The Grocery Game Challenge Dec 2-8, 2013 #1: How often do you go shopping for groceries?

grocery-shop-dairy-section-CanadaSHOPPING FOR GROCERIES WHEN YOU NEED THEM


How often do you like to go shopping for groceries every month?

Supermarket shopping is one of the most tedious of all shopping trips for many people but it doesn’t have to be that way as long as you know what you are going in for.

A sample shopping list for us each week would include vegetables, protein, grains, dairy and then other things such as spices and flavourings for our food.

If you are a smart grocery shopper you know that you don’t have to buy the cheapest groceries or all processed foods for less just to fit a tight grocery budget either.

When I lived in the UK it was not uncommon for me to go shopping 2-3 times per week at the grocery store.

If you are sticking to a grocery budget and wondering what to get at the grocery store you don’t need to have a cheap shopping list as some might call it just to save money.

Some people find they save money if they shop more than once per week because they can find more reduced items or pink sticker items rather than leaving it to chance the one day they shop.

You may find that shopping more than once per week saves you money because your vegetables and fruits are always fresh and will get eaten up rather than waste in the refrigerator.

Sometimes what happens is that we might buy too much food and struggle to get through it all. So an extra trip to the grocery store might not be such a bad idea.

Now we try to buy groceries for a week and hope that we make it through until the next grocery shop or until the grocery money runs out. Some months we spend more than our grocery budget but sticking to it has been pretty easy this year except for the odd few times but we learned catching up can be difficult.

If we were to make a second or even third trip for more shopping it might be for items we run short on like milk or eggs. Back home, at least in my kitchen my refrigerator was the size of what you might call a beer fridge.

Needless to say I didn’t have much room for anything although I made it work as do many Brits and in my case I had no choice. Although I was a frugal shopper saving grocery money wasn’t a top priority as I really didn’t have the space to go overboard but what I realize now is those second and third shops all add up. My parents had a full size refrigerator because they had the space in their kitchen but not everyone does.

I remember when I came to Canada I was in awe how big my wife’s refrigerator was and how much she could fit in it. Even though I wasn’t really food shopping on a budget in the UK since I didn’t use a grocery budget at the time I still had watch my money and how much I was buying because I simply didn’t have the space.

I had to make sure that my grocery list worked for me in the sense that meal prep was easy to create with what I purchased each week. I was a creature of habit back then and loved cereal, milk, tortellini, pasta sauce, vegetables, sausages, fresh mozzarella, sardines, baking products ie: flour, yeast etc. and lots of yogurt.

These products were priced fair in my opinion for the most part but packed lots of punch for me because it kept me full and eating enough servings from all the food groups that I needed.

If you want to eat a clean healthy diet there are loads of healthy foods to buy at the grocery store or your local markets and if that means you have to shop often to get it fresh than that’s what you have to do.

To be honest I wouldn’t have been a good person to get food shopping tips from back in my younger years as I wasn’t much for variety at home but today that has all changed. Grocery shopping is one of the biggest expenses in our budget next to our mortgage each month so taking control of the foods we eat and how much we are spending has been a financial priority for us.


How often do you grocery shop each month?


December grocery game challenge posts


If you missed any grocery game posts for the month I will post the line-up for the month each week here in this section for you.

This is the first grocery post for the month of December which means we have a grocery game winner for November and that goes to

#4 Juanita!!

Congratulations Juanita…. and to all of you that took the time to post your shops…. you are my team of grocery warriors!

Grocery saving tips


Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!

Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.

I hope you take the time to get back on track and start the saving process in your grocery budget today.

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!


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Ultimate grocery shopping guide


Missed past Grocery Game posts? Catch up on all the latest grocery saving posts below!


