The Grocery Game | Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide

Top 5 Reasons Your Food Shopping Bill Is Expensive: The Grocery Game Challenge #2 May 10-17, 2015

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top 5 reasons your food shopping bill is so expensive(1)



I’d like to think I know a bit about what I’m doing when it comes to food shopping especially since I enjoy writing about food budgets and saving money every week.

I’m always finding reasons why people are spending too much money. I also find reasons why people are not finding the best deals they can when they are out there.

It’s not just about the in-store savings… there’s more to food shopping than looking for dollar signs.

When someone complains to me that their food shopping bill is too high and blames it on the cost of food I don’t disagree.

Food costs are through the roof these days but with these price increases we also have to invest a bit of effort into our own budget.

I also turn my head back to the shopper because most often that’s where the problem begins.

Eating healthy on a budget is possible. It may not include some of the high-powered organic fruits and vegetables, but it could depending on what else you stuff in your shopping cart.

I’ve heard just about every excuse under the sun about how it’s near impossible to stick to a healthy diet and eat well on a small grocery budget but I disagree.

Whether people eat too much or they are buying the wrong foods or food that is not budget friendly in accordance to what they have to spend there is always a culprit that can be weeded out.

Many of us who have posted our grocery shops here over the past 4 years have not increased our grocery shopping budget by much if at all. That’s because we know what we need to do when we go grocery shopping so we don’t come out the other side in debt or not enough money left to pay the bills at the end of the month.

If you still have to ask yourself how much should my grocery budget be then you need to sit down and figure out just how much money you have to spend each month on food.

Without that number you can’t go anywhere near a grocery store to start shopping with peace of mind. If you find out that you are spending $200 a month eating out after running some numbers and are pushing the grocery budget numbers every month then it doesn’t take much to see where you can make one change.

Don’t forget that morning coffee every day too. If you can’t afford to grocery shop then you can’t afford that coffee either. Besides delicious, fresh food is better for you than daily coffee especially when you can make it at home for a few nickels.

If there is one thing I like to do when food shopping it’s to take my time and stop to watch others. I don’t mind talking for a moment to help someone but I don’t care to get into long drawn out conversations with people unless it is food related and I’m talking to the cashier or store manager.

Below are a few things that might be clogging up your budget and a couple of things I may have noticed while shopping myself that I found a bit disturbing at times.


1. Read your food shopping list


We don’t want to spend a fortune when food shopping just like the next person but what happens when you walk through the doors at the grocery store without a plan in mind you will almost always fail at your grocery shop unless you have the ability to say no and walk away.

You need to know what is on sale that week so reading the flyers is a good start to your shopping list. If you are like some people who make a list then put it in your pocket or purse and try to shop by memory, avoid this at all costs.

Don’t laugh, you know you’ve done it!

From the minute you walk in the door the silent marketer is staring you in the face and doing it’s thing, trying to hook you into buying something you don’t have on your grocery list.

I actually spent a few minutes watching people food shopping last week and noticed that 9 out of 10 people were shopping without a grocery list which leads me to reason number 1.

If you plan to buy food for the week plan your food shopping in advance and make a list. I can’t tell you how imperative it is to stick to the list the best you can and to make sure your list falls in line with your pantry and freezer inventory.

Creating a food shopping list means you have to take time to go through your cupboards to see what you already have so you aren’t buying more than your household can handle before expiry and to plan your meals which leads me to tip number 2.


2. Plan what you’re eating


If you go to the grocery store without a list for one that means you likely didn’t plan what meals you will eat for the week.

What happens when you don’t plan meals is that you either eat the same foods over and over or you buy random food products that don’t even pair nicely together to make a proper meal.

You may end up only eating a partially balanced diet instead of one rich in all the foods that your body needs according to the Canada Food Guide.

If you want to plan your meals you need to know what food you already have on hand so an inventory list is your first step. Next you can talk to whoever lives in the house at the table and see what kinds of meals are popular to make.

You will also want to talk about not only dinner but breakfast and lunch as well. Getting everyone involved is a great way to make sure you aren’t wasting food because you buy something that no one wants to eat or even try.

Planning also helps you to understand just what foods you can afford to feed yourself or your family. If a $20 Angus steak isn’t going to fit in your budget because it takes up a large percentage of it then you should know you can’t afford to eat it. Opt for a different protein that is suitable for your budget.

I would love to eat sushi and expensive cuts of meat every week too but If I can’t afford it, I don’t eat it. There is no entitlement when it comes to eating expensive products out of a budgets reach.

If you are able to compromise on products in your eating plan to fit the more expensive food items then that is another way you can try to make it work.

For example if you want to buy a tub of organic greens for $5.99 opt out of buying kale and spinach that week for your salads instead of buying all 3.


3. You’re not cooking


Cooking is more than just opening the corner tab of a TV dinner and popping it into the microwave oven. I don’t care how cheap it is they are not worth it.

A can of soup is not worth it either however there may be the ODD time when this might come in handy but not every month. If you find that you are getting lazy in the kitchen and opting to purchase pre-made meals to cut back on time try not to do this.

