The Grocery Game Challenge July 15-21, 2013 #3: Packing groceries


Saving Money Means, You Pack It

Packing groceries is something that I’ve always been used to doing on my own. Grocery packer job positions rarely get advertised for many grocery stores simply because it’s no longer needed. At one point in time the grocery packer (grocery bagger or grocery store bagger, all mean the same thing) was and still is for some a big part of the personal experience, but many have let this practice go.

My wife can remember when the cashier would double and triple bag for free because the bag might break. I don’t know about you but I’m not ready to pay $0.15 to do that, I’d rather use a cardboard box. It’s not the cashiers fault and I’m sure it drives them around the bend having to ask if you want bags but they must do it.

Nothing is free anymore and if it is you will find the cost saturated in the price of the products you purchase. Bags can get costly for a store and if they can save money over the course of the year, they will do it. Maybe $0.05 doesn’t sound like lots of money, but it all adds up. Should bags be included in the shopping trip like they used to? They are if you want them to be, but like I said you will still pay for them in one for or another.

I can remember Waitrose in the UK having a wall full of boxes when I was young in the 70’s and 80’s. When I went grocery shopping with my parents no one ever bagged our groceries that I can remember. My wife recollects her experiences while grocery shopping when she was younger and I’m not shocked with the conveniences that followed. Back in the day she says a grocery bagger would pack groceries into paper bags perfectly while having a conversation with the customer.

Customers would revel in the relationships they built with those at the grocery store. They knew Joe the butcher, Sally the cashier, Bob the produce guy and Jim the grocery bagger. If you remember those days I’m sure you are smiling reading this right now knowing that distant memories will be stories you can tell your children and grand-children.

Some grocery store baggers would even pack the groceries into your trunk, my wife says. Brilliant idea! It must have been convenient for many people having the drive-thru grocery store pick-up window at A&P and Miracle Mart. She remembers not having to bring your groceries to the vehicle, rather having them packed into big bins painted with a number that would be set on a conveyor belt and rolled out a window to the outside.

You would then get a bin number and drive your car up to the front of the store and hand your numbers to the grocery bagger. Pop the trunk and that’s all you needed to do. He/she would pack all of your groceries into your trunk or back seat of your vehicle. Gone are those days, another dying breed being replaced by technology or integrated with other job roles.


Packing groceries

Packing groceries except for the rare stores like Zehrs and Metro and a few others have been replaced with self-checkouts or you pack it yourself. Even stores that do have grocery baggers have self-checkouts as well but I guess that’s just another way to balance expenses.

I’m guessing the idea would be that eliminating the job role of grocery baggers would help bring down prices on products for the customer. Grocery store job titles these days are still very much important to the average shopper and those who work in the grocery store because no matter what your role is your job affects the customers overall experience.

That doesn’t mean that just because a cashier who works behind a cash register won’t help you bag your groceries if the store doesn’t offer this service. I’ve seen cashiers help out just to move the line along, especially when the grocery store is jam-packed full of people.

Yesterday a cashier in No Frills was helping a woman in a scooter who asked for assistance to pack up her groceries even though she was capable to, but I heard her ask just so she could move the line faster. She knew that she wouldn’t have been able to get it done fast enough. Sometimes people can get right nasty because people don’t move at the same speed as them. Remember, not all ailments and disabilities are visible so show some respect for others.

I’m what my wife calls her ‘packing boy’, meaning that at no point will she ever pack (that’s OK she’s rubbish at it) so I’m left looking around for grocery boxes while she watches items get scanned. We always grocery shop together as we enjoy the experience. Some people bring their own bags when grocery shopping, we do as well. Most times we bring a mix of plastic shopping bags, re-usable shopping bags and since its summer an insulated shopping bag.

Just today while shopping at Zehrs we noticed that Chapman’s ice-cream was reduced to $0.99 and although the wife left her Chapman’s $5.00 off coupon at home it was still a bargain for 8 premium ice-cream bars that are regular priced $5.99. We hardly if ever buy ice-cream but since it was our last shop and we had our handy insulated bag we decided to go for it. We only went over to check out the garden centre only to find out it was closed for the season.

Since the summer months can get very humid we like to box our groceries because I can stack the boxes better in the vehicle rather than using plastic bags. I find it’s also much easier to pack in a box rather than a plastic bag. Not all places offer cardboard boxes so we will use plastic bags if they are not free. (The wife stashes them in her purse) Some people even put their own hand carry carts in the shopping trolley and fill it up as they shop around, another brilliant idea. Although I must say that it looks fishy when someone is stuffing products in bags as they shop.


Humidity and heat

Another trick we do when shopping in the summer is we bring the cooler with us filled with cold ice-packs. The reason for this is simply because it gets too hot and if we go to 2 or 3 stores it keeps our products nice and chilled until we get home. Some people will go to one shop then drive home and repeat throughout the week so they don’t have to worry about products melting. This is great but it also takes more time and gas. If your store price matches it’s probably ideal to take advantage of that in the summer as well to cut down on time.

