The 5 Most Important Food Shopping Features In A Store: The Grocery Game Challenge #1 Nov 3-9, 2014



I’m sure if I asked you about where to buy food in your city you could come up with a list of grocery stores where you do your weekly food shopping or maybe just one that is above the rest.

The problem is not every store is created equally starting from the family owned grocer to grocery store chains.

This makes food shopping tricky for those that search out foods that meet or exceed their expectations but there’s more to the food when shopping that appeals to people.

Unless you buy your groceries online or get groceries delivered there must be something about that hidden environment you don’t see that is important to you. Do you wonder how and where the products you buy are stored? You can’t see that when you do the above but it might be important to you.


Food Shopping Experiences


We met up with some friends tonight and the topic of grocery shopping came up and no I didn’t bring it up. They mentioned how dead Target was every time they went in and how less than happy they were with shopping at Wal-mart.

The Wal-mart is close to their house and is busy, not as organized and the bathrooms aren’t always so clean. On the other hand Target is modern, fresh and is clean and we agree.

I know they are new stores but that doesn’t mean just because you have an older home that your house has to be dirty and unorganized. It’s up to the store to provide the best shopping experience for their customers round the clock. If that means that someone monitors the bathrooms every 30 minutes then that is what needs to be done. That’s not always the case.

The discussion moved from how clean the stores were to prices. My friend commented about why I would want to shop at Target as frugal as I am when the prices seem to be higher than at Wal-mart.

I don’t disagree but I also don’t agree because prices at Wal-mart aren’t as flashy frugal as most people think. If you are truly frugal you would see this and likely price match if you shop there or do part of your food shopping at Wal-mart and part in another grocery store.

The key here is going back to knowing your prices but picking out the best route of shopping for the time that you give to this chore. Not everyone has time to hit three stores when food shopping.

While the wife and I were on our food shopping bender in October we focused on pricing even more so because we have a baby and our overall budget has increased. Making sure we were getting the best deals and quality products was important to us but we also realized that we wanted to shop in an environment that was child-friendly.

By that we were looking not only for a clean store but one that offered bathrooms with a change table just in case we needed it or even a space to feed the baby if necessary. Another perk was whether the store had somewhere to sit down.

My wife remembers her grandfather always sitting in the mall waiting for her grandmother to finish shopping and if it wasn’t in the mall it was in the grocery store. One of the reasons we love to shop at Zehrs is because it has all the above.

The downside is that Zehrs doesn’t price match but if more customers complain maybe just maybe they will warm up to the idea. Are you listening Loblaws? I hope so, the customers are speaking.

Although we tend to find some of the better deals on everyday products at Food Basics and No Frills food shopping at a grocery store that offers almost everything we need including our bank (PC Financial) helps us enjoy the experience even more.

Keep in mind though if we want top of the line produce we certainly would go to Metro, Zehrs or RCSS but we need to be prepared to pay the price if it’s not on sale. For some quality is very important as it is for us.


Sourcing Products


Let’s be honest here and come right out and say that you can find most of the same products at the value grocery stores such as Food Basics, No Frills, Giant Tiger, Target and Wal-mart as the higher-end grocery stores like Metro, Zehrs and Sobeys in Ontario but you will see a significant price difference on some products.

Does the experience you get at these higher-end shops make up for that price difference you might be paying? Only you can answer that question.

An example of a recent purchase for us was when we bought steel-cut oats. The price at Food Basics was $2.79, No Frills $3.99 and Zehrs $4.79. It leads you to wonder just how much they buy it for at cost and the amount of profit they are making per bag.

This happens with every product we buy today so it’s important to be vigilant when it comes to prices rather than worry about whether someone will see you in a lower-end grocery store. It’s amazing how embarrassing it is for some people to shop at No Frills, Giant Tiger, Wal-mart and Food Basics or even Dollarama.

Remember that post about grocery store snobs? Ya, don’t be one of them because it will cost you big time! If you don’t prefer the supposed horrible quality and freshness of the products at some of the discount grocery stores you can easily do your dry shopping there and venture to either 1-local farms, 2-locally owned grocers or 3-higher end grocery stores.


