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Should you really shop at a bulk food store? : The Grocery Game Challenge #2 Oct 6-12, 2014

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Most people would assume that if they buy food from a bulk food store that it would cost less than buying at a local grocery store.

I’m not just talking about a bulk food store like the Bulk Barn but also stores like Costco that people believe help slash their grocery budget.

Almost two years ago when I participated in the Welfare Food Challenge I agreed that buying in bulk would help keep costs lowered for those who want to stick to a budget. It’s true as long as you are always getting the ‘best price’ for the size/amount you buy. What is also important to consider is here as well is quality of product. If you aren’t then likely the savings aren’t going to be great.


Bulk Food Store Savings


We don’t have a Costco membership which you have to pay for and factor into your overall costs. This cost can run you anywhere from $55 a year for a business membership to a $110 for an executive membership.

Through the grapevine I’ve heard that if you buy a Costco gift card or one was given to you then you can by-pass needing the membership although I’ve never tested this out before.

I’ve been in the store a few times with my sister-in-law. If you know your prices like I do it won’t take you long to figure out what’s worth buying and what you should pass up. I will agree that you get what you pay for though.

Each time I went to Costco I’ve walked out empty-handed except once where we loaded up on baby wipes. We did the math and even though the world of baby was still new to us because we had just found out we were having a baby we didn’t know the prices like we thought we did.

We loaded up on giant boxes of Kirkland Baby Wipes that just happened to be on sale the day we went in. According to my sister-in-law who is also a mother she said they were a great deal at $15.99.

I confess that years ago we were extreme couponers and when my sister-in-law had her baby we stocked up using Smart Source coupons to make the single packages of Huggies wipes $0.99 each after coupon. This was where the math came from in the moment of deciding whether to buy those Kirkland wipes. Probably not the smartest financial decision because I really didn’t base my numbers on equal size boxes.

When we were calculating the figures at Costco for our own baby budget we thought we were getting a great deal for the big box of baby wipes but looking back, we didn’t. Not even a week later we were at Zehrs and found the giant boxes of Pampers wipes on sale for less and more in the box. Saying that, it’s always hit or miss. One week the Kirkland might be the best deal. It always boils down to price knowledge at the end of the day.

Pampers is well marketed around the world as one of the best baby brands along with Huggies so we now know that we could have saved some money had we of known the prices of the baby products. The point here is that we thought we were getting the best deal buying in bulk at Costco but it turned out, we didn’t.

Many people believe that just because they are buying in bulk it must mean it’s the best price around. I’m pretty sure those of you that agree with me have done the math before and sure some products will give you more bang for your buck but going wild shopping when you go to Costco (people do it all the time.. admit it) can significantly increase your grocery budget for no reason.


Savings outside of the bulk food store


If you are one of those people who don’t have patience to grocery shop, use coupons or shop flyer sales then yes shops like Costco will likely be your best savings bet. The laws of economics: If you buy x amount you can negotiate better prices but whether it trickles down to the consumer depends on the store.

If you can hang on tight and shop at the grocery store you may find you can save much more after applying rewards points, coupon app savings, coupons, flyer deals, reduced product, discontinued product etc.

What is considered bulk?

Another type of bulk food store that many people flock to are the bulk stores where you can buy just about any pantry item, well… in bulk. It’s tempting when you walk through the door  at the Bulk Barn (this is the shop in our area) just as it is when you go to Costco and you can easily spend far more than you anticipated.

I have to ask though why people buy from the Bulk Barn for example when they really aren’t buying in bulk unless they are buying a mass quantity of it. If you are buying chocolate chips for example and only buying enough to equal a package from the grocery store make sure you are getting the best deal. Sometimes prices are higher on bulk food items depending on whether they are in season such a nuts which always increase in price come winter.

Next time you go to the bulk food store have a look around to see what products they market to you as soon as you walk through the door. At Costco you will see sales as soon as you walk in the door and the same goes for the Bulk Barn however you might find more candy and junk food upon entering.

Everyone likes snacks and treats and people love seeing big huge pails and buckets full which almost force your hand to pick up the scoop. We do go to the bulk food store to shop but only for specific products that we know that we can score a great deal on.

The good thing about the Bulk Barn is they often have a flyer coupon (also a printable Bulk Barn coupon)-when available for spend $10 save $3 which is when we go shopping. The problem is the coupon isn’t always available so when it is get your shopping list ready for those pantry staples.

