The Ultimate Canadian Grocery Savings Guide | Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide

Buying Cheap Food At The Dollar Store Shouldn’t Be Your Only Option: The Grocery Game Challenge #3 Nov 17-23,2014

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It’s no secret that for many Canadians debt is a big problem as it is all over the world.

With high debt loads some people feel that buying cheap food at their local dollar store is the only way to put food on the table and to balance their grocery budget. It’s not the only option, let me explain why.

If you go to your local dollar store like we do and buy stuff that you know has a price tag that just can’t be beat why would you pay high prices?

Most often we give up quality and value just to find something that will work like a $3 IPod Charger as opposed to buying one at The Source for $29.99 plus tax to do the same thing. My theory is we could buy 10 cheap chargers for the price of one and so what if it breaks.

Not only can you buy seasonal items and housewares but almost every dollar store also sells cheap food although it’s hard for me to make that same comparison for many of the products. You don’t have to eat unhealthy foods just because you think that’s all you can afford nor should you.


Cheap food and end of the line products


I went into Dollarama tonight to buy some cheap batteries for our son’s swinging chair which takes 4 DD batteries as we go through a set every two weeks. Guess what? The expensive batteries last almost as long, I tested them out. Needless to say we do buy some dollar store items but one thing we don’t typically buy is cheap food just because it’s a dollar.

I will say that there was a time when they had black tea for a dollar and it was when I moved to Canada that I found it. I’m British so I drink lots of tea and I’m always on the hunt for bargain prices but for the good stuff. I thought I was getting a great deal 20 bags for $1 until I learned more about prices on food in Canada and realized I had a “dummy” moment because I didn’t take the time to run the numbers.

It was much cheaper to buy black tea in bulk than to buy those little boxes all the time. I could have used that extra money to buy other teas, spices, condiments or more food if I had only known. It was at that point that our grocery adventure began because I was determined to eat good on a limited budget in Canada but I needed to know my prices.

I’ve been up and down the cheap food aisle at the dollar store and honestly there’s not too much that I would buy and it’s not only for health reasons ie: canned foods with too much salt or overly processed foods but because I know I can save more money buying it at the grocery store.


Dollar store cheap food


I always thought that the people who bought the cheap food at the dollar store were people who

  • Thought they were getting a good deal because they didn’t know their prices
  • Didn’t make a grocery list
  • Felt that if they were on low-income or welfare that the dollar store was their only option
  • It was the closest store to home
  • Too lazy to cook or didn’t know how
  • Super cheap

When I was standing in line waiting to pay for my cheap batteries there was a couple of students behind me and one of them said and I quote “I buy cheap food at the dollar store so I have enough money to go out with my friends on the weekends”.

Don’t worry I was thinking the same thing, moron! Don’t laugh too hard because one guy from Montreal Jonathon Lemieux actually lived off of the cheap food at the Dollar Store for 3 years while attending University. This is what they call the Dollar Store Diet and honestly it’s not needed.

Although he was at least smart and supplemented with reduced meats and vegetables from the grocery store. I’m pretty sure he could have made magic happen with the money he spent at the dollar store if he put it to work at the grocery store. Best of it is he wrote a cookbook just in case someone else wants to follow in his footsteps to create meals from cheap food at the Dollar Store. No thanks.

Tony Wong a Star reporter experimented by eating one week from Dollarama and shares his weekly meal plan. He says that “The dollar store is the graveyard where brands go to die”. I don’t doubt Tony when he says that some of the food is awful. There are some products that are good but you won’t get the value you would from buying it at other shops such as No Frills like Tony says they don’t have a monopoly on value.

I sure hope that people realize that they can do so much more with their money when it comes to buying cheap food. We have a tight grocery budget and aren’t shy to hit up the reduced rack or scan the shops for marked-down foods.

For a VERY short period we could use coupons at Dollarama until they closed that money-saving window for people. One pitfall to buying cheap food at the dollar store is you can’t use coupons, there’s really no sales, no reduced products and you don’t have any grocery store perks or rewards like you might at No Frills with PC Plus unless you use a rewards MasterCard to pay for your dollar store purchase. For those reasons alone you would save more money shopping in a normal grocery store.

We must also be concerned about our health and although Jonathon said he was fine I’d be worried about too much salt and cholesterol.


Learn about products


It’s a misconception when we see something for a dollar and think we are getting the best deal when we likely aren’t. Bottom line is we need to do the math by comparing prices, comparing product weight, comparing quality and comparing value.

