Should grocery stores bother having a garden centre?: The Grocery Game Challenge #1 June 30-July 06, 2014



These days it seems that more and more supermarkets aim at the gardener in everyone by adopting a seasonal garden centre attachment.

It’s amazing how many of these stores will go out of their way to make sure they keep the customer happy.

I often wonder though if it’s really worth it for them but judging by the way these garden centres keep showing up year after year I’m pretty sure a profit is being made.


Garden centre choices


The garden centre is usually located in the car park or if you frequent such supermarkets as Walmart the garden centre is part of the exterior of the building.

The pro having the garden centre included with a grocery store is that it’s the one stop shop again. It’s all about competition though. If you decide to go to Zehrs garden centre for a sale you most likely will go into Zehrs to see what groceries are on sale or decide to buy your groceries there that week. Ah, smart marketing.

Either way, the big names in supermarkets just keep broadening their horizons to encourage a wider customer base. Every year we add some sparkle to the outside of our house by planting up hanging baskets and setting up the back deck.

Over the years we’ve gone from the Canadian Tire garden centre to Zehrs and then out to an independently owned nursery and back again.

What usually entices us in is the prices and variety of plants, even if it’s just the basics like annuals for the hanging baskets. Our final choice is not based on price alone however, size and general plant health are key too. I’m picky when it comes to choosing the right plants so I take my time. My wife on the other hand doesn’t know much about plants and flowers so she leaves this up to me.

The hanging baskets that you can buy from a garden centre that are pre-made are ok for the money if you don’t want to do the work yourself but not for us. The amount of plants we manage to stuff in our hanging baskets is pretty phenomenal so for us to buy a pre-made version would cost us around the $50-$60 mark each.

To keep our costs down we buy plugs because we can grow the plants on and our money goes further. We watch the flyers for potting soil to build up the hanging baskets and then start accruing plants from various sources.

Depending on how you want your hanging baskets to look you will plan your plant buying to achieve the maximum amount of floral excellence for the least amount of cash.

Concentrating on old favourites for your hanging baskets is easy and can provide a fail safe bloom of flowers during the summer. Adding in different plants to create a more interesting arrangement can create a more spectacular look.

Our hanging baskets start with some basics and are then interspersed with slightly more interesting plants with varied foliage and flowers but kept within a pre-determined colour scheme.

We will visit garden centre after garden centre and look for plants within our budget, colour scheme and size that is required. We’re not biased towards one place or another but larger plants are bought from dedicated garden centres purely because they have such a wide variety.

Like I mentioned above though as customers who walk into the garden centre of these grocery stores we end up in the store looking around. They know what they are doing and that’s why they are competing year after year by having a garden centre. They don’t want to lose you as a customer.

Do you buy your flowers at the grocery store garden centre and do you end up inside to buy groceries or look around afterwards?


July 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. Join in the Grocery Game Challenge fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each blog post… here are the GGC rules!

Each month I hold a draw and one WINNER is chosen.  I will post the winners name right here so make sure to check back every week. I want to give a shout out to all the grocery game players who are making a difference in their grocery budget and sharing their shops with the world. If you want to join in read the rules and post your shops!! 🙂

These women make me so proud that they have taken this challenge seriously and not just for one month or two months but many since the beginning of this challenge a couple of years back. I hope they will inspire many of you to post your shops. These ladies can rock the grocery budget!!! ~Mr.CBB

  •  Mary
  • Jen
  • Joanne
  • Christine
  • Angela
  • Juanita

Our June winner of the grocery game goes to….. Ballot #5 Christine!! Well done Christine… you know what to do to claim your coupons. 🙂


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



If you are a foodie like I am you will enjoy going through my Free Recipe Index where recipes from CBB foodie Nicola and myself are shared every Sunday on the blog. Check it out! Try a recipe and leave a review for other fans!

