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The grocery game challenge July 29-Aug 4, 2013 #5: Food samples



Free Food In Grocery Stores

Food samples are a great way for manufacturers to let you try a new food product or improved product right at the source. Getting free food doesn’t just stop at the grocery store because marketers use any way they can to reach out to the public.

Many companies will also offer you free product coupons (FPC) just as we used the last week to get the New Honey Nut Cheerios Hearty Oat Crunch which they marketed through a popular Canadian couponing website. If you like to get free things then you should keep your ears and eyes open because there’s always something up for grabs.

You’ve heard never go to the grocery store hungry because you are likely to spend more than your grocery budget allows. I can tell you from personal experience that yes that is correct. I like to think I have self-control but even at the best of times I get caught off-guard when I see a spectacular deal that I just can’t pass up.

Food samples

If you get cranky and your stomach is rumbling have no fear where there are free food sample displays there is free food and kids eat free too. One of our favourite grocery stores with free food samples hands down is Zehrs although Metro has been pretty good as well. I find most times it’s the higher end grocery stores where the products will get pushed the most when they first come out. That’s when most products, I find are at their highest price point as well.

It doesn’t matter what day of the week you can be sure that the deli has some form of deli-meat to try in the dome-shaped sample display at Zehrs. If you are lucky you will also find another sample stand filled with some amazing cheese and crackers. Sometimes it’s hard just to take one, but they want you to crave the product enough so you buy it, so they won’t care. Munch away.

Sampling booth

These free-standing sample displays for customers are a brilliant way to market to the masses without having to hire someone to do it or convince you to try it. So, if you were wondering how to get free food stop by the grocery store for a nibble, maybe even dessert like some pudding or a cup of fruity yogurt. If you’re lucky they might even have a free beverage sample on tap that day to wash it all down with, It’s like a full portion controlled meal while you grocery shop.

On the weekends is when you will find the hired help where sample booth employees ( I have no idea what the job role is called) hang out at a booth and serve up the special of the day. Sometimes you will see them with a little grill next to them with sausage smell permeating the air. You can’t help but wander over and ask what the smell is all about.

Marketing foods

It’s akin to when you go to the mall and you can smell the Kernels popcorn popping, saturating the air with butter and they have the free product samples on the counter. It’s a win-win to let customers sample products at the source. Kernels popcorn costs a fortune but after you try their double butter caramel popcorn they KNOW you will be hooked.

They’re ready with the scoop in hand for your instruction of bag size. (You’re laughing because you know it’s true) Then there is Laura Secord with those tiny chocolate samples that just melt in your mouth. Any retailer, any good retailer knows that they can capture a person by feeding them then offering them the product right there and then.

I was watching Breakfast Television the other morning  and one of the hosts was talking about a successful Mexican restaurant owner in Toronto that started out in a truck selling art. When someone bought something they would get a free taco with their order (odd I know, art and tacos) and now he has this restaurant in Toronto that is doing very well. What I wonder is if you get free art work with a taco purchase now?

Food speaks volumes to people and if they like it or better yet love it, they will buy it. That’s why I mix food and personal finance together, even though food is in the grocery budget people love food. That’s what it’s all about, a love of food to make the senses happy.

Selling you the product

I’ve yet to meet a male sampler employee but all the ladies have been very friendly with me. They will give you what I call a “product pitch” for what they have in the little cups in front of them. They will rally you to try the free samples and most times smile and nod at you as you chew it. Even if you hate it you do the same. Merchandisers will make sure there is a product display if applicable in reaching distance because they want you to inspect the packaging.

Once you have the product package in your hand, it’s as good as sold. The best part about free food samples is 99% of the time you will find coupons on the display counter top. If you don’t see any, ask because you never know what they have stashed away behind those booths. ( oh come on couponers you all know you’ve looked when no one was around haha)

Share your comments > > Would you wander over to get free samples of products to try if offered? Do you ask for a coupon? Does the free sample entice you to buy the product? 

