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The grocery game challenge July 22-28,2013 # 4 : About food waste in Canada


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.

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

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

Food Basics

  • 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

Bulk Barn

  • 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. 

  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 ‘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. 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.

    Hershey’s chocolate bar $1.99
    Reese mini’s $1.09 – 50% pink sticker – $.55
    Twizzlers $2.00
    Oh Henry snack pack $2.00
    Milk $3.97
    Graham crackers $2.47
    Magazine $2.99
    CD $1.60
    OOP $15.47

    Oh Henry 2 x $1.00
    Hershey bar $.69
    OOP $3.05

    Reese mini’s $1.09 – 50% pink sticker – $.55
    M&M’s 2 x $1.09 – 2 x FPC
    Smarties super box 4 x $1.49 – 50% pink stickers – $3.00
    Aero bar $1.00 – 50% pink sticker – $.50
    Extra gum $1.59 – 50% pink sticker $.80
    Natura soy milk (PM SDM) 2 x $1.99 – 2 x $.50 coupons
    Nutrigrain bars 4 x $1.97 – 50% pink stickers – $3.96 (came with pins for a $5 gas card)
    Fibre 1 bars $4.34 – 50% pink sticker – $2.17
    Firbre 1 protein 2 x $2.97 – 2 x FPC
    Nature Valley protein 2 x $2.97 – 2 x FPC
    Pringles 4 x $1.47 – 50% pink stickers – $2.96
    Bananas $1.03
    Coupons $15.06
    CD $3.28
    OOP $17.33

    Eggs $3.00
    OOP $3.00

    No Frills
    Beef patties 3 x $2.88
    OOP $8.64

    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 : $15.06
    •Total Coupons Used This Month : $208.00
    • Total Coupons Used this Year: $1214.31
    • Total Checkout 51 rebates this week: $0
    • Total Checkout 51 rebates this month: $0
    • Total Checkout 51 rebates this year: $101.00
    • Total Colleague Discount (CD) this week: $4.88
    • Total Colleague Discount (CD) this month:$45.02
    • Total Colleague Discount (CD) this year: $344.58
    • 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: $47.49
    •Total Spent So Far for July: $339.30
    •Total Over/Under spend this shop: N/A
    •Total Over/Under spent for the month of July: $29.80
    •Total Left to Spend for the Month: $0
    •Total to Carry over Next Month: I do not carry over to the next month.
    •Total Spent To Date This Year: $2402.23
    •Weekly overview: Bah! I’m pink sticker out of control!!! I’m going to be over again this month! I’m going to go slap myself on the hands now 

    1. OK… you have more chocolate than the chocolate factory. You’re going to chocolate rehab….. lol. The pink stickers have been good to you I see. Time to grab that control though and don’t you worry, I know how hard it is with pink stickers. You get ballot 19 Jen.. and you’re in the corner! HA!

  2. Week 30

    Ackee $8.99

    Total Out of Pocket $8.99

    Garlic Toast $2.42
    Thin Spaghetti $2.88
    Dasani $1.48
    Tomato Sauce $0.88
    Tomato Paste $0.56
    Green Bell Pepper $0.78
    Funyuns $0.42
    Diced Tomato $1.68

    Total Out of Pocket $11.10

    Gallon of Milk $3.68
    Mixed Vegetables $1.98
    Corn $0.98
    Turkey Slices $4.98
    Sliced Cheese 24ct $2.88
    Dole Juice $2.68
    Mayonnaise Light $3.98
    4pk Tuna $3.72
    Glass Cleaner $0.97

    Total Out of Pocket $25.91

    Bounty Paper twl $5.97
    18ct Eggs $2.78
    Bag of Limes $3.98

    Total Out of Pocket $13.09

    Frosted Flakes $3.88
    Coffee $4.98
    Creamer $2.89
    Ice Cream Sandwich $2.97
    Reeses Cereal $3.98
    Gallon Milk $3.68
    Kids Toothpaste $1.97

