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How monthly grocery shopping can help your budget: The Grocery Game Challenge #2 Mar 9-15,2015

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monthly grocery shoppingPLANNING FOR A MONTH MEAL PLAN


I’ve never given much thought to those who must undertake monthly grocery shopping trips because I’ve always done the opposite.

In my previous situation it wasn’t about distance or lack of grocery shops in my village it was about the “space” factor.

Living in the UK I only had a small refrigerator the size of a beer fridge and no big freezer like many people in Canada have.

Not many people have full-size refrigerators back home unless they have the space to fit one. Both my parents and sister did but not near the size of refrigerator like you can buy in Canada.

There were more than enough grocery stores in the area even if I had to make a 10 minute trip into town. I really didn’t have any other options though. I would make frequent trips to the grocery store each week just to stock up my little refrigerator otherwise I’d be a hungry boy.

I remember the look on my wife’s face when she pointed to my refrigerator and said “What’s that?” Why my refrigerator of course. She only would see those in school dorm rooms or at the local bars or a basement bar in a home she told me. I laughed at her and she couldn’t believe how much I could neatly fit in it.

You get used to the small space and planning your meals around what you need to buy. The same holds true for those people who live in the country or far away from a major city to have the luxury of many grocery stores to choose from.

In conversation on Facebook I noticed that one of my fans Colleen was someone who indeed had monthly grocery shopping trips to plan for her family. I contacted her to share her story with all of us as I was curious what it was like having to plan such a large grocery shop.

What would be your normal list of grocery items may only be a small portion of what Colleen would buy. An example may be the one or two loaves of bread you purchase compared to the 12 or 13 she puts in her shopping cart once a month.

If you thought meal planning on a budget was hard Colleen is the person to talk to. Over the years she has managed to create somewhat of a meal plan and shopping list based around weekly sales  so she gets everything she needs in one trip.

If you think about the cost of gas and the two hours it takes her to drive round-trip to the grocery store you can easily understand why a month meal plan and a monthly budget plan are a necessity for her. Either way whether you live near or far I suggest a grocery budget and meal plan if you can create one.

My mother-in-law lives approximately 3o minutes outside of her Ontario city with a close by Foodland but she says they can be very pricey. Once a month she does the same as Colleen and makes a trip into the city to stock up on items so that she doesn’t have to make multiple trips.

It’s also easier for them in the winter since they are getting older and would rather not go out driving if they don’t have to.

Today CBB Fan Colleen will be sharing her experience and tips about living outside of the city and what it’s like to do monthly grocery shopping for her family.

For those of you that are in the same position as Colleen we’d love to hear other ways you make shopping easy on yourself and save money.


My monthly grocery shopping experience


monthly groceriesHi Mr.CBB and GGC fans!

There are many reasons why I only do a major grocery shopping trip into the city once a month.

I have found that as much as I despise grocery shopping, monthly grocery shopping is the most economical for us.

Our grocery budget feeds 3 adults all with separate diets. I have to eat heart healthy plus shop for one low sodium diet and one adult with Multiple Sclerosis who also has Diabetes.

When you live in a very small rural prairie town (Population 300), you don’t have the luxury of shopping for bargains and sales like people in larger centers.

You really need to have a bit of a game plan in place to carry out this monthly grocery shopping trip for it to be successful.

I don’t mean etched in stone meal plans either but some idea of what you need to buy for the month and what your monthly grocery budget entails, helps.

I always meal plan for a big Sunday supper so I make sure I have 4 major meats at all times in my freezer.

I have 1 meat in stock for each week of the month.

  • Roast Beef
  • Roast Pork
  • Roast Chicken
  • Turkey or Ham Roast

I typically purchase 8 x 400 g packages of lean ground beef and from this I will take 3 packs and pre-cook meatballs to have ready for a sauce and quick meal.

There is always a couple of packages of hot dogs in the freezer as well since I typically buy a variety meat box for $70.

In the meat box you will find:

  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 3-4 lb ham roast
  • 3 lbs large pork sausage
  • 3 lbs spare ribs
  • Large package of pork chops

You will notice there is no steak in my meat box unless I find some at a discounted price or it doesn’t arrive here. I also buy cases of chicken breasts when on sale to change up the meals once in a while.

I also purchase 10lbs frozen veggies, 20lbs potatoes, tater tots, soups that I don’t make from scratch are bought buy the case on sale, cream corn and mushrooms.

I grocery shop at the dollar stores as well for canned goods, sugar, flour, dry pasta, pasta sauce and other pantry staples which are all bought on sale and stockpiled.

Another thing I do is if I prepare a large meal today we may opt for a smaller meal the next day. Some days it is breakfast for supper (pancakes, eggs, oatmeal, etc).

Cereal is usually blue box from Walmart which sells for $2.50 a box. I buy 3 tubs of margarine (or more if on sale) and about 16-20 loaves of bread a month.

This is just a rough guideline on what it is like to shop monthly for my family. There are other products I buy but only if I can find them on sale in the flyers or in-store.


Pros of Monthly Grocery Shopping


Here are my pros to grocery shopping once a month as opposed to shopping out of the city limits where I live.

