The Ultimate Canadian Grocery Savings Guide | Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide

Big City Savings Tips To Survive Grocery Shopping : The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #4 Jan 25-31

Share to...

big city savings tips to survive grocery shopping (1)OPTIONS ARE ENDLESS IN THE CITY


Many people who live in the big city choose not to drive, can’t drive or can’t afford to drive. This means rolling their shopping cart into a large parking lot to load groceries only to whiz home around the corner is not an option.

Many of us take for granted the luxuries of living in a smaller city while shopping especially when it comes to parking and space. You’ll get more of that than you will living in the big city where space is at a premium.

Related: How a small town family saves money on groceries

The smartest tip that I can share with you today about shopping in any city is to be ORGANIZED. Without organization you risk having a less than ideal shopping experience. I find when we have things planned out it’s almost always smooth sailing. Unless of course we have a tired toddler, dirty nappy or it’s feeding time.

Download my Free Printable Tools to get you started on the organizational train.

With millions of people who live in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area you will certainly find just about every grocery store on the market. In Toronto alone I counted 15 No Frills grocery stores which isn’t much if you consider how big Toronto really is. Some small cities have 2 with nowhere near the million mark population. So you see many neighbourhoods in the big city rely on the small shops to provide groceries to the residents who don’t drive or opt to use alternate transportation.

No matter if you live in a big city, suburbs or in the country there will always be pros and cons when it comes to surviving the grocery shopping game. For instance, living in a big city you are bound to find just about any ingredient that your heart desires. That’s not so much the case if you live outside a big city. The key is to do research to figure out the best way to get in, get out and save money while getting the best deals and freshest product.

When you live in a big city and your only form of transportation is your feet the last thing you want to do is bulk shop, even though it will save you money in the long run. Stockpiling for most people in a big city like Toronto or Vancouver may not be an option especially if you have to lug you groceries home on the bus or subway. Many smart shoppers will purchase collapsible grocery carts which is great because you can buy more and use less energy taking your groceries home.

If you are worried about losing your cold items to melting what I would suggest is to purchase a cooler bag or a bag you can wear that will keep your dairy and other items cold until you get home. We have a cooler bag with straps in our house but right now we use it for toddler food and bottles on the go. Nothing is odd living in a big city so if there is something that makes life easier people jump on it even if that means lugging around a cart.


Non-traditional buildings


In the summer when my parents came to visit last year I took my parents to downtown Toronto to see some of the local attractions. While we were wandering around looking for somewhere to eat we ended up inside of a hotel/mall which took us to a high-end grocery store. I can’t seem to remember the name but the shop falls under the umbrella of a big box grocery store.

What we noticed was that it was much smaller and crowded with product everywhere even though it was meticulous. Keep in mind in the big city you may have to pay for parking at the grocery store if you decide to drive especially in the downtown core as not all grocery stores have store specific above ground parking. You’ll end up paying premium prices just to get your groceries. This is what luxury big city living is all about even if you are living it on a tight budget.


Meal Planning


Meal planning is critical when you live in a big city because of the amount of food you can cart home during each shopping trip. If you are taking the subway consider the stress of trying to transport home bags and bags of groceries. Meal planning will allow you to shop for the groceries you’ll need so you get in and out of the big city grocery shopping nightmare alive.


Living Space


If your place is anything like mine when I was living in the big city, you don’t have much space. I didn’t have arge cupboards to store stockpiles of food. I’m pretty sure my wife thought I was going to starve her every time she came to visit me in the UK. The only option I had was to get what I could store and shop daily or every couple of days. One option is to build shelving on the wall so you can stock up if your space is limited.


24-hour grocery stores


If you are in proximity to a 24-hour grocery store it may be wise to visit later in the evening when the crowds die down. Even where we live now the 24-hour grocery store is still very busy at night but nothing near what it is during the day. You may also score some great deals if the grocery store has any price reductions at night on short expiry products.


Cost more money


You may think that living in a big city means you will pay the same prices as every other grocery store. Not the case. Always make sure you read the local flyers for a specific grocery store before you go in as not all shops are created equal when it comes to marketing. In the big city they know the people will come so the prices always seem to be a bit higher. Keep in mind transportation costs into the big city costs more money as well.


Longer line-ups


Get ready to battle big city long line-ups but if you’re handy with a self-checkout or you can shop when the stores have less traffic in the evening. You may just be able to avoid the task of standing in line reading Hollywood magazines or talking to strangers about what they are cooking for dinner.

Related: Self-checkout


Shop often


When I lived in a small UK town I would shop often because it was easy for me to walk up to the local shops and get what I needed. There were no grocery stores in our village and if I wanted to do a large shop which I rarely did I would have had to drive to the big city.

I’ve also lived in the big city of London, UK and again I would shop where I could get to and from a store with-in walking distance. You may relate to my big city experience where I would buy meat from the butcher, fish from the fish guy, deli-meat at the deli and fresh bread at the bakery. The other grocery items I could find at local shops in my neighbourhood. I didn’t care for living in a big city which is why I left for somewhere smaller even though we still had a butcher and deli but no major grocery store just markets.

Even today living in the Greater Toronto Area is a big deal for me and I couldn’t imagine buying or renting real estate downtown Toronto or anywhere near that chaos. I’d be just as happy living in the country and working in the city or just outside the big city making fewer trips to the grocery store if it meant peace and quiet.

Like I mentioned above if you are able to get to the grocery store or market a few times a week it will help to ease the stress of pushing your way through the crowds of shoppers with more than you can handle.Cashing out with a few items at a time may leave you less frustrated rather than having bags and bags of groceries to haul home.




Food waste is a bad habit all over the world but if you live in a big city having leftovers may be a life-saver especially if you can switch them up to create a new meal. Instead of tossing your leftovers or staring at them in the refrigerator for days until they go off utilize them to create a delicious meal that helps you stretch through the time before you need to grocery shopping again.

Related: Food Waste In Canada


Out-of-Town Trips


If you know you will be heading out-of-town for a road trip or you’re off to see friends or family and they live in a smaller city don’t hesitate to make a pit-stop at the local grocery stores and stock up on what you need. The few minutes it will take you will save your grocery budget in the long-run.


Ethnic and Specialty Markets


You may find less variety in the scaled down version grocery stores in the big city which means you likely will have to go to a few shops to get the ingredients you need. You will come across ethnic and specialty markets just about everywhere you go in a big city.

Related: International store grocery shopping

Toronto has many diverse neighbourhoods in the big city where you can buy cultural foods from shops, markets and even street vendors. I have to admit I do love this about Toronto because I enjoy tasting food from all over the world.

I’ve stopped in the Asian grocery store, Italian Grocery, Portuguese bakery, Cheese Factory and so on. The benefits of the specialty markets are that they are mostly family run, local products and if you get to know the owners you may find you get better deals. A happy returning customer is always important for small businesses.


Grocery delivery


If you’re lucky you may find a grocery store living in the big city who will deliver the products that you picked out and paid for. The other option is to order groceries online and have them delivered to your house. Whether you pay a delivery fee depends on the company and the city you live in.

Some big cities have fierce competition for grocery delivery where they will waive the delivery fee just to get your business. Keep in mind you may find that you will pay more for the products you buy online. They have to make their money somewhere.


Monthly Grocery Shop


If you plan to drive out of the big city chaos to the suburbs or a smaller town to grocery shop consider visiting a local Costco or other big box store to stock up on bulk items if they are on sale or if you have coupons to use up.

My wife has a friend who lives and works in downtown Toronto who eats out often because she is single and can’t be bothered to grocery shop and cook at home. When she goes home to see her parents in a small city this is when she grocery shops and brings food back home. I’m not a lover of eating out everyday but for some people if it fits their budget and lifestyle.

Related: Eating In vs Eating out – the comparison


Eating habits


If you live in the big city and are surrounded by a few markets but no grocery stores what you could do is see what these shops have to offer and base your diet around those products. Most often you should have no problem stocking up on dairy, produce and meats which are all staples in any diet. If you can avoid having to go into the city to get what you need it will save you time and money to shop your neighbourhood.


Shop smart


In the end if your mission is to save money on groceries know what you are getting into when you head out the door. Arm yourself with the same knowledge that your suburb and small town friends use. If your goal is to shop with limited stress and challenges then certainly put some of these big city tips into action and see if that makes a difference to your shopping experience.

Do you enjoy living and grocery shopping in the big city, suburbs or in the country? Where do you buy your groceries and do you have any other big city tips to add?


January Grocery Game Challenge posts 2016


Join in the 2016 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 where you’ll also find a link for the updated 2016 GGC schedule. Please feel free to download, save and even print the schedule so it’s handy. Thanks to Mary for putting this together for us again this year. If you need any help please let me know.

New monthly prize: $10 President’s Choice Gift Card for Canadian residents only BUT If you want to play from outside of Canada and have PayPal and you win I will pay you $10CDN. 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 Money Saving Tools 2016


I know I blast you every which way I can on this blog about my free money saving tools and that’s because I want you to take advantage of them being FREE. So many people pay for budgets and tools on the internet to help them save money and honestly you don’t need to. Even a paper and pen will do the trick.

Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!

This is the budget that brought us to debt freedom back in 2013 and now I’m offering to all of you for FREE. We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.

2014 Free Money Saving ToolsDon’t pay someone for these services, I’ve done the work for you along with some help from other amazing bloggers.

You can 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!

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.

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. So many free resources at your fingertips.


Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2016


the ultimate grocery shopping guide cbbEverything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is packed into this amazing FREE grocery shopping guide that has taken over 4 years to create.

