The Ultimate Canadian Grocery Savings Guide

How to get grocery savings you deserve without embarrassment: The Grocery Game Challenge #1 July 6-12,2015

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While standing in line to get groceries the other day the lady in front of us had a product scan in higher than the shelf price.

For all you savvy Canadian shoppers you know that most grocery stores follow The Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP).

That meant that she could have gotten the product that scanned in higher FREE up to $10.

When she told the cashier that the product was cheaper the cashier needed to check the price. The customer was happy to settle on paying for the shelf price and moving on with her day as most people are.

While she was doing that I mentioned SCOP to the lady and she shook her head when I told her to mention it. She said, “No, I’m too embarrassed to ask”.

I thought how could someone be embarrassed to get some grocery savings? It’s not that hard to ask for something but for some people it’s a BIG deal especially if it’s not something they’ve done before.

It was then I realized that maybe customers wouldn’t be so embarrassed to ask for deals if they knew how to ask. Last week this also happened to one of our Grocery Game Challenge players as well so I hope today I can ease some of that embarrassment and help you get the grocery savings you deserve.


Your Grocery Savings


I know when I first moved to Canada I was SHY when it came to visiting the grocery store let alone asking for something. It’s not that I didn’t know how to grocery shop it was merely not knowing what to expect.

I suppose that I’m not the only landed immigrant in Canada to go through this but it’s also Canadians who have lived here all their lives who miss out on grocery savings.

The last thing someone wants to do at the grocery store is act like they are complaining about something. To most people who are aware about SCOP but don’t bother to utilize this code they either don’t care about grocery savings or they are too embarrassed to ask.

What I saw the other day and what our GGC player went through wasn’t the first time I’ve run into that situation. I’ve seen it a few times and it needs to be addressed. The first thing I will say is that if you are a shy person this is a great way to come out of your shell a bit.

What I mean is, the more you do it the better you get at it. I’m not just talking about grocery savings either. Learning to communicate with ease and reduced stress will help you in all life situations because something unsaid could really make a difference in your life or those around you.

I remember growing up and classmates were too shy to talk in front of the class. I wasn’t that guy but it did take some getting used to. The first time was a bit scary but after that it was a breeze. What we all need to remember is that nobody is perfect and if we make a mistake that’s OK.

Some other times when people may shy away because of embarrassment and miss out on grocery savings would be:

I’m not sure what the embarrassing part about asking for grocery savings is for others however if I had to guess it may be that they don’t want to look like they are struggling financially, bothering the staff or being shy and wanting to look silly if they make a mistake.

For myself it was more about being shy not knowing the rules or Canadian Shopping Guidelines only later to find out there really weren’t any. In other words, grocery shopping education is key. This may also be the case for other customers who are too embarrassed to speak up. I’m sure I’m not alone.

What have I learned?

Don’t worry about bothering anyone at a grocery store they are there to help and they get paid to do it too. The worst that can happen is you learn something new that you didn’t know before you went grocery shopping.

It never hurts to ask if you want something and remember everyone earns a living and has to pay bills so they understand why people want to save money.

If you are embarrassed because you don’t want people to think that you are struggling to make ends meet get that out of your mind. That’s just silly.

Everyone knows that if someone can save a few dollars they will especially grocery savings because it’s one of the biggest expenses next to rent or the mortgage.


Asking for a rain check


Some people are so shy that if a product that is on sale is run out on the shelf they won’t even ask to check if it’s in the back stockroom let alone ask for a rain check.

Don’t be embarrassed to ask for a rain check it’s easy here’s how.

Nine times out of ten you will have to go to customer service. Let the cashier know that the product that is on sale in the flyer is now out of stock in the store and you’d like a rain check please for x amount.

I’ve never had a problem with getting a rain check before but it took time and my wife pushing me to go ask. Now I’m a pro because I’ve done it so many times.


Asking for a reduced price/discount on a product


There have been times we find a product near expiry or that has been dented or the wrapper torn. We don’t hesitate to ask for a reduced price on the product.

Most times the store manager has no problem reducing the price to move the product out the door. If he doesn’t give it to you it likely will end up on a reduced rack for someone else. If anything you saved them having to find the product.


Asking for a price check


If you think that a product should be scanning less speak up. The cashier or the customers behind won’t think you are cheap. If anything it would remind them to pay attention.

In this situation you could say:

“I’m sure I saw the price of (insert product name) on the shelf listed as $(insert dollar amount). Could you please have someone check that price for me. Thank-you.

This is where you can also think about SCOP. If the price was scanned higher and comes back less as a shelf price you can now say, “I’d like to have SCOP applied to that product please”. See, that wasn’t so bad! Practice in front of a mirror if that helps you.


Using Coupons


Firstly, don’t worry about the people behind you because it’s your turn in line. If they are in a rush they can use the self scanners if available or the fast lane.

Second, if the cashier is not sure about a coupon or is not allowing you to use them but you know you should be able to, speak up or ask for a manager.

Grocery savings comes from your budget, your hard work so if you aren’t happy with the results ask for someone higher up and don’t be embarrassed.

There is no reason for arguing with a cashier or bringing it up if you are not comfortable but I can assure you that it’s nothing to fear.

If you don’t want to hold up a line you can go to customer service and politely ask to speak with a manager. One issue we run into often is “One per purchase” and the cashier will only allow 1 coupon for the entire transaction.

One per purchase means you can use a coupon on a single item and then another coupon on another item. Each individual item is a purchase.


Signing up for Loyalty Card


There have been so many times that I have stood behind someone and the cashier asks if they have a loyalty card and they shake their head and say no.

