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If You’re Running Out Of Grocery Money Try This : The Grocery Game Challenge #5 Nov 30-Dec 6, 2015

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Running out of grocery money before the end of the month is heartbreaking for anyone especially families with children.

We all deserve to eat and should never go hungry but sadly this happens every day to people all over the world.

Nobody likes to admit defeat but there are times where we have to step up and ask ourselves why things are going the way they are and whether we can make successful changes to our lives.

The wonderful news is that there are services to help those in need who run out of grocery money in the form of free support in almost every city.

A huge thank-you to those who take time to donate to food banks and other local charities because your support goes a long way to help people in need. There are also other ways to help get back on track financially as long as you are motivated to see results.

I received the following email from a wife/mother of 2 young children this week that I wanted to share with you.

Hi Mr.CBB,

I wanted to know if you could give me some advice about grocery shopping. I’m not a fan of grocery shopping and cooking but I do it because my family needs to eat and I don’t want to serve unhealthy food or eat out all the time.

I have a good job and earn approximately $70,000 a year and my husband works a minimum wage job as cashier. We still have a mortgage and debt to pay off and with all the price hikes in the recent years we live pay to pay and continue to struggle.

Like many people we are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up financially. We’ve never had to ask for help before especially for food so it’s hard for us to ask for help even though we need it.

Just recently I’ve noticed that we’re running out of grocery money every month and the amount of food is not lasting in our house. I’m not sure if it is because our young boys (5 and 7) are growing up and eating more or if I’m just buying all the wrong food products and spending too much money.

We are at the point where there are weeks we can’t afford to buy food because the grocery money has been depleted and we have no savings. I don’t use a grocery budget yet but I did download your budget and plan to start budgeting in hopes of helping us find out where we are going wrong.

Right now we have around $400 a month to spend on groceries for 4 people but it seems that we continue to spend more or need more. If you have any other suggestions we would be grateful.

-Family of 4- Ontario

Dear Family of 4

Thanks for your question and I’ll do my best to answer it with the knowledge that I have gained over the years.


The first thing most people think they should do is “Spend Less Money” and although that may be true there is not just 1 thing that will contribute to helping people of a financial rut. Running out of grocery money or funds to pay the mortgage/rent is a sign that you are in dire need of change.

Most of the time change is met with opposition but if you want to straighten things up you must be willing to jump through hoops to get there. It may not be easy, it may tire you out but at the end of it all you will look back and be proud that you never gave up doing the best you could.


Gaining control of your grocery money


I’m sure I’ve written many articles over the years that will help this family out in my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide plus what I’m going to share today but there are always MORE ways to find your financial focus than what I will tell you.

Take what I say with a grain of salt or run with it and fill in the money gaps that have helped leak your cash into areas where it doesn’t need to go. Let’s take a look at areas you can visit to keep the grocery money going all month and then some.


Take Inventory/Grocery list


The first thing I would do in this situation is take a food inventory of what is in the house. If you buy other products with your grocery money such as health and beauty or cleaning supplies, list this as well.

Don’t just say you will do it! Action provides results.

You need to know how much stock you have on hand and what products you have. Knowing this information you are now armed with ammunition to start your journey.

Related: Free Downloadable Tools including a grocery list

Every time you go grocery shopping create a list and stick to it you’ll thank yourself for doing this. Having a grocery list with you while you shop is your second defense to combat over-spending.


Budget Your Money


You’ve heard it all before and think that budgeting sucks and you’re right not everyone likes to work with numbers. Budgets can be tedious but it also keeps people from going into debt, gets them out of debt and can help avoid extreme financial measures such as selling a house, car or even bankruptcy.

A grocery budget is simple to make BUT you must also know how much net income you are bringing home, who you owe money to every month and those expenses that only come once or twice a year.

Once you budget all of your numbers you will see how much money you have left to put towards your grocery money. If that number is too low then you have to either cut stuff out of your budget such as cable, cell phones, move somewhere cheaper or find new income sources.

Oh and don’t pay for an online budget if you don’t have to unless you want all the frills. If you are handy with computer programs you can design one yourself or download our free budget.


Earn Extra Money


Whether you like it or not if you aren’t making ends meet you may have to find a second income source or even third if you’ve already explored this avenue. During the holiday season you could take on temporary part-time work at the mall or other businesses who ramp up for the huge flow of customers in November, December and January.

Related: How I earn extra money doing what I love

You could also take on a paper route, babysitting or find something you are good or love to do and make money doing it. If you love to blog or write you could easily make money as a freelance writer although it takes time to get your name out there but once you do you can earn big bucks. If you love to garden in the summer you could make flyers, go door to door and offer your services or even grocery shop for other people.

Whatever you choose to do it needs to bring in extra money to help with your budget.


Buy Reduced Food


One way we target our food budget for savings is locating reduced items at the grocery store. Just about every grocery store will mark down food that is close to expiry or quick sale products for over-stock or packaging changes. Typically we will only buy what is on our list but if we see the same products marked down for less we will buy them first. This has come in handy for us as we’ve saved hundreds of dollars in 2015 alone using this tactic.

Related: How I reduced our grocery budget from $1100 to $600 in 6 months


Bulk Shop


Always compare the weight and prices when buying food because you may find that the small pack that is on sale is still costing you more money than it would had you spent an extra dollar to buy the larger package. If you can spend the money to buy the bulk bag you will save in the long run.

