The Ultimate Canadian Grocery Savings Guide | Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide

Do you spend more or less when grocery shopping alone? : The grocery game challenge #3 July 14-20, 2014

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grocery shopping aloneYOU AND THE GROCERY BASKET


Grocery shopping alone for some people is like a holiday away from the hectic life they lead at home and in the workplace.

Would you agree or disagree with the above statement?

Not everyone enjoys to shop alone but if you are one of them you might find you spend less than if you have your spouse, partner, friends or the troops alongside you.

I’m one of those who grocery shop with my wife although there are times where I have to go grocery shopping on my own because she is busy doing something else.

I don’t mind shopping alone but what I did notice is that when I shop alone we spend less money. The only reason I thought about this was because when I went shopping alone this week three things happened.

  1. I was in and out of the store faster even though I still took my time
  2. I didn’t deviate from the list nor was I thinking about it
  3. I spent less because we didn’t try and convince each other that we needed a certain product

I find when we shop together we start talking about food and recipes and conversations turn into “Maybe we can make this meal tonight or this week” and we buy something that’s not on the grocery list.

You would almost think we are creating our own episode on the Food Network the way we talk about food when we grocery shop. I enjoy that we talk about food together especially since I’m the guy who does all the cooking. I want to know what she likes. It seems to happen often and although it might not be lots of money it all adds up.

We do try our best to stick to the plan but when we see grocery products on sale that weren’t advertised or when we get yapping to other customers about recipes we get these bright ideas to buy more than we have to.

Is it easy to stop?

Sure as long as you have the will-power to say no or you only bring cash with you when you grocery shop. We are the couple who loves our rewards points so everything goes on a credit card. (P.S One of the shops this week my wife forgot her pin number lol… guess who got the points on his Canadian Tire MasterCard?)


Shopping alone


When I’m shopping alone I don’t rush through the store because I do want to pick the best quality produce and food that I can find. I like to smell and touch the food I’m buying so that I don’t get home and find it’s bruised or that I paid for rotten product.

I also like to listen to other people’s conversations about food, especially if it’s a couple or if there are kids in tow. Why? I learn so much from people when they talk about food out loud (I don’t snoop). Most of all looking inside their shopping carts tells me lots about them especially if they use a grocery list or cell phone app (watch out for shopping carts and cell phone users without signals….bang).

For example, yesterday a girl came running up to her mother with a box of Oreo cookies and asked her mom if she could buy them. “Mom, please they are my favourite”. I had to smile because I like them too as naughty as they are for us. The mother who was too engrossed in her shopping list just told her to put it in the shopping cart.

Right there I thought that I bet if we go shopping alone we might spend less than if we had people come along with us. Had her daughter not been with her she may not have bought those Oreo cookies and deviated from the list she was so patiently reading.

It happens with couples and if you bring your friends grocery shopping as well. There’s something about the topic of food that gets people in a mood and for the most part a happy mood. They may see products that bring back memories or items that they’ve created recipes from and tell someone they have to try it.

So, what do you do? You put it in your cart and you try it. You might look in the pantry a month or two down the line only to find that the product is still sitting in there. If you bought the item just because someone told you to then it’s just a waste of money if you have no real intentions to use it.

Shopping alone isn’t for everyone but have you ever noticed that you spend less or spend more when you shop alone?


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 name of the person who has the winning grocery shop of the month right here so make sure to check back every week.


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 could 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!


Grocery shop results


grocery game challenge july 3 CBB


Food Basics

  • Organic tortillas $2.50
  • 6 x Bavarian Sandwich bread Rudolph’s Sale $1.99
  • 2 x reduced produce Apples, plums, apricot $1.98
  • Arrowroot cookies $2.99 (nephew)
  • Hamburger flat buns $2.99
  • Danone Silhouette yogurt Sale $1.99
  • Franks Red Hot Sauce $6.79 (large bottle)
  • Liberte coconut yogurt Sale $2.99

Total out-of-pocket $34.50

Shoppers Drug Mart

  • 2 x 4litres of Milk Sale $3.97

Total out-of-pocket $7.94


  • Premium bananas $1.93
  • Premium crackers whole wheat $3.49
  • Pitted dates $2.99
  • Coconut milk $0.99

Total out-of-pocket $9.40


  • 2 x seedless cucumber Sale $0.77 each
  • Mushrooms 227g $1.67
  • Red Leaf Lettuce $0.77
  • Carrot $1.97
  • 2x Oasis juice $1.00 each
  • Bananas $1.97- $0.25 Zweet
  • 2 x Avocado $1.94
  • Spinach $1.27
  • Radish $1.47
  • Cherries $4.31 PM Freshco $1.88lb
  • Watermelon $2.97 PM Food Basics
  • 2 x Honey Nut Cheerios $2.97 each

Total out-of-pocket $27.82

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
  • Total Coupons Used to date: $43.50
  • 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
  • Zweet to date: $0.25
  • Total Spent This Week: $79.66- $0.25 Bananas =$79.41
  • Total Spent So Far July: $31.56+ $64.72+$79.41=$175.69
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: under $13.61 under if we do 4 shops
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month: $n/a so far
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $9.43
  • 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: Shopping went well this week because I went alone haha. Ok, well she did come with me for a couple of the shops. We don’t have much left for the month but we do have our stockpile budget which we can use although we don’t want to use it for the regular shop so we will try to stick to under $10 next week. 🙂


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. Below are some of the coupons we found this past week at Food Basics.