Some may say that buying in bulk might not be smart but I’d rather buy a large bag of dry chickpeas and 10 cans of tuna at the grocery store than $1.00 cans of chickpeas and tuna at the dollar store.

We’ve bought tuna at the dollar store and it ended up in the garbage it tasted that bad. One 2kg bag of dry chickpeas for $2.99 can make many cans of chickpeas so the choice is yours when you shop how to spend the money you have. You can get light flaked tuna for $0.79 at the grocery store when it goes on sale and it tastes MUCH better.

You could easily build up a pantry of items that are healthy foods if you buy in bulk, when it’s on sale, use coupons, price match, buy reduced items and continue to do so each grocery shop. Sure you might not get loads of variety right away but over time you will have built up a nice pantry of products.

Another alternative is to visit the local Food Bank to help supplement some of the products you need so you can spend your small grocery budget on fresh fruits, produce and meat at the grocery store.

Don’t limit your options because you think you have to be someone special to shop at the grocery store. We are all equal and if you know your prices you can make delicious healthy cheap meals with the money you have to spend on food.

Needless to say I was stunned when I overheard the University student at the Dollar store. Most items are packaged in such a way so they are affordable ie: smaller in size and weight. Creating inexpensive meals doesn’t mean you have to buy the cheapest food around to stretch your grocery dollar.

Jamie Oliver has a show on the Food Network called “Money Saving Meals” with the theme ‘shop smart, cook clever, waste less’. Jamie and his food team are able to create cheap meals because they know the food in the grocery store and most importantly which offer the most “value” or bang for your buck!

Some of the stats Jamie shares are surreal but true and even though they are UK-based I’m sure numbers are just as high if not higher around the world. Almost 40 percent of food ends up in the bin in the UK.

Whether you buy cheap food at the dollar store or grocery store and start tossing it out because you don’t like it or you don’t eat it now it’s costing you even more money! Buying good, quality food and eating up those leftovers will ensure your wallet stays fuller.

The thing is shopping at the dollar store over time will have a cost that will be higher but that’s the price you will pay if you buy cheap food in bits like that. Another thing to remember some dollar stores these days aren’t selling product just for a $1. We see products for $1 plus.

If you had to eat gluten-free or other pricey products for health reasons and you have a limited income you can forget buying cheap food at the dollar store. If you remember back a couple of years ago I did the Welfare Food Challenge where I proved that you could eat with a low-income grocery budget and still eat cheap meals that were healthy and inexpensive.

I’m someone who can safely say he now knows his prices at the grocery store and that if I had to live on a very limited budget I could pull off buying healthy food items without breaking the bank.

Do you buy cheap food from the dollar store? What products have you found that are worth the money?


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!


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 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!


 Check Out Our Grocery Budget


grocery game challenge Nov 2014 shop 3Metro

  • 4 x Black Diamond Cheese Bars $4.88-$1.00 coupons $15.52
  • Chai Tea Tetley Sale $2.00

Total Out-of-Pocket $17.52- stockpile $2.00 (grocery budget)

Food Basics

  • Gatorade powder $5.99 (helps with breastmilk production apparently)
  • Selection Pitted Dates $2.79
  • 3 x Oasis Juice $0.99 each
  • 2x White mushrooms $0.99 each
  • Yellow onions $2.00
  • Carrots $0.99
  • Bananas $1.32
  • Broccoli $0.99
  • Fresh Ginger $2.06
  • Red tomato clusters $2.17
  • 2 x tortellini $1.99 each
  • Frozen Ferma corn $2.19
  • Frozen Ferma Peas $1.99
  • 2 x Parmalat @% milk $3.97 each
  • 2 x large selection eggs $1.99 each
  • 2 x coconut Liberte yogurt (Mmm) $2.88 each
  • Bavarian Sandwich bread $2.99 (ouch but it’s good)
  • English muffins whole wheat $0.99

Total Out-of-Pocket $53.82

Yearly grocery budget for two: $2820

(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $240 per year or $20 per month.)

  • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00 or $78.33 week with potentially one no-shop week per month or $58.75 for 4 weeks per month. (During the months with 5 weeks we just make it work)
  • Total Budget for 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 : $4.00
  • Total Coupons Used to date: $68.19
  • Total Discounts this Week: $0
  • Total Discounts Used to date: $70.75
  • Total Gift Cards Used to date: $33.18
  • Total Rewards Points Used: $20.00
  • Total Rewards Points Used to date: $40.00
  • Stockpile Budget ($20.00): $15.52 Black Diamond Cheese Bars
  • 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: $55.82
  • Total Spent So Far November $36.89+$21.79+$55.82=$114.50-$102.11=$12.39 over budget
  • Total Over/Under spend this shop: -$12.39
  • Total Over/Under spend for the month: over -$12.39
  • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $0
  • Total to Carry Over Next Month: -$12.39
  • 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 $114.50

Weekly Overview: Well, the month isn’t over yet and we’re over budget already. The good thing is we don’t need anything else for the remainder of the month. Next week will be a no-shop week for us leaving us with an overspend of $12.39 to carry into December. We will be on vacation 2 weeks into December. Can we pull this off? Follow and find out!


 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.

November grocery game coupons Canada game 3


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. I shop for 2 adults and a 4 year old boy. Our budget is $85/week or $425 for this month and includes laundry, health/beauty, etc.
    Bulk Barn
    Chocolate almonds $3.53
    OOP $3.53

    Cavendish fries (PM) $1.99
    Strawberries (PM) $2.47 (earned 600 PC plus points)
    Croissant $1.14
    OOP $5.60

    Flour (PM WM) $7.97
    Vinegar 2 x $1.99 (earned 2000 PC plus points)
    Campbell’s soup (PM) 6 x $.48
    Ritz crackers (PM SDM) 6 x $1.88
    Unico shells (PM) $.97
    Kraft cheese slices (PM) $2.99 – $1.00 coupon
    BD cheese bar 2 x $4.27
    Almond milk (PM FC) $2.99 – $1.00 coupon (earned 400 PC plus points)
    Almond milk singles $17.48
    Coconut yogurt 2 x $9.18 – 2 x $1.00 coupons (earned 7000 PC plus points for spending $30 in Natural Value Dept)
    Strawberries $3.99
    Romaine $2.49
    Bananas $1.27
    Apples (PM) $1.94 (earned 200 PC plus points) – $.25 Zweet
    Grapes (PM) $.97
    Tomatoes $1.38 (earned 200 PC plus points)
    Wonderbread (PM NF) 2 x $1.67
    Vitality bread (PM) 2 x $1.97
    Coupons $4.00
    Rebates $.25
    OOP $83.59

    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: $4.00
    • Total Coupons Used This Month: $25.50
    • Total Coupons Used this Year: $1000.92
    • Total rebates this week (Checkout 51, Snapsaves, CartSmart, zweet, $.25
    • Total rebates this month (Checkout 51, Snapsaves, CartSmart, zweet, $3.75
    • Total rebates this year (Checkout 51, Snapsaves, CartSmart, zweet, $165.25
    • 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: $92.72
    • Total Spent So Far for this month: $350.59
    • Total Over/Under spent for the month: N/A
    • Total Left to Spend for the Month: $74.41
    • Total to Carry over Next Month (if needed): $32.79
    • Total Spent To Date This Year: $3771.28
    Weekly overview: If I am careful next week I can make it under budget for the month! This week stocking up on crackers and almond milk is what drove up my total. Well worth it for the $7.00 worth of PC points for spending $30 in Natural Value 🙂

    1. Hi Jen,
      A 4 year old boy!! WOW! Time flies and before you know it junior will be here. WHAT! You only spend $3.xx at Bulk Barn. I’m guessing you had no coupon lol. We have some shells here to use up. What do you with yours? Great deal on the flour we have to load up on some too now as we are near the end of our big bag. I know you can make it under budget Jen! I’d say it was worth it yes for the point. I think we had that offer too but we don’t really shop too much in that department but we do look through it for pink stickers. You get ballot 16. Mr.CBB

  2. Finally getting to my shops for the third week of November. The only place I went was Foodland. They had butter on sale…do I need to say more?? I shot my stockpile budget right there. I have ‘t been able to get the brand of milk here I had been getting that was slightly cheaper and I found out why when I asked the guy working in that dept. I had been buying Steens brand from Guelph and it seems they went out of business.
    Remember last month when I said I worked out a different way to add up the overage for the year? That had been floating around my head since wondering why the numbers were so different. I must have made an adding mistakes somewhere as I was out by a lot when I checked the addition tonight. The new YTD figure will be in tonight’s entry. I won’t post a carryover amount tonight and will correct things on that next week at month end.