If you see that your local grocery store has products that are exceptionally priced and you have the money to stock up, do it while you can. It may take a bit of juggling with the grocery budget or even catching up BUT if you are serious about your money you won’t let anything get in your way.


Food Bank and other services


Almost all local communities have a food bank which is where you can go to get free food and other products to help you get to the end of the month. Some people are ashamed to go to the food bank but don’t let your fear of what others may think of you get in the way of living. No one else cares more about you, than you do.

There may also be soup kitchens and other local facilities such as churches and community centres that offer breakfast, lunch and dinner for free so ask around because. You can also call city hall to ask them what local services may be in town to help those in need. If they can’t help you then ask them who they might suggest.

Speak up, live the life you deserve.


Use Coupons


You may read this and think that its common sense to use coupons but believe me there are so many people who are in the dark about coupon savings. Coupons may not be as wildly popular as they once were a few years ago BUT there are savings to be had at just about every grocery store.

Related: Where to find Canadian Coupons?

If you have access to the internet at your home, local library or own a smartphone you can also sign up for coupon apps that will help you save even more grocery money.


Meal Plan


Meal planning is imperative for saving grocery money because you are only buying food that you will need to prepare that day, week, bi-weekly or monthly. My advice is always to consider buying foods that you can stretch or switch up into different meals.

Buying a whole chicken will give you a lovely roast chicken dinner but you can use the bones and other bits of chicken to make a chicken stock. You can then use that chicken stock to make a homemade pot of chicken soup. You can add beans, pasta and vegetables to stretch that pot of soup even further.

The same goes with buying cuts of meat like ham, beef, pork and so on. Think big but also consider how many meals you can get out of what you are buying.


Minimize and sell what you don’t need


If you are in need of fast cash have a look around your house for items you can sell and make money. There are many places on the internet where you can sell or auction what has sat around collecting dust. If the weather is nice you could also hold a garage sale to get fast cash where selling online may take a bit longer depending on your prices and demand.

Related: Garage sale tips for buying and selling your stuff


Short-term fixes that could fail or help


Not everyone has extra time to get another job so they may end up doing one of the following below.

  • Get a Loan
  • Credit Card
  • Line of Credit

Although I’m not a huge fan of using a loan, credit card or line of credit to balance a monthly budget some people are in-between jobs or are waiting for money to come in so these services may come in handy to help you get through the month especially if you are running out of grocery money. Keep in mind the consequences of further debt if you don’t pay back the loans so this could help or hinder your progress.

We use a credit card to pay for all of our groceries BUT we pay it off in full every month. The interest rates on almost every credit card and most loans are outrageous so if you plan on holding a balance plan on paying more over the long-term. Pay it off as fast as you can and steer clear of friends and family loans as that could cause further issues on a different level if money is not paid back in a timely fashion.

Cash is always best.

The most important thing to remember is that an emergency savings fund is crucial for survival in this world. Prices are only going up including utility bills, rent and everything that has dollar signs attached so don’t get caught in the fire. Saving even a few dollars every month is better than having an empty wallet when you need something the most, like grocery money.

What other tips can you suggest to help someone who finds they keep running out of grocery  money?


November Grocery Game Challenge posts


Join in the Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) 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.

New monthly prize: $10 President’s Choice Gift Card for Canadian residents only.

NEW!! If you want to play from outside of Canada and have PayPal and you win I will pay you $10CDN via PayPal. I use a random online generator to pick the winning ballot every month.

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 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 Grocery Budget Tools


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 $188.10
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $235.00 $188.10
  • Total Gift Cards used to date: $32.40
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $140.00
  • PC Points Plus Earned to date: 87421
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0.98

Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

  • Snap Groupon to date: $28.00
  • Zweet to date: $18.00
  • Checkout51 to date: $7.00


Grocery Shop This Week


Food Basics

  • 2 x Dozen Eggs $3.09 each
  • 2x Philadelphia cream cheese $2.97 each
  • 1 x 3.25% milk $4.97
  • 1 x 2% milk $3.97
  • 2 x Astro Yogurt $2.49 each

Total Out-of-Pocket: $26.04 – rounded $26.05

  • Total to spend this month $235 $188.10 (overspend from October to catch up on)
  • 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 $25.00+ Oct $25.00+ Nov $25.00
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $23.82 =$1.18=$25.00
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $34.50
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $0
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $676.52
  • Total spent this week: $26.05
  • Total spent so far this month: $249.04
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: over
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: over -$60.94
  • Total left to spend for the month: $188.35 over budget by $34.90 for the month
  • 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 $130.37+ October $281.89+ November $249.04

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

Well we needed to pick up a few bits as expected but didn’t spend too much this week. Instead of using our PC points we are saving them for December although we may get lucky and not need to use them. With only 2 weeks of groceries to buy for we should be able to crush our 2015 grocery goals. Fingers crossed!


Canadian Coupons


Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons! These are your latest Checkout 51 offers which you can use to help save money. We’re finding less and less coupons in the stores these days. What are your thoughts? Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons?

No new coupon finds this week but there are lots on the Loblaws Coupon Board so don’t forget to check your local President’s Choice stores for coupons.