Our Food Shopping Preferences


Personally, we haven’t had any major issues shopping at Food Basics compared to Metro except for price and a distinct difference in the produce, meat and fish quality. When I say distinct I only mean your apples and avocados might be bigger at one shop over the other and without dents and bruises. The same goes when you buy organic products or even the now popular gluten-free products.

I’m pretty sure most foods come from the same shipment just different quality levels when picked from the farm or orchards. You get what you pay for when it comes to fresh and convenience foods but for everyday products don’t get bit by overpaying if you can help it.

So in the end we favour Loblaws stores such as No Frills, RCSS and Zehrs because of the above reasons and it’s why we tend to favour shopping in them over the others when we can.

I recently asked my Facebook fans what was important to them in a grocery store and below is what they came up with. Let’s have a look at what you the fans discussed and why it’s important to you.

The results of the conversation weren’t shocking to me because these days most people can’t afford to dig deep into their pockets so they become smarter shoppers.


1-Availability of Product


Product availability is important because no one likes to make more than one trip to the grocery store. On the other hand some people might not mind when they run out of product because they can likely get a rain check and stop in again in a couple of days to get the deals plus hang on to that rain check for the month. Smart shopper that is!

For me, it would have to be availability of a product at a reasonable price.

Price, coupons, quality and availability are important to me.


2-Product Pricing


It seems that product pricing will always top the food shopping wars no matter what. Over and over again pricing is what affects the grocery budget for just about everyone and with less money to spend on food shopping these days it trumps all.

Price but also quality….there are some things I will pay more for because I like food and want it to taste good.

Price is paramount. Especially when I have to supply 3 adults and a cat everything (food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, all household stuff in other words) on about $15/day.

Price is a big part of it for me…..there are 3 adults and a cat… is on a low sodium low cholesterol diet, one is just low sodium, and my son, the MSer needs to eat 2 good sized portions of protein a day with his meds….I only do a big shopping once a month and drive almost an hour to do it….fresh fruits n veggies I will buy here thru the month..

Price is critical to us but if nothing’s on sale, when we are home, I work from my stockpile. There’s always some fruit or vegetable that is cheaper that we can focus on.

If the store brand tastes similar and is cheaper than I go that route but sometimes the sales on name brand make it cheaper. One thing I never buy no name is cheez whiz lol.


3-Health Value


People want to put healthy foods on the table and in their kid’s lunches so I can see why eating healthy is important but with that the products need to be of high-quality and value for your money. The hard part is when it comes to true ‘healthy products’ the price tag often goes up but paying a bit more to keep healthy in the diet is worth it to some people.

Price and health value


4-Quality Products


What can’t I say about this that I haven’t said before. Quality products not only get eaten up you have less waste. Freshness is very important here as well because you want to know that the store you are buying from takes freshness and quality seriously.

For me it is getting good quality at a fair price.




What is product value anyways? When I hear that my first instincts tell me that it’s how useful a product is. How far can we stretch our food shopping value to meet the needs of our families is something we often hear. It’s no wonder with the prices of food today. If we can buy in bulk for less you can bet we will and if we can make various meals from one product that is also a plus.

The most important thing for me when I grocery shop is value!!!


As you can see food shopping for each of us has different meaning but in the end it’s the amount of money that we dish out that most people focus on especially if you are trying to stick to your grocery budget.

What is important to you when you are food shopping?


November 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!

The October Grocery Game Challenge WINNER is>>>>>> #13 Mary~ Email me for your coupon prize!


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 are new here and haven’t had a chance to read past posts grab yourself a beverage, sit down, relax and enjoy some educational reading material on ways to save money in your grocery budget.

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.


Grocery shop results



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!


