Milk is likely one staple that ends up on a grocery list each week but for most consumers price will always influence that purchasing power.
Not everyone likes milk which is fine because no one is forcing you to buy it but for those that do quality, price and now packaging may take centre stage.
If it’s not one thing it’s another as we are now face the introduction of 3-litre jugs in Ontario.
Many people including our American friends find the use of milk bags odd as did I when I first moved to Canada. It’s just not something we are used to using.
Would I buy a 3-litre plastic jug of milk? Probably not because we use so much milk in our house that it just means more trips and potentially more money.
Everything seems like a price grab these days so if a plastic jug is going to influence price in such a way that I’m paying more in my grocery budget, than no.
I found it interesting that the Ontario Dairy Council wants to test out the market with – litre jugs of milk but not surprised. It’s true everything food related does seem to be shrinking. With a potential change like this comes re-branding and new marketing plans if it passes the test stage and all lights are a go for the new product size and jug. The testing was being done at certain Mac’s stores in Ontario.
The Ontario Farmers on the other hand fear that the consumers will drop their 4-litre milk purchases and swing over to 3-litres. They want to see the milk movement show continuous growth and I’m guessing they see this as a potential slow down if it is offered to us.
Watch me shrink
While shopping last week I specifically pointed out to my wife that the chocolate milk carton was on sale for $0.99. The catch… it wasn’t the typical 1-litre carton of chocolate milk it was a new 750ml format that I have never seen before BUT for the same sale price that a 1-litre carton would normally go on sale for. If you knew your prices you would know that you are paying the same for less product.
It’s no surprise to consumers that packaging is getting smaller and prices are staying the same or rising. The likes of cereal, cheese and bacon are just a few products that have shrunk in size but pricing has risen. I’m certainly not going to pay $6.00 for under a pound of bacon. It’s no wonder consumers are feeling the grocery price pinch because we get less and pay more. In the end there is only one reason- Profit!
It wouldn’t surprise me if 3-litre jugs of milk become the same price as 4-litres of milk. What I would like to see is that milk prices stay consistent no matter what size and packaging you purchase.
I always do the math when I see milk on offer in the milk cartons because it just makes no sense to me when 4-litres is cheaper. We use milk for the occasional bowls of cereal, recipes and in our coffee and tea so we always have it on hand.
I stopped buying cream because of price and it was just too unhealthy having so much cream every day. Even though there are calories in milk you can decide to buy a skim milk, 1% milk over the 2% or Homogenized milk. There is sugar in milk so if sugar is what you are trying to avoid you might have to opt for a sugar-free milk which will likely cost you more money.
Homogenized milk which many parents buy for their children may come in a bit pricier but that’s nothing new because any time there is demand for a certain circle of products pricing goes up. Just look at the pricing of organic products or even gluten-free products. Prices will blow you away.
We tend to stock up on milk if it goes on sale buying 4-litre bags and freezing them but these days that’s hard to come by with milk being the reason grocery stores get you in the door.
Lately Shoppers Drug Mart has been offering us extra Shoppers Optimum Points via email printable coupons for buying milk which is already comparable in price at $3.97 to other retailers. Combine that with our credit card rewards points and you have cheap milk.
You can also freeze jugs of milk as well but they will take up more space in your freezer and refrigerator. You must also be careful not to bang your bag of milk either or you risk popping a hole in the individual bag.
When you decide to defrost your milk you will find it leaking everywhere. I know, it’s happened to us before. There are pros and cons to having bags of milk over plastic jugs but in the end price matters.
Some people might not barrel through 4-litres of milk in a week so a 3 0r even 4-litre plastic jug of milk might go off before they get a chance to use it up.
It may seem economical for them to buy a 3-litre jug but then again if you can’t make it through 4 you likely won’t make it through 3. If you are someone who doesn’t fancy buying 4-litres you can buy 500ml, 1-litre and 2-litre cartons of milk but you will pay more. Buying in bulk here has its perks unless you are wasting it which means you are flushing money down the drain.
Milk comes in many forms as well. I’ve seen organic milk in plastic jugs at the grocery store but not large 4-litre jugs. Not everyone likes cow’s milk. There are so many variations of milk when you visit the dairy section of your grocery store that at times it can be overwhelming as are the milk prices and different formats of milk containers available, including canned milk.