  • There is a wide selection and competition of stores who want your business
  • Prices are a lot cheaper
  • Fresher produce
  • The stores usually have staple items on sale
  • I often get in on 10 for $10 sales or Warehouse Sales
  • Being able to build a pantry system has helped. It enables us to finish off one item and have another in stock ready to go.
  • If bad weather hits I never worry about groceries
  • Once I had my small stockpile built it became easier to maintain when I run low.
  • The dollars that are saved are astounding as there is no running to the store to pick up a few out-of-stock products. What happens is you end up spending more cash because there is something else that you will always buy. (sounds familiar…that’s why I try to stay out of the stores if I can once I do our shop-Mr.CBB)


Cons of Monthly Grocery Shopping


  • Traveling almost an hour each way which makes my grocery shopping trip 2 hours plus!
  • It also means I may miss out of some of the deals throughout the month.

Monthly grocery shopping is lots of work:   Keep in mind this is not your average grocery shop.

  •  Pack the large amount of groceries into the cart
  •  Take them out of the cart and onto the register belt
  •  Sometimes packing into bags
  •  Put the groceries back into the cart
  •  Take the groceries out of the cart and put into the vehicle
  • Doing this procedure at 5 or more stores
  • Unpacking them out of the vehicle and into the house
  • Trying to find a place in the cupboards, fridge, pantry and freezers for it all
  • Slicing and portion control of items for ease of use during the month takes quite a bit of time.

During the course of the month I will purchase some fresh produce locally as it is consumed before the next shopping trip and doesn’t pay to go to the city.

I find it beneficial to have 2 refrigerators to store all of our food. I have 1 refrigerator in our kitchen and 1 in our back kitchen (both have decent size freezers on them) and 1 freezer.

I use the stairs up the back to the maid’s quarters to store cases of soup, pasta, etc. as well as toilet paper. Any time you can get quality toilet paper for 25 cents a roll it is time to stock up. I have almost 100 rolls of toilet paper right now in my stockpile.

This is my monthly grocery shopping trip and what it takes to complete it. If it seems like lots of work to you, it is but I have mastered the grocery shopping and monthly meal planning now so that I can get in and get out with ease.


Thanks Colleen for sharing your story with us today. If you have a grocery shopping story you want to submit contact me today via email canadianbudgetbinder (@) yahoo. ca

Do you take on monthly grocery shopping trips? If you had to what else would you do to make it easier and more cost-effective for your family?


March 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!

2014 Free Money Saving ToolsFree 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


the ultimate grocery shopping guide cbbEverything 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.


2015 Grocery shop results


If you are a foodie like I am you will enjoy going through my Free Recipe Index where recipes from CBB Home Chef Nicola Don and myself are shared every Sunday on the blog. Check it out!

Yearly grocery budget for two 2015: $2820

(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $240 per year or $25 per month.


  • Franks Red Hot Sauce $3.99- $1.00 coupon-$1.50 Checkout 51
  • 6 x PC Gouda cheese $1.04 each (yay.. another awesome cheese score) They are 250 g bars)
  • Neilson Milk 2% $3.97
  • 3 x Astro Coconut Yogurt $3.59-$1.00- $0.50 off one Zweet
  • Omega 3 eggs $4.89-50% sticker
  • Romaine Hearts.. eesh $4.49
  • Banana $3.12 600pts
  • Kiwi fruit $2.00
  • Parmigiano Reggiano- $7.02 and $6.27 (now this was half price. I don’t know if it was on sale or a pricing error but it was an awesome score for this cheese)

Total-out-pocket $48.60

Food Basics

  • 4x Redpath Sugar- Sale $1.67
  • Bananas $1.64, $1.83
  • Seedless cucumber $1.27
  • Brie $5.00-30%  ($1.50 0ff)
  • Naan Bread $1.69
  • Cheerios $2.97
  • Bosc pears $1.40

Total-out-pocket $21.43

Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)

  • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $235.00
  • Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $20.00
  • PC Points Plus Earned to date: 28786
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0

Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

  • Snap Groupon to date: $1.50
  • Zweet to date: $1.50
  • Cart Smart to date: $0
  • Checkout51 to date: $1.50

GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK (add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)

  • Total to spend this month $204.49 (includes overage from February)
  • Stockpile budget 2015 ($25.00): (Jan/Feb) $50.00 +$0
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $0
  • Total coupons used this week: $3.00
  • Total coupons used to date: $6.00
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $7.90
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $73.55
  • Total spent this week: $70.03
  • Total spent so far this month: $70.03
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: over $18.91
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: $n/a
  • Total left to spend for the month: $134.46
  • Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $166.49+ Feb $261.51+ Mar $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts): I picked up more great cheese deals this week which I could have put under stockpile but I have a feeling I will fill that up with something else.


 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.

I don’t have any coupon finds for you this week. Check back next week though as it’s a new month and I’m just waiting for the coupon reps to re-stock our grocery stores.