    Total Out of Pocket $24.47

    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: $83.56
    Total Spent for July: $485.19
    Total Underspend this shop: $- -$83.56
    Total Overspend for the month of July: -$214.31
    Total Left to Spend for the Month: -$214.31
    Total Coupons Used This Month: $0.00
    Total to Carry Over Next Month: -$214.31
    Total Spent To Date This Year: $ $2,652.82

    1. Hi Dr.Sheba!
      I see you bought garlic toast. It’s so easy to make that at home for a fraction of the cost I’d consider trying it out. Butter, garlic mix, spread on thick toast and bake…yum!!! You did excellent this shop and some of the prices are much better since you are starting to go to Walmart more. If you can save some cash you must do it where you can. Knowing the best prices is crucial to the success of your budget.Keep up the good work.

  3. Our weekly budget is $100 a week making this month $500.
    Happy to report we had a good week and had we skipped shopping today it would have been better, but I’m back to work tomorrow and don’t want to run errands after work especially considering how much pain my leg is causing me!
    .99 iceberg lettuce
    .39 3 roma tomatoes
    .77×2 long English cucumber
    $2.99 1 pint raspberries
    .63×2 1L pop
    $2.69 cornmeal
    $9.90 total oop
    $1.07 iced tea
    $7.04 24pk water
    $8.40 total oop
    $3.59 premium plus crackers
    $6.49 2.5dzn xl eggs
    $7.89 provolone cheese
    $12.59 feta cheese tub
    $30.56 total oop
    $3.99 munchies nuts
    $4.65 5 granny smith apples
    $1.19 broccoli
    .99 field cucumber
    $11.02 total oop
    H&W Produce
    .29 2 roma tomatoes
    .95 mushrooms
    $1.37 3 green peppers
    $1.79 snap peas
    $1.99 4pk red peppers
    $6.39 total oop
    $2×2 goldfish crackers
    $4 total oop

    $70.27 total weekly oop
    Didn’t use one coupon this week!!!!! Not sure if that has ever happened before!

    $407.26 total monthly oop
    $106.70 total monthly coupons

    Still have some money left for this month and I’m very happy about that! I am planning a little stacking trip to save on foods this week and hope it is a gooder since I missed out on free pasta last week because of my leg.

    1. Hi Juanita,
      Sorry to hear about the pain in your leg. I hope you have a low pain day and that it eases up for you. What do you make with your cornmeal? How much feta do you get in your tub? We’ve been buying the 1kg of feta for $13.99 by Krinos at Food Basics. It’s traditional and not the crap plastic feta that the cheaper brands offer. You got a great price but it depends on weight. There is also the premium Krinos feta 1kg which will run you much more and I found that at Metro. No coupons OMG! You know what the same thing started happening to us. We went from $500 a month in coupons to using hardly any because we are stocked up on health and beauty and cleaning for years to come… that’s why you never see it in our budget. We don’t need it. It was all bought when the coupon boom of 2010-2011 hit and started to dwindle when that tv show came on and everyone got involved. Keep up the good work…. you did awesome!!! There is still the 5th week for this months GGC which will be out tomorrow. You get ballot 17

  4. There were some sales around this week so I went to the local drug store and Canadian tire as well as Foodland for the deals. Hear tell Canadian Tire is having a hard look at their coupon policies so I might have a talk with the manager and see what’s up and get back to everyone on that issue. I was told they have had problems with the printed coupons and we have a new owner at our store here.