Some of the items we buy at the Bulk Barn that we know we can get cheaper is rolled oats, nuts, brown sugar, icing sugar, pure vanilla extract. Those are just products specific to us but if they are on sale during the time we have the coupon it makes it an even better deal.

If you need any specific health food items, gluten-free foods, sugar-free or even animal food and treats you can score some savings if you watch the prices matched with the coupon. We use the coupon which helps bring the cost down and makes it worth it for us to shop there.

The only time we may find that the grocery store trumps the bulk store price is when the grocery store has a sale and even with the bulk food store coupon applied to the shop it would make more sense to buy at the grocery store.


Don’t get side-tracked


Bulk Barn candy is very tempting and the only way to avoid buying it is to stick to the plan, get in and get out. It’s no different when you shop at Costco and likely why so many people end up with hundreds of dollars in their cart when they might have went in to just “look around” or to buy specific products.

There’s a reason there are samples all over Costco and grocery stores, to entice you to buy. The only problem with Costco is that you are buying larger amounts. Food waste is a big deal and throwing food out because it is past expiry really makes no sense when your goal is saving money.

At the end of the day it’s hit or miss when shopping at a bulk food store whether it be shops like Costco or the Bulk Barn. You also have to consider the size of your family and whether the convenience of buying in bulk is worth it for you.

The only financial defense you will have is making sure you know your prices so you can make the informed decision so you don’t bulk out your budget instead of your pantry.

What products do you buy in bulk that saves you money? Do you think that bulk food stores really are money saving shops?


October 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!

How quick means can be a lifesaver for new parents: The Grocery Game Challenge #1 Sept 29-October 5,2014


Grocery Saving Tips

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I hope you take the time to get back on track and start the savings process in your grocery budget today.

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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



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Grocery Game 2 Oct 6-12, 2014


Grocery shop results


Shoppers Drug Mart

  • 2 x Neilson Milk 4L $3.97 each
  • Dozen Eggs $1.99
  • Danone Greek Yogurt $3.99-$2.00 SDM internet coupon

Total out-of-pocket $10.93 plus 20150 Shoppers Optimum points when you spend $75 or more. We bought a case of Enfamil Ready Feed Bottles which falls under baby budget.


Food Basics

  • 3 x Honey Bunches of Oats $1.99
  • 2 x Shreddies $1.99
  • Astro Original Yogurt $3.29 (they forgot to take coupon off so I’ll call and get that sorted out)
  • 2 x Mushrooms reduced $0.99 each
  • 4 x Triscuit Onion and Sweet Potato $1.44 each
  • 2 x Pillers Honey Ham  $2.99 each were $6.00 each reduced
  • Yoplait Yogurt 12 $4.99- FPC
  • Chicken Breast $8.17, $8.80
  • Romaine Hearts $1.88
  • 4 x Campbell’s tomato soup $0.50 each
  • Seedless cucumber $0.97
  • 2 x Johnsonville sausages $$4.99-$1.50= $3.49, 44.49-$1.35=$3.14
  • 2 x tortellini $1.99 each
  • Red Onion $0.94
  • Bananas $1.48
  • Tomatoes $1.57
  • Steel Cut Oats $2.69 (apparently this helps with breastmilk production… along with fenugreek and mother’s milk tea)

Total out-of-pocket $67.06


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 October $235.00-$49.30 (overspend in September)=$185.70
  • Total Coupons Used this Week : $6.99
  • Total Coupons Used to date: $61.19
  • Total Discounts this Week: $2.85
  • Total Discounts Used to date: $51.71
  • 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): $ 19.92 (6 x Bavarian bread and 2 x Ta Ta Tea)
  • 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+ (September) $0 + October $
  • Snap Groupon to date: $19.25
  • Zweet to date: $4.00
  • Cart Smart to date: $0
  • Checkout51 to date: $12.75
  • Total Spent This Week: $77.99
  • Total Spent So Far October:$40.92+$77.99+$118.91
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $n/a
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month: over $n/a
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $66.79
  • 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 $272.80+ Oct $
  • Weekly Overview: It’s going to be a tough month for us in October as we have a smaller budget this month. We loaded up on bread that is normally $2.99, chicken breast and cereal this shop. We wanted to make sure we were eating healthy even though we are eating quick meals.