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 but you will still get a ballot when you post your shops even if they are late but I encourage you to stay on schedule. It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something that is scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it all together. Don’t let that be you! You can post your shops all month-long.
  • Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: Yes No, our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014-2015 we no longer include such items in our grocery budget so we can see actual food numbers at the end of the year so we can plan accordingly for our budget. 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.
  • What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
  • 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 2015 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. If you are brave and want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! It’s FREE!

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 2015!

Join in and become money savers and take control of your grocery budget.



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  1. Yearly grocery budget for two 2015: $3120 ($260/month)
    March 9-15

    1 can coconut milk $2.14
    1 bag Lays Wavy chips (party size) $2.98
    1 large bag assorted chocolate bars $9.98
    1 acorn squash $1.10
    5 lbs. frozen pollock fillets $5.00
    1 lb. Great Value butter (pm’d Alberstsons $1.88; WM price $2.98) $1.88
    2.18 lbs broccoli (pm’d Fry’s 1 lb/$0.88; WM price 1 lb/$1.38) $1.92
    5.84 lbs yellow onions (pm’d Food City 4 lbs/$1; WM price 1 lb/$0.88) $1.45
    3 Gala apples (2.04 lbs.) (pm’d Food City 3 lbs/$0.99; WM price 1 lb/$1.17) $0.67
    4.2 lbs red potatoes (pm’d Food City 3 lbs/$0.99; WM price 1 lb/$0.68) $1.38
    1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes $1.24
    1.57 lbs zucchini (pm’d Food City 1 lb/$0.49; WM price 1 lb/$1.48) $0.77
    1 dozen cans 7-Up $4.28
    1 kiwi $0.45
    3 bunches organic kale (pm’d Sprouts $0.88/each; WM price $1.49/each) $2.64
    1 can (5 oz) albacore tuna $0.99
    16 oz. fresh strawberries (pm’d Fry’s $0.87; WM price $2.98) $0.87
    2 x 18 eggs (pm’d Albertsons $1.49/each; WM price $3.11/each) $2.98
    2.01 lbs zucchini (pm’d Sprouts 1 lb/$0.98; WM price 1 lb/$1.48) $1.97

    Total Out-Of-Pocket: $30.51

    1 kiwi $0.50
    2 pkgs. (4 steaks) fresh sirloin tip steak ($5.99/lb in-store sale; reg. price $7.99/lb) $10.42

    Total Out-Of-Pocket: $10.92

    Fry’s Marketplace
    0.69 lbs broccoli (1 lb/$1.59) $1.10

    Total Out-Of-Pocket: $1.10

    Sam’s Club
    2 lb bag chia seeds $11.98
    5lbs organic carrots $2.98
    romano pecorino cheese block (large block) $13.15
    3 lbs. frozen Atlantic salmon $24.98

    Total Out-Of-Pocket: $53.09

    Points Overview

    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $260
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs: $260
    Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
    Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
    Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
    PC Points Plus Earned to date: None
    Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0

    Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

    Snap Groupon to date: $ 0
    Zweet to date: $0
    Cart Smart to date: $0
    Checkout51 to date: $0


    Total coupons used this week: $0
    Total coupons used to date: $0
    Total in-store discounts this week: $0
    Total in-store discounts to date: $0
    Total saved by price matching this week: $17.06
    Total saved by price matching this year: $44.46
    Total spent this week: $95.62
    Total spent so far this month: $139.02
    Total over/under spend this shop: $30.62 over
    Total over/under spend for the month: $9.02 over
    Total left to spend for the month: $120.98
    Total Spent To Date 2015: $721.36

    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts):
    Seems we ran out of more stuff again so I ended up being over budget this week. I think that will just be the ebb & flow of our grocery budget, especially since there’s certain meat we like to eat & we eat meat daily at supper & sometimes at lunch too in salads (ie. canned tuna; leftover chicken) now that the weather is getting a lot warmer down here. Salads are replacing soup for more of our lunches now. I’m happy to see how much I’m saving though by price matching on our fruits & veggies.

    1. You have no idea how nice it is to see you spending money on good cheese blocks. They are SO worth the money and will last MUCH longer than the cheaper stuff. There are times where spending more equals more and this is one of them and it tastes 100x better. Good for you. How many chocolate bars do you get in a bag? I’m guessing you’ve done the math and it’s cheaper than buying them as singles.
      I can’t get over how well organized you are. Do you write down the reg prices as you shop? I wish I had time to do that but all this homework will certainly make you one heck of a pro shopper. Keep at it. You get ballot. 21

      1. I don’t know how many chocolate bars are in a bag but I priced them out by the price per ounce (using the shelf tags that already have that calculation readily available!) & it was cheaper than buying them any other way.
        In terms of the regular prices, I buy many of the same things each week or every couple weeks & I have a pretty good memory still (it use to be so much better!) so I just make a mental note of the regular price so I can look at how much I saved in price matching. Also, some things down here are rung in with the original WM price even though I price match the item (ie. some veggies). Not sure why this is but then I have this to refer back to on the till receipt but I use the receipt more as a doubt-check–and my memory is usually 99% correct or I’m off by a few cents.