Grocery Game Challenge FAQ’s


  • 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. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
  • What is the monthly prize and who can claim it?- The monthly prize is a $10 PC Loblaws Gift Card and for our out of country friends it’s $10 CDN via Paypal if they win. As more people join I will add more money to the gift card or I will split it up and offer 2 prizes every month.
  • 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. If you choose to post monthly  or bi-weekly you will only get 1 ballot for that shop. 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 the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our Iphone so if you wan to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
  • 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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  1. Week 1 – November 29 – December 5

    • Grocery budget to work with in December over 5 weeks: $250
    • Total coupons used this week: $2.00
    • Total coupons used to date: $149.11
    • Total RCSS gas coupons used this week: $0
    • Total RCSS gas coupons used to date: $19.71
    • Total value PC Plus points redeemed this week: $0
    • Total value PC Plus points redeemed to date: $360
    • Total gift cards/certificates/gifts used this week: $0
    • Total gift cards/certificates/gifts used to date: $73.76
    • Total student discounts this week: $2.63
    • Total student discounts to date: $220.12
    • Total tax savings RCSS this week: $0
    • Total tax savings RCSS to date: $13.60
    • Total spent this week: $84.80
    • Total spent so far this month: $84.80
    • Total left to spend for the month: $165.20
    • Carry over: $0
    • Total in carry over jar: $80.10
    • Total Spent To Date 2015: $2,874.65

    Walmart: Gingerbread cookies 2.00, tax .26: total paid 2.25

    Westons bakery outlet: large tortilla wraps 2.00, 12 pk hot dog buns 1.70, apple bread 2 x .95, whole wheat bread 4 x .95: Total paid 9.40

    No Frills: Cambells soup 18 x 1.00, Christie Crackers 15 x 1.00 – 4 x .50 coupons, tortilla chips 2 x 1.59, Nordica cottage cheese 2.00, yogurt 2 x 1.00, hot stuffs 1.00, Johnsonville sausages 2 x 2.00, imitation lobster 2.00, potato salad 1.00, tax .46: Total paid 46.65

    Shoppers Drug Mart: case of water 1.99: total paid 2.00

    RCSS: 2 x 2L pop .98, Catelli pasta 6 x 1.00, NN orange juice 2.78, eggs 2.49 (PM), Becel clearance 6 x .64 (small containers), bananas 1.43, iceberg lettuce 1.00 (PM), cheese pizza 5.00, less student discount 2.63, plus tax .23: Total paid 24.10

    Ok, so this was a wicked expensive week for us. We used it for major sales at No Frills when we were in Kingston rather than try to price match so much at RCSS. This way we have stock on the shelves and easy go to snacks for the next couple of months. My schedule is really terribly busy right now and I can hardly thing straight, so it needed to be at least a bit easier. And, 1.00 a box for Christie crackers is awesome. The ready to serve soup is great too. With the schedule, I am not managing the full home cooked meals with leftovers. Hubby doesn’t mind the soup for work, so life is much easier. I can’t even get the dishes done these days. Can’t wait until my semester is done.

    The stock up at RCSS was also needed, we hardly had any pasta, and a I grabbed a couple more boxes of crackers with my discount. Pizza was dinner that night. Cheaper than takeout and I didn’t need clean dishes for it. I have the rest of the month to make up for the expense this week. I like to stick to the $50 weekly range. If needed, we can dip into the carryover, but I really hope we don’t.

    Water at Shoppers was cheaper to buy the case than just a bottle for my kiddo before we headed home from Kingston that day. It was a longer day than I had anticipated, so we had used up all of the drinks and snacks I had packed. It will be nice to have some of the bottles for emergencies if need be at home.

    1. Hi Angela,
      What an impressive stock up shop you had here. The crackers were a great deal. Too bad you didn’t have any more of the coupons.Isn’t it crazy how you can get an entire case of water for $1.99 or buy a bottle for more at some shops. Blows my mind the mark up on water. When are you done for the semester? I bet it will be nice to take a break. You get ballot #4. MR.CBB

      1. The semester ended for me on the 19th. It’s a relief! But no break for me, I start a part-time student job on Monday. I’m excited, then I won’t have to worry as much, but my life will be rather busy instead! Well… busier!

  2. Week 2 of 2…..Dec 4 – 10, 2015

    Name Your Store: St. Jacobs Farmer’s Market
    Total Coupons Used: $0.00
    Total Points = N/A
    Total Out Of Pocket: $107.50

    21 lbs Ground Beef @ $4.99 = $105.00
    Cabbage = $2.50

    Name Your Store: Superstore
    Total Coupons Used: $0.00
    Total Points = 200 (Joanne’s PC Points)
    Total Out Of Pocket: $5.15

    Carton of 18 Eggs = $3.98
    Bananas – (Joanne’s 200 PC Points) = $1.15

    Name Your Store: Superstore
    Total Coupons Used: $0.00
    Total Points = 800
    Total Out Of Pocket: $39.56 (plus $1.43 Gift Card)