The Ultimate Grocery Shopping guide is ongoing with new informative money-saving posts added every month.

Even if you don’t live in Canada there are some amazing budget saving tips that will help put you on the path to more savings at the supermarket.

Share this guide with your friends and tell them about Canadian Budget Binder especially if they are struggling with their grocery budget.

The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the  many money-saving posts in the The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.


2016 Grocery Shop Results


Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2016: $2820

(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/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: $50
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
  • PC Points Plus Earned to date: 56670
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP)to date $0
  • Shoppers Optimum: Over 700,000 points ( I will update this twice a year)

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

  • Snap Groupon to cash out: $40.00
  • Zweet to cash out : $18.25
  • Checkout51 to cash out : $7.00


Grocery Shop This Week


Shoppers Drug Mart

  • 3 x Dozen Eggs Sale $2.49

Total Out-of-Pocket: $7.47

Food Basics

  • 1 x 5 pk avocado $2.88
  • 1 x mozzarella selection cheese $3.97
  • 1 x Bavarian Bread $1.99
  • Fennel $2.47
  • 1 x cauliflower Sale $2.88
  • 3 packs of Selection bacon reduced $1.49 each 🙂
  • 1 x cucumber $1.97
  • Fresh Ginger $1.31
  • Whole White Mushrooms $1.50
  • Lactancia cream Sale $2.49

Total Out-of-Pocket: $25.93

Bulk Barn

  • 1 x Grace coconut oil $8.99
  • 1 x Baken-Ets pork rinds $1.49

Total Out-of-Pocket: $10.85-$3 coupon =$7.85

  • Total to spend this month $235.00
  • Stockpile budget 2016 ($25.00):$25.00
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $15.88+$7.00+$2.12=$25.00
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $4
  • Total in-store discounts this week:$0
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $128.10
  • Total spent this week: $39.13
  • Total spent so far this month: $252.95
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: under
  • Total over/Under spend for the month:- $17.95 over
  • Total left to spend for the month: $over
  • Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $252.95

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

So we were fine for milk this week as we picked up 4 cans of free formula for our son a couple of weeks back and have split between the two so it lasts longer. My wife doesn’t drink milk any longer and uses cream only in her coffee and recipes but not everyday.

We went over this month which is a bummer because we were really hoping to stay on budget. With having to buy the coconut oil and a few other bits set us back. We really need to watch those pink stickers. It’s so hard though but we’re trying. Next month is 5 weeks so the plan is to use what we have in the house so we don’t get further into grocery debt. Any other suggestions for us?


Coupons and Coupon Apps 2016


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?

We didn’t find any coupons worthy of filling this space for the week. We’ll try again for next week.


Grocery Game Challenge 2016 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. The rules have been updated for the 2016 challenge year.
  • 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 altogether. 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?: 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 in order to plan accordingly our budget.
  • Do you stockpile food? 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 longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
  • 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 with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
  • 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.

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 back in 2012 and is one of the most popular hang out spots for people who want to save money on groceries in Canada.

If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 get ready to examine your grocery budget by learning…

  • Where you are spending money
  • How much money you are spending
  • How much money you are saving every month

If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! It’s FREE!

If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email. If I use your topic I will put your name in a draw for a prize at the end of the year.

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 2016!


Are You New To Canadian Budget Binder?

  • Follow Me on Social media by clicking any of the buttons below on the blog.
  • Check out my new Free Recipe Index
  • If you like FREE then click this link for my FREE Excel Budget Spreadsheet and all my Free Money Saving List.

Share to...

Similar Posts


  1. Personally, I shop once a month and avoid going out extra unless I need. I’m disabled and taking transit is difficult, so I find it most efficient to take a cab out to the small shopping centre near my house (an $8 cab if I am able to walk from the bus centre where most cabs stop just down the road, or $14 if I go directly to the store, it depends on my stamina and pain level that day). I have my betrothed gather flyers for me since they go to all different box stores during their week. If I need extra things along the week, my betrothed is kind enough to pick them up for me when they visit on their days off. My biggest debt right now is to a friend who helped me through a rough patch with loans, which I’m slowly paying down each month, but I’m hoping to cut down my grocery bills with help from your suggestions and the GGC!

    1. Hi,
      I’m happy to hear that you are using suggestions from the GGC to help get your grocery budget down. If you need any questions answered post them! 🙂 Mr.CBB

  2. Hey Mr.CBB
    We have $180 in pc points so far 🙂
    Yes the cheese coupon was up last year and is good on Saputo products. I did hear they were really hard to find in ont especially because they are province pacific.
    Our little miss eats almost everything and we have been lucky that way. She does love a bday cake tim bit when she gets one as a treat.
    Yes I am getting the toilet paper for free using multiple upcs of royale velour coupons and printables and it is a bit of work and costs .10c a page at the library to print extra coupons but it worth it to pay almost nothing for them. I am thankful everyday that I am still able to stack and will continue as long as possible.
    The whole chickens were on sale and I wanted them marinated so I could use the monthly staff coupon but my boss that day said we didn’t have time to marinate them but price them that way and take home the marinate myself and do it at home so I wasn’t gonna argue with that 🙂 🙂
    Yes the milk was on sale for $1 off a 4L which always helps when we pay such a high price, deposit and enviro fee!

  3. Our weekly budget is $125 making this month $500
    No frills
    .44×6 campbells soup
    .97×12 hunts spaghetti sauce – 2400P!!!!
    $2.77 pasta shells
    $2×9-$2Cx3 Armstrong cheese – yes more cheese! it must have been an instore sale cause it was not in the flyer
    $3.79 1L whipping cream
    $2.09×2 coffee cream
    $37 total oop
    $6 total coupons
    H&W Produce
    $1.44 jalapenos
    $2.36 acorn squash
    $2.17 butternut squash
    .99 cucumber
    $5.49 2lb coloured peppers
    $12.45 total oop
    London Drugs
    $4.99(pm)x12-$4.99stacksx12 royale velour toilet paper
    $3 total oop
    $59.88 total coupons
    .97×2 canned corn
    $5 10pk cheese sticks
    $2.50×2 lemon croissants – they were ok but not enough lemon filling so I was suckered in by my love for lemon and croissants
    $2.30 bananas
    $5.94 lg pack of blueberries 800P
    $2×2 3lb tub of parkay margarine – should have grabbed more cause that is an amazing sale price!!
    $2.96×2 red & green 4pk peppers
    $30.10 total oop
    Also another 1000P for signing up and logging into guiding stars program they have
    $4.40 4L homo milk
    $6.51, $6.23, $6.23, $6.21 -$6.21&-$6.23staff coupon whole chickens
    $17.25 total oop
    $12.44 total coupons

    $99.80 total weekly oop
    $78.32 total weekly coupons
    $476.47 total monthly oop
    $111.85 total monthly coupons

    Came in under this month 🙂 but I think I am missing a receipt from work but I will add that into Feb budget.
    Very happy to get more toilet paper for my stockpile and will continue to get more until I run out of stacks, they expire or they stop stacking.
    Milk is a great sale price this week and I will probably grab one or two more on Thursday after work.

    1. Hi Juanita
      Don’t you love when you stock up then get PC points too? We do. Did I ask where the cheese coupon came from before? I need cheese coupons. Our son won’t eat squash or sweet potatoes anymore. Once he got a taste of real food he won’t eat anything mushy even I don’t mush it because he must remember what it tastes like lol. Did you get all of that toilet paper free? Damn. What does that mean about the chickens? Did you buy all those chickens? The milk is a good price. I pay $4.97 for Homo. What were the two coupons you stacked? I wish we could stack. You’re so lucky. Well done. You get ballot 5. Mr.CBB

  4. Week 4 – January 24 – 30

    • Grocery budget to work with in January: $200
    • Total coupons used this week: $0
    • Total coupons used to date: $0
    • Total RCSS gas coupons used this week: $0
    • Total RCSS gas coupons used to date: $4.42
    • Total Giant Tiger Enviro bag credit this week: .06
    • Total Giant Tiger Enviro bag credit to date: .06
    • Total value PC Plus points redeemed this week: $20
    • Total value PC Plus points redeemed to date: $20
    • Total gift cards/certificates/gifts used this week: $4.86
    • Total gift cards/certificates/gifts used to date: $25
    • Total student discounts this week: $0
    • Total student discounts to date: $7.25
    • Total tax savings RCSS this week: $0
    • Total tax savings RCSS to date: $0
    • Total spent this week: $231.65
    • Total spent so far this month: $417.30
    • Total left to spend for the month: $0
    • Carry over: $0
    • Total in carry over jar: $0
    • Total overspent to make up in future months: $217.30
    • Total Spent To Date 2015: $417.30

    Freshco: Apples 2.99, Peanut Butter 1 kg 2 x 2.47, mushrooms 1.49: 9.40 rounded down 2 cents

    No Frills: Campbells condensed soup 2 x .44, Beatrice yogurt 12 pk 2.97, whole chickens 5.74 5.76 5.67: 4.86 gift card, 16.15 rounded down 1 cent

    Valumart: French’s fried onions 3 x 2.00, NN orange jello large size 2 x .49, PC cola 2 x 1.00, romaine hearts 2 x 1.64, iceberg lettuce 2 x 1.29, turkey breast lunch meat 2 x 2.14 less 50%, PC rosemary ham lunch meat 2 x 3.14 less 50%, Summerfresh spinach dip 2 x 2.94 less 50%, tax .26: 23.30 rounded down 2 cents