  2. Week 2 – March 8-14

    • Grocery budget to work with in March: $400 (Breaks down to $80 weekly, I classify March as a 5 week month)
    • Total coupons used this week: $1
    • Total coupons used to date: $10.50
    • Total RCSS gas coupons used this week: $.91
    • Total RCSS gas coupons used to date: $5.37
    • Total value PC Plus points redeemed this week: $50
    • Total value PC Plus points redeemed to date: $90
    • Total gift cards/certificates/gifts used this week: $0
    • Total gift cards/certificates/gifts used to date: $38.76
    • Total student discounts this week: $5.84
    • Total student discounts to date: $55.78
    • Total tax savings RCSS this week: 0
    • Total tax savings RCSS to date: $1.95
    • Total spent this week: $80.55
    • Total spent so far this month: $139.60
    • Total left to spend for the month: $260.40
    • Weekly carry over: $0

    Target: Oasis orange juice 1.27 less 30%, Up and Up dishwasher detergent 7.99 less 30%, Greenworks soap 2.59 les 30%, Chocolate covered acai 4.49 x 2 less 30%, Chocolate covered acai individuals 3.69 les 30%, tax 2.11: Total paid 19.25

    RCSS: Grape tomatoes 2 x 1.47, less student discount .30: Total paid 2.65 rounded up 1 cent

    RCSS: Vermicelli noodles 1.59, PC Zero cola 2.99, NN bacon bits 2.50 x 2, Bear paws 1.97 – 1.00 coupon (PM), Peanut butter 5.97 2 kg (PM), milk 3.97, Oasis refrigerated juice 2.97 (PM), mushrooms 1 x 2 (PM), baby carrots 2 lb 2.99, bananas 1.18, green pepper .91, green onion .89, cucumber .77 (PM), yellow pepper 1.05, kiwi 1 kg 2.49 (PM), dried peppers 2 x 2, bean sprouts .99, Country Naturals bacon 2.77 x 2 (PM), stewing beef 11.75, less superbucks coupon .91, less student discount 5.54, tax .35: Total 51.90 rounded down 2 cents

    RCSS: NN red wine vinegar 1.99, PC Dijon mustart 1.77, romaine hearts 2.98: Total 6.75 rounded up 1 cent

    This week I went over my weekly by .55, however, I am still doing well for the month. That will be taken out of next week and I will start that week working with 79.45. The refrigerator was practically empty and we needed a lot of vegetables and fruit. Stewing beef was a good sale and a family pack, so it has gone into the freezer for a future meal. The last trip to the store was a bit of a whim. I wanted to make my own salad dressing, but had no red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard. And while I was at it, when we have fresh dressing, then we eat more salad so we picked up more lettuce. There were a few luxury items this week… the pop and the chocolate covered acai. I love those chocolates and the sale at Target made it affordable, so I got a couple. I know that we can tighten up the rest of the month to compensate. A deal on dishwasher detergent was nice to get at Target as well. I only got one box because we had never tried that brand. If it didn’t work well, then no biggie, only one box to use. It’s ok, nothing fantastic, but our dishwasher is dying, so not much is great and I’ve gone back to handwashing a good chunk of it again. Based on the amount of things we got this week for the price paid, it was a good week. Next week, we are aiming to come in under again. Especially since April we are chopping the budget. Not because we think we can but we have to find a way to use less. I’m still working the numbers to determine what April will be, but I am taking the month to figure it out.

    1. Hi Angela,
      Now that the weather is warming up we tend to eat more salads as well. We make all of our own dressings You scored some great deals at Target this week. I’m assuming with the liquidation it made prices even more lucrative. Our stores didn’t have much in the way of food so we only looked at toys and CD’s.
      It’s going to be a busy month for you with the new budget coming in but I’m sure that no matter what is thrown at you you will make it work. Your shop this week was fantastic and that little overage is nothing compared to what people some spend, and they don’t even know it because they don’t track it.
      What is the recipe for the dressing you use? You get ballot 14. Mr.CBB