I promise you that you will see an improvement in your grocery budget if you just try to stop buying these meals or canned goods or limit them to once in a while.

There are tonnes of 30 minute meal ideas online that you can read up on or check out some of our recipes here to see what you’d like to make.

If 30 minutes is too long for you then make sure you stock up on foods that are easy to prepare such as eggs, ham, cheese, mushrooms, greens, wraps (or make your own tortillas). This way you can whip up an egg omelet with ham in no time at all with a side salad.

I know some people who have zero skills in the kitchen and if that is you there is still no excuse not to cook. There are cookbooks you can take out at the library, read online tutorials or just watch any You Tube video that shows you how to prepare a meal you like.

Most cities also have someone who offers cooking lessons if you want to be taught by a chef. I know Zehrs has cooking classes in their community kitchen if that is a store close to you. I’m sure there is a small fee but that minimal cost will become savings of big bucks to you over time.


 4.  You’re too busy socializing


I know you might be guilty of this but distracted grocery shopping is the new thing and it really does cost you big bucks.

I literally watched a woman grocery shop on her mobile the entire time. She didn’t even come up for air she just kept throwing things in her grocery cart. I even tested her to see if she would move out-of-the-way or smash into me if I was just browsing something on a shelf. I don’t have to tell you how that turned out.

I was going to write an entire blog post about this but I don’t think there is much more to say then put your darn mobile phone away when grocery shopping. I know many of you use your phones to find deals, take a photo or to price match but you don’t need to be talking on them.

In the event you need to search something or your phone rings pull over for a moment and do your thing then continue shopping. You not only impede the flow of traffic down the aisles when you are not concentrating and pushing your shopping cart you are upsetting other people who are trying to get in and out of the store.

Let’s forget the mobile phone for a moment and talk about the socializing without the phone that causes you to spend more money.

If you only have 30 minutes to shop yet you ran into Sally and spent 20 minutes talking to her the likelihood of you spending more money is good. You won’t have the time to find the best deals especially if you don’t have a list or have planned in advance which I highly recommend.

I don’t mind helping people and some idle chit-chat but I keep it as brief as possible so the traffic keeps on moving.

As for blocking the aisles… don’t do that either.


5. You shop at the wrong grocery store


Unless you live in a town where there is one grocery store and it just so happens to be a pricey one and are capable to get to less expensive store then you have no excuse not to shop at a grocery store that isn’t going to suck the life from your grocery budget before you get past the produce section.

Have you seen the prices at some of the higher-end grocery stores for fruits and veg? I’m pretty sure the last time I checked I couldn’t afford to spend $4.00 for a medium-sized avocado especially when Food Basics or Zehrs has a bag of them on sale for $2.99. You catch my drift?

If you don’t drive and walking or taking the bus are your only options try to find a store in your area that price-matches and maybe even see if you can ride-share to get groceries with someone you know who has a vehicle.

There are likely people you know in your neighbourhood or apartment complex that drive to get their food shopping especially during the winter months so don’t be shy, ask them if they would take you with them.

In our city it amazes me the amount of people who opt to shop at the most expensive grocery stores, especially the students although someone has to keep them in business but it sure as heck won’t be me.

I’m pretty sure I can handle paying $2 less for the same product at a grocery store up the road. Those that have no other options but the pricey grocery stores have their work cut out for them but it’s still not impossible to stick to the budget, it just means you won’t always get what you want.

Overall, every grocery store has their flaws so the best option is always the store that will price match. If you are so lucky to have one then you have it made because you now have all the grocery deals at your budget disposal.


 Final thoughts


These are my Top 5 for this time around and they may change from time to time BUT they will always be important. Sure, there are MANY other reasons why you might be spending too much but today these are the one’s I find are causing most shoppers big problems.

It’s your money… do what you want with it but don’t complain about it afterwards, after all… no one will care will they?


May 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.

Shoppers Drug Mart

  • Dozen Eggs $1.97
  • 4L Neilson Milk $3.97

Total out-of-pocket $5.96 +950 Shoppers Optimum Points (We are up around 680,000 Optimum Points now)

Food Basics

  • Fleecy Softener Sale $3.99- $2.00 Zweet coupon app
  • 2 x scrubbing bubbles toilet gels $2.99 each -$3.00 Zweet- $4.00 Checkout 51 🙂
  • Pork Souvlaki Sale $4.49-30%
  • Corn on the cob $2.98
  • Hot House Tomatoes $1.34
  • Astro Yogurt $3.29-$1.00
  • 2 x Black Diamond Cheese Sale $2.99- $1.50 coupon
  • 6 x Black Diamond Cheese Bars $4.44-$0.75 coupons each

Total out-of-pocket $49.64

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

  • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $190.03
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $190.03
  • 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: 63742
  • 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: $6.50
  • Cart Smart to date: $0
  • Checkout51 to date: $4.50

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

  • Total to spend this month $190.03 (this is minus overage $44.97 April)
  • Stockpile budget 2015 ($25.00): (Jan/Feb) $50.00 +$0 (Mar)+$16.94+$25.00 (April)+$
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $0
  • Total coupons used this week: $7.00
  • Total coupons used to date: $20.00
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $1.35
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $391.10
  • Total spent this week: $55.60 (not including what I get back from coupon apps)
  • Total spent so far this month: $46.57+$55.60=$102.17
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: under $over
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: $n/a
  • Total left to spend for the month: $87.86
  • Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $166.49+ Feb $261.51+ Mar $231.02 + April $258.44+May $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

We didn’t have too much to buy this week because we have plenty of food to use up in the house.  I bought some Scrubbing Bubble toilet cleaning gels which were money makers since two coupon apps were offering deals. I like those. I also bought a jug of Fleecy since there was $2.00 back with a coupon app which made it even cheaper than the sale price.