July Coupons found Canada

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


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  1. Hey Mr.CBB
    The diapers were half off because all haba and baby items were on sale because they store was closing!!
    I knew there was no way I would ever be able to find them that cheap even with a sale and coupons. They were size 4 and 6 so she will grow into them in due time but I was willing to make the investment. Then the other items are things I know we will need eventually and getting them for so cheap was worth it to me 🙂

  2. Our weekly budget is $125 a week making this month $625.
    $4.99 cheese whiz
    $5 total oop
    $2.49×2-.50Cx2&co51$1 special k bars
    $1.25×4-$1Cx4 bush beans
    $1.99×2-$2Cx2 sweet baby rays bbq sauce
    $2 vh sauce
    $1.77 astro yogurt
    $2.95 5lb carrots
    $3.67 cherries
    $2.09×2-75Cx2 half and half
    $2.88 3pk cucumber
    $2.28 1lb mushrooms
    $2.09 2L pop
    $25.65 total oop
    $10.50 total coupons
    $5.21 4L milk
    $3.49×2-bogo sale cinnabon creamer
    $2×4-$2Cx4 sweet baby rays
    $8.84 top sirloin steak – 2 meals
    $5.94 pork baby back ribs – clearance
    $2.99-$1C librete yogurt
    $1.10×3 Arizona ice tea – treat for my girl
    $1.33×6-$1Cx6 bush beans
    $2.79 goldfish crackers
    $2.99×2 Christie crackers
    all the following items were on clearance on my MIL store that was closing
    $2.10 earl grey tea
    .59×4 chocolate bars
    $1.69 shave cream
    $2.24, $3, $2.25, $1.99 greeting cards
    $1.74 tums
    $1.30 stir fry noodles
    $1.35 blackeye beans
    $1.01 pinto beans
    $15.50×2 pampers big box diaper
    $2.06×4 lady time stuff
    $3 bodywash – for my girl cause I would never pay that for myself!!
    $2.06 hairspray
    .37×2 Heinz prune drink
    $1.08×2 dove unscented soap
    $1.75×2 tums
    .65×2 cough drops
    $3.50×2 huggies slip on diapers
    $141.23 total oop
    $15 total coupons

    $171.88 weekly total oop
    $25.50 weekly toal coupons
    $391.28 monthly total oop
    $89.43 monthly total coupons
    Spent lots of money this week but saved tonnes with haba items being half off and will save us in the long run.
    Also extra treats make it into the cart with my girl visiting 🙂

    1. Hi Juanita,
      I’m not a huge fan of cheese whiz but my wife likes it. What recipes do you use it in? Great deal on the diapers. Were they reduced? Where did you get the Liberte coupon? I want some… it’s my favourite. If you think it will save you in the long run then I’d say go for it although making sure the cash is available for the shop is important. Going over budget which some people do and putting it on credit card thinking they save with coupons etc really isn’t a deal when interest is factored in. We put everything on CC but pay it off each month. How do you decide whether it’s a worthwhile deal for your budget? You get ballot 18. Mr.CBB

  3. As we were away for 3 days this is actually a cheap week. I’ll make up for that quickly mind you. I went to Foodland once all week, grabbing sales and making sure the boys were good while we were gone. I made them a bowl of macaroni salad and one of potato salad to eat while they were alone. It worked well for them as they had sandwiches for lunch rhe day we got back and finished off the salads for dinner. With the new puss we are buying more cat food now too. Stuart was never big on moist food but Molly loves it so now he eats it too. He wants to have his share!!!

    July 17
    6 Whiskas moist food packs @.60- 3.60
    2 pasta sauce @1.48- 2.96
    2 tomato sauce @1.50- 3.00
    1 pack liver- 1.52
    4 Powerade @1.66- 6.64
    bananas- .53
    1 package pasta- 1.88
    1 mustard- 1.99
    3 1l chocolate milk @2.50- 7.50, 3X .75 coupons
    1 4pack ice cream treats- 2.99
    1 yogurt- 3.29
    4lbs butter@ 3.33- 13.32
    1 parmesan cheese, grated- 4.43
    1 4l milk- 4.79
    1 jug water- 5.49
    1 144 count Tetley teabags- 9.99
    Tax- 1.72
    Total- $73.39

    Total budget for month- $650.00, $130.00 5/wk
    Total coupons this week- 2.25
    Total spent this week- $73.39
    Total spent for month- $172.83+$144.96+$73.39=$391.18
    Total over/under for week- under- $56.61
    Total over/under for month-N/A
    Left for month- $258.82
    Total coupons/discounts for month- $10.47
    Total carry over- $10.14
    Total YTD- J$653.06+F$594.21+M$633.19+A$672.42+M$647.70+J$660.14+J$391.18=$4886.82
    Stockpile- $25.00, none spent

    So I am well under for this week but we were away for 3 days and the boys were on their own. I did make salads for them to eat and they did. They also cleaned up after themselves so I came home to a clean kitchen. The younger boy also did a couple of loads of laundry so they had clean clothes. I did more laundry the day after we got home as we had a fair bit to do. It was nice to get away and visit friends. He has his own health issues so it was nice to have both of the guys well enough for the visit. We had been talking about this for 2-3 years and it finally happened.

