The Ultimate Canadian Grocery Savings Guide

The grocery game challenge #2 Sept 9-15, 2013: Why you should use the produce scale

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grocery-scale

It’s Worth It To Always Check Your Numbers

You can go in just about any of the grocery store chains in Canada including small markets or even organic grocery stores and you will likely find a produce scale or a grocery scale depending on what department you are shopping in.

Today I want to focus on the produce scale only because I happened to notice while grocery shopping on Friday in the midst of chaos because we went at the wrong time that not many people actually use the grocery scale at all. In fact we must have noticed only 2 or 3 people bother to weigh what grocery store products they were purchasing before pushing their grocery cart off to the next fruits and vegetables.

Normally we go shopping during the day if we can when it’s quiet but since I’m on vacation we thought we would battle the aisles with the Friday crowd when the new flyer specials came out for the week. Bad Idea!

When I was talking to my best friend this morning and he told me that he never looks at the price when things are sold by weight, only the final price. This got me thinking because it’s just not fruits and vegetables he was talking about. How many of you do the math when you buy a pack of ground meat or sausages that are sold by weight?

I’m betting many of you don’t have the time to sit there and figure it out nor do you carry a calculator in hand, although most cell phones have one built-in. The reality though is that many people are clueless when it comes to doing math or they simply don’t care like my friend but does that really help your grocery budget if you are guessing how much the fruit you just packed up will cost you at the cash or whether the math is correct on the pre-packaged meat you are purchasing.

I’ll be the first to say that yes I’ve done the math in the meat department many, many times. I’ve actually found an error on the pricing that way and it was a start the car moment but unless you did the math you would not know. It goes both ways here so even though the meat department might be using a meat scale with a printer they need to make sure they are putting in the correct data.

I’m pretty sure all the scales are regulated and checked but human error can cost the store money if it’s not caught by someone.  The same goes with our grocery budget and paying attention to pricing, especially when items are scanned incorrect and you can apply the scanning code of practice.

Food Basics produce section

Pay attention

Mindfulness when grocery shopping can be so difficult and to be honest shopping on Friday was so chaotic when we were walking out of the store we both looked at each other and said that there was no way we could look for deals let alone pull out our coupons when looking at the grocery store food. When we plan our grocery list we estimate how much of each product we will purchase if it is in the produce section. You will see that for the most part all the prices for each product are clearly labelled as in the photo above so taking note of the price is important.

If we have $20 to spend for the grocery shop and apples are on sale for $1.00 per pound and we only want 1 pound so around 454 grams we need to make sure we weigh the apples on the scale to make sure we don’t get more than we need or want so we don’t go over budget. The last thing you want to do is be like my friend (sorry mate) who finds out just how much he has in the bag and the cost at the cash.

If you really want to stick to a  grocery budget you will weigh your produce. I can’t see everyone being picky about the cost of meat and whether the numbers all match up but for those of us who do the math I’m sure at one point you were happy you did because you made a pricing discovery that was indeed an error on the meat department.

price per kg/lb conversion chart
price per kg/lb conversion chart

Food waste

Another thing to consider and we’ve talked about this before and it is food spoiling in your refrigerator because you didn’t get to it on time. If you are guessing how much you are purchasing you may find you are buying too much and are eating the same thing every day or you can’t keep up and it goes rotten and into the compost heap for your garden.

When you set your grocery budget and when you look through your flyers to build your shopping list and menu plan take notice of how much the price is, how much you can afford to buy and weigh it on the grocery store to see if you are dead on because the scales are well-marked so you don’t really have to guess the metric system in your head.

Do you weigh your fruits and vegetables and/or check the math on meat products that are pre-weighed and priced?

September grocery game recap

I will post the previous weeks grocery game here for ease of finding them each week if you need to go back and post your shops for the month.

Grocery saving tips

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Food food and more food

What’s In MrCBB's Shopping Cart

Freshco

  •  4 x watermelon Sale $2.00 ea
  • 4 x cucumber Sale $0.66 ea
  • Hellman’s Olive oil Mayo $3.00 Sale
  • Field Tomatoes $1.04
  • Romain hearts Sale $1.00
  • 3 x lemons $0.40 ea
  • Celery $1.00
  • Fennel/Anise Sale $1.99
  • Oranges $3.00
  • Ed Smith Pumpkin Puree $3.19
  • Dried apricots Sale $1.00

Total out-of-pocket $27.06

Zehrs

  • 4 x pumpernickel bread $3.00- pink sticker %50 off
  • 2 x Bernadine labels $0.25 ea
  • 8 x Bernadine Standard lids $0.25 ea
  • 2 x 454g mushrooms – %50 pink sticker $$3.68 reg price
  • 2 x Lined Paper $0.15 ea
  • Pack of sweet corn Sale $1.88
  • 2 x grapefruit $0.99 ea

Total out-of-pocket $16.70

Shoppers Drug Mart

  • Milk $3.97

Total out-of-pocket $3.97

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 September: $234.57  which is $235.00-$0.43 overspend in August
  • 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 $0
  • Total Spent This Week: $47.73
  • Total Spent So Far for September $
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop:  $0
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month of  (September): $ 0
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month:$107.82- $47.73= $60.09 left to spend in September
  • Total Coupons Used This Month:$n/a
  • Total to Carry Over Next Month: $0
  • 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 (August) $182.35=$1724.95 (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:We had a fairly good shop this week mainly picking up fruits and vegetables. I think we are on track for a successful September.

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.

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