 Canadian Coupons Found This Week


Last week we found quite a few coupons so check last weeks GGC post if you missed reading it as I’ve scanned in all the great coupons found in Ontario stores right now.

Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons!

We didn’t get to Zehrs which is where we normally find lots of coupons so only these two for this week. 


coupons may.JPG c


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.
  • Canadian Coupons: Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest  Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
  • Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading out but mobile coupon apps are the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site that mailed coupons to households have gotten involved with their new mobile app joining forces with the many apps that are already out there.
  • 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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  • If you like FREE then click this link for my FREE Excel Budget Spreadsheet and all my Free Money Saving Lists.

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  1. Our weekly budget is $125 making this month $500.
    $3.49×3-$3.49Cx2&$4C olay age defy soap -donation
    $2.22×2-$1Cx2 pure leaf tea
    $7.96×2-$1.99&$7.96staff coupon 4pk burgers(poutine, cheddar bacon & jalapeno cheddar)
    $3.49×2-$3.49staff coupon 4pk hinged buns(sesame, smoked gouda and onion)
    $12.45 total oop
    $26.42 total coupons/discounts
    $2.99×2-$1C 18pk eggs
    $2.99 butter
    $2.59×4-$1.50Cx4 organic Heinz baby cereal – clearance
    $2.99 pineapple
    .89 sugar covered jelly doughnut
    $4.32×2 4L homo milk
    $27.90 total oop
    $7 total coupons
    H&W Produce
    $5.21 white mushrooms
    $2.37 jalapenos
    $5.85 acorn squash
    $6.81 butternut squash
    $5.49 kabocha squash(thought it was a buttercup and I have never eaten one before)
    $4.98 10lbs carrots
    $4.48 10lbs onions
    .92 Bartlett pears
    $2.99×2 blueberries
    $38.33 total oop
    $3.76 total 10% discount wus$30+
    No frills
    .50×4 mm frozen juice
    $1×8-$1Cwub2 canned peaches and pears
    .67×4-$1Cwub4 tomato & chicken noodle soup
    $2.80×2 15pk water – will last us all summer or even next year
    $2 70ct Lysol wipes
    .99 frozen spinach – 200P
    $1.97×3 frozen 750g veg – 200P each
    $1×4 imperial 1lb
    $1×2 English muffins
    $1.62 bananas – 200P
    $29.90 total oop
    $5 total coupons
    $1.66×5-$5instore coupon kraft salad dressing
    $3.30 total oop
    $5 total coupons
    $2.49 dzn eggs
    $2.32-$1SDMmanagerC&$2SDMmanagerC mm peach citrus juice
    $1.80 total oop
    $3 total coupons

    $113.68 weekly total oop
    $50.18 weekly total coupons/discounts
    $253.09 monthly total oop
    $124.02 monthly total coupons/discounts
    $2520.41 yearly total oop
    $800.12 yearly total coupons/discounts

    Good week with getting some great sales.
    Those burgers from work are amazing and I can’t even make them for that cheap! I will totally take advantage of the staff coupon this month and grab a few for the freezer too!!

    1. Hi Juanita,
      What did you think of that tea? We’ve seen it around and the coupon to go with it but never bought it. Do you get staff coupons for full product FPC’s? Where did you get the egg coupon? We found an egg coupon tonight but I think it’s for $0.50 could be $1.00 I’ll have to check. Great deal on the baby cereal. We found bags of it at SDM clearance for $0.99 and Food Basics $1.00 so we grabbed some too for the boy. Wow that squash is pricey? Is that for the baby? I see donut got lost in your shopping cart and hitched a ride haha!! Great shopping… tell me more about your staff coupon. Do all employees take advantage of the employee discounts and coupons offered to them? You get ballot 18. Mr.CBB

  2. Week 2 – May 10 – May 16

    • Grocery budget to work with in May: $200
    • Total coupons used this week: $0
    • Total coupons used to date: $29.03
    • Total RCSS gas coupons used this week: $.66
    • Total RCSS gas coupons used to date: $7.40
    • Total value PC Plus points redeemed this week: $0
    • Total value PC Plus points redeemed to date: $130
    • Total gift cards/certificates/gifts used this week: $25
    • Total gift cards/certificates/gifts used to date: $38.76
    • Total student discounts this week: $1.65
    • Total student discounts to date: $87.56
    • Total tax savings RCSS this week: $0
    • Total tax savings RCSS to date: $9.57
    • Total spent this week: $46.40
    • Total spent so far this month: $88.90
    • Total left to spend for the month: $100
    • Weekly carry over: $3.60
    • Total in carry over jar: $216.25
    • Total Spent To Date 2015: $1077.35