    1. Hi Christine,
      It’s funny this month the grocery shops posted went down but I’m sure most of you will hit me all at once with shops. I think many people are going away so not much is being purchased but I hope that we all can continue to post because the minute we stop is the minute we walk away. It’s hard to come back once we start something and finances is one of them. It’s critical to stay on top of them. I have a great bunch of you that post and I’m proud of you all every time I read your shops. Your boys sound like they are smart and well brought up boys. My mum and dad did the same with us kids and I turned out just fine. You didn’t spend your stockpile, wow! I’m impressed. Do you carry that over to make the next month $50 or leave it be? You get ballot 17. Mr.CBB 🙂

  4. Hmmmm…i think i actually spend less with i am with hubby as i try to show him how much we can save. Lately hubby has been going out with me much more as he has taken on a bigger interest in trying to help keep down our grocery budget. We were away for two days on the weekend. Took the kiddies to london for a train ride. We packed our lunch. Other than that we really didn’t need anything this week.

    Shoppers drug mart

    milk 3.97
    total 3.97


    bread 2.28
    ketchup 2.94
    windex cleaner 2.94X3-2.00 coupon X3=0.94X3
    lysol soap refill 3.00-1.00 coupon=2.00
    olay body wash 3.47-3.00 coupon=0.47
    body wash (clearance deal) 1.50
    body wash (clearance deal) 1.00

    total=15.50 (i used a 25.00 prepaid visa from a survey site so free!)


    Baby wipes 2.00×2=4.00-2X1.50 coupon=0.50 each (plus 1.00 back on snapsaves) so FREE
    cream cheese 1.99
    huggies little swimmers 9.97-2.00 coupon=7.97 (plus 1.00 back on snapsaves)=6.97

    total=12.38 (minus 2.00 on snapsaves) =10.38

    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $600
    •Total Coupons Used this Week : $15.00
    •Total Coupons Used This Month : $41.44
    • Total Coupons Used this Year: $411.66
    • 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:2.00
    total snapsaves this year 38.75
    • Total SCOP this week: $0
    • Total SCOP this month: $0
    • Total SCOP this year: $4.28
    •Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: 15.50
    •Total Spent This Week: $= After gift cards and snapsaves i only spent 14.35 this week.
    •Total Spent So Far for july: $238.40
    •Total Left to Spend for the Month: $361.60
    •Total to Carry over Next Month: 350 left from last month.

    1. Hey Jo,
      So giving your husband shopping lessons helps you to save less. What happens if you let him loose to go on his own lol? We pack lunches all the time even for small road trips. We don’t mind stopping in to buy food but if we can bring a lunch or snacks along the way from home then why not, right? Great score on the Windex, my wife would go nuts over that, lol. She swears by the stuff. You didn’t spend too much this week but since you weren’t home two days that also helped your grocery budget. I still think you can lower your grocery budget and do something amazing with that excess money. Do you think that might be in the plans for you or do you see come winter that your grocery budget might even out? You get ballot 15. MR.CBB 🙂

      1. We have been doing very good with the budget. I think in september it may go up a bit more as i will need to start buying school snacks again for my daughter but other than that am hoping to lower my budget again if i can keep it up for more than a month!

  5. Ha… and here I thought you liked shopping alone so you could talk to old ladies! LOL I don’t know why that post always sticks in my head! Hope you’re enjoying your weekend, mate!

    1. Did I posts something about talking to old ladies… geesh I must have. They do enjoy chatting to me especially once they find out I’m British. Seems like there are more Brits over in Canada than I ever imagined. lol. I’m doing my best… off to make some Baklava… have you tried it before?