Shoppers Drug Mart

  • 2 x 2% Nielson Milk $3.97 each
  • Gatorade powder Sale $4.79 reg $7.99

Total out-of-pocket $12.73

No Frills

  • 4 x Redpath Sugar $1.44 each
  • 2 x Gatorade $1.77 (this is to help with breastmilk production for the wife however we didn’t realize you could buy Gatorade powder which we found at Shoppers Drug Mart.
  • Ginger root $1.28
  • Avocado $3.97 another great product for breastmilk production
  • Red onion $0.52
  • White onion $1.23
  • Parsnips $4.93 (they were gorgeous so we couldn’t pass them up)
  • Vanilla Candle $2.88
  • Bag $0.05 (forgot our bags, oops)

Total out-of-pocket $24.16


 Check Out Our Grocery Budget


November grocery game shop 1

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 November $235.00 This months grocery shop leaves us $265.78 over budget!! Our November and December grocery budget total will be as follows $470-$265.78=$204.22 or $102.11 to spend each month to keep us on track for 2014.
  • Total Coupons Used this Week : $0
  • Total Coupons Used to date: $64.19
  • Total Discounts this Week: $19.04
  • Total Discounts Used to date: $70.75
  • 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)+ $22.44 (July) + (August) $8.00+ (September) $0 + October $19.92+November $
  • Snap Groupon to date: $19.25
  • Zweet to date: $4.00
  • Cart Smart to date: $0
  • Checkout51 to date: $12.75
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) $2.99
  • Total Spent This Week: $36.89
  • Total Spent So Far November $36.89+
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: $0
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month: over $0
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $0
  • 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 $203.36+ August $228.26+ Sept $272.80+ Oct $451.48+Nov $

Weekly Overview: Not too bad of a start to the month although we still have a few weeks left and not much grocery budget left to spend. Good news though we have lots in the pantry so we should be on track to catching up with our overspend last month.


 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.

Novemeber coupons

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

Are You New To Canadian Budget Binder?

  • Follow Me on Social media by clicking any of the buttons below on the blog.
  • Check out my new Free Recipe Index
  • If you like FREE then click this link for my FREE Excel Budget Spreadsheet and all my Free Money Saving Lists!

Photo Credit: Free Digital Photos/ David Castillo

Share to...

Similar Posts


  1. I realize that this is two GGC’s in one posting….I’m trying to follow the weeks listed even though my grocery shopping doesn’t quite match up….

    Name Your Store: Superstore
    Total Coupons Used: $0.00
    Total Out Of Pocket: $16.56

    4 Cans of Spaghetti Sauc – 4/$5.00 = $5.00
    8 Cans of Friskies Cat Food – 2/$1.00 = $4.00
    Campbell Soup – 4/$3.00 = $3.00
    Purina Cat Food = $5.68
    Chocolate Chips = $3.22
    Dutch Rusks = $.99
    NN Baking Powder = $2.99
    NN Baking Cocoa = $3.59
    NN Apple Drink = $1.27
    2 Campbell Chunky Soup – $1.97 = $3.94
    Cheerios Club Pack = $7.99
    2 Fuitopia Juices – $0.99 (PM FB) = $1.98
    4L Skim Milk = $3.97
    2 Butter – $0.99 (PM FB) = $1.98
    Bananas – 1.165 kg @ $1.26/kg = $1.47
    2 WW Bread – $1.97 = $3.94

    Name Your Store: St. Jacobs Farmers Market
    Total Coupons Used: $0.00
    Total Out Of Pocket: $23.00

    Lg basket Apples = $7.00
    2L Apple Cider = $4.00
    2 Pkg Grapes = $4.00
    1 Rutabaga = $2.00
    2 Squash = $2.00
    Med basket Pears = $4.00

    Weekly Grocery Game Challenge Results
    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $50.00/week ($40.00 Human & $10.00 Pet)
    Total Coupons Used this Week : $0.00
    Total Coupons Used This Month: $0.50
    Total Discounts/SCOP this Week: $0.00
    Total Checkout 51 rebates this Week: $0.00
    Total Checkout 51 rebates this Month: $0.00
    Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: $0.00
    Total PC Points Received this week: 5500
    Total Rewards Points Used: $20.00+40.00
    Stockpile Budget: $0.00
    Total Over/Under spend this shop: $10.44 under
    Total Spent This Week: $39.56
    Total Spent So Far for November: $84.68+39.56
    Total Over/Under spend for the month of November: $N/A
    Total Left to Spend for the Month: $75.76
    Total to Carry Over Next Month: $N/A
    Total Spent To Date This Year: $3,051.71
    Weekly Overview: This week, I used the remaining PCs available at the moment. I also took advantage of my day off to actually shop at the St Jacobs Farmers Market and picked up some nice deals (I think). I can’t believe that I’m not over this week but that’s due to using the PC Points.