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. This week grocery shop #5 is the last weeks shop for the month of July.

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

Food food and more food

What’s In MrCBB's Shopping Cart

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 : $0
  • Total Discounts this Week: $0
  • 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 (for the month)
  • Total Spent This Week: $0
  • 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 $0
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month of  (July): $ 53.08 over
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $0
  • 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+ (July) $235.83=$1542.60 (does not include stockpile budget)
  • 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: Well, we stuck to it this week with a no-shop week which leaves us over this month a grand total of $53.08. If you look at the monthly total it was actually $235.08 spent which means had we not worried about the overspend 2 months ago we would have just been over $0.08 this month.

That means in August we will have a total of $235.00- $53.08=$181.92 to spend plus our $20.00 stockpile budget. If we decide not to use the stockpile budget I will transfer that money to the grocery budget which will leave us  $201.92 to spend for the month. Either way you look at it, that’s the way it may end.

Canadian coupons found in July

ggc 5 july coupons

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. What is an FPC? An fpc is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Note: This post has a sponsored link.


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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.
    Heinz ketchup (PM NF) $2.88
    Miracle whip (PM NF) $2.88
    Club House seasoning (PM Sobey’s) $3.99
    Twizzlers $2.00
    Almond milk (PM SDM) 4 x $3.49 – 4 x $2.00 coupons
    Maxwell house coffee (PM Ample) 2 x $5.95
    PC mac & cheese 3 x $.88
    NN soya sauce $1.47
    Goldfish (PM FB) 2 x $1.99
    Deli Fresh (PM FB) 2 x $2.49
    Super squeezies $3.69 – FPC
    D’Italiano bread 2 x $3.19 – 50% pink stickers – $3.20
    Grapes (PM Ample) $1.90
    Strawberries (PM NF) $2.88
    Broccoli (PM NF) $.88
    Romaine $.99
    Oranges (PM WM) $3.19
    Bananas $1.05
    Coupons $11.69
    CD $5.49
    Gift cards used $35.00
    OOP $16.49

    Bulk Barn
    Chocolate chips $4.20
    Walnuts $10.11
    Rosebuds $1.95
    Coupons $3.00
    OOP $13.51

    Diet coke 6 pack bottles (PM Rexall) 3 x $1.99
    OOP $6.75

    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 : $14.69
    •Total Coupons Used This Month : $222.69
    • Total Coupons Used this Year: $1229.00
    • 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: $5.49
    • Total Colleague Discount (CD) this month:$50.51
    • Total Colleague Discount (CD) this year: $350.07
    • Total SCOP this week: $0
    • Total SCOP this month: $0
    • Total SCOP this year: $3.41
    •Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: $35.00
    •Total Spent This Week: $36.75
    •Total Spent So Far for July: $376.05
    •Total Over/Under spend this shop: N/A
    •Total Over/Under spent for the month of July: OVER $66.55
    •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: $2438.98
    •Weekly overview: Wow, I’m so disappointed in myself. In this post and the last post I’ve found receipts from weeks earlier that I’ve had to add in. Another bad month that I need to try to make up for now next month 
    Turkey gravy $1.24 – 50% pink sticker – $.62
    Vinegar $1.97
    Kraft dressing (PM Metro) $1.99
    Brown sugar $2.17
    Tide $15.95 – 50% pink sticker – $7.98 – $2.00 coupon
    Chapman’s lil sammies $2.00
    Milk $3.97
    Egg replacer $4.74 – 50% pink sticker – $2.37
    VH Asian sauce (PM FC) $2.00 – $2.00 wub2 coupon
    VH Garlic hosein $3.17 – 50% pink sticker – $1.59
    Mio 2 x $2.99
    Royale 12db rolls (PM WM) 2 x $3.97 – 2 x $1.00 coupons
    Deli Fresh (PM FC) 4 x $2.00 – $1.50 wub2 coupon
    Hummus $3.57 – $1.00 CO51
    Wonderbread 4 x $2.87 – 50% pink stickers – $5.76
    Chocolate croissant $1.19 (courtesy of going shopping hungry!)
    Mushrooms (PM FB) $.75
    Garlic $.58
    Watermelon (PM FB) $2.97
    Romaine $.99
    Green pepper (PM FB) $.84 (for 2)
    Tomato $.60
    Potatoes (PM WM) $2.97
    Bananas $1.47
    Exact makeup remover 4 x $2.99 – 50% pink stickers – $6.00
    Ombrelle kids sunscreen $10.17 – $3.00 coupon
    Garnier makeup remover 2 x $7.49 – 50% pink stickers – $7.50
    Coupons $10.50
    CO51 $1.00
    CD $9.64
    OOP $78.29