    Walmart: Great Value dishwasher detergent 3.37, Great Value black beans .78, limes 2 x .37, clearance popsicles 2 x 2.00, clearance ice cream 2 x 2.00, Armstrong light cheese 3.97, cilantro 1.27, tax .96: Total paid 19.10 rounded up 2 cents

    RCSS: Pears 3.27 (PM), less gas superbucks .66, less student discount .33: Total paid 2.30 rounded up 2 cents

    RCSS: Peanut butter 3.97 (PM), milk 3.97, IOGO 6 pk yogurt 1.00 (PM), grape tomatoes 3.98, red grapes 3.32 (PM), cucumber .88 (PM), less student discount 1.32: Total Paid 15.80

    Butcher Shop: Regular ground beef 9.10: Total 9.10

    It was an ok week. Picked up a few things at Walmart for Mother’s Day meal (limes, cheese and cilantro) so that we could make fish tacos and have the fixings. However, while there I got tempted by clearance frozen treats. We didn’t have much at home like that in the freezer, so it seemed better to get it at cheaper than the sale prices. Drawback, it sucked up 8.00 of the very small weekly budget. So, Tuesday shop was much more tightly worked with. We really wanted to make hamburgers, so the leftover from RCSS went to ground beef. The money we spent on beef we managed 14 hamburgers out of that. 14 hamburgers work into three meals. So, that is a bonus. It will leave us at least having some protein over the next week since we aren’t buying much meat right now.

    1. Hi Angela,
      Do you ever buy dry beans? It’s worth the work because they are MUCH cheaper than the cans any day. Great deal on the limes as we have found them pricey lately. We haven’t been buying them at all. Clearance ice-cream is good although I never find any on sale like that. That was a great deal of burgers you made out of the beef. Sometimes those clearance items can really eat into the budget. We’ve had that happen on more than one occasion. Sounds like the next week or so is doing good for the two of you. You get ballot 14. Mr.CBB

      1. I do buy dry beans a lot. We always have red kidney beans and chick peas on hand. Buying the canned was a quick convenience thing to make a Mother’s Day meal. It was my treat to me to not have to do the extra work. However, it was a reminder how much I like black beans and may be adding them to the dry goods list. I try to be careful with the clearance stuff. It has to be of value to us to be worth getting. As long as it saves us in the long run and we stay on track, I’m ok with it. With the tight budget we’ve been keeping, it was worth having a couple of luxuries this week.

  3. Yearly grocery budget for four adults and two cats -$7800.00
    (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $240 per year or $25 per month.
    Bananas -1.75
    1 apple sauce -1.79
    1 a temptations cat treats -1.79
    1 bag rice -1.99
    1 can cherry pie filling -3.48
    1 sunflower oil -3.99
    1 pancake syrup -3.99
    1 Purex laundry -4.44
    1 Kraft cheese block -4.44
    2 4l milk @4.88
    1 Rice Krispies -4.99, FP coupon
    1 jug water -5.49
    Tax -.81
    Total OOP -$43.72, $4.99 coupon

    No Frills
    2 cans pineapple @1.00
    1 4l milk -3.97
    1 bagels -3.47, 50% sticker
    1 pack honey garlic sausage -5.53
    Total OOP -$13.23, $1.74 discount

    4 cans pizza sauce@ .89
    Bananas -1.53
    1 pack raisins -2.29
    2 cans tomato sauce @2.29
    1 pack beef liver -2.44
    1 Miracle Whip -2.99
    1 w/w bread -2.99
    1 pack frozen stir fry veggies -3.49
    1 yogurt -3.79
    1 Nestle ice cream -3.99
    1 pack ground turkey -4.49
    2 4l milk @4.88
    2 Power Ade @1.67
    1 jug water -5.49
    1 box Cheerios -5.98
    1 case pop -5.99
    Tax -1.21
    Total OOP -$67.91

    Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)
    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $650.00 less $15.23 overage is $634.77
    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: 10550
    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: $20.50
    Cart Smart to date: $0
    Checkout51 to date: $18.50
    GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK (add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)
    Total to spend this month $634.77($650.00- $15.23 overage from last month)
    Stockpile budget 2015 ($25.00): Jan$22.20+ Feb $24.50+ Mar $22.18+ April $18.32+ May
    Stockpile budget used this month: $17.97
    Total coupons used this week: $4.99
    Total coupons used to date: $75.03
    Total in-store discounts this week: $1.74
    Total in-store discounts to date: $63.13
    Total spent this week: $124.86not including what I get back from coupon apps)
    Total spent so far this month: $185.93+ $124.86= $310.79
    Total over/Under spend this shop: under
    Total over/Under spend for the month: $n/a
    Total left to spend for the month: $323.98
    Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $640.13+ Feb $572.63+ Mar $786.52+ Apr $515.95+ May
    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
    A pretty good week. There really wasn’t much good on sale this week which may or may not have helped. The liver for dinner the other night was a nice treat for us and it does make for a very frugal meal for those of us that like it. I still have a good amount left for the month so I should be able to deal with that overage finally. The local farmers market is open now for the season and we got some rhubarb for me to make some yummy treats with. It didn’t show on the grocery post as I wasn’t the one to buy it. The younger boy bought it for me! My boys do a good job looking after me!!