    1. Hi Dee,
      We used up some of our PC points as well. We figure we might as well just use them because we weren’t saving them for anything but food. We might have to make our way down to that market as we heard it was nice. When is it open and what can you get there? Do you find the prices cheaper. You came in under budget.. awesome!!! Do you think you will spend more in December? You get ballot 8. Mr.CBB

      1. Hi Mr CBB. St. Jacobs Farmers Market is open year round. Thursday and Saturday is 7:00 to 3:30 pm. Tuesday is from mid June until the end of August and those hours are 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. You can get just about anything there, depending on what you are looking for. They have a FB Page and website to pursue. Coming next spring, the 3rd building will be completed and that 40% bigger than the one that burned down. It will be a 2 Storey in addition to the existing 2 buildings, plus the outdoor vendors. On the property, there’s a furniture store and Ontario Livestock Exchange (OLEX). There’s an outlet across the road and the village of St Jacobs is only 3 km away from the market. I can’t say that they are cheaper because the only place that I have to compare is the grocery store but I’m sure there are some things are comparable. The main difference is for produce, you can’t pick and choose the quantity, like you can at the grocery store.

  2. 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.
    Heinz ketchup (PM Sal’s) 9 x $.99
    PC BM plum sauce $3.47
    Doritos (PM SDM) 2 x $1.88
    Rice Krispies (PM Fortino’s) $3.99
    Raisin Bran (PM Fortino’s) $3.99
    Mini Wheats (PM Fortino’s) $3.99 – $1.00 coupon
    Cream cheese (PM WM) $3.00
    Swanson pot pie (PM FB) 4 x $.99
    Pizza pockets 5 x $2.00
    Almond milk (PM) 3 x $2.99 – $1.50 coupon (earned 400 PC plus points)
    Soy milk 4 x $2.58 – 4 x $.50 coupons
    Baby carrots (PM WM) $1.00
    Onions $.98
    Dole salad $2.49
    Bananas $2.22
    Broccoli (PM FB) $.99
    Apples (PM) $1.97
    Tomatoes $1.11
    Strawberries (PM) 2 x $2.97 (earned 600 PC plus points)
    Chocolate croissant 2 x $1.19
    Wonderbread Bread (PM) 2 x $1.88
    Vitality bread (PM) 2 x $1.97
    Pita (PM) $.99
    Turkey pepperoni $4.49 (earned 800 PC plus points)
    Coupons $4.50
    OOP $94.11
    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. THE MEAT ORDER IS PAID IN FULL NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (we still have tons left too).
    • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $425 (5 weeks this month) + $32.79 carried over if needed
    • Total Coupons Used this Week: $4.50
    • Total Coupons Used This Month: $9.50
    • Total Coupons Used this Year: $984.92
    • Total rebates this week (Checkout 51, Snapsaves, CartSmart, zweet, $0
    • Total rebates this month (Checkout 51, Snapsaves, CartSmart, zweet, $.25
    • Total rebates this year (Checkout 51, Snapsaves, CartSmart, zweet, $161.75
    • Total SCOP this week: $0
    • Toal SCOP this month: $0
    • Total SCOP this year: $7.10
    • Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: $0
    • 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
    • Total tax free day this month: $0
    • Total tax free day this year: $76.72
    • Colleague Discount (this year): $19.92
    • Total Spent This Week: $94.11
    • Total Spent So Far for this month: $182.14
    • Total Over/Under spent for the month: N/A
    • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $242.86
    • Total to Carry over Next Month (if needed): $32.79
    • Total Spent To Date This Year: $3602.83
    Weekly overview: Now I’ve had two weeks of being just a little bit over. I need to do better than this to make it through the month. We’ve decided not to have a big party for Adam’s birthday so that will save from buying food for guests. Since his birthday will be on a Tuesday we will probably just do dinner and cake with immediate family. Wish me luck! Lol 🙂

    1. Hi Jen,
      If your meat order is paid and you have tonnes left how long before the next load gets shipped? Do you have the room for it all? I officially think you are the PM Queen! I think having a big party at this age can cost a fortune. I know my sister-in-law paid a fortune for her son’s first birthday but after that.. she’s doing what you plan to do. The novelty has worn off I guess hah!! You can do it Jen… only one month left until the end!! I just said to my wife I remember when you first started posting Adam was a year and half and now he’s almost 4… WOW!! Time flies. You get ballot 7. Mr.CBB

      1. There won’t be any more meat shipped. I would have to place a new order. We are unsure yet if we will do it again. We didn’t like the expense but did love the quality of the meat.

