Honestly, there is no right or wrong method to go grocery shopping BUT there may be consequences if you overspend.
While at the grocery store today I wasn’t in the mood for any shopping so my wife led the way with our handy grocery list.
What I did do was people watch other grocery shoppers while they were shopping. I guess you could say I was creeping their shopping carts.
At the same time I was trying to figure out their shopping method because I realize that not everyone is as organized as we are and walk into a grocery store armed with a grocery list.
I observed one woman walk through the grocery store doors with her cell phone in one hand chatting away and a basket in the other. She would wander around the store just grabbing items off the shelf as she toggled the phone from from her hand to her neck and ear.
I started to follow her from a distance and noticed she had no interest in sales because she put the more expensive products in her basket as opposed to comparable products on sale. I’m sure talking on the phone made a huge difference as to what she was buying unless she’s a master mult-tasker and from experience this can be a good thing or a VERY bad thing.
She may be partial to certain brand names but then again maybe she doesn’t even care about saving money because she doesn’t need to or maybe she does but has no idea how to grocery shop to save money.
This was starting to get fun but I didn’t want to get caught watching people grocery shop. It’s not like they would arrest me or anything but I was merely observing. I really wouldn’t know how to explain myself if I did.
Shopping to save money
I truthfully can say now that we have a child grocery shopping has become challenging. We used to carry a coupon binder which was extremely organized but we aren’t the super hero shoppers we once were.
These days it’s all about making sure we have what we need including a grocery list, coupons in hand along with the flyers. Lastly, we don’t have the time to shop at a few grocery stores as our son can get grumpy fast so we do our best to price match at one store.
On top of an already hectic grocery shopping trip I have to make sure that any rewards programs we have that require us to load coupons or points deals to our cards before we shop is taken care of. We don’t have a data plan on our mobile phone so if we don’t do it at home we’ll likely miss out on the savings. I’m sure that soon enough we will see almost all stores with free wi-fi available.
We are not as strict as we used to be while grocery shopping as our tastes have changed as well as our shopping knowledge however we continue to do our best to stay with-in our $235 monthly grocery budget limit. Using a grocery list is by far the easiest way for us to grocery shop while reeling in all the savings.
What really motivated me to write this post was not only what I observed but the number of times people email me asking for more secrets to saving money at the grocery store.
Not only do I reply back asking them how much their grocery budget is I realized that I also need to know what their method of shopping is like. There’s no point trying to save money if you are an impulse buyer, if you catch my drift. What I’m trying to say is that if you want to save money you need to evaluate not only how much money you have to spend but how you are spending it.
On this list you won’t find the people who use online delivery services to do their grocery shopping. I’m targeting those shoppers who physically go into the grocery store to complete their shop.
Firm grocery list
This is the method of shopping we use every week because without our list we would go broke. We love food that much and enjoy cooking that it’s so easy to just throw products in the cart if we don’t have a clear plan. With a concrete grocery list it’s easy for us to stick to our grocery budget so we stay on target for the year.
Keep in mind that just because you have a grocery list that doesn’t mean you are exempt from slipping away from it. We know this all to well and sometimes it can take months to get back on track with our budget.
The good thing is that with your list in hand you are less liable to spend more than you had intended to because you have your plan in place. If you find you are being called to a product that’s not on your list ask yourself if it’s worth it to your budget. Most often we can do without but only realize it after we get home.
You my friend use the grocery list method.
Stockpile deals with coupons
We used to stockpile heavy amounts of food, health, beauty, laundry and cleaning supplies back in 2010-2012 when coupons were at the height of their game.
This isn’t so much the case these days. Couponing has changed drastically but mostly just the wording on coupons and how much the coupons are worth. Let’s not forget coupons are slowly becoming extinct due to coupon apps.
There are still some people who only buy food or other products IF they have a coupon for it. They may use a list but on that list are only foods with coupons.
You my friend use the coupon savings method.
I wish we could only shop the flyer sales but there are products that we use that aren’t always on sale. It amazes me though how many people can actually complete a grocery shop where every product in their shopping cart is a flyer special of the week.
Many people only have enough money in their grocery budget to stretch so far which means the only way to get everything they will need buying only products on sale that week will get them there. Included in flyer sales is the ability to price match which means this opens up the opportunity to find more flyer specials on products across more grocery stores.
You my friend use the flyer sales method.
When you rush into a store and you don’t know what you want to buy nor do you have a list then you instantly become the impulse shopper. Your mind is racing wondering what you can cook for dinner and buy for the next few meals to end the week.