  3. our weekly budget is $125 a week making this month $500
    $5.31 4L milk
    $3.29-.30SDMC butter
    $8.40 total oop
    .30 total coupons
    .94×4 60piece gum – clearance – sweet deal!
    $.94×8-$1.94C($2C adjusted)x8 airwick 4pk candles – clearance
    $2.50×8-$2Cx8 garnier fructius hair products
    $4 taco kit – my girl asked to make us dinner
    .83×3-.50zweet table salt
    $5.88 20lb potatoes
    $1.88 big bundle of asparagus
    $24 total oop
    $31.52 total coupons
    $5.82 pork back ribs -clearance
    $1.02 pepperoni
    $2.16 black forest ham
    2.49×2-$2.50C old spice deo
    $1.10 brown mushrooms
    $6.92 total oop
    $5.92 total gift cards used
    $2.50×2-$1.50C herbal essence
    my girl needed new shampoo/conditioner to take home and she took some other things from my stockpile
    $3.75 total oop
    $1.50 total coupon
    $2.10 coffee cream
    $1.98 twistos
    $3.62 green grapes
    $1×2-$1.50C&.75CO51 blue dragon cooking sauce
    $4.27-$3C&$3CO51 uncle bens rice – love money makers!
    .94 table salt – bought it here first before I seen the sale at rcss
    $1.88-$1C&$1CO51 Palmolive dish soap
    3×2-$1Cx2 dish scrounges
    $4×4-$2.50Cx4 finish dish washer tabs – clearance
    $22.58 total oop
    $17.50 total coupons
    $9.48×2-bogo sale cheese whiz
    $6.98×2-bogo sale seasoned shredded cheeses
    .89 doughnut – my girl asked for a treat cause she didn’t want pie
    .69×3 cheese bagels
    $5.99-$3.14coupgon lemon meringue pie
    $1.49 6pk Kaiser buns
    $25.80 total oop
    $3.14 total coupons
    H&W Produce
    squash was .88lb which is an awesome deal
    $5.24 2jumbo yams
    $1.16 9jalapenos
    $4.35 3acorn squash
    $5.13 3butternut squash
    $3.21 2spaghetti squash
    .88 iceburg lettuce
    $3.88 5lbs cucumbers-8 pieces
    $1.20 2lg oranges
    $25.05 total oop
    McGavins Bread
    $6.05total oop for 3 loaves of bread
    No Frills
    $4.77×2 10kg flour – awesome price!! I returned the one I bought at rcss the week before so I could get the sale price
    $1.97×2-$1Cx2 eggos
    $3.97 nn frozen veg 2kg
    $1.99 Tetley tea
    $1.77 goldfish
    $4.79 lg box of premium plus crackers
    $2.97×2 imperial margarine lg tub
    $2.77-$1C philly cream cheese
    $1.97 lg cauliflower
    $1.66 bananas
    $1.77×2 -35F washer fliud -also great deal as sale prices have only been $2.88 lately
    $39.05 total oop
    $3 total coupons

    $161.60 weekly total oop
    $56.96 weekly total coupons
    $5.92 weekly total gift card
    $332.71 monthly total oop
    $86.14 monthly total coupons
    $5.92 monthly total gift cards
    $1364.14 yearly total oop
    $368.41 yearly total coupons
    $84.46 yearly total gift cards

    yep over again this week!! A tonne of good deals this week and the one following. Glad I upped the weekly amount and things are super outta whack with my girl here and her food choices and tastes have changed a bit. Maybe I can plan better for this summer so we aren’t splurging and going over budget so much. Just really hope to get back on track for the rest of the month and then the year!
    I did get an awesome $60 cheque from checkout 51!!

    I gave away 4 to a fellow couponer than went and got an awesome freebie deal on toilet paper for me as a surprise

    1. Now you are teasing me with the gum deal AGAIN.. wow. I’d be drooling over that. I love gum. Where are the Garnier coupons from? I could have sworn we got some from Zehrs last week but I couldn’t find them. You scored some amazing deals this week and the money makers are bonus. Can you do my weekly shop for me too. haha. I never get any good deals these days. Before I started blogging we were right in there with the coupons and deals but these days it’s only if we see it. We don’t have time to get sort the coupons and keep a neat binder. Maybe when our son is a bit older but right now it’s tough. Well done!! You get ballot 11. MR.CBB

      1. Hey Mr.CBB
        Yes the gum deal was super awesome!! My girl was like do you need four more containers? I told her yep!! You get 60 pieces for .94 you can barely get a pack at the till for that and the 4 packs go on sale for 2/$5.
        The Garnier coupons were from a red plum insert that I was lucky enough to find a bunch of them and great timing for sales!! I dont usually carry my binder anymore, but I do wanna fill it up again and leave in the car for juat incase we see an awesome deal. I always look at my flyers, write my lists and prep my coupons in a little book to help keep organized. But my staple and possible really good coupons stay in my wallet and nope you cant close the button on it but that okay. Someone laughed at all my coupons in there and I told them well it is basically cash and it is there when I need it.

  4. Yearly grocery budget for four adults and two cats -$650.00
    (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $240 per year or $25 per month.
    4 Turkey meat pies @.99
    1 KD -1.25
    Bananas -.57
    2 W/W bread @2.50
    1 cider mix -2.79
    4 lbs butter @3.33
    1 raisin bread -3.49
    1 yogurt -3.99
    1 pancake syrup -3.99
    2 4l milk @4.88
    1 Cheerios -4.99
    1 jug water -5.49
    Tax -.36
    Total OOP -$58.96

    Jackson’s Pharmacy
    2 Sensodyne toothpaste @3.99
    1 St Ives Lotion -4.49
    1 S Ives Body wash -4.49
    Total OOP -$16.96

    Bananas -1.03+1.45
    1 pack pasta -1.78
    1 pepperoni -2.99
    1 doz. EL eggs -2.99
    2 packs BD cheese slices @2.99
    2 cases ginger ale @3.49
    2 W/W bread @3.69, $1.00WUB2 coupon
    1 yogurt -3.99
    1 Rice Krispies -4.79
    2 4l milk @4.88
    1 Kolbassa -4.99
    1 pack sliced ham -5.69
    1 green pepper -1.85
    1 Whiskas cat food -9.49, $3.00 couponon
    Tax -2.14
    Total OOP -$69.28, $4.00 coupons