  3. Here is my grocery shop for the first week of November. In answer to your question about the Gatorade powder, he has had it but the choice of flavours is limited and we had a part tin of powder go hard on us. He does like a little variety in flavours and I can’t say I blame him. I do watch the sales and try to get it as cheaply as I can.
    This week the only place I went was Foodland

    Oct. 30
    4 Whiskas cat food @.79 -3.16
    2 pasta sauce @.79 -1.58
    2 pasta @.99 -1.98
    4 1l chocolate milk @.99 -3.96
    2 tomato sauce @.99 -1.98
    Bananas -1.20
    2 unsweetened Apple sauce @1.98 -3.96
    3 W/W bread @1.99 -5.97
    1 bag rice-1.99
    2 Temptations cat treats @1.99 -3.96, BOGO coupon -1.99
    1 container raisins -2.49
    1 package Halls -279
    1 plum sauce -2.98
    1 soya sauce -2.99
    1 package yogurt -2.99
    1 cider mix -4.29
    2 Cashmere TP @4.44 -8.88
    2 Gain laundry soap @4.44 -8.88
    1 4l milk -4.79
    1 grated Parmesan cheese -4.98
    1 package yogurt -5.99
    1 bag Whiskas cat food -8.99, 3.00 Peelie
    Tax -5.33
    Total $91.14, 4.99 coupons

    Nov. 2
    5 Whiskas cat food @.79 -3.95
    2 1l chocolate milk @.99 -1.98
    1 broccoli -.99
    2 packages pasta @.99 -1.98
    1 can Apple juice -1.50
    1 plant -2.99, my treat for the week..a Christmas cactus
    1 Gain laundry soap -4.44
    1 Cashmere TP -4.44
    1 4l milk -4.79
    1 jug water -5.49
    1 case ginger ale -5.99
    Tax -2.84
    Total -$41.38

    Nov. 5
    1 bag marshmallows -148
    Bananas -.74
    2 W/W bread @1.99 -3.98, 2X .50 coupons
    2 Cheerios @3.99 -7.98
    1 4l milk -4.79
    1 jug water -5.49
    Tax -.19
    Total -$23.65

    Total budget for month -$650.00, 4 weeks -$162.50wk.
    Total spent for week -$156.17
    Total coupons for week -$5.99
    Total spent for month -$156.17
    Total over/under for week -$6.33 under
    Total over/under for month -N/A
    Left for month -$493.83
    Carry over to next month -$106.73
    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$648.14+N$156.17=$8052.59
    Stockpile $25.00, none spent

    I came in under for the week, not by much but I’m under. There were some nice sales, chocolate milk(and it was a full 1l !!), the TP, Gain laundry soap, pasta and sauce. The first shop of the week, for all I got I think only 5 items were full price..everything else was on sale. Even that price for the Whiskas dry cat food was a sale price,not much of one but a sale just the same.the $3.00 Peelie sure helped there! I need to hit No Frills for some things very soon. The younger boy and I are still going through the Halss and hot lemon and honey, almost out of the lemon tea bags! The cider mix the older boy likes in colder weather has gone up in price from last year so I will be watching for a sale there to stock up some.all in all not a bad start to the month

    1. Hi Christine,
      The wife used the can of Gatorade in one week so I’ll have a look around for other flavours as I bought her the blue kind whatever that is for $4.99 reg $7.99 at Shoppers. Did you notice the chocolate milk containers shrinking too? My wife pointed that out to me when we were at Walmart. The price is not shrinking though. You mentioned that Food Basics price matches. Is that every Food Basics or select cities? I don’t see anything on our flyer that suggests that unless I’m missing it. You still have your stockpile budget. I find this budget to be so handy. Do you? You get ballot 4. Mr.CBB

      1. I did notice the containers of chocolate. I’ll shrinking. The same week Foodland had the 1l on sale I noticed a couple of other places also had chocolate milk on sale but if you looked it was fora 750ml container for the same .99 I paid for a full litre!!!! I find I’m paying much more attention to this as well as the unit pricing on the shelf even for sale items… I need to get as much bang for my buck as I can!!!

