Your grocery shopping list will need some adjustments now that your children have left home whether it’s for school or to start life on their own.
Budgeting household expenses is one of the biggest changes you will have when the kids move out apart from less noise in the house.
When the kids are finally gone you have to back-track to the days when you had no kids.
It will take time for this new adjustment so don’t get upset if you don’t knock it out of the park the first month or two.
I bet you can remember all those days you were scrambling to make lunches at the last-minute because you forgot the night before.
Your pantry and refrigerator were filled with foods that you could whip up in a flash because time was never on your side. We found that after our son was born everything we did was at warp speed where before we had just rolled along peacefully. Those were the days.
Parenting is hard-core work and with that you need to be organized especially with the monthly household expenses including the grocery budget. Now that we have a son we are slowly learning about changes to our grocery shopping list but he’ll be around for at least the next 18 years/
Although we’ve seen lots of changes with our grocery shopping list already, mainly adding more food. You on the other hand are looking for ways to adjust your food budget because you won’t need as much.
Just this past weekend we had a gathering at our house to celebrate the end of summer. My wife’s friend had just finished packing her daughter up and driving her to University for at least the next 4 years. She doesn’t know if she will be home in the summer time so it was a very emotional day for both parents as it would be for any couple.
You get used to having your kids around, tripping over their stuff, messy bedrooms and driving them here, there and everywhere. Life is an organized chaotic mess but it works somehow for families who love being a family. We could almost see tears coming from her eyes when she was telling us the story about the kids moving into their dorm rooms.
What was interesting in the conversation was when she said now that the kids are gone they are going to eat healthier and they are not buying any more snack foods.
Not all kids are home for dinner as they get older and take on full and part-time jobs to save money for school or whatever else they need money for.
Her son and daughter ate crap food as she put it even though there was always a healthy meal on the table. Kids will be kids and it’s easier for young adults to grab fast to-go meals and snack items rather than eating a proper meal. If she didn’t buy it they likely would have with their money so she stocked the pantry with 2-3 snack food items each grocery shop.
This got me thinking about how parents have to adjust their grocery shopping list once the kids are gone. If you weren’t one to make homemade school snacks like granola bars, cookies or even muffins then you won’t have to buy them any longer. Those little extras all add up in the grocery budget which means your grocery bill could get slashed in a big way.
I wanted to help her with some tips to get them started with their new grocery shopping list so I encouraged her to tell me more about what changes they were hoping to make. I thought since we were fresh out of the couple without kids stage that I could remind them of how it used to be.
Although what she told me is not unusual most parents don’t know where to begin.
The one thing she has already found is that she has more time than she did when the kids were home. This makes sense considering you were probably doing everything for your kids and less for yourselves. The time is now that you start thinking about yourselves again and get back into your groove.
It may make you sound like you are ready to retire but in a silly sense you have retired from holding the in-house position of parents. You can bet that your kids will come back time and time again looking for advice and even food so don’t get too comfy in your ways yet.
If you raised your children to understand money, how to grocery shop and cook meals they will be fine fending for themselves. You don’t have to worry which is what our friend was doing but mentioned she bought her daughter the best meal plan available at the University. Since she will be living on campus she will have access to all the foods at the school and off-campus where meal plans are accepted.
I thought that was great because she didn’t have to cook anything so it was easy-peasy for her.
I can’t imagine what it feels like to say good-bye to your child when they move out because you get so used to them being around. It’s likely a moment of being a proud parent and not knowing what to do with yourselves after they are gone.
I’m sure emotions will run high for just about every parent unless your child drives you mad and you couldn’t wait until this day arrived. Even so, changes to everyday living will be clear over time.
Grocery Shopping List Revised
So how can you adjust your grocery shopping list now that the kids have moved out? Well, I’ve come up with a few tricks to get you started on your way to romantic dinners alone again.
Talk about it
One thing I can’t stress enough is that you both need to talk about your new grocery shopping list. Some of the things you may want to discuss are foods you both enjoy eating, how much should you spend on groceries, where you should shop and how often and when should you cook.
Both parents need to be on the same page when it comes to eating because if you don’t you will end up with food waste and money wasted because you both aren’t talking about what your new needs will be.
Learn to cook for two
Cooking for large families is easier than cooking for two so when it comes time to cut back it can be challenging. This may be the next hardest thing to do after sitting down to discuss what foods you both want to cook and buy to stock up the house with.
One of the best tips I can share with you is to pick out recipes you both enjoy and figure out how to cut the recipe in half or make the full recipe and freeze half of it for another meal.
Over time you will learn to chop recipes in half or stretch meals so you are eating them over the span of a few days. Cooking for two can be fun because you can be more creative and have the ability to buy smaller portion sizes which will also cut down on cooking time.
Cut the snacks
If you want to eat healthy now is the time to cut back on the chips, crackers, chocolates, candy, ice-cream and so on. If you only bought these items for the kids to eat then you won’t need to buy them any longer.
The money you will save is great BUT you can put that money towards buying organic products or any other health food or higher priced foods you may not have purchased when the kids were living with you.
If you only bought the cheap cuts of meat now you can splurge a little since you are cooking for 2 and buy better cuts of meat while staying on budget.
