Top 5 Reasons A Food Budget Is Financially Smart : The Grocery Game Challenge #3 June 15-21, 2015

Food budget financially smart(1)KNOW WHERE YOUR MONEY IS GOING


A food budget is a huge part of the overall budget in any household whether you decide to use one or not.

If you don’t believe me think about how much you pay each time you go to the grocery store and use that to work out your average yearly food expenses.

Even though that’s probably the worst way to do it because you probably spend more than you think you are it’s somewhat of a ballpark figure of your yearly expenses.

Then again for those of you who do the math this way your final number likely isn’t that important to you but it should be.

If you are someone with more money than you know what to do with you might not have a care in the world to know the amount it’s costing you to fuel your body.

For those of us who have to worry about balancing our monthly budget a food budget in my opinion is an imperative step to overcoming debt, saving money and balancing the budget.

The fact is that whether you document your expenses or choose to just spend your money freely the money will be spent and coming from YOUR bank account.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that budgeting is for people who can’t add and subtract or for those who can’t pay their bills on time or earn enough money.

It frustrates me to no end that these people view finance for dummies or people who can’t store the math in their head. Or the best, I know how much I can spend without wasting my time documenting it all like a crazy money hoarder.

Well, do what’s right for you, it’s your money after all.

The good part is those people who do budget can save more money because they know where their money is going. They really don’t care what the negative person has to say.

We all look after our own but I’m here to tell you that even something as simple as knowing how much your grocery budget should be will make an impact on your overall bank account or finances for that matter.


Shopping with no food budget


I know plenty of people who have no food budget in place yet moan about their debt every month. We have family members who think nothing to filling their shopping cart with anything they see because they failed to plan for the shopping trip.

That may be fine to the people who don’t really care about how much they spend but there’s not many people who have unlimited bank accounts as a daily luxury.

Today while at Zehrs I was waiting in a line-up at the check-out when I noticed the lady in front of me had a full and I mean to the brim, overflowing shopping cart.

When a box of Triscuit fell off and landed on the floor I kindly bent over to pick it up since it was on the opposite side of the shopping cart from where she was.

We exchanged smiles and she said thank-you after telling me that it happens every week when she grocery shops. “I’m always dropping something when I come every week as we have 2 hungry boys in our household”.

Fair enough I thought but how much was she spending and did she have a food budget she was following. I didn’t see any type of grocery list in her hands but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t thrown one out by this point.

I replied, “It must cost you a fortune to buy this much food every week and your budget must be a large expense for you”. Ha! She goes on to tell me that she doesn’t use a food budget and that she hates grocery shopping so she rushes in, gets what she needs and gets out.

By the looks at what was in her shopping cart and by overhearing the massive $525 grocery bill I kind of figured that she didn’t care much about prices either.

Her last words were, “Besides everything is so expensive these days it won’t make a difference if I have a food budget or not”. If I was drinking something I probably would have spit it out at that particular point because you know how fond I am of knowing where all of our money goes.

Depending on what she buys every week and if an overflowing shopping cart is the norm she’s spending over $2000 a month on food. That’s a horrible way to do the math but for the sake of this post I’m using it as an example.

Unlike Mr. CBB the frugal man she was talking to she likely follows no protocol when it come to grocery shopping to save money.

She got me thinking about all the reasons why a food budget is a financially smart move. If we didn’t have our grocery budget in place plenty of things in our life wouldn’t be happening at the speed they are.

I complied the following list of Top 5 reasons why a food budget was and still is critical for us to reach financial milestones in our lives.




We didn’t spend thousands on food like the lady I met in the grocery check-out probably does but over the years we recognized areas where we could save more money when grocery shopping.

The money we save from not spending a fortune at the grocery store in part goes to our savings account. Building up an emergency savings was something we didn’t think much about until we started our monthly budget.

The problem is that too many people say they can’t save money when in fact they can if only they put more effort into figuring out where they are blowing money and they don’t have to. That spare cash you hold back will go a long way in financing other things in your future.




Everyone SHOULD worry about the future and their retirement savings. If you want to retire early or your health isn’t the greatest or you fear possible health issues that will prevent you from working then every bit of savings counts towards something.

Every year my wife and I go over our budget to find areas we can cut back on or make small changes so that we can save a bit more in other categories. Over the years we’ve invested as much as we could after maxing our mortgage payments.

With the recent increase in TFSA investment room and RRSP’s the savings from our food budget will help fund our retirement savings. Now that we have a son any money we can save extra can fund his RESP and his new investment account which we will invest $100 a month in.

If you don’t think that you could possible save enough to invest you’re wrong. Talk to a financial advisor to find out what the minimum amount is which you can invest and take advantage of any tax breaks.




I’m pretty sure that if we were spending $5000 a year on our food budget our debt repayments would have happened a bit slower than they did.