    5 Cans Cream of Tomato & Cream of Mushroom – 5/$4.00 = $4.00
    NN Worcestershire Sauce = $2.47
    4 Cans NN Tuna – $1.17 (PM Shopper’s Drug Mart @ $0.99) (800 PC Points) = $3.96
    Bread Crumbs = $2.99
    Hellman’s Mayo = $2.97
    4 L Skim Milk = $3.97
    450 g Kraft Marble Cheese – $7.99 (PM Sobeys @ $3.77) = $3.77
    5 lb Bag of Navel Oranges = $4.98
    Wonder WW Bread = $2.99

    6 Cans Friskies – 2/$1.00 = $3.00
    1.5 Kg Friskies Hard Food = $3.98

    Grocery Game Challenge Results
    Total Grocery Budget for the Human Year ($2080.00, for the pay period – $80.00)
    Total Grocery Budget for the Cat Year ($390, for the pay period – $15.00)

    Total Coupons Used this Week Period: $0.00
    Total Coupons Used To Date: $12.25
    Total Discounts/SCOP this Week Period: $
    Total Discounts/SCOP to Date: $10.86
    Total Checkout 51 rebates this Week Period: $0.00
    Total Checkout 51 rebates to Date: $10.00
    Total Snap rebates this Week Period: $0.00
    Total Snap rebates to Date: $1.00
    Total Price Match for this Week Period: $4.94
    Total Price Match to Date: $509.46
    Total Meat this Week Period: $105.00
    Total Meat to Date: $629.17
    Total Produce this Week Period: $2.50
    Total Produce to Date: $274.81
    Total Adhoc Stockpile this Week Period: $
    Total Adhoc Stockpile to Date: $489.27
    Total PC Points Received this Week Period: 800
    Total PC Rewards Points Used this Week Period:
    Total PC Rewards To Date: 8225

    Total Over/Under spend this Human shop: $1.75 under
    Total Left to Spend for the Human Month: $121.75
    Total Spent To Date – Human: Jan $234.85; Feb $130.22; Mar $146.35; Apr $186.85; May $187.95; Jun $156.49; Jul $137.58; Aug $174.29; Sept $194.80 ; Oct $198.63 ; Nov $99.41; Dec $33.10+5.15 = $1,885.67

    Total Over/Under spend this Cat shop: $7.11 under
    Total Left to Spend for the Cat Month: $16.95
    Total Spent To Date – Cat: Jan $47.65; Feb $22.08; Mar $33.69; Apr $21.35; May $26.96; Jun $29.06; Jul $16.91; Aug $41.06 ; Sept $48.82 ; Oct $26.83 ; Nov $34.51 ; Dec $7.89 = $356.80

    Overview: Stocked up on ground beef and made many meat balls for the freezer (including some cheese stuffed ones). This week is like a normal week and still on track to finish off the year in the black for the grocery budget. My daughter had bananas on her PC point list so she bought them but I paid for them. I’m still under budget for this week, which is good.

    1. Hi Dee,
      You are smart making ahead meatballs. I’ve done it a few times and every time I pull them from the freezer both my wife and I say thank goodness we made them. It may seem tedious at the time but it’s worth it in the end when you don’t have to make them the night of. I’m thrilled to hear that both you and Christine are coming up for under budget and with only one month left to go we may all have a great success for 2015. I was saying to Christine in her comment that my sister-in-law bought half an cow and has a freezer full of Angus beef for $1400. I don’t blame you for stocking up if the price is right. Well done. You get ballot 28. Mr.CBB 🙂 On to the final month… my favourite!

  3. Yearly grocery budget for 4 adults and 2 cats -$7800.00
    (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: $650.00
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $650.00
    Total Gift Cards used to date: $10.00
    Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
    Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
    PC Points Plus Earned to date: 21250
    Air Miles Cash redeemed -380 miles, $40.00
    Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
    Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
    Snap Groupon to date: $3.00
    Zweet to date: $1.50 ($25.75)
    Checkout51 to date: $6.25 ($25.50)

    Grocery Shop This Week
    Foodland #1
    1 Downie fabric softener -5.99
    1 jug water -5.49
    1 sunflower oil -3.99
    1 case ginger ale -3.33
    1 pack cider mix -2.99
    1 4l milk -4.88
    1 block cheese -4.49
    1 yogurt -2.99
    Bananas -.64
    1 pork tenderloin -6.46
    Tax -1.60
    Air Miles Cash redeemtion -190 miles, $20.00
    Total OOP -$22.85
    Foodland #2
    1 Downie -5.99
    1 jug water -5.49
    2 4l milk @4.88
    Bananas -1.54
    3lbs carrots -1.79
    2 bagels @2.50, 20% AM discount -.50
    Tax -.78
    Air Miles Cash redeemtion -190 miles, $20.00
    Total OOP -$9.85, .50 AM discount
    Total to spend this month $650.00
    Stockpile budget 2015 ($25.00): Jan $22.20+ Feb $24.50+ (Mar $22.18+ April)+$18.32+ May $40.95+ June $24.15+ July $45.32+ Aug $32.92+ Sept $22.43+ Oct $0 Nov $0
    Stockpile budget used this month: $0
    Total coupons used this week: $0
    Total coupons used to date: $149.13
    Total in-store discounts this week: $.50
    Total in-store discounts to date: $179.57
    Total spent this week: $32.70
    Total spent so far this month: $650.45
    Total over/Under spend this shop: over
    Total over/Under spend for the month: over $.45
    Total left to spend for the month: Forty five cents over for the month
    Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $640.13+ Feb $572.63+ Mar $786.52+ April $515.95+ May $621.33+ June $760.66+ July $552.91+ August $674.89+ September $610.32+ October $646.30+ November $650.45
    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts) Boy those Air Miles cash points sure saved my but!! I was only over by $.45!! So close!! Next month will be a real test of the budget to come in on target!! We both know how the holidays beat the crap out of it. I have turkey bucks to pay for the bird and a gift card from my sisters-in-law that will help too…$100.00!! They are great and have been so supportive with hubby being sick. We are back going to London regular as his monoclonal numbers were up in Sept. The doctor said they usually wait a couple of months to see where those numbers go but because he was so sick the last time in 2012 the doctor wasn’t going to wait that long. We see him every few weeks and go for the chemo treatment 4 weeks out of 5. They call this a maintainance dose and it’s just the one very expensive drug. We signed off to get it on compassionate grounds from the company again. It sucks but that is the way it goes, we knew it would come back just not when. Now we know. So far he still feels pretty good but the treatment does have him tired for a day or two after. One day at a time……