- coconut milk
- almond milk
- evaporated milk
- organic milk
- lactose free milk
- soy milk
- powdered milk
- goats milk
I’m sure we can all add to the above list but the bulk of consumers are buying up cow’s milk.
Plastic milk jugs
When I moved to Canada it was odd for me to see a bag of milk because in the UK I only bought jugs of milk. It’s my understanding that if you live outside of Ontario that plastic jugs of milk are what is available to you over bagged milk. Some folks might even remember back in the day when milk was offered as glass jars of milk and delivered right to your door.
In Ontario if you purchase the 4-litre plastic jug of milk you will pay a $0.25 deposit which you will get back provided you return the plastic jug back to the same store. Seems fair considering they re-use milk jugs which is better than the environment. It’s the same as getting money back for your beer bottles.
I only had a small refrigerator comparable to a beer fridge in my kitchen so stocking up with a 4-litre bag would have been next to impossible.
Even if I had a freezer or a proper size refrigerator buying milk in jugs was what I was used to. I made a couple of trips to the grocery store each week so buying a plastic jug of milk lasted me until the next shop.
When you have only one person in the house using milk the smaller jug or cartons of milk might be the way to go but may cost you more. If you have a family than you might power through more milk than others hence the larger 4-litre milk jugs or bags of milk might be perfect. The only problem is that in Ontario the only place I’ve seen a jug of milk is at Mac’s milk. Some people simply prefer the jug over the bag and that’s fine.
We don’t buy 4-litre milk jugs just because it’s out-of-the-way of our normal shopping to go to a Mac’s convenience store. Personally I’m used to bags of milk now.
I’ll admit I was horrible at cutting the bags of milk and my wife had to give me the milk bag cutting 101 course. Laugh if you will but I just wasn’t used to it. Who knew it would be that complicated. Yes, I spilled milk and it came gushing out because I didn’t bang the bag in the pitcher enough. A simple concept but for me I just wasn’t used to it.
For the most part consumers want to save money in their grocery budget so if that means they find the best price, they will do it. Coupons are just one sign that price matters but is that the only reason you buy milk?
Retailers see just how important having the loss-leaders such as milk to get you through the door as prices for a 4-litre bag of milk is pretty standard in most parts of Ontario at $3.97. This could potentially change in the future, who knows.
Would you buy 3-litre plastic jugs of milk over 4-litre bags of milk? Why or why not? What kind of milk if any do you use at home? What do you think of the new jug introduction? Will it survive?
August 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.
The Grocery Game Challenge WINNER for July is……. #9 Angela M. Congrats Angela.… send me an email with your address. 🙂
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!
- 2 x tomato paste $0.79 each (larger can)
- Hamburger buns flat $2.99
- Black Diamond Cheese Slices $4.88- $0.75
- 2 x yellow zucchini $1.54
- 1 x Liberte Coconut yogurt $2.99
- Fennel/Anise $1.97
- Fresh Ginger $1.23
- Premium Bananas $1.20
- Red Onion $1.41
- White mushrooms $1.77
- Tomatoes on the vine $2.82
- Sweet Cherries $4.24
- 2 x seedless cucumber $1.96 or $0.98 each
- Romaine Hearts $1.88
Total out-of-pocket $31.71
Shoppers Drug Mart
- 2 x 4-litres of bagged milk 🙂 $3.97 each
Total out-of-pocket $7.94
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 August $235.00-$18.24=$216.76/4= $54.19 per week
- Total Coupons Used this Week : $0.75
- Total Coupons Used to date: $46.25
- 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): $17.56 (we went over in July)
- Stockpile Budget Used to Date: $20.00+$19.08+$17.94+ $2.06+$20.00+$15.10 + $20.00 (June)+ $22.44 (July)
- Snap Saves to date: $0.25
- Zweet to date: $0.25
- Total Spent This Week: $39.65
- Total Spent So Far August:$39.65
- Total Over/Under spend this shop: $n/a
- Total Over/Under spend for the month: $n/a
- Total Left to Spend for the Month: $177.11
- 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 $275.37+ July $203.36
- Weekly Overview: We needed to stock up on some fruits and vegetables this week so we did just that. Next week we are going away for a couple of days so we won’t likely do any shopping so it may be a no-shop week.
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 found a few coupons this week which might help you save a few dollars.
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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