The Grocery Game Challenge Oct 14-20, 2013 #2 : Go on vacation and save on groceries

no shop week


Fly Away And Save


Unfortunately we didn’t fly away somewhere for vacation this week or book ourselves into an exotic resort.

We are on vacation though and not at home and it feels good to get away.

The good news is that we aren’t going near any grocery stores.

One of the hardest things for us to do this past week was trying to eat up all of the fruits and vegetables in our fridge.

When you go on vacation the last thing you want is food rotting in the fridge causing waste and costing you money. The process of rotting fruits and vegetables is called heat of respiration.

What happens is the more fruits and vegetables in your fridge the harder it is for your fridge to maintain its temperature.

Fruits and Vegetables in a controlled environment like your fridge will give off heat as they start to decompose, so not only will the produce spoil but you’ll be paying more to keep bad food if you don’t clear out the fridge.


Eat up


I think near the end of the week we had eaten so much fruit and vegetables that our 5 a day quota was more than met and our vitamin levels should be good for a while.

What we learned was that we shouldn’t buy so much food before we go on holidays. That way we won’t have to worry about having to eat it all up, and fast. A sure-fire way to save on groceries is to go on vacation because you simply don’t have to go into the grocery store for food to cook.

It’s been a bit since we’ve actually not gone into the grocery store for a full week so it will be a nice change for us and hopefully get us back on track with our no-shop weeks.

It seems like lately even on no-shop days that we are always running out of something so that means we need to work on better grocery planning so that doesn’t happen.

One of the number one items we run out of is milk but other than that if we can conquer keeping on top of making sure we are stocked on food we can keep the no-shop weeks going all year-long.

It’s important for us to balance how often we go into the grocery store because we find the more we shop the more money we spend especially if we didn’t intend to.

You and I have talked about why it’s important to take a step back from going to the grocery store so much and how it can cost you more money in your grocery budget even if you have the best of intentions.

You have all had the intention of going into the grocery store for one thing but come out with 10 so sometimes a grocery store vacation is the best way to save even if you don’t actually go on vacation.

This week we are on holidays and gone out of town for the week so no shopping for us.

There are some benefits to using up the food in the house, it certainly cleared out the fridge for us which left it easier to clean the inside. On the cleaning front, we also did the usual pre-leaving house cleaning, just in case burglars break in we want them to know that our house is clean and our stuff is worth stealing.

Clean items are easier to sell off once you’ve stolen them.

Once your ready to leave the house, for some reason I will do exactly what my parents used to do and check the locked door 3 or more times just in case it has suddenly become unlocked. What strange or unusual habits do you have when going on holidays or a well deserved break?

Do you use up everything in your refrigerator before you go on vacation?

Do you plan your grocery shop before you go on holiday so you don’t have food waste?


Grocery saving tips


Free Money Saving Downloads is 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.

NEW!! You can now download the Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel…… Grab it while you can… It’s FREE! We use it to budget.. check it out!


October Grocery Game Challenge Posts


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Food food and more food



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 October $235.00-$21.12 (overage September)= $213.88
  • 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: $0 Used $20.00 (ham)
  • Total Spent This Week: $0
  • Total Spent So Far for October $67.71
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $0
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month of (October): $0
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $146.17
  • Total Coupons Used This Month: $0
  • 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 + (September) $255.69 = $1980.64 (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: So far so good since we have not been in the grocery store this week.

Frequently Asked Questions



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 fans who post their grocery shop who live all over 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 products?


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.



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.


  • What is an FPC?


An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.



You can find all your store coupon policies here. If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.



