I’ve talked about whether we eat too much and potentially why a grocery budget might be high but now we have to tackle shrinking product packaging.
I often have people visit the blog wanting to find out what an average grocery budget might be so they can plan their own budget.
One problem is there are many differences from country to country not to mention the case of shrinking packaging and higher pricing.
The wife and I were at Zehrs the other day with our son grocery shopping and my wife mentioned that we were almost out of cheddar cheese.
Although I’m not a fan of these commercial types of affordable cheeses we opt to buy them as they fit our grocery budget. I am used to higher end cheeses from when I lived in the UK but try buying them in Canada and your grocery budget will take a huge hit.
The only time you might find us indulging is if the cheese has a 50% off pink sticker making the cheese half-price which works for our grocery budget. Sometimes it’s worth buying a stronger cheese because you use less but it depends on what the cheese will be used for.
Product packaging changes
The packaged food industry changes and it will continue to change to meet the needs of the manufacturer and in some cases the consumer.
While walking the back of the store my wife noticed the cheese was on sale. Great she said as she went to pick up a few bars of cheese for $4.77 plus she had some coupons for $0.75 which made it even cheaper.
When she started to look through the kinds of cheese she immediately noticed that the cheese bars were now 450g and not the normal 500g cheese bars we were used to buying. The specialty Black Diamond Cheese bars were 400g.
Shocked? Not really because manufacturers are using creative packaging to capture the consumers with colours and photos so we don’t take much notice to the weight of the product. The box design is what we look at first as well as what the photo depicts of the product inside the box which food professionals have made sure are drool worthy.
If you look at the photo above closely you will see the size difference with the Black Diamond Cheese bar compared to the other two bars. We are not sure if this is the new packaging and sizing for these cheese bars or a one-off trial to see how they sell. The no-name cheese is 500g and the Cracker Barrel is now 460g which also used to be 500g if I recall and perhaps why the other brands are shrinking to follow suit.
You may also notice that box designs on products get bigger but the product inside the box shrinks. You don’t normally notice this until you get home and open the box. Not many of us grocery shop by looking at how much product is in the box or packaging compared to the last time we bought the item. If anything we are looking at health notes, calories, fat and ingredient lists.
Cheese on the other hand is something that stands out for us as we buy it quite often and are always looking for it on sale. My wife immediately said she wasn’t buying it because it’s cheaper simply because the packaging has shrunk.
She walked away in a huff and said if this keeps up we might have to change our grocery budget because we will be going thorough more food in the CBB household. We don’t normally change eating habits unless we need to.
Although innovative packaging designs might change the way we purchase products as a consumer we still need to be realistic with our grocery budget. We only look at our grocery budget once a year but it’s consistently gone up year after year for the above reasons. We aren’t eating any more than usual but like every other bill in our budget prices go up so we have to adjust.
My wife went back and bought some cheese bars but only the specific kinds you can’t buy in 500g bars for a cheaper price such as Gouda, Havarti and Monterrey Jack cheeses.
These typically run about $8.99 each so they were a great deal for the 400g bars however the basic mild, medium and old cheddar were not worth the money for us since other companies are still making the 500g bars which go on sale. It’s only a matter of time before all cheese bars weigh the same again.
For now we know that our grocery budget will likely change come January 2015 so we are keeping that in the back of our minds so we aren’t shocked.
Do you think your grocery budget will change because of smaller product packaging and less food?
September 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.
Note: The second grocery game post for September is missing because I was unable to post a shop. We did not shop that week so it’s a no-shop 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.
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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.
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
Shoppers Drug Mart
- 2 x Neilson 4L 2% Milk Sale $3.97
- 2x Eggs $1.99 each
- Corn Flakes $6.49 but used SDM coupon for $1.99 any size
Total out-of-pocket $13.91
- 3x cheese bars $14.31
- 4 x no name soup $0.47 each
- Farkay noodles $2.48
- Iced Coffee $4.99-50%
- PC Greek Yogurt $3.49-50%
- 2 x Orange Juice $4.19 each-50%
- Liberte Caramel Yogurt $3.04
- 2 x chicken thighs $12.87
- Radishes $1.99
- Stuffer mushrooms $4.49-50%
- Bananas $2.15
- Jersey Apples $3.46 (600pts)
- Cucumber $1.99 (400 pts)
- Romaine Lettuce $1.69
- Panini rolls $2.50-50%
- Thin bagels $2.99-50%
- Dempsters bread $3.49-50%
- 2 x Tresemme Shampoo Sale $3.98 each
Total out-of-pocket $58.25
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-$11.50=$223.50/4= $55.87 per week
- Total Coupons Used this Week : $2.25
- Total Coupons Used to date: $57.69
- Total Discounts this Week: $0
- Total Discounts Used to date: $46.86
- 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): $
- Stockpile Budget Used to Date: $20.00+$19.08+$17.94+ $2.06+$20.00+$15.10 + $20.00 (June)+ $22.44 (July) + (August) $8.00
- Snap Groupon to date: $19.25
- Zweet to date: $4.00
- Cart Smart to date: $0
- Checkout51 to date: $10.75
- Total Spent This Week: $72.16
- Total Spent So Far September:$43.57+ $72.16=$115.73
- Total Over/Under spend this shop: $n/a
- Total Over/Under spend for the month: $n/a
- Total Left to Spend for the Month: $107.77
- 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+ August $228.26+ Sept $
- Weekly Overview: As you might already know we had a baby boy this past week. 🙂 This meant there was no grocery shopping for us and no grocery game post for that week. If you have a shop for the second week just include it your post with this shop or any other September Grocery Game post. You will get ballots still as you do the budget tracking on your end so it doesn’t matter what week you post in as long as it gets posted for the month in question. We picked up a few bits this week with our son in tow so it was officially his first grocery shopping trip and he slept right through it.
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.
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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