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When Your Food Budget Is Out of Control You Should Do This! : The Grocery Game Challenge #2 Sept 14-20,2015

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when your food budget is out of control you should do this(1)FINANCIAL TRUTHS OFTEN HURT


Most people struggle with an out of control food budget and maybe why you might want to read this post today.

I’m here to tell you that there is only one thing you can do to fix your out of control food budget. Don’t worry, I’ll get to it below but I want you to read something first.

Unfortunately, not everyone is ready for the truth when it comes to debt and their money until they need to do something about it.

Self-control is easy for anyone to forget until we have to consider it in our lives.

For some people it’s easier just to live free and go with the flow which only works on certain aspects of our lives.

Our worst enemy was using coupons because we spent more than we should have just to save money.

It turned out we bought too much food, went over budget and wasted quite a bit in the end. We kept telling ourselves that it would save us money in the future. To an extent it did BUT it got to the point we had no interest in the tonnes of food we were stockpiling.

We no longer stockpile food the way we used to and we’ve managed to do pretty good sticking to our $235 a month food budget for 2 with a $25 stockpile budget.

The only foods we will stockpile are foods we know we will eat with-in a month or 2.

Examples of this might be:

  • Cheese Blocks
  • Cans of tuna
  • Meat
  • Milk
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

No more cans of baked beans, boxes upon boxes of cereal and all sorts of other crap we bought because we had a coupon and thought we would eat. A good deal or not if you aren’t planning to use food in a reasonable time don’t buy so much of it.

Today I’m sharing an email I received from a new CBB fan who is not necessarily looking to play the grocery game challenge (although I strongly encourage this) but she is looking for our help getting her out of control food budget back on track.


Our out of control food budget


Hi Mr. CBB,

We recently found your grocery game challenge while surfing the web because our food budget is out of control. I keep telling everyone that we can’t afford to buy pop, chips and other snack items because they are too pricey and taking up valuable money that I could be using towards actual meal items.

No one seems to care except for me. The problem is that we are a family of 4 and I started tracking our food budget this past month and we spent near $1200. Typically, I sit down and read the flyers to make a shopping list. When we get to the store that’s where the chaos begins.

The family all splits up and one by one keep piling things in the shopping cart. Every time I say no they have an excuse about why they need me to buy it. My husband is no better as he is always buying chips and pop. I told him we all need to start eating better but good luck with that.

I was outraged at how much money we spent last month but haven’t said anything to my husband for fear he won’t care so there’s no point. I guess seeing that number kicked me in the butt to start reading about ways to reduce our food budget costs every month.

The problem is that we are living pay cheque to pay cheque and our bills are never paid on time. I’m always calling one bill collector or another each month to try and get extra time to pay or come up with some excuse so they don’t shut our utilities off.

My family is not on the same page with me because they don’t have to worry about balancing the money in the bank account, I do. My kids are 15 and 18 and soon enough our older son will be on his own and I’m scared to think of what will happen with him and money.

What should I do?

Thanks so much,

Crazy Canadian Food Shopper


Food Shopping is not a mystery


To everyone reading this today who feels they can relate to Crazy Canadian Food Shopper I’m going to give it to you straight. The only thing you can do to correct an out of control food budget is to regroup and start over.

You are clearly missing lots of the important points about spending less at the grocery store so I’m going to give you a few ways you can kick-start your food budget back to a reasonable expense your monthly budget can handle.

If you have family members who are not willing to participate you need to speak up and tell them like it is. They will continue to take advantage of the fact that you are giving in all the time but enough is enough. Stand up for your grocery budget!

There’s no mystery when it comes to food shopping, there is only you. You are the one that ultimately has the final say which means you either get it right or fall prey to all the marketing in the grocery store. Even if it’s not you causing the problem everyone needs to sit down and talk about realistic expectations with the food budget.


Re-start your Grocery Budget Engine


How much should your grocery budget be?


First of all if you are grocery shopping without a budget you NEED to find out what you can afford to spend on groceries every month. Your grocery budget is one of the highest expenses next to rent or a mortgage in a basic budget world. Finding out what you can afford is as easy as budgeting your money.

Once you fill out a monthly budget you should know exactly how much your grocery budget should be. It’s easier to shop with a number in mind than to shop freely and dealing with the huge grocery receipt in the end. Another tip is bring cash because if you only have $100 to spend you have more power when it comes time to say, NO.


Shop alone or Say No


If you are struggling with the family putting whatever they want into the shopping cart then shop alone. I know this may seem harsh especially if your family loves the grocery store but eventually something is going to explode and it might be you.

If you are taking care of the finances you likely feel the money stress so either learn to say no or tell them all you’ll see them in an hour or two you’re going alone. I bet this will save you thousands each year.


Stick to the grocery list


You already create a grocery list so do what you are supposed to do and stick to it. Why go to all that trouble if you aren’t going to use it for what it is intended for. If you bring your list with you it’s also easier to defend those people who are just shoving food in without your consent or making you feel badly about wanting it and needing it.




Finally, education is key here. I know you landed on my blog looking for grocery saving tips and I can bet by reading my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide that you will find some information you are looking for.

Everyone has been through different experiences at the grocery store but this is your chapter of the budget which means you get the final say. If you are earning the money you decide where it goes and how it gets spent. If your husband is part of the spend-all team he needs to get on board with the grocery budget.

If you want your son to know how to grocery shop and how to budget don’t waste any more time waiting. The longer you wait to educate your family about money the harder it may be for them to alter their way of thinking and how much they want to spend .

Don’t blast them with education either, ease into it each week with something new. Maybe you can create some money challenges for them, have them hold the grocery list and help find items while shopping and so on. No more splitting up unless it’s to find a product on the list.

Make it fun for the family if they insist on grocery shopping with you.

This may seem easy enough for anyone to do but there is this subtle reality when it comes to food that makes it hard for those who love too much and give in either to others or themselves.

Do the right thing and re-start your food budget and make sure everyone is involved and if that’s not going to happen then kick them all to the curb and do it yourself. If you have the motivation to save, you will do it.

I hope to get an email down the road from the Crazy Canadian Food Shopper telling me how food shopping has changed for her family.

What other tips can you add to this post for her?

– Mr.CBB


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.



Free Tools to get you started with your grocery budget


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


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)


  • Robin Hood Flour PM No Frills $7.97
  • 2 x Ta Ta Tea Sale $4.99
  • 2 x Astro Yogurt Sale $1.99-1.00 coupons
  • Bananas $1.50
  • 2 x 2% Milk $3.97

Total Out-of-Pocket rounded $29.35

  • 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: $2
  • Total coupons used to date: $34.50
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $0
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $564.59
  • Total spent this week: $29.35
  • Total spent so far this month: $32.91
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: over $under
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: $under
  • Total left to spend for the month: $202.11
  • 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 didn’t need much after last weeks grocery shopping but we did stock up on a big bag of flour since ours is getting down to the bottom. The last thing we want to do is wait until winter and prices will sky-rocket for those who want to do lots of Christmas Baking and other foods.


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 didn’t find any coupons yet this week although we may run into Zehrs after swimming lessons to see if there are any coupons and do our banking while we are there.


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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