    1. Hi Christine,
      Is sunflower oil your oil of choice to fry with? I’ve never used it before. What does it taste like? Don’t say sunflowers either lol. Our Budget took a beating too but you did better than us. We went over budget in November but have PC points to use up in December.I suppose the points don’t show an accurate budget but we do look at how much we used in points at the end of the year when we calculate our food costs for the following year. If the points or gift cards weren’t available would we have spent so much or would we have been over budget. These are things to keep in mind when budgeting although you are on a fixed budget so it might not affect you as much. Well done. You get ballot #27. Here’s to December! Mr.CBB

      1. Sunflower is rather tasteless actually but it’s nice to use. I hit the switch for the exhaust fan over the stove when I use it as it will smoke but any oil will do that if it gets hot enough. I consider things like points to be a tool to help keep my grocery bill down, much like we use coupons, sales and stickered products. I’m buying the stuff anyway so this does help long term. It all gets figured in, as I go. That’s my take on it at least. Might be something to think about as a future topic here…. December here we come!!!!

  4. Merry Xmas Mr.CBB…this is my November (for the month)

    Name Your Store: i.e. Superstore (Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $1.36 (superbucks)
    Total Out Of Pocket: $17.87
    Gift card- $14.46+10.51
    PC points redeemed—$30+
    plastic bag rebate- $0.02

    basmati rice-$14.59
    BBQ sauce 3 @ $1.00=$3.00
    Graves apple juice 6 @1.00 (1200 PC pts) =$6.00
    choc ice cream 437ml-$1.00
    pogo (2pk)- $1.00
    3 lb carrots- $2.00
    reduced produce- 2 @ $0.99=$1.98
    reduced produce- 3 @ $1.49= $4.47
    reduced produce-$2.99
    pork chops-$8.44
    med ground beef-(1500 PC pts) $7.76
    med ground beef- ( 1500 PC pts) $7.72
    hamburg buns 12 pk $3.99 (reduced) =$1.99
    + 1 cent litre off next gas purchase.
    227g mushrooms 2 @ 2/$5.00 – (reduced $2.51) + (400 PC pts)
    10lbs potatoes 3 @ $1.96 (1200 PC pts)= $5.88
    bananas- (400 PC pts)= $2.16

    Name Your Store: i.e. Shoppers Drug Mart(Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $6.00
    Total Out Of Pocket: $29.56

    doz eggs 2 @ $1.99= $3.98
    4L milk 2 @ $ 5.39= $10.78
    4L milk 2@ $5.39=$10.78
    PC mixed nuts 3 @ $2.99- coupons 3 @$2.00= $2.97

    Name Your Store: i.e. Giant Tiger(Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $
    Total Out Of Pocket: $8.28+9.97=18.25+7.00=$25.25

    tomato soup 4 @ $0.44=$1.76
    toilet paper- $5.67
    cream cheese 6 @$1.50=$9.00
    2 lbs onions-$0.97
    5 lbs onions – 2 @ 3/$5.00=$3.34
    5lbs carrots 1 @ 3/$5.00= $1.66
    250 ml sour cream 2 @$1.00= $2.00

    Name Your Store: i.e. Bulk Barn (Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $
    Total Out Of Pocket: $22.52+$17.99+$8.92=$49.43
    gift card- $5.00

    sultana raisins-$2.77
    turkish apricots-$3.43
    baking soda- $0.53
    walnut halves-$3.67
    hickory smoked almonds- $10.54
    received $5 gift card with $15 purchase
    virgin coconut oil- $17.99
    received $5 gift card with $15 purchase
    .53 kg hickory smoked almonds =$13.92

    Name Your Store: i.e. U.F.O. –Upham Family Outlet (Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $17.86

    canned crushed tomatoes 3 @ 3/$1.00= $1.00
    Dads oatmeal cookies- $1.50
    shreddies- $1.99
    Kraft salad dressing 2 @ 2/$1.00= $1.00
    cough drops 3 @3/ $1.00= $1.00
    M&M candy 3 @ 3 $1.00
    case of kashi cereal bars (12 boxes in a crate) =$5.00
    cream of wheat 3 @ $1.79= $5.37

