The Grocery Game | Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide

Do you only buy groceries on sale? : The Grocery game challenge #2 June 9-15, 2014

Grocery Game Challenge On sale June 2014WHAT’S IN YOUR BASKET?


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.


Frozen items


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


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 savings 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 and in large part a reason we were able to pay our mortgage off in 5 years, 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 Drugmart

  • 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


Food Basics

  • 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!


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.

Grocery Game Coupons June 2


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.
  • 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 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!



Money Quote Logo CBB

Are You New To Canadian Budget Binder?


Similar Posts


  1. Hey Mr.CBB
    I can’t remember what insert it came from but it is an awesome coupon!!!!
    I am lucky to have a great Target close by and really haven’t had any problems using their coupons and a manufacture at the same time. They will also let me price match and then use coupons on top of that which I have heard not all will do, so I am counting my lucky stars.

  2. Our weekly budget is $125 a week making this month $500.
    $6.99×2-$2.50Cx2&$2TCx2 huggies diapers clearance
    $3.49×4-$2Cx2&$1.50TCx4 huggies wipes
    plus $4 x2 rebate at snap saves
    .50×8 minute maid frozen juice
    $4.49×6-.75Cx6 BD cheese 500g
    $2.50×2-$1Cx2 windex trigger
    $3 rebate on snap saves
    $3.99×2-bogoC glade candle
    $4.80-$4.49storeC 2L chocolate milk
    $34.40 total oop
    $14.98 total coupons
    $2.44 quaker cereal
    $1×2 jello
    $1.49 gummies
    $3.98 international creamer
    $2.48×2 yogurt
    $1.98-.75C half and half
    .95×2-.75Cx2 barilla
    $1.97 romaine hearts
    $3.28 5lb carrots
    $2.88 3pk cucumbers
    $24.80 total oop
    $2.25 total coupons
    $3×4-$1Cx4 novelties
    $1.99 international creamer
    $1 yogurt
    $1 sour cream
    $1.19 jello
    $1.30 jalapenos
    $4×2-bogoC glade candle
    $19.05 total oop
    $8 total coupons
    $21.99×2-$1Cx2 pampers box (bonus 8000 points)
    $1.77×2 dzn eggs
    $47.73 total oop
    $2 total coupons
    .94×6-.75Cx6 barilla
    $1.20 total oop
    $4.50 total coupons

    $137.48 weekly total oop
    $35.75 weekly total coupons
    $257.78 monthly total oop
    $43.75 monthly total coupons
    some great deals this week 🙂

    1. Hi Juanita,
      You get ballot #28. Great price on the Barilla pasta with the coupon. Was that a smart source coupon? awesome deal on the diapers as well. I have to watch for those Target coupons and the mfg coupons to use them together.

  3. I have purchased things not on sale before because of my forgetfullness…..but lately definetly not! if i know i can get a better price somewhere else on sale i will make sure to check it out. the only times i pay full price for things now are with my produce. If the sale items at one store look terrible i am willing to pay more somewhere else for better looking produce. Same with my meat. But things like diapers, canned food and such i know there is always somewhere that has them on sale so will always do my research. here is my shop for the week.


    Mini wheats cereal 2.98-.75 coupon=2.23
    Froot loops cereal 2.98-1.00 coupon=1.98


    Shoppers drug mart

    Toilet paper 3.99-1.00=2.99
    toilet paper 3.99-1.00=2.99
    doritos chips 2.00
    ruffles chips 2.00
    cookies 1.49
    strawberry milk 0.88
    chocolate milk 0.88
    chocolate milk 0.88
    international delight coffee cream 1.99-0.75=1.24
    colgate toothpaste 0.69×4=2.76
    gum 0.99
    gum 0.99
    omega 3 kids vitamins 10.99
    dish soap 1.99
    dish soap 1.99-1.00 wub2=.99
    milk 3.49
    milk 3.49
    coke 3.30
    energy drink 3.49
    garbage bags 3.49
    coke 1.97

    totl=64.64 (gained 15,850 shoppers points)

    Farmers market.