  6. 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.
    Fruit source strawberry $3.29 – 50% pink sticker (-$1.65)
    Fruit crisps banana $1.94 – 50% pink sticker (-$.97)
    OOP $2.95

    Delissio pizza (PM SDM) 3 x $3.99 (earned 9000 PC plus points – worth $9.00)
    Bagels $1.99 – 50% pink sticker (-$1.00)
    OOP $12.96

    RH minute oats (PM) $2.49 – $1.00 coupon
    NN marble cheesestrings $4.38
    Bananas $1.54
    Grapes (PM) $2.11
    Cauliflower $1.98 (earned 200 PC plus points)
    Coupons $1.00
    OOP $12.50

    Bulk Barn
    Walnuts $4.74
    Pumpkin seeds $3.24
    Pretzels $.79
    Almonds $5.35
    Sunflower seeds $1.45
    Chocolate chips $6.04
    Rockets $.16
    Pecans $4.48
    Coupon $3.00
    OOP $23.37 (I was also given a $5.00 gift card for a future purchase as a part of a promotion)

    Quaker bars (PM WM) 2 x $1.94 – $1.00 coupon
    Heinz pasta (PM) 2 x $.99
    RH minute oats (PM Sobey’s) 6 x $1.99 – 6 x $1.00 coupons
    NN soya sauce $1.67
    NN marshmallows $1.47
    Royale TP (PM Sobey’s) 2 x $3.77 – 2 x $3.00 coupons
    All Bran cereal (PM SDM) $3.49 – $1.50 coupon
    Cheerios (PM Target) $2.88
    Eggs (PM FC) $1.97
    Butter (PM Fortinos) $2.99 – $.75 coupon
    Philadelphia cream cheese (PM Target) 2 x $1.99 (earned 1000 PC plus points)
    Cavendish fries (PM FB) – 2 x $.75 coupons
    Silk almond milk (PM Metro) 2 x $3.49
    Silk boxes $17.48
    Onions (PM WM) $1.77
    Baby carrots (PM) $.99
    Oranges (PM) $2.23 – $.25 Zweet (earned 400 PC plus points)
    Grapes (PM) $1.59
    Broccoli (PM) 2 x $1.00 (earned 400 PC plus points)
    Cauliflower (PM Fortino’s) $1.69
    Asparagus (PM WM) $3.08
    Bagels (PM NF) 3 x $1.00
    Vitality bread (PM NF) 3 x $2.00
    Wonderbread (PM SDM) $1.99
    Hummus (PM FB) $2.50
    Ivory soap (PM Metro) 12 x $.99 – 12 x $1.00 coupons
    Oral B replacement heads (PM SDM) $19.99
    Coupons $29.75
    Rebates $.25
    OOP $94.72

    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: $33.75
    • Total Coupons Used This Month: $84.68
    • Total Coupons Used this Year: $715.40
    • Total rebates this week (Checkout 51, Snapsaves, CartSmart, zweet): $.25
    • Total rebates this month (Checkout 51, Snapsaves, CartSmart, zweet): $4.50
    • Total rebates this year (Checkout 51, Snapsaves, CartSmart, zweet): $131.75
    • 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: $6.95
    • Total tax free day this month: $8.92
    • Total tax free day this year: $62.82
    • Colleague Discount (this year): $11.08
    • Total Spent This Week: $146.50
    • Total Spent So Far for this month: $282.35
    • Total Over/Under spent for the month: I am OVER $16.79 and still have one week left!!!
    • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $0
    • Total to Carry over Next Month: N/A
    • Total Spent To Date This Year: $2366.27
    Weekly overview: Well, tax free day did me in this time. I made the mistake of shopping on my own (which I tend to spend MORE money) on tax free day. I bought even more but that stuff came out of other parts of the budget. Yikes! I find I spend a little more when I know I will be babysitting too but still it’s no excuse for this blown budget. I will have to tame myself next week and so that I don’t make my overage too bad (like last month), I may use some PC points to pay for what I do purchase next week (as I do have $260.00 worth of points) to help with making the overage more manageable.

    1. Hi Jen,
      Great deal on the pizza and points! Where did you get the $3.00 Royale coupons? I miss everything 🙁 How’s that meat order going for you? So you spend more than if you are with Ken? Interesting.. we spend more when we are together lol. If you have a healthy amount of point then use them up. They are there for food unless you were planning on saving them for something else? I’m sure you’ll be able to tame yourself 🙂 next week. You get ballot 12. Mr.CBB

      1. The $3 Royale was a company mail out. We still have a TON of meat left. I will last us beyond the year they suggest. Yes, Ken is kind of the person that says “do we really need it?” So I spend less with him there. I have over $260 worth of points. More than I’ll need for Christmas since I also have RBC rewards and petro points to use. I find myself doing many small shops now that I am not working. Makes it harder to keep track if I’m going over budget.

  7. One thing I’ve learned from grocery shopping is to start by keeping an ongoing list of the things we need from the grocery store. When we run low on an item or think of something we would like from the store, I write it down. I keep our list stuck to the fridge with a magnet. Our rule is “write it down if you want it to get bought”.

  8. My spouse and I shop together 90% of the time and use a menu plan and grocery list. But he is always looking for new treats for his work day lunch box, so it is much cheaper when I shop on my own!

  9. I spend less alone, because I don’t project myself into having a nice dinner for two, and I am more focused. I can spend more time browsing but in the end will only get what I need and maybe one more thing. I like trying new fruits and veggies and being alone gives me time to study them, ask around about how to cook them or eat them, without feeling rushed.