  4. I was surprised a while back in Food Basics in Stratford that they didn’t price match. Then Walmart and No Frills came to town…both stores will PM. Throw in Target that does also and all of a sudden Food Basics now price matches!!!!! I love competition in the grocery stores!!!!!! You are right that it all comes back to knowing your prices,
    I noticed that Allen’s apple juice in the cans has the coupons on the label again, Any Oaisis Nutrisource juice-$1.00,. Allens juice 1.89L any flavour $1.00,Rougemont apple juice 2L $1.00, Oasis Smoothie or Health Break 1.75L $1.00 all expiry dates are Dec 31 2014. Also found Folgers 750G ground coffee, $2.00 off, ex. March 31, 2015…Any 2 Folgers Gourmet Selections K-Cups packs, $3.00 off ex March 31, 2015…Any Natrel Lactose Free milk 2L $1.00 March 31 2015 ex. Black Diamond cheese spread $1.00, May 31 2015 expiry….
    I usually buy the liquid Gator Ade for the older boy but it’s getting a little too chilly for that now and he is drinking the cider mix for the winter. Darn stuff has gone up in price so I will be watching for sales on that!!!

    1. It’s about time they price match how did I miss that. Thanks for letting me know Christine.Those juice coupons are super popular. I think we will stick to the powder Gatorade the other is too pricey. Will he not use the powder?

  5. My GGC for the week of November 1

    Name Your Store: Superstore
    Total Coupons Used: $0.00
    Total Out Of Pocket: $46.49

    4 packages of pasta – 4/$5.00 = $5.00
    Palmotive Dish Soap (PM NF) = 1.88
    2 Brown Sugar – $1.97 = $3.94
    Relish = $1.89
    2 Unsalted Crackers – $1.00 ( PM VM) = $2.00
    2 Cans of Mushrooms – $1.19 = $2.38
    2 Cans of Mandarin Oranges – $0.85 = $1.70
    NN Cream of Broccoli Soup Mix = $1.49
    Marshmallows = $1.50
    4 Campbell Soup – $0.50 (PM Z) = $4.00
    2 Cans of Diced Tomato – $1.00 (PM Z) = $2.00
    3 Kraft Dinner – $1.17 = $3.51
    2 tubs of Margarine – $1.00 (PM Z) = $2.00
    2 NN Cheese – $3.98 = $7.96
    2 tubs of Sour Cream – $1.78 (Coupon – $0.50) = $3.06
    4L Milk – $3.97
    2 Frozen Vegetables – $2.00 (PM VM) = $4.00
    2 Cucumbers – $0.88 (PM Walmart) = $1.76
    Mushrooms – $1.99 (50% Pink Sticker) = $0.99
    2 Mixed Peppers – $2.98 = $5.96
    2 Green Peppers – 0.515 kg @ $4.39/kg = $2.26
    Celery – $1.49 (500 PC Points) = $1.49
    Cabbage – 3.010 kg @ $1.10/kg = $3.31

    Name Your Store: No Frills
    Total Coupons Used: $0.00
    Total Out Of Pocket: $38.19

    10 Cans of Tuna – $0.88 = $8.80
    2 Fish Sticks – 2/$6.88 = $6.88
    2 Cinnamon Raisin Bread – $1.88 = $3.76
    Bologna = $4.99
    Beef Stew – $5.88 (1000 PC Points)
    10 lbs Carrots = $1.62
    2 – 10 lbs Potatoes – $1.62 = $3.24
    Pads – $2.88

    Weekly Grocery Game Challenge Results
    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $60.00/week ($50.00 Human & $10.00 Pet)
    Total Coupons Used this Week : $0.50
    Total Coupons Used This Month: $0.50
    Total Discounts/SCOP this Week: $0.00
    Total Checkout 51 rebates this Week: $0.00
    Total Checkout 51 rebates this Month: $0.00
    Total Gift Cards Given Used this Week: $0.00
    Total PC Points Received this week: 5500
    Total Rewards Points Used: $20.00
    Stockpile Budget: $0.00
    Total Over/Under spend this shop: $34.68 Over
    Total Spent This Week: $84.68
    Total Spent So Far for November: $84.68+
    Total Over/Under spend for the month of November: $N/A
    Total Left to Spend for the Month: $115.32
    Total to Carry Over Next Month: $N/A
    Total Spent To Date This Year: $3,012.15
    Weekly Overview: This week went a little over. Next week, I’ll have to use my PC points (if I get anything). I’m looking at making different meals than what I’ve made in the past. Hopefully this will result in more variety of foods here.