    Valumart: PC Cola 2 x 1.00, Downy 4.00, Heinz canned beans large container 3 x 2.00, Orville popcorn 2 x 2.00, Dianas sauce 1.75, NN canned beans 4 x .59, NN crushed tomatoes 2 x .80, NN Ketchup 3 x 1.50, NN garbage bags 4.99, PC BBQ sauce 1.50, PC popcorn 3 x 1.00, Chef Boyardee 4 x 1.00, McDonalds coffee grounds 6.00, Orzo 3 x 1.00, Neilsen milk 2L 3.00 less 50%, Country naturals hot dogs 6 x .99, Lobster bisque 6.00, Chili 6.00, Mandarins 10.00 less 50% (Costco sized can), plastic bags .10, tax 1.44 1.56: 76.25 rounded up 1 cent

    Valumart: Quaker rice cakes 1.00, Heinz canned beans large container 2.00, Orville popcorn 2.00, Skim milk powder 5.00, Minute rice whole wheat 2 x 3.00, PC 40 count k-cups 15.00, NN rice cakes 5 x 1.00, NN scalloped potatoes 1.25, PC vegetable cocktail 2.00, Splenda 4.00, Campbells cream of celery 2 x1.25, Campbells cream of asparagus 1.25, Bugles party mix 2.00, Eagle condensed milk 2 x 2.00, Santo Domingo ground coffee 5 x 5.00, Natrel Lactose Free 2L 3.00, Gay lea sour cream 3.09 less 50%, Nordica cottage cheese 2 x 3.98 less 50%, Neilson 4L 1% 3.00, Neilson 2% 3.00, carrot bunch 2 x .50, mandarins 2 lb 2 x 1.00, Bread 2.49, Chicken gumbo 11.75 less 50%, tax 1.07 .75: 106.55

    So the verdict is we’ve doubled our January budget. Anyone who knows me, we did this with thought and full awareness and not lightly at all. I am someone who was near tears for the month of October 2015 shopping. We are looking short term loss, long term gain. Because we had an extra pay in December and had a little extra there for us and we will not miss any payments or needs for this, we made the choice to do this. We are not planning to stay over budget for the year. Our goal is to shorten or lessen each week’s grocery bills so that by the end of March we make up for what we have already spent. A two month goal is not unrealistic, and it is making me focus on roughly $25 week or less to spend. At this point all we will need is milk, eggs and produce. We are now stocked up on everything else for the most part (dish soap and maple syrup will be our only other targets).

    This is super important to us to make sure we save money overall. We did not really spend too frivolously, yes, the pop is there, but not in any real volume. And, some snack food too, but lunches and rice cakes are awesome. The lettuce has been awesome. Since the price of lettuce has been awful, we have really appreciated the little amount that we have been spending the last couple of weeks on it. Frankly, we hadn’t been buying lettuce and we’ve been missing salads. And, we are just down to two iceberg lettuces to finish up and we will make at least half the week on this. The carrots were a bonus as well as the great price on mandarins. By the time I got to Valumart on the last day, there wasn’t much left for produce, but I managed to find some things that help us.

    A lot of awesome deals this week. Freshco had a great sale on peanut butter and we happened to be in Kingston to capitalize on it. And, we also managed some of the whole chickens at No Frills where we used up the remaining balance on my Christmas gift card. So, more in the freezer.

    A sad week for our city as another place closes permanently down. Valumart is now gone, and I did capitalize on their sales. They were selling it out and someone had to, however in the last week I have seen that place busier than I had in years. It was a diamond in the rough and we went in there periodically. They always had in store specials on meat that if you didn’t check, you didn’t get. The staff was super nice in there and I wish them all the best. Most happy cashiers in our entire city. They just did something right. It was sad to hear that Loblaws didn’t think they profited enough. Some of my favourite deals this week at Valumart was the massive can of mandarins for 5.00 which would have been used to prep some of the fruit parfaits and salads. Also, the lobster bisque, chicken gumbo and chili as well as the milk (milk at a reduced price with great dates is always awesome). These are the lunch soups/chili that they would prepare and sold as large frozen bags. They sold everything right down to the plastic cutler and trays that food would be prepared on. No, I did not need any of that stuff, but we did try to get the best that we could for our family.

    As much of a decision we made, I am still nervous about putting so much out at once. We haven’t spent on average approx. $100 weekly in about 5 years. But, as long as I stay true and focus, this will work. It will be happy eating for a while.

    1. Hi Angela,
      The last post before I go to bed tonight. AH.
      Well you cleaned up this week too.. wow!! I can see why you did what you did with the grocery budget especially with your tight budget until everything is sorted out on your end. I can tell you feel super guilty but happy you did this and are still on the fence about being worried. Don’t. I think you have your head on straight and can figure the math out and stick to it. You may find it tough not having the same amount to spend until you catch up but you will benefit in the long run. So the plan is $25 a week until you catch up? How will you avoid overspending? Most people can’t afford to do this because they only have so much money to spend every month. Great shopping … impressed. Too bad the store had to close. You get ballot #40. Mr.CBB

      1. We will miss the store, especially for the meat. And, yes I am a bit worried. I am lucky that we were so smart to let the extra pay ride it out and be available. Without that extra pay, we couldn’t have done it. And, yes, my part-time job has factored into the choice too, it’s consistent money coming in. Yes, the plan is approximately $25 a week until we catch up, and it is completely possible. We can eat out of the freezer and just buy the minimum. We don’t need any of the extras, I am happy to say we have them. And, in all reality, we really didn’t go overboard considering what was available to us. It had to have a place in our pantry, freezer and stomachs. My first shop of February is going to be a good one!

  5. Here are my January purchases.
    month of Jan 1-31 2016

    Name Your Store: i.e. Superstore (Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $12.31 (superbucks)
    Total Out Of Pocket: $1.56+58.91+$39.88+.25=100.60
    Gift card- $10.40+1.49+5.97+$7.38+31.30=$56.54
    PC points redeemed—$50+20=$70
    plastic bag rebate- $0.08

    poppyseed dressing =$1.99
    reduced produce=$1.49
    NN stuffed chicken kiev= $2.50
    cranberry bites danish $3.00 (reduced) =$1.50
    variety pack rolls/bagels (PC pts 800) =$4.49
    variety pack dips $6.99 (reduced) =FREE (scanning code)
    NN coffee 8 @ $3.99=$31.92
    coffee mate creamer (PC pts-700)=$3.49
    coffee mate creamer (PC ts 700)= $5.49
    Imperial Margarine 5 @$1.00= $5.00
    reduced produce= $1.49
    bananas (PC pts 400) =$2.00
    pumpkin pie $9.49 (reduced) =$4.74
    PC wrap bread 2 @ 2/$7.00= $7.00
    reduced produce- $1.49
    NN instant coffee 8 @$3.99 (PC pts $6,400)= $31.92
    eggs 4 @$1.99= $7.96
    3 lbs carrots $2.00 (PC pts 400)= $2.00
    reduced produce = $1.49
    bananas= $1.42
    pc potato chips $2.99 (reduced) =$1.49
    400g praline almonds $9.94 (reduced)=$4.97
    spalding bacon =$1.99
    Brie cheese $6.99 (reduced) =$3.49
    $50 PC gift card-redeemed 50,000 PC pts
    jalepano cream cheese $3.50 (reduced) =$1.75
    herb &garlic greek cream cheese $3.50 (reduced) =$1.75
    NN sour cream $2.29 (reduced) = $1.14
    pork butt chops $5.48 (reduced) (PC pts 400 )= $2.74
    NN coffee 2 @ $3.99 (PC pts 1600)= $7.98
    coffee mate cream-Hazelnut (PC pts 700) =$4.49
    coffee mate cream-caramel vanilla (PC pts 700) =$3.49
    Blueberries $5.99 (reduced) =$2.99
    rutabaga 5lbs- $3.99 (reduced) =$1.99
    reduced produce= $1.49
    reduced produce= $1.49
    strawberries $6.99 (reduced) =$3.49
    bag variety of rolls (PC pts 800) =$4.49
    mini garlic naan bread 2 @ $1.69=$ 3.38 (reduced) (PC pts 800)= $1.69
    ricotta cheese $2.99
    garlic / herb cooked chickens 2 @ $9.99=$19.98 (reduced) =$9.98
    purchased $50= PC pts 5000
    received a 1c litre discount on fuel coupon

    Name Your Store: i.e. Shoppers Drug Mart(Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $
    Total Out Of Pocket: $5.39+10.78+10.78+29.89=$56.84

    4L milk- $5.39
    4L milk- 2 @ $5.39=$10.78
    4L milk- 2 @ $5.39=$10.78
    Fushion Pro-glide razors=$25.99

    Name Your Store: i.e. McQuarries PharmaSave(Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $
    Total Out Of Pocket: $5.94

    12 tomato soup @ 2/99c= $5.94

    Name Your Store: i.e. Bulk Barn (Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $3.00+3.00=$6.00
    Total Out Of Pocket: $3.70+12.19=$15.89
    gift card- $5.00

    Turkish apricots- $5.74
    Hickory smoked almonds- $5.16
    bacon hickory sticks=$1.22
    hulled sunflower seeds= $0.65
    caesar croutons=$0.79
    .155 kg summer savory=$11.77
    black strap molasses= $0.48

    Name Your Store: i.e. Masstown Market (Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $10.86

    carrot squares $4.99 (reduced) =$2.49
    2 large coffees @$1.65= $3.30
    chicken salad sub sandwich $3.49 (reduced) = $1.99
    pepperoni slices w/honey mustard sauce $3.49 (reduced) = $1.99