  10. Mr CBB, since hubby has the car for work most days… he ends up doing a lot of solo shopping for our house and he’s extremely good about not deviating from the list most days. We tend to shop together when I want a lot of produce, I like to do the picking, or if something is a Fri-Sat-Sun only sale. We don’t chat about the menu plans in the store though… they are posted on the online calendar that he syncs to his iPad and he already knows what we are making for the week. Hubby likes to get in and get out quickly too but he prefers to have me with him if I am using a LOT of coupons, price matching and getting rain checks for numerous items. He’ll use a coupon or two but doesn’t love it when I hand him 10-20 to use for a single shop. 🙁

    1. I’m used to the coupons and price-matching now but at first it was easier with the wife with me until I got used to the way things worked in Canada. You sound like my wife when you shop and I”m like your husband lol. We do shop together more often than not though.

  11. I like shopping alone and with the hubby. Lol!! It is usually me that strays from the list but most of the time I either just get what is needed or decrease what is on the list knowing that it should go on sale again some time. But during the winter months I like just walking around somewhere warm with the hubby so we can get outta the house have a chat and window shop.

    1. At first I wondered if it was the woman who strayed from the list more because she may do the cooking. However my wife strays and I do most of the cooking so that flushes that theory down the toilet lol.

  12. I like grocery shopping but I much prefer to shop alone – if my husband comes he always ends up sneaking some extra things in the cart! I also like to look at what other people are buying and how much is in their shopping cart – some people have SO much in their cart that I always wonder how many people that’s supposed to feed.

    1. Ah, the sneaky husband. Lots of kids do that too when the parents aren’t looking. You get to the cash and notice a bunch of products in the cart you know you didn’t put in there lol.

  13. JULY – Week #2 of 4- July 14-20, 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 is a really fun week! It all started off when we kicked off the “fun times” last Friday with another “going away party” at the Maple Ridge Equestrian Centre. We’ve lived in Maple Ridge for 24 years and that was the first time we had been there! There’s not a lot on the menu for someone who is gluten free, but I did find a salad.

    Hubby went to Safeway last Thursday and scored a rain check for 9 packages of Barilla Spaghetti… at 3 for $4.98. That’s a saving of $1.99 a box or $17.91 in all. Way to go hubby!

    While hubby was at Safeway on Thursday night, I had him pick up a supply of gluten free crackers for my vacation in August. These aren’t “grocery items” for the house, they come out of our vacation savings. It’s a lot easier to pack a few boxes of crackers than it is to try and pack gluten free bread without it getting squished. I merely mention the purchase so you know how we earned our Air Miles and got a Safeway Savings Reward certificate for $10.

    Friday night, we stopped in at Thrifty’s after the “going away” party and it turns out that Friday night is a great time to score good rain checks… we are on a rain check roll this week! LOL We picked up a rain check for organic Walla Walla onions @$1.49/lb and another for a couple of family packs of extra lean ground beef @ $3.49/lb.

    Saturday afternoon we popped into Safeway and scored yet another rain check! This time the rain check was for 4 lbs of local blueberries for $7.98! Looking forward to the enjoyment of using that one. Hubby loves blueberries so they won’t last long at our house! While we were in the store anyway, it was nice to pick up a FREE 2L Chocolate Milk using a rain check we had and getting a 4L jug of skim milk with a $1.50 off coupon.

    On Saturday night, after the heat of the day was over, the Caribbean Festival was still going strong uptown so we HAD to go snoop. Didn’t we? It was followed by a two hour Beach Boys music concert… dancing in the streets was required! Can’t you just picture that?? LOL 🙂

    We’ll be out again on Wednesday night at the local Running Room’s annual “20 Minute Challenge”. We’ll eat a quick veggie stir-fry after we are finished our walk and have finished enjoying the 30th Anniversary celebration festivities.

    Thursday night we’ll be heading to Haney Sewing and Sound to purchase a new fridge for the garage. Ours died a miserable death last night in this sweltering summer heat. I thought about it and with all the fruit and vegetables that we eat… I really can’t do without a second fridge. I will try to get something a lot more more energy efficient though than the 30 year old fridge that we were using though. I don’t need extra freezer room so I may look at a fridge only. Price will be the deciding factor in this purchase though, after all it is a second fridge.

    Saturday I am treating myself to a 90-minute reflexology session as a lead up to my upcoming time off. It is so relaxing! After my treatment, I’ll run home to pick up hubby. We’ll do a nice brunch at Whitespot in Port Coquitlam using my $5 off coupon (only good until July 31st) and pay the balance with a gift card we have. Like how minimal cash is being expended achieving maximum enjoyment? While we are in Port Coquitlam anyway, we are running into Costco to pick up a couple of things using our 2014 Rebate cheque… all $13.45 of it! That sure won’t go far in Costco… maybe two items if we are lucky. LOL We are also going to renew our membership at the “non-executive membership level” since we aren’t using our membership enough to warrant paying the increased membership fee.

