I know what you are thinking if you are a coupon lover and swear by the savings but you can also chop your everyday food costs without coupons.
Just like the header says, save by buying less and it’s true. People tend to overspend when grocery shopping for everyday food for a variety of reasons and we’re included in that group.
We’ve since been working on keeping that at bay and it’s not so bad as long as you find your grocery shopping triggers.
Using coupons, especially if you aren’t a pro at it takes time to organize every week so you must be willing to make that time in order to reap any rewards.
Sure some weeks may be better than others but for those who simply don’t have the time you don’t need coupons to save money on groceries as long as you are smart with what you buy.
We were heavily into using coupons during the years 2010-2012 until the big coupon rage took off and Extreme Couponing in the USA blew up the television screen.
In that time more coupon bloggers joined the blogosphere which is now saturated with websites wanting to show you how to save money using coupons. Some of our favourite Canadian coupon websites have taught us lots about couponing in Canada and they still do for many of my fans.
I’ve mentioned before that our stockpile is pretty large when it comes to health and beauty and laundry so we haven’t had to spend much in our budget over the past few years for such products. Just this morning we both said how little of a dent we’ve put in our massive stash but the food has dwindled down to very little.
If you look at our coupon usage for 2014 you will see we have only saved upwards of $39.00 using coupons and we’ve just started to use the popular coupon apps to save a bit more when we can. Coupon apps for us are not like paper coupons rather added store savings as long as you are willing to put the effort into grabbing it.
What we’re not doing these days is buying more than we need with coupons and we hardly if ever take that coupon binder with us. In an earlier post I talked about whether we eating too much food which is driving up the cost of our everyday food budget. Sure that may be one culprit but wanting to buy more than we can handle is also another.
There used to be a time where we wouldn’t leave home without the coupon binder but lately we have had no need. Our grocery list stays pretty consistent each week and if a coupon comes up for products we use we will pack them in an envelope ready to go shopping. Otherwise we don’t bother because we simply don’t want to spend more money in our budget than we need to.
That was a huge issue for us and although we did get many deals over the years there are plenty of products we can look back on and say we could have gone without.
Just having a walk around our stockpile we see items that haven’t been opened and may never get opened. At the time it seemed like a great deal even if we still paid the taxes and likely a bit of money towards the product as not everything was free. We didn’t want to be that couple any more so we took the coupon usage down a notch. We used to buy taco kits, crackers and I can’t tell you how many boxes of cereal we had at any given time.
Lots of the cereal went to the garbage or was donated because we just didn’t eat it on time. Looking back we didn’t need 10 taco kits or boxes of crackers or 100 cans of baked beans. Why? It’s simple, we still have food that has not yet expired but we will end up donating it as we can’t get through it all.
Sure, donating is great but donate because you want to not because you have product you can’t get through. We really wanted to change our shopping and dietary habits so we felt better with our grocery budget and the way we chose to eat and spend our money.
Ways to save on everyday food without coupons
Coupons are still a great way to save but let’s pretend for a moment that coupons don’t exist or it’s rare to find coupons any longer. What other ways can you save money in your grocery budget?
Don’t get me wrong we still use coupons but it’s not necessary to use them all the time to snag great deals. Many of you know that price matching is a super easy way to get the best prices utilizing the weekly flyers. Everyday food prices are competitive among the grocery stores so don’t forget to plan ahead and bring your flyers or smartphone with you to save money.
If you have a computer or smart phone you can now use the popular savings apps which are not coupons per say, rather grocery savings without coupons like I mentioned above.
The best part is these apps are increasing the number of fresh foods and produce that they showcase each week for those that sign up. We love that and any seasoned couponer knows that we never got the sheer amount of fresh produce savings with coupons as we can today with these apps. You don’t need to bring your coupons but you can still reap the rewards of saving money.
Grow your own food
Another way to save money on groceries is to grow your own vegetables. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, organic tastes better but if you plan to pay for it in the store be ready to pay some hefty prices.
Although many people choose to eat organic they also stick to their budget buying only what they need eliminating all the “extras” just because there is a coupon attached to it.
Just the other day I noticed on a Facebook Free Stuff group that a follower asked if anyone had any extra Rhubarb that they wouldn’t mind sharing. In just one hour she had 3 people offer her rhubarb from their gardens. I was amazed but not shocked.
So, if you know what is in season don’t be shy to ask if anyone has anything they’d be willing to part with, especially if they can’t get through it all. In the past we’ve offered free fruit such as raspberries and apples online simply because we didn’t want to see it waste.
Just this past week I helped my friend with some work in his backyard that he didn’t know how to do. I never charge my friends for things that seem simple to me so he offered me organic produce that he buys in bulk as payment. I couldn’t say no so we grilled up some lovely asparagus for dinner the next night.
If you have some spare time on your hands local farmers are always on the hunt for help where the payment is free food. You get to pick free food from the land you help grow just for trading services.
Share your land
If you have a large piece of property you can let other green thumb gardens use your land to grow their garden. In return they can offer you free fresh organic produce but they do the work to grow it.