    Canadian Tire, July 19
    1 Method hand soap- 5.69
    2 Dawn dish soap@ 2.09- 4.18, $1.00 coupon WYB2
    1 Downey- 8.29, .50 coupon
    tax- 2.36
    Total- $19.02, 1.50 coupons, saved $3.40

    Jackson’s Pharmacy,July 19
    4 Gator Ade@ 1.25- 5.00
    1 newspaper- 1.00
    tax- .70
    Total- $6.70

    Foodland, July 19
    1 frozen berry punch- .88
    2 pasta @1.25- 2.50
    1 unsweetened apple sauce- 1.98
    1 jug vinegar- 2.68
    3 cases pop @2.97- 8.91
    1 package sausage- 2.99
    1 VH sauce- 2.99, 1.00 coupon
    1 container bread crumbs- 3.29
    2 raisin bread @3.49- 6.98
    2 W/W bread @ 3.49- 6.98
    1 AG frozen veggies- 3.49, 2.00 coupon
    2 MG Cheerios @4.49- 8.98
    1 bottle mayo style dressing- 4.49
    1 4l milk- 4.79
    10 lb bag potatoes- 4.99
    1 pork tenderloin- 6.84
    1 Folgers coffee- 6.99
    tax- 1.16
    Total- $78.91, 3.00 coupons

    Foodland, July 21
    bananas- .58
    1 box sandwich bags-1.78
    1 jar pickles- 1.79
    2 W/W bread @2.29- 4.58
    1 case ginger ale- 2.97
    1 cranberry cocktail- 2.98
    1 package sausage- 2.99
    1 jug water(had to refill myself)- 3.45
    1 raisin bread- 3.49
    1 yogurt- 3.99
    2 4l milk @ 4.79- 9.58
    tax- .62
    Total- $41.79, no coupons

    Total budget for year- $7800.00
    Total budget for month- $750.00 (5 weeks)
    Total coupons this week- 4.50
    Total spent this week- $146.42
    Total spent this month- $148.07+$147.47+$137.72+$146.42=$579.68
    Total over/under for week- under $3.58
    Total over/under for month-NA
    Left for month- $170.32
    Total coupons for month- $11.00+$7.75+$1.50+$4.50=$24.75
    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$579.68= $5230.93

    That this is a 5 week month threw me. Sort of. When I figured out the numbers in Jan. I worked with the figure of $150.00 a week and just multiplied that by 52. It’s the first year of doing this so I know better for next year. It is a learning process for sure. But so far I am under for the month!!! If this was a 4 week month, right now I would be under $20.00!!! That is so good for me. If I can keep it up some of that nasty carry over will get worked down. It looks good to do that. Might have turned a corner on this part of the budget which would be very nice….I will be trying very hard to get as far under this month as I can for sure. That gift card earlier in the month did help big time!!! Now I just need to keep it up….

    1. Hi Christine,
      Maybe we can challenge each other for the month of August because I need a jolt to get back on track. It’s been so hard and I really do hope others see that anyone can fall behind and it’s difficult for anyone. This is going to be the month for us. The good thing about the GGC is that it is a learning process so next year you can sort out your budget according to what you learned this year. Keep me in the loop about the printed coupons and Canadian Tire. IT doesn’t surprise me though as some people get a bit carried away sometimes or they alter printed coupons to get better sales or free stuff. It just hurts everyone when they do that. Keep up the great work you get ballot 15

  5. Mr CBB… you and I both have Stockpile Budgets but what about adding a small Pink Sticker Fund to your budget? If you don’t see amazing discounts one week, hold the funds over for next week. If you do see Pink Sticker Discounts… you at least know exactly how much you can “afford” to take advantage of the discounts without killing the rest of your grocery shop.

    I find that if I have no Stockpile Reserve left for the month, it really does moderate how much I stock up on sale items when I know it will be at the expense of my perishables.

    Maybe $10 a week from your grocery budget could be redirected to your Pink Stickers? $40-$50 for a month would give you lots of wiggle room when the discounts are there to be had. What do you think?

  6. In my experience, the best way to stay on budget is to stay out of the store. I know it sounds simple, but its the only way for me. If my budget is gone, I bring exactly $3.50 into the store and leave my purse in the car. I would only get that milk and nothing else because I only had $3.50 on me. I spoil my family with food an honestly myself too! Roast beef or a special cheese or fruits, I’m so guilty of that!

