The Ultimate Canadian Grocery Savings Guide | Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide

What if the customer ahead of you was short cash?:The Grocery Game Challenge #4 Mar 24-30,2014

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short cash shopping cart WalmartWOULD YOU PAY FOR THEM?


The last thing you want to have happen while paying for your groceries is that you are short cash.

Not everyone has a credit card to pay for groceries to pick up the perks nor do they care to use a debit card to pay transaction fees where applicable.

In fact many people use a cash envelope system to budget their expenses and the grocery budget is included.

This means that they carry only a certain amount of money with them when they go grocery shopping. Most times they keep this money in an envelope or a separate area.

If you are someone who only carries cash while grocery shopping being short  cash at the check-out can be embarrassing for some and for others they simply wave it off as no big deal.

Deep inside though we wish we didn’t have to put items back once they are already scanned through. Having enough money to pay for whatever we need at the grocery store is important but not everyone is that fortunate.

Planning a grocery shop using the sale flyers, coupons and other savings avenues such as Checkout51, Cart Smart and Snap Saves is reality for many people and not just because they don’t have enough money to spend but because they want to save money.

The further you can stretch the grocery dollar the better because that means you can buy more of what you need instead of coming up short on cash. To be honest being short on cash can happen to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Heck it’s happened to me so many times I can’t even count but it’s for various reasons. Some places don’t accept credit cards, debit cards and only cash for some bizarre reason.

I’m sure many of you can think of places that say their machines are always broken and only take cash. I often wonder how much of their sales gets declared to the tax man.


Short cash


For many cash is King and that means they never leave home without it or they make that special trip to the bank to remove cash from their bank account or take advantage of cash back at various stores.

What happens if you are grocery shopping with cash, no debit or credit card and the cashier tells you that your order is $65.00 yet you planned your grocery shop according to your list to ring up at $60.00?

It happens and I’ve seen it happen before where someone is standing in line digging in every pocket imaginable or emptying out their purse in hopes of finding hidden coins or bills. I’ve seen on many occasions customers who are short on cash including myself just tell the cashier to take an item off the grocery bill so they could afford the bill.

On the very rare and I mean rare occasion have I seen a customer in the grocery line behind the customer who is short cash speak up and say, “Here, don’t go without I’ll cover the rest for you”. I think it’s amazing that someone would do that for a complete stranger who was short on cash and many people would likely accept and say thank-you.

What happens when you have that one customer who says “I don’t need your money I have more than enough I just didn’t bring my purse or wallet with me” and gets upset with you? Some people would actually take offense to this kind gesture observing it as they think they are poor or don’t have enough money in the bank to pay for food.

You know you will never win in this situation but do what your heart and head tells you to do. If they will be rude then so be it your gesture was of kind nature just so they didn’t have to return product. I’ve had cases where I’ve offered coupons to a customer because they had the item in their shopping cart and was spoken to rudely.


Talking to strangers


We both love talking to people at the grocery store whether we talk to them first or they talk to us. We always take a minute to see if we will learn something new or help someone else learn something they didn’t know before they went grocery shopping.

It’s amazing how many people take pride in success and having money or wanting people to believe they have money and can take care of themselves. Just last week we spotted a shopping cart at a grocery store filled with pink sticker 50% off items.

A little old lady who was pleasant started asking us questions about products. She wanted to know if we tried them and if we thought the prices were good. We happily told her what we thought of the products she asked.

Her shopping cart was filled with bottles of Heinz Ketchup with pink stickers. Needless to say she got it all at a great deal. Later on after she checked out and was packing her groceries my wife went over to chat to her and ask how much she ended up paying for the ketchup because none of the products had original prices.

She wasn’t sure so she pulled out her receipt for my wife to look at. My wife told her that she got a great deal on the ketchup and the little old lady said her husband would be so happy because he loves ketchup.

She asked my wife if we got a bottle because she assumed she took it all. My wife said no and the little old lady offered to give her a bottle for free. For free, that’s right and my wife was a complete stranger.

My wife said thank-you to her and she said, thank-you for chatting with me. It’s amazing how if you take a moment to be kind to people you never know what will come out if it. Some people just want to chat and others don’t have a minute to live because they are going at a hundred miles per hour.


Your decision


I believe these people over-think situations especially like the two I explained above and take it from a kind gesture to something way out in left field that leaves others shaking their heads.

You try to do something nice but get shot down. Sadly in life that’s the way it goes so keep smiling and live life the way you want to live it.

If you want to pay if forward and pay for someone’s coffee ahead of you or help someone out who is short cash do what feels right. If they don’t accept your kind gesture someone else would be more than happy to one day.

For me I’d help out as much as I could but to a certain extent. I’m not going to pull out my credit card to pay $100 that a customer is short on cash.