    Food Basics
    Distilled water 3 x $.99
    Cake $5.00 (bday cake for my MIL)
    OOP $7.97

    Demsters buns 2 x $2.00 – 2 x $.50 coupons – 2 x $1.00 CO51
    Coupons $1.00
    CO51 $2.00
    OOP $1.00

    Marshmallows $1.35
    MiO $2.99
    Pork chops club pack (PM NF) $11.61 (reg) $9.67 (after PM) – 30% pink sticker – $2.90=$6.77
    Striploin steaks (PM NF) $4.55 (was $9.81), $4.16 (was $8.96), $4.05 (was $8.69), $3.86 (was $8.23)
    CD $2.80
    CO51 $2.00 (for spending over $20 on VISA – a special offer only given to a certain amount of CO51 users)
    OOP $23.44

    Total Grocery Amount Budgeted For the Year : $4,680 ($90/week)
    •Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $450 (5 shopping weeks this month) – $66.85=$383.45 (I went over last month)
    •Total Coupons Used this Week : $11.50
    •Total Coupons Used This Month : $11.50
    • Total Coupons Used this Year: $1240.50
    • Total Checkout 51 rebates this week: $5.00
    • Total Checkout 51 rebates this month: $5.00
    • Total Checkout 51 rebates this year: $106.00
    • Total Colleague Discount (CD) this week: $12.44
    • Total Colleague Discount (CD) this month:$12.44
    • Total Colleague Discount (CD) this year: $362.51
    • 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: $110.70
    •Total Spent So Far for August: $110.70
    •Total Over/Under spend this shop: N/A
    •Total Over/Under spent for the month of August: N/A
    •Total Left to Spend for the Month: $272.75
    •Total to Carry over Next Month: I do not carry over to the next month.
    •Total Spent To Date This Year: $2549.68
    •Weekly overview: I really need to stay out of RCSS! I still need to get back on track. I’m hoping this will happen sooner than later!

    For week of July 29 to August 4
    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 : $26.19
    • Total Checkout 51 rebates this week: $5.00
    • Total Colleague Discount (CD) this week: $17.93
    • Total SCOP this week: $0
    •Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: $35.00
    •Total Spent This Week: $147.45
    •Total Over/Under spent for the week: OVER $57.45
    •Weekly overview: Brutal.

    1. Hey Jen,
      Don’t be dissapointed in yourself, just find a way to get organized with your receipts so it doesn’t happen again. I’ve done it before and that’s when we decided that the moment we got home we would put the receipts in our budget binder right away. You have some awesome sales here but like us you can go overboard and you have to try to control it. It’s not easy but we will work on ways to help each other out. Chin up! You get a ballot 21 for July and #1 for August!

  2. Here are this weeks shops, I had to pop into Stratford with the older boy to take some paperwork in to Services Canada, so we stopped in at No Frills on the way out of town. I didn`t have a loony for the carts so it was what the two of us could carry….