 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.

October Canadian Coupons 2014


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. Does anyone know where I can find out the country of origin for Bulk Barn items? I am eliminating all US products from my shopping list.


    1. Hi Gabrielle,
      That’s a good question and I’m not sure how to answer that. Hopefully one of the readers can help you. Have you tried calling the Bulk Barn to talk to the manager? Perhaps he/she might have a master list of sorts. Let me know if you find anything out and I will do the same. Mr.CBB

  2. We usually shop at bulk stores when we only want a tiny amount of food to avoid waste and the excess expense. We renewed our Costco membership after much humming and hawing. We decided that we like the food quality and that some things are worth buying, but we are much smarter about it now — no more touring the store and leaving with hundreds of dollars worth of stuff every time. We will have to see if the $55 annual fee is offseted by the savings.

  3. Finally getting to post my shops goal will be to be caught up by the end of the month.everything was a t Foodland again this week. I also used my stockpile to buy a turkey to put in the freezer for Cheistmas. Foodland had them for .99 lb for Grade A birds!!! Way too good to walk away from!!

    Oct 5
    3 Whiskas cat food @.79 -2.37
    3 cans pineapple @1.00 -3.00
    2 Power ade @1.66 -3.32
    Bananas -1.18
    1 box Ritz crackers -1.99
    2 bags fresh cranberries @279 -5.58
    1 cranberry cocktail -2.98
    1 bagels -2.99
    1 yogurt 3.29, .50 coupon
    3 cases pop @3/9.99 -9.99, 3X1.00 coupons
    1 Dove body wash -3.49
    2 Dove shampoo @3.49 -6.98, 2X1.50 coupons
    1 pizza pack meat -3.99
    1 10 lb potatoes -3.99
    1 pancake syrup -3.99
    1 lb butter -4.19
    1 pack ground turkey -4.49
    2 4l milk @4.79 -9.58
    1 144 count Tetley tea bags -9.99
    1 Turkey -15.82
    Tax -3.40
    Total -$100.10, $6.50 coupons

    Oct 7
    3 Whiskas cat food @.79 -2.37
    2 cans pineapple @1.00 -2.00
    1 pack ground sage -1.00
    1 small pack Halls 1.29
    1 bunch celery -1.49
    1 unsweetened Apple sauce -1.98
    1 turnip -2.16
    1 green pepper -.72
    2 Dove body wash @3.49 -6.98
    1 tomato -1.13
    1 lb butter 4.19
    1 grated par aspen cheese -4.43
    1 4l milk -4.79
    1 raisin bread -4.79
    1 jug water -5.49
    Tax -1.38
    Total -$46.81

    Oct 9
    2 Dove body wash @3.49 -6.98
    1 honey -6.99
    1 Turkey -14.97, stockpile
    Tax -.91
    Total -$29.85
    Total budget for month -$650.00, $160.00 week(4weeks)
    Total coupons this week -$6.50
    Total spent this week $161.79
    Total spent this month -$161.79
    Total over/under for week -$1.61 over
    Total over/under for month -N/A
    Left for month -$488.21
    Total coupons/discounts this month -$6.50
    Total carryover to next month -$108.59
    Total YTD -J$653.06+F$594.21+M$633.19+A$672.42+M$647.70+J$660.14+J$694.95+A$629.08+s$732.59+O$161.79=$7972.41
    Stock Pile -$25.00, spent $14.97(Turkey for Christmas)

    So I was over but only by a tiny bit. A good start to the month for I have the Christmas bird in the freezer already. If Foodland has the turkey bucks again that will go towards the Easter turkey. It hurt to pay full price for butter but I ran out in the freezer before I could get a sale… The Dove products were a nice price so I’m ahead on body wash and some shampoo. They didn’t have any conditioner in stock (seldom do actually) so I’ll have to watch for that. I got enough to keep us going for a bit but not enough to call it a stockpile.

    1. Hi Christine,
      Now you are freaking me out lol. I just moderated your other GGC and asked you about your Christmas turkey. lol. I guess I have my answer now. Yes $0.99lb is a great deal for a turkey. We’ve never hosted a large dinner like that at our house so we’ve never had to buy one before. We likely won’t either. I know what you mean about paying full price for butter. The price can jump quite high so we try to bulk up when we need it. Well done! You get ballot 15. Mr.CBB

  4. The only bulk store I go to is Bulk Barn and I try to only go if the main items I want are on sale and I have their $3.00 off coupon. I gave up my Costco membership many years ago 🙂

    I shop for 2 adults and an almost 4 year old boy. Our budget is $85/week or $340 for this month and includes laundry, health/beauty, etc.