If they are short $10 I’d likely have no problem helping them out. I mean it doesn’t happen every day and doing something nice makes me feel good inside especially when I know I’ve made someone else’s day.

Hang on to your money and share it with those that clearly won’t mind that helping hand when they come up short cash or simply pay it forward.

Have you ever pitched in some money if the customer ahead of you was short cash?

How much would you be willing to help out?


March 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. Next Tuesday I will have our March Grocery Game winner posted!! Stay tuned and post your shops! 🙂


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 FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE. CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet 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!


Ultimate grocery shopping guide


Everything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is below with new information added monthly.

If you missed a Grocery Game Challenge post some of the most popular posts are listed below or you can now find the posts listed on their own page called The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.

If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email and let me know.


Food food and more food



No Frills

  • 2 x Grape tomatoes Sale $0.97 ea.

Total out-of-pocket $1.94

Shoppers Drug Mart

  • 2 x Schneider’s Bacon Sale $3.49
  • 4 x 2% milk Sale $3.97 ea.
  • 2 x Breyer’s Ice-cream Sale $3.49 ea.

Total out-of-pocket $30.84 plus we received 8000 Shoppers Optimum points =$10.00 on regular redemption

Food Basics

  • 2 x Fleecy Fabric softener Sale $2.88 ea.
  • 1 x Plain Yogurt Sale $1.99
  • 2 x spices Sale $0.99 ea.
  • 2 x rapini Sale $1.67 ea.
  • 1 x Cauliflower Sale $1.66
  • 1 x reduced mushrooms $1.49
  • 1 x double pack of cantaloupes reduced $1.49
  • Case of spring water Sale $1.97
  • Tomatoes on the vine Sale $1.52
  • Premium Bananas Sale $0.57lb $1.40
  • 4 x Danone Yogurt Sale $1.99 each – $1.50 wub2 coupon x 2
  • Baby carrots 2lb Sale $1.95
  • 3 pack Romaine hearts Sale $1.95
  • 3 x Bavarian Multi-grain bread Sale $1.99 ea.
  • 1x Reduced Produce Mangoes $1.99

Total out-of-pocket $40.33


  • 2 x Parmigiano Regianno Cheese from the wheel $9.95 and $8.20
  • Cremini mushrooms $3.99-50%
  • Real Lemon Juice sale $2.99

Total out-of-pocket $31.33


ggc 4 March 2014


Grocery shop results


Yearly grocery budget for two: $2820

(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $240 per year or $20 per month.)

  • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00 or $78.33 week with potentially 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 March $235.00
  • Total Coupons Used this Week : $3
  • Total Coupons Used to date: $27.50
  • Total Discounts this Week: $0
  • Total Discounts Used to date: $5.54
  • Total Gift Cards Used to date: $33.18
  • Total Rewards Points Used: $0
  • Total Rewards Points Used to date: $0
  • Stockpile Budget ($20.00): $17.94 (chickpeas dry) + $2.06 (beef) =$20.00
  • Stockpile Budget Used to Date: $20.00+$19.08+$17.94+ $2.06
  • Total Spent This Week: $104.44
  • Total Spent So Far March: $27.69+ $69.33+$54.36+$104.44=$255.82
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $20.82 over
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month: $20.82 over
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $235.00-$255.82=-$20.82
  • Total to Carry Over Next Month: -$20.82
  • Total Spent To Date This Year: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $242.66+ Feb $191.74+ March $255.82+April $
  • Weekly Overview: We went over budget this month but no surprise given the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese which was an amazing price at 50% off. We also participated in a Shoppers Drug Mart grocery event where you spend $30 on grocery get $10 in Shoppers Optimum points. The bacon and ice-cream was on sale at Shoppers so we decided to add that to the cart. We don’t normally buy ice-cream but have had enough of this snow and besides a treat is nice once in a while instead of going on to pay for a cone. The cone would likely cost you the price of a tub of ice-cream. We do have 2 $5 Chapman’s ice-cream coupons but one expires in December and the other in 2015 so we have plenty of time to use them up. So after the $10 in points we got back we are actually only over the $10.82 but since we don’t physically have the cash we will treat is as we went over.


Coupon Sleuth


Did you find any coupons? If so share the details in the comment section of this post where you found it and what the coupon is for with expiry.


Canadian Coupons Grocery Game Challenge


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 and your weekly Checkout 51 offers 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 grocery budget to make it work. Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget like many people do.

This is why the grocery game challenge was created to not only show you that we are like everyone else but to bring us all together to work as a team to get our budgets on track.

If you have just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2014 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.

Feel free to read all the above posts that I linked to above which I feel are relevant to learning about the grocery budget and grocery shopping in general.

You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!

Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge Canada 2014!





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