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 December $235.00-$10.28 overspend= $224.72
  • 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: $122.43-$20 chicken stockpile= $0
  • Total Spent So Far for November $0
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $0
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month $0
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $0
  • Total Coupons Used This Month: $0
  • Total to Carry Over Next Month: $10.28 spent more than the budget in November
  • 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 + (October) $196.64 + $245.28 (November) =  $2422.56 (does not include stockpile budget)
  • Rendezvous Account: $65.38+$17.24 =$82.62<> 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: This is going to be a no-shop week for us since I am out-of-town and there is enough food at home for the wife to get by this week.


Canadian Coupons Found




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.

Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge Canada!




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  1. I shop for 2 adults and an almost 3 year old boy. Our budget is $90/week or $450 for this month and includes laundry, health/beauty, etc.

    NN Mushrooms 3 x $.88 – $.88 SCOP
    Diet coke (24) $6.47
    Catelli pasta (PM NF) 2 x $1.00 – 2 x $1.00 coupon
    Old Mill bagels (PM NF) 3 x $1.00
    Coupons $2.00
    SCOP $.88
    Gift cards used 2 x $5.00
    OOP $2.07

    Natura Almond milk 15 @ 3/$5.00 – 8 x $1.00 coupons – 7 x $.75 coupons
    Coupons $13.25
    OOP $11.75

    PC BM 1.42L whipped salad dressing 2 x $2.74 – 2 x 50% pink stickers (-$2.74)
    Fuzzy peaches 4 x $.50 (great cheap stocking stuffer)
    Sour watermelons 6 x $.50
    3 Musketeers 3 pack bars 2 x $2.64 – 2 x 50% pink stickers (-$2.64) (Ken’s favourite for his stocking)
    Natura soy milk drinking boxes (PM Metro) 3/$5.00 – 3 x $.50 coupons
    Coffee filters $1.79
    PC Decadent cookies (on clearance) 6 x $1.00
    Broccoli (PM Valumart) 2/$4.00
    Coupons $1.50
    Gift cards redeemed 4 x $5.00
    OOP $6.90

    Coconut yogurt (PM Longos) 2 x $3.99 – 2 x 50% pink stickers (-$4.00) – $.55 coupon
    Coupon $.55
    OOP $3.43

    Food Basics
    Pistachios 2 x $2.97 – 2 x $.50 coupons (another stocking stuffer)
    Diet Coke (18 cans) $4.77
    Coupons $1.00
    OOP $11.10

    Oreo crumbs (for baking) $3.47
    Rice Krispies $2.97 – $1.50 coupon
    Tenderflake pie shell (PM FB) $2.49 – $1.00 coupon
    Silk Almond milk 2 x $3.99 – 2 x FPC
    Cavendish fries (PM Metro) $1.99 – $1.00 coupon
    Eagle brand condensed milk (PM Sobey’s) $2.99 – $.75 coupon
    Christie’s crackers (PM Sobey’s) 3 x $1.47 (I have to make a cheese and cracker tray for a Christmas party in a few weeks so I bought them today as this is the lowest price they get)
    Potato Thins (PM Sobey’s) 2 x $1.47 – 2 x $.50 coupons – 2 x $1.00 CO51
    Apples (PM WM) $2.10
    Cucumber (PM NF) $.97
    Broccoli (PM FB) 2 x $.97
    Bananas $1.05
    Mascara 2 x $4.73
    Coupons $12.73
    CO51 $2.00
    OOP $38.72