    Basket of bananas


    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $700
    •Total Coupons Used this Week : $5.50
    •Total Coupons Used This Month : $28.75
    • Total Coupons Used this Year: $347.22
    • Total Checkout 51 rebates this week: 0
    • Total Checkout 51 rebates this month: 1.50
    • Total Checkout 51 rebates this year: 3.50
    Total snapsaves this week=0
    total snapsaves this year 25.00
    • Total SCOP this week: $0
    • Total SCOP this month: $0
    • Total SCOP this year: $4.28
    •Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: 0
    •Total Spent This Week: $=88.89
    •Total Spent So Far for june: $231.77
    •Total Left to Spend for the Month: $468.23
    •Total to Carry over Next Month: 255 left from the last two months

    1. Hey,
      I agree with you 100%. I will pay a bit more to make sure our produce looks good. Sure we get reduced product but only if it still looks good. I can’t get over how much carry over you have. I think your budget is too high lol. Weren’t you contemplating lowering your budget? Great going with the Shoppers Optimum points. We have almost half million points but are waiting to use them… it will be fun!! You get ballot 15. Well done this month. Mr.CBB

      1. Yes i used up my carry over actually for a christmas present. As the tickets went on sale and were selling out so quickly! I will be lowering my budget in july by fifty dollars and removing the pet expenses from my groceries and just making a seperate pet category.

  4. I end up with a combination of items on sale and items not but with price matching the item is almost always on sale somewhere and I take advantage of that.

    I shop for 2 adults and a 3 ½ year old boy. Our budget is $85/week or $340 for this month and includes laundry, health/beauty, etc.

    OOP $2.08

    Distilled water 4 x $.97
    Hershey’s dark whole nuts 4 x $3.00 – 4 x $2.00 coupons
    Chapstick (2) $3.00
    Coupons $6.00
    OOP $28.28

    Mott’s fruitsations 3 x $2.00 – 3 x $1.00 coupons
    Almond Fresh 4 x $3.50 – 4 x $1.25 coupons
    Sugar (PM Atlantic Superstore) 2 x $1.47
    Brown sugar (PM Atlantic Superstore) 2 x $1.47
    Diet Coke (PM SDM) 5 x $3.30 – 5 x $2.00 coupons
    RobinHood oats (PM Loblaws) 2 x $2.50 – 2 x $1.00 coupons
    M&M’s 8 x $.66
    NN kitchen compost bags (PM NF) 6 x $1.97
    Eggs (PM SDM) $1.77 – $.25 Checkout 51
    Almond fresh (shelf stable) 2 x $2.29 – 2 x $1.00 coupons
    Almond Fresh (drinking boxes) 2 x $3.28 – 3 x $.75 coupons
    Uncle Ben’s wild rice $3.00
    Knorr Sidekicks $1.25 – FPC
    Ritz (PM SDM) 5 x $1.49 (earned 500 bonus PC plus points)
    Potato Thins (PM SDM) 3 x $1.49
    Premium Plus crackers (PM SDM) $1.49
    MiO (PM SDM) 3 x $2.99
    Hummus $3.69
    Bread $1.88
    Panini rolls $2.69 – 50% pink sticker (-$1.35) (earned 200 bonus PC plus points)
    Grapes (PM) $.79
    Mango (PM WM) $2.31
    Romaine $1.99
    Tomatoes $.63
    Carrots (PM FC) $.79
    Bananas $2.10 (earned 400 bonus PC plus points)
    Magazine $3.49
    Sunscreen (PM Loblaws) $7.99 – $5.00 coupon
    Tax Free day $7.61
    Coupons $35.03
    Rebates $.25
    OOP $95.78