    1. You are right. I’ve written about staying out of the store. The problem is we don’t use cash lol and that is how easy it is to overspend using a credit card. I might have to try your way to see if it helps out next time. Thanks Cynthia!

  7. Mr. CBB! Sorry the store won, but you and the Mrs. put up one hell of a fight! Tammy already mentioned our grocery list and although it is not nearly as fun as your grocery game, it has been 100% effective in preventing food waste without making dining a total bore. May you beat the store next time with their own celery sticks and matzo balls!

  8. Oh and another thing I looked into was ways of preserving food in the fridge longer – I learnt that if you wrap celery in tin foil it doesn’t go limp as quick and another trick is that if you put banana’s into an airtight container and in the fridge they don’t go black as quick. Alas, with teens I go thru a lot of banana’s.

    AND Cindy at 365 less things recommends putting a picture at the back of the fridge, if you can’t see the picture you have too much stuff in the fridge and your chances of wasting food go right up.

  9. I undertook a challenge for 3 months at the start of the year to waste no food and it was challenging but it changed the way I run my kitchen now. Especially as Jan-Mar are our hottest months here in New Zealand and so there was higher than usual guests = left overs. I learnt to google “what to do with left over (insert food name)?” to be an invaluable tool. I learnt to change the quantities I cooked of particular meals – some were popular as 2nd night re-heats, some are not. I also looked at what quantities I bought particular food items in, for example, pineapple. I used to buy it in family size cans but always had left over in the fridge which unless I had a specific plan to use it…..would get wasted. Although economically it is the darer way to buy pineapple, I now buy it in smaller cans which seem to be the right size for the meals I use it in.

    Grocery shopping – I have tried a lot of different methods this year to get our monthly grocery bill on budget. I have used set menus, online grocery shopping, shopping in person with set shopping list, working out quantities required of each particular item each month and grabbing them as ‘sale price’ items in the quantities to see us thru the next 2-3 weeks, heck I’ve walked around the supermarket using my cellphone’s calculator toting up the price as we go. Some methods worked better than others – and not necessarily the obvious method worked best. At the moment I’m starting to trial something that I find quite scary but after last month’s grocery budget blow out of nearly $400, I’m in grocery budget vigilante mode – I withdrew our week’s grocery money cash and its in an envelope. As it gets used, receipts get put into the envelope. I’m going to trial this for a month. Have never grocery shopped without the security of an eft pos card or visa card so this is quite nerve wrecking for me.

    I also have a blank month’s calendar printed out and I note on it my main grocery shops but as I have to go back for stuff, I’m writing the product and amount on the calendar, have been doing this for a couple of months so I can figure out what seems to be the common theme and what alternates would there have been if I’d had time to figure it out.

    I enjoy your grocery posts – same problem here on the other side of the world. Of course, having teenagers in the house doesn’t help the grocery budget but it is what it is.

    1. Hey Moni!!
      I would love to have you join our grocery game for the month while you trial this out! I would love to see your shops, how you handled them and what your next steps would be. If I can motivate you to post, I’d be thrilled! I think it’s brilliant of you to try different methods to find out what works for you. If you need any assistance let me know and I”m here to help you out. CBB

  10. Hi Mr. CBB! Here is my shop for the past 2 weeks.

    pork skin, liver, 2lb ribs, 2lb pork filet $14.66
    10 gallon water $4
    4 avocados $2.8
    2.77lb banana $0.46
    2kg detergent $2.46
    window cleaning spray $1.6
    1 gallon chlorine $2

    Weekly overview: 2 weeks actually. Almost a no shop 2 weeks, BF is away so I am going through the stockpile haha. I had a vegetarian friend over so didn’t eat meat for 10 days, didn’t miss it. We eat meat almost every day with BF and I was tired of it so it was a welcome break. The workers killed a pig and sold BF some pig skin, ribs, and liver before he left. The new maid loves to use cleaning products. That’s it!