    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $650.00
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $650.00
    Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
    Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
    Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
    PC Points Plus Earned to date: 3950
    Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
    Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
    Snap Groupon to date: $3.00
    Zweet to date: $14.75
    Cart Smart to date: $0
    Checkout51 to date: $12.00
    GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK (add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)
    Total to spend this month $650.00
    Stockpile budget 2015 ($25.00): (Jan/Feb) $46.70
    Stockpile budget used this month: $16.87
    Total coupons used this week: $4.00
    Total coupons used to date: $12.79
    Total in-store discounts this week: $0
    Total in-store discounts to date: $32.97
    Total spent this week: $145.20
    Total spent so far this month: $369.02
    Total over/Under spend this shop: over $15.20
    Total over/Under spend for the month: $n/a
    Total left to spend for the month: $280.98
    Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $640.13+ Feb $572.63+Mar
    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts): I think this is a 5 week month which might make the rest of the month interesting. It hurt to pay full price minus a coupon for the cat food but I was almost out. I was given a nice bunch of coupons from Juanita and there was a nice amount of the Whiskas coupons! Stuart and Molly were very happy with those!! If I can get into town for some groceries this week I can go to No Frills, and PM some cat food to Walmart and use the coupons to lower the price nicely…we shall see there…

    1. Hi Christine,
      Oh, toothpaste..I hate paying full price for it. A few years back we got so many tubes for free or dirt cheap with coupons. We have loads left but mostly for my wife the sensitive kind or sensodyne. My toothpaste I wait until it’s on sale or I get coupons from our dentist. I just pop in to see what they have on hand. I haven’t even looked to see if it was a 5 week month… I guess that means we only have $80 left for 2 weeks.. that will be tough but doable for us.
      Oh, I will save you Whiskas if I see or get them. The butter was that 4lbs for $3.33? That’s cheap!! You get ballot. 11. Happy Shopping! Mr.CBB

      1. The butter was $3.33 per pound there and it was the Gay Lea so I was happy. The Sensodyne was on sale at the drug store, $2.00 off each one. I watch for the sales and try to get enough to get through to the next sale each time. I also keep track of the price so I can grab the odd tube of it when I see a better price than I can get around here. I’m good for now with the Whiskas coupons thank to Juanita sending me some, Thank you!! Molly and Stuart were happy to see them too!! Lol!!

  5. Name Your Store: i.e. IGA (Australia)
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $37.89
    Week 7- 02-08 March, 2015

    3L milk- $3.00
    200g capsicum dip $3.19 (reduced)=$0.99
    500ml sweet chili sauce= $1.99
    .726 kg green peppers $2.90 (reduced)=$1.29
    .347 mushrooms $5.20 (reduced)= $2.99
    250g strawberries- $3.99
    300 ml cream –$2.52 (reduced)=$0.99
    300 ml cream $3.20 (reduced)= $0.99
    reduced produce- $1.49
    reduced produced-$1.49
    reduced produce- $0.99
    reduced produce-$2.69
    rice crackers- $0.94×2=$1.88
    125g blueberries $5.99 (reduced)=$2.99
    .74kg broccoli $2.98 (reduced)=$1.39
    .80kg red pepper $4.83 (reduced)=$1.49
    mango- $1.49
    .47kg peaches =$1.27
    .82kg zucchini (reduced)=$1.49
    3L milk= $3.00

    Name Your Store: i.e. Woolworths (Australia)
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $47.73

    bread @.85 x 4 = $3.40
    700g stuffed chicken breasts $ 10.99 (reduced) =$8.24
    700g stuffed chicken breasts $ 10.99 (reduced) =$8.24
    385g beef steak $7.99 (reduced)= $5.99
    50ml deodorant $2.25
    soap-8 pk= $2.49
    1 kg bologna- $2.79
    roasting chicken- $8.11
    500 g strawberries- $3.48
    1 kg onions- $1.98 (reduced)= $0.99
    175 g toothpaste =$1.75

    Do the above for each receipt you have then copy the template below and paste it to the bottom of your shop so we can see your results.
    Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)

    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $216.67 (averages $50 week)
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs :284.59
    Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
    Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
    Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
    PC Points Plus Earned to date:0
    Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0

    Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

    Snap Groupon to date: $0
    Zweet to date: $0
    Cart Smart to date: $0
    Checkout51 to date: $0

    GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK (add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)

    Stockpile budget 2015 ($0.00): $0
    Stockpile budget used to date: $0
    Total coupons used this week: $0
    Total coupons used to date: $0
    Total in-store discounts this week: $24.69
    Total in-store discounts to date: $24.12+24.69=48.81
    Total spent this week: $0
    Total spent so far this month: $85.62
    Total over/Under spend this shop: $
    Total over/Under spend for the month: $131.05(under)
    Total left to spend for the month: $286.61+131.05=$417.66
    Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) $332.35

    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts):

    We bought some last week, and these stuffed chicken breast are delicious. The beef makes a great stew meat. Large variety of fruits and vegetables. Anything that does spoil, is tossed to the chickens, who give us eggs in return.