    Total Grocery Amount Budgeted For the Year: $4,420 ($85/week) + Meat order $172.85/month for 9 months $1555.65=$5975.65 for the year including the meat order.
    • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $340 – $10.38 (over from last month) =$329.62
    • Total Coupons Used this Week: $41.03
    • Total Coupons Used This Month: $52.12
    • Total Coupons Used this Year: $586.97
    • Total rebates this week (Checkout 51, Snapsaves, CartSmart, zweet): $.25
    • Total rebates this month (Checkout 51, Snapsaves, CartSmart, zweet): $2.50
    • Total rebates this year (Checkout 51, Snapsaves, CartSmart, zweet): $111.00
    • Total SCOP this week: $0
    • Total SCOP this month: $0
    • Total SCOP this year: $6.50
    • Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: $0
    • Total Gift Cards Used this year: $270.84
    • Total Reward Points Used this week: 0
    • Total Reward Points Used this year: 0
    • Total tax free day this week: $7.61
    • Total tax free day this month: $7.61
    • Total tax free day this year: $53.90
    • Colleague Discount (this year): $11.08
    • Total Spent This Week: $126.14
    • Total Spent So Far for this month: $207.07
    • Total Over/Under spent for the month: N/A
    • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $122.55
    • Total to Carry over Next Month: N/A
    • Total Spent To Date This Year: $2033.43
    Weekly overview: Well I was doing okay until no tax day came along lol. I’ll just have to do better the rest of the month 🙂

    1. Hey Jen,
      You are horrible with temptation… like my wife lol and sometimes myself. Temptation is hard to say no to , like no tax day because we think we are missing something but we may end up spending more than we would have in the long run. Not always but it can happen. You just reminded me that I got $0.25 for the eggs I bought on snap saves that I didn’t add to my update today… thanks 🙂 I struggle with keeping to their schedule. It seems what I buy one week is on the savings app the next. Any tips to combat that? You get ballot 13 🙂

  5. Weekly Grocery Game Challenge Results
    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: 200
    Total Coupons Used this Week : 0
    Total Discounts this Week: 0
    Total Checkout 51 cheques this Week: 0
    Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: 0
    Total Rewards Points Used: 0
    Total SCOP: 0
    Total Spent This Week: 24.77
    Total Spent So Far for June: 58.29
    Total Left to Spend for the Month: 143.71
    Total Coupons Used This Month : 3.50
    Total Spent To Date This Year: 1,719.29
    Total Grocery Gift card used this year in addition to total spent: 125.02
    Weekly Overview:
    Food Basics: Mushrooms .88 x 2: 1.75 rounded down 1 cent
    RCSS: Granola bar 1.57, Peanut butter 2.97 x 3, lemon .47 x 4, cucumber .77 x 2: 14.10
    Upper Canada Village: Cereal 12 grain 1.62, Cereal breakfast oat 1.62: 3.24
    Walmart: Grapes green seedless 2.13, grapes red seedless 1.55, garlic pickles 2.00: 5.68
    Another week doing alright. We didn’t spend very much, didn’t need very much. The Upper Canada Village trip with my son I found cereal on clearance made on site to try that fits into my hubby’s new eating plan. I didn’t buy a lot since we’ve never had it. If it is good I’ll be happy I got two different kinds, if not, it was only two bought not all of them there. We are still working on food in the fridge and we have arugula out of the garden, so we aren’t buying as much lettuce each week, the arugula is being mixed with whatever we have. Nice to have fresh again and I’m crossing my fingers that the slugs don’t take the arugula over.

    We did do a U.S. grocery shop again this week. We needed gas, and I can’t afford to fill up in Canada right now. Gas actually went down there in the last two weeks since we were there, a whole 17 cents a gallon. That’s huge, so a fill up cost us under $50 this time. While there we picked up a few of the basics and our favourites.