    Foodland, July 26
    2 Kraft bbq sauce @.99- 1.98
    bananas- .99
    1 box sandwich bags- 1.78
    1 jar unsweetened applesauce- 1.98
    1 bunch celery- 1.99
    1 pack raisins- 2.29
    1 bag frozen peas and carrots- 2.99
    1 doz eggs- 2.99
    2 packs hotdog buns@ 2.99- 5.98, .50 coupon
    2 raisin bread @2.99- 5.98, 2-.75 coupons
    1 soya sauce- 3.49
    2 pack Juicey Jumbos @3.50- 7.00, 1.50 coupon for weiners and buns
    1 Liberte yogurt- 3.69
    1 EB frozen fruit- 3.99, 1.00 coupon
    1 yoplait yogurt- 3.99, 2.00 coupon
    2 MG Cheerios @ 4.49- 8.98
    1 Oatmeal crisp cereal- 4.49
    2 4l milk @ 4.79- 9.58
    1 grated parmesan cheese- 4.80
    1 6pack Gatorade- 4. 99
    3 packs sausage@ 4.99, 50% off stickers- 14.97, 7.50 discount
    1 jug water- 5.49
    1 case Nestea- 5.99
    tax- .88
    Total- $97.28, $14.00 coupons and discounts

    No Frills, July 29
    6 tomato soup @2/3.00- 6.00
    2 GG frozen veggies @2.67- 5.34
    1 GG stir fry veggies- 2.97
    2 4l milk @3.97- 7.94
    1 10kg flour- 5.88
    1 6pack Powerade- 5.27
    1 Tetley teabags, 216 count- 9.27
    1 hamburger buns- 2.97
    bananas- .53
    2 packs peanuts @.88- 1.76
    tax- .91
    Total- $46.84

    Foodland, July 31
    1 Kraft cheese slices- 2.97
    1 jug water, refill- 3.45
    1 case gingerale – 5.78, 2.00 coupon
    tax- .75
    Total $10.95, 2.00 coupons

    Total budget for Month/year- $750.00/ $7800.00
    Total coupons/discounts this week- $16.00
    Total spent this week- $155.07
    Total for month- $148.07+$147.47+$137.72+$146.42+$155.07= $734.75
    Total over/under for week- over $5.07
    Total over/under for month- under $15.25!!!!!
    Left for month- NA
    Total coupons for month- $11.00+$7.75+$1.50+$4.50+$16.00= $40.75
    Total carry over to next month- $519.82-15.25= $504.30
    Total YTD- J$818.08+F$598.07+M$770.12+A$938.07+M$650.13+J$876.78+J$734.75=$10037.25

    So I went over by $5.00 this week but because I was under so far this month I managed to be under for the month!!! So that 15.25 was dropped on the overage to bring it down just a little. I think not getting a cart and just getting what the two of us could carry at NF helped as we were loaded down pretty good by the time we got to the till!! It’s not much but it is a start for me…. Now to keep it up… and I’m trying. I think the odd run into NF will help as their prices are good……

    1. A loonie for the carts? Really? We only have to use a quarter here. Wow.. I always find quarters in carts here so I wonder how many people actually leave a loonie in the carts where you live hahaha… I might have to make that a post! I also might talk about not getting a shopping cart vs a basket and how you can save.. good point! See you are all helping me out with posts. This is what I want. Keep up the great work and you had an excellent month, well done! High Five Christine!!! You get ballot 20

  3. Boy you have no idea how much better I feel when you went over this month as well; it is a lot harder to “participate” when you know you had a bad month. 🙂 I am finding there are less and less sales in July; did you find this for the summer months or is it just me?

