Throwing Money Out The Window
That’s right, this post is about food waste from the consumer’s perspective, that’s me and from what we see in the grocery store or at least a bird’s-eye view. It’s not surprise when I read that Canada wastes an estimated 27 billion dollars worth of food every year making its way to compost landfills creating high levels of carbon and methane. I read this in a 2010 study by the Value Chain Management Centre in a 2010 review of Food Waste in Canada. What struck me while reading the report was the quote you will read below, although it’s not shocking at all.
Today I am here to say that the grocery store won and we lost the grocery game this month as we went over budget again trying to catch up for an overspend 2 months ago. We don’t feel we are throwing money out the window as we eat everything we buy but many considerations need to take place for us next year when it comes to our budget through what the 2013 year will have taught us.
Canadian retailers are unique in the extent to which they rely on price-oriented fliers as a primary marketing tool (Fearne, 2009). Fliers have the potential to encourage consumers to seek out deals and buy beyond their needs. An almost invariable outcome of this is that consumers place an overly high importance on price and buying in bulk, which then leads to increased waste (WRAP, 2010)
This month, was supposed to be the month we triumphed and put ourselves back on the grocery game challenge map but that did not happen. Last week just 3 weeks into a 5 week grocery game month we were already $1.68 over for the month. In my overview I mentioned we didn’t need anything further and that we would likely not shop for the rest of the month.
In the back of my head I knew there was potential to buy milk, which we clearly did but what I didn’t anticipate was the pink sticker, reduced product effect of going in to buy milk. I know I’ve talked about going into the grocery store and getting what we need and getting out. We’ve been pretty good at that since but we noticed that it really sucks when you are over budget and you want to spend, and you shouldn’t but then you do it anyways.
We need a slap on the wrist because we need to pull it together. The report above was right, those weekly grocery flyers elude us into the store by offering amazing deals on the front and back covers. They entice us to step foot into the store even if that means we buy more food or stockpile more food than we need. This means we potentially end up with too much and for some people this food gets wasted eventually due to lack of meal planning, forgetting to eat it, going out to eat and the food rots and eventually ends in the bin or compost.
The reduced rack
The grocery store doesn’t want food waste either, especially if they can ring in a few extra bucks by reducing the product by 50% like most Presidents Choice/Loblaw’s stores do or offer a blow-out or reduction in price. It’s better for the store to re-coup as much money as they can rather to toss the food in the waste bin. The reason this happens is because they either purchased too much product, it was overpriced; people aren’t interested in it so it’s not moving or they are not familiar with the brand.
Just recently we’ve seen quite a bit of PC Black products on for 50% off or they were reducing prices likely because the product wasn’t moving. There is only so long a product can sit without being loved by a consumer. Something has to give and most times, it’s price.
We are now seeing the commercials pop up and I’m pretty sure I noticed a truck with the PC Black label on the trailer. These are all marketing ploys to reach the public in hopes they don’t have to waste the entire precious product they’ve produced. It really does work though. To be honest, I’ve tried the PC Black products and they are very good, although pricey.
Other reasons for waste may simply be short cycle times or products that waste easily such as fruits and vegetables especially if they’ve already spent weeks being transported from one part of the world to Canada. I’m sure tonnes of food gets put into waste at the grocery store and likely another reason dumpster divers will take a chance to jump in if they see the opportunity presenting itself, legal or illegal. There’s no stopping someone who is hungry.
One of the reasons we shop the reduced rack at the grocery store is to not only cut back on our grocery budget but to help stop so much food getting tossed in the garbage. Most times there is not much wrong with the food but there are plenty of people who wouldn’t be caught dead buying reduced products. Some get ill just thinking about it but I can assure you I am alive and well typing this post and have never had a problem with it.
Why households waste food
The reduction of food waste is important to me because there are so many people in Canada that are starving and wondering where their next meal is going to come from. Realistically, this is not only a problem in Canada but in many places around the world. We all could learn a lesson from food waste and how to combat trashing good eats when we don’t need to. Most times if you follow my grocery game posts it’s the reduced items that end up pushing our grocery budget over the edge.
If you know where to look, shop grocery stores that offer deep discounts instead of automatically throwing food in the waste. One of our favourite stores is any Loblaw’s store because of those pretty pink stickers, and they know they work. The work so well that now they have to put a black mark through them as some genius person(s) were peeling them off and using them on any product they like. Some people sure do know how to ruin a good thing.
If we make it easy, someone is bound to take advantage of it. Now, if only we could approach our finances that way. Take something relatively straight-forward like putting a budget together and put it to work for us. Not only is the pink colour of the sticker eye-catching consumer’s love 50% off so it’s a win-win for the consumer and the grocery store.
We struggle when we see such great deals like we did on the ricotta cheese today. We won’t ever pay full price for ricotta so when we find it for 50% off it’s hard to say no. Most food waste according to the Food Waste In Canada report states it comes from the consumer level, so that’s you and me.
The only way I can think about how to save us from creating food waste is to eat the food we buy and plan our meals. There’s no two ways around it and if we want to help ourselves and the environment then we must do our part, if even to cut back on our grocery budget. One of my food waste recipes that I make is throw it all into a pot and create a meal. If we have a bunch of vegetables that are looking a little limp in the refrigerator we use them up to create a meal.