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 t 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. This was my easy week as it was Thanksgiving and I had my turkey already. We had lots of turkey leftovers and there is stock and meat in the freezer now for at least 3 more meals!!! This is on top of 2 lunches and 4 dinners off that bird!!! There were a couple of good sales at Foodland I picked up too!!! All shops were there this week.
    Oct 11
    1 chocolate bar- .99
    1 jar pickles- 1.79
    2 raisin bread @2.49- 4.98
    4 lbs butter @2.88- 11.52
    2 doz eggs @2.88- 5.76
    1 cider mix- 2.99
    1 Oatmeal Crisp cereal- 3.99
    1 block cheese- 4.77
    1 jar Chez Whiz- 5.49, FPC from contest now finished- 0.00
    Tax- .52
    Total- $37.31, 5.49 coupon

    Oct 12
    bananas- .51
    1card popup timer for turkey- 1.99 (there are 2 timers to a card so I’m good fro Christmas too)
    1 turnip- 2.31
    1 pack dinner rolls- 2.49
    2lbs butter @2.88- 5.76
    2 4l milk @4.79- 9.58
    1 jug water- 5.49
    Tax- .26
    Total- $28.39

    Oct 16
    1 sauce- 1.28
    bananas- .93
    1 pasta sauce- 1.79
    1 Gatorade- 1.98
    2 frozen veggies 1.99- 3.98
    1 cider mix- 2.99
    1 bagels- 2.99
    1 W/W bread- 3.49
    2 Cheerios @3.99- 7.98
    1 yogurt- 4.49, 1.00 coupon
    1 block cheese- 4.77
    2 4l milk @4.79- 9.58
    1 case ginger ale- 5.78
    Tax- 1.40
    Total- $52.43, 1.00 coupon

    Total budget for month- $600.00
    Total budget for year- $7800.00
    Total coupons this week- $6.49
    Total spent this week- $118.13
    Total spent this month- $313.77
    Total over/under for week- Under- $31.87
    Total over/under for month- N/A
    Left for month- $286.23
    Total coupons/discounts for month- 7.50+6.49= $13.99
    Total carryover- $530.52
    Total YTD- J$818.08+F$598.07+M$770.12+A$938.07+M$650.13+J$876.78+J$734.75+A$625.95+S$800.56+O$313.77=$6586.28

    I was under for this week thanks to all those meals I got from the turkey. I even managed to do a little stocking up with the butter and cider mix. I still need to do more stocking up as meat is very low here. We don’t eat a whole lot of meat but still some, hubby and the boys love the meat so I try to get what I can as cheaply as I can. I don’t have a lot left for the month but I will work to get what is needed and keep the cost as low as I can. Another trip to No Frills is in the books… I will try but may not make it under the line… but I will be trying to keep it as low as possible!!!

    1. Hi Christine,
      Buying meat is the most expensive part of our budget so we are always on the hunt for reduced prices mainly on turkey sausages although we haven’t thought much to buying a whole turkey to cook for ourselves. You are doing well so far for the month and even though there are a couple more shops just stick to the plan and do the best you can. Keep at it.. you get ballot 13…well done Christine… Mr.CBB

  2. Our weekly budget is $100 making this month $500.
    .95×2 kidney beans
    $13.83 504 wipes
    $29.88-$10wubwipes&diapersCZ 210 mega pampers
    $37.30 total oop
    $10 total coupons
    $1 strawberry croissant
    .88×2 chocolate bars
    $1.80 2L egg nog – clearance
    $1.32×2 ginger ale 2L
    $7.45 total oop
    Save on foods – stacking
    $4.99×8 clear shampoo/conditioner
    $7.99×2-fpcx2 turkey back bacon
    $12.99 glad wax warmer(xmas gift)
    $1.99×16 crisco shortening
    $3.50×2 smuckers jam
    $8.49×2 melitta kcups(xmas gift)
    $4.60 total oop
    $121.96 total coupons

    $49.35 total weekly oop
    $131.96 total weekly coupons

    $248.77 total monthly oop
    $250.84 total monthly coupons

    Had an awesome week!! Glad to stock up on a few things, as I am looking to stock up enough to last a year or maybe more, and grab a few xmas gifts which I will keep picking up while I can still stack and get for almost free.
    But we gotta do a no shop week or close to it as possible next week because we have to save for our trip next weekend visiting the kids and well money was just really tight this week.