    So this is my remaining month’s shop:

    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

    Mom 40.00

    Asian Store
    Shrimp (x2) 15.00
    Candy 2.82

    Total Coupons
    Total Out of Pocket 17.82

    Broccoli (x4) 4
    Honey 6.97
    Spaghetti 1.00
    Lime 0.25
    Mushroom 0.00

    Total Coupons
    Total Out of Pocket 12.22

    Bread 1.89

    Total Coupons
    Total Out of Pocket 1.89

    No Frills
    Cheese (x2 800 g) 15.76
    Yogurt 1.88
    Pickles 2.77
    Olives 1.37
    Olive Oil 4.97
    Tomato Sauce (x3) 2.25
    Banana 1.60
    Baby Spinach (x2) 5.76
    Spring Mix 2.88
    Mushroom 1.28
    Broccoli 0.88

    Total Coupons
    Total Out of Pocket 41.40

    Pita (x2) 2.96
    Pizza sauce (x2) 1.70
    Pepperoni 6.48
    Onions (10lbs) 4.96
    Hamburger buns 1.97
    Strawberries 2.99
    Blueberries 3.96

    Total Coupons
    Total Out of Pocket 25.02

    Flaxseed 5.49
    Chicken 8.39

    Total Coupons
    Total Out of Pocket 13.88

    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: $152.23
    Total Spent So Far for July: $251.62
    Total Over/Under spend this shop: $52.23 over
    Total Over/Under spend for the month of July: $51.62 over
    Total Left to Spend for the Month: $0
    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: I was able to SCOP some mushrooms at Walmart although the cashier had no idea what I was talking about. And boy mentioned that I apparently get a hop to my step whenever I get a SCOP. 😛

    In regards to samples; Costco is the worst!! Or the best. 🙂 They usually provide a lot of samples when you’re walking the aisles, and we definitely have bought some items that we tried. But I do enjoy free samples; who doesn’t? 🙂

    Have a great long weekend!

    1. Hey Vicky…
      You’re welcome that we went over too lol.. you’re funny! This was an awesome write-up thanks. I notice you shop like us just we don’t buy the chips. You don’t buy much in the way of pre-packaged foods. It’s the oils, sauces, etc that drive the prices of the budget as well as the cheese… you picked up quite a bit of cheese and cottage cheese. That’s stockpiling. If you skip when you get SCOP don’t worry many people do lol. We got 3 bags of FREE flax in 2 different cities..It’s their job to sort the prices out. So, how will you deal with the over spend this month? Keep up the good work… You get ballot 18

  4. I don’t do samples because of my food allergies. I often just say it smells wonderful but no thank you. We don’t eat a lot of processed foods anyways. They do smell so tempting that’s for sure!

  5. It’s always so hard to pass up when that get that grill out…makes the whole store smell really good. I will try the sample if it looks good (Trader Joe’s is my fave place for that) but it’s not something I’d usually buy (usually it’s a high calorie frozen goodie or expensive cheese). I just enjoy the sample and walk away.

  6. The farm and ranch store here has free popcorn on Sundays. You’d think people are starving how many show up (my husband and daughter included). Last week a couple brought bottles of water and sat at the sample table until they were full!

  7. Samples are a great marketing tool and my husband enjoys them. He snacks his way through Costco but it doesn’t affect our purchases because I’m the one doing the shopping and I control the debit card. 🙂 I rarely sample at the grocery store. Most of what’s on offer is convenience food or pre-made frozen meals that I won’t buy anyway. We rarely eat those foods, and then only if the ingredient list meets my very exacting standards. 🙂

    1. You won’t buy it nor try it but your husbands right in there. It’s interesting how the smells and the FREE appeals to many people, even those with no intention to buy it or never buys that type of food. It’s like a moment in time where they can try something to see what they are missing.

      1. It works for us because my guy has a deep fondness for all sorts of junk food-y things that he shouldn’t eat because of health problems, and that I don’t buy because of budget. Sampling lets him feel he’s getting a treat, and the samples are so small I figure that even if he eats the bad-for-you stuff, it won’t do him too much harm. 😉

  8. Hi Mr. CBB! Here is my shop for the past week.

    1 carrot $0.19
    2.69lb tomato $1.13
    celery bunch $0.55
    3.02lb onion $1.17
    3.2lb banana $0.55
    1lb lentils $1.03
    1lb black beans $0.49

    Weekly overview: Still emptying the stockpile as BF is away, not much to report!
    I learned to make black beans from scratch, they used to never come cooked enough or tasty enough, now they are ok, we have them almost every day for breakfast so that is quite a saving compared to a can of pureed black beans at $2 that goes bad fast.