    1. Hi Christine,
      What are you making with the rhubarb? We have a boatload out back right now. I should post a piccie. Our lime tree died as did the pommegrante. The lime got infested with something and it killed both the plants. My wife is very sad. What are you making with the cherry pie filling? Time to start loading up on the powerade. I saw cases of them for $6.99 at Zehrs.. I just knew you would have loaded up if you lived here. Have a great week. You get ballot 12. Mr.CBB

      1. I’ll be making rhubarb coffee cake again this year. We love it here!! The cherry pie filling went into the hot fruit compote I made from Mary’s recipe!!! Our lime is still going but we may not get too many limes off it as it was blooming before it was warm enough to go outside for the bees to pollinate them. The younger boy used a q-tip to try to pollinate them, time will tell. Oh yes I would have been grabbing the Powerade if I saw the price!! I tried sending an email to the folks that put out Gatorade to see if I could get any deals, haven’t heard back.

        1. The powerade was PC brand but I’m sure your boys wouldn’t have minded if you got it at that price. It’s now back up to almost $15 a case of 24. My dad picked the rhubarb here the other day and my mum stewed it up with a bit of sugar so they could eat it was yogurt. My wife wanted to make a cake but they insisted with all the Tim Horton’s Boston Cream donuts they’ve been eating they don’t want her to make cake haha!!! Our lime died. Watch out for your lime getting infested with little black bugs. How do you stop your lime from leaking sap all over the place. I had a hell of a time cleaning our floors upstairs.

  4. I have definitely been guilty of not planning and not cooking! It gets SO expensive SO fast. Trying to be better now. I have found pre-making homemade freezer meals to be a great help in the cooking department, especially now that I’m back to work after mat leave. I either defrost a meal and pop it in the crockpot before work or defrost through the day (in fridge) and throw it in the oven when I get home from work and…voila. A healthy, convenient meal. When I do have time to cook I’ll make double and freeze half; other times I will bulk shop and set aside a few hours to pre-make and freeze up to 10 meals at a time. It’s like a production line in my kitchen! Haha. There are lots of great bulk freezer menu plans and recipes on pinterest. Or if you want to plan your own, has some cool worksheets

    Also, if I could add a mistake #6 to your article, it would be not knowing prices. Sure I would bulk shop for the freezer meals, but I had no idea what a good price was for meat. I was likely buying it for a premium. Ugh. Lesson learned…still learning 🙂

  5. SAFEWAY (Canada)
    Vanilla Dairy Dessert (4pk), $3.29-$1 coupon
    Meal for $5.99 Coupon (sweet deal!)
    + Skim Milk 2L (reg $3.49) + $0.08crf + $0.25 deposit
    + McCain Pizza (reg $7.69)
    + Hagen Daaz Cherry Chunk (reg $7.99)
    – Coupons Used: $14.18
    – Total Out Of Pocket: $8.61

    4 Grapefruit, $0.69 each
    Celery, $1.99
    Tomatoes ($1.69/lb→$1.29/lb sale), $1.69
    Bulk Carrots (4.54lb x $0.89/lb), $4.04
    1 Green Pepper ($1.99/lb), $1.89
    1 Red Pepper ($1.99/lb→$1.69/lb sale), $1.34
    Mushrooms ($2.98/lb→$1.98/lb sale), $2.10
    6 Bananas ($0.77/lb), $1.69
    Green Onions, $0.59
    6 Gala Apples ($0.99/lb→$0.88/lb sale), $2.89
    – In-Store Discounts: $2.18
    – Coupons: tried to use WebSaver produce coupons, but H&W wouldn’t allow :(
    – Total Out Of Pocket: $20.98

    2 Boxes Pasta, $4 wub2 sale (reg $2.37 each)
    2 Ritz Crackers, $1.97 each sale (reg $2.97)
    Green Chillies, $2.17
    White Vinegar (4L), $2.68
    Oats (2.2kg), $4.97
    2 Tortilla Chips, $3.17 each
    Oreos, $1.97 sale (reg $2.97)
    Olives, $1.59-50c Zweet coupon
    Simply Egg Whites, $4.37-fpc
    Sour Cream, $3.49-75c coupon
    Cottage Cheese, $3.99-75c coupon
    Bulk Dried Apricots, $9.05
    Bulk Peanuts, $0.97
    Pumpernickel Bread, $3.99 -30% -25c Zweet coupon
    2 Ziplock Lunch Container (4pk), $2.50 ea -$2coupon -$3 Checkout51 (=free!!)
    – In-Store Discounts: $5.64
    – Coupons Used: $11.62
    – Total Out Of Pocket: $50.02

    Swiss Cheese, $7.99
    Pork Tenderloin ($4.09/lb), $20.16
    Mango Salsa (1.4L), $6.49
    “Better Than Bouillion” Chicken Base (454g), $7.49
    – Total Out Of Pocket: $42.88