    My girlfriend from 100 Mile House is arriving in town this week so we’ve planned to do a “Wings Night” at the Black Sheep Pub next Monday… it’s 29 cents each with a minimum one dozen order. Hubby and I will get out of there for less than $10 by splitting a dozen wings and a Caesar Salad. It’s a nice way to have a little treat without breaking the bank! It’ll be wonderful to catch up with our friend – it’s been nearly 10 years since the last time we last saw her! I foresee more chatting than chewing! 🙂

    As you see, eating at home this week will be sporadic but we did get some nice little treats to help celebrate all things summer!!!



    Superstore – Pitt Meadows

    2 x Iceberg Lettuce @ $0.96 ea = $1.92
    1 x 3-pack English Cucumbers $2.28 (400 PC Plus Points)
    1 PC Smoked Salmon $6.98 (1500 PC Plus Points)

    •Total OOP: $11.18

    • Grocery Budget OOP: $11.18
    • Stockpile Budget OOP: $0.00
    • Cash Hiding Spot: $0.00

    ** Earned 1,900 PC.Plus Points on this shop **
    ** USED $0.00 Price Matches **
    ** USED $0.00 in Coupons **
    ** SAVED $0.00 Loyalty Savings on this shop **
    Safeway – Maple Ridge

    6 Breton GF Crackers @ $3.48 =$20.88 << These are for my vacation & thus part of the vacation budget

    •Total OOP: $20.88

    • VACATION Budget OOP: $20.88
    • Grocery Budget OOP: $0.00
    • Stockpile Budget OOP: $0.00
    • Cash Hiding Spot: $0.00
    • Safeway Cash Card: $0.00

    ** We also bought some non-grocery items that earned us a $10.00 Safeway savings reward of $10.00 good for July 11-17th. **

    ** We also earned a 5 cent gas discount on our next fuel purchase that’s good until August 31, 2014!! **

    ** Earned 2 Air Miles on this shop **
    ** USED $0.00 Price Matches **
    ** USED $0.00 in Coupons **
    ** SAVED $0.00 Loyalty Savings on this shop **
    Thrifty Foods – Maple Ridge

    4 x Compliments Green Relish – Rain Check @ $1.00 ea =$4.00
    7 x Heinz Tomato Juice 1.36 L – Rain Check @ $1.99 ea =$13.93

    •Total OOP: $17.93

    • Grocery Budget OOP: $17.93
    • Stockpile Budget OOP: $0.00
    • Cash Hiding Spot: $0.00
    • Safeway Cash Card: $0.00
    London Drugs – Maple Ridge

    12 cans Ocean Light Tuna in Water @ $0.88 ea =$10.56

    •Total OOP: $10.56

    • Grocery Budget OOP: $0.00
    • Stockpile Budget OOP: $0.00
    • Cash Hiding Spot: $10.56
    • Safeway Cash Card: $0.00
    Safeway – Maple Ridge

    1 x 2L Chocolate milk = FREE With our rain check = $0.00
    1 x 4L Skim Milk ($4.69-$1.50 COUPON) = $3.19
    1 x 4lbs Satsuma Mandarins ($7.99-$4.00 COUPON)= $3.99
    2 Tetley Herbal Tea @ (2 for $6.00 + 10 Air Miles) << These are for my vacation & out of the vacation budget = $6.00
    2 Kraft Poppyseed Dressing (2 for $5.00 +20 Air Miles) = $5.00
    3 TexMex Grated Cheese (3 @ $5.99-$1.00 COUPON+ 5 Air Miles) = $16.97
    1 x 4L Butterscotch Marble Ice Cream ($7.59-$4.10 Loyalty Svgs) = $3.49
    2 x Classico Sicilia Sauce ($3.50 ea + 20 Air Miles) = $7.00
    Bonus Air Miles Coupon = 75
    Base Air Miles = 5

    •Total OOP: $45.64

    • VACATION Budget OOP: $6.00
    • Grocery Budget OOP: $0.00
    • Stockpile Budget OOP: $0.00
    • Cash Hiding Spot: $29.64
    • Safeway Cash Card: $10.00

    ** We also earned a 7 cent gas discount on our next fuel purchase that’s good until August 31, 2014!! **

    ** Earned 130 Air Miles on this shop **
    ** USED $0.00 Price Matches **
    ** USED $6.50 in Coupons **
    ** SAVED $4.10 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 $39.58 + July $4.10= $230.03

    •Total Coupons Used This Year:

    Jan $2.58 + Feb $7.18 +Mar $0.00 + April $9.20 +May $20.19 + June $1.00 + July $15.50 = $55.65

    •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 + July $0.00= $5.31

    •Total More Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 0 + Feb 0 +Mar 11 + April 0 + May 5 + June 0 + July 27 = 43 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year:

    Jan 456 + Feb 584 +Mar 0 + April 4 + May 125 + June 3 + July 132 = 1,306 Air Miles

    •Total Thrifty’s Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 25 + Feb 15 +Mar 0 + April 0 + May 39 + June 11 + July 141 = 231 Points