Food Basics

  • 2 bags of Selection Tortilla chips for backyard BBQ party – $2.49 each
  • Liberte coconut yogurt $2.99
  • Sunflower seeds Sale $1.88
  • Russet Potatoes $3.77
  • Bavarian Sandwich bread $2.99
  • Seedless cucumber $1.27
  • Tomatoes on the vine $1.54
  •  Brie wheel $5.99
  • Reduced produce apples $1.29
  • Parmalat Milk 2% $3.97

Total out-of-pocket $31.56


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 July $235.00-$49.88=$185.12/4= $46.28 per week
  • Total Coupons Used this Week : $0.00
  • Total Coupons Used to date: $41.00
  • Total Discounts this Week: $0
  • Total Discounts Used to date: $43.61
  • 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): $0
  • Stockpile Budget Used to Date: $20.00+$19.08+$17.94+ $2.06+$20.00+$15.10 + $20.00 (June)
  • Snap Saves to date: $0.25
  • Total Spent This Week: $31.56
  • Total Spent So Far July: $31.56
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: under $14.72
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month: $
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $153.56
  • Total to Carry Over Next Month: -$0
  • 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 $275.37+ July
  • Weekly Overview:  We didn’t have much to buy this week since we were going away so we managed to keep the grocery expense under budget.


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.

We didn’t find any coupons this week because we only went to Food Basics and they didn’t have any in-store.


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!



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  1. Hey Mr.CBB
    The chips are made by a local company that makes the chips white and red for Canada day:)
    My girl like compliments blood orange Italian soda.
    The razor coupons came to me through a sample pack and a fb promo and matched with the sale I was over the moon!!
    I am thankful for coupons saving our budget and letting us stockpile and help others when in need.

    1. That sounds interesting… do they taste any different? Oh, I’ve never even seen that orange Italian soda before. Lucky you with the razor coupons! 🙂 You are doing amazing with the coupons.

  2. Our weekly budget is $125 making this month $625
    Save on foods
    $1×2 Canada day tortilla chips – clearance
    $4.95 4L milk
    $7.05 total oop
    $3.47 & $3.71 deli meats
    $1.61 2L pop
    $1.37×2 Italian soda – for my girl
    $11.45 total oop
    $4.94×4-$1TCx4&$1Cx1&$3Cx3 royale tiger towels – pm to Walmart
    $3.49×4-$1.50TCx4&$2Cx2 huggies wipes
    $11.30 total oop
    $24 total coupons
    .58 kooaid
    $2.09×2-.75Cx2 half and half
    $3.87 2lb strawberries
    $2.77 spiral fries
    $13.61 chicken wings – 2 meals
    .77×8 devils food cake mix – clearance good till 4/15!!
    $22.55 total oop
    $1.50 total coupons
    $2×2 doritos chips
    $2×2 tostitos
    $5.99×2-$4Cx2 venus razors
    $1.88×3 chrisite crackers
    $18.60 total oop
    $8 total coupons

    $70.95 weekly total oop
    $33.50 weekly total coupons
    This week was a great week for sales and matching with coupons!! Lots of treats as well.
    I guess some Targets are different on how they accept coupons but I am lucky to have one that will pm then apply the target coupon and manufacture coupon.

    1. Hey,
      So, I have to ask.. What are Canada Day tortilla chips? Looks like you have lots of cake mix in your future lol… time to get baking! What kind of Italian soda does she like? Great deal on the Christie crackers and the razors. Where did you get those coupons for the razors from? Well done this week with coupons too… you always do well with coupons! You get ballot 13. Mr.CBB

  3. Weekly Grocery Game Challenge Results
    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: 350
    Total Coupons Used this Week : 2.49
    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: 88.66
    Total Spent So Far for July: 88.66
    Total Left to Spend for the Month: 261.34
    Total Coupons Used This Month : 2.49
    Total Spent To Date This Year: 1,922.84
    Total Grocery Gift card used this year in addition to total spent: 125.02
    Weekly Overview:
    Tincap berry farm: 4 L pick your own berries 3 x10.00: 30.00
    RCSS: PC zero 2 x 2.98 no tax day: 5.96
    Shoppers: Minute Maid clearance .99 – 50 cent coupon, eggs 1.99 – 1.00: 1.50 (rounded up 2 cents)
    RCSS: roma tomatoes 1.14, cucumbers 2 x .77, red peppers 1.97, grape tomatoes 2 x. 97, frozen salmon 4.98: 11.50 (rounded down 1 cent)
    RCSS: blueberries 2 lb 3.98, ground chicken 5.98, ready made boiled eggs .99 – .99 coupon: 9.95 (rounded down 1 cent)
    Loblaws: Planters roasted peanuts 2 x 1.99, organic tortilla 3.00, veggie straws 3.49, pineapple 1.50, in-store bakery 1.49: 14.80 (rounded down 2 cents)
    RCSS: lettuce .97, grapes 2.82, broccoli .99, honey garlic sausages 9.21: 14.95 (rounded down 1 cent)
    July and August are generally months we up the grocery budget to build up our stock. However, this year, we are only doing so the month of July and less than previous years. July we always have family visit and they are expensive to feed. So, I will make it work to feed them well enough (food issues mixed with ours means more we need to have on hand). And, we are running out of so much since we’ve relied heavily on our stockpile. E.I. hasn’t made it’s appearance by this time and it will put us at 10 weeks flying solo on hubby’s income. It is due to start soon, so we are crossing our fingers that it will do so to accommodate the budget shift. It’s a big week for us, we haven’t spent that much at once in a while. But, the local strawberries are very important to our family as we have frozen much of what we bought, I made muffins, salad dressing, popsicles and the fresh berries were eaten by my hubby and kiddo. And, pick your own, they encourage you to fill those baskets as full as you like. A couple of luxury items on there, soda, tortilla and veggie straws. However, the trip into Loblaws for a few snack items kept us out of the restaurants or a drive thru with my son in another city for an appointment, so I consider that a necessary evil, spend a little, save more. And, we had packed so much that day, I really thought I had it covered, but we ate everything before resorting to more. And, a couple of extra RCSS receipts as per my usual maximize the pc plus points over two cards. OK for week 1.