    1. Hey Juanita,
      Wow you are amazing when it comes to using coupons. I remember back in 2010 we used coupons like you do today but we hardly use them any more. It’s great to see that coupon use is still as strong as it was years ago. Keep up the awesome job…. and before you know it Christmas gifts will be done! You get ballot 11

  3. Hmm….i havent posted in quite some time! Thought i would try to get back in the game. The reason i haven’t posted since returning to work well besides lack of time is a complete life change. Myself and my husband decided to completely change our diet and lifestyle due to some health circumstances we were seeing our very good friends go through. We have recently changed to organic and free range which caused my previous budget of 125 to go out of whack as those are more expensive. I have finally managed to get a good handle on our budget which is why i would love to jump back on and join the game!! I now budget between 150 and 175 for a family of seven. (Myself, Hubby, 5 year old, almost two year old, 2 dogs and a cat!) So here goes!!

    October 14-20 2013
    Budget for the month: 700$
    october spending: 113.99+146.99+150.54=411.52
    left for october=288.48

    I will eventually get back into the proper format!!


    Raspberry lemonade 2.99×2=5.98
    tassimo iced tea disks 2.99-1.50=1.49 (awesome deal)
    organic raspberries 3.49
    organic pears 1.70
    organic fruit snacks 4.99
    organic grapes 7.08 (ouch i know :S)



    Country harvest bread 5.00 for two-2.50=2.50
    croutons 1.99
    chicken sauce 1.85
    24 water bottles 2.50
    fruitopia 1.29 (hubbys treat)
    pink lemonade 0.69
    fruit punch 1.38
    lactose free milk 8.49-1.00=7.49
    original organic soy milk 3.99
    organic vanilla soy milk 3.99
    organic ketchup 5.49
    kidney beans 2.49
    organic fusilli 2.49
    diced tomatoes 1.99
    fries 3.98
    pizza pops 2.50×2=5.00 (again hubbys treat….he doesnt completely stick to the organic way)
    fajita seasoning 1.49
    Noodles 2.67
    Chocolate chip cookies 3.99
    mozzarella cheese 5.99-0.75=5.24
    cheddar cheese 5.99-0.75=5.24
    salami 4.79
    whole wheat hamburger buns 2.50
    whole wheat tortillas 3.99
    whole wheat bread 2.50-1.25=1.25
    Presidents choice free from burgers 13.99
    bag of granny smith apples 6.99
    organic romaine hearts 4.99
    broccoli 2.50
    green peppers 0.84
    bananas 2.67
    baby food puches 3.00

    Weekly total =150.54

    so far this month i have been under budget. i was lucky a few weeks ago to score a ton of great priced meat at zehrs so i stocked up the freezer so haven’t had to buy much. by cutting out pop and most junk food we have been able to afford this change.

    Thanks so much!
    Glad to be back 🙂

    1. Hy Jo…
      Welcome back I was wondering where you have been. I’m happy to hear you have found a new budget and eating plan that suits your family lifestyle. In reviewing your grocery shop it’s clear to see why you would need to increase the budget but I have all the faith in you that you can keep up with this budget. I’m sure when I say we all look forward to reading your shops moving forward that I speak for everyone. You get ballot 10….. Mr.CBB

  4. yes we try to clear the fridge before we leave too! and i am the one who packs for both of us as well. and i can say it proudly that i have never forgotten anything at all! 😀

    i managed to go out shopping once this week, hopefully i can keep this up then i will be under0-budget to make it up for last month’s way over haha

    October 14-20, 2013
    Budget for 2 people + 3 pets: $250-134.54(over-budget from Sept)=$115.46
    October’s spending: 22.42+14.82+16.71=53.95
    October’s budget left: 115.46-22.42-14.82-16.71=61.53
    October’s coupon used: 0+78.72+5=83.72

    My shops for the last week: 16.71

    Giant Tiger total $16.71
    Eggs 18s PM FreshCo 2.97
    Lettuce 2.47
    Lactantia cream 4×1.97-4×0.75=4.88
    Bleach 2×2.00=4.00
    VH steamers 3.00-2.00=1.00
    HST 0.52