    •Total PC PLUS Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 0 + Feb 0 +Mar 650 + April 0 + May 5,400 +June 2400 + July 2,800 = 11,250 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 $186.11+ July ($12.50 trf to borscht+$10.00 to Xmas + $18.70 to US Reserve+$17.50 trf to re-stocking +$5.07+$2.79+$5.00+$2.97+$6.99+$11.18+$17.93= $110.63)= $1,089.43

    •Total Year-To-Date Grocery Budget:
    Jan $142.50+ Feb $142.50+ Mar $142.50 + April $142.50 + May $232.50 +June $142.50 + July $142.50 = $1,087.50

    •Total Over/Under on Year-To-Date Grocery Budget: $1.93 OVER << Close but no cigar! 🙁



    •Total Stockpile OOP Year-To-Date:
    Jan $47.50 + Feb $47.50 + Mar $47.50 + April $47.50 + May $47.50 + June ($47.50) + July ($17.50 trf to re-stocking + $30 trf to US Reserve = $47.50) = $422.50

    •Total Year-To-Date Stockpile Budget:
    Jan $47.50 + Feb $47.50 + Mar $47.50 + April $47.50 + May $47.50 + June $47.50 + July $47.50 = $422.50

    •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 + July $17.50

    = $230.00 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 + July $12.50

    = $350.00 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 + July $10.00

    = $110.00 AVAILABLE


    • TOTAL SPENT Year-To-Date:

    $1,089.43 Grocery Budget
    $50.20 Hiding Spot Cash
    $20.00 Safeway Cash Card
    $422.50 Stockpile Budget
    $80.00 Cash Repayment from neighbor
    $24.27 2013 Costco Rebate Cheque
    $0.00 2014 Costco Rebate Cheque – $13.45
    $250.00 Safeway Gift Card =


    $1,330 may have been budgeted for JAN to JULY ‘2014 but we have these funds already accounted for and not yet spent:

    $230.00 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $350.00 Borscht Fund
    $110.00 Holiday Season Fund

    TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES $690.00 … that is a $400.00 carry-forward from 2013 and $290.00 in NEW 2014 savings.

    So, if you look at the $1,936.40 calculation that we have spent in 2014 and subtract the $290.00 we have actually saved in our “reserves” and the $91.00 we have recorded as spent but is actually set aside for future USA grocery shopping… we have actually spent $1,555.40!! That is $225.40 over the $1,330.00 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: ($50.20 Hiding Spot Cash from bottles etc + FREE $20 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) = $400.20 then we actually only used $1,155.20 of the budgeted $1,330.00 have a Budgeted Grocery Balance SURPLUS of $174.80 still sitting in our bank account.

    IF you don’t pay any attention to how we paid for the groceries, then the seemingly $225.40 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 $202.10 for cross border shopping.



    CANADIAN $’s

    Groceries: ($1.93)
    Stockpile: $0.00
    Cash Hiding Spot: $83.45-$29.64= $53.81
    Safeway Cash Card $0.00
    Safeway Savings Reward $10.00- $10.00=$0.00

    US $’s

    Our Reserve: $91.00
    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) << LARRY – FOR WHILE I AM AWAY
    8 Organic Walla Walla Onions @ $1.49/lb (Good until Oct 12th) << LARRY – FOR WHILE I AM AWAY
    2 Family Size Extra Lean Ground Beef @ $3.49/lb (Good until Oct 12th) << LARRY – FOR WHILE I AM AWAY


    2 Coast-to-Coast Italian Sausage Buns – 8 pack $2.49 (Good until Aug 24th) << LARRY – FOR WHILE I AM AWAY
    10 Coke/Pepsi 2L Pop @ 5 for $5 (Good til Sept 1st) << LARRY – FOR WHILE I AM AWAY
    9 Barilla Spaghetti @ 3 for $4.98 (Good until October 10th)
    4 lbs Purewel Blueberries @ $7.98 (Good until October 12th)


    1. Hi Mary,
      Do you often find it tough with being Gluten Free and eating out or are more restaurants starting to carry gluten free foods? Good for Larry scoring another rain check. 🙂 Pasta can get pricey. So would you go in the store in a day or two after getting the rain check and if the product is on sale still just buy it and hang on to the rain check to reap the savings down the road as well? What a busy week for the both of you but it sounds like you are having fun. I like how you are enjoying your time with minimal expenses. Splitting the wings and salad and using up coupons and gift cards is a great way to keep money in your pocket. Well done Mary and Larry. You get ballot 10. Mr.CBB

      1. Yes Mr CBB… once I get a rain check, then I am on the hunt to buy the actual item if I don’t already have a sufficient supply. In fact sometimes I get double or even triple savings when I ask for a rain check and hubby gets one as well. 🙂 Other times, I am just locking in my sale price for when I do actually need an item. Most of the rain checks I have right now are for hubby to have/use while I am away. He doesn’t get online and troll through all the flyers each week so I don’t expect him to do it while I am away. I’ll have my computer with me and if there is a great sale on something he’d enjoy during his bachelor nights…I will IM the info. He’s happy to use a rain check or a discount gas coupon to get something he needs though. I have gas coupons for him for the month of August fill-up and for his fill up before he heads down to join me in Portland. Why pay more than you have to?