    1. Hi Angela
      WOW, great deal on the eggs at SDM… we never find deals like that any more. Is that highliner salmon you get at SDM? Do you like it? Sometimes if you find you are tempted to go to fast food it’s better to buy groceries… I know what you mean. When you have friends and family visit that can easily bump up the budget. It would be great if people plan to chip in for the food so not all the expenses are put on your plate but most times that’s not the case and likely not proper etiquette to ask. I hope your EI is put in place for you soon as it’s not easy living on one income but it certainly does give you a taste of how tough it could be. I bet many people don’t know what it’s like and if it happens to them they may pay the price dearly. Keep up the smart shopping and it will all fall into place. You get ballot. 8. Mr.CBB

      1. The egg coupon was a Shoppers specific one I received in the mail. I’ve gotten it one other time and I just love it and wish it came more often.

        I don’t recall the brand of salmon it was, but the pieces were nice sizes and had no flavouring done to them, so we could do it all.

        I find that I don’t expect much from my sister’s family because we stay at their place periodically for days too and it evens itself out, while we cost less to feed, we stay there for 5 days instead of 2 or 3. However, this visit my sister gave us $40 in gift certificates for a local butcher shop we tend to go to occasionally (well, when we had more money to spend on meat). It was a very nice gesture, but I know I can’t reciprocate it when we visit their house in a couple of weeks. She knows how tough it’s been and I think she is finally getting an understanding of working with money as their family did a real budget for the first time ever. My sister even knew I would’t be the most comfortable accepting the gesture and that is why she chose a local place (harder for me to refuse) instead of a chain store, ingenious actually. I really think she was just trying to give us a leg up, but using the “excuse” that they were eating our food. Sweet really. We talked about the fact that I can’t reciprocate it, however, I do know they like the homemade bread that I make and I will at least bring them a loaf – it is milk free in the bread maker and two of her family have lactose issues. I figure I can make some small gestures like that and I will feel better.

        Fortunately I had time to prepare for our financial situation and had some wiggle room for hiccups. The hiccups with my EI made it tight, but we still ate pretty well and I plan to be prepared for the one income at the end of the whole process if need be. I just get nervous relying on the one income. However, I am hopefully taking enough steps to better our future, it just may take some time. I know I always have options, and I haven’t exhausted them yet.

        1. So what you learned from the entire situation is that planning is essential because when we rely on an income to come in and then it doesn’t and is backed up like EI in your case it can make situations tough. I wrote a post about this type of topic today you might enjoy. I’m glad your situation is sorted.

  4. 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.