    Walmart: Monkey bread 2. 2.98 – 1.10 coupons, Oscar Meyer hot dogs 1.50 x 3, creamer 2.48, peanuts 1.48 – .50 coupon, cupcake holders Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles 2.25 (for my son’s birthday party with friends on July 12), gum 3 packs of super packs 2.24 x 2, cat food wet .58 x 12 – 2.00 coupons (pet budget replaced this already): 25.61
    Price chopper: Greek yogurt .88 x 5 – 2.00 coupons, Yoplait yogurt .50 x 10, 2 packs of family size whole wheat bread (cut thinner than Canada and more in a loaf) 3.29 x 3, I can’t believe it’s not butter spray 1.99 – 1.00 coupon: 18.26
    Aldi: Mini muffins 1.99, burrito tortillas 1.39, ice cream cones large pack 1.19, skim milk 4 gallon 2.99, 2% milk 4 gallon 3.19, Smoked gouda 2.99, small flour tortilla packs of 20 1.69 x 2, organic tortilla chips 1.49, bologna large pack .99, whole wheat spaghetti .89, 100 calorie nut packs 2.49, olive oil spray 1.49, whole wheat hot dog buns 1.29, whole wheat hamburger bund 1.29: 27.05

    We haven’t bought cheese in a while, and were fortunate enough to find a wheel of gouda for a great price (my mom bought brie for 2.99 there as well and that’s at least 5.99 for same size in Canada). Based on my hubby’s new carb conscience diet, the price chopper whole wheat bread is the best for him, my homemade is a bit tough to track right now. Fortunately it’s a great price. The rest is stuff we generally buy across the border. I know we were over our dairy limit this past time, but it all depends on who is at the border. Overall, the concern was for value, not quantity of any specific item. Since our U.S. budget is still not depleted yet, we will continue our trips across. Especially since our Canadian budget is so low. I know we’ve got enough set aside for about 4 more trips U.S. and then we will have to see where we can take it from there.

    My goal is to come in under budget on the Canadian side this month since May was so ridiculous. That way we can come out more even in the long run. Counting the weeks until my garden starts to produce more than arugula and spices. However, I can’t wait for our local fruit seasons to make their rounds this year.

    1. Hi Angela,
      I agree it’s nice to have fresh again. We don’t have a garden like last year however my wife’s parents have a huge garden that we get stuff from when we visit. Oh the smoked gouda…. I can’t wait to try that. What are the topic items you buy in the USA? I think once the markets and farmers start selling more produce it will be nice to get out and pick up some great deals. I know many have already been picking strawberries and asparagus. Keep up the great work. Fingers crossed for your shopping month. You get ballot 9. Mr.CBB

      1. Our biggest targets for the U.S. are bacon, croutons, milk, butter, eggs (when not on sale at Shoppers), yogurt, cheese, whole wheat bread (it’s cut thinner, but not quite as thin as weight watchers bread), cold meat, hot dogs, heinz ketchup when it’s on sale there and pepperoni . We have to be careful with the fresh food since a lot of it can’t cross back and forth across the border. Most times fruit and produce are expensive anyhow, so I’m not missing anything. Some meats can be brought over, but has to be declared. We used to buy whole turkeys there until prices here came down. Our biggest treat are Keebler cookies since we can’t get it here. Gas is our priority since it lasts longer and is much cheaper.

        1. It seems like most of it are staples that would be in any kitchen. Is there somewhere online that will show you what you can and can’t bring over prior to going?

  6. Here are my shops for the week. I know I could make the sauce from scratch but the price this week was too good!! Plus the older boy can be a bit funny about textures so I try to watch that.I suspect it might be from his Asperger’s as I have read that those with that can have issues with food textures. Other than a quick trip into Canadian tire for Royale TP it was all Foodland.

    Foodland, June 6
    1 can crushed tomatoes- .88
    5 packs pasta, asst types @.88- 4.40
    4 cans tomato sauce @.88- 3.52
    2 Power Ade @1.66- 3.32
    Kolbasa loaf- 1.70
    bananas- 1.93
    2 W/W bread @1.88- 3.76
    2 Dove body wash @2.88- 5.76
    1 Dove beauty bars- 2.88, $3.00 WUB2 different product
    1 bagels- 2.99
    2 raisin bread2 2.99- 5.98, 2X 1.00 coupon
    deli ham- 3.38
    1 taco kit- 3.99
    1 yogurt- 3.99
    1 grated parmesan cheese- 4.61
    2 4l milk @4.79- 9.58
    2 packs sausage @5.49, 10.98, 2X50% stickers @2.75- 4.50
    1 chicken nuggets- 6.88
    1 chicken burgers- 6.88
    Tax- 1.55
    Total- $78.46, $5.00 coupons, 4.50 discounts