    Total Grocery Amount Budgeted For the Year : $4,680 ($90/week)
    •Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $450 (5 shopping weeks this month – last month was supposed to be for us but ended up only being 4)
    •Total Coupons Used this Week : $29.53
    •Total Coupons Used This Month : $71.79
    • Total Coupons Used this Year: $1834.21
    • Total Checkout 51 rebates this week: $2.00
    • Total Checkout 51 rebates this month: $8.00
    • Total Checkout 51 rebates this year: $156.00
    • Total Colleague Discount (CD) this week: $0
    • Total Colleague Discount (CD) this month:$0
    • Total Colleague Discount (CD) this year: $394.31 (Unfortunately September was the end of using the card for us as we are no longer allowed to use it)
    • Total SCOP this week: $.88
    • Total SCOP this month: $1.76 (got one $.88 last week I forgot to record)
    • Total SCOP this year: $9.39
    •Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: $30 (I finally remembered!!!! I used ALL of the $5 Kellogg’s cards I had. I still have $95 in regular RCSS gift cards though lol)
    •Total Spent This Week: $73.97
    •Total Spent So Far for December: $137.92
    •Total Over/Under spend this shop: N/A
    •Total Over/Under spent for the month of December: N/A
    •Total Left to Spend for the Month: $312.08
    •Total to Carry over Next Month: I do not carry over to the next month.
    •Total Spent To Date This Year: $3937.17
    •Weekly overview: I think I did pretty darn well again this week 🙂 lol. I stocked up on shelf stable almond milk this week at a fantastic price. I got some stocking stuffers, some items needed for Christmas parties and baking and I got SCOP two weeks in a row! Lol. I’m thrilled that I finally remembered to use those $5 Kellogg’s cards ($30 worth!). It thinned out my wallet a little lol. I still have $95 in regular RCSS gift cards to use but I can’t decide what I want to do with them yet and it doesn’t really matter since they don’t have an expiry.

    1. Looks like you picked up lots of great priced stocking stuffers which is awesome. I can’t get over how well you shop. I’d love to chronicle how you go about planning your shops and the grocery game. You get ballot 16.

  2. Our weekly budget is $100 a week making this month $400.
    I planned to redeem some of my club sobeys points money this week but was disappointed as many items that were on my list were outta stock already since I shopped in the evening, after being called into work to work an extra shift, instead of early afternoon when I normally finish work. Now just gonna work on building back up my points for when we need them next year.
    $2.77 canola spray
    $2.87-$2C&$1.50CO51 dove body wash
    $2.22-$3C zantac
    $3.10 total oop
    $5 total coupons
    $3.99×2-$1Cx2 royale tp
    $3.99-$2C royale mega tp
    $8.55 total oop
    $4 total coupons
    $3.79-$3C&$2CO51 clear shampoo
    $3.19-$1C – should have been $2.50 tostitos
    $2.50-$1C tostitos
    .99 gravy mix
    .88×4-.75Cx2 del monte veggies
    $4.29-$2C conqueso dip
    $1 xmas stickers
    $11.30 total oop
    $8.50 total coupons
    .63×2 1L pop
    $2.99 lean cuisine
    $1×2 clearance nuts & fruit
    $3.29×2 2L egg nog
    $4.99 cheese whiz
    $1 parfait cup
    $1 kaiser buns
    $3.49 chocolate covered sponge toffee
    $4.24 peppered salami
    $3.13 bologna
    $3.69 smartpop popcorn
    $3×2-$3.29C cheetos reg&jalapeno
    the following is from 10% Tuesday and points redemption
    $5.31 4L milk
    $1.79 romaine lettuce
    .98 tomato
    $22.99×2 3kg frozen chicken breasts (21 pieces per box)
    $2.99×2-$1Cx2 librete yogurt
    $1.66×3 del monte canned fruit
    $2.99×2 cool whip
    $3.99×2-$1Cx2 Cracker barrel sliced cheese
    $2.99-freewub4kraftitems organic sourdough bread
    $2.99×3-fpcx3 spaghetti sauce
    $1.19×2-bogoC twix – stocking stuffer
    $2.99×4-$2Cx2 ziploc freezer bags
    $3.17 italian soda – treat for my girl for xmas
    $1.99 mustard
    $1.59 mini colored marshmallows
    $6.99 1kgg raisins
    $2.49×4 cream cheese
    $1.09×2 canned mandarin oranges
    $3.29 baking powder
    $4.49 cocoa
    $1.19×2-bogo mars – stocking stuffer
    $3.99×2 almond extract
    $3.99 orange extract
    $3.99 maraschino cherries
    $1.39 baking soda
    $1.59×3 marshmallows
    $3.49 corn syrup
    $2.79 lemon juice
    $2.99 4pk food coloring
    $4.39 molasses
    $40.30 total oop
    $22.64 total coupons
    $17.67 total 10% discount
    $140 club sobeys points redemption

    $63.25 total weekly oop
    $197.81 total weekly coupons, discounts and redemptions
    Stocked up on lots of things and splurged on lots of treats/goodies this week.
    Gotta fatten up a little during the winter, just kidding!!! Looking forward to baking and cooking with a stocked up pantry.