    Nov. 14
    2 KD @1.25 -2.50
    2 pasta sauce @1.49 -2.98
    Bananas -.84
    1 unsweetened apple sauce -1.98
    2 garlic bread @1.99 -3.98, 2X50%stickers -2.00 off
    1 bag baby spinach -1.99
    1 jar sweet and sour sauce -1.99
    1 bag Halls -2.79
    1 bagels -2.79, .50 coupon
    1 parchment paper -2.99
    1 raisin bread -2.99
    1 Kraft peanut butter -2.99
    5 lbs butter @2.99 -14.95 (stockpile)
    2 Cheerios @2.99 -5.98
    1 pack frozen tortellini -3.29
    1 yogurt -3.29
    1 cider mix -3.49
    1 cheese slices -3.99
    2 4l milk @4.79-9.58
    20 lb potatoes -4.99
    1 jug water -5.49
    1 Rice Crispeis -5.49
    1 grated Parmesan cheese -5.72
    1 honey -5.79
    Tax -1.21
    Total -$101.57, .50 coupon,2.00 discounts, $14.95 stockpile

    Nov. 18
    2 pasta sauce @1.49 -2.98
    Bananas -1.28
    1 garlic bread -1.99, 59%sticker 1.00 off
    1 celery salt -2.000
    1 mustard -2.79
    1 Crisco shortening -2.79
    6 lbs butter @2.99 -17.94, $10.05 stockpile
    1 raisin bread -2.99
    1 frozen tortellini -3.29
    1 cider mix -3.49
    1 case ginger ale -4.99
    2 4l milk. @4.99 -9.98
    1 jug water -5.49
    1 honey -5.79
    Tax -1.10
    Total -$66.89, 1.00 coupon 1.00 discount, $10.05 stockpile

    Total budget for month $650.00, $162.50wk
    Total spent this week -$143.46
    Total coupons/discounts this week -$4.50
    Total spent for month $156.17+$208.32+$143.46=$507.95
    Total over/under for week -$19.04 under
    Total over/under for month -N/A
    Left for month -$142.05
    Total coupons/discounts for month – $22.69
    Stockpile -$25.00 , spent $25.00(butter)
    Total YTD -J$653.06+F$594.21+M$633.19+A$672.42+M$647.70+J660.14+J$694.95+A$629.08+S$732.59+O$648.69+N$507.95=$7073.43
    Turkey Bucks this week- 5

    So I am under for my week, nice to see after being over last time. Still have a good amount left for the month. Getting the butter took care of the stock pile amount but I am good for a while now there. The cider mix the older boy likes in the winter is on Mark down for the month so I grab one every time I go in. He has one or two every day so I will be good for a bit doing this. All in all I’m happy with the month so far.

    1. Hi Christine,
      I’m happy to hear that you found the error. I have never heard of Steens before. Yes I saw the butter was on sale and you know if you don’t buy it now when you need it to cook and bake in Dec it will be $5 a pound or more. Well done being under for the week and it seems having that stockpile budget is working for you like it is for us. Your son sure does love his cider. Does he drink it hot or cold? Why do you buy the jug of water? Is that drinking water or for cooking? Great shop Christine!! You get ballot 15. Time to get baking now hehe!

      1. He drinks it hot Mr CBB. The jugs of water are filtered water and just taste nicer in tea. We started buying the filtered stuff back when hubby was making his own beer and wine after Walkerton. The town had to add more chlorine to water to stay with in the new regulations and he found that extra chlorine was killing off the yeast. I was using the water too (I don’t drink either beer or wine!!) for my tea and liked the cleaner taste. With coffee it’s not such a big deal but it does affect the taste of tea! A bonus was that we have hard water here and I found the filtered water didn’t crud up the kettle at all so I didn’t have to vinegar the kettle to clean it out and the kettle itself lasted much longer!!!!
        Steens Dairy was out of Guelph which could explain why you hadn’t heard of it. I had never seen it for sale anywhere besides Foodland. The store is carrying a new brand now that is slightly cheaper…Kawartha…. Never heard of it before now but it’s 4.88 for 4l. Works for me…

  3. These kinds of stores are hit and miss. They can be great deals on cleaning supplies and other things. I actually bought a jar of instant coffee at one this week and it was terrible. The worst coffee I’ve ever drank.