    Bear Paws Mini – $2.97 – 50% pink sticker (-$1.49)
    Natura rice milk – 5 x $2.49 – 5 x FPC (earned 2500 PC plus points)
    Natura soy milk – 2 x $4.49 – 2 x FPC
    Natura soy milk tetra packs – 3 x $2.97 – 3 x FPC (earned 1500 PC plus points)
    Bananas $.88 – $.50 coupon (
    Coupons $30.84
    OOP $1.86

    Dentyne gum $3.19 – 50% pink sticker (-$1.60)
    Bear Paw Mini – $2.97 – 50% pink sticker (-$1.49)
    OOP $3.18

    Oxi Clean $8.87 – $2.00 coupon
    Coupon $2.00
    OOP $8.02

    Goldfish $1.98 (earned 500 PC plus points)
    Rice cakes (PM Sobey’s) 3 x $1.00 (earned 2400 PC plus points)
    PC mac & cheese (PM NF) 8 x $.77 (earned 1200 PC plus points)
    Raisin Bran (PM NF) $2.97
    Rice Krispies (PM NF) $2.97 – $1.00 CO51
    Diet Coke (PM NF) 2 x $3.33 – 2 x $2.00 coupons
    SOS pads (PM FB) 2 x $.99
    Eggs $2.68
    Strawberries (PM Sobey’s) $1.97
    Bananas $1.35 (earned 200 PC plus points) – $.25 Zweet
    Oranges $.78 – $.25 Zweet
    Apples (PM Sobey’s) $2.63 (earned 400 PC plus points)
    Broccoli (PM FB) 2 x $.99
    Asparagus $3.26
    Cucumber (PM NF) $.67
    Romaine (PM Yummy Market) $.88 – $.25 CO51
    Tomatoes (PM FB) $.32
    Magazine $3.49
    Tax Free Day $1.97
    Coupons $4.00
    Rebates $1.75
    OOP $39.98

    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 – $74.44 (over from last month) =$265.56
    • Total Coupons Used this Week: $36.84
    • Total Coupons Used This Month: $36.84
    • Total Coupons Used this Year: $667.56
    • Total rebates this week (Checkout 51, Snapsaves, CartSmart, zweet): $1.75
    • Total rebates this month (Checkout 51, Snapsaves, CartSmart, zweet): $1.75
    • Total rebates this year (Checkout 51, Snapsaves, CartSmart, zweet): $129.00
    • 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: $1.97
    • Total tax free day this month: $1.97
    • Total tax free day this year: $55.87
    • Colleague Discount (this year): $11.08
    • Total Spent This Week: $53.04
    • Total Spent So Far for this month: $53.04
    • Total Over/Under spent for the month: N/A
    • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $212.52
    • Total to Carry over Next Month: N/A
    • Total Spent To Date This Year: $2283.46
    Weekly overview: Well I did better this week at trying to catch up on my deficit (and it was a tax free day!!!) I will just keep trying! Those FPC for Natura that I traded for were awesome!

    1. Hi Jen,
      What a great deal when you can get PC points with FPC’s “:) I’m shocked had banana coupons. I haven’t ordered from them in a while. I just went now and I can’t believe how small the offerings are compared to years ago. They are slim now likely because of all the other websites and now these smartphone apps. Advertisers will pick the best place to share their coupons. I ordered a few coupons but nothing really struck me as great. Glad to hear you are trying to catch up on your overage grocery expenses. I can’t believe we forgot our flyers to PM. We don’t have a smartphone so we can’t even go that route, oh well. I wish I could find gum with pink stickers, great find. Great shop Jen 🙂 You get ballot 5. Mr.CBB

      1. I purposely saved those FPC’s to use when I had a PC plus offer on my phone for Natura. I use my iphone for price matching purposes very frequently as I don’t receive the actual No Frills flyer and I PM them a lot. The coupons were recent and a limited quantity I believe. They released coupons for produce, bread, meat, milk and cereal! I went today and they had a ton of pink sticker gum! All expired in the next few days though.

        1. I miss all the coupon deals as i just don’t have time to look any more. Hook me up when you see something awesome… :p I never find gum on sale… it will last past the expiry but like anything quality starts to diminish.

  5. I honestly never go into any of the stores garden centers. I am unable to garden so i have no need to go in there. I find that when i walk by most of the plants look quite sad to be honest. Maybe just my opinion. I think i would go elsewhere to get my plants should i ever need to. Again my shop for this week was quite small as it was mainly snack foods, fruits and such for our week of vacation. We did many day trips so we just brought a cooler with lunch and dinner most days. There were two days that we went out for dinner as i was in no mood to cook after being outside all day. I have also cut my budget this month to 150 a week. Going back to my original 600 a month.