    Canadian Tire, June 6
    2 Royale TP @ 4.99- 9.98, 1.00 coupon
    Tax- 1.30
    Total -$10.28, 1.00 coupon

    Foodland, June 9
    4 pasta sauce @.88- 3.52
    3 cans pineapple @1.19- 3.57
    3 Power Ade @1.66- 4.98
    bananas- 1.21
    1 jar pickles- 1.79
    3 W/W bread @1.88- 5.64
    1 pack liver- 2.57, 50% sticker- 1.29
    1 tomato- .84
    2 Dove body wash @2.88- 5.76
    1 doz eggs- 2.99
    1 soya sauce- 2.99
    1 taco kit- 3.99
    1 lb butter- 4.19
    2 packs ground pork @4.49- 8.98, 2X 50% stickers@ 2.25- 4.50
    3 packs ground turkey @4.49- 13.47, 3X 50% stickers @2.25- 6.75
    1 jug water- 5.49
    1 bag rice- 5.99
    1 Whiskas cat food- 7.99
    Tax- 2.43
    Total- $75.85, 12.54 discounts

    Totla budget for month- $650.00, $162.50 wk
    Total coupons/discounts for week- $24.04
    Total spent this week- $164.59
    Total spent for the month- $150.94+$164.59= $315.53
    Total over/under for week- over$2.09
    Total over/under for month- N/A
    Left for the month- $334.53
    Total coupons/discounts for month- $12.90+$24.04=$36.94
    Total carry over to next month-N/A
    Total YTD- J$653.06+F$594.21+M$633.19+A$672.42+M$647.70+J$315.53=$4151.03
    Stock pile- $25.00 nothing spent yet

    So I was over just a bit for the week but still under for the month. Looks like the strawberries will be good to go next week so I will be a very busy girl making my jam. The boys will be helping to pick so that will be nice. Hubby will stay home. I was talking to a girl that worked at the place I pick and she did say it looks like a really good crop!!
    The pasta sauce was a really good price as you can see as was the pasta!! I found some nice deals with stickered meat. The liver made for a very frugal dinner!!! The sausages, ground pork and ground turkey will make for some nice frugal dinners too!!! The Dove products were as well, normally I’d be looking at 5.99-6.99 for the body wash and the bar soap is the shea butter kind, usually more expensive than the regular. I can’t wait to try it!! I wish I still had a coupon for Stuart’s cat food but no luck and he was almost out. Heaven forbid Fatty runs out of food!!!
    All in all I still have a good amount left for the next two weeks, we will see how the strawberries affect that….Mind you they will be worth it!!

    1. Hi Christine,
      Interesting about the sauce texture. I guess you know what your son likes. 🙂 I am writing this after I saw your strawberry stash and I’m amazed at how well you did. I’m not a liver fan and mum never made it for us although she made it for dad and herself. No amount of ketchup will make me eat it either lol. What coupons are you looking for? Haha… you’re funny~ You do have an awesome amount. You must be proud of the way you shop Christine. It’s also good to see the numbers on paper or in this case on the blog because tracking it is the only way we learn how we are doing. Keep up the great work. You get ballot 8. Mr.CBB

      1. I’m going back for more berries, likely on the weekend as I just found out I have some bridal wear to work on for a Saturday wedding. A friend of my daughter owns a bridal shop and it seems the bride left things to the last minute!! My gain! I checked my supply of jam and I should make another 15-20 jars of jam if I want it to last until next year.
        The coupon I was wishing I had was for Whiskas cat food for Stuart. He does like his Whiskas!!
        I try very hard to get good meals on the table and keep my grocery budget in line. It is worth it to see how I am doing and that I’m staying on track while making meals that most of us will enjoy or at least eat here.. The strawberries for jam might make the numbers go up for the month but the taste of the jam makes it worth all the work and bother.