  4. NOVEMBER – Week #3 of 4- Nov 17-23, 2014


    •Total Grocery Budgeted For Year: $142.50 x 12 = $1,710.00 for 2 adults
    •Total Stockpile Budgeted For Year: $47.50 x 12 = $570.00 for 2 adults
    •Combined Grocery Budget for 2013: $190.00 x 12 = $2,280.00



    This week we have shopping to report on both sides of the border but really, not an awful lot of shopping as we have the Xmas holidays coming up relatively quickly & I don’t want too many perishables on hand to deal with before we take off again.

    We went a wee bit over on the Canadian shop but next week will be another “No Shop” week and I will get things straightened out again in December. 😀



    Save On Foods – Maple Ridge – #1

    1 x 4L Skim Milk $4.69

    •Total OOP: $4.69

    • Grocery Budget OOP: $4.69
    • Stockpile Budget OOP: $0.00

    ** Earned 5 More Points on this shop **
    ** USED $0.00 in Coupons **
    ** SAVED $0.00 Loyalty Savings on this shop **


    Save On Foods – Maple Ridge – #2

    4 Bananas $1.62
    1 Green Cabbage $2.15
    1 bag Celery Stalks $2.67
    1 Large Cottage Cheese $4.99
    1 Large Sour Cream $3.69
    1 large Half and Half $4.99
    1 Dairyland Whipped Cream $1.89
    1 10 lb Yukon Gold bag Potatoes $6.99
    6 peppers – red, yellow, orange ($3.30+1.92+2.99)= $8.21
    6 Tomatoes $2.94

    •Total OOP: $40.14

    • Grocery Budget OOP: $40.14
    • Stockpile Budget OOP: $0.00

    ** Earned 98 More Points on this shop **
    ** USED $0.00 in Coupons **
    ** SAVED $0.00 Loyalty Savings on this shop **


    Shopper’s Drugmart – Maple Ridge –

    2 dozen Large Eggs @ $1.99 (Coupon) = $3.98

    •Total OOP: $3.98

    • Grocery Budget OOP: $3.98
    • Stockpile Budget OOP: $0.00

    ** Earned 40 SDM Points on this shop **



    Franz Bakery Outlet – Bellingham

    5 x 100% Whole Wheat $6.00
    1 x 100% Whole Wheat – FREE
    1 x dozen dinner rolls $1.99

    • US Grocery OOP: $7.99


    COSTCO – Burlington

    1 x 2lb Tillamook Sharp Cheddar $9.99
    1 x 2lb Tillamook Sharp Cheddar $9.99
    1 x Tillamook Sliced Medium Cheddar $10.99
    1 x 2-pack Real Lemon Juice $5.79
    1 x KS Crumbled Bacon $11.49
    1 x KS Mozzarella Shredded $14.59

    • US Grocery OOP: $62.84


    Walmart – Burlington

    2 x 2 lb pkg Turkey Breast Lunch meat ($7.98 ea) = $15.96
    2 x Mom Rice Krispie Cereal $4.88 ea = $9.76
    4 x Olive Loaf @3.98 ea = $15.92
    12 x Yoplait Yogurt = $7.20

    • US Grocery OOP: $48.84



    •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 103= 236 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 40= 180 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 + $4.69+$40.14+$3.98= $158.81)= $1,670.94

    •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: ($13.44) OVER << Woopsies! 🙁



    •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:

    $1,670.94 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.

    So, if you look at the $2,754.25 calculation that we have spent in 2014 and subtract the $487.50 we have actually saved in our “reserves” and the $143.30 ($49.30+94.00) we have recorded as spent but is actually set aside for future USA grocery shopping… we have actually spent $2,123.45!! That is $33.45 OVER 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 $1,604.14 of the budgeted $2,090.00 have a Budgeted Grocery Balance SURPLUS of $485.86 still sitting in our bank account.

    IF you pay any attention to how we paid for the groceries, then we seemingly have $485.86 AVAILABLE. If you count it all, regardless of the source, we have actually have over spent $33.45 so far this year.