    Organic jam 2.99 (600 PC points)
    Vanilla soy milk 2.79
    bread 2×2.50=5.00


    shoppers drug mart

    chips 1.99
    cookies 1.49
    danino yogurt drinks 3.99-2.00 from shoppers personalized email=1.99
    milk 3.97



    turkey sandwich meat 3.47
    ham sandwich meat 3.47
    kolbassa 6.27
    oasis juice boxes 1.94
    juice boxes 1.94
    powerade 0.94
    cheesestrings 4.44
    bread 1.88
    bananas 1.89
    apples 2.94
    organic blueberries 2.97
    organic strawberries 2.97
    organic carrots 1.97


    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $600
    •Total Coupons Used this Week : $2.00 from shoppers drug mart.
    •Total Coupons Used This Month : $2.00
    • Total Coupons Used this Year: $372.22
    • Total Checkout 51 rebates this week: 0
    • Total Checkout 51 rebates this month: 0
    • Total Checkout 51 rebates this year: 7.500
    total snapsaves this month:0
    total snapsaves this year 36.75
    • 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: $=62.66
    •Total Spent So Far for july: $62.66
    •Total Left to Spend for the Month: $537.34
    •Total to Carry over Next Month: 350 left from last month.

    Another great week! 🙂

    1. Hey Joanne,
      What a smart idea to pack lunch and dinner for your day trips. We do the same thing but sometimes we buy something small. When we went away last week we brought drinks and some snacks with us so we didn’t blow lots of money. Although we like to try new foods we limit that to foods that we REALLY want to try when we are out. I can say that we used the allowance to buy coffee and iced coffee on the road though. Great start to the month. You get ballot 4.

  6. Here are my shops for the first week of July. I went over by a fair bit but hope to balance it out. I wasn’t planning to get anymore groceries for the week but we went to Walmart after an appointment in Stratford with hubby and went there to get the younger boy some summer weight sleep pants for his birthday and decided to get a few things like milk that are cheaper than in town here. Other than that things were at Foodland.

    Foodland, June 28
    3 instant puddings @.89- 2.67
    3 Whiskas moist cat food @.99- 2.97
    2 specialty KD @2/3.00- 3.00
    bananas- .55
    1 package macaroni- 1.88
    1 pack cheese slices- 2.97
    2 Cheez Whiz @2.97-5.94
    1 jar Miracle Whip- 2.97
    1 ketchup- 2.97
    1 ice cream- 2.99
    1 yogurt- 3.29
    2 cases ginger ale @3.33- 6.66
    1 case cream soda -3.33
    1 yogurt- 4.29, 1.50 coupon
    1 4l milk- 4.79
    1 Cheerios- 4.99
    1 Rice Krispies- 4.99
    10 lbs new potatoes -4.99
    1 144 count Tetley teabags- 9.99
    Tax- 2.01
    Total- $80.11, 1.50 coupons

    Foodalnd, June 30
    1 can pineapple- 1.19
    1KG icing sugar- 1.69
    1 lemonade- 1.99
    tomato- .73
    1 ice cream- 2.99
    1 W/W bread- 3.09
    3 cases pop @3.99- 9.99 (2 CS and 1 GA)
    1 apple juice- 3.49
    1 raisin bread- 3.49
    1 bagels- 3.89
    1 pizza pack of cold meat- 3.99
    1 4l milk- 4.79
    1 jug water- 5.49
    Tax- 1.56
    Total- $48.37

    Walmart, July 3
    2 4l milk @3.97- 7.94
    1 Whiskas dry cat food- 7.93
    1 yogurt- 3.33
    2lbs butter @3.87- 7.74
    1 cranberry cocktail- 2.94
    bananas- .70
    3 Whiskas moist cat food @.73- 2.19
    6 KD @.94- 5.64
    ! Charmin TP- 5.94
    Total- $44.35

    Total budget for month- $650.00, 5 weeks- $130.00wkly
    Total coupons for week- $1.50
    Total spent for week- $172.83
    Total spent for month- $172.83
    Total over/under for week- $42.83 over
    Total over/under for month-N/A
    Left for month- $467.03
    Total coupons/discounts for month- $1.50
    Total carryover – $10.14
    Total YTD- J$653.06+F$594.21+M$633.19+A$672.42+M$647.70+J$660.14+J$172.83=$4668.47
    Stockpile- $25.00, none used

    So I went over but if I hadn’t got any groceries at Walmart it would have been a lot closer, just under for the week in fact. I hope to clear that this week or so as the food bought will be used for this week. We just happened to be there the last day of the week for me. Still it’s a fair start to the month. I need to use more of my coupons to save even more and I keep a look out for goodies I can use the coupons for. If it’s something I buy anyway and it’s on sale then I score!! The pop was a good price this week and most of the packages have coupons to use too. I can try to get pictures and expiry dates on those if you are interested. We shall have to see how I manage the rest of the month from here…..