    The bread is always 85c and this store, compared to $1.79 at the local store. So we decided to stock up with 4.We have lots of meat now in the freezer. Pleased with the price of toiletries, which include in our grocery budget.

    I hope I am filling out the template correctly. I confuse myself, because i don’t do spreadsheets (computer dummy)

    1. Hi Kathryn,
      Wow you really hit up the reduced items this week.. that’s awesome!!! I love when we can score great deals like that. I notice you ahve 3Litres of milk.. can you get 4Litres like in Canada as well?
      I love that you just toss food that is spoiled to the chickens. Brilliant. That’s thinking outside of the box. Most people just toss it in the garbage or compost heap. That is a great price for bread. I don’t think we would see that around here unless we got a loaf half off and used a coupon on top of it.
      You are doing the template fine. 🙂
      My wife is the same… haha.. shhh!! Keep up the great work. Your coupons were mailed out.. I hope they arrived safe and sound. You get ballot 6. Mr. CBB

      1. Thanks Mr CBB. No, I have never seen 4L milk here. We buy the ‘basic’ milk, which is always $1 a litre. Like everything, they have their higher priced milk, which I think is just a marketing ploy.Same with bread, Aldies, Woolies,and Coles all have their basic white bread for 85c. (unless in the middle of the Outback, where prices are naturally higher)
        There are sales, reduced food everywhere. Some people will simply not buy it. (yeah, more for us). It wasn’t until yesterday, until we discovered the local IGA , had their reduced meat, early in the afternoon.
        In Canada we use our bred machine to make our bread, and we considered buying a second hand machine here, but we figured for 85c a loaf, we might as well buy it. One less thing for us to carry in our van.
        Looking forward to seeing the coupons in May 🙂

        1. You know I wouldn’t bother lugging it around either for that price, I’d just buy it too. If you can score the deals then go for it. Why do you think people are less receptive to buying reduced items in Australia?

          1. It’s not just here, it is in Canada too.
            Some reduced food (produce) is spoiled, and it shouldn’t even be on the shelf.Maybe people aren’t able to go shopping every few days, and so they need to buy food that will last a week.Or they don’t have the desire to either cook it or freeze it. Might be something to do with their childhood…I’m never eating reduced food again!!
            Maybe anyone who reads your blog, and doesn’t take advantage, can answer that?
            I know my husband refuses to buy reduced fish….he doesn’t trust it.

          2. Same here I won’t buy reduced fish either. He’s smart about that for sure. I’ve run into some produce that shouldn’t be for sale but for the most part we’ve been lucky and scored some awesome deals. My wife bolts for the reduced rack as soon as we walk in the store.

  6. Colleen, thanks for sharing how you make your monthly grocery shop work! I can see why it would be so important when the nearest stores are so far away. We live close to our local grocery store (we’re in the suburbs, so can basically take our pick), so we don’t keep as much on hand anymore and doing a weekly grocery shop. We do a monthly meal plan though, so I’ve been thinking of doing one bigger shop to see if working towards a monthly shop would make sense for us. Again, thanks for sharing!

  7. MARCH – Week #2 of 5- March 9-15, 2015


    •Total Grocery Budgeted For Year: $190.00 x 12 = $2,280.00 for 2 adults



    I had planned to head to the US for our shop this Saturday but once again they are calling for a very rainy weekend. I am pushing our shop back AGAIN … let’s hope the weather is dryer next weekend. Ah the joys of a “wet coast” spring.

    I am however needing to get a 4L jug of milk this week using MORE points at Save On Foods so I am making an additional transfer to the Unused Reserve to offset the redeemed points. Fortunately I have all that I need to make a nice Irish supper on St. Patrick’s Day. I will do a freezer dive to find a corned beef I know I have in the deep freeze – besides they’ll be a better price next week anyway. 🙂 I have cabbage, potato & onion but unfortunately…no carrots. Oh well, we’ll just have to do without in order to make this a NO SHOP week except for the points we redeem for milk. 🙁

    ($4.99) Unused Cdn Reserve – MAR



    Save On Foods– Maple Ridge –

    1 x 4L Skim Milk $4.99 – $4.99 = $0.00 re 3,100 Points Redemption

    •Total OOP: $0.00

    • Grocery Budget OOP: $0.00
    • More Points Redeemed: $4.99

    ** Earned 0 MORE Points on this shop **
    ** USED $0.00 in Rain Check Coupons **
    ** SAVED $0.00 Loyalty Savings on this shop **






    •Total Loyalty Card Price Reductions This Year:

    Jan $3.58+ Feb $0.00= $3.58

    •Total Coupons/Rain Checks Used This Year:

    Jan $0.00 + Feb $0.00 = 0.00

    •Total Price Match Savings Used This Year:

    Jan $0.00 +Feb $0.00= $0.00

    •Total More Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 22 + Feb 45= 67 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year:

    Jan 0 + Feb 0 = 0 Air Miles

    •Total PC PLUS Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 1200 + Feb 900= 2100 Points

    •Total Optimum Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 30 + Feb 40= 70 Points