    Bulk Barn
    Walnut pieces $8.19 ($2.05 savings) – $3.00 coupon wus $10.00
    Chocolate chips $6.09 ($6.38 savings)
    Pretzel twists $1.71 ($.31 savings)
    Smarties $.92
    Pure vanilla $4.58 ($.81 savings) – $1.00 coupon
    Coupons $4.00
    Total $18.83 – $2.13 gift card
    OOP $15.70

    Mio 2 x $2.50
    Goldfish 3 x $1.98
    Popcorn 2 x $3.00
    Miracle whip 2 x $2.48
    Eggs (PM SDM) $1.77
    Kraft singles $2.97 – $1.00 coupon (earned 1300 PC plus points)
    Cavendish hash brown patties (PM GT) $3.00 – $1.00 coupon
    Almond Fresh (PM Metro) 2 x $3.49 – FPC – $1.00 coupon
    Coconut yogurt $3.98 – FPC
    Strawberries $2.00
    Romaine $1.99
    Bananas $2.35
    Cucumber (PM FC) $.79 (earned 400 PC plus points)
    Grapes (PM NF) $1.13 (earned 200 PC plus points)
    Apples (PM NF) $2.02 (earned 400 PC plus points) – $.25 Zweet
    Bacon (PM NF) 2 x $2.47
    Tarts 2 x $.88
    Pie $6.48
    Wonderbread (PM NF) $1.97
    Magazine $3.49
    Coupons $10.47
    OOP $60.13

    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 (plus $32.06 leftover from last month if needed)
    • Total Coupons Used this Week: $14.47
    • Total Coupons Used This Month: $27.55
    • Total Coupons Used this Year: $938.47
    • 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, $149.00
    • Total SCOP this week: $0
    • Toal SCOP this month: $.60
    • Total SCOP this year: $7.10
    • Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: $2.13
    • Total Gift Cards Used this year: $298.04
    • Total Reward Points Used this week: 0
    • Total Reward Points Used this year: 140,000 or $140.00
    • Total tax free day this week: $0.00
    • Total tax free day this month: $0.00
    • Total tax free day this year: $73.57
    • Colleague Discount (this year): $19.92
    • Total Spent This Week: $75.83
    • Total Spent So Far for this month: $209.76
    • Total Over/Under spent for the month: N/A
    • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $130.24
    • Total to Carry over Next Month (if needed): $32.06
    • Total Spent To Date This Year: $3291.18
    Weekly overview: We managed to be $10 under this week even with a visit to the Bulk Barn 🙂 I think we are on track to be within budget this month! I am still experiencing a lot of food aversions and a lack of appetite so it makes it difficult to menu plan and grocery shop. We have quite a stockpile of items in the house so we can easily eat all week from what we have.

    1. I can see why you would have given up on the Costco membership Jen. You are such a good saver with coupons, apps and just buying from the sales that it makes no sense to buy in bulk. Like you I walked around doing the math and I knew I would find it cheaper at some point at the grocery store. We always use the Bulk Barn coupon when we go. I’m excited to hear you may be on track with your bdget this month. Did you have the same appetite with your first child? I’m sure you are well stocked up the way you love to shop and find sales. Well done. You get ballot 9. Mr.CBB

  5. I don’t personally like buying in bulk for one simply reason: I eat way more of the food because I know I have so much left. When I have a small amount of food, I use it wisely instead and don’t do as much sharing with my friends.

  6. Mr CBB, hubby is not much of a fruit eater so I hide all kinds of things in my baking for his lunches! LOL He really enjoys a GIANT banana muffin with blueberries in it. Sometimes I throw in nuts, other times raisins or dried cranberries. Blueberries and strawberries he will eat with a little sprinkle of sugar.