    1. Hey Christine,
      All it takes is to step foot in the store and even if your intentions are not to buy anything or go in for one thing you have to be strong. We have given in so many times it’s hard. Now you have some coupons from the GGC you can use up 🙂 In all honesty you didn’t go over by much so you may be able to get back on track. Great price on the icecream. I see so many people who go out for icecream when you can buy a huge bucket for MUCH less. I know a treat once in a while is good outside of the house but they really gauge us in these ice-cream shops and most times it’s the same icecream we buy at the grocery store that they sell for top price. Overall, well done… 🙂 What is specialty KD? You get ballot 2. Mr.CBB

      1. Specialty KD is the fancy flavours and such they have, I grabbed the sharp cheddar. They have a spicey one too I think Juanita has tried and a few others.They are a little more money, even on sale than the regular. We were completely out at home, they had none of the regular in stock and the boys wanted it for lunch.
        Yea…you step in the store and stuff ‘falls’ in the cart. I had hubby with me too which didn’t help the final bill any.
        The ice cream was a good price which is why I bought more than one container. I think I got two at the 2.99 and another this week at 3.99. So far we have only had the one container of it all so there are two in the freezer downstairs.
        I’m looking for sales to go with those lovely coupons too!!!!

        1. Ha… it really does fall in the’s a shopping mind game and it’s hard to win. You are better off buying icecream that way then going out for it.. you can enjoy it just as well at home.

  7. I do like the grocery store garden centres overall. While plant condition is usually key, especially at the beginning of the season, clearance is more likely to be had at the grocery store. We shop for specific plants and start most by seed. We have a couple of local garden centres that produce the plants for a living, but I find we can’t afford them. This year prices were terribly high by comparison to the grocery stores. However, I don’t tend to buy from Walmart (dirt yes, plants no), I have had bad experiences with the conditions and longevity of plants from our local store. So, I don’t consider them. This year I did my bulk at RCSS and Valumart. And, I found Valumart to be the best priced overall and plants in best condition.

    That said, if I’m shopping for plants, I don’t tend to go into the grocery stores unless I’m making it a combo trip and planned it ahead of time. It’s great marketing for the masses, but I go against the grain and stay out of the stores unless I plan to buy.

    All in all, I do hope the stores continue to have their garden centres.

  8. I no longer have the space for a lot of starter plants, nor do I have a greenhouse of any sort, so I’m well pleased that the grocery store has a garden centre. It’s usually much more affordable than a specialized nursery would be. It’s convenient to get my groceries and buy the few plants I need all in one trip and, if I wait a bit later in the season, I usually get the plants on sale. I buy tomatoes, eggplant, pots of herbs, and a tray of bedding plants to put in my hanging baskets (much less expensive than buying the baskets pre-planted).

    1. That’s true and why many of the grocery stores have the garden centre. We’ve had hit or miss with pricing at the garden centre and local nurseries in terms of prices. The convenience is nice and they know that.

  9. I don’t actually buy plants… I get my landscaper to do it. I need 25 New Guinea Impatiens for the back yard and 25 Wave Petunias for the front yard each year. She gets a much better price and better quality than I could find so I don’t bother to run around looking for them and hauling them home. I have hooks out front where I could hang a couple of pots but I haven’t done it in years. Next year I may actually try the hanging upside down tomatoes in that spot since I plan to be home all summer. 😀

  10. Yes, I buy from the grocery store sometimes. It’s usually based on prices, condition and convenience that I make my selection. However, to manage my budget I haven’t bought much these last two years. I can go crazy when I go into a nursery. Last year I just planted in one large pot on my front walkway for about $10. This year I was fortunate to have my sister do all my pots up, front and back. They were living with us for about a month while their house was undergoing renovations, and as a thank you she did this for me. She is quite creative with her arrangements and she was buying ‘after the season’ so she got some good deals.