Packing groceries I believe is an art and should be done properly. How many times have you gotten home to find your bread flat, eggs broken, meat juices all over your products and open boxes or bags? Do you know the person who just shoves it all in one bag and takes off in a rush? It makes me cringe at the potential money you could lose with damaged products. If you take a moment to learn how to pack groceries you will see that it’s not as difficult as you think.

I’m not a perfectionist but I try my best to keep things neat, tidy and organized properly when placing items in a bag or box. I try to keep my fruit and veg as well as meats packed well so they aren’t getting smashed about. I guess that’s the name of the game when packing groceries, don’t ruin the products and keep like products together. I don’t know how many times we have left our bags at home and we loathe paying for them so now the rule is to use them and put them back in the vehicle for the next shop.

Do you enjoy packing your own groceries or will you shop at a higher priced store to have them done for you?

Do you use cardboard boxes, plastic bags, re-usable bags or something different?

Do you miss having grocery baggers at certain grocery stores?

Do you remember the drive-thru grocery pick-up window?

July grocery game recap

If you missed grocery game posts for this month just click on the links below and post your shops in the comment section.


Grocery saving tips

Free Money Saving Downloads are 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 comparison list and much more all for FREE. I want to see you save money in your budget.

Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy

What’s In MrCBB's Shopping Cart

No Frills

  • Neilson 2% milk 4 litres $3.97
  • 2 x Tetley Tea Bags 144 Sale $3.87
  • 5pk Avocados Sale $2.45
  • 3lb carrots Sale $1.77
  • 3 x English cucumbers Sale $0.67 each
  • 5 x limes Sale 5/$1.00 but rang up 6/$1.00  $0.84
  • Bunch of Fresh Radish $0.77
  • 2pk of Romaine Hearts Sale $1.47

Total out-of-pocket $21.22


  • Chapman’s Dark Chocolate ice-cream bars Blowout reg $5.99 Sale $0.99

Total out-of-pocket $1.38


  • 3 x Extra Large Brown Eggs Reg $3.99 Sale $1.99
  • LU Chocolate Biscuits (for me) Reg $.399 sale $1.54 rang up $1.64= Scanning code of practice (SCOP) FREE
  • Old El Paso Kit- Free with Coupon $4.19

Total out-of-pocket $7.95

Food Basics

  • 2 x Delmonte Fruit Juice cartons reduced $0.99
  • 9 x March Angelo Turkey Sausages $4.49-30%
  • 2 x extra lean ground beef $5.06, $5.54- 30% -$4.00 old elpaso box
  • 2 x white mushrooms 227g Sale $0.88 each
  • Cheerios $4.49-FPC
  • Q-tips $3.99 Sale $2.99
  • 4 x Lactancia butter Sale $2.88 lb
  • Honey Garlic Sausages $3.51-30%
  • Portobello Mushrooms $4.49-$1.00
  • 4 x Lactancia Cream reg $3.99 Sale $2.49-$0.75
  • Tomatoes $2.55  $1.94 kg
  • 3 x Knorr Beef broth cubes reg $2.29 Sale $0.69
  • Old El Paso $4.17 -Free product coupon

Total out-of-pocket $68.86

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 July: $235.00- $52.25 (over-spend in June) = $182.75 to spend in July.
  • Total Coupons Used this Week : $20.65
  • Total Discounts this Week: $19.03
  • Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points Used: $0
  • Stockpile Budget: $20.00 Used $18.08+ $1.92 (sausages)=$20.00
  • Total Spent This Week: $99.41- $1.92 to stockpile= $97.49
  • Total Spent So Far for (July) No spend shop+$86.94+$97.49=$184.43- $182.75 (budgeted July)=$1.68 over
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $n/a
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month of  (July): $1.68 over
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $1.68 over for the month
  • Total Coupons Used This Month:$8.00+$20.65
  • Total to Carry Over Next Month: $1.68 overspend (so far)
  • Total Spent To Date This Year: $206.95 (Jan)+ $160.77 (Feb) + (March)$169.62 + (April)$397.74+(May) $155.68 + (June) $216.01=$1306.77
  • 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 only had $95.81 left to spend this week before I maxed out for the month of July. We spent $99.41 including the stockpile budget of $1.92 which means we are over for July by $1.68. We are over for the month again but we won’t need to shop for the next 2 weeks with all that we have now. Sometimes it’s worth it for us to pick up the meat when it’s reduced like it was this week than to pay full price the next month. We may need milk in the next 2 weeks but that’s about it. I’ll just have to keep working on getting the budget down or use it as part of next months stockpile budget.

Canadian coupons found in July

Grocery Game July 8-Canadian-Coupons-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 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.
  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. Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part 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.