    Name Your Store: i.e. Giant Tiger (Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $21.10

    360g deli rounds= $3.00
    500 ml -vanilla extract=$2.00
    650 ml salsa= $2.97
    227g mushrooms= $1.97
    hothouse tomatoes=$1.97
    8 oz spinach- $1.97
    3lbs sweet potatoes= $3.77
    Banquet Turkey TV dinner 2 @$1.50 =$3.00

    Name Your Store: i.e. Sobeys (Canada)
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $
    Gift card-(Purchased with cash) $6.98
    redeemed Airmiles- $

    miracle whip =$2.99
    5lb stew pack=$3.99

    Overall for the month of January 2016

    $188.32 + 29.89=218.21 out of pocket (does not includes the $200 gift card I paid cash for, as I will deduct as I use it)
    $ 2.16 coupons+3.00 +2.35_1.90+1.66+1.63+0.55 +2.06=$15.31 (coupon and star bucks)
    $ $10.40 +$1.49 +5.00 +2.54+5.97+$7.38 +31.30=$64.08 gift cards
    $ 20- airmiles/ pc points redeemed to pay for the groceries
    $ 50+(I use my PC points and Air miles to buy them- gift cards )
    $ (Sobeys gift card that I purchased from cash)

    Do the above for each receipt you have then copy the template below and paste it to the bottom of your shop so we can see your results.
    Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)

    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $216.67 (averages $50 week)..includes toiletries, cleaning supplies,
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $

    Total Gift Cards used to date: =
    Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $3.50 (january)
    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: $15.31 (Jan)+
    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: $218.21
    Total over/Under spend this shop: $
    Total over/Under spend for the month $overspent $1.54 (Jan)

    Total left to spend for the month : $0.00

    Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) $218.21

    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts): This month we bought 18 bottles of coffee, and splurged on treat foods. Also purchased razor blades for hubby, so he should be good for another 6 months.Bought 2 cold cooked rotisserie chickens for under $10.Have enough summer savory for last me for a year or two Smile

    1. Hi Kathryn,
      WOW you really cleaned up house this month at the grocery store. You shop like we do.. the reduced sections. It’s amazing the deals that are out there. So many people have a problem buying reduced items, we don’t. My wife did make a comment about an RCSS we went into that only offered 30% off pink sticker products and she couldn’t bring herself to buy them. I wonder if we get too attached to that 50% off sticker that we set ourselves up for the real shock value if they decide to no longer use pink stickers or reduce from 50-30%. My favourite item that you found was the coffee score you got with the 6400 points back. Well done. I have to pay more attention to our PC points. My wife is going to take a suggestion and before we go shopping open up the coupon apps at home so they are open when we shop. We don’t have a data plan otherwise. Well done.. I’m impressed. You’re a great shopper. You get ballot 40. Mr.CBB

      1. I use the old fashioned pen and paper to record my PC pt Offers 🙂
        Yes, we o thru a jar of coffee a week (200g) so finding it on sale and PC pts is a bonus. I hate buying anything that i full price…rarely do it. I spent my gift card from you too …so thank you again.

  6. Yearly grocery budget for 4 adults and 2 cats -$7800.00
    (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/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
    Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
    Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
    PC Points Plus Earned to date: 23400
    Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP)to date $0
    Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
    Snap Groupon to cash out: $0
    Zweet to cash out : $2.75($25.75)
    Checkout51 to cash out : $8.76($25.50)

    Grocery Shop This Week
    Foodland #1
    1 Whiskas cat food -8.49, 3.00 coupon
    1 bag rice -5.99
    1 jug water -5.49
    2 Cheerios @4.99
    1 box saltine crackers -4.29
    2 lbs Sealtest butter @3.99
    1 yogurt -3.00
    1 pack pasta -3.39
    1 soya sauce -2.99
    2 cans pineapple tidbits @1.19
    1 pack peppercorns -1.00
    2 4l milk @4.88
    3 blocks asst cheese @4.49
    Green grapes -3.16
    3lbs onions -2.99
    Bananas -1.32
    Tax -1.10
    Total OOP -$83.78, 3.00 coupon
    Foodland #2
    1 jug water -5.49
    1 yogurt -3.00
    2 4l. Ilk @4.88
    2 blocks asst cheese @4.49
    1 pack lean ground beef -5.69
    2 W/W bread @2/5.00
    Total OOP -$42.36
    Canadian Tire
    1 Method liquid hand soap -6.99
    4 bags sugar @1.77
    1 Palmolive dish soap -2.00, 1.00 coupon
    Tax -1.17
    Total OOP -$16.24, 1.00 coupon
    Foodland #3
    1 jug water -5.49
    2 Gain laundry @3.99
    3 cases pop @3.49
    1 cranberry cocktail -2.98
    4 cans pasta sauce @4/5.00
    3 packs asst pasta @1.99
    2 cans pineapple tidbits @1.19
    2 cans tomato paste @2/1.00
    2 4l milk @4.88
    1 doz large eggs -2.99
    1 ice cream -3.49
    1 yogurt -2.00
    Bananas -.65
    2 packs bacon @3.99
    1 raisin bread -4.89, 50% AM discount-2.45
    2 bagels @2/5.00
    Tax -2.40
    Total OOP -$77.98, 2.45 discount
    Total to spend this month $650.00
    Stockpile budget 2016 ($25.00):$25.00
    Stockpile budget used this month: $9.92+5.98+7.98=$23.88
    Total coupons used this week: $4.00
    Total coupons used to date: $4.00
    Total in-store discounts this week:$2.45
    Total in-store discounts to date: $34.53
    Total spent this week: $220.36
    Total spent so far this month: $579.69
    Total over/Under spend this shop: over
    Total over/Under spend for the month:- $70.31 under
    Total left to spend for the month: $70.31
    Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $579.69
    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
    Came in under for the month! A great start to the year…I even have a bit of a cushion to work on for berry season in June!! I don’t count all the cheese I bought as a stock pile as it won’t last long around here. The ice cream is for the older boys birthday Feb 8, as is the bacon. It was on sale and the price looks good at first glance but the packs are 375 g. Used to be a pound in there so I had to buy two packs just to have enough for a meal here. Next month will be harder as it is a 5 week month but I will keep working on things and try my hardest.

    1. Aha.. see you got caught. I wrote about that sneaky change in the cheese bars in one of my GGC posts last year. I always watch now. There are still some packs you can buy that are 500G. What kind of pasta do you buy for $3.39? Was the Palmolive coupon in the inserts? Food Basics has it on sale this week $1.88. You really stocked up this shop. What kind of raisin bread do you buy? The eggs were a decent price as though are priced like the petrol stations.. different all over the place, lol. Great shop Christine. Considering what you are faced with only 1 grocery store unless you go out of town you do well. You get ballot #38. Mr.Amazing .. jk made ya laugh though I bet.

      1. The pasta was Itlapasta, the other day when I bought some more I bought Compliaments as it’s only 1.99 and it is 900g instead of 750g. The Compliaments cheese tends to be a 450g block as was the Kraft I got. Not sure which insert the Palmolive coupon came from as it was in some that Juanita sent me. CT has it for $2.00 this week. The raisib bread is the Sunmaid stuff, pricey but with the discount thanks to my Air Miles card I can live with it for hubby.

  7. Meal planning is definitely important. I live in the big city so when I do this, there is less of a occasions of I eat out. I always just make it a fun meal planning looking for very cheap ingredients and dishes. It really works and helps me save more money.

    1. How do you make the meal planning fun Jayson? Is it just the challenge of creating the lowest price meals or do you do anything else? I ask because I have a lot of resistance to planning meals so anything that would make it more enjoyable would be great to know about.


  8. I live on a farm with the nearest grocery store 54 km away. That said the city has most of the popular grocery outlets. Almost all our stores post which ones you can price match with.I did find the lists changed for 2016, as Superstore is getting picky. We have a large family and I totally rely on flyers, PM and stockpiling and most of all having a menu plan for more then one week at a time.

    My shop this week.
    Foodland ( 20km away)
    Zucchini 4.14
    spinach 2.49
    ricotta cheese 4.99
    garlic bread 2.99-1.59=1.49

    Total 13.11

    2kg chocolate chips 13.99
    banana 2.24
    Total 16.23

    Fresh Co
    4 x Nature valley granola bars@ 1.99 ea = 7.96
    Clementine 4.99
    yogurt 2.99
    apples 3lb, 2.99
    3x 1kg Kraft Peanut Butter @ 2.47 ea= 7.41
    Tax 1.03
    Total 27.15

    Total to spend this month: 380.00
    Total in coupons: 0
    Total in store discounts:2.99

    Total spent this week: 56.49
    Total spent for the month:284.46 +56.49=340.95
    Total spent over/ under this week:under40.51
    Total spent over/under this month:under 39.05
    Total left to spend this month: 39.05
    Total spent to date: 340.95

    1. Hi Farmgirl
      I’m not sure if you’ve read any of the comments I left you on your posts. 🙂 If you could add a reflection about your shop at the end that would be great. Have a look at what everyone else is doing. 🙂 If you have any questions please ask and I shall help. That being said you got a good price on the chocolate chips. We’re on the hunt for a good sale as we are out of stock in our pantry. The PB was a great price too so I don’t blame you for stocking up. You can use PB in so many recipes. Well done. You get ballot 37. Mr.CBB