    Do you mean the stockpile funds or the fact that I have reserves that I fund each month? I added the summer vegetable reserve this year to use at farmer’s markets or when I go to the Okanagan for flats of fruits and vegetables. I have lots of grocery money set aside to make my borscht, re-stock either the freezer or pantry when needed, a fund some of my special holiday baking and one for the farm fresh veggies in the summer. I used to use the “Stockpile” funds to do stocking up of the pantry on case lot sales but I have been using my “Groceries” budget for the most part able to handle it instead. You’ll notice that last month, the grocery budget was over though so I added funds from the stockpile budget this month to help cover the overage. I guess my stockpile budget is being used a little differently but – I am in good shape with my budget so whatever works, right! LOL 😀

  7. I have been advised by my friends to buy in bulk. But, I never give in to theirs because I had experience before that the food I bought in bulk some of it got wasted. I think it depends on your background or needs. If you are in business, buying bulk is really an edge to spend less. But for those household needs, I advise not to get into this type.

  8. I agree with the comment above – you really do need to know your prices before buying. Also, Costco encourages people to consume more so you may be saving money on a per unit basis but you also consumer it faster because you have a bigger sized item to go through. I think Costco can save people money but its so easy to get carried away there (which they love because it leads people to overspend)

  9. I like to buy in bulk, but sometimes the stores will trick you and charge you more for buying more. The important thing is to understand unit pricing and how to calculate it. Just calculate the per unit price and pick the size with the lowest per unit price (assuming it is something you will eventually use and have space to store). Easy!

  10. I haven’t been to Bulk Barn yet, tempting thought. But I do go to a place in Stratford, Country Bulk. The stuff is already packaged for you and just take the size pack that you want with out worrying about who has been touching your food. Plus I have a cousin that works there so we can catch up on family news.
    I get my Christmas baking stuff there (the deluxe fruit mix for my fruitcake is the best I’ve seen anywhere!!!), things like my Thompson raisins and chocolate chips and such for regular baking, spices in small quantities and I get some very nice organic cat nip for Stuart and Molly!!! It’s really nice and not powdery like you usually see and they just love it and any cat toys I make for them with it. I can get a really nice big bag of raisins for twice the price in the store but it has 3X as many raisins in it. It does boil down to knowing your prices regardless of what you are buying!!!!

  11. Hey Mr.CBB
    They price match their own sales and clearance that I know 100% for sure so not sure about anyone else, sorry I should have been more clear.
    Yes that pump is a pretty penny to rent, we rented it for a week but was totally worth it!! Glad to hear things are working out well with it and the other things are helping as well.

    1. I was just wondering where you would buy products in bulk that they would price match too. She was happy she pumped over 4 oz tonight in 30 minutes… At $8.49 a box of 6 bottles of ready feed I’d say the pump is still worth the rental if she can do 8 2 oz bottles a day.

  12. Hey Mr.CBB
    Knowing your prices is the best advice!!!!!
    We shop at Costco for a variety of things mainly the movie pass for $26 for two admissions, a popcorn and two drinks (somewhat cheap date night) I also noticed they have 2kg brown sugar for $3.59!!!! On sale for $2 for 1kg in the stores if your lucky! We do buy some books for ourselves but mainly as gifts and they are usually cheaper than anywhere else, clothing can also be a great deal. But really at the end of the day a lot of people love their return policy (full refund or exchange within a year) and their price match guarantee if the item you purchased goes on sale or is marked down you will receive a refund of the difference (someone I knew got back over three hundred dollars from their tv purchase!!) The meat dept can be great as long as you know it is a good deal (4pk ground turkey for $16 is a great deal considering one pack is at least $8 at the store). I know to keep anyway from the pop and candy aisles because that isn’t what we went in there for as much as I would love it.
    I have heard of many things out there to help with helping with the breast milk coming in and producing, I found with our little miss coming so early my body wasn’t quite ready but the breast pumps at the hospital helped and then my dr wrote me a prescription for one so we would claim it from our insurance companies so we were able to buy one and have my milk come in quickly. It made such a big difference using it and it is a big commitment but being able to nurse her is priceless and I know I am lucky to do so. So I hope that part of the journey goes smoothly for your wife and know my thoughts are with her! There are so many things happening so quickly for you two and so much unknown and learning by the seat of your pants and that simple things are epic! But please know we all support you and the family in whatever way we can!

    1. I didn’t know Costco did price matching.. interesting. Who would you PM too as I don’t really see much in bulk unless it’s from Superstore. Great deal on the movie passes. My wife has the hospital grade Medela rental which costs lots but she is pumping near 4 ounces a pump now with the fenugreek and mother’s milk tea. We will get the blessed thistle as well. I’ll likely do a blog post on it. Our son had tongue ties so he wouldn’t latch but lately he’s been latching on and off.