Some people can’t be bothered to get one but then there are the people who don’t want other people to think they need to money. I know it sounds daft but there are people like this.

My mother-in-law who worked at a popular grocery store said a customer told her that those cards are for people who need money and she didn’t.

A grocery store snob at best who is brutally honest which was fine but it was the way she said it. You know with that I’m better than most people attitude and I don’t need those petty savings. The petty savings that put food on the table for most Canadians. Meh, good on her for having such an amazingly rich life, I guess.

The grocery savings that come with a loyalty card are huge and if you are part of the snooty team of shoppers who don’t care about them, it doesn’t bother the savers.

If you are too embarrassed to pull out your loyalty card in front of other customers there’s not much we can do to help you but motivate you not to worry. The people behind you likely don’t care what you do and don’t do when it comes time to pay for your order unless it’s holding up the line. Even then there’s not much they can do but go to another checkout. Oh well!


Price matching flyer deals


Pulling out weekly flyers is a huge embarrassment for so many people so they would rather not to do it and pay regular or a slightly higher sale price. These days if you have a smartphone you can get away with using the flyer apps which can ease the embarrassment but even then it’s tough for those that are shy to ask for savings and deals. Don’t let it bother you.

For those of you that don’t have a smartphone like myself here are some tips I’ve come up with that keep me from feeling embarrassed at the cash register.

  • Keep organized,
  • Let the cashier know you are price matching
  • Show cashier the flyer prices as products are being scanned.

It’s really that simple. Again, don’t look back or around you just focus on the task at hand. No one cares about your money more than you and the grocery savings will be all yours.

The more you do this the better you will get at it. Price matching really is a huge savings to your grocery budget. I was also embarrassed at first but after a few shops it became a no-brainer.


Mass product discounts


Finally, if you are planning a huge party or need to make special orders at the grocery store don’t be shy to ask for a reduced price. The manager likely will make you an offer and if not at least you tried.

What you could say is:

You: Hi, I’d like to order 20 pounds of fish for a party and was wondering if I could get a bulk discount please?

Manager: Sure, let me look into the pricing for you and I’ll get back to you. Leave me your phone number or he/she may go on the spot and find out pricing.

We ordered 4x 4L jugs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil once and the manager gave us the sale price that we would have missed out on. Instead of paying $27.99 we paid $18.99.

He/She may also say they are unable to give a better price. Thank the manager and decide whether you are happy with the price and either place the order or move on.

Being shy is not an easy fix but it’s certainly something that can be overcome with practice but you have to be willing to try. Trust me if I can do it, YOU CAN TOO!!

Now, I have no problems going into grocery stores and asking for anything I need. I can find just about everything I want and if I can’t I know where to go and who to ask for help.

It all takes practice but looking back there really wasn’t anything for me to be embarrassed about.

My final and biggest tip of all, practice smiling, say hello, good morning, good afternoon, good evening to people because these little gestures will help you go from being shy to being confident. When you are confident any reason for embarrassment in your life may diminish or lessen with time.

Most times we over-think life but don’t let it get the best of you because you only get one.

What other tips can you give to the shy or embarrassed shopper who leaves behind grocery savings?


July 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!

Congratulations goes to Christine W. Ballot # 12 as the random GGC June winner~ Please email me to claim your coupon prize pack.


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.

No Frills

  • 2 x Astro Coconut Yogurt Sale $2 each
  • Pineapple Sale $2.00
  • 2 x Avocado $1.00 each
  • 6 x Mango $3.00
  • 2 x 18oz Blueberries $3.00 each
  • 2 x Romaine Hearts 2/$3.00
  • 12 x limes $1.00
  • 3 x Lemons $2.00
  • 2 x pint grape tomatoes $3.00
  • 4 x sweet potatoes $3.35

Total out-of-pocket: $29.31

Food Basics

  • 2 x Butter cookies $0.88 (upcoming recipe)
  • 2 x Nescafe Instant coffee $3.99 each
  • Bananas $1.61
  • Cantaloupe $1.97
  • 2 x 5 pk garlic $0.88 each
  • Fresh ginger $0.81
  • Pitted Dates $3.99
  • 2 x Strawberry 2/$5.00
  • Liberte Yogurt reduced $2.50
  • 7 x Black Diamond Cheese Sale $4.44 each- $0.75 (4) coupons


Total out-of-pocket: $65.24

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: $7.94
  • 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-$28.76 (over June) $206.24
  • Stockpile budget 2015 ($25.00): (Jan/Feb) $50.00 +$0 (Mar)+$16.94+$25.00 (April)+$25.00+ May $25.00+ June $25.00+July $
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $0
  • Total coupons used this week: $3.00
  • Total coupons used to date: $29.50
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $4.00
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $543.38
  • Total spent this week: $95.41
  • Total spent so far this month: $95.41
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: $43.85 over
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: $0
  • Total left to spend for the month:$111.69
  • 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+July $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts):

We spent more than anticipated this week however our refrigerator was pretty bare. Most of what we bough was fruits and vegetables. Almost everything was on sale that we bought this week which was great.

The Liberte yogurt was the large container which is typically $6.99 on sale for $2.50 since it’s near expiry. Looks like we will be tight for the rest of the month but we also have our stockpile budget which I will likely stock up on milk.

Soon we will be buying homo milk for our son but until we run out of formula coupons we will stick to that. My father-in-laws garden will be ready in the next month or so which means tonnes of organic garlic, tomatoes, peppers, beans etc. We did get cherries last week but upon return he will have lots of yellow plums for us too.


Canadian Coupons Found This Week


Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons!

I didn’t get into Zehrs this week but I will likely run in on Wednesday to go book a photography session so I will check the board when I go in and post next week any finds.


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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