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  1. Week 29

    Charmin $6.97
    Face Wash $6.97
    Frosted Flakes $4.58
    Brwn Sugar $1.88
    Green Onions $1.10
    3 x Pizzas $4.14
    Red Onions $3.66
    3 pk Peppers $3.50
    Dole Juice $2.68
    Gallon Milk $3.68

    Total Out of Pocket $39.58

    BBQ Sauce 3.48
    Hawaiian Punch 1.98
    Chicken Nuggets 1.98
    Tator Tots 4.48
    18ct Eggs 2.78

    Total Out of Pocket 17.82

    Total Grocery Amount Budgeted For the Year: $4000
    Total Grocery Budget for July: $270.88
    Total Coupons Used this Week:  $0.00
    Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: $0.00
    Total Spent This Week: $57.40
    Total Spent for July: $401.63
    Total Underspend this shop: -$24.19
    Total Overspend for the month of July: -$130.75
    Total Left to Spend for the Month: -$130.75
    Total Coupons Used This Month: $0.00
    Total to Carry Over Next Month: -$130.75
    Total Spent To Date This Year: $ $2,569.26

    1. Hi Dr.Sheba,
      I can’t get over the cost of bbq sauce at Walmart! With that brown sugar you buy, some tomatoes, vinegar and a few spices you can whip up a batch of homemade BBQ sauce in no time. I make my own for my pulled pork recipe in the crockpot. You can find all my recipes now in my free recipe index where all the recipes are on one page 🙂 I find the eggs are a great deal for you and I’d be stocking up but we eat loads of eggs here. What are your thoughts about your shops? I don’t see any comments and that is what I love to read. I want to know how you are feeling about what is happening with your shops. What you could have done better and where you plan to improve. You are doing amazing. I’m proud of you. Since you’ve started posting your shops, you’ve been gradually getting better.

  2. I shop for 2 adults and a 2 ½ year old boy. Our budget is $90/week or $360 for this month and includes laundry, health/beauty, etc.

    Skippy PB 5 x $4.97 – 50% pink stickers – $12.45
    Fibre 1 cereal 4 x $3.99 – 4 x FPC
    Cheerios $4.47 – FPC
    Twizzlers $2.00
    PC chocolate bar (like a Toblerone) $6.79 – 50% pink sticker – $3.40
    Cherry blossoms (chocolate – for my dad – his favourite) $3.78 – 50% pink sticker – $1.89
    Sunrype fruit source $6.99 – 50% pink sticker – $3.50 – $2.00 coupon
    Sunrype fruit to go $19.99 – 50% pink sticker – $10.00
    CD $5.38
    Coupons $22.43
    OOP $28.21

    Strawberries 2 x $1.97
    OOP $3.94

    Lindt chocolate bar $3.48 – 50% pink sticker – $1.74
    Trident gum 4 x $1.59 – 50% pink sticker – $3.20
    Extra gum 2 x $1.59 – 50% pink sticker – $1.60
    PC chocolate bar $2.99 – 50% pink sticker $1.50
    Potato thins 2 x $2.00 – 2 x $.50 coupon – 2 x $2.00 CO51
    CD $1.05
    Coupons $1.00
    OOP $10.89

    Doritos 2/$5.00 – $1.00 coupon
    Mini wheats (PM FC) 2 x $2.99 – 2 x $1.00 coupons
    Trident gum 2 x $1.49 – 50% pink sticker – $1.50
    Extra gum 3 x $1.59 – 50% pink sticker – $2.40
    Ziploc steam bags 8 x $3.49 – 50% pink stickers – $14.00
    Eggo mini’s $2.97 – FPC
    Natura soy beverage (PM SDM) 3 x $1.99 – 3 x $.50 coupons
    Eggless mayo $3.68
    Old El Paso taco kit 2 x $3.47 – 2 x FPC
    Barilla pasta (PM FB) 3 x $1.00 – 3 x $.75 coupons
    Goldfish (PM Target) 3 x $2.00
    Orville Redenbacher 10 pack light popcorn $7.67 – 50% pink sticker – $3.84
    Bread $2.17
    Janes chicken strips (PM NF) 2 x $4.88
    Cucumber (PM FC) $.77
    Strawberries 2lbs $4.48
    Romaine (PM FC) $.77
    Carrots $1.27
    Tomatoes (PM FC) $.48
    Bananas $1.39
    Dove colour care (PM WM) 2 x $2.97 – 2 x $3.00 coupons
    Secret deodorant 4 x $2.77 – 4 x $2.00 coupons
    Oral B toothbrush replacement heads (PM SDM) 2 x $19.99 – 2 x $3.00
    Magazine $2.99
    Tax free day $9.79
    CD $14.63
    Coupons $36.66
    OOP $91.32

    Total Grocery Amount Budgeted For the Year : $4,680 ($90/week)
    •Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $309.50 (I went over last month)
    •Total Coupons Used this Week : $60.09
    •Total Coupons Used This Month : $192.94
    • Total Coupons Used this Year: $1199.25
    • Total Checkout 51 rebates this week: $4.00
    • Total Checkout 51 rebates this month: $4.00
    • Total Checkout 51 rebates this year: $101.00
    • Total Colleague Discount (CD) this week: $21.06
    • Total Colleague Discount (CD) this month:$40.14
    • Total Colleague Discount (CD) this year: $339.70
    • Total SCOP this week: $0
    • Total SCOP this month: $0
    • Total SCOP this year: $3.41
    •Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: $0
    •Total Spent This Week: $134.36
    •Total Spent So Far for July: $291.81
    •Total Over/Under spend this shop: N/A
    •Total Over/Under spent for the month of July: N/A
    •Total Left to Spend for the Month: $17.69
    •Total to Carry over Next Month: I do not carry over to the next month.
    •Total Spent To Date This Year: $2354.74
    •Weekly overview: Well I thought I’d have no problem having $75 to spend each week for the last 2 weeks of the month but I did not foresee the awesome pink sticker deals I found this week. My RCSS had inventory so they cleared out a ton of stuff. I was able to stock up on stuff for home and bringing to daycare. Part of the reason why I went so far over too is because I bought 2 x toothbrush replacement heads and 8 x Ziploc steam bags which was almost $50. I will probably go over this month but maybe I can make up for it with a gift card or next month. I’m not too upset with myself because I got some great deals.