  13. We tend not to shop from the bulk bins. I am suspicious as to the cleanliness and freshness of these products. I would rather have my stuff packaged in smaller quantities than have who-knows-who rummaging around in my food with their grubby, germ infested hands. Do I pay more for the packaging… yes. I would have smaller quantities if need be, but that’s just my personal opinion. I feel the same way about buffet dining too though. I guess I have seen too much over the years and realize some people truly were raised in a pig stye & even though they are paying big $$$ to be somewhere, this is no guarantee they won’t behave like the poorest of hillbilly relations that you can conjure up in your mind!!!!

    We do have a Costco membership BUT we aren’t using it so much for food as we are for clothing and running shoes that hubby likes, vitamins and dairy products in the US, our gasoline when we travel and for our nuts for my Christmas baking. The turnover tends to be good on Costco’s nuts, so I have found it a good place to get relatively fresh nuts…well as fresh as packaged nuts tend to be. 😀

    1. LOL.. you just made my day Mary… 🙂 So many things we don’t tend to think about but you are right. Who knows whose hands have been in the bin. Although we don’t have a membership at Costco from what I saw it’s hit or miss but they bank on people loading up on the pricey stuff just like the grocery store BUT as most people don’t walk out without spending under $100 I’d say they are doing much better than a grocery store.

  14. OCTOBER – Week #1 of 4- Oct 6-12, 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



    Before we start our OCTOBER off though, I am going to make my “reserve” transfers for the month:


    $142.50 for the month
    $20.00 Transfer from Stockpile Budget
    ($ 43.18) September overage of $43.18
    ( $12.50) trf to borscht reserve-normally $12.50
    ($ 0.00) trf to holiday – normally $20.00
    ($ 10.00) trf to Summer Reserve – instead of Holiday
    ($0.00) trf to US Reserve
    ($ 7.50) trf to re-stocking – normally $17.50

    Grocery Balance $89.32 for OCTOBER


    $47.50 for the month
    ($20.00) Transfer to Grocery re September overage of $43.18
    ($ 7.50) trf to re-stocking – normally $17.50
    ($20.00) trf to US Reserve – normally $30.00

    Stockpile Balance $0.00 for OCTOBER



    October is a strange month for us in terms of groceries. We are treating ourselves to a Thanksgiving weekend in Bellevue using points for the hotel stay & will be having a turkey dinner at our favorite deli, Goldberg’s. I am taking muffins and a quick bread with us plus my kettle so that we can have nice fall desserts with our tea in the room at night. 🙂

    We won’t have our harvest type celebratory dinner at home until late in November… we’ll be celebrating right along with all the Americans this year! It does mean that there will be no big holiday meal expenses for us this month…always a good thing. 🙂 I already have my turkey and cranberries in the deep freeze and we used a good rain check for our supply of canned pumpkin, so our Thanksgiving costs in November will be really very minimal – a few sweet potatoes, some root veggies and brussel sprouts for me!

    With an eye on our scheduled meal plans, we also have our anniversary vacation coming and we are closely monitoring the “perishables” that we have on hand carefully so that we only buy exactly what we can consume before we take off. Waste not want not is our motto! Yesterday I threw on a crockpot of homemade vegetable soup…warms the body, good for the waistline and the health but equally important – a partial clean-out of the crispers. Tonight we’re making a homemade Cream of Celery Soup to go with our twice baked, fully loaded baked potatoes. That’ll concentrate on a little more crisper clean-out! 😀

    I currently have 20+ lbs of onions in the house so I let this Thrifty Foods rain check expire without using it:

    8 Organic Walla Walla Onions @ $1.49/lb (Good until Oct 12th)

    During blueberry season I froze about 15 lbs for hubby’s lunches and my baking over the course of the winter so it’s time to record this Safeway rain check as expired without using it:

    4 lbs Purewel Blueberries @ $7.98 (Good until October 12th)

    I still have some nice rain checks that I may or may not use this month. I will see what I actually need as we go. Time will tell especially as I will be doing a US shop on Thanksgiving Monday.