  11. What plants I picked up this year came from Canadian Tire. I can walk over there so I don’t need the truck. I’ve been eyeing the stuff at Foodland lately too. I usually work with a pink/purple/white colour arrangement and I did see a couple of large hanging pots that have pink geraniums and purple verbena….very pretty. I usually get a hanging pot or two of geraniums every year and try to get unusual colours. This year I got a purple/white pot and a cherry red with white streaks. They were my Mother’s Day gift from hubby.
    I have in the past grown my own plants for the pots from seed and that does give me the chance to try new plants and new colours I can’t find in the stores. It’s also so much cheaper if you need a good number of the plants.
    The stores do know what they are doing as the plant displays around here are as you walk in the store so you can’t help but look things over on the way in, plus you have to take the plants inside to pay for them!!!!
    Thanks again for picking me this month!!!!!

  12. JUNE – Week #5 of 5- June 30-July 6, 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



    This week is “no shop week” on both sides of the border.

    I have done a more thorough year-to-date analysis of our grocery spending and find that although it appears that I am $33.80 over on my spending for the month and $295.77 over on my spending for the year… in actual fact the computation should be as follows:

    Year to Date Spending $1,728.07

    Less “2014 Reserves” Not Spent ($250.00)

    Less Funds We Used for Groceries but were
    not Budgeted i.e. gifts, rebates, bottle returns, loan repayments ($364.27)

    Less U.S. Groceries Recorded but Not Yet Spent ($42.30)

    Actual Budgeted Spending $1,071.50

    So $1,140 – $942.83 = $68.50 SURPLUS still in our bank account


    We still have a $650.00 Reserves sitting in our bank account: $400.00 from 2013 & $250.00 from 2014 savings.

    Am I satisfied we are on track with our budget… for today – yes! We may or may not be as flush with alternative sources of non-budgeted funds that we can access in the second half of 2014 or for that matter in 2015, so I will re-evaluate our grocery budget again at the end of December.









    •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+$10.92= $39.58)= $225.93

    •Total Coupons Used This Year:

    Jan $2.58 + Feb $7.18 +Mar $0.00 + April $9.20 +May $20.19 + June ($1.00) = $40.15

    •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 (3) = 1,172 Air Miles

    •Total Thrifty’s Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 25 + Feb 15 +Mar 0 + April 0 + May 39 + June (11) = 90 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+$3.00+$10.78+14.00+5.00+4.58+1.97= $186.11)= $978.80

    •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: ($33.80) OVER



    •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:

    $978.80 Grocery Budget
    $10.00 Hiding Spot Cash
    $10.00 Safeway Cash Card
    $375.00 Stockpile Budget
    $80.00 Cash Repayment from neighbor
    $24.27 2013 Costco Rebate Cheque
    $0.00 2014 Costco Rebate Cheque for $13.45
    $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 $1,728.07 calculation that we have spent in 2014 and subtract the $250.00 we have actually saved in our “reserves” and the $42.30 we have recorded as spent but is actually set aside for future USA grocery shopping… we have actually spent $1,435.77!! That is $295.77 over the $1,140.00 we budgeted for January through June.

    BUT if you also take out the cash that was either a gift, some non-budgeted earning method or a loan repayment: ($10 Hiding Spot Cash from bottles + FREE $10 Safeway Gift Card + $80.00 Cash Repayment from a neighbor + $24.27 from a 2013 Costco Rebate Cheque + $0.00 used out of a 2014 Costco Rebate Cheque for $13.45 + a Christmas present of a $250.00 Safeway Gift Card) = $364.27 then we actually only used $1,071.50 of the budgeted $1,140.00 have a Budgeted Grocery Balance SURPLUS of $68.50 still sitting in our bank account.

    IF you don’t pay any attention to how we paid for the groceries, then the seemingly $295.77 overage will easily be absorbed into the value of 9 weeks x $47.50 = $427.50 vacation we will be taking in 2014 and still leave us an additional $131.73 for cross border shopping.



    CANADIAN $’s

    Groceries: ($33.80)
    Stockpile: $0.00
    Cash Hiding Spot: $83.45
    Safeway Cash Card $0.00

    US $’s

    Our Reserve: $42.30
    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 Lucerne Skim Milk 2L) = FREE (Good until Sept 18th)
    2 Asparagus @$1.99/bunch (Good until Sept 18th)

    Save On Foods:

    6 Western Family Sirloin Burgers 1.13 kg @ $6.99 – limit 6 (Good until July 8th)


    1. Hi Mary,
      It sounds like you have your numbers all sorted to a T. I think re-evaluating in the new year will be smart because things change and we have to make sure that our numbers are in-line with our budget. You get ballot 1 for July. 🙂

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