    1. Score on the PB I bet you were doing the PB dance in the aisle haha. My wife gave me one of those cherry blossoms when I first moved to Canada and watched me eat the entire thing. It’s sickly sweet but not that bad I guess. Holy pink stickers wow! Next time you get a smashing shop take a photo I want to see all your pretty pink stickers lol. Was the gum 4 packs or just 1 pack? Good deal on the Oral B as well as they cost a blinkin fortune. We use them as well and wait to find a good deal if we can. Lets see if you can make up for the overspends this month. That’s what happened to use 2 months ago now and it’s so hard to get back on track. Next year when you figure out your grocery budget now you know to factor in the toothbrush heads as well or have them as a PE so you save for them all year long along. 🙂 Keep at it! You get ballot 16

      1. lol I was excited for all the pink stickers especially the PB! The gum was 1 pack. Yes that is a fantastic price for Oral B toothbrush heads. Just finishing up some more posts…I’m not going to make it this month either 🙁

  3. Our weekly budget is $100 making this month $500.
    I am already over this month and again this week. I knew the wedding would eat into our budget so I knew we were gonna go over again. But happy to say we didn’t eat out while we were gone and was even able to share our goodies with those whom didn’t pack any drinks or snacks!
    $2 peppermint tea clearance
    $4.88 4L milk
    $6.88 total oop
    save on foods
    $4.99-fpc spaghetti sauce
    $1.39 sweet chili sauce
    $1.71-.75C coffee creamer
    .44×2 bath bombs clearance
    $3.25 total oop
    .75 total coupons
    $6 case of kraft dinner Raincheque
    $2.70 half dzn cheese bagels
    $8.70 total oop
    $1.09×2 chocolate bars
    $5..49-fpc fiber 1 cereal
    $1.99×2 chips
    .50×2 mini baguettes
    $5.99×6 cheese bricks
    $1 celery
    $3 green grapes
    .25×4 seaweed for sushi
    $1.12×2 1L choco milk
    .97 lrg sour cream
    .97 1lb strawberries
    $1.99 1lb blueberries
    $2.50×2-.50Cx2 special k bars
    $2.06, $2.16 chicken wings
    $3.56, $3.52-.50Cx2 Dijon chicken
    $1-$1C smuckers drizzle
    $1×5-.50Cx4 skinny cow chocolates
    $24.50-$5C assorted clearance items chocolates,coffee,granola bars,spices
    $95.40 total oop
    $15.49 total coupons

    $114.23 total weekly oop
    $21.23 total weekly coupons

    $336.99 total monthly oop
    $106.70 total monthly coupons

    Really hope to keep on budget this month!

    1. Hi Juanita,
      It looks like the cheese and snacks took over your budget this week, same happens to us when we load up on cheese too. I’m sure that you can make your budget this month if you want to although I know I need just as much motivation as everyone else, but that’s what we are here for to push us in the right direction. Keep up the good work, sometimes we fall but we get right back up again. Do you budget for weddings through the year in your budget as you are invited? You get ballot #13.

  4. Now for my shops for the week!!! You’ll be proud of me!!!! I snagged a couple of deals at Canadian Tire but everything else was at Foodland.

    Canadian Tire, July 14
    1 Purex laundry detergent- 8.99, 1.00 coupon
    1 Toilet Duck- 2.49, .50 coupon
    3 cases ginger ale @3.00- 9.00
    Total- $22.09

    Foodland, July 14
    3 cans pineapple@ 1.29- 3.87
    1 sandwich bags, 100 count- 1.29
    3 packs pasta @1.50- 4.50
    2 Power ade @1.66- 3.32
    bananas- .64
    1 pack Temptations- 1.79
    1 jar relish- 1.99
    1 bunch green onions- .67
    1 w/w bread- 2.49
    5lbs butter @2.97- 14.85
    1 raisin bread- 2.99
    1 doz eggs- 2.99
    1 yogurt 16pk- 3.99
    2 4l milk @4.79- 9.58
    1 pack smokes- 9.69
    1 pack chicken breasts- 10.29
    tax- 2.09
    Total- $77.03, no coupons

    Foodland, July 16, this was my salad run
    1 Powerade- 1.66
    1 cucumber- 1.99
    1 bunch dill- 1.99
    1 pack cole slaw- 1.99
    2 bunches green onions- 1.34
    1 pack green beans- 2.29
    1 w/w bread- 2.49
    1 pack yellow beans- 2.71
    2 lbs butter @ 2.97- 5.94
    tomatoes on vine-1.86
    1 green pepper- 1.59
    cold meat- ham-6.18
    cold meat- turkey- 6.35
    tax- .22
    Total- $38.60, no coupons