    Save On Foods – Maple Ridge –

    12 x Western Family 100% Pure Pumpkin 398 ml
    ($36.00-$8.00 RAIN CHECK) = $24.00
    1 x Western Family Multigrain Gluten Free Bread
    ($5.47-$1.50 COUPON) = $3.97

    • Grocery Budget OOP: $27.97
    • Stockpile Budget OOP: $0.00
    • Cash Hiding Spot: $0.00

    •Total OOP: $27.97

    ** Earned 5 MORE Points on this shop **
    ** USED $8.00 in Rain Checks **
    ** USED $1.50 in Coupons **
    ** SAVED $0.00 Loyalty Savings on this shop **
    Thrifty Foods – Maple Ridge –

    1 x Ground Ginger @ 20% Off = $4.49

    • Grocery Budget OOP: $4.49
    • Stockpile Budget OOP: $0.00
    • Cash Hiding Spot: $0.00

    •Total OOP: $4.49

    ** Earned 0 Air Miles on this shop **
    ** USED $0.00 in Rain Checks **
    ** USED $0.000 in Coupons **
    ** SAVED $0.00 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 + Aug $0.00+ Sept $19.68+ Oct $0.00= $249.71

    •Total Coupons/Rain Checks Used This Year:

    Jan $2.58 + Feb $7.18 +Mar $0.00 + April $9.20 +May $20.19 + June $1.00 + July $15.50 + Aug $12.98 + Sept $5.19 +Oct $9.50 = $83.32

    •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 + Aug $0.00 + Sept $0.00 + Oct $0.00 = $5.31

    •Total More Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 0 + Feb 0 +Mar 11 + April 0 + May 5 + June 0 + July 52 + Aug 0 + Sept 32 + Oct 0= 100 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year:

    Jan 456 + Feb 584 +Mar 0 + April 4 + May 125 + June 3 + July 210 + Aug 88 + Sept 157 + Oct 0= 1,629 Air Miles

    •Total Thrifty’s Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 25 + Feb 15 +Mar 0 + April 0 + May 39 + June 11 + July 145 +Aug 0 + Sept 24= 259 Points
    ** Program Discontinued on Sept 12th ** – We received $20.00 + 14 Air Miles 🙂

    •Total PC PLUS Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 0 + Feb 0 +Mar 650 + April 0 + May 5,400 +June 2400 + July 3,300 + Aug 0 + Sept 1,450 + Oct 0= 13,200 Points

    •Total Optimum Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 0 + Feb 0 +Mar 0 + April 0 + May 30 + June 0 + July 100 + Aug 0 + Sept 0 + Oct 0= 130 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 $110.63+ Aug $130.76 + Sept $185.68+ Oct ($12.50 trf to borscht+$10.00 to Summer+$7.50 trf to re-stocking-$20.00 Stockpile Addition +$27.97+$4.49 = $42.46)= $1,458.14

    •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 + Aug $142.50 + Sept $142.50 + Oct $142.50= $1,515.00

    •Total Over/Under on Year-To-Date Grocery Budget: $56.86 AVAILABLE



    •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 $47.50 + Aug $47.50+ Sept $47.50 + Oct($20.00 re Sept overage+$7.50 trf to re-stocking + $20 trf to US Reserve = $47.50) = $565.00

    •Total Year-To-Date Stockpile Budget:
    Jan $47.50 + Feb $47.50 + Mar $47.50 + April $47.50 + May $47.50 + June $47.50 + July $47.50 + Aug $47.50 + Sept $47.50 + Oct $47.50 = $565.00

    •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 + July $17.50 + Aug $17.50 + Sept $17.50 + Oct $7.50= $272.50 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 + July $12.50 + Aug $12.50 + Sept $12.50+ Oct $12.50= $387.50 AVAILABLE



    •Total 2014 Holiday Season Reserve:
    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 + Aug $0.00+ Sept$0.00 +Oct$0.00= $110.00 AVAILABLE



    •Total 2014 Summer Season Reserve:
    2013 Fwd $0.00+Jan $0.00+Feb $0.00+Mar $0.00 + April $0.00 +May $0.00 + June $0.00 + July $0.00 + Aug $20.00 + Sept $20.00 + Oct$10.00= $50.00 AVAILABLE


    • TOTAL SPENT Year-To-Date:

    $1,458.14 Grocery Budget
    $104.04 Hiding Spot Cash
    $20.00 Thrifty’s Points Redemption
    $20.00 PC.Plus Points Redemption
    $20.00 Safeway Cash Card
    $565.00 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 =


    $1,900.00 may have been budgeted for JAN to OCTOBER ‘2014 but we have these funds already accounted for and not yet spent:

    $272.50 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $387.50 Borscht Fund
    $110.00 Holiday Season Fund
    $ 50.00 Summer Season Fund

    TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES $820.00 … that is a $400.00 carry-forward from 2013 and $420.00 in NEW 2014 savings.