  9. Penny Gunderson
    Month Jan. 20, 2016 to Feb. 20, 2016
    • Name Your Store: Good Food Box
    • Total Coupons Used: $0
    • Total Out Of Pocket: $23.00
    This is the Box ordered through the Community Kitchen program and a Facebook group in a local nearby town:
    3 large red peppers
    1 bunch of celery
    1 head of garlic
    1 cauliflower head
    3 medium oranges
    4 medium Spartan apples
    1 large grapefruit Ruby Red
    5 Roma tomatoes
    3 beets (2 medium and one large)
    2 lbs carrots
    5 lb Russet potatoes
    2lb yellow onions
    Cost: $23.00 ($20.00 for the 20 lb. box and $3.00 towards the Good Food Box of the person taking delivery at their home for the group)

    • Name Your Store : Country Food Mart
    • Total Coupons Used: $0
    • Total Out Of Pocket: $15.30
    For Stockpile:
    2 jars butter chicken sauce 2/$6.00
    3 L of MM orange and apple juice 3/$4.98
    2 broccoli and cheese soup $2ea -$4.00
    Plus deposit and ecology fee
    Total: $15.30

    Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)
    • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $100
    • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $21.83 over
    • Total Gift Cards used to date: $
    • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $
    • Total Rewards Points used to date: $
    • PC Points Plus Earned to date:
    • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $
    • Shopper Optimim points: 5170
    Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
    • Snap Groupon to date: $ 50.50 Cashed out Jan. 29
    • Checkout51 to date: $3.50
    • to date: $
    GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK (add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)
    • Stockpile budget 2016 ($600/yr or $30/mo): $15.30
    • Stockpile budget used to date: $15.30
    • Total coupons used this week: $
    • Total coupons used to date: $
    • Total in-store discounts this week: $0
    • Total in-store discounts to date: $0
    • Total spent this week: $38.30
    • Total spent so far this month: $136.17
    • Total over/Under spend this shop: $21.83 over
    • Total over/Under spend for the month: $21.83
    • Total left to spend for the month: $0
    • Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan 20-Feb. 20 $137.17
    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts):
    The Facebook Group leader for the Good Food Box said they had 115 new sign ups this month. There is no qualifying beyond being willing to say how many people use the box. People are really feeling the rising cost of food in Alberta. Any income level can order it. She encouraged me to see if I could arrange for a group in my town. My church is looking into it.

    I thought the Good Food Box was good value and grocery store quality produce. Next month it goes up $5/box, the first cost rise in 4 years. They come in 20 lb, 30lb, and 40 lb. boxes. The larger boxes have the same content just more quantity. I ordered the 20 lb. box for myself and another single friend. She was amazed that there was cauliflower in the box.

    I’ll wait until I get the $50.50 Snap cheque and apply it to my grocery budget it should take care of any overages.

    My stockpile purchases were a little indulgent but I love butter chicken and it is much less expensive to make at home.

    A quick unrelated question for those who updated to Windows 10. Did you loose all your e- mail info. did it cause you to have to buy new software. any hidden costs or problems? I’m considering updating but want to be prepared.

    1. Hi Penny,
      I love the food box that you got. So when you get your Snap cheque you will apply it to your overage to balance it out. That’s good. I love butter chicken too. It’s not hard to make. I’ll see if I can entice Nicola to whip up a recipe for the blog. She does have an amazing Chicken Curry in a Hurry that is one of the most popular recipes on CBB you should check out. Just click on Recipes and scroll down to recipe list or type it in the search and it will pop up.
      So what else did you get in your box of food? Is it worth it?
      I updated my office computer with no issues but our laptop I did not yet. There were no cots or any problems that I can see. Hope that helps. 🙂 You get ballot 36. MR.CBB

  10. Hi Mr CBB, yup the peppers and bananas were on a reduced rack. I am always checking the reduced rack for peppers, bananas, and mushrooms. I then slice and freeze them as soon as I get home. The cauliflower will be used with oven roasted vegetables, cream of cauliflower soup and maybe a curry. I just couldn’t resist them after everyone here kept talking about cauliflower I started wanting them too, LOL. So when I saw them on sale I knabbed a couple. I love them raw with dip too.

    I am so excited about being under budget, if I am able to do it again in February, maybe I will lower my budget amount some more!!! Even though I need to buy some staples next week (flour, sugar, vanilla, olive oil), I have a lot of meals still in the freezer, chicken, fish, sausages, bacon etc…. so I don’t see it being a problem. But we will see….

  11. Grocery Shop This Week
    Fruiticana (They have a weird non-itemized receipt, so I will give the prices and names for the things I know what they were, the other things are just totals and not knowing the actual weight of what I bought I will just list them and the total….)

    · Bananas- $1.50 (5 lbs over ripe for baking and smoothies)
    · 2 Cauliflower – 1.49 each
    · potatoes 10 lbs- $2.98
    · 3 Cilantro bunches- $0.99 total (will freeze most of this)
    · Bag of 5 ripe peppers (red, green, yellow). $0.99
    · The rest- Broccoli crowns, Navel Oranges, Gala Apples, Anjou Pears – $12.92

    GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK (add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)
    · Total coupons used this week: 0
    · Total coupons used to date: $7.75
    · Total in-store discounts this week: N/A
    · Total in-store discounts to date: $122.52
    Total spent this week: $ 22.38
    · Total spent so far this month: $384.21
    · Total over/Under spend for the month:
    · Total left to spend for the month: $ 115.79
    Under for this month !!!!!!!!!!!
    · Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $384.21
    · Total Airmiles this week = 0
    Weekly Overview : Woah! I am under by over $100! This is my first month on this challenge and I can not get over how much I saved this month! Before I spent between $600 and $800 a month. I thought I was being to extreme cutting it to $500 but I did it! Mind you my budget before included anything I would buy at the grocery store such as paper products and personal items. But not petfoods (we buy that at a specialty store). But even including those items it would have been less than $25, so I am still way under.
    I will be at a conference this weekend, so I won’t be able to shop again (unless I go late Sunday night, not likely). They will provide breakfasts and lunch. So I am pre-planning and making crockpot meals for each night. One night will be a vegetarian pasta. The other night will be Salmon chowder I and kalamata bread which I had frozen last week)! But even if I pop into a store, if I need to ( Iam low on cheese and need eggs), I still have lots left to my budget.
    So below was my food plan choices which I posted last week and I didn’t eat any of those meals LOL! So they will be carried over to next week, LOL.
    So For next week I have a choice of- New Orleans Red beans and rice, Sausage and potato stir fry, Chicken Asian Stir fry with Edamame , Home made Mac and cheese with vegetables, Perogies with bacon and fried onions, Salmon fillets, Lentil curry, Creamy pasta with sour cream, Sausage cream gravy with biscuits, Oven baked sole.
    What we did eat was
    1) Butternut squash soup (frozen from last week), and Grilled Cheese with sauteed onions
    2) Pan fried sausages, coleslaw with kale, oven fries (home made)
    3) Peppered Chickpea, rice, spinach pilaf and mixed green salad
    4) Basil Pesto pasta withmixed green salad
    5) Salmon fillets with roasted baby carrots and new potatoes ( leftover salmon was right away made into salmon chowder, if I don’t use leftover fish immediately in something it gets thrown out, like last weeks 🙁 ).
    My daughter also went on a baking spree this week and made, apple muffins, banana muffins and chocolate chip cookies. So we had a lot of snacky food around!
    And Mr. CBB you would be so proud of me- I made my own hummus, It isn’t as smooth as I like but much tastier than store bought, I didn’t use tahini though because I didn’t have any! I may not make hummus every week, but certainly when I batch cook chickpeas I will.
    Quick question- For the new month do all my totals start from scratch, or do I carry them over?
    Thanks so much for the inspiration. I am still pinching myself over how well this month went! Hopefully next month will be just as good.

    1. Hi Rose,
      WOW you scored a great deal on cauliflower! How do you use your cauliflower? I like the idea of buying over-ripe bananas to bake with. They are cheaper in most stores too. The 5 peppers were a great deal. Do you get these ripe items on a reduced rack? Most people create meal plans but sticking to them is tough. It’s easy to say this is what we will do but something always seems to pop up every day which changes the plan. Not always, but sometimes. I’m thrilled to hear you came in under budget and you made your own hummus. Did you use a food processor? Yes, buy the Tahini as that will smooth it out for you. Always add enough fat as well. The Tahini lasts a long time in the refrigerator. For the new month that is up to you. We don’t carry over in our house because we want to see exact amounts at the end of the year. You can carry over by all means. Many GGC players do carry over. I’m betting you will see how much money you spent before on things you thought you needed when you really didn’t. It’s certainly an eye-opener but it won’t fix itself over-night. You’ll be fine! Thanks for hanging with the gang. 🙂 You get ballot 35. MR.CBB

    2. It’s awesome that you came in so far under budget Rose especially when you were spending so much more before. Your total spent this month is about half of what you spent before! Must have really taken a lot of effort on your part. I wouldn’t have thought about taking a slow cooker to a conference, what a great idea! How many people are you buying for?

      1. Thanks Mimsie. I am pretty surprised by how much I saved. My budget is for my husband and I and one college daughter and one teen daughter.
        Oh about the conference, I come home every evening, so the crock pot is at home with a prepared dinner waiting for me.