    Grocery & Health/Home Budget for the Month: $500
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $583.78
    Gift Cards used to date: $34.07
    Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
    Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
    PC Points Plus Earned to date: 1700
    Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0

    Checkout51: $5.50
    Zweet: $1.75
    Snap Groupon: $0
    Cart Smart: $0

    Stockpile budget 2015: $225 ($25/month Apr-Dec)
    Stockpile used this week: $7.87
    Stockpile used to date: $30.66
    Coupons this week: $25.80
    Coupons to date: $56.04
    In-store discounts this week: $7.82
    In-store discounts to date: $63.22
    Total spent this week: $122.49
    Total spent so far this month: $218.25
    Total over/Under spend this shop: $2.51 under
    Total over/Under spend for the month: $
    Total left to spend for the month: $281.75 + $83.78 carry-over from April
    Total Spent To Date 2015: (not including stockpile budget) Start Apr: $603.81

    Weekly Overview:
    Good week. Combining sales, paper coupons, and app coupons to get the absolute lowest price possible has been fun. Who knew couponing could be so fun??? Haha

    1. Hi Megan,
      What is a Vanilla Dairy Dessert? I’ve never heard of that before. I’ve tried a mango salsa before but I didn’t care for that sweetness in it. Have you tried it yet? Thoughts? That seems the way to go these days combining the paper coupons with the app coupons. I find that Zehrs consistently has the most paper coupons or even RCSS which is good because they are becoming hard to find. Couponing is fun especially when you can score some great deals to help lower the budget. Great shop!! You get ballot #11. Mr.CBB

      1. It’s a new product by Danone. Kind of like yogurt, but more sugar; more of a dessert. It’s actually pretty good. Especially when I found them on next week’s shop at NoFrills for $1/pkg ($2/pkg sale minus the $1 coupon they’ve got out right now)! I don’t think we have a Zehr’s or RCSS out here 🙁 As for the mango salsa, no we find it too sweet to use on nachos or quesedilas and such, but we make a baked salsa chicken that it’s awesome on. It’s one of our quick and healthy week-night favorites. Recipe: Cover chicken breasts in salsa bake in greased casserole dish @ 400oF x 25-30min. Cover in shredded cheese (swiss, cheddar, mozza, parmesan, whatever) and put back in oven until cheese is melted. Serve. Enjoy! 🙂

        1. Ah ok I hadn’t heard of that new product. We tried a mango salsa too on nachos and did not like it either for the same reason. I never thought to try it on chicken so I will do that next time. Thanks for the idea and it seems frugal enough too for my work lunches.

  6. Good post Mr. CBB. I agree with what you have to say but do feel compelled to add my own comment here. Since my husband’s death, I’ve been struggling with the challenge of cooking for one within a very strict budget and I’ve discovered some surprising things (at least to me). Top of the list is that when you are cooking for one you end up looking loneliness square in the face. For most of us, food preparation and eating are very social activities. It can seem that it’s not worth the effort to go to such work for just one person, especially if you dread sitting at the table alone to eat your meals. Dining out under these circumstances becomes very enticing. Also, when cooking for one or even for two, managing within a small budget can mean battling the boredom of repetitive menus. Single portions of anything, when available, tend to cost a great deal more than larger portions, and even a small amount of protein or produce can produce a daunting number of servings. I’m still working on surmounting these challenges in a way that works effectively for me but here are some thoughts: One way of addressing the loneliness challenge is to choose to eat your main meal at your workplace, surrounded by co-workers also eating meals prepared individually but shared in the comfort of a common space. If not at work, a lunch box or bento box can still be your friend. A picnic meal enjoyed with the prospect of a pretty setting or beautiful view feels far less lonely. The repetition thing continues to be a struggle for me. I have had some success preparing a protein in a simple form (roasted, slow cooked, or grilled) and then altering its flavour and appearance by adding different seasonings and incorporating it into new dishes in the following days. Freezer meals are my friend too. I can package up a dish and revisit it in the future, rather than eating it over and over again until I grow tired of it.

    1. Thanks for sharing this Beth and my condolences to you. When I was single I cooked all the time and I made various dishes every week. I guess this can certainly be a personal hurdle that needs to be addressed. I like the idea of eating at work around co-workers which I always did. I had no choice in the matter. When I made a roast I would make different meals from that roast for the week or I would stash a bit in the freezer although I didn’t have a big freezer so I really had to think on my toes for meals. Space really made me consider my options when creating meals.

      1. Thanks Mr. CBB. I’m sure I’ll get better at cooking for one over time. As you know, I’m a bear about food waste so there’s a strong motivation to master it. I suspect it’ll provide me with some blogging inspiration in the months to come.

  7. I get your points in the blog but reality of our lives does dictate how some of these rules cause these to be “broken”. I know you’ve “heard” me say many times, I don’t like cooking so I break rule #3 quite often. Maybe when things are better in the financial area, I’ll either hire a cook or go to places like Supperworks but right now, I will eat convenience foods. I have never been the type of person that knows what I want to eat a week or month in advance anyways. Back when I was a teenager and my step-mother would travel out of town to visit her kids, it was my job to make supper for my dad but instead of paying attention to my teachers, I was trying to figure out what to make for supper that night or the next night. I not adventurous in what I eat or even prepare. I look at the freezer meals that’s online thru Pinterest or the web but you need to like the ingredients in order to prepare it, otherwise those ingredients will just sit, taking up space and therefore a waste of money.