    1. Hey Wing,
      So you are saying you are in charge of all the packing then hahah… I can’t wait to see how your month turns out. After last month’s overage I want to know if you can get back on. I know it was tough for us but I’m sure you can make it back. Your shops were minimal at $16.71 so that’s good. It just means you don’t need much at home. Keep at it. You get ballot 3

  5. OCTOBER – Week #2 of 4 – October 14-20, 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



    I had planned to do some grocery shopping in the US this week but we have no room in the fridges! Now isn’t that a tough problem to have? LOL I pushed the shop back until the 27th and hopefully can make some room before then. I need to get rid of some of the extras that we have from our Thanksgiving celebration.

    We did find a few amazing sales here in Canada this week though and it was worth going over budget by $3.69 to get in on the sales. I mean look at the price of the potatoes and carrots! Even in the US I rarely get bread for Larry at 89 cents a loaf!

    It means that we’ll have two “No Shop” weeks here in Canada BUT one of those I will be shopping in the US. Really, it’s only the last week of October that’s a totally no shopping week…we will survive. LOL 😀



    Thrifty’s Foods – Maple Ridge

    1 x 10 lb Russet Potatoes $1.99
    2 x 5 lb Carrots $3.00
    3 loaves 60% WW Bread $2.67

    •Total OOP: $7.66

    • Grocery Budget OOP: $7.66
    • Stockpile Budget OOP: $0.00

    Safeway – Maple Ridge

    8 x large Avocadoes ($15.92 – $8.00 Coupon) = $7.92

    •Total OOP: $7.92

    • Grocery Budget OOP: $7.92
    • Stockpile Budget OOP: $0.00






    •Total Loyalty Card Price Reductions This Year:
    +Au$36.66+S$52.74+O($40.22+$4.50=$44.72)= $347.82

    •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= +Au($3.80)+S($38.57)+O($10.98+$3.00+$8.00=$21.98)= $247.22

    •Total More Points Earned This Year:
    901 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year:
    630 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 +Au$100.49+S$130.85+O($57.21+$17.26+$18.94+$2.98+$7.66+7.92)= $1,281.46

    •Total YTD Grocery Budget So Far:
    O($142.50-$12.50 to borscht = $130.00) = $1,277.77

    •Total Over/Under on the YTD Grocery Budget:
    $3.69 OVER



    •Total Stockpile OOP Spent So Far This Year:
    +Au$0.00+S$20.00+O$20.00= $378.31

    •Total YTD Stockpile Budget:
    O($47.50-$27.50 to restocking = $20.00) = $378.31

    •Total Over/Under YTD Stockpile Budget:
    $0.00 AVAILABLE



    •Total 2014 Re-Stocking Budget:
    J$0.00+Feb$0.00+M$0.00+A$0.00+M$0.00+J$0.00+Jy$17.50+Au $17.50 +S$27.50+O$27.50= $90.00 AVAILABLE



    •Total 2014 Borscht Stockpile Budget:
    Au$30.50+S$32.50+$O$12.50= $228.00 AVAILABLE


    • TOTAL FUNDS SPENT IN 2013: $1,659.77

    $1,900 is budgeted for JAN-OCT ‘2013 but with cash additions from recycled bottles, cash hiding spot money and repayments of funds owed to us…we increased our reserves to also have :

    $90.00 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $228.00 Borscht Fund

    Total $318.00



    CANADIAN $’s

    Groceries: ($3.69) << Woops!
    Stockpile: $0.00
    2014 BORSCHT: $228.00
    Cash Hiding Spot: $5.00
    Re-Stocking Funds: $90.00

    US $’s

    Our Reserve: $148.73
    US Cash Hiding Spot: $17.25


    The valid rain checks I hold are as follows:

    Thrifty Foods:

    4 China Lily Soya Sauce Refill bottles @$2.99 ea (Good until Nov 13th)


    4 Safeway Select Boneless Honey Hams @ $8.99 (Good until Nov 29th)
    4 Pantry Essentials 500g bacon @ $2.99 (Good until Dec 2nd)