    1. Hey,
      I see you found the $3 peelie on the Clear shampoo like we did. I still have to get going with that checkout 51 app as I have it installed but haven’t used it yet. I might need a push lol. You had a massive points redemption this week, wow. It makes saving all those points worth it. It also helps with all of those splurges and gifts you mention you picked up. Do you think your 2014 budget will change? You get ballot 9. Mr.CBB

  3. we shop about once a week because we have a Giant Tiger that is just 3 minutes walk from us, so i go there every week to see what’s on. plus we go to walmart or food basics every other week to get the vegs or other food stuff that we cant get from giant tiger. i try hard to make everything in the fridge gets to be used by us, i don’t buy too much at all i dont think. or at least i think so anyway lol

    how come i dont see too many posts for the grocery game anymore?? come on people, it is fun and useful! this helps me keep track on my grocery spending! helps me big time, i love it!

    December 1-8, 2013
    Budget for 2 people + 3 pets: $250-22.65(over-budget from Sept)=$227.35
    December’s spending: 124.61
    December’s budget left:227.35-124.61=102.74
    December’s coupon used: 25.70
    December’s giftcard used: 0

    My shops for the last week: 29.48+13.27+8.25+58.95+14.66=124.61

    Asian store #1 $29.48

    Walmart $13.27
    Sweet potato 1.76
    Bananas 1.40
    Broccoli 1.47
    Food coloring 1.52
    Bread crumbs 3.27
    Italian seasoning 1.00
    Kinder minieggs 5×3.97-5xFPC=FREE
    Foil 1.97
    Catalli pasta PM NoFrills 5×1.00-5xFPC=FREE
    Luncheon meat PM NoFrills 2×1.00=2.00
    Maple Leaf shaved meat 6×1.67-6xFPC=FREE
    Zantacs 6×2.22-6×3.00= +4.68 overage
    HST 4.57

    Asian store #2 $8.25

    Farmer Al’s $58.95 (Hamilton local butcher)
    Chicken thighs 4.04 + 3.94
    Pork shoulder chops 4.18+3.84+3.50
    Cottage roll 3.61
    Ground beef 3.48+3.48
    Ground pork 2.98
    Chicken wings 5.80
    Prime rib roast 16.12
    Squid 1.99
    Bacon 1.99

    Giant Tiger $14.66
    Potatoes 1.50
    Carrots 1.00
    Cucumber 1.47
    Cookie cutters 1.00
    Onion 1.00
    Xmas containers 2×2.00=4.00
    Cream 2×2.77-2×0.75=4.04
    HST 0.65

    1. Hi Wing,
      You got free chocolate… ya!!! You picked up lots of meat as well in this shop and some squid. How do you prepare the squid? Wow, where did you get all the FPC for the shaved meat? I miss all the FPCS… boooohoo… Great dhopping Wing… you always do so well. Great planning. Do you think your grocery budget will go up or down in 2014? you get ballot #7

  4. I usually only have time to go grocery shopping once a week between myself and hubbies work schedule ( i work different shifts everyday and he works nights :S)….i try to stay out of the stores as much as i can!! Especially with christmas coming up!! Me and hubby went a bit overboard the past weekend at a charity event for our daughters best friend so we cut back a bit this week on groceries…and with our organic purchases…we have been good for many months…so i did feel a bit bad this week….it is amazing the differences in prices…if i had purchased organic for this weeks groceries it would have been at least 50 dollars more….its amazing that it costs so much to eat healthier :S