    Total Grocery Budget for the Month:$200 $50 pw
    Total Coupons Used this Week : none
    Total Spent This Week:$ 5.11
    Total Spent So Far for (July): $117.29
    Total Over/Under spend this shop: $44.89 under.
    Total Over/Under spend for the month of (July): $82.41 under

    Total Left to Spend for the Month: $82.41
    Total Spent To Date This Year: $1,355.63 for two

    1. The black beans are so cheap, you are lucky. They are fairly cheap here as well but not as cheap as what you can get them for. Will you share your black bean recipe with me? I’d like to try it for breakfast as well. I tried to make it once but I don’t think it turned out right. In terms of protein, what do you eat? I think you bought a bunch of meat recently did you not? I’d say you had a stellar month and did very well. Do you find you are eating more or less now that you are training more? I run as well every single day but I don’t tend to eat too much, just enough.

      1. I let the black beans in water overnight. The water gets black, some people throw it away, I keep it and just put the beans over the fire. In the water I add 1/4 onion and some garlic cloves, some herbs (thyme, rosemary…) salt and pepper. Then I fry the rest of the onion in olive oil and pour it on the beans on the last 5 minutes so it gives taste but doesn’t get mushy. The beans had been cooking about 40 minutes, you have to taste them, when they are almost done put the onions. We have half a cup for breakfast, with eggs. Eggs are my proteins, I have lots of meat in the freezer but don’t feel like eating meat at the moment, I had chicken breast and jumbo shrimps this week too, and then lentils or beans keep me satisfied. Now I crave a burger so tomorrow is lean beef burger. About a month into training I ate like an ogre, not anymore, I guess my body got used to it. I lost 10lb.

        1. Thanks for sharing that Pauline!! It’s all about moderation and keeping fit even if it’s just walking. Like you I run every day and find I don’t eat too much but balance with my proteins and carbs the best I can.

  9. I don’t know if they have Costco in Canada but they are renown for their extensive samples. Many people build their lunch around them. 🙂 I can certainly see how stores use them to promote products and sell to hungry customers. And you are right – it’s typically the upscale grocery stores that have the most food samples. I never noticed that until you mentioned it.

    1. Yes they do have Costco here and I never thought to mention it because we don’t shop there. I do know they have samples because I’ve been once and the wife used to go with her siblings who hold memberships.

  10. I haven’t seen any of the sample feasts lately but I would go over and see what they were pushing this time. I definitely look for sale prices and/or coupons for the new product, both preferred. Years ago the old Staffen’s grocery store would have the sample thing going with a lot of product offering samples and we had neighbours that took the kids with them and planned on feeding the kids dinner there with all the samples. I’m OK with having samples but that is a bit excessive to me and it does take a slight advantage there. Much like coupons there are people that take advantage…. Oh and Staffen’s was a small independent company (2 stores) that was bought out by the Loblaw’s chain, eventually becoming our Independent Grocery Store….. I didn’t care to shop there then, and I still don’t care to shop there the prices being what they are and were.

    1. I’ve never heard of the place but I’m new around here lol. I think it’s great and I’ll go check it out. I don’t always eat the samples depending on what it is. Do you think that offering samples would entice you to buy?

      1. Staffen’s was bought out years ago by the Loblaws chain so its no longer around. I’m like you in that I don’t always try the sample. If it doesn’t appeal to me I won’t try it. I might look over what the sample is but I don’t necessarily buy the product whether I try it or not. If they want to give me a FPC I might be convinced to take some home with me but I’d still think about it first….