    Total Grocery Budget for the Month:$200 $50 pw
    Total Coupons Used this Week : none
    Total Spent This Week:$ 27.98
    Total Spent So Far for (July): $112.18
    Total Over/Under spend this shop: $72.02 under *2 weeks.
    Total Over/Under spend for the month of (July): $37.82 under

    Total Left to Spend for the Month: $87.82
    Total Spent To Date This Year: $1,350.52 for two

    1. Hey Pauline,
      We had a girl here from Germany 2 summers ago and she was vegetarian. We decided while she was here that we would do the same that way we didn’t have to cook 2 meals or complicate things. By the time she left we wanted a big juicy burger so bad we could taste it lol. Good for you going though your stockpile like that. Sometimes we tend to keep adding but not eating it up, thus potentially wasting money if it goes off. Do you have washing machines? DO you hang all your clothes to dry or do you have a clothes dryer too? There is one more week left in the month for July and I’m guessing you should have no problems sticking to the budget this month. It will be interesting to see how you make out in August!!! Cheers Pauline and thanks for sharing.

      1. I have a washer and a dryer, her name is Raquel, or Pauline when Raquel is off haha. The girl comes 3 times a week now, for 3-4 hours so it is more than enough to wash the clothes, then she leaves them to dry, I put them back in if it rains, otherwise leave them for her next shift. It is easier than trying to maintain a washing machine in the middle of the jungle, last time the fridge broke it cost $100 to get the repair man there.

  11. I just realized this is a 5 week month….. not good. We are always getting milk so a no shop week won’t last long here. I don’t see much in reduced goodies across the street but I do find bananas on occasion and then they go in the freezer for banana bread. I’m hoping for some good sales next month as retailers get ready for back to school and have baking supplies on sale, I’m good for sugars but getting very low of flour… heaven forbid!!! Pumpkins should show up soon too…..yummy….Nothing beats fresh baked goodies around here!! Can’t wait for things to cool down enough to bake!!!!!
    You did get some nice deals, I can’t fault you on the reduced goodies as I would love to find a few of those myself!!You tried to come in within the budget as do we all. Some months are harder than others….
    The biggest problem I have for wasting food is some one not eating what is made for the meal….the boys will eat what ever you put in front of them, they may not care much for it but they will eat it. It’s food….the sole criteria for a meal here. I have yet to figure out how some one who was the 4th of 5 kids got away with being such a picky eater………..but he has always been like that…..go figure. His mother was a good cook so I have no idea there……but it drives me around the bend!!!

    1. There was no room for picky eater in my house growing up, eat it or not. This catching up is hard but like paying down a credit card or any debts if we want it we have to buckle down and do it. The one thing I want everyone to know is we are just like everyone else, we make mistakes and we have to sort them out. That’s the way the world works. Thanks Christine.

  12. Week #4 of 5 – July 22-28, 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






    •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:
    Jy$114.36 = $938.15

    •Total Over/Under on the YTD Grocery Budget: $0.00 FLAT



    •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$35.64 = $294.71

    •Total Over/Under on the YTD Stockpile Budget: $43.60 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



    The next door neighbor paid me $15 cash for some butter I bought her so I am contributing $4.36 of it to the Canadian grocery budget to get that back a zero balance, $5.64 is being applied to the Stockpile budget to reduce my overage a little and $5.00 was applied to the Cash Hiding Spot… I feel better when I have at least $25 tucked away.

    Next month I plan to transfer a week’s worth of grocery budget $47.50 over to the US Reserve so we have enough funds to shop with on the drive home from our vacation and I will be also be transferring another $30.50 to the Borscht Fund and $17.50 to the Re-Stocking Fund. August is sure going be a tight month so I’ll need AT LEAST one “no shop” week into the mix to make it work!!!

    Summer vacation is coming up fast now for us and we’re all about using up everything in the fridge before we go. It makes for some creative meals at our house.

