challenge for April 2013~~ Post your Shop and you might be our next Grocery Game Winner! Each week I will post the GGC Posts for the month below so you can click, post and catch up!  You have all month to post your shops.

For Inspiration read about Canadian Budget Binder fan Donna R who shares her secrets for lowering her family’s grocery budget from a whopping $1100 a month to $600 give it a read now.

Past Blog Posts To Help You Shop and Save!
Our Grocery Game Challenge Results #2 April
Shop #1

Walmart:

  • 2x JandJ Floss $2.00-$2.00 coupons =FREE 

Total Out of Pocket $0.52 which is the tax, so not totally free, but close enough for something we will need

Shop #2

Walmart 2: I dropped in to a second shop while travelling for a meeting

  • 16 x cans of Clover Leaf Flavoured Tuna $2.00-$1.00 
  • 1x Bag of radishes $1.27
  • 1x Anise/Fennel $1.47
  • 1x Bag of Andy Romaine Hearts (3) Sale $2.00 reg $4.99
  • 2 x Old Spice Deoderant Sale $2.00 Reg $2.67- Buy 2 Save $3.00 Old Spice
  • 1 x Colgate White Sale $1.97-$1.50
  • 2 x JandJ Floss $2.00-$2.00
  • 1 x JandJ Bandaid (Plasters) 80 pack $4.96-$2.00
  • 1 x JanJ Bandaid (Plasters) $3.97-$2.00
  • 1 x 220g White Mushrooms $1.27
  • 6 x Prime Extra Lean Turkey Mince Reduced by 30%- Was $5.44-$3.80, Was $5.20-$3.58,  Was $5.59-$3.91, Was $5.26-$3.67, Was-$5.62-$3.93, Was $5.44-$3.80

Total Out Of Pocket $37.56

Total Stockpile Used $16.00 (tuna)

Shop #3

Food Basics

  • 3 x Pita Bread Sale $0.95 reg $1.19
  • 2 x Lactancia 1L Cream Sale $1.99-$0.75
  • 4 x Cedar Olives Sale $3.49 Reg $6.99
  • 1 x Reduced Golden Delicious apples $0.99

Total Out Of Pocket: $20.40

Shop #4

Metro

  • 6 x limes reduced $0.99 reg 6 for $3.00
  • 1 x Soy Sauce $1.99
  • 2 x Cool Run Seasoning Spices Sale $2.49 

Total Out Of Pocket: $7.96

Shop #5

Dollarama

  • Garbage Bags Ruffies $3.00

Total Out Of Pocket: $3.39

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 Coupons Used this Week : $34.00
  • Total Discounts this Week: $10.28
  • Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points Used: $0
  • Stockpile Budget: $20.00 Used: $16.00 (Tuna)
  • Total Spent This Week:$ 69.83
  • Total Spent So Far for (April): $60.13+$69.83
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $8.50 under for the week
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month of  (April): $129.96
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $105.04
  • Total Coupons Used This Month :$26.00+$34.00=$60
  • Total to Carry Over Next Month : $ n/a We don’t carry over 
  • Total Spent To Date This Year: $206.95 (Jan)+ $160.77 (Feb) + (March)$169.62= $537.34
  • Rendezvous Account: $65.38 (this will be used for a date night or a summer holiday)

Weekly Overview:

Not too bad of a week as we stocked up on lots of proteins and vegetables for the week so we can start eating more salads. We just happened to get lucky at Metro with another pack of fresh limes on the reduced rack with nothing wrong with them. Metro is an expensive store for many products so even a small dent is not good enough for the higher paying clientèle.

We only have just over $100 left to spend this month with $4.00 remaining in our stockpile budget. We don’t need much but anything can happen between now and the next flyer inserts. I am going to make more olive bread this week but switch it up into flat breads. 

Canadian Coupons Found This Week

Coupons Found This Week April 2013

How was your grocery shop this week?

Grocery Game 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.

Quote-Budget and Money

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