    Now I do agree that “pre-packaged” foods may not be as healthy as food prepared in your own kitchen but what’s worse, buying food that won’t be used or buying pre-packaged food that will be eaten.

    1. Hi Dee
      No one says it’s wrong… you can do what you wish. As I said, in the end it’s your money to do as you wish. The point really is most convenience foods are pricier that’s all. Eat them if that’s what makes you happy… 🙂

  8. MAY – Week #2 of 4- May 11-17, 2015


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



    This is a NO SHOP week! End of story!! That sort of says it all doesn’t it? LOL 🙂









    •Total Loyalty Card Price Reductions This Year:

    Jan $3.58+ Feb $0.00 + Mar $14.54 + Apr $15.76= $33.88

    •Total Coupons/Rain Checks Used This Year:

    Jan $0.00 + Feb $0.00 + Mar $0.00 + Apr $0.00 = 0.00

    •Total Price Match Savings Used This Year:

    Jan $0.00 +Feb $0.00 + Mar $0.00 + Apr $0.00 = $0.00

    •Total More Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 22 + Feb 45 + Mar 140 + Apr 12= 219 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year:

    Jan 0 + Feb 0 + Mar 1 + Apr 1= 2 Air Mile

    •Total PC PLUS Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 1200 + Feb 900 + Mar 900 + Apr 1,500 = 4,500 Points

    •Total Optimum Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 30 + Feb 40 + Mar 0 + Apr 0 = 70 Points



    •Total OOP Year-To-Date:
    Jan $199.31+ Feb $180.69 + Mar $274.41 + Apr $105.59+ May (trf $25.00 Xmas Reserve+$35.00 to Summer + $17.50 trf to Re-Stocking Reserve + $20.00 trf to Borscht Reserve + $32.50 trf to US Reserve = $130.00)= $890.00

    •Total Year-To-Date Grocery Budget:
    Jan $190.00+Feb $190.00 + Mar $190.00 + Apr $190.00 + May $190.00 = $950.00

    •Total Over/Under on Year-To-Date Grocery Budget: $60.00 AVAILABLE



    2014 Fwd $0.00+Jan $0.00+Feb $3.83+ Mar $32.09 + Apr $4.99 + May $0.00 = $40.91



    2014 Fwd $325.00+Jan $22.50+Feb $22.50 + Mar $17.50 + Apr $18.44 + May $17.50= $423.44



    2014 Fwd $412.50+Jan $12.50 + Feb $12.50 + Mar $12.50 + Apr $0.00 + May $20.00= $470.00



    2014 Fwd $110.00+Jan $10.00 +Feb $10.00+ Mar $10.00 + Apr $10.00 + May $25.00= $175.00



    2014 Fwd $90.00+Jan $10.00 + Feb $10.00 + Mar $15.00 + Apr $15.00 + May $35.00= $175.00



    $ 950.00 Grocery Budget JAN-MARCH
    $ 40.91 Redeemed Points to Purchase Groceries
    ($ 0.02) Hiding Spot Cash – SPENT
    ($ 13.45) 2014 Costco Rebate Chq – SPENT
    ($305.94) Trf to Misc Reserves (Re-Stocking, Borscht, Xmas, Summer)
    ($ 202.50) Trf to US Grocery Reserve
    ($ 40.91) Set in a reserve to offset Redeemed Points
    ($ 368.09) 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
    $ 1.60 Sprouts- 1,000 MORE Pts – MAR
    $ 4.99 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – MAR
    $ 4.99 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – APR

    $ 40.91 Total $ Value of Points Redeemed

    So far $950.00 has been budgeted Y-T-D for 2015 and we have recorded these funds as “spent” and in fact they have been “saved”:

    $423.44 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $470.00 Borscht Fund
    $175.00 Holiday Season Fund
    $175.00 Summer Season Fund

    OUR TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES ARE $1,243.44 … that is a $937.50 carry-forward from 2013 & 2014 and $305.94 in NEW 2015 savings.

    This also means that with $190.00 to start MAY less $97.50 transferred to the various savings reserves less $0.00 transferred for Points Redeemed = $92.50 less an overage carried forward from APRIL for $0.00 less an additional $32.50 saved in our US grocery reserve, we opened the month of MAY with $60.00 available to spend on the Canadian side of the border PLUS we have spent $0.00 on our groceries (cash & points) so far this month and have $60.00 REMAINING AVAILABLE for the month of MAY.

    We have groceries that have been purchased using points redeemed, rather than the budgeted cash in the amount of $40.91. Available as an offset, we currently have $40.91 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 redeemed. It’ll be interesting to see if they actually are.

    Note: Another reserve of $315.57 IS AVAILABLE for our next US shop currently scheduled for May 18th!