I’ve typically found these people to be shoppers who despise grocery shopping and are not big fans of being in the kitchen. You may also find those people who use this method of shopping to shop frequently because a full-shop in one go is not the way they roll.
This method of grocery shopping could be the worst for your grocery budget BUT it could also mean you spend less. I know it sounds strange BUT if you impulse shop and only buy what you will eat and it’s on sale you might just save more than you think.
If you are the impulse shopper who fills a shopping cart well my guess is you don’t really worry about how much you spend at the grocery store. I kind of wish I could be this way BUT I’d rather not end up with a mish-mash of food at home. I’m betting the impulse shopper has more than the average amount of double products that a non-stockpiler has in their kitchen.
You my friend are the impulse shopper.
My sister-in-law is this method of grocery shopping because she says she doesn’t have the time to go grocery shopping like most would traditionally do. It’s easier for her to run into Costco once every couple of weeks and load up on bulk products.
She will buy everything she can from Costco to save money and to buy time from having to go back again. Her theory is if she can buy in bulk and save money and time from shopping week after week waiting for sales she’s ahead of the game.
With a senior corporate job and family that takes up most of her time grocery shopping is a low priority for her but a big deal because she likes to feed her family healthy food. She says she saves money every year grocery shopping in bulk rather than just buying whatever she needs whether it’s on sale or not.
Bulk shopping can be a great way to save money provided you do the math. If you know your prices it will be easy to find out if a bulk product is worth the money or not. Even if it’s not the bulk shopper may not care because time is money to them.
You my friend are a Bulk Shopper
Overall, grocery shopping is a different experience for everyone is in charge of this task that we all need to do if we want to put food on the table and in our bellies.
If I asked you what your typical shopping method was how would you respond?
August 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!
- How to Avoid Paying Full Retail Price At The Grocery Store- Grocery Game #1 August, 2015
- 10 Food Products Worth Buying to Save Time In The Kitchen- Grocery Game #2 August , 2015
- 11 Ways to Feed Your Family When You Have Little To No Money-Grocery Game #3 August, 2015
- 9 Ways to DIY Fast Food To Save Money On Everyday Convenience Foods- Grocery Game #4 August, 2015
Grocery Saving Tips
Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!
Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.
I hope you take the time to get back on track and start the savings process in your grocery budget today.
Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE. CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet for FREE.
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
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
Yearly grocery budget for two 2015: $2820
(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $235 per year or $25 per month.
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 $229.08
- Total Gift Cards used to date: $32.40
- Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
- Total Rewards Points used to date: $20.00
- PC Points Plus Earned to date: 124736
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
- Snap Groupon to date: $15.00
- Zweet to date: $14.50
- Cart Smart to date: $0
- Checkout51 to date: $6.00
Grocery Shop This Week
(add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)
- 4x Rudolph Bread Sale $2.00 ea
- 2 x Tostitos Chips $2.00 ea (Birthday Party snack)
Total Out-of-Pocket $12.52
- 2 x 2% Milk $3.97 ea
- 2 x Homo Milk 4L $4.97 ea
- 4 x Armstrong Cheese Sale $3.77
- Rice Vinegar $1.98
- Apple cider Vinegar $1.98
- 4 x Danone Activia Yogurt $1.88 ea
- 1L Pop $0.99 (Birthday party beverage)
- Bananas $2.24
Total Out-of-Pocket $47.80
- Sponge Towels Sale $3.99- $1.00 coupons
Total Out-of-Pocket $7.01
- Total to spend this month $235-$5.92 (over July) $229.08
- 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 $14.44+Aug $25.00+Sept$
- Stockpile budget used this month: $
- Total coupons used this week: $2.00
- Total coupons used to date: $32.50
- Total in-store discounts this week: $0
- Total in-store discounts to date: $564.59
- Total spent this week: $67.33
- Total spent so far this month: $118.15
- Total over/Under spend this shop: over $8.58
- Total over/Under spend for the month: $n/a
- Total left to spend for the month: $110.93
- 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 $212.16+August $118.15+ September $
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
We hardly did any shopping in August with all the travelling around Ontario that we did so our refrigerator needed a bit of a stock-up. With all the vegetables we brought home from my relatives house we won’t need much for a week or so. We got tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, eggplant, zucchini and Swiss chard. I still have to make my basil cubes this week too before I lose my basil.
Canadian Coupons Found
Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons!
We’re finding less and less coupons in the stores these days. What are your thoughts? Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons?
I found a few coupons this week.
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?:
YesNo, 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 Save.ca 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 Know what stores accept coupons?: If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
- 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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