    Total grocery budget, month- $600.00, year- $7800.00
    Total coupons this week- 1.50
    Total spent this week- $137.72, under $12.28!!!
    Total spent for month- $148.07+$147.47+$137.72=$433.26
    Total over/under for week- $12.28
    Total over/under for month- NA
    Left for the month- $166.74
    Total coupons this month- $11.00+$7.75+$1.50=$20.25
    Total carry over to next month- $519.82
    Total YTD- J$818.08+F$598.07+M$770.12+A$938.07+M$650.13+J$876.78+J$433.26=$5084.51

    And there you have it… I came in under for the third week in a row!!! I think the hot weather helped as I had that shop where I was getting stuff for salads and such as it was so hot!!! Too hot to cook much of anything, especially as we don’t have A/C. I made up the cole slaw, bean salad, cucumber salad, macaroni salad….. no potato salad as I wasn’t about to pay six dollars and then some for a bag of potatoes!!!!The cold meat was pricey but that combined with some cheese slices stretched our salads. We had a cold dinner for lunch and dinner for three days!!!! All this meant I had to do some stocking up for this week but I’m managing so far. Yesterday I went to Canadian Tire, Foodland and Jackson’s getting grocery items and I still have plenty of room left in the budget!!! I’m so happy with this!!! If things cool down a little more I might even celebrate by baking a treat for all of us here and/or buy some ice cream…. There’s some pineapple slices in the pantry….and some apple sauce….. there’s a couple of ideas……. I’ll get back to you there!!!

    1. Hey Christine!
      I found the post…. you were right it was here waiting for some attention. Great deal on the pop, I bet you were just thrilled since you go through so much in your house. Do they have those coupons on them again this year? I see you loaded up on butter, I would have too it was a great deal. That’s lots of salads you made up wow, impressed. We have cold dinners and lunches all the time, it’s much easier for us or I just prep a protein on the bbq. You even managed to come in under budget this week too ya!! You have more than enough to kill the budget this month… that is if you are doing the 5 week with us instead of 4? How will you run your month? Keep up the great work Christine, I’m so proud of you. Ballot 12 Mr.CBB

  5. Packing grocery bags is definitely something I’m working on with with the boy! 🙂 He seems to think everything can go in until its full, but things like bananas and tomatoes get damaged at the bottom of bags. I sometime thinks he does the tomato thing purposely cause he hates it. 🙂

    I know its been awhile since I’ve posted my shop, but here is 2 weeks combined for July:

    Mom 20

    Flax seed 7.99
    Organic Greens 3.49
    Organic Spinach 3.49
    Cottage Cheese (x3) 11.63

    Total Coupons 0
    Total Out of Pocket 26.60

    Carrots (5lbs) 2.98
    Green peppers (x4) 1.48
    Yogurt (x2) 3.94
    Pop (x2) 2.77
    Chips (x2) 5.54

    Total Coupons
    Total Out of Pocket 16.71

    No Frills
    Avocado (x5) 2.00
    Broccoli 1.47
    Spring Mix 3.47

    Total Coupons
    Total Out of Pocket 6.94

    Chips 2.10
    Celery 1.00
    Cucumber 0.97
    Carrots 2.47
    Cherry Tomatoes 1.97
    Ritz 2.00
    Mushroom 1.47
    Dressing 1.57
    Hamburger buns (x2) 4.94
    Tomatoes 1.39
    Bananas 1.90
    Lettuce 0.97
    Burgers (x2) 19.94

    Total Coupons
    Total Out of Pocket 29.14

    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $200
    Total Coupons Used this Week : $0
    Total Checkout 51 rebates this week: $0
    Total Checkout 51 rebates this month: $0
    Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: $0
    Total Spent This Week: $99.39
    Total Spent So Far for July: $99.39
    Total Over/Under spend this shop: $0.61 under
    Total Over/Under spend for the month of July: $0.61 under
    Total Left to Spend for the Month: $100.61
    Total Coupons Used This Month: $0
    Total to Carry Over Next Month: n/a
    Total Spent to Date This Year: $1,095.86
    Weekly Overview:We will go over for July, but I decided to up it to $240 even though I’m still basing it on $200. Wishful thinking I guess. 🙂

    Have a great week Mr. CBB!

    1. Ya! Vicky is BACK!!
      We missed you mate, glad you are back. See what a bit of vacation does to you 🙂 You both have such a healthy shop all the time. I think picking up a treat is not a bad thing so when I see chips and everything else in your shop amazing food, I’m proud of you both. What do you use your Flax for? We ended up getting 3 free bags with the scanning code of practice in 2 different cities. Who knew they forgot to change prices in the system lol.SO far I put them in my Chickpea Coconut Flax chocolate chip cookies.. you must try that recipe, it’s so good.

      Well for 2 weeks shopping and under $100, I say good stuff. How is your eating out? Will you be trying to drop that category like you wanted to a bit?
      You get ballot #10

      1. Haha, it’s good to be back! We do pick up quite a bit of chips unfortunately, but the pop is usually only picked up when we are having guests.