    Pudding 1.99
    corb 0.99
    ketchup 2.99
    croutons 1.99
    cola 0.89
    cherry blasters 2.59
    dish soap 2.59
    cat litter 6.59
    fruitopia 1.29
    cranberry juice 0.99
    fruit punch 1.38
    eggs 3.69
    milk 2 x 3.97=7.94
    fries 2 x 1.99=3.98
    kd smart 3 x 1.25=3.75
    paper towels 1.98
    butter 2.88
    hamburger buns 2.69
    hot dog bns 2.99-1.50=1.50
    multigrain bread 3.39-1.70=1.69
    burgers 7.99
    blueberries 1.00
    romaine lettuce 3.00
    mandarins 5.49
    tomatoes 3.01
    potatoes 1.50
    toy 2.25
    apple juice 2.98
    mini ceral bars 2.49
    bath soap 1.39

    Total =93.12

    Total pc points earned 700

    Total budget for december=700.00
    Total spent this week=93.12
    Total left for the month=606.88

    Lots left for this month!

    1. Hi Joanne,
      That was what I said in the previous grocery game post about your organic products. I just can’t get over the prices although you are right it does cost to buy organic food if that is what is needed or desired in the diet. So are you tracking all of your PC points now? We love them. You get ballot 6.Nice to see you back posting again. Mr.CBB

      1. yes the organic is very expensive…but i think i have been pretty good at usually buying the meat on markdown in bulk and freezing…same with bread…the only thing that is a bit more is the milk and veggies….but the benefits have been amazing…i myself have lost just over 20 pounds just from switching diets. Yes i do keep track of my PC points…i love them especiall because i usually shop at zehrs and i always get offers on my cellphone for points for veggies and fruits which helps 🙂

  5. Here are my shops for the week. Two are at Foodland but the other is at Country Bulk in Startford as I had to take hubby to a doctors appointment so I figured we could kill two birds with one drive and I could get some things for the Christmas baking which did drive up the cost for the week.

    Foodland, Nov. 29
    bananas- .98
    1 pasta sauce- 1.79
    1 BBQ sauce, sweet and sour- 1.79
    1 tomato sauce- 1.99
    4 W/W bread @ 2.29- 9.16
    6lbs butter @ 2.77- 16.62
    1 fruit cup- 2.99, 1.50 discount
    1 parnmesan cheese, grated- 3.82
    1 After Eights- 3.99
    1 yogurt3.99
    2 4l milk @4.79- 9.58
    1 package sausage- 4.99, 2.50 discount
    1 case ginger ale- 5.78
    1 pork tenderloin- 6.67
    Tax- 1.27
    Total- $71.41,4.00 discounts, $2.00 turkey bucks

    Country Bulk, Dec 4
    chocolate chips- 3.63
    baking powder- 2.89
    almonds- 3.14
    candy- 3.09
    candied cherries- 6.49
    honey- 6.20
    candied fruit- 1.63+1.36+1.49+1.46+1.42+1.43+1.31+1.80
    peanuts- 1.04
    parmasen cheese, grated- 2.99
    ground cinnamon- 2.83+2.53
    vanilla- 2.99
    raisins- 9.81
    Tax- .79
    Total- $62.27

    Foodland, Dec. 5
    1 tomato paste- .65
    2 cans pineapple @1.19- 2.38
    bananas- .44
    1 pasta sauce- 1.79
    1 garlic bread- 1.99, 1.00 discount
    1 tomato sauce- 1.99
    1 cranberry cocktail- 2.98
    2 cases ginger ale@ 2.99- 5.98
    1 bag onions- 1.50
    1 bagels- 3.89
    1 4l milk- 4.79
    1 yogurt- 4.99, .50 peelie, 1.00 coupon
    1 bag rice- 4.99
    1 package sausage- 4.99
    1 jug water- 5.49
    Tax- .78
    Total- $47.12, 2.50 coupons and discounts, 1 turkey buck