    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: ($13.44)
    Stockpile: $0.00
    Cash Hiding Spot: $0.02
    Safeway Cash Card $0.00
    Safeway Savings Reward $0.00

    US $’s

    Our Reserve: $168.97-$7.99-$62.84-$48.84 = $49.30 remaining
    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,
      It’s been a while since we’ve seen a large shop for you so you were well due for this one. You picked up some great deals on your bread again with freebies.. well worth it. Great deal on the cheeses. You can never have enough cheese. Do you normally buy your cheese at Costco? Are potatoes pricey out your way? I suppose if we shopped at Metro we may find prices around $6.99 for 10lbs.. but they are Yukon Golds. Like You we will have some catching up to do in December so it will be an interesting fight to the end of 2014. I’m excited for all of us nearing the end of another year. I’m so proud of each of us for making it to the end!! Not many people will stick with it and we’ve done awesome!! Keep at it. You get ballot 12.

    1. Exactly.. it might mean you eat one type of meal for a week until the next weeks shop when more money is available but buying quality products to build up a pantry and then moving forward bit by bit with fresh fruits and produce, meats and dairy is possible even if you shop the reduced rack or reduced meats and cheeses. We do it.

  5. Whenever I am on a tight budget, I never go buying all cheaper products. I still make price compare and do some research for some which I haven’t bought yet. It’s about, for me, trying out some new products and making experiments based on my grocery list.

    1. I’d rather bulk out on some items of quality and build a pantry. I know it might mean I eat beans for a week but so be it. I’d rather not starting eat so many processed foods. It is possible to do I’ve proved it!

  6. I have bought plastic wrap and salt at the local store but those were for craft purposes. No point in buying the good stuff if it’s going to be damaged in the using… The salt goes to making play dough for the little ones and for a craft I made ages ago called a bottle buddy, you use a 2L pop bottle as the base to make a figure. I did a snowman for my mother-in-law. It used the salt in the pop bottle as a weight to keep it steady. I don’t buy food there. I don’t care much for canned veggies and they really don’t have much….

    1. Absolutely there are many products at the dollar store worth buying but food is not one that I really consider buying when I go in. I sort of miss out on that aisle if I don’t have to go down it.

  7. I’ve tried a couple of food items from the dollar store but everything was stale and I ended up tossing it. They weren’t past the expiry so I’m guessing it had something to do with their storing practices. The only thing I buy from the dollar store now are holiday decorations and cleaning supplies; I find everything else kinda junky :/

  8. I remember using coupons at the dollar store. Free brand name hand cream!

    Usually the only food we buy at the dollar store is the candy at the front. Generally the same products are at Food Basics for less any way, and it’s closer, so we just go to the Dollar Store when we’re on a mission.

  9. I’ve bought food from the dollar store. The dollar store in my city doesn’t have produce but I have bought non-perishable food, in addition, to zip lock bags, freezer bags, etc as well. Unfortunately, the goods are not a dollar typically.

    1. Could you eat all of your meals from dollar store food like Tony or like Jonathon who supplemented with reduced produce and fruit from the grocery store?

      1. There’s not enough food at a dollarama store to buy for all my meals. I could buy some of my groceries there though. I don’t typically buy reduced produce or fruit because of the time limit of them.

  10. I actually shop at the Dollar Store in Palm Desert, CA for a few things…condiments and fresh fruit and veggies. If I am on vacation, I am going to end up pitching 3/4 of any jars of ketchup/mustard/relish/mayo so I might as well pay as little as possible for them. I simply don’t get thru them in the course of a month. Sometimes you can find a good deal on fresh fruit or produce but you have to check every time you go. This is a clearance section for them and sometimes it’s just all junk!

    I also find some deals like Ziploc bags are cheap, getting what you pay for, at the store Big Lots. Again, if I use the ziploc bags as leftover storage and in place of wax paper wrap for picnic sandwiches while I vacation…it’s nice to only pay $1 a box. 🙂

    1. That would make sense if you are on vacation and you cook your own meals like you enjoy doing. I wouldn’t want to waste full jars of food. Does your dollar stores have produce/fresh food or did you mean at the grocery store? I agree there are plenty of products to buy at the Dollar store but the food is something we don’t often rush in for.

      1. Actually the Dollar Store in Palm Desert has a fresh produce section…sometimes there are super duper deals to be had, other times everything is so damaged that to me it’s not even worth the $1. I have picked up heads of broccoli and cauliflower though for $1 apiece.

          1. Yes. The exact location is Palm Desert, CA for the 99 Cent Store and Big Lots is in Cathedral City, CA.

          2. Mr CBB, we don’t see fresh produce at our Dollar Stores here in Maple Ridge. But then they aren’t really dollar stores anymore either…most start at a toonie & go up from there. 🙁

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