        The differences between this month grocery shopping and my past tendencies are
        1) I only did one shop per week- before I would drop by the grocery store to pick up the one thing I needed and leave with an armload more.
        2) I didn’t meal plan. And just bought what caught my fancy and what was a good deal. It sort of worked but there was more waste.
        3) Even though I previously did not buy processed foods or junk foods, I would be tempted by healthy snack foods that were extra’s.
        4) Now I have narrowed down my prepared foods even more. Even though canned beans are cheap, I now cook up a batch of dried beans every weekend (either garbanzo, red, or navy), it is even cheaper than canned. I freeze a portion, so I know I have a variety of cooked frozen beans to use that are as convenient as canned.
        5) I actively searched for %50 off stickers.
        6) I am diligent in eating several meatless meals per week, and stretching the meat in my meat meals.

        Other than that we our meals are pretty much the same as before.

        1. Sounds like you have made a lot of changes in the way you shop, plan, and cook Rose. You are a good inspiration for me since I am still not very diligent at the meal planning thing.

          Gook luck in February

    3. Rose, I see you mention freezing your cilantro. Does it turn black after it’s frozen? How do you prepare it for freezing? What do you use it for when you remove it from the freezer? I want to try freezing more things & I was wondering about cilantro. Especially with grocery prices going up, up, up it’s just so smart to freeze items if a person won’t use them all (our case with cilantro!) or if you can buy extra of whatever on sale for future use.

  12. I always have one issue: Every time before shopping I cheek is there any coupons for shopping basket and things like detergents shampoo I plan one month before old bottle is spent. But when it comes to groceries every month i throw about 100CAD. I have two kids at home who sometimes clean up fridge and sometimes half of shopping stack is for garbage.

    1. That’s where my meal plan is handy. If I don’t need it to make the planned meals this week, I don’t buy it. BUT I don’t miss out on good prices because I work hard at getting my rain checks for when I do need that product. 😀

      1. You’re the RainCheck Queen, Mary! 🙂 This past year, whenever a store ran out of product for a sale etc., I would remember you & remember to ask for a raincheck! What a great way to lock in a deal for something a person KNOWS they will definitely use.

      2. I’ve been more diligent about getting rain cheques too since you wrote about your strategy. I’ve even been disappointed a few times when an item has been in stock! Especially bad when it’s Food Basics who give an extra ten percent off if they don’t have an item in stock. 🙂 Thanks for the tip.

  13. Mr. CBB
    I just went and checked out the air mile coupons. They are non transferable and actually have part of your airmile # on the coupon. The site say they are “personalized” offers.

    So go on to the air miles site, and click on offers and promotions and see what is on yours.

    1. Brilliant, I had no idea they offered coupons. I’ll do that. Thanks for the tip Rose! This is great. Does anyone else use the Air Miles coupons? Mary?

  14. Great Post Mr. CBB. Amazing deal on the Bacon! Makes me feel cheated for paying $2.25:)

    I live in an area of a medium size city that is convenient to many stores. Metro, Food Basics, Your Independent Grocer, Loblaws, Walmart, Farmboy, Bulk Barn, 2 Shoppers Drug Marts, Rexall, Dollar Tree, Dollarama, and several ethnic stores are all within walking distance. Costco and Superstore are only 5-10 minute drives. My biggest complaint store wise is that the nearest No Frills and Freshcos are a half hour drive. We also do not have Zehrs here. I have a car so can easily get around to buy in bulk but there have been occassions when I’ve gone carless. It is mandatory to buy a reduced fare bus pass as part of the tuition fee at the university I go to so one semester to save money I went carless. It worked out pretty well because I have a shopping cart that I brought along with me that could hold more than I needed and I got in a lot better shape:)

    An option people without cars might consider is something my daughter does. She on occassion has to rent a car to visit her dad who lives out of town so she goes on a massive stockpiling shop while she has the car. Something else people could do is to rent cars by the hour from companies like Zip Car or VRTU car or maybe even from someone they know.

    Total Yearly Food Budget for one adult (combined Grocery and Stockpile Budgets): $1200.00

    Yearly Grocery Budget: $960.00
    Monthly Grocery Budget 2016: $80.00 ($20/week/4wk month or $18.46/week/5wk month)
    Total Spent This Month Previous To This Shop: $61.85
    Total spent this week: $13.83
    Total spent so far this month: $75.68
    Total left to spend for the month: $4.32 to carry over to next month
    Total Grocery Budget Spent To Date 2016: Jan: $75.68

    Yearly Stockpile Budget: $240.00
    Monthly Stockpile Budget 2016: $20.00
    Total spent so far this month: $21.10 ($1.10 over)
    Total left to spend for the month: $1.10 to make up next month
    Total Stockpile Budget used to date: Jan $21.10

    Food Basics
    $5.97 Kraft Dinner (12 box package) (stockpile)
    $1.24 Bananas (7)
    $7.27 OOP

    $6.75 Maple Leaf Bacon (375g) ($2.50 – 10% student discount = $2.25 each x 3)
    $2.24 Campbell’s Broth ($1.25 – 10% = $1.12 x 2)
    $3.60 Nescafe Coffee (150g) ($3.99 – 10%)
    $12.59 OOP

    Did pretty well for the month, overall spent slightly less that budgeted for. The accountability of this group really helped me to stay focused, think about what I really wanted to do, and stick to my goals. The supportive comments really motivated me too so thanks for everyone’s help and to Mr. CBB for maintaining the site, responding to everyone, and the weekly posts.

    Looking back at my months shopping patterns I see a trend. I seem to buy mostly stockpile items so I think I will change the allocation of funds to reflect my actual buying patterns and re-evaluate at the end of February. For February I’ll increase the stockpile fund to $40 and reduce the grocery budget to $60. That will mean that since February has 5 Mondays I will have $12 weekly plus the $40 stockpile budget.

    Good luck next month everyone

      1. Nope, I see it. I have 2 posts in moderation. I like to respect them and give them the time they deserve so I moderate when I can read them fully and respond. Usually once or twice a week. 🙂 I may think about just approving them all and then backtracking to comment which means everyone will see their posts right away but I won’t moderate them until after. It’s up to the gang what everyone wants. 🙂

    1. Hey Mimsie,
      Don’t feel cheated because $2.25 is an awesome price for bacon. Spending less than you budget for is a great thing which most of us would love to do. Unfortunately we’ve started our month off in the red so we have some catching up to do. What will you do with any leftover budgeted grocery money every month? Do you save it or transfer and add it to the grocery budget the next month? I’m interested to see how your February works out with the stockpile fund. I think most people jump at the chance to buy something that is a good deal which is why we end up spending more than we anticipate. We are no stranger to that in our house. Awesome deal on the coffee with a discount. I wish instant coffee had more coupons. Oh, I just read you will carry over the $4.32 next month. That answers that question. I guess renting a car makes sense if you have a big shop to do out of town. I think I mentioned in the post if going out of town is on the agenda that is a good time to stock up. I guess if someone doesn’t have a car this would be a smart option. It sounds like you have many stores in your neighbourhood but the stores the PM aren’t so close. How often do you drive to grocery shop? I bet that’s when you spend the most money rather than when you walk. The same for us as we would have to drive across town although I work near a No Frills so that is nice and easy for me. Well done!!! You get ballot 34. Mr.CBB

      1. Hey Mr, CBB

        Thanks for taking the time to read all our posts so carefully and respond to everyone. Must be difficult to do given your two jobs and family responsibilities.

        You came back really well from the really large shop you did a few weeks ago and are only $17 over for the month. You won’t have much to catch up on next month and you have all the things you stocked up on to help you get through the month too. I remember The Tightwad Gazette saying that it wasn’t so important to spend an exact sum of money every month but to consider it over the long term. From that perspective spending more to stock up on things you can use is a perfectly legitimate strategy that can be helpful in the long term.

        You’re right that I don’t have many opportunities to PM. The only choice is Walmart but I don’t usually do it because I look at going into the different stores as a way to get some exercise in and at the same time lookout for in-store deals that weren’t advertised. I usually do two runs a week. One for the stores north of me and the other on Tuesday for the stores to the south including Loblaws where I can get the student discount.

        Happy shopping

    2. Wow Mimsie I am in awe! You are doing so well and sticking to such a small budget! Congratulations for being so diligent and price savy! You scored some amazing deals this week!

      1. Thanks for the positive comments Birgit. The support from you and the rest of the group has really kept me focused on only buting excellent deals and not unnecessarily buying things I don’t really need.

        Look forward to hearing about your vacation! 🙂

  15. Mr CBB, I went over this month by a little but I have changed my meal plan to lower cost meals for February so I can get tasty food on the table without breaking the bank. I am determined that despite carrying my overage into February, I will finish the 5-week month on budget. You’ll see in this week’s meal plan that there is a limited amount of meat and lots of tasty but filling soups and vegetarian meals.

    I saw some amazing 50% off stickers last night on steaks, chicken tenders, turkey breasts and turkey steaks BUT I fought with myself and marched right by them! We walked out with only the rain check that we went in search of. Yay!

    What I have to focus on is that those sales are not on the meal plan for this week so I just keep moving at top speed…loiter and I am doomed! LOL I also saw nice priced turkey necks…but I told myself another time I will have them on my list for soup making – just not this week. 🙂

  16. JANUARY – Week #4 of 4- Jan 25-31, 2016


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



    This week is a NO SHOP WEEK for us because I went over on the monthly budget by $6.78 last week. I’m not concerned though because I’ll straighten out the overage in February.

    Hubby scored at the shops this week though…he got TWO rain checks for 6 loaves of WW bread at $1.00 per loaf and these are large loaves. He has bread right now so getting the rain checks will come in handy when he runs out.