    Total Budget for the month- $600.00
    Total coupons/discounts this week- $6.50
    Total spent this week-$180.80
    Total spent for month- $180.80
    Total over/under for week- Over $30.80
    Total over/under for moth- N/A
    Left for month- $419.20
    Total coupons this month- $6.50
    Total carry over- $577.02
    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$637.38+N$608.12+D$180.80=$8239.29
    So I went over for the week but if I had stayed out of Country Bulk I may have been OK but I still needed to get my baking supplies. They were almost out of the candied fruit, no big containers (and I usually buy two of those) but 4 little ones make up 1 big one. I cleaned them out……I have enough to make my two batches of dark fruit cake!! The cherries are for the light fruit cake, cherry almond cake. Might be able to get two cakes out of that container, not that either will last as they never do.I was almost out of cinnamon, not a good thing. Hubby was happy, he got some candy. The baking powder was a nice price, what I got will fill my 450 gr container in the cupboard nicely for almost half of what I would pay in the grocery store. Plus I got to talk with my cousin who works there and we got caught up in how the families are doing. I should be able to stay under budget for the month as I still have over $400.00 to use. Not sure if I will buy another turkey with my turkey bucks, likely I will and fire it into the freezer. Saves down the line…..Anyway, that’s the way things look after the first week……

    1. Hi Christine,
      It’s amazing how we can look back and say if we didn’t do this or that we would have spent less… we do it often as well but have to live with our decisions. The year is coming to an end and I’m sure all of us can say we learned lots about our shopping habits. I love that we have been tracking our shops all year long and we will all have the data. Like I was saying to Mary earlier only the ones who truly want to get control of their budget will stick around until the end. You have done that so kudos to you. Sounds like you have lots of baking going on, I’ll be making all my Festive balls… fun fun! You get ballot 4… Keep up the good work. Mr.CBB

  6. I am trying to go shopping less often–like 2-3 times a month. Once at CostCo and 2-3 times at Trader Joes. I find the fewer times I go, the less I spend on groceries throughout the month–especially on stuff that is generally not healthy.

  7. I don’t like shopping so I try not to go often. I typically will do my “large” shopping trips when I get paid (every two weeks) but unless something changes, I have been known to go more often, such as this week.

  8. My shopping days depend on the week in question.

    If we are picking up something at one of the 5 stores that are within a block of hubby’s office… he’ll pop over on lunch, his coffee break or after work depending on whether or not the items that he is getting require a fridge/freezer. The other 5 stores are at the other end of town so we generally make one dedicated trip and hit all the sales that we need in each store. They are all within a 5-10 minute drive of each other but by planning out of our shops based on the driving reduces the overall amount of gas we use in a month.

    Some weeks… I don’t shop at all. This is partly a budgeting choice but really it’s more about the fact that we don’t NEED anything. With only two of us in the house it really doesn’t take all that much food to cover a week. I am a big lover of cooking big pots of stuff… soups, stews, beans, casseroles and pots of chili. Cook once and eat 3-4 times really cuts way down what we need in the house in a given week. Meal planning is our budget salvation. 🙂

    Some folks would build a stock of leftovers in the freezer but I have to admit, that has not been successful for us in the past. Once a leftover hits the freezer…it’s never to reappear until I am pitching it out. For us, we are better off to eat and enjoy it within a few days of it being prepared. It sure has reduced our waste! This is my little quirk – I like having meat, fish, vegetables in the freezer but no more leftovers! LOL

    Now that I am working from home, it has changed our grocery bill a lot. I am not trying to stock an “office kitchen” with things I can have for lunch. In fact, I find what I eat at lunch time has changed. I had to try and make sure I had zero waste in 2 locations before and as a result I tended to eat salad and fish day after day after day at the office. That’s not my first choice except possibly in the summer but one large bag of salad and 5 assorted tins of fish/seafood we an easy shop. . I actually prefer a bowl of something warm and a cup of tea. I didn’t have a means of heating things at the office so I really enjoy my hot lunches now! Hubby doesn’t like loads of things that I do… so it’s the perfect opportunity for me to have things he doesn’t particularly enjoy i.e. curried anything. 🙂

    I never use my slow cooker unless I am going to be home for the entire cooking time. I just don’t like leaving a kitchen appliance going when I am leaving the house – because I have heard of too many fires being caused by a faulty electrical appliance. Now… I can use my slow cookers during the week regularly and I do. That little change is having us cook with a lot more dried beans and lentils and that kicks butt on keeping the grocery costs down!