You can add leftovers from the night before to switch-it-up so you don’t feel as if you are eating yesterday’s meal twice. If we have fruits that seem like they are getting too soft we toss them in the blender and make smoothies with them. Bananas we peel and freezer for future use in a smoothie or banana bread. We don’t have to automatically throw everything in the garbage just because it’s not as fresh as the day it was picked.
What to do with food waste?
Obviously we aren’t eating food scraps like peelings or bones so what we do is compost it. I have a compost bin that was in our back garden when we bought the house. It wasn’t in use so I cleaned it out and now every year I have black as your hat compost that is full of nutrients and goodness. If you must waste food at least compost it and put it back into to the ground to help grow your garden.
What are we going to do in order to stop food waste in our household?
Leftovers for some people are just not appetizing and they end up in the garbage. It doesn’t matter if you are cooking for a large group or yourself if you can’t stomach eating leftovers you are bound to waste that food. Cooking smaller meals and preparing meals in advance would help eliminate the food waste problem if this is happening to you. You will also notice that you aren’t spending as much money on food if you are wasting less and eating all that you buy.
How do you prevent food waste and do you buy reduced products at the grocery store?
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.
- The Grocery Game Challenge July 1-7, 2013 #1 – Clean Out Your Refrigerator
- The Grocery Game Challenge July 8-14, 2013 #2- Out of Stock, Get a Rain Check
- The Grocery Game Challenge July 15-21, 2013 #3- Packing groceries
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
- Let Your Coupons Expire And Save Money
- Welfare Food Challenge $26 Per Week In The Grocery Budget
- What A No-Shop Week Really Means
- Should You Buy It Now Or Buy It Later?
- Stock Up On Items When You Can
- The Cost Of Organic Food
- What Foods You Should Not Eat and Organic Gardening
- Knowing Your Prices Is The Key To Saving Money In The Grocery Budget
- Product Price Adjustments Don’t Miss The Savings
- Scanning Code of Practice In Canada (SCOP)
- How To Start Saving Money On Groceries In Canada?
- How Much Should My Grocery Budget Be?
- Top Ten Ways To Cut Your Grocery Budget
- Meal Planning For The Budget
- The Grocery Game Challenge and Our Grocery Budget
- Grocery Budget Saving Tips
- Food Shopping On A Budget
- How To Grocery Shop
- Grocery Store Self-Scanners
- Food and Vegetable Preparation
- Best Time To Grocery Shop
- Organic Food Costs
- Why Shopping Hungry Is Not A Smart Idea
- Are We Eating Too Much Food?
- Discount Days and Rewards Programs
- Getting Back On Track With Food Budgeting
- Why You Should Ignore Your Grocery Flyers
- The Low-GI Diet and Your Budget
- How To Track Grocery Expenses
- Comparing Prices With a Price Comparison List
- Why Too Much Salt Is Not Good For Us
- Shopping More Than Once Per Week
Shoppers Drug Mart
- 3 x Danone Creamy Yogurt Vanilla/Strawberry 750 g tubs Sale 2/$4.00 (one had a managers coupon $0.50)- $5.00 coupon = $0.99 for all 3 🙂
Total out-of-pocket $0.99
- 1 x Parmala Milk 2% Sale $3.97
- Loose Garlic $1.49 (3pks were mouldy be careful of that and check always)
- fresh ginger $0.65
- Breakfast sausages all reduced $3.52- $1.06, 3.04- $0.91, 2.97- $0.89
- Package of limes reduced $1.29
- Reduced plums $1.19
- Reduced Fennel x2 $0.99
- 6 x blueberries fresh Sale $1.44
- Portobello Mushrooms Reg $4.49- reduced $2.00
Total out-of-pocket $26.37
- 1 x PC Ricotta 454g $5.49-50%
- 3 x Salerno Ricotta 454g Reg $4.99-50%
- 2 x Tre Stelle Bocconcini mozzarella balls REg $5.99 Sale $3.99-$0.60 coupon on container
- 1x Glade Clean Linen $2.99-FPC=FREE
Total out-of-pocket $16.98
- Almonds Reg $10.99 lb Sale $5.19 lb $11.05-$3.00 coupon when you spend $10
Total out-of-pocket $8.05
2 x Fibre one and Nature Valley protein bars – $3.33 and $3.34- FPC= FREE
Total out-of-pocket $0
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 : $
- Total Discounts this Week: $
- 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: $51.40
- Total Spent So Far for (July) No spend shop+$86.94+$97.49=$184.43- $182.75 (budgeted July)=$1.68 over + $51.40 = $53.08 over for the month of July
- Total Over/Under spend this shop: over $53.08
- Total Over/Under spend for the month of (July): $ 53.08 over
- Total Left to Spend for the Month: $53.08 over for the month
- Total Coupons Used This Month:$8.00+$20.65+$12.87= $41.52
- Total to Carry Over Next Month: $ 53.08 overspend
- 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: Like I mentioned above we will not step foot in the grocery store for the rest of the month. After reading about why people are stockpiling and about food waste we will work even harder to win this fight.
Canadian coupons found in July
The Glade coupons below came in the mail this week.
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.
- 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 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.
- Where can I find Canadian Coupons? Here are your latest Coupon Match-ups of the week including Checkout 51 from 25 Newspaper Inserts around Canada compliments of Save Big Live Better that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge.
- 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.
- 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 ‘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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