    Some gals get flowers from their spouse on a Friday night. I got something even better…hubby saw a good sale at Kin’s Market and bought me 2 cauliflowers for $3 in total – using just the coins in his pocket!

    The cauliflower gift wasn’t part of my budget so I am not recording it in my GGC post but his reward for having such an eagle eye on catching that sale is going to be a Cheesy Vegetable Chowder for supper this week!








    •Total Loyalty Card Price Reductions This Year:

    Jan $36.76= $36.76

    •Total Coupons/Rain Checks Used This Year:

    Jan $0.00= $0.00

    •Total Price Match Savings Used This Year:

    Jan $0.00= $0.00

    •Total More Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 10 = 10 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year:

    Jan 6 = 6 Air Miles

    •Total PC PLUS Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 1800 = 1800 Points

    •Total Optimum Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 0 = 0 Points



    •Total OOP Year-To-Date:
    Jan $196.78

    •Total Year-To-Date Grocery Budget:
    Jan $190.00 = $190.00

    •Total Over/Under on Year-To-Date Grocery Budget: $6.78 OVER



    2015 Fwd $0.00+Jan $4.69= $4.69



    2015 Fwd $0.00+Jan $45.00= $45.00



    2015 Fwd $217.50+Jan ($15.00-$20.00-$32.65 -12.00= -$49.65) = $167.85



    2015 Fwd $81.51+Jan $15.00 = $96.51



    2015 Fwd $100.00+ $537.50 Trf from Borscht Fund+Jan $15.00 = $652.50



    $ 190.00 Grocery Budget JAN

    $ 4.69 Redeemed Points to Purchase

    ($ 45.00) ADDITION TO: Misc Reserves
    (Re-Stocking, Xmas & Summer)

    $ 64.65 REDUCTION TO: Misc Reserves
    (Re-Stocking, Xmas & Summer)

    ($ 45.00) Trf to US Grocery Reserve

    ($ 4.69) Set in Xmas reserve to offset
    Redeemed Points

    ($ 171.43) Actual CASH SPENT

    $ 6.78 OVER Y-T-D SPENDING


    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – JAN

    $ 4.69 Total $ Value of Points Redeemed

    THE VALUE will be added month to month to our Holiday Reserve for next Christmas.

    So far $190.00 has been budgeted Y-T-D for 2016 and we have recorded $90.00 of these funds as “spent” and in fact they have been “saved”:

    $167.85 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $ 96.51 Holiday Season Fund
    $652.50 Summer Season Fund
    $ 45.00 US Shopping Reserve
    $ 4.69 Points Redeemed Reserve

    OUR CURRENT TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES ARE $966.55. This means the $936.51 that we carried forward from 2015 PLUS AN ADDITIONAL $94.69 that we have added in 2016 LESS $64.65 that we have drawn out for use in 2016.


    The valid rain checks I hold are as follows:


    1 Compliments 10″ Tortillas. 720G – Rain Check for 10 Air Miles

    Thrifty Foods:

    6 Island Bakery WW Bread @ $1.00 per loaf – Good until April 22/16

    6 Island Bakery WW Bread @ $1.00 per loaf – Good until April 25/16


    This week’s BREAKFAST menu plan:

    HUBBY: Earl Grey Tea with Lemon Juice + toast with peanut butter, English Muffins with cinnamon spread or Cheez Whiz, Bagels with cream cheese or Rice Krispies cereal with skim milk

    MYSELF: Tetley Tea with Skim Milk & Equal + canned pineapple chunks, fresh mandarins, smoked salmon or hard boiled eggs


    This week’s LUNCH menu plan:

    MON: Imitation Crab Wraps + Christmas Banana Bread

    TUES: Peanut Butter Sandwiches + Applesauce Cinnamon Raisin Bread

    WED: Egg Salad Sandwiches + apple slices

    THURS: Chicken Salad Sandwiches + cottage cheese with sliced banana

    FRI: Tuna Salad Sandwiches + yogurt

    SAT: Baked Beans with garlic bread

    SUN: Corn Fritter Casserole with Coleslaw


    This week’s DINNER menu plan:

    MON: Leftover 16 Bean and Bacon Soup with buttered Cottage Cheese and Dill Bread

    TUES: Hungarian Mushroom Soup with Roast Turkey Sandwiches + cranberries for me

    WED: One Pot Mac and Cheese + steamer veggies

    THURS: Cheesy Vegetable Chowder + Slow Cooker Rice Pudding for dessert

    FRI: Leftover Hungarian Mushroom Soup with Roast Turkey Sandwiches + cranberries for me

    SAT: Leftover Cheesy Vegetable Chowder + Slow Cooker Rice Pudding for dessert

    SUN: Slow Cooker Chicken-Mushroom-Onion Soup + Lemon Cheesecake Mousse for dessert


    1. Good thing it’s a no-shop week I just ran out of tea haha! It looks like both Lori and yourself were over by about $6.xx which is great. Well done. You get ballot 31. MR.CBB Happy No Shop Week Mary.

    2. Do you use a recipe for your Hungarian Mushroom soup? I would love to see it. I love mushrooms. I would also love to see your recipe for Corn Fritter casserole.

    3. You must have an iron will Mary to get out of the store with only the rain cheques! Awesome that your hubby found cauliflower for such a great price. Sounds like you are both on the same page and that must help a lot. If it’s not too much trouble would you please send me the link to the bean and bacon soup?

      Thanks for posting your meal plans.

      1. Mimsie, I like to lock in a good price so I grab a rain check but as I said, I have to march quickly thru the store or I am doomed. Hubby has more willpower and frequently talks me into putting something back. 🙂

        I used a Western Family 16-Bean Dry Soup Mix since I had it in the cupboard. I switched the liquid to 2 tetra packs of Vegetable stock + 1 cup of water. Then I substituted a 28 oz can NO Salt Diced tomatoes for the Roma’s (I won’t pay for fresh in the winter) & increased to 2 diced yellow onions, skipped the garlic (my tummy can’t tolerate it) and eliminated the ham hock but increased the bacon to 1 lb diced instead. I also skipped the S & P because the stock had enough flavor without it. Here’s the original recipe that I modified:

        1. I hear you Mary, getting through the store without looking for “deals” is painful. Great your hubby keeps you on the straight and narrow.

          Thanks for sending the recipe. I have a ham bone that I could use in the soup.

  17. Yearly Grocery Budget For 2016: $9,100 (5 people)

    Points Overview:
    • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $700
    • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs: $700
    • Total Gift Cards used to date: 0
    • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: 0
    • Total Rewards Points used to date: 0
    • PC Points Plus Earned to date: 8,100
    • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date: 0

    Grocery Shop This Week: January 22 – 28, 2016

    • 4L 2% Milk $6.79
    • Chipits (775g) $8.99
    • 4lb. Granny Smith apples $7.99 – (50%) = $3.99
    • 3 lb. Cortland apples $5.99 – (50%) = $2.99
    • PC Chips 4 x $1.67 = $6.68
    • Can Lentils 3 x $1.00 = $3.00
    • Kraft Cream Cheese $3.49
    • Cauliflower 4 x $2.50 = $10.00
    • Brie Cheese $6.99 – (50%) = $3.49
    • Frank’s Hot Sauce $4.29
    • Lantic Sugar (2kg) $1.79
    • Cranberry Cocktail $3.49 (+ deposit) = $3.59
    • Can Corn 3 x $1.00 = $3.00
    • Kraft Cheese 2 x $4.48 = $8.96
    • Mushrooms (Bulk) $2.12
    • Kiwi (2lb.) $4.99
    • Beef Roast (3.99lb.) = $13.59
    • Club House Pot Roast Spice Pack $2.29
    • Sub Buns (6) $3.29
    Total Out-of-Pocket: $ 97.33

    PC Points Earned = 1,800
    Balance 9,900

    • Special K Fruit Crisps 2 x $1.99 = $3.98
    • English Cucumber $1.47
    • Avocados (5 pk) $3.97
    • Celery $2.47
    • Carrots (3lb.) 2 x $1.67 = $3.34
    • Smucker’s Jam $4.47 – .50 coupon
    • Can Kidney Beans $1.27
    • Can Black Beans $1.27
    • Medjool Dates (2lb.) $14.98
    • Grape Tomatoes $2.47
    Total Out-of-Pocket: $ 39.19

    • 2L Chocolate Milk $3.47
    • Bananas (3lb bags) 3 x $1.99 = $5.97
    • 2L Milk $3.30
    Total Out-of-Pocket: $ 12.75

    • Jalapeno Pepper $0.62
    • Fresh Garlic (2) $1.78
    Total Out-of-Pocket: $ 0
    **Used Gas Coupon (when you fill up they give you 3.5 cents per litre in Sobeys money**

    Shoppers Drug Mart
    • Eggs 2 x $2.29 = $4.58
    • Butter (Raincheck) 4 x $3.29 = $13.16
    Total Out-of-Pocket: $ 17.74

    • Total to spend this month: $700
    • Total coupons used this week: $ 2.90
    • Total coupons used to date: $17.90
    • Total in-store discounts this week: $ 13.17
    • Total in-store discounts to date: $81.85
    • Total spent this week: $ 167.01
    • Total spent so far this month: $706.52
    • Total over/Under spend this shop: UNDER $7.99
    • Total over/Under spend for the month: OVER $6.52
    • Total left to spend for the month: $0
    • Total Spent To Date 2016: Jan $706.52

    Weekly Overview:

    Wow! I can’t believe it’s been a month. I went over budget by $6.52, which is a huge accomplishment for me as I know before this challenge I was spending somewhere between $900-$1,000 per month for groceries. I am planning our meals better and we are making sure to use all leftovers in the fridge before they go bad. I feel excited to continue this challenge throughout the year!