    Of the outstanding US Shopping Reserve $315.57:

    $113.07 is carried forward from 2014

    $202.50 is new 2015 Y-T-D savings

    Less $0.00 that we’ve actually spent in 2015

    = $315.57 US Reserve Available


    The valid rain checks I hold are as follows:


    4 Signature Café Pizzas @ 2 pizzas for $9.00- Good ‘til June 19/15
    6 Ronzoni Sweet Onion Marinara @ 2 for $5.00- Good ‘til June 20/15
    2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts @ $12 ea- Good ‘til July 4/15
    6 Skippy Peanut Butter @ BOGO – Good ‘til July 11/15


    1. Hi Mary,
      I got to your shop and thought dang it I don’t have tea and it’s almost 1am only to find out… it’s a NO SHOP WEEK ha! Enjoy the savings… 🙂 You get ballot 10 Mr.CBB P.S Kathryn is home now… 🙂

  9. I love number 3, and I think way to many people have taken to the tv dinners and the “quick” meals not realizing that it is not cheaper (no matter how cheap) and it is especially bad for your health too, why do you think people like my grandparents are still alive and fairly health, at 85 my grandfather is still up and around but nowadays people are having much more health problems, why because of this “great quick food”. Sorry I get going on not cooking now because of how unhealthy it is.

  10. Name Your Store: i.e. Superstore (Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $0

    Week 14- 04-10 May 2015

    NN coffee 2@4.49=$8.98 (1600 PC pts)
    Coffee Mate hazelnut – $4.99 (1000 PC pts)
    eggs- $3.43
    NN cheese 2 @ $4.79 = $9.58
    Parkay margarine = $4.79 (800 PC pts)
    Delisio Rustic pizza 2 @ $3.99 = $7.98 (2000 PC pts)
    mushrooms $2.69 – 50% pink sticker= $1.69 (200 PC pts)
    15 lbs potatoes –$5.99 (600 PC pts)
    onions – $1.79
    stew pack- $4.49
    basa fillets- $3.99

    Name Your Store: i.e. Sobeys (Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $0

    907g margarine 3 @ 2.99=$8.97
    4l milk- $6.49
    10kg flour- $10.00

    Name Your Store: i.e. Superstore (Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $1.68 (superbucks)
    Total Out Of Pocket: $0

    Tahina- $4.79
    x-lg eggs 2@$3.00= $6.00
    3lbs carrots =$3.49
    15 lbs potatoes 2 @ 2.99= $5.98
    reduced tomatoes =$1.49
    1.74 kg bananas = $1.36
    bacon =$3.99
    sole fillets =$7.99

    Name Your Store: i.e. Sobeys (Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $0

    Pepperoni =$5.49
    500ml whipping cream = $3.79
    4L milk = $6.49

    Name Your Store: i.e. Sobeys (Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $0

    Barbeque sauce 3 @ $1.00= $3.00
    can peas 2 @ $0.79 =$1.58

    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 $

    Total Gift Cards used to date: $7.32+5.42+3.41+$5.77+$4.58=$26.50
    Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $50.00+$30.00+$30.00+$10.00=$120.00
    Total Rewards Points used to date: $PC Points Plus Earned to date:6200
    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: $1.68
    Total coupons used to date: $1.68
    Total in-store discounts this week:
    Total in-store discounts to date: $65.82+$3.84=$69.66+$3.66=73.32+$3.95 (6-13 april)=$77.27+ $2.86 (13-20 april)=$80.13+$7.37=$87.50+ $1.35 (4-10 May)=$88.85
    Total spent this week: $0
    Total spent so far this month: $0
    Total over/Under spend this shop: $
    Total over/Under spend for the month $216.67 (under)

    Total left to spend for the month : $367.14-$12.26 = $197.77 (27Apr-03 may)+ $216.67(04-10 May)=$414.44

    Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) $80(23-29 March)+ $12.26 (30 Mar-5 April)=$510.35+$24.89=$535.24+$28.85=$564.09+$33.08 (6-13 April)=$597.17+$26.39 (13-20 april)=$623.56+$16.95=$640.51+$28.40=$668.91= 0.00= (04-10 May 2015)

    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts):

    Back in Canada. Bought some gift cards with our points, to cover shortfalls when paying with points. Was able to get a few deals. Love being able to buy cheap bananas again, but that saving offsets the expensive price of milk we pay here.

    1. Hi Kathryn,
      She’s HOME>.. let the shopping begin~ Welcome home. Will you be using any of the coupon apps now that you are home? Save. ca also has an app now. I must go add that to the list now that I’m thinking about it. Enjoy those cheap bananas! You get ballot 9.

      1. Thank you…great to be home. I’m a computer dummy, and don’t even know how to use an app. Our mobile phone is so basic, it doesn’t even have a camera (we buy basic on purpose)

        1. There is an online website for the apps. Let me see what I can find. Remind me in case I forget as my mind is all over the place right now. I’m sure one of the fans said you can type in Checkout 51 and do it all on the computer if you don’t have a smartphone and the other coupon apps.

          1. I know that I do Checkout 51 and Snap on the computer as I don’t have an iPhone or Android device and it works great. You scan your receipt into your computer and upload it onto their website. Check off the items that match between the receipt and the website and submit…easy peasy.

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