    Name Your Store: i.e. Lawton’s Drug store (Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $19.35

    box of 8 chocolate bars=$4.25
    canned vegs 24 @ $0.59 (less 20%- 55+ senior discount)= $11.33
    apple juice 4 @$0.99 (less 20%- 55+senior discount) = $3.17

    Name Your Store: i.e. Sobeys (Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $
    Gift card-(Purchased with cash) $12.29+$9.32
    redeemed Airmiles- $

    10 kg RH flour- $9.99
    choc bar 4 @$0.50= $2.00
    4 L milk- $5.99
    3 lbs margarine – $3.33

    Name Your Store: i.e. McQuarrie’s PharmaSave (Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $7.15

    1.36L Graves blueberry/apple juice 12 @ 2/$0.99= $7.15

    Overall for the month of November

    $ 170.45 out of pocket (does not includes the $200 gift card I paid cash for, as I will deduct as I use it)
    $ 6.00 coupons (coupon and star bucks)
    $ 15.51 gift cards
    $30.00 airmiles/ pc points redeemed to pay for the groceries
    $ 0.00 (I use my PC points and Air miles to buy them )
    $ 21.61 (Sobeys gift card that I purchased from cash)

    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $216.67 (averages $50 week)
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $

    Total Gift Cards used to date: =$76.08+$6.46=(25-31 May)=$82.54 + $50.39 (month of June)= $132.93= $86.07 (July) = $219.00+$60.64 (Aug)=$279.64+$24.21 (Sept)=$303.85+$15.16 (Oct)=$319.01+$15.51 (Nov)=$334.52
    Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
    Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

    Snap Groupon to date: $0
    Zweet to date: $0
    Cart Smart to date: $0
    Checkout51 to date: $0

    GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK (add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)

    Stockpile budget 2015 ($0.00): $0
    Stockpile budget used to date: $0
    Total coupons used this week: $0
    Total coupons used to date: $9.73+24.23 (month of June) =$33.96+$18.52 (month of July) =$52.48+$32.92 (Sept)=$85.40+$20.73 (Oct)=$106.13+$6.00 (Nov)=$112.13
    Total in-store discounts this week: $0.00
    Total in-store discounts to date: 0.00
    Total spent this week: $0
    Total spent so far this month: $192.06
    Total over/Under spend this shop: $
    Total over/Under spend for the month $

    Total left to spend for the month : $353.02+$216.67 June=$569.69-$36.90 (spent in June)=$532.79+ $216.67 –$4.15 (spent in July ) =$745.31+$216.67-$149.53(spent in Aug)=$812.45+$216.67-$313.05 (spent in Sept)=$716.07+$216.67-$145.94(spent in Oct)=$786.80+$216.67-$192.06 (spent in Nov)=$811.41

    Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) $730.33+ $36.90 ( month of June)=$767.23+ $4.15 (month of July) =$771.38+$149.53 (Aug)=$920.91+$313.05 (Sept)=$1233.96+$145.94=$1379.90+$192.06=$1571.96

    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts): I thought our stock pile of food would decrease, but instead, it is increasing.I don’t mind, because it gives us a variety of meals, but it also lowers the cost per meal. We have noticed a trend with the drug stores and Bulk Barn specials …and ‘playing the game’. …and that is thanks to you Mr CBB 🙂

    1. Hi Kathryn,
      Great deals with the points. Where did you get the coupons for the nuts? I used to buy peanuts at Shoppers Drug Mart but they no longer sell the brand I would buy. I also used to pay $1.99 for a large bag but these days the price has skyrocketed. It’s always nice to have a stocked pantry as long as you eat the food. We don’t stock too much because we simply couldn’t get through it all but the savings are there.
      Yes we are always playing that game but play it right and you can come out on top. Well done with this shop. You get ballot 17 Mr.CBB

  5. Great tips! Although I have more money and so it’s not an issue when I go over budget on groceries by a few dollars, it’s still upsetting that it happens nearly every month. I suppose I could just re-adjust my budget category by increasing it a few dollars, but that feels like admitted defeat. I will put some of these tactics to use to see if I can get my spending down a little bit. If I still seem to be going over, perhaps I need to raise the budget a little bit. Growing children do affect your grocery spending as they begin to eat more.

    1. I know what you are saying as we considered it too but yes defeat that would be. We only adjust at the end of the year if needed based on the numbers.

  6. NOVEMBER – Week #5 of 5- Nov 30-Dec 6, 2015


    •Total Grocery Budgeted For Year: $190.00 x 12 = $2,280.00 for 2 adults



    This week is chock-a-block full of sales on our holiday items. We also picked up some yogurt for hubby’s lunches while it was on sale.

    We still have $37.24 available in the “regular” grocery budget so I plan to carry those funds forward into our December groceries where I think they’ll be needed. Any unused funds at the end of December will be added back into our reserves.