    1. Hi Lori!
      What a great shop. We need to load up on Chipits again soon but I’m waiting until they are %6.99 a bag. What do you use those gorgeous dates for? I love how you were able to score so many great deals with 50% off stickers. Last year we saved more money with pink stickers than we did using coupons. A month sure does fly by. Congrats on the savings after one month. See, if you are mindful of spending you can save lots more money. The same goes with an entire budget of household expenses. You went over by $6.52.. wow. You kicked our butt this month. Well done. I’m proud of you. You watch and see how all of your numbers will change this year. You get ballot 31. Mr.CBB

    2. Hey Lori-Lynn. It’s great you got so close to your goal and made such a huge improvement from your previous spending. You must feel so proud of yourself! 🙂

    3. Great job Lori-Lynn! You’ll love how much money you find yourself saving on groceries this year just by being mindful of your spending & setting a grocery budget like this. I have to get my butt in gear & start posting our shops again this year too. My hubby & I are snowbirds in the U.S. for a number of months so some things are cheaper here than back home in Canada–however, the exchange rate is painful right now so I have to work hard to stretch our grocery money. My hubby was impressed with how much money we had left in our account today after we did our monthly accounting & bill paying today. He said he KNOWS this grocery challenge has really helped us save money. Even though sometimes I think it takes a long time to save & tally up the bills (& then add them here if I do), I’ve been telling myself lately that it’s like a side hustle job I have that pays me GUARANTEED–and I can do it when it works into my schedule AND I don’t have to pay taxes on my “earnings” (i.e.. the money I’m saving by shopping smart). When I look at it that way, it gets me excited like you to keep at it! 🙂

      1. That’s an awesome way of looking at it Leona, as a non taxable, create your own hours job that is. I’m going to steal your idea to help motivate myself!

        Must be hard to spend the same money in the US. I’m not too far from the border and was wondering if making a US run like Mary does once in a while would be worthwhile so checked out some of the US flyers. Seems like there are only a few items that cost less than here and most are around the same price not even accounting for the huge hit you’d have to take for the exchange rate. Good luck trying to stay on budget. 🙂

  18. You are absolutely right, when I lived in Toronto I was spending 30-40% more on groceries than now when I live in Collingwood.
    In Toronto I was living in downtown and my job was 5 min walking which is great, so I didn’t had a car and when i need one I would rent it. In that time I was buying groceries in convenient stores. When I moved here first I noticed groceries are much cheaper here.

  19. Thanks Mr. CBB! Great Post!
    It totally hits home for me since I am living smack downtown in Toronto. The nice thing is, that the subway is next door, so for $6.50 I can go to Walmart (roundtrip) and fill my shopping cart. It never holds enough when I am trying to stock up on loss leaders, but then again – my 565 sqft condo doesn’t hold much either. In order to save the TTC fare though I have used the delivery service (free over $50) a few times now and it’s great! 10 lbs of flour, spaghetti sauce and cans are delivered right to my home without me having to lug it home or paying the TTC.

    The only low cost food store in walking distance is No Frills, which is great and I use it more than ever before. But not being mobile keeps me from all the other great stores like Food Basics, Zehrs & Co. – Pricematching helps, but only if I can get my hands on a paper flyer.

    But just like you said: planning is the most important thing. I can get anything I really need close by and being on my own a weekly shop is plenty. Having to feed more than one person obviously would take a bit more planning, but is definitely possible. The only challenge is (on a daily basis) not to stop by the more expensive Longos Market and instead walk the extra mile (literally) and go to No Frills if there is really a need for something.

    I have used food delivery services in the past when I needed cases of water or larger, heavier items (especially in the summer). This year I think I will be opting for rather an extra walk to No Frills, or if necessary, a cab ride which shouldn’t be too bad downtown. Possibly 10-15$ if I want to go to Food Basics or Metro. Any other store would be too far to make a cab ride worthwhile.

    Now – you did amazing with your shopping this week! Congratulations! I see cucumber and cauliflower for your wife on the list! I am sure she is a happy camper!

    I am contemplating to make this another no shop (or minimal shop) week. Last week I spent $20 and am eating very well this week. Considering that I don’t need much before going on vacation on Feb 8 I think I can manage to go another week with the minimum of a fresh carton of milk and some fruits/veggies, using up the things in my fridge and freezer.

    And when I look at my January budget … a week of no shopping is really what I have to do! I can wait with my milk until next Monday!

    So here goes my weekly update:
    SHOP – none
    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $360
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs: $360
    Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
    Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
    Total Rewards Points used to date: $40 ($20 on food)
    PC Plus points earned to date: 38,900
    Airmiles earned to date: 138 (used 95 for 10$)
    Shoppers Points earned to date: 82,578 (105$)
    SCOP to date: $4.99

    Zweet: $1.00
    Checkout51: $14.00 ($86 total so far) $0.50
    Snap: $16.00
    Total coupons used this week: $ 0
    Total coupons used to date: $ 45.50
    Total in-store discounts this week: $ 0
    Total in-store discounts to date: $ 60.98
    Total spent this week: $ 0
    Total spent so far this month: $399.38
    Total over/Under spend this shop: OVER
    Total over/Under spend for the month: OVER
    Total left to spend for the month: $ 0
    Total Spent To Date 2016: Jan $399.38

    1. Hi Birgit,
      The post sure does sound like you could have wrote it. Living in Toronto is not only busy but it’s costly. Spending $6.50 to go to Walmart isn’t so bad especially if you are saving. Those carts must be so handy but I don’t think they hold that much. I think it’s great that you use the delivery service. How big of a pricing difference do you find compared to the grocery store? If you have a smartphone you can use that to price match the flyers with the Flipp app. So, they don’t deliver flyers to your condo? Interesting. What specialty shops are in your area? Well a no-shop week means you just saved yourself a weeks worth of expenses on food… congrats!! You get ballot 30. Mr.CBB

    2. Awesome idea to have your heavy stuff delivered Birgit! I admire your resolve to stick to a no shop week especially since you will have to do without a pretty basic thing like milk. Hope you enjoy your vacation. 🙂

      1. Hey Mimsie!

        Actually – I still have a carton of milk that is good until Feb 4, so I’ll use that up and then see if I need more for the weekend. I am going on vacation on Feb 8 anyway, so there is no need to buy much stuff really…
        I will be getting fresh orange juice though and maybe a bag of frozen fruit for my rice pudding breakfast dishes, so it may not be a completely no shopping week, but definitely a low key, low budget shopping week!

        🙂 Cheers

        1. Still just as amazing! You’re taking the steps you need to to not go much further over your budget. With being away in February you should have much trouble coming in below budget that month so it should all even out.

  20. I would prefer to live in the country but that’s not possible so I’ll take the next best thing which is in the urban center but not downtown. I shop at major grocery stores, farmer’s market mainly. If you did live in a large(r) city and wanted to stock up. But you didn’t want to take your groceries by bus or subway, you can take a taxi home but you need to keep that in mind and budget for that expense.

    1. That’s very true DEE as a taxi can cost just as much as a $30 trip to the grocery store in some cities which is why I always bought little at a time and walked where I could. Have a great day Dee.

  21. Jan 22 to 28, 2016
    Name Your Store: Food Basics
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Points = N/A
    Total Out Of Pocket: $16.67 (Includes Stockpile)

    4 Jars Ragu Spaghetti Sauce = $3.96
    Bananas = $1.74
    4 packages Garlic Powder – 4/$5.00 = $5.00
    Case of KD = $5.97

    Name Your Store: Superstore
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Points = 400
    Total Out Of Pocket: $22.93 (Includes Stockpile)

    Pam (Olive Oil) – $4.49 (PM Freshco @ $2.99) = $2.99
    1 kg Smooth Kraft PB – 4.98 (PM Freshco @ $2.47) = $2.47
    4 L Skim Milk = $3.97
    2 – 750 g NN Peas – $2.28 (PM No Frills @ $1.97) (400 PC Points) = $3.94
    Green Pepper – 7.69/kg (PM Zehrs @ 5.49/kg) = $1.18
    Red Pepper = $2.18
    2 Schneider Red Hot – $4.99 (PM Zehrs @ 2/$5.00) = $5.00
    2 Large Buns = $1.20

    No Shop

    Grocery Game Challenge Results
    Total Grocery Budget for the 2 Adults ($1890.00, for the pay period – $70.00)
    Total Grocery Budget for the 3 Cats ($364, for the pay period – $14.00)
    Total Grocery Budget for Stockpile ($520)
    Total Grocery Budget for the Personal Hygiene ($182)
    Total Grocery Budget for Wholesale Meat ($500.00)
    Total Grocery Budget for Canning Produce ($400.00)

    Total Human (Adults) this Week Period: $20.46
    Over/Under this week: under
    Left for the Month: $70.00
    Total Human (Adults) to Date: $109.12

    Total Cats this Week Period: $N/A
    Over/Under this week: Over
    Left for the Month: $(19.06)
    Total Cats to Date: $61.06

    Total Stockpile this Week Period: $19.14
    Total Stockpile to Date: $23.04
    Total Personal Hygiene this Week Period: $9.04
    Total Personal Hygiene to Date: $41.73
    Total Wholesale Meat this Week Period: $0
    Total Wholesale Meat to Date: $0.00
    Total Canning Produce this Week Period: $0
    Total Canning Produce to Date: $0.