    1. Hi Dee,
      Looks like last weeks slow shop was met with a vengeance this week hehe! We used our PC points this week to get through our shop otherwise we would have been pushing the budget for the month too. It’s great to have those points as they come in handy for these times in need. That’s great that you are looking to expand your meals. I loved that cabbage roll recipe you shared and can’t wait to make it. Cabbage rolls are time consuming to make but you made it that much easier for us now. Keep up the great work and keep us posted on your new recipes with the foods you buy. You get ballot 3. Mr.CBB

  6. I think it’s not just availability of product, but availability of a selection of products. What would make me shop at a big-box store has more to do with it cutting out multiple trips for me. But if they have a wide selection of, for example, differently priced milk and only one kind of expensive cereal, then I’d have to make another trip

  7. NOVEMBER – Week #1 of 4- Nov 3-9, 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 NOVEMBER off though, I am going to make my “reserve” transfers for the month:


    $2.87 Left from last month
    $142.50 for the month
    ( $12.50) trf to borscht reserve-normally $12.50
    ($ 0.00) trf to holiday – normally $20.00
    ($ 20.00) trf to Summer Reserve –instead of Holiday Reserve
    ($60.00) trf to US Reserve
    ($ 17.50) trf to re-stocking – normally $17.50

    Grocery Balance $35.37 for NOVEMBER


    $47.50 for the month
    ($17.50) trf to re-stocking – normally $17.50
    ($30.00) trf to US Reserve – normally $30.00

    Stockpile Balance $0.00 for NOVEMBER



    This is a “No Shop” week, on both sides of the border so it’s nothing exciting to look at this week. We are struggling with the high prices of food on vacation on the island of Kauai. It absolutely HURTS to pay twice the price for anything we can get at home simply because it’s an island and tourist destination. 🙁 I didn’t save all year to blow the vacation budget in a grocery store. Meals will be exceedingly simple for the next two weeks.









    •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 $7.75+Nov $0.00= $257.47

    •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 $33.28+Nov $0.00 = 109.97

    •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+Nov $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 31+Nov 0= 131 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 2+Nov 0= 1,631 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+Nov 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 10+Nov 0= 140 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 $96.45+Nov($12.50 trf to borscht+$20.00 to Summer+$17.50 trf to re-stocking+$60.00 trf to US Reserve= $110.00)= $1,622.13

    •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+Nov $142.50 = $1,657.50

    •Total Over/Under on Year-To-Date Grocery Budget: $35.37 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$47.50+Nov($17.50 trf to re-stocking + $30 trf to US Reserve = $47.50) = $612.50

    •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+Aug $47.50+Sept $47.50+Oct $47.50+Nov$47.50 = $612.50

    •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+Aug $17.50+Sept $17.50+Oct $7.50+Nov($17.50+$17.50= $35.00)= $307.50 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+Nov$12.50= $400.00 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+Nov $20.00= $70.00 AVAILABLE


    • TOTAL SPENT Year-To-Date:

    $1,622.13 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 =


    $2,090.00 may have been budgeted for JAN to NOVEMBER ‘2014 but we have these funds already accounted for and not yet spent:

    $307.50 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $400.00 Borscht Fund
    $110.00 Holiday Season Fund
    $ 70.00 Summer Season Fund

    TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES $887.50 … that is a $400.00 carry-forward from 2013 and $487.50 in NEW 2014 savings. I did better saving “reserves” this year! 🙂

    So, if you look at the $2,705.44 calculation that we have spent in 2014 and subtract the $487.50 we have actually saved in our “reserves” and the $262.97 ($168.97+94.00) we have recorded as spent but is actually set aside for future USA grocery shopping… we have actually spent $1,954.97!! That is $135.03 UNDER the $2,090.00 we budgeted for January through November.