    As most of you know, I shop every 6-8 weeks in the US for items I can get oodles cheaper and to get gluten free items that are not available here in Canada. I find HUGE bags of dried beans that I don’t seem to find here locally. Sure we spend gas to get there but it’s not just a grocery shop, for us it’s a day out and usually we treat ourselves to a meal out. Once in a while we make it an overnight trek and have a bit of a romantic get-away tied in with our south of the line groceries. I like to multi-purpose all our shopping and gasoline expenses. 🙂

    1. Hi Mary,
      We are the same way with the freezer meals. We wouldn’t see them until it’s time to toss them. Like you we like to make big pots of soups and stews and enjoy it for a few days in a row which suits us just fine. There is only the two of us so I completely understand. I think if you make your trip to the US and load up on the items you need it’s good for you. Gluten free products in Canada can cost a fortune so until we see some prices go down it only makes sense.

  9. I tend to hit the grocery store 2-3 times a week as usually I need milk. I find if I keep a running grocery list going, writing down what is needed as I get into or use the last of something I can just grab that and go if I need milk and get what ever at the same time. But, yes, the more you go the more you can spend.
    My main shop is usually the first one of the new flyer so I can get the sale items, especially if there is a three day sale running like there has been the last couple of weeks with Christmas coming. This week butter was on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for a nice price, $2.77. I bought 6 pounds, I didn’t see a limit sign and I checked with the cashier before she started ring through my order. She didn’t know of a limit either so she let it go. Looking at any list I take to the grocery store you can tell easily what items are the sale items as I write the sale price on the list by the item. It works for me so I know why I’m getting something in particular.
    I have an all refrigerator plus 2 chest freezers so I can stock up some. My fridge looks small because there is no freezer attached but it can hold a fair bit. Our older son had the small fridge like you had back when he was in the military as there isn’t that much room in a barracks room!! Hubby has used it a time or two when camping if the site has hydro.
    Safe travels this week Mr CBB!!!!

  10. I think I stop in about every other day honestly…for something. I try to buy small amounts at a time so nothing goes to waste. I probably don’t get the best deals on everything, but at least I’m not wasting as much food. There are so many grocery stores in this area I always seem to be passing one on my way home from somewhere.

  11. DECEMBER – Week #1 of 5 – December 2-8th, 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



    Before we start our December off though, I am going to make my “reserve” transfers:


    $142.50 for the month
    ($14.50) transfer to borscht reserve
    ($2.25) Overage from November
    ($110.00) transfer to US Reserve
    $10.00 ADD transfer from Stockpile

    Balance $25.75 for December


    $47.50 for the month
    ($15.00) transfer to re-stocking reserve
    ($11.96) Overage from November
    ($10.00) transfer to Groceries
    ($10.54) transfer to US Reserve

    Balance $0.00 for December

    We’ll be vacationing for 7 days this month… and therefore using “vacation funds” for both our grocery purchases and some occasional dining out. We are vacationing at home the rest of the month so we have a really nice meal plan of soups and stews planned this month. We are watching very carefully to make sure we don’t over buy and have to pitch anything out.

    I am determined to finish this year “on track” with our grocery budget. Think I can do it??? I figure $25.75 is enough for a few incidentals because we are really well stocked. The very fact that I have “reserves” approaching the year end tells me that we did a REALLY good job of stretching the grocery budget this year even while having some amazing meals. This is the first year the reserve funds have ever happened!