        We use the flax seed in our smoothies, but 3 free bags is a pretty great deal! 🙂 When I know that there’s a SCOP available, I always feel the urge to go back and pick up another one, but then I end up feeling so guilty and walk out of the store. One of these days I might just do it though! 🙂 The cookies do look good; I don’t have any baking stuff at my place, so when I am at my parents, I may have give that recipe a try!

        Eating out is still a sensitive topic between the boy and I at the moment; it was his birthday this month, and we managed to “celebrate” it 4 different times. 3x was eating out socially (with either friends or my family etc) and one time I convinced him to do a bbq at home. His argument is that we are saving a high % of our earnings already, and we don’t ‘splurge’ on much else, so our eating out budget should be higher to accommodate that. You only live once, right? 🙂 It’s also the summer so it is a lot more social (we don’t get much of a summer in Calgary) and maybe it will tone itself down once the fall/winter comes again. But yes, it is STILL a work in progress for us. 🙂

        1. What I think is the past year is going to be the stepping stone to plan for next years budget. You can clearly see areas you need to improve or add more money to budget categories if you can. If you can’t then you know as well as me that you are spending more than you earn then. Work in progress is great but nip it in the bud if you get too ahead of yourselves, trust me on that one. Your boy loves his crisps lol…

  6. Week #3 of 5 – July 15-21, 2013


    •Total Grocery Budgeted For Year: $142.50 x 12 = $1,710.00 for 2 adults
    •Total Stockpile Budgeted For Year: $47.50 x 12 = $570.00 for 2 adults
    •Combined Grocery Budget for 2013: $190.00 x 12 = $2,280.00

    SAFEWAY US – Lynden, WA

    8 Diet Dr Pepper 2L ($15.92-Price Reduction $8.00) = $7.92
    2 – 28 oz Safeway Diced Tomatoes ($3.38-Price Red. $0.38) = $3.00
    2 – 28 oz Safeway Crushed Tomatoes ($3.38-Price Red. $0.38) = $3.00

    •Total Loyalty Card Price Reductions: $8.76
    • US Grocery OOP: $13.92

    FRANZ Bakery – Bellingham, WA

    4 Franz 7-Grain GF Bread @ $4.99 ea = $19.96
    3 Franz 7-Grain GF Hamburger Buns @ $4.99 ea = $14.97 << NEW
    1 Franz Cinnamon Raisin GF Bread @ $4.99 ea = $4.99 << NEW
    3 Cinnamon Raisin Bagels – six pack $5.50
    5 English Muffins – six pack $5.50
    3 Multigrain Bread @ 3 for $5.00
    1 large loaf Garlic French Bread with Parmesan Cheese = FREE
    2 loaves 9 Grains Bread = FREE
    1 loaf 24 Grains Bread = FREE
    1 pkg 100% Whole Wheat Hot Dog Buns (8 pack) = FREE
    1 pkg 100% Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns (8 pack) = FREE

    • US Grocery OOP: $55.92

    COSTCO US – Bellingham, WA

    2 x 2-pack Real Lemon Juice ($5.79 per 2 pack) = $11.58
    1 x 4lb box of butter = $7.49

    • US Grocery OOP: $19.07

    •Total Loyalty Card Price Reductions This Year:
    J$40.04+F$44.48+M$98.35+A$50.00+M$3.00+J$0.00+Jy$55.55= $291.42

    •Total Coupons Used This Year:
    J$60.46+F$0.00+M$11.79+A$12.48+M$1.50+J$54.54+Jy$ 42.16= $182.87

    •Total More Points Earned This Year:
    J265+F248+M151+A26+M0+J59+Jy7= 756 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year:
    J57+F10+M30+A83+M0+J161+Jy20 = 361 Air Miles

    •Total Grocery OOP Spent So Far This Year:
    J$217.50+F$198.39+M$72.90+A$215.04+M$70.12+J$49.97+Jy$114.23 = $938.15
    •Total YTD Grocery Budget So Far:
    J$190.00+F$190.00+M$108.79+A$142.50+M$142.50+J$50.00+Jy$110= $933.79
    •Total Over/Under on the YTD Grocery Budget: $4.36 OVER
    •Total Stockpile OOP Spent So Far This Year:
    J$0.00+Feb$0.00+M$81.21+A$77.55+M$17.45+J$82.86+Jy$79.24 = $338.31
    •Total YTD Stockpile Budget:
    J$0.00+Feb$0.00+M$81.21+A$47.50+M$47.50+J$82.86+Jy$30.00 = $289.07
    •Total Over/Under on the YTD Stockpile Budget: $49.24 OVER
    •Total 2013 Borscht Stockpile Budget:
    J$0.00+Feb$0.00+M$0.00+A$0.00+M$0.00+J$0.00+Jy$17.50 = $17.50 AVAILABLE
    •Total 2013 Borscht Stockpile Budget:
    J$0.00+Feb$0.00+M$0.00+A$0.00+M$0.00+J$120.00+Jy$32.50 = $152.50 AVAILABLE
    • TOTAL FUNDS SPENT IN 2013: $1,276.46


    I do love my US shopping trips! Can you tell?? Did you notice I got 4 loaves of bread and 2 packages of buns for my hubby for FREE! I also found a good deal on a soft drink he likes so he gets a wee surprise. ☺ I still have money left too!

