The Grocery Game | Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide

Does your meal plan include a new recipe each week?: The grocery game challenge #2 May 5-11, 2014



Including a new recipe when writing up your meal plan and grocery list is a great way to expand your own personal recipe index each week.

I know many people who love to experiment including myself so it’s no surprise that Canadian Budget Binder has a free recipe index that includes easy recipes for your family to enjoy.

If you follow the Sunday recipe post you likely know Nicola who has shared her recipes on the blog for about a year now. She’s such an inspirational woman and mom who loves to create new recipes, try recipes that others suggest and most of all share them.

What I like the most is that her grocery list each week is a bit different from the last because of the variety in her meal plan.

I know Mrs. CBB and I can easily get stuck in a food rut and each week you might see us buying the same grocery items mainly because we think trying a new recipe might take up more time. Lately we’ve been so busy that we need to remember that we can’t forget about us in the process.

Making excuses in the kitchen might only lead us out the door and into a restaurant where we can easily spend just as much as we would on a full weeks groceries on one meal.


Homemade food


Sure, eating out is nice but only as a treat once in a while. If you work full-time, part-time or have other obligations that deter you from cooking at home or creating new recipes find alternatives. You can prep the food in advance so it’s ready to cook when you get home.

I also know that if you own a crock-pot for many people it’s a life saver because there are literally thousands of crock-pot recipes available online so your meal is cooking while you are out and about.

Think outside the box and spend some time researching meal planning and what you want to include in your diet so it’s a balanced healthy diet. If you find you are missing food groups work on ways to incorporate them into new recipes.

Now that the sun is shining if you own a BBQ that is another great way to grill meat and fish to make other exciting recipes you never thought were possible. This is why we are going to pull out the cookbooks, turn on our imagination and continue to create new recipes and share them with all of you.

The best thing about trying a new recipe on top of saving money because you’re not eating out is that your family appreciates the home-cooked meal and the memories. Some of the best dinner recipes come from using your imagination and using flavours that complement each other.

Opening a can of soup compared to make a nice pot of homemade soup means you really taste the difference and the savings. Soup is so easy to make but I know some people who like to have a can or two around for convenience (including us) but trust me when I say, soup is fairly easy to make.

You can freeze soup as well. Another super easy recipe to make and freeze is pasta sauce. I can’t tell you how much cheaper and tastier it is to make your own homemade sauce from fresh or crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, meat and spices. So easy you’ll wonder why you bought cans and jars of sauce in the first place

There’s nothing better than hearing my wife say, “Honey, can you please make….” which means she either doesn’t want to cook or she actually likes a recipe I created, lol. Most times it’s because she enjoys that I take the time to make a new recipe for her to try or that I want to cook at home rather than eat out.

Experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen also means that you explore new flavours, textures and colours. Jazz up that grilled cheese with bacon, avocado, olives etc. to create a recipe that is new to you and maybe a signature dish when friends and family come around.

If you enjoy reading the flyers each week like we do to menu plan it’s easy to start buying products on sale. Once you have your pantry stocked then you are ready to get cooking. The most important thing is to have that stocked pantry with all of the basics you need in the kitchen.

This will help to motivate you to try new recipes. I know many people who either don’t have a pantry or it’s bare. This only means you have to try harder to create a meal with less ingredients but I’ve done it before so never say never. It just helps when you have more to work with so purchasing staples little by little helps the menu.


Coupon booklets and packages


How many of you are familiar with seeing recipes on any packaged foods that you purchase or in the weekly grocery flyer using the product you purchased? It happens all the time and that’s because the manufacturer wants you to try their product to help you create something new.

Just like in the photo above of the Tomato Basil and Garlic Halibut recipe in the grocery flyer you can easily create this recipe by making your own pasta sauce. You don’t have to always buy the products especially if you can make it homemade which is far tastier.

One other place I find recipes quite a bit is on coupon tear-pads. Many of you might cringe when you have coupon and a recipe attached but that’s good marketing on the manufacturer’s part.

They are trying to inspire you to cook but also spend money so make sure you pick and choose new recipes based on your budget and don’t be afraid to try something you’ve never had before.


New recipes


If you follow Canadian Budget Binder on Facebook you know that each night I post my “What’s for Dinner” post for the fans to chat about budgets, frugal living, recipes and all things food related. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with all of the fans who post each night.

Not only have they been posting for years they are dedicated to creating new recipes, making new friends and saving money while doing it all. I just smile when the fans share pictures of the food they created from new recipes they found and review them.

That is just another reason why I started The Free Recipe Depot page on Facebook so not only I could learn what amazing recipes were out there but so my fans could as well. I know that my fans who post in the grocery game challenge are working very hard to stick to their grocery budget so this is my way of giving back and helping out. I know they help me by sharing their food so I’m doing my best to help them.

Food is love and it’s true but if you keep serving the same food over and over, it can get boring so don’t be afraid to try a new recipe. The internet is one big cookbook plus You Tube is full of tutorials to help you learn anything you need to know about cooking.  A great recipe also doesn’t have to start with a recipe you find, create your own because you might even surprise yourself how good it tastes.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to fail when you create or try a new recipe. I can tell you that we’ve messed up many new recipes but we learn from our mistakes. Don’t give up because eating home-cooked meals is better than eating out any day of the week.

Do you grocery shop with at least one new recipe on your grocery list each week?


May 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. :)


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 FREE 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



Shoppers Drug Mart

  • 2 x 4L Milk 2% Sale $3.97

Total out-of-pocket $7.94

Food Basics

  • 3lbs carrots $3.65

Total out-of-pocket $3.65


  • Hot house tomatoes $1.88

Total out-of-pocket $1.88


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 May $235.00-$20.89=$214.11/4=$53.52
  • Total Coupons Used this Week : $0
  • Total Coupons Used to date: $33.75
  • 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): $15.10 (extra lean beef)
  • Stockpile Budget Used to Date: $20.00+$19.08+$17.94+ $2.06+$20.00+$15.10 (May)
  • Total Spent This Week: $13.47
  • Total Spent So Far May: $109.16+$
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: under $40.05
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month: $n/a
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $91.48
  • Total to Carry Over Next Month: $n/a
  • Total Spent To Date This Year: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $242.66+ Feb $191.74+ March $255.82+April $235.07
  • Weekly Overview: We stocked up pretty good the past month so we didn’t need much this week. We picked up a few items which will get us through the week no problem. If we do need to pick something up I’ll add it to the next shop. Yes, I created a new recipe as well….  crock-pot roast beef with pineapple and fennel, carrots and potatoes. We loved the sweet flavour and will likely make it again.


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.


unilever Canadian Coupon


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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