    I have a Facebook coupon for Safeway's Butcher's Choice St. Louis Style @ $7.99 per pack that we are popping into the store off and on trying to get a rain check on but so far no luck. It's good until the 17th so we shall see if we luck out or not. 🙂


    1. Hi Mary,
      I’m like you when I see a good deal but I have to have somewhat of a plan like you do here. You will have 2 no shop weeks but one shop will be US so as long as the plan is in place it makes me feel better. I just don’t want to get stuck like that one month but it’s hard. I’m not sure about this weeks shop and how over we went but I’ll be working on that today. We might end up with no more shops for the month but we are fully stocked. You love your avocados like we do as well. How do you like to eat them the best? We just chop them up for salads or make guacamole once in a while. The potatoes and carrots were a great deal so I don’t blame you at all. How long would 10lbs of potatoes last Larry and yourself? For us it would take us the full month to get through. Keep at it.. you get ballot 7.

      1. I use 1/2 avocados as serving dishes for things like egg salad, chicken, salad, tuna salad… it makes a complete meal! I do like them in salad or on a BLTA or just plain sprinkled with a little salt. Guacamole is good too, but they always seem to find my mouth before I get that far! LOL 😀 Potatoes… well now that soup season is here… they’ll be gone within the month.

  6. I drive my husband crazy when we’re getting ready to go. He’s a spur of the moment kind of guy, I’m a planner. He thinks we should just throw a few things in a bag and go, if we’ve forgotten something, we’ll pick one up on the way, his focus is entirely on getting on the road. I always write lists and lists planning our packing and preparations. Depending on how long we’re going away, I like to have the perishable food used up before we go, the fridge wiped out, pantry straightened all in preparation for doing groceries upon return. I like to have the house clean and tidy before we walk out the door – generally I’m not in the mood for general housework after traveling and its nice to walk into a nice house. AND all the laundry has to be up to date – even if it means a few items go thru in a small load and then hiffed into the dryer as we leave. I know it probably sounds very OCD but I love coming home to an evening off from housework. If I’m a really smart cookie, I also organise an online grocery shop to be delivered either later the same day we get back or the next morning. AND always leave a bottle of wine in the fridge to enjoy to wind down after travelling.

    In my defence the first time I went away with my hubby, he decided we would go camping and to leave it all up to him. He forgot tent pegs, only packed one sleeping bag (his), canned food but no can opener, no torch. Of course, we arrived after dark so the no torch problem became very apparent very quickly. Eventually we decided to find alternative accommodation for the night BUT GUESS WHAT? He’d left his wallet behind.

  7. We also try to use up all our food before we go away on vacation. We leave for 7 months at a time, so we always have the pickles, condiments, and a few onions left…so we tell our kids if they want them, to help themselves.

    While on vacation, we housesit for others who are going away on vacation. They always tell us to use up any perishables, and to help ourselves to anything else. We just stick to the stuff that won’t last until they return home, like eggs,fruit and veggies.While we housesit, we have a portable pantry of food basics, and refill it as required.

  8. Enjoy your holiday!!! With the turkey I’m looking to keep groceries low this week as we enjoy all those yummy leftovers!
    You have your little habit when you go away… Hubby used to drive me nuts back when the kids were small and his parents still with us. Whether it was going for a couple of days to their place in St Catharines or the cottage up on Manitoulin , I was the one that had to get everything ready and load it all into the car as well as the kids loaded while he stood around getting underfoot. He would wait untilI had everything and everybody in the vehicle…..then he would decide he had to check the oil in the car. He’s known for days we were going, he stood there watching me get everything packed and loaded and once that was done he decides the oil needs checking… He couldn’t have done it in the couple of days before!!!!! Heaven forbid…that would make too much sense!!! I complained to his mother about it and, yes, his father did the same thing. Drove his mother just as nuts!!!! When we got home I was the one that would be unloading while he farted around in the way….again, like father like son….

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