        1. Does that mean you will be sewing for the wedding party? Hmm, I don’t think I have Whiskas but I can look. I don’t normally get pet coupons these days. I’m sure you will make up for it the next month.

  7. The past 40 days we have spent $117.14 on groceries. We bought a lot more food than that, but we used PC points.
    If needed, my husband and I go probably go a month, eating what we have on hand ..and just use $100 to supplement and fill in gaps.
    We live about 8 months of the year, outside the country, and when we returned, we noticed all groceries seemed to be a higher.Sales and reduced food, didn’t seem to be much lower.
    We’ve been bad though. Tim Horton’s had these great coupons, and we used a lot of them..who can pass up free doughnuts! Anyways, I’m glad they expired over the weekend..back on track with healthier eating.
    After the first week of being home, we started using the bread maker…even at the bread thrift store,it is about $2 a loaf !

  8. I try to get what I can on sale. I do have a small stockpile that tends to not last long. When I go to get groceries the first step is to see what basics I need by looking over the pantry, fridge and the freezers and list it, then I look over the flyers to see if what I need is on sale. Lastly I check my coupons to see if there are any I can use to up my savings.The coupons are tucked into my list and off we go. I’ll have a rough idea of what meals I will be making but that is always subject to change, depending on what is on sale and any half price stickers I find!!
    I’m trying to drift away from a lot of the processed foods as much as I can. I have some frozen fruits and veggies in the freezers to use for what ever meal happens to need a little help or to help stretch the leftovers. I do use a canned pasta sauce as a base to make spaghetti sauce and such. I don’t have much room to grow my own tomatoes or other veggies here as we have a small lot. Any leftover sauce gets put into the freezer for a future meal. My plastic containers are well used, nice part there is they are fairly standard in the measurements so I know how much is in each one at a glance.
    My kids were never picky with foods as they were given two choices every meal….take it or leave it. Hubby is usually the fussy one here, drives me batty some days. I can stretch the leftovers quite a bit as you have seen in the WFD feed at night.

    1. You don’t even need that canned pasta sauce for your base to be honest Christine. You can easily make a delicious pasta sauce with canned crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, onions, carrots, celery and spices ie garlic, oregano, basil. Haha.. my parents said THE EXACT SAME THING… take it or leave it. The minute you give kids choices is the minute you open your world of picky eaters and misery in the kitchen. They will eat it as long as it’s not completely disgusting food.

      1. I love the take it or leave it approach too, we are the same way. I know my son is not a fan of peppers, but after many tantrums, refusals, etc, he lost that battle. He eats the peppers now if they are in a dish (or raw), but to be fair to him I don’t serve peppers at every meal. And I have proven to him that I do the same for me, I will eat something if I’m not a fan of it too (ie. broccoli) within the meals to show him we eat what’s there. Healthy food is important and all have their place. Irony, I love peppers but have not planted any in our garden, they just don’t grow well here. However, I planted broccoli for the first time just to see how they do. If you have a farmer’s market or farm nearby you, they often sell tomatoes by the bushel in August and September and make great sauce right from the source for freezing. We make fresh as often as possible, however we resorted to canned tomatoes or prepared pasta sauce since last year’s crop was so limited and expensive. Our tomatoes didn’t even produce enough to eat at the time much less can or freeze.

  9. We do a bit of both, but target the produce on sale rather than the junk and price match them at our local RCSS because the quality of food there is far superior in our town. There are some things we eat every week like bananas, lettuce, milk and pears regardless of cost. When those items go on sale, it’s a bonus. Otherwise, we often adjust our menu to include the sale stuff. Berries make easy portable snacks, so we load up when those are on sale. The other item I purchase on sale are crackers. They aren’t necessarily great for you, but they are also very portable and keep drive thru desires to a minimum. When we switched our eating habits to healthier choices, our grocery budget did go up since coupons are hard to find for the good stuff, but it’s worth it in the long run.

