Buying groceries on sale is a great way to save money in the budget but being selective about what you buy is also important.
Not everyone has the same lifestyle so they will purchase different types of food for their diet.
What we typically do is go through the grocery flyers to see what products are on sale and base our meal plan around those items. Those items are typically basic essential items and we also like to make sure our pantry is stocked to build a complete meal.
If we can make our own homemade pasta sauce, soup and salads we will opt to do that over buying it pre-made. These are simple recipes that don’t take much time and are from what I calculated cheaper to make even when pre-made is on sale.
I remember years ago we used to stock up on items with coupons such as those Stouffer’s pizza pocket thingys because they were cheap but looking back, what a waste of money.
It didn’t matter that we only spent $0.50 on them I could have made them for less and they would have tasted better. In a way we got sucked into the coupon frenzy that was quickly squashed when we realized that we were relying more on frozen convenience and boxed foods instead of cooking homemade meals like we were used to.
It’s easy to do that when the food is cheap but not necessarily our only options. We chose to spend our money that way it wasn’t that we couldn’t spend the $0.50 on a bunch of spinach or garlic etc. Don’t get me wrong we still bought fruits and vegetables etc. but we also had foods in the house that we simply didn’t need.
These days we don’t use coupons as much but we still do on occasion especially with all of the deals on fresh produce which is toppling what was available years ago. We could still find fresh foods on sale using coupons back then but today it’s getting lucrative with coupon apps that are available.
One thing we haven’t needed for years is health and beauty, laundry and cleaning items as we have enough of that to last us until we retire I think lol. It was always a matter of choice where we spent our grocery budget in terms of what was on sale and what we really needed.
Groceries on sale
Just because something is on sale doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you either. Cheap groceries may not equate to a great bargain like I mentioned above.
We try to moderate how much we eat of them or plan ahead to make it homemade such as olive pita for pita pizzas instead of frozen pastry pizza pockets. We’re not perfect heck we do buy processed foods but limit what we purchase. Processed foods taste good and they are meant to but we don’t always need to eat them in our diet.
Purchasing tortilla chips are something we don’t normally buy as I try to make them myself as I enjoy making homemade tortillas. My wife made homemade dip and brought bagged tortillas to a backyard BBQ that we went to because that was requested of us. If we wanted to buy chips once in a while that’s OK too, all in moderation just not every week. We aim for more fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, dairy, grains etc. as opposed to pre-packaged foods.
I believe as long as the thought is there to eat balanced, simple and delicious that cooking won’t seem like such a terrible task. I think most people will agree that simple homemade meals work better with their schedules.
These days some people opt for organic food and say the heck whether it’s on sale or not I want organic fruits and vegetables and they are strict about it. If you have a budget that you can stretch or that has lots of room it’s easier to make those decisions or you buy less one week to get the better products.
I believe one of my fans said that is what she does. If it costs more to buy organic tomatoes (example) and she needs them she will cut back somewhere else in her grocery budget.
Not all frozen food is unhealthy but it’s a great way to buy food that you don’t want to use up all at once such as frozen vegetables, frozen fruit and pre-made pastry shells etc. I wish I could stay home and make homemade food all the time but that’s just not reality so we really try to balance what we eat and make homemade what we can.
This week for example we bought frozen perogies and tortellini. Although we’d love to make Nicola’s homemade perogies this week I didn’t have the time. I opted to add perogies that were a frozen product to our grocery list but I also bulk it out with lots of fresh vegetables. Essentially perogies and tortellini are noodles with filling inside.
Items such as yogurt or BBQ sauce are items that you can make yourself, if you have time. You can whip up fresh homemade yogurt and make homemade BBQ sauce if you plan some time in your day.
No, we are not on any strict diets (my wife was for a short time as requested by her doctor) but we know that sticking to what is on sale in accordance to our budget as long as we are keeping a good stock of healthy food in the house is important to us.
Grocery store prices
I’ve been blogging about groceries since 2012 and have learned lots about the shopping habits from people simply by watching what they buy but also listening to what the fans have to say.
I know that I have read blog posts from other bloggers who will not spare their grocery budget to wait for something to go on sale. In a way we are like that as well sometimes because you just have to bite the bullet and buy it.
We won’t go without certain produce every week for example so if it’s not on sale then we are out of luck and we build our grocery budget around what’s not on sale as well. That means we might have to cut back in other areas.