    Next month I will transfer a week’s worth of grocery budget over to the US shopping so we have enough funds to shop with on the drive home from our vacation.



    Groceries: ($4.36)
    Stockpile: ($49.24)
    2013 BORSCHT: $152.50
    Safeway Gift card: $20.00
    Cash Hiding Spot: $18.65
    Re-Stocking Funds: $17.50

    Our Reserve: $165.89-$88.91= $76.98
    US Cash Hiding Spot: $65.00

    My current rain checks I hold are as follows:


    – 4 x small green salad @ $1 per bag (Good until July 26th)
    – 4 x bag of yellow onions @ $1 per bag (Good until July 26th)

    – 2 x Butcher’s Cut St. Louis style pork spareribs @ $7.99 per package (Good until Aug 30th)
    – 2 x Butcher’s Cut Thick Sliced Bacon @ 50% Off (Good until Sept 13th)
    – 2 x Coast to Coast Sausage Buns (8 per pack) @ $2.50 per package (Good until Sept 13th)
    – 3 dozen Lucerne Large Eggs @ $1.33 per dozen (Good until Sept 21st)
    – 3 x 170 g pkgs fresh raspberries for $5.00 (Good until Oct 1st)


    1. When you hit the bakery that is when I REALLY love reading your posts. When I see all that lovely FREE bread and the great deals you get I’m so proud of you. Great deal on the pop as well, I bet you were happy. The Real Lemon Juice was a good deal as well. We buy that as well for the times when lemons are far too expensive. Maybe I should get a lemon tree as well lol. That should be fun shopping on your way home from vacation. You might as well if you are already in the US. Well done Mary!! Impressed. You get ballot #11… Mr.CBB

      1. I was impressed that I managed to keep a good chunk of the US reserve for on the way home! I am usually so tempted by the huge variety of products that we don’t have here. The Mexican aisles just call to me… all those wonderful peppers, the fresh corn tortillas, the adobe sauce! I really need blinders!

        Better still is that we’ll be spending a weekend in Bellevue, WA in September, with a free award night from America Express, so I can skip the Whole Foods shopping on the return from our summer vacation. That’s usually so expensive because my eyes are bigger than my budget! LOL

        I have my grocery list already made up for our return trip & I should be able to manage to stay nicely on track then too. 🙂

        Getting the wheat-based products out of the kitchen is sure helping me know what I have and what I need. It really doesn’t matter if you know that you have GF elbow macaroni somewhere if you can’t find it because it’s buried under a ton of wheat based stuff. Only 2 more cupboards to go and then it’s off to work on the stockpile shelves in the garage!

        It’s been a nasty 6 months trying to walk with one foot in the wheat camp for hubby and one in the gluten free for myself. I have decided that I am just going to cook gluten free… there’s no point making 2 different versions anymore. Initially it’s expensive just pitching perfectly good food but if wheat isn’t good for me, it sure won’t do hubby any harm to have a little less of it in his diet. Perhaps we can make sure he never becomes gluten intolerant by lessening his exposure to the stuff because it’s sure no fun the kind of suffering I went thru & continue to face off and on when I am “glutened” accidentally in a restaurant despite my best efforts! 🙂

        Pitching the wheat supplies is also saving my sanity and lifting my mood as I am not constantly confronting products that I can’t have. Any change feels horrible for 90 days until it becomes a habit but the lag time on this change has been a lot longer. There is a real emotional component to what we eat, and this has been harder than any of my previous food choices like vegetarian and vegan meals. Once I got beyond the depression about having yet another chronic illness, the hardest part has been familiarizing myself with all new products…finding out what I enjoy, what is truly God awful (and there are a lot of those) and learning how to re-work our family favorites. The GGC has helped me work thru this process & I am ever so grateful! Remember when I blew the budget completely out of the water in February just trying to have something I could eat? Fortunately the initial period of panic has subsided. 😀

        I am very blessed, if I do happen to feel like having something that I just know is going to make me sicker than a dog… hubby is kind enough to take his little treat to the games room until he’s done. I have peanut butter filled pretzels and jelly beans in the snack cupboard right now for hubby and although I would love them too… it’s simply not worth being sick for a week. 🙁

        A lot of gluten free products are a lot higher in carbohydrates and calories than the wheat based counterparts. My next task in the dietary re-vamp is to re-work our meal plans to deal with the new figures… one slice of toast instead of two, open faced sandwiches with more salads to round out the plate. I am getting there but this truly is a journey and especially trying to stay on track while I am at it. I want to thank all the folks here at CBB for their support as I walk my new walk.

        1. It really does sound like you’ve both come a long way with all the dietary changes you have had to face. I agree that the smartest thing you did was to clear out the cupboards. There is no point keeping what you can’t have. I haven’t been to a grocery store in the USA but my wife has. She says the same as you, they have tonnes of products we don’t have in Canada. She likes the yogurt, sour cream in the USA. Maybe one day I will make it there.