    I had rain checks at Thrifty’s for green salads and bags of yellow onions that will expire this week, but I won’t be able to use them before we go… so expire they must. Oh well.



    CANADIAN $’s

    Groceries: $0.00
    Stockpile: ($43.60)
    2013 BORSCHT: $152.50
    Safeway Gift card: $20.00
    Cash Hiding Spot: $28.65
    Re-Stocking Funds: $17.50

    US $’s

    Our Reserve: $76.98
    US Cash Hiding Spot: $65.00


    The valid rain checks I hold are as follows:


    – 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. Hi Mary!
      I know what you mean about having a bit tucked away. You are both smart to eat as much as you have in the house instead of buying more food. When you are gone you can stop off like you want in the US and stock up on more when you come back. How much are you allowed to bring back from the USA when you go there? I often get asked this but I don’t know the answers or anything about shopping in the USA.You get ballot 14. CBB

      1. Here is the link Mr CBB:

        Since we’ll be away more than 48 hours, we are each entitled to bring $800 worth of goods each. And as shopping in Portland is tax free, it would be the place to shop if you actually NEEDED something.

        We’ll no doubt pick up a few groceries when we get closer to home as we’ll have a night in Bellevue on the way back. I just have to have some of Goldberg’s cabbage rolls!

  13. You already know how I feel about food waste. 🙂 In our small household these things work best for us:
    -Don’t make a weekly menu. Plan a day or two ahead at most and make your meals based upon what you have on hand.
    -ALWAYS shop your fridge, pantry, and freezer first before deciding to go to the store.
    -Buy less perishable food than you think you need. It’s better to have to substitute another ingredient or omit an ingredient altogether than to throw rotting food in the trash.
    -Use tonight’s supper to make tomorrow’s lunch, tomorrow’s supper, and maybe supper the day after too by changing it up with additional new veggies and spices.
    -Don’t overlook stuff you wouldn’t normally use: radish leaves, turnip greens, broccoli stems, the stems from your cabbages, all have good flavour and can be incorporated into dishes.
    -Be adventurous. Some things can be used in unexpected ways: Potato skins can be fried in oil and salted to be served instead of traditional chips. That less than perfect lettuce can be braised, or layered into casseroles. Cooked radishes are amazing! Look around for new ways to use what you have.
    -Don’t throw even the peels or bones out until you’ve extracted every single ounce of flavour and nutrition from them. Scrub those veggies before you peel them and save those bones, carcasses and meat trimmings. Make stock, THEN put them on the compost.

    1. So I can use the radish leaves, crap the wife was right. I bought radishes last week and she asked me about them. How do you prepare them? We do just about everything you mention above Beth and it has worked out for us. We never waste anything if we can help it. My wife is the worst about waste as it drives her nuts.

      1. It depends upon the condition of the leaves Mr. CBB. If they’re nice and fresh and not too ragged, they’ll find their way into a salad or I’ll use them as garnish on a sandwich. I’ve also used them in pesto and, of course, if they’re sad looking you can always give them a good wash and then drop them in the stock pot.

        Here’s a good post from The Kitchn about them, with some recipe links.

  14. The pink stickers are killers. I’ve been tempted and bought things I wasn’t planning if I run across a good deal, especially on meats. I guess if you will use it and it will freeze, it’s not a bad idea but if it’s going to spoil before you eat it, it’s no good no matter what the discount is.

  15. Hello CBB! We only buy what we eat and never have leftovers. I know this may sound strange, but it’s true. We automated our grocery list, and we eat the same thing Monday through Thursday. No extra bananas because we buy 14 a week. No extra hummus because we only make enough for four dinners. Boiled eggs, same thing. I would love to reduce our non-food garbage too, so any helpful hints there would be great! Thank you for your ever-helpful posts!

      1. Why yes, CBB! I would be happy to guest post how we shop. I am looking around and see the best place to connect with you is FB which I am not on. Please email me if you get a chance, and we can set up a date!

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