If you are creative with your fresh ingredients you can stretch a meal so it lasts for more than one meal meaning you don’t have to buy cheap food to make food go further in the house. One fan mentioned she turned meatloaf into a pasta sauce with meat. Brilliant idea. It takes time and practice but a healthy meal can be made with items on sale that do provide nutrients that we require in our diets.
I know someone whose child will only eat processed foods because that’s what he grew up on. It wasn’t a matter of not being able to buy fruits and vegetables but it was because they chose to buy processed foods that were quick to make rather than taking the time to make a proper meal every night.
Sure a take-out night is fine or a night where you might not want to cook so you make something easy like perogies or hotdogs and Kraft dinner but eating like that every night doesn’t expand your food creativity.
Some kids are picky about food but eating processed food every day is also not healthy. I guess that’s why we see so many schools opting to change the menu in the cafeteria for the children.
You get used to a certain food type and when you try to introduce any types of vegetables or fruits you may get shot down from the child because it’s not what they are accustomed to.
Although grocery store prices vary stocking up on the freshest ingredients first and meal planning around them will ensure you are eating a healthy meal.
One suggestion a friend of my wife’s has it to prep food on the weekends so it makes it easier during the week to cook. I thought that was a brilliant idea that way you don’t have to spend money on frozen pizzas.
When I participated in the Welfare Food Challenge a couple of years back now I won’t lie and say it was easy, because it wasn’t.
I had a set amount of money $26 which was incredibly low to shop with for one week’s food but I made it in the end. I was able to make delicious meals that were new to me in some ways but it helped me to stay away from processed foods. The biggest lesson I took from the challenge was that with planning and using items on sale that were good for me I could eat healthy for less.
I was able to bulk out products by buying bulk food in larger packages rather than smaller simply by doing the math.
That’s one thing many people forget to do when they shop for groceries on sale. If you don’t do the math that might mean you may not necessarily be getting the best price available. Don’t just jump on items because they are on sale think about what you are buying.
Do you only buy food that is on sale?
June 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
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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 savings process in your grocery budget today.
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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
- 2 x Neilson Milk 4Litres on Sale $3.97 with coupons for 600 Shoppers Optimum points
- 1 x Oikos Greek Yogurt on Sale $3.99-$2.00 in-store coupon
Total out-of-pocket $ 9.93
- 2 x Shreddies cereal on Sale $2.88
- Kraft BBQ sauce on Sale $0.88
- Beef Steak $7.09- $2.13
- 2 x Selection tortellini- $2.49
- 2 x Perogies $1.99
- 2 x Fresh Pineapple on sale $ $1.88
- Red delicious apples on Sale $1.83
- Fresh Corn on the cob on Sale $1.88
- Liberte Yogurt coconut $2.99
- Romaine Hearts $2.97
- Asparagus on Sale $6.35
- 2 x Cantaloupes on Sale $1.59 for two
- Crystal light on Sale $0.75
- 2 x Avocado on Sale $0.88 each
Total out-of-pocket $ 57.17
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 June $235.00-$20.89=$225.49/4=$56.37 per week or $75.16 per week if we do 1 no-shop week.
- Total Coupons Used this Week : $0
- Total Coupons Used to date: $39.25
- Total Discounts this Week: $6.72
- Total Discounts Used to date: $34.26
- Total Gift Cards Used to date: $33.18
- Total Rewards Points Used: $0
- Total Rewards Points Used to date: $20.00
- Stockpile Budget ($20.00): $20.00
- Stockpile Budget Used to Date: $20.00+$19.08+$17.94+ $2.06+$20.00+$15.10 + $20.00 (June)
- Total Spent This Week: $67.10
- Total Spent So Far June: $71.21+ $67.10=$138.31
- Total Over/Under spend this shop: over $10.73 over
- Total Over/Under spend for the month: n/a
- Total Left to Spend for the Month: $87.18
- 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+May $223.62+June
- Weekly Overview: We had a not so bad week considering I’ve been out of town and we are trying to keep the food stocked for the summer especially since we like to make lots of salads. The garden has lots of fresh spring onions, garlic, chives ready to eat so we’ve been using them up. Not too much left to spend for the month so I imagine it will all go to essentials such as fruits, vegetables and dairy. We should be ok for bread but if need be I can make homemade pita or buns. I might just have to after seeing Juanita’s homemade bread in the What’s for Dinner post last night on Facebook. Delicious!
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.
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.
- 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.
- Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: 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.
- 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.
- 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 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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