    •Total OOP Year-To-Date:
    Jan $199.31+ Feb ($180.69) + Mar ($12.50 trf to borscht+$17.50 to Re-Stocking+$10.00 Xmas Reserve+$15.00 to Summer+$50.00 trf to US Reserve+$20.51 trf to Unused Funds Reserve+$40.23+$3.69+$4.93+$7.98+$4.99 Trf to Unused Funds= $187.33 )= $567.33

    •Total Year-To-Date Grocery Budget:
    Jan $190.00+Feb $190.00 + Mar $190.00= $570.00

    •Total Over/Under on Year-To-Date Grocery Budget: $2.67 AVAILABLE



    2014 Fwd $0.00+Jan $0.00+Feb $3.83+ Mar ($10.53+$9.98+$4.99 = $25.50)= $25.50



    2014 Fwd $325.00+Jan $22.50+Feb $22.50 + Mar $17.50= $387.50



    2014 Fwd $412.50+Jan $12.50 + Feb $12.50 + Mar $12.50= $450.00



    2014 Fwd $110.00+Jan $10.00 +Feb $10.00+ Mar $10.00= $140.00



    2014 Fwd $90.00+Jan $10.00 + Feb $10.00 + Mar $15.00= $125.00



    $ 570.00 Grocery Budget JAN-MARCH
    $ 25.50 Redeemed Points to Purchase
    ($ 0.02) Hiding Spot Cash – SPENT
    ($ 13.45) 2014 Costco Rebate Chq – SPENT
    ($165.00) Trf to Misc Reserves (Re-Stocking,
    Borscht, Xmas, Summer)
    ($170.00) Trf to US Grocery Reserve
    ($ 25.50) Set in a reserve to offset
    Redeemed Points
    ($ 218.86) Actual CASH SPENT



    $ 4.98 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – JAN
    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – FEB
    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – FEB
    $ 4.99 Whole Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – MAR
    $ 4.99 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – MAR
    $ 4.99 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – MAR

    $ 25.50 Total Redemptions

    So far $570.00 has been budgeted Y-T-D for 2015 and we have recorded these funds as “spent” and in fact they have been “saved”:

    $387.50 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $450.00 Borscht Fund
    $140.00 Holiday Season Fund
    $125.00 Summer Season Fund

    OUR TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES ARE $1,102.50 … that is a $937.50 carry-forward from 2013 & 2014 and $165.00 in NEW 2015 savings.

    This also means that with $190.00 to start MARCH less $55.00 transferred to the various savings reserves less $10.53 transferred for Points Redemptions during JAN/FEB = $75.51 + an additional $50.00 saved in our US grocery reserve, we opened the month of MARCH with $74.47 available to spend on the Canadian side of the border, less an overage of $0.00 carried forward from February, PLUS we have spent $71.80 on our groceries (cash & points) so far this month and have $2.67 REMAINING AVAILABLE for the month in our CANADIAN budgeted grocery funds.

    We have groceries that have been purchased using points redemption(s), rather than the budgeted cash in the amount of $25.50. Available as an offset, we currently have $25.50 in our UNUSED CASH RESERVE. As at this moment, we need and additional $0.00 in the UNUSED CASH RESERVE. If our budget is truly sufficient, when we reach December 31st, the unused funds should still be equal to, if not greater than, the value of the points redemptions. It’ll be interesting to see if they actually are.

    Note: Another reserve of $283.07 IS AVAILABLE for our next US shop currently scheduled for March 21st!

    Of the outstanding US Shopping Reserve $283.07:

    $113.07 is carried forward from 2014

    $170.00 is new 2015 Y-T-D savings

    Less $0.00 that we’ve actually spent in 2015

    = $283.07 US Reserve Available


    The valid rain checks I hold are as follows:


    Broccoli Florets @ $1.99/lb – Good until Apr 7/15
    4 Lean Ground Pork @3.49/lb-Good ‘til Apr 26/15


    1. Hi Mary,
      I like how you say ” you will have to do without” because most people wouldn’t do that, us included. This is how we get in over our heads with the grocery budget because we need that one item so we go back. Going back is a budget killer!! I know what living where it rains all the time is like, miserable! Now I have seasons in my life and I love it! Sounds to me like you are ready to go for your US trip. I forgot to mention in the last GGC Post response about your toilet paper. I don’t ever buy it either unless it’s on sale. We got so much free TP in 2012 that we haven’t really bought any over the years. We used coupons, good ones back then to score some great deals. Our family used to laugh at us but now we are laughing because we don’t have to buy it for a long while. It’s the food we have no desire to stockpile any longer. You get ballot 5. Happy Shopping next week. Mr.CBB

  8. When I lived on welfare and my daughter was young, I typically would grocery shop once per month. I can understand some of the headaches that Colleen would go thru but whether I had a car or not, back then I would typically only went to one store. I had some staples on my shopping list, such as 10 loaves of bread, ground beef, snacks, etc.

    Sometimes, I think I should back to monthly shopping but then I look at when I get paid and it would take quite a bit of adjustments to change from bi-weekly/weekly to monthly (except for milk, fruit and vegetables).

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