    So, if you look at the $2,541.45 calculation that we have spent in 2014 and subtract the $420.00 we have actually saved in our “reserves” and the $249.96 ($155.96+94.00) we have recorded as spent but is actually set aside for future USA grocery shopping… we have actually spent $1,871.49!! That is $28.51 UNDER the $1,900.00 we budgeted for January through October.

    BUT if you also take out the cash that was either a gift, some non-budgeted earning method or a loan repayment: ($104.04 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+ $20.00 Thrifty’s Points Redeemed and $20.00 PC.Plus Points Redeemed+ $1.00 gift from hubby’s spending money) = $519.31 then we actually only used $1,352.18 of the budgeted $1,900.00 have a Budgeted Grocery Balance SURPLUS of $547.82 still sitting in our bank account.

    IF you don’t pay any attention to how we paid for the groceries, then the seemingly $28.51 AVAILABLE combined with the value of an additional 5 weeks x $47.50 = $237.50 vacation we will be taking later on in 2014 and still leave us an additional $266.01 to add to our Canadian & cross border shopping budget.



    CANADIAN $’s

    Groceries: $56.86
    Stockpile: $0.00
    Cash Hiding Spot: $0.02
    Safeway Cash Card $0.00
    Safeway Savings Reward $0.00

    US $’s

    Our Reserve: $135.96+$20.00=$155.96
    US Cash Hiding Spot: $94.00


    The valid rain checks I hold are as follows:

    Thrifty Foods:

    2 Family Size Extra Lean Ground Beef @ $3.49/lb (Good until Oct 12th)


    9 Barilla Spaghetti @ 3 for $4.98 (Good until October 10th)
    4 lbs Ground Pork @ $2.99/lb (Good until December 22nd)


    1. Hi Mary,
      Looking back would you say your ‘reserves’ have changed over the course of the year or say past two years? You sure do love your onions. I wish they sold them in Ontario though as I’d like to try them. Do you make blueberry muffins? I love chocolate chip muffins myself but I also like blueberry. I agree with monitoring your persihables if you know you are going away.. OH… I think we have a GGC post there Mary… thanks 🙂 You get ballot 5. P.s. That is an excellent price on the canned pumpkin. It normally costs close to $4.00 a can here. Well done Mary!

  15. I basically only shop at Bulk Barn for snacky type of food or when I’m making Nuts and Bolts. I do agree with you that those stores are a killer on the budget. I’ve been once to Costco with my sister but didn’t buy anything.

  16. I don’t have a Costco membership (I shop with my Mom if I want to go there!) so I don’t end up there very often, but I definitely LOVE my Bulk Barn!
    The biggest thing is making sure that unit for unit the price works out to the best deal possible. Some people automatically think “it’s so big, so this must be a great deal”, but alot of the time it can end up being cheaper to buy multiple small versions that will add up to the size of the large option, with less money out of your pocket;)
    It can also be a bit of a mental game seeing items priced per pound as opposed to per package. One might see something at Bulk Barn for $0.75/lb and think that sounds cheap, but when you actually measure out what you would usually get in a pre-packaged version, it can end up being more than you plan for!
    You’re absolutely right, it always comes down to knowing your prices and taking the time to calculate in that “make a decision” moment!

    1. You do the same thing as my wife and I checking the unit price etc. Yes you are correct about buying multiple smaller packs… doing the math is important. They know this about the way they market the price and they know that some people don’t know how many grams are in a pound etc. so they bank on them thinking they will get the best deal.

  17. I have a friend that likes to bake/cook and she goes to the bulk barn when she wants to buy the exact amount she is going to need for a recipe if she is unsure she will use the ingredient again- spices are a good example. I like shopping in bulk sometimes but you are right – you can get carried away and if you don’t watch the unit price you can spend more than conventional packaged food.

    1. That just amps the price up even more however if she will just let it waste then it’s likely better. Most baking items and spices last a long time a long as they are stored correctly.

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