  7. Looks like you guys picked up some great deals! I have really been saving money on ice cream because my new rule is I make homemade on the weekends and don’t drag any home for now…..we love stocking up on “Brats” and they are great when I am working because we just put them on the grill they thaw fast and I just serve up with some spinach and dollar wheat rolls. Week night dinners arent’ always fancy but they are good! I love soaking brats in beer prior to them hitting the grill!

  8. Oh, Mr. CBB! I really got a laugh out of “she’s rubbish at it.” Well, here in Texas, we still have grocery baggers. We don’t have to pay for our bags – they provide plastic and paper (if you ask). We use our own cotton bags and have four in each car. We too hate when we forget our bags, so this usually prevents it. They do offer to help you out to the car, but I told them I’m hoping I never need it.

    I was a cashier for several years and when we were first married as a second job. I packed groceries quite often then, and I pride myself on packing one helluva good bag. Now, I really wish they’d step aside and just let me do it because it really peeves me when they roll my apples down the belt and then bounce them in the bag.

    1. It’s funny you should mention that because many cashiers do pride themselves on the way they pack. It is an art and once good at it you can pack faster than a speeding bullet. I kind of liked the idea of the drive up grocery pick-up… too bad I wasn’t around to see it.

  9. My first job beyond babysitting was at the grocery store that had that bin and belt system where we loaded into bags, then into the bins and people drove up and some one unloaded the bags in to their vehicle….they don’t train them now I was trained then…..3 days training!!!! Including how to properly pack the groceries!!! Talk about full service!!Plus, as this was well before debit machines and such we were taught to do count back on the customers change, this was something I taught all my kids as they got jobs where they were handling money. As you know we are in a small town and the girls still pack the groceries for us for the most part. They do a pretty good job of it too….Your eggs are in here dear so be careful with this bag!! I have a couple of insulated bags as well that I take if I go out of town. If I’m packing my own I try to pack by where it will be unpacked, then I can unload the cold stuff quickly. This bag goes by the fridge, this one by the freezer and this one fired down towards the pantry. The boys are good about helping to unload the way I want. Hubby can be a little slow on the uptake, shall we say….. Told him to put a couple of heavy bags by the fridge so I can put the stuff away easily…..he puts them by the hinge side so I had to move them to open the door……My back was not happy with that…
    I have a number of the older style canvas bags for my groceries but I have also stocked up on the newer style bags. I love the canvas ones as they are so easy to wash if something leaks on me. They will be phased out as they wear out…. The others I have picked up in my travels… if I’m in a store and they ask if I want to buy a bag there I will so I have lots to use. I’ve used them as gift bags too for the two older kids when both lived elsewhere so they could use them to haul things back and forth from home. Also for my Dad and Uncle at Christmas so they can easily carry their gifts and some leftovers home with them.
    You were over just a tiny bit but you got some nice deals on the meat, ice cream and some other goodies. I’ve seen those biscuits you bought here but you had a much better price.I wish we got the No Frills flyer here…. I love the prices you are getting there!!!

    1. Of course I got a much better price on the biscuits, they were FREE lol… haha.. beat that! I think that bagging groceries is a dying art and eventually no one will do this service for us, not even the cashiers. We were a bit over, yes but I’ll make up for it. It’s hard to catch up once you’ve been over but it is possible.

  10. WOW Mr CBB… good shopping! I know what you mean about taking advantage of the sale when it’s there. It makes me crazy to pay more than I have to! Hubby is an amazing packer too! I just get out of the way and watch the register just like Mrs CBB.

    I am cleaning out the pantry of all the wheat products – 4 big lawn size garbage bags worth! I haven’t even started on my stockpile in the garage. 🙁 WOW…do I ever have a lot of dried beans and I have them all nicely sorted now… red beans, kidney beans, giant fava beans, fava beans, pinto beans, white beans, Great Northern beans, chick peas, lima beans, adzuki beans, green lentils, red lentils, green split peas, yellow split peas, and oodles of bags of 16 bean soup mix! Holy doodles!! I need to start cooking them up in the slow cooker. Expect to see more beans in the menu when we get back from our vacation… I am a little short on grains but I’ll deal with that later, I have enough for now. 🙂

    We aren’t shopping on the Canadian side of the border at all this week. Hubby bought us each a raspberry juice popsicle the other day from his spending money but that’s it. Oh it tasted good! I am still good for milk at the moment but that might be a small purchase before we leave.

    I was discussing with hubby what we actually NEED tomorrow from the US and it’s actually really pretty minimal because we leave on holidays in 2 weeks time & will shop on our way back home. So, I expect to post my GGC shops tomorrow night after I get back from the US. 😀

    1. My wife would have fun with all the beans you have. We have a good stockpile as well. We loaded up on them when they were on sale a long while ago but they keep so well. I just made.. wait for it.. a Greek Yogurt Stuffed Smoothie… mmmmmm. I wish I could check out the US like you both do but it always takes so bleedin long to get me over the border. Have fun shopping!!

      1. That smoothie sounds good! I have a little cantelope left in the fridge that I think I may just have to turn into a little cold soup for one. Hubby won’t eat “cold” soup but it’s 33 degrees here and a nice cold soup sounds good to me. 🙂

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