    The Grocery Game Challenge has helped me keep an eagle eye on absolutely every penny that we spend… plus I have learned how to talk myself into putting an item back on the shelf or in the freezer by saying, “I’ll catch the next sale!” This has been a huge step for me! The word “sale” used to be enough to send me scurrying! I am working on becoming the queen of rain checks though. LOL Now, I figure out if I will really NEEDit before the next sale cycle. 🙂

    I highly recommend that if you aren’t currently posting your shops…please consider doing so. If GGC can teach this old dog new tricks, just imagine how much it can help you!!!!



    NO SHOP this week!






    •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+Au$36.66+S$52.74+O$71.36+N$17.25+D($0.00)= $469.43

    •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$21.98+N$24.43+D($0.00)= $271.71

    •Total More Points Earned This Year:
    J265+F248+M151+A26+M0+J59+Jy7+Au26+S0+O141+N15+D0= 938 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year:
    J57+F10+M30+A83+M0+J161+Jy20+Au1+S208+O80+N30+D0= 680 Air Miles

    •Total Thrifty’s Points Earned This Year: << Starting to track
    Jan-Sept 988+ O297+N321+D0= 1606 Points



    •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$111.97+N$144.75+D($14.50 to borscht+$2.25 overage+$110.00 trf to US-$10.00 trf from Stockpile = $116.75)= $1,540.71

    •Total YTD Grocery Budget So Far:
    J$190.00+F$190.00+M$108.79+A$142.50+M$142.50+J$50.00+Jy$114.36+Au$99.62+S$110.00+O$133.69 +N$142.50+D($142.50) = $1,566.46

    •Total Over/Under on the YTD Grocery Budget: $25.75 AVAILABLE



    •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+Au$0.00+S$20.00+O$47.50+N$59.46+D($15 to re-stocking+$10.54 to US Reserve+$10.00 to Groceries=$35.54)= $500.81

    •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+Au$43.60+S$20.00+O$47.50+N$47.50+D$47.50 = $500.81

    •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+N$20.00+D$15.00=

    $125.00 AVAILABLE



    •Total 2014 Borscht Stockpile Budget:

    $275.00 AVAILABLE


    • TOTAL FUNDS SPENT IN 2013: $2,041.52

    $2,280 is budgeted for JAN-DEC '2013 INCL. but with cash additions from a gift, recycled bottles, cash hiding spot money and repayments of funds owed to us…we increased our reserves to also have:

    $125.00 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $275.00 Borscht Fund

    Total $400.00



    CANADIAN $’s

    Groceries: $25.75
    Stockpile: $0.00
    Cash Hiding Spot: $0.00

    2014 BORSCHT: $275.00
    Re-Stocking Funds: $125.00

    US $’s

    Our Reserve: $120.54
    US Cash Hiding Spot: $0.00


    The valid rain checks I hold are as follows:


    3 dozen Lucerne Large Eggs @ $1.33 (Good until Feb 7th)
    4 Butcher’s Cut Side Bacon @ $8.99 (Good until Feb 20th)
    4 Butcher’s Cut Boneless Honey Dinner Ham 1 Kg @ $8.49
    (Good to Feb 26th)


    1. Hi MARY,
      Thanks for all the lovely words you said tonight. I hope that in 2014 we can inspire more people to come out to post their shops but it’s always a challenge to keep people the entire year. I believe those with the drive to succeed will finish until the end and many of us have done that. I’m proud of all of us. “The very fact that I have “reserves” approaching the year end tells me that we did a REALLY good job of stretching the grocery budget this year” When I read that it validates the entire reason as to why the grocery game is a valuable tool for anyone. Thanks Mary… you get ballot 1 for December!! Mr.CBB

  12. I shop once a week or less, not it has been 10 days. In the UK I used to go almost every night after work to check the reduced section at Budgens or Sainsbury’s, they often had great deals on meat or yogurts or things I needed anyway.

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