        Gluten Free dining out is still very challenging here in BC but it is slowly improving – you have to have great conversations with the staff to make sure they use all new utensils, pans etc to avoid cross contamination and grill them on the ingredients in a dish. I have learned, if I can’t safely eat… I don’t. I understand Calgary has a lot of gluten free choices from what I read online.

        You’d think at a steakhouse that you could have steak, potato and vegetable. Not! You have to make sure they clean the grill and prepare your items with no sauces or seasonings. Outback Steakhouse in the US is extremely good about doing whatever is necessary to make it absolutely sure that your meal is gluten free. The Keg here in Canada… stick to a salad with no dressing – it’s safer. 🙁

        It’s absolutely no sweat to dine out in places like California, NY City and Arizona though… partly because it’s the land of the lawsuit and folks don’t hesitate to sue for damages when a restaurant assures a customer that their meal is gluten free and then it’s not. For someone with celiac disease that can mean months of suffering and actual physical damage to their body. Fortunately I am highly gluten sensitive but not celiac. 🙂 I may suffer for a week after an exposure but at least it isn’t killing me slowly!

        Our gluten free groceries here in town are still limited compared to what’s available in the US so I am very grateful we are close to the border. 🙂

        1. Can you order gluten free groceries and have them shipped right to your door? It sounds like you have to make sure you tell the server exactly what you need for being gluten free. It’s tough when you can’t see what’s going on in the kitchen. Who knows Larry might shock you when you are away and get scores of rain checks. hehe

          1. The grocery item is tricky Mr CBB… you can order from some suppliers including shipping & handling, duties and taxes but most of them won’t even ship across the border. Those that do… it becomes prohibitively expensive once you add in all the additional fees. I have thought about getting a PO Box just over the border but if I am driving an hour and sitting thru a border line-up anyway, I’d rather make the trip a multi-purpose one!

            Hubby and I can have a day or weekend away, gas up the car, sight see, either have a picnic or a meal out and last but not least get our groceries. When we are down for 48 hours we might even pick up Cool Max or running shoes for hubby. My Franz bread is the prime example why I don’t order… first they won’t ship into Canada but even more important… I wouldn’t get freebies from the “day old” cart. Also, some things are just so much cheaper to buy across the line… dairy products, over the counter medications and vitamins, hubby’s cold cuts, corned beef and the list goes on and on but you have to be there to actually see some of the unadvertised Manager’s sales. And, you have to know your prices and the currency conversion rate to figure out what is really a worth while purchase. I’d be ordering from a dozen different stores to get what we want, if it was even possible, but half of them wouldn’t ship to Canada anyway. It would be more like work than just making an occasional multi-purpose trip. 🙂

            I can tell you I don’t much enjoy eating out since I went gluten free. I figure it’s much easier and safer for me to just cook whatever I want myself at home. It’s also a lot cheaper and I hate to pay more than I have to for something. That’s one of the reasons that I love the Souplantation chain in the US… I can build my own salad with raw ingredients and they are extremely clear about what soups and bread/muffins are gluten free. It’s one place I can relax and just eat. It doesn’t hurt that I get the weekly specials and coupons by email. 🙂

            Mr CBB, we’ve been together a quarter of a century and married 20 of those years so I can honestly say that there’s not a prayer hubby will get a rain check unless I ask him to go in and get it. He’s a dear to stop in and get them if I ask though… trust me, I will be reading the flyers online while I am away. LOL 🙂

  14. I do prefer going alone. I find that if I am paying too much attention to the people around me, I’m not calculating my total. I always do best when I have a full calculation at the cash. Hubby is the worst, he is a total want person. My son always asks if we have a coupon for something he wants for free. I’m more likely to be convinced if I’m getting the product for nothing. But those types of coupons are few and far between these days. So, whenever I do get one, I make sure my kiddo is involved with the purchase and then we talk about why it was free. He isn’t always happy, but he accepts the yes or no. Hubby just doesn’t accept it, grumbles about it, and then carries on about it all the way home. Hubby is not easy to shop with at all. He has bugged me for years to let him do shopping on his own and I periodically give it a shot, but he always has something ridiculous and way out of budget he brings with. If I can show him the flyer for the exact item, tell him how many and give him the exact change, then he can shop alone. So, where I shop better alone, hubby needs to have someone looking over his shoulder. I’m hoping my kiddo will learn more from me (which is why I also like to have him at my side more than hubby). If I am not solo, grocery shopping is a learning experience for my son, he learns how to pick out the food (particularly produce, fruit and meat) and then check expiries on various other things.

    1. That’s a great idea to bring your son with you so he learns how to grocery shop. So many kids these days are stumped when they have to grocery shop on their own. When they move out to go to school or move out into their own place grocery shopping can be overwhelming for someone who hasn’t done it before.

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