  10. Funny that you mention homemade tortillas: we recently started making our own, and they taste SO much better than the store-bought stuff – and at a fraction of the price!!! We tend to stock up when we buy stuff on sale, but are leaning more and more toward making our own of everything: cheaper, and better for you. 🙂

    1. It’s true Laurie. The best part is if you just brush them with a bit of olive oil and cut into triangles you can easily make your own tortilla chips in the oven.

  11. JUNE – Week #2 of 4- June 9-15, 2014


    •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



    Not much in the way of shopping was required this week but the little bit that we did shop was at least on sale!

    What we did spend this week was a little from our “Gifts” funds. There was a going away party for one of hubby’s co-workers and I elected to bring a large raw vegetable platter as our contribution to his party. The party tray was $54.99 and I had a coupon for spend $60 get 75 Air Miles so I picked up just enough groceries to get us over the $60 mark. I do love my Air Miles! I am not including the party tray as it was “a gift” but I mention it so you know how I got so many Air Miles from such a small shop. I thought about what to take and there’s lots of salads I could have made for probably half the price but in today’s day of Vegetarians, Vegans, Gluten-Free and Paleo diets… I knew this would suit the vast majority of party participants.



    Safeway – Maple Ridge

    2 x Lucerne Chocolate Milk 2L ($9.18-$5.18 Loyalty Svgs) = $4.00
    2 x Lucerne Skim Milk 2L ($9.18-$5.18 Loyalty Svgs) = $4.00

    •Total OOP: $8.00

    • Grocery Budget OOP: $8.00
    • Stockpile Budget OOP: $0.00
    • Cash Hiding Spot: $0.00
    • Safeway Cash Card: $10.00

    ** Earned 79 Air Miles on this shop **
    ** USED $0.00 Price Matches **
    ** USED $0.00 in Coupons **
    ** SAVED $10.36 Loyalty Savings on this shop **






    •Total Loyalty Card Price Reductions This Year:

    Jan $81.89 + Feb $48.32 +Mar $0.00 +April $22.88 +May $44.18 + June ($18.30+$10.36= $28.66)= $225.93

    •Total Coupons Used This Year:

    Jan $2.58 + Feb $7.18 +Mar $0.00 + April $9.20 +May $20.19 + June ($0.00) = $39.15

    •Total Price Match Savings Used This Year:

    Jan $0.00 + Feb $0.00 +Mar $0.00 + April $0.00 +May $5.31 + June ($0.00) = $5.31

    •Total More Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 0 + Feb 0 +Mar 11 + April 0 + May 5 + June (0) = 16 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year:

    Jan 456 + Feb 584 +Mar 0 + April 4 + May 125 + June (2) = 1,171 Air Miles

    •Total Thrifty’s Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 25 + Feb 15 +Mar 0 + April 0 + May 39 + June (0) = 79 Points

    •Total PC PLUS Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 0 + Feb 0 +Mar 650 + April 0 + May 5,400 +June (2400) = 8,450 Points

    •Total Optimum Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 0 + Feb 0 +Mar 0 + April 0 + May 30 + June (0) = 30 Points



    •Total OOP Year-To-Date:

    Jan $167.06 + Feb $155.74+ Mar $105.76 + April $145.56 +
    May $228.38 +June ($52.50 trf to US reserves+$23.50+$52.97+$8.00= $136.97)= $939.47

    •Total Year-To-Date Grocery Budget:

    Jan $142.50+ Feb $142.50+ Mar $142.50 + April $142.50 + May $232.50 +June $142.50 = $945.00

    •Total Over/Under on Year-To-Date Grocery Budget: $5.53 AVAILABLE



    •Total Stockpile OOP Year-To-Date:

    Jan $47.50 + Feb $47.50 + Mar $47.50 + April $47.50 + May $47.50 + June ($47.50) = $375.00

    •Total Year-To-Date Stockpile Budget:

    Jan $47.50 + Feb $47.50 + Mar $47.50 + April $47.50 + May $47.50 + June ($47.50) = $375.00