Another way is if you have a large garden you can rent out your land to other growers and use that money to buy groceries which helps balance your grocery budget so you can use that money for other bills or debts you may have.
You can also save more by visiting local farmers in your area or farmers markets where they love to haggle so keep that in the back of your head too. In the summer picking your own fresh from the garden such as fruits and vegetables are another super saver for everyday foods that normally plague the grocery budget.
You might even notice sellers on Facebook or other social media with straight sell produce boxes from local area farmers. They will even deliver the produce right to your door for a small delivery fee. If there is something you don’t like in the box you can negotiate another product.
We love pink stickers and reduced products because they still have life in the product but with it comes a giant grocery savings. If the store can make some money off the product they will do what they can rather than take a loss on it.
This leads me to the top reason you don’t need coupons to save money for groceries and that’s because you are cooking homemade meals. Even though you can still use coupons to buy your canned food products and fresh products when they are not available ditching the pre-made foods for homemade soups, stews, casseroles (casa-roll-ehs! for all my What’s for Dinner fans) can really cut your budget.
You can also stretch the budget by eating proper meal portions and bulking food out with plenty of beans and vegetables. If you have a freezer you can bulk cook as well to save money.
Most often, we don’t need the snacks we think we do when fresh fruit and crisp vegetables will do the trick. Just yesterday Nicola shared a recipe for homemade granola bars which eliminates all the added ingredients that most people can’t pronounce, the need for coupons but keeps the pure bliss of home-baked goodness.
Is our plan working?
My wife and I were looking over our grocery budget and noticed that we haven’t been doing too badly with sticking to our food plan. We buy the odd convenience type foods and canned good but for the most part we’ve managed to do it all without hardly using any coupons.
All I can say is the reason behind this is everything I’ve listed above. If you find you use lots of coupons try for one month not to use them by eliminating all the foods you really don’t need to get because you have those coupons.
Examples would be crackers, cookies, cakes, granola bars, chocolate bars and pre-made meals. Instead, focus on making homemade snacks or choosing better options.
We also find with less of the products in the house that we used to buy just because we had coupons or thought we needed the product the less we reach out for them. Just last night we noticed Oreo cookies on sale for $1.77 at Canadian Tire. Sure that’s a great deal and no we don’t need them.
If we want cookies that bad we can make them homemade but if we buy bags of cookies then we’ll likely pile through them with or without restraint. It’s always harder when they are in stock and an arms length away.
Stock your pantry with healthy everyday food such as raisins and other dried fruits, variety of nuts and seeds, chipits, honey, granola, oats, dry chick peas and other delicious snacks.
Sure, you may get lucky if you have a Bulk Barn coupon to use but even if they aren’t available by eliminating other items that you don’t need will make room to pay for these better options. Even the Bulk Barn has great deals if you shop around such as 25%-50% off products.
If you are a bulk food shopper who likes to go to Costco keep in mind that not all bulk food is the best priced everyday food so do the math.
My nephew never asks for crackers, cookies or other sweets. Instead he loves boiled carrots and for snacks he loves dried and fresh fruits and nuts alongside a big bowl of creamy yogurt. He gets no sugar infested juice, instead he gets milk or water as his beverages of choice. A treat comes once in a while but that’s what it’s meant for.
So go ahead and buy a treat if you must have them in the house just don’t buy 10 kinds of treats. Don’t give up before you start and don’t say “you need it” because you probably don’t.
What other ways can the fans save money on everyday food without using coupons? Share your shopping secrets in the comment section along with your grocery game shop of the week!
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.
- Would you go back if you forgot your groceries? The Grocery game challenge #1 June 2-8, 2014
- Do you only buy groceries on sale? : The Grocery game challenge #2 June 9-15, 2014
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
- 4L of Neilson Milk $3.97
Total out of pocket $3.97
- 2 500g containers of ricotta $5.49-Pink stickers =$2.75 each
- 6 x Cloverleaf Tuna Sale $0.88 each
- Cottage Cheese Sale $2.99- $1.00 coupon
- Celery stalk Sale $1.99
- Birthday candles Sale $0.89 each-pink stickers $0.45 each
- 2 large pkgs of Angus beef mince $7.05 and $8.93
Total out of pocket $32.71
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 : $1.00
- Total Coupons Used to date: $40.25
- Total Discounts this Week: $5.50
- Total Discounts Used to date: $39.76
- 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: $36.68
- Total Spent So Far June: $71.21+ $67.10+$36.68=$17499
- Total Over/Under spend this shop: under
- Total Over/Under spend for the month: n/a
- Total Left to Spend for the Month: $50.50
- 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 didn’t need too much this week since we are trying to use up what we have in our freezer which includes tonnes of cut green peppers from last year as well as Swiss chard from the family garden. We also have bags of fruit that we bought 2 years ago although I’m not sure if we should just dump them into smoothies now. The fruit is still good but just another point of us using coupons to buy too much food because it was cheap with a coupon. We are hoping to get rid of our freezer and downsize to a medium freezer in the next couple of months.
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.
Summertime savings booklets are at the bulk food store so if you have a local Bulk Barn head on in for a coupon booklet before they are all gone.
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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