Buy smaller packages
Having kids in the house means that food is gone shortly after you unload the bags in the kitchen. Whether your kids had bottomless stomachs or friends over who ate you out of house and home you can lessen that bulk shopping.
Now that you only have two people to cook for you may want to consider buying smaller packages of food products especially if you won’t finish the foods on time before expiry. You don’t want to get back into any type of food waste. Stockpiling might not be such a great need as it once was so you scaling back on how much you buy during those big sales may be smart as well.
This was something we noticed with only the two of us so we stopped stockpiling so much food years ago. It made no sense to save money on foods that took us years to eat and we risked them going off in the process.
Smaller packages may mean you pay more so be choosy with what you opt to purchase and keep in mind whether the product can with-stand longer periods especially if it comes without an expiry date.
If you don’t want to pay the extra money to buy smaller packages such as meat you can still save money buy buying bigger packs of meat and portioning it before you freeze it. Many of you might already do this because it is part of smart shopping and savings. Meat and fish seem to be the biggest expense in the food budget.
I know you might not want to admit buying pre-packed foods or foods in cans and boxes because they were easy to make and you didn’t have to listen to the kids whine about meals. Now that they are gone you can kick this habit to the curb too especially if your goal is to eat healthy meals.
Cooking homemade food is a breeze as long as you set the time aside that you need, plan your meals and make sure you have all the ingredients you need in your house. This means making sure your grocery list is filled and ready for cooking action.
Bring back date nights
If you are the type of parents that forget about enjoying date nights because of your kids then now is the time to revisit this. Just because you are married or in a relationship doesn’t mean you should stop going on dates especially if you have kids. It could be something as simple as a meal in the park or going out for dinner.
Dinner dates don’t need to be expensive either because there are plenty of low-cost cafes or family-style restaurants that won’t break the bank as long as you budget the expenses. The point here is to relax and take some time to rekindle that love you have for each other.
Life has changes in store for everyone….
Food Love will always be a part of every relationship with our without kids so adjusting your grocery shopping list based on your needs is essential to sticking to a budget.
Since my wife and I have both been the kids who have left home we have been able to see how our parents have changed their grocery shopping lists but until our son moves out we won’t know the full extent of it all.
If you have had kids move out how has your grocery shopping list been affected and what other tips can you add?
September Grocery Game Challenge posts
Join in the Grocery Game Challenge Fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each GGC blog post. Here are the rules to get you started and if you have any questions feel free to email me.
If you missed any grocery game posts for the month I will post the line-up each week here for you so you don’t have to go looking for past GGC posts for the month. This just makes posting a bit easier although all you need to do is click on The Grocery Game Challenge on the homepage sidebar and you will see them all.
Congratulations to Dee, ballot #6 for winning the August Grocery Game Challenge. Dee please email me for your coupon prize. Starting this month the prize for the grocery game will now be a $10 gift card to President’s Choice stores in the Loblaws family. The gc will be mailed after the winner submits their address to me once I announce their name.
- Top 5 Grocery Shopping Methods Revealed: Last Grocery Game Post for August 2015
Free Tools to get you started with your grocery budget
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 $235.00
- Total Gift Cards used to date: $32.40
- Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $120.00
- Total Rewards Points used to date: $140.00
- PC Points Plus Earned to date: 7975
- 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)
- Smartfood Dill Pickle Popcorn $2.99
- 6 x 6 packs IoGo Yogurt Kiddies Reduced $0.50 instead of $3.99
- Necatrines 2L $5.99-50%
- Portobello mushrooms $4.99-50%
- Shitake Mushrooms $4.99-50%
- PC Italian sausage $4.99-50%
- Lean ground beef $26.95-50%
- Lean ground beef $26.93-50%
- Roasted Red Pepper Dip $3.99-50%
- PC Mediterranean chicken $10.00-50%
- 2 x Chicken breasts $5.88
Total Out-of-Pocket $63.54- PC Points = $3.54 out of pocket
- Tasters Choice Classic Sale $3.99 each
- 4 x Royale Tiger Paper Towels $6.34-50% (no coupons with us but there were printables. We went back to see if there were any the next day and they were sold out)
- 2 x PC Greek Yogurt Lemon $3.24 each-50%
- PC Greek Strawberry Yogurt $3.24-50%
- 2 x Liberte Greek Lime Yogurt $5.44 each- 50%
- Organics Almond extract $4.54-50%
- Salami $4.99-50%
- Butterball Turkey Bacon $5.49-50%
- Ziggys tortellini $3.99-50%
Total Out-of-Pocket $53.10- PC Points = Free (there were other items we bought for baby and health and beauty that aren’t part of the grocery budget that enabled us to pay only $1.33)
- Total to spend this month $235
- 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: $0
- Total coupons used this week: $0
- 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: $3.54
- Total spent so far this month: $3.54
- Total over/Under spend this shop: over $under
- Total over/Under spend for the month: $under
- Total left to spend for the month: $231.46
- 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 finally took the plunge and used our PC Points for a couple of shops this week to top up some items in the house for our sons Birthday Party and other things we needed to buy. We are back under 10,000 points but we will quickly bring that back up again.
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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