    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 $1,435.66 of the budgeted $2,090.00 have a Budgeted Grocery Balance SURPLUS of $654.34 still sitting in our bank account.

    IF you don’t pay any attention to how we paid for the groceries, then we seemingly have $135.03 AVAILABLE have actually been expended earlier in the year as the reality is that we have $35.37 AVAILABLE to spend before November 30th.

    We also need to remember we still have 2 weeks of vacation coming in December that we’ll transfer to cross border shopping and our “reserves”.



    CANADIAN $’s

    Groceries: $35.37
    Stockpile: $0.00
    Cash Hiding Spot: $0.02
    Safeway Cash Card $0.00
    Safeway Savings Reward $0.00

    US $’s

    Our Reserve: $78.97+$60.00+$30.00=$168.97
    US Cash Hiding Spot: $94.00


    The valid rain checks I hold are as follows:


    4 lbs Ground Pork @ $2.99/lb (Good until December 22nd)


    1. Hi Mary,
      I’m just looking at that rain check you have for the pork, great deal! I hope you get a chance to use that before the end of the year. Reading your post today reminded me of what my wife used to say when she would come to the UK. She struggled to spend money even on street food because she did the maths and it wasn’t worth it. I agree now that I am living in Canada and can feel her pain. It made more sense to use my money than Canadian Dollars which in the long run saved us money. I don’t think you will be heading back to this pricey destination again. Were you prepared for the prices or did they come as a shock? You get ballot 1. I was hoping you could help me put together the GGC schedule for next year like we did the second year. I managed to screw it up this year :/ and was off a week from most of you. Cheers Mary .

      1. Mr CBB, I was sick when I arrived on the island and the first 3-4 days hubby was handling the food/drinks shopping but he was just doing a one-day-at-a-time approach at the local grocery and that’s always far more expensive. He’s not the grocery planner and menu plan developer at home though so I appreciate what he did do. Once my flu let up, we did one big shop at 5 different stores…and I shopped for the entire vacation using coupons, flyer sales, my discount membership cards and a meal plan that I had made up. With the price of meat/fish/seafood on the island, I went back to a lot of vegetarian but really tasty meals. We spent $200 for the next 16 nights so the cost per day dropped to $12.50 for 3 meals + snacks including water, juices and pop for 2 people. That I can handle. 🙂 We did manage to include 5 cans of tuna for $6, a pound of bacon for $4.99, a large package of ham slices for $5, a dozen gluten free corn dogs for $6 and a dozen eggs for $1.33. We also found various Bush’s baked beans on sale, so they have been the building blocks for lots of meals here.

        This is our third trip to Kauai and we may/may not return again. I would like to do Oahu again next time and I have never been to the Big Island, Mauai or Molokai so chances are… we’ll do a different Hawaiian island the next time we come to Hawaii. I was surprised how pricey the meat/poultry/fish and seafood had become in the last 5 years BUT it is an island. I find it is always more expensive on an island… i.e. it’s more expensive on PEI than mainland Nova Scotia. Having lived in continental North America all of my life, I do find travel can be more expensive unless you remain flexible and eat what you can find on sale. But isn’t that true no matter where you travel? I will say, one difference is the stores here do not have “bulk foods” so you have to think long and hard about your seasonings. I brought my travel supplies of salt, pepper, seasoned salt, chicken bouillion, brown and white sugar in my luggage. I have learned. 🙂

        1. Hi Mary,
          Becoming ill when you go on vacation is not something we all anticipate so it was nice that Larry went out to do the shopping and a good thing he knows what he’s doing. I’ve never been to Hawaii before but would love to go someday. Now I know that the prices are high I’ll make sure to do lots of research. Like you all the trips I’ve been on I’ve either eaten where the locals eat or buy groceries and cook where I am staying. I made a point to stay in places with a small kitchen for me to cook in. Not everyone wants to eat out every night of the week while on holidays. I found it interesting that they didn’t have any bulk foods and that you had to think about your seasonings. I guess you will be bringing your own next time you go out that way, if you do. Travelling is always a learning experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.