Although we don’t have credit card debt we didn’t have much left after investing, projected expenses and other categories in our monthly budget.

The extra money we saved by not having a $500 a month grocery budget for 2 went towards paying off debt which left us with a mortgage which was paid in full 5 years after acquiring it.

Was it worth it?

Of course it was, being mortgage and debt free feels good but you have to think long-term with savings because not everything happens overnight. Remember that $5 here and there all adds up and you don’t have to have hundreds or thousands to invest just to make a mark on your portfolio.




We eat too much when we have lots of temptations of food in the house. This is just something we noticed about our eating habits so having a food budget has allowed us to plan weekly meals and purchase only what we really need. On occasion we stockpile food but not like we used to back in 2012 when we were extreme couponing.

We’ve changed our eating habits drastically since then and do our best to escape loading up on food that will just sit for month on end even if there is no expiry date or a long expiry date. An example may be the 20 or so cans of baked beans we still have in our cold room.

There was a coupon in a smart source that had $1.00 off each can and they were on sale for $1.25. It just so happened our friend who worked at the newspaper had extra copies so she passed them along to us when she could. Some months there were 20 other more coupons. It made sense to her that someone was using the coupons to save money.

We sure did, however we still have those cans of baked beans on the shelf although we have put a dent in them. Eating baked beans every couple of days just isn’t for us and although the expiry is not due just yet we will more than likely end up donating them to the Food Bank.




There is nothing more satisfying to me than to understand our financial health. Every month we balance our budget so we can see where our money is going.

Over the years simply using a budget has educated us so much about how much of our money we were spending and on what.

Food may not seem like a big deal to someone who doesn’t budget but aside from paying rent or the mortgage the food budget is one of the next biggest expense every month for people. If you want to be financially successful with the money that you earn then treat your finances like your own business.

If working with no food budget works for you that’s great BUT I can assure you that if you put some effort into budgeting you WILL see the results. We are proof of that as are many fans of CBB and the Grocery Game Challenge.

We take our food budget seriously and so should you if you have debt you want to pay off or are living pay cheque to pay cheque because the money isn’t going far enough every month.

In the end its your choice because you hold the key in your hands to your financial health, no one else.

Why is a food budget important to your family and how has it helped you financially?


June 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.

Food Basics

  • 2 x Scheniders Bacon sale $2.88 each
  • 4x Schneiders Oktoberfest sausages sale $2.99 each
  • Bananas $1.97
  • Avocado Bag $3.99
  • Pinepple Gold Sale $1.88
  • 10x corn Sale $2.88
  • Chickory $1.99
  • Red Hot House Tomatoes Sale $1.22
  • 3 x Strawberries Sale $1.88 each
  • 2 x 4L Parmalat Milk $3.97 each $7.94
  • 6 x Oikos Greek Yogurt Reduced $0.99 which was an awesome deal considering they are over $5.00 each.

Total out-of-pocket $51.17


  • 5 x Herb and Garlic Cracker Barrel Cheese Bars $5.99-Pink Stickers
  • 5 x Jalepeno Cheddar Cracker Barrel Cheese Bars $5.99-Pink Stickers
  • PC Kale $4.99-50%
  • PC Arugala $4.99-50%
  • Dole Baby Spinach $3.99-pink sticker

Total out-of-pocket $36.95-$2.86 (stockpile budget)= $34.09


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 $206.91
  • 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: 99718
  • 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 $235-$28.09 (over May) $206.91
  • Stockpile budget 2015 ($25.00): (Jan/Feb) $50.00 +$0 (Mar)+$16.94+$25.00 (April)+$25.00+ May $25.00+ June $25.00
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $25.00
  • Total coupons used this week: $4.50
  • Total coupons used to date: $26.50
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $66.95
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $539.38
  • Total spent this week: $85.26
  • Total spent so far this month: $235.67
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: $28.76 over
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: $28.76 over
  • Total left to spend for the month: -$28.76
  • Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $166.49+ Feb $261.51+ Mar $231.02 + April $258.44+May $218.12+ June $235.67

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts):

I know there are 2 more shops for the month of June BUT we should be ok as we are fully stocked. We are also going away for Canada Day week where we will be eating at the relatives house for free.

It was so hard to pass up those pink stickers on the cheese bars and Greek Yogurt today. If our month had no catching up to do we would have been only over by $0.67 which would have been great! In the event that we need milk we have a Walmart gift card with about $35 left on it and $1000 in Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Points so we should be good although I don’t want to use them if we don’t need to.


 Canadian Coupons Found This Week


Since we have my parents here I haven’t taken the time to scour the stores or check out the coupon board at Zehrs for coupons.

I’ll hopefully have more to report next week once we do our next shop now that my parents are gone and life gets back to normal.

Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons!

coupons canada june 2015(1)


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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