    2. Christine… my girlfriend in Sudbury has an Independent and she agrees… their prices are sky high!

      1. I know Mary, I was so excited that the No Frills opened in Stratford(15-20 minute drive) but we don’t get the flyer. I was told that is because we have the Independent store here so we are out of the distribution area for NF… The owner at the NF store came right out and said that the Independent is the high end store for the chain…. he’s trying to get us the flyers sent here…. I also emailed the head office and got nowhere fast…

  11. Week #5 of 5 – July 29-Aug 5, 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






    What can I say it’s another NO SHOP WEEK… we are still eating up the things we have in the fridge before we start our summer vacation.

    As the month of August begins part way through this week, I am taking this opportunity to make my transfers regarding the August budget.

    I am choosing to unplug while we are on vacation – hence the transfers now! I’ll have my iPad with me so I have my current reading material but I don’t have either 3G or 4G on it & the only time I will be online is after we have turned in for the evening … long after the “What’s for Dinner” feed is finished for the day.

    I’ll catch up on my GGC posts after I get back with a multi-week post & after I have caught up on my accounting backlog. It really doesn’t take long to pile up so I expect it’ll take me several days to get things back in good order!

    So… these are the transfers out of our $190 grocery budget allotted to August:

    – $43.60 to Stockpile to cover our overage
    – $47.50 to US Reserve re shopping on the way home
    – $17.50 to the Re-Stocking Reserve
    – $30.50 to Borscht Reserve so I have enough for the trip this month

    This is going to make for a really tight budget when we get back! We only have $50.90 CDN to cover the remaining 3 weeks of August and that includes the Labor Day Weekend. Thank goodness I don’t have to swing hubby’s birthday celebration out of this…it’ll be coming out of the September budget. Whew!

    That’s okay, I’ll be away again for a few days towards the end of the month (borscht run) & hubby will no doubt take the opportunity to have hot dogs, KD and pizza but I already have all of them in the fridge/freezer/pantry. Good planning on my part! LOL

    I’ll be going to Castlegar this year with my own food on board… it’s simply not worth me trying to eat out while I am on the road. All I really need is some fruit, vegetables, a couple cans of tuna, a few cheese slices and some gluten free bread. I’ll take my tea, kettle, a little Ziploc bag of Honey Nut Gluten Free Chex cereal with some nuts and dried fruit in the baggie for my snack material. A gluten reaction is no fun at the best of times but it’s REALLY no fun if you are trying to drive 6-7 hours a day for several days in a row. So, I’ll have 2 coolers on board… one for the borscht and pyrahi and the other for my gluten free meals.

    I do plan to stop for a lunch & a wee visit at my cousin’s restaurant in Grand Forks though and I will have a bowl of borscht there since they use my Aunt Lucille’s recipe & I am absolutely certain the soup is Gluten Free… mmmm! That’ll be my one & only hot meal while I am away. Guess what I will want when I get home?



    •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



    CANADIAN $’s

    Groceries: $50.90
    Stockpile: $0.00
    2013 BORSCHT: $183.00
    Safeway Gift card: $20.00
    Cash Hiding Spot: $28.65
    Re-Stocking Funds: $35.00

    US $’s

    Our Reserve: $124.48
    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. Oh.. it’s in my book.. I know I wrote it down don’t worry you have one.. it is 16 or 17.. I wrote it! I’m not in my office. I always make sure to write it the book first! 🙂 Thanks for checking and letting me know I forgot!

      1. No. I bet you would have a no shop week. Donna thought you’d find the need to buy at least one thing. LOL

      2. I was just doing my meal plan up to Labor Day Weekend and figuring out exactly what groceries I need to make it work without going over budget. Thank goodness for stockpiles! LOL 🙂

  12. I love these little food sample stands. I can’t resist going back with a hat on and a pair of sunglasses to try and sneak a second bite! Not easy to disguise yourself when you’re 6ft 5 though.

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