    •Total Over/Under Year-To-Date Stockpile Budget: $0.00 AVAILABLE



    •Total 2014 Re-Stocking Budget:

    2013 Fwd $125.00+Jan $17.50+Feb $17.50+Mar $17.50 + April $17.50 +May $17.50 + June $0.00= $212.50 AVAILABLE



    •Total 2014 Borscht Stockpile Budget:

    2013 Fwd $275.00+Jan $12.50+Feb $12.50+Mar $12.50 + April $12.50 +May $12.50 + June $0.00 = $337.50 AVAILABLE



    •Total 2014 Borscht Stockpile Budget:

    2013 Fwd $0.00+Jan $20.00+Feb $20.00+Mar $20.00 + April $20.00 +May $20.00 + June $0.00= $100.00 AVAILABLE


    • TOTAL SPENT Year-To-Date:

    $939.47 Grocery Budget
    $10.00 Safeway Cash Card
    $375.00 Stockpile Budget
    $80.00 Cash Repayment from neighbor
    $24.27 Costco Rebate Cheque
    $250.00 Safeway Gift Card =


    $1,140 may have been budgeted for JAN to JUNE ‘2014 but we have these funds already accounted for and not yet spent:

    $212.50 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $337.50 Borscht Fund
    $100.00 Holiday Season Fund

    TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES $650.00 … that is a $400.00 carry-forward from 2013 and $250.00 in NEW 2014 savings.

    So, if you look at the $1,678.74 calculation that we have spent in 2014 and subtract the $250.00 we have actually saved in our “reserves” and the $159.42 we have recorded as spent but is actually set aside for future USA grocery shopping… we have actually spent $1,269.32!! That is $129.32 over the $1,140.00 we budgeted for January through June.

    Fortunately we have 6 weeks of vacation time still coming in 2014 when I use our “vacation funds” instead of the “grocery budget”. That’s a dollar value of $285.00 so that $129.32 will easily be absorbed and we’ll get back on track so long as I really watch the spending for the balance of the year!



    CANADIAN $’s

    Groceries: $5.53
    Stockpile: $0.00
    Cash Hiding Spot: $10.00
    Safeway Cash Card $0.00

    US $’s

    Our Reserve: $159.42
    US Cash Hiding Spot: $0.00


    The valid rain checks I hold are as follows:

    Thrifty Foods:

    6 loaves 100% WW bread @ $1.00 (Good until July 28th)
    4 Compliments Sweet Green Relish @ $1.00 each (Good until July 28th)
    12 Heinz 1.36 L Can of Tomato Juice @ $1.99 each (Good until Aug 9th)


    1 Schwartz’s Smoked Sliced Meat Pouches 500 g $8.99
    (Good until Aug 17th)
    1 Schwartz’s Smoked Sliced Meat Pouches 500 g $8.99
    (Good until Aug 18th)
    2 Coast-to-Coast Italian Sausage Buns – 8 pack $2.49
    (Good until Aug 24th)
    10 Coke/Pepsi 2L Pop @ 5 for $5 maximum of 10
    (Good until Sept 1st)


    1. That was a great deal for the veggie platter with the Air Miles. In the summer there are so many parties and of course bringing a dish is what most people do so that could increase the budget depending on where you take the money from. In your case it was a “gift”. Well done… you must be racking up those Air Miles… 🙂 You get ballot 6. MR.CBB

          1. Did you know that Air Miles are on sale at 20 cents each instead of 30 cents. If you want to use those air miles and need a top up to do it… now is the time. 🙂

          2. I checked what we have and it’s close to 2000 but not the cash Air Miles…. I know I said I would read more into it and I best be doing that before I lose them.

  12. I end up buying a combination of what I want/need and what’s on sale. If I just need salad stuff for the week, for example, I will buy the things that are the best prices. If I find something long lasting that we actually eat, as you’ve said, I’ll stock up on a bunch. If I’m planning to make a specific recipe though, I’ll usually pay for whatever it is

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.