    Also, I went to Customer Service at Save On Foods last night and told them we have been in 4 times in the last 2 weeks trying to purchase the pomegranate arils with our rain check but each and every time they have been out of stock. They kindly extended my rain check for another 2 weeks! If you have a good price locked in, it’s well worth politely trying to ensure you can take advantage of it. What do you have to lose? I asked and happily they granted my request for an extension. Yippee! 🙂



    Save On Foods – Maple Ridge –

    1 bag Christmas Jelly Beans = $7.08 (Holiday item)
    2 canned Peaches in Pear Juice $3.98 (Holiday item – making Hot Fruit Compote)
    2 canned Pears in Pear Juice $3.98 (Holiday item – making Hot Fruit Compote)
    4 canned Mandarin Oranges $6.00 (Holiday item – making Hot Fruit Compote)
    4 Old Dutch Salsa Queso $11.97 (Holiday item – dip for our crudities)
    4 large Pomegranate Arils (Rain Check $5.00 ea) $20.00 (Holiday item) << I had 2 rain checks
    1 Popcorn Seasoning $6.79 (Holiday item – low sodium – for our Christmas movie watching)
    2 Olympic Yogurt $8.00 << for hubby's lunches

    Total Regular Grocery OOP: $8.00
    Total Holiday Grocery OOP: $59.80

    ** Earned 5,064 MORE Points on this shop ** << includes Mary's Prescriptions for 90 days
    ** SAVED $3.96 in Rain Check/Coupons **
    ** SAVED $9.10 Loyalty Savings on this shop **



    OUR NEXT USA SHOP WILL BE in December while hubby is on vacation.



    •Total Loyalty Card Price Reductions This Year:

    Jan $3.58+ Feb $0.00 + Mar $14.54 + Apr $15.76 + May $0.00 + June $5.68 + July $0.00 + Aug $35.63 + Sept $138.97+Oct $65.17 +Nov $57.50= $336.87

    •Total Coupons/Rain Checks Used This Year:

    Jan $0.00 + Feb $0.00 + Mar $0.00 + Apr $0.00 + May $0.00 + June $14.00 + July $0.00 + Aug $0.00 + Sept $88.75 +Oct $7.79 +Nov $10.13 = $120.67

    •Total Price Match Savings Used This Year:

    Jan $0.00 +Feb $0.00 + Mar $0.00 + Apr $0.00 + May $0.00 + June $0.00 + July $0.00 + Aug $0.00 + Sept $0.00 + Oct $0.00 +Nov $0.00= $0.00

    •Total More Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 22 + Feb 45 + Mar 140 + Apr 12 + May 6 + June 12 + July 0 + Aug 160 + Sept 84+Oct 29 + Nov 5,197= 5,693 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year:

    Jan 0 + Feb 0 + Mar 1 + Apr 1 + May 322 + June 0 + July 0 + Aug 4 + Sept 176 + Oct 72 + Nov 0= 576 Air Miles

    •Total PC PLUS Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 1200 + Feb 900 + Mar 900 + Apr 1,500 + May 0 + June 1800 + July 0 + Aug 900 + Sept 2,200 + Oct 1,411 + Nov 3,400 = 14,211 Points

    •Total Optimum Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 30 + Feb 40 + Mar 0 + Apr 0 + May 0 + June 20 + July 0 + Aug 0 + Sept 0 + Oct 0 + Nov 40= 130 Points



    •Total OOP Year-To-Date:
    Jan $199.31+ Feb $180.69 + Mar $274.41 + Apr $105.59+ May $237.00 + June $171.34 + July $53.25 + Aug $319.00 + Sept $117.32 + Oct $373.03+ Nov (trf $0.00 Xmas Reserve+$0.00 to Summer + $0.00 trf to Re-Stocking Reserve + $0.00 trf to Borscht Reserve + $0.00 trf to US-$0.00 trf from Christmas Reserve+$4.69 Trf to Unused re Reward Point Redemption +$4.98+$8.25+$19.42-$19.42 Trf from Xmas Reserve+$22.01+$27.35-$27.35 Trf from Xmas Reserve+$5.49+$9.98-$15.47 Trf from Xmas Reserve +$14.93+$2.00+$83.39-$83.39 Trf from Xmas Reserve -$67.09 Transfer from Summer Reserve+$24.05+$8.00+$59.80-$59.80 Transfer from Holiday Reserve= -$5.82) = $2,052.76

    •Total Year-To-Date Grocery Budget:
    Jan $190.00+Feb $190.00 + Mar $190.00 + Apr $190.00 + May $190.00 + June 190.00+July$190.00+Aug $190.00 + Sept 190.00 + Oct $190.00 + Nov $190.00= $2,090.00

    •Total Over/Under on Year-To-Date Grocery Budget: $37.24 AVAILABLE



    2014 Fwd $0.00+Jan $0.00+Feb $3.83+ Mar $32.09 + Apr $4.99 + May $4.69 + June $9.38 + July $4.69 + Aug $0.00 + Sept $9.38 +Oct $4.69 + Nov $4.69= $78.43



    2014 Fwd $325.00+Jan $22.50+Feb $22.50 + Mar $17.50 + Apr $18.44 + May $17.50 + June $6.56 + July $20.00 + Aug $20.00 + Sept ($17.50-$120 – $167.50= – $270.00) + Oct $17.50 + Nov $0.00= $217.50



    2014 Fwd $412.50+Jan $12.50 + Feb $12.50 + Mar $12.50 + Apr $0.00 + May $20.00 + June $30.00+July $0.00 + Aug $12.50 + Sept $12.50 + Oct $12.50 + Nov $0.00 = $537.50



    2014 Fwd $110.00+Jan $10.00 +Feb $10.00+ Mar $10.00 + Apr $10.00 + May $25.00 + June $10.00 + July 15.00+ Aug 15.00 + Sept $10.00 + Oct ($25.00 – $64.88 trf to US Reserve – $8.82 trf to groceries- $15.00 trf to groceries = -$63.70) + Nov (-$19.42 -$27.35-$15.47-$83.39 -$59.80= -$205.43 trf to groceries) = ($44.13) OVER UNTIL DEC TOP UP!



    2014 Fwd $90.00+Jan $10.00 + Feb $10.00 + Mar $15.00 + Apr $15.00 + May $35.00 + June $36.44 + July $13.56+Aug $21.31 + Sept ($9.85-$106.16 = -$96.31) + Oct $17.09 + Nov -$67.09 Trf to groceries = $100.00



    $ 2,090.00 Grocery Budget JAN-NOV
    $ 78.43 Redeemed Points to Purchase Groceries
    $ 76.36 Drawn from Misc Reserves (Re-Stocking, Borscht, Xmas, Summer)
    ($ 0.02) Hiding Spot Cash – SPENT
    ($ 13.45) 2014 Costco Rebate Chq – SPENT
    ($ 201.81) Trf to US Grocery Reserve
    ($ 78.43) Set in a reserve to offset Redeemed Points
    ($ 1,913.84) Actual CASH SPENT



    $ 4.98 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – JAN
    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – FEB
    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – FEB
    $ 4.99 Whole Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – MAR
    $ 4.99 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – MAR
    $ 4.99 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – MAR
    $ 1.60 Sprouts- 1,000 MORE Pts – MAR
    $ 4.99 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – MAR
    $ 4.99 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – APR
    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – MAY
    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – JUNE
    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – JUNE
    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – JULY
    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – SEPT
    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – SEPT
    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – OCT
    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – OCT

    $ 78.43 Total $ Value of Points Redeemed

    So far $1,900.00 has been budgeted Y-T-D for 2015 and we have recorded these funds as “spent” and in fact they have been “saved”:

    $217.50 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $537.50 Borscht Fund
    ($ 44.13) Holiday Season Fund
    $100.00 Summer Season Fund


    This also means that with $190.00 to start NOVEMBER less $130.94 overage carried forward from OCTOBER less $0.00 transferred to the various savings reserves less $0.00 transferred for Points Redeemed = $59.06 plus an additional $0.00 saved in our US grocery reserve, we opened the month of NOVEMBER with $59.06 available to spend on the Canadian side of the border PLUS $126.89 drawn from our reserves to use this month LESS the funds we have spent of $148.71 on our groceries (cash & points) so far this month and have $37.24 AVAILABLE for the month of NOVEMBER.

    We have groceries that have been purchased using points redeemed, rather than the budgeted cash in the amount of $78.43. Available as an offset, we currently have $78.43 in our UNUSED CASH RESERVE. As at this moment, we need and additional $0.00 in the UNUSED CASH RESERVE. If our budget is truly sufficient, when we reach December 31st, the unused funds should still be equal to, if not greater than, the value of the points redeemed. It’ll be interesting to see if they actually are.

    Note: Another reserve of $110.21 IS AVAILABLE for our next US shop!

    Of the outstanding US Shopping Reserve $110.21:

    $113.07 is carried forward from 2014

    $252.50 is new 2015 Y-T-D savings

    Less $115.57 that we’ve transferred back to the grocery funds

    PLUS $64.88 transferred from our Christmas Reserve funds

    Less ($9.98+$5.00+$15.32+$34.58) = $64.88 Christmas spending in the US

    Less ($10.00+$71.86+$57.93) = $139.79 that we’ve actually spent in 2015

    = $110.21 US Reserve Available


    The valid rain checks I hold are as follows:

    Thrifty Foods –

    12 x 14 oz Compliments NO SALT Diced Tomatoes @ $1.00 ea – good until Dec 27/15

    6 x WW Bread @ $1.00 ea – good until Dec 29/15


    1 Pomegranate Arils $5 ea –Extended to Dec 13 << My 2nd rain check that was extended! 🙂


    1. Hi Mary,
      Bring on the December grocery savings. I’m sure there will be boatloads of mouthwatering deals in the coming weeks so yes the money will come in handy in December. That’s a good point you bring up about the rain check. We have done what you suggested too and it’s worth it. Most times the grocery store has no problems extending the rain check if you are polite. I’ve never bought popcorn seasoning before. What flavour do you buy and what is the best popcorn to buy? You get ballot 16. Here comes December… one month to go Mary! Are you ready?

      1. I bought the Clubhouse Dill Pickle flavored seasoning as it’s much lower in sodium than the other flavors. We have been using the one bottle for several years now – so obviously we use it very sparingly. We buy Orville Redenbaker popcorn at Costco since they have HUGE containers of the stuff and hubby does love his popcorn. 🙂

        I think December is going to be fine at our house in terms of the grocery budget. I have most of our expensive purchases already done. I am still debating whether I actually want home cooked turkey on the 23rd or whether we’ll save ourselves a lot of work and simply go out for a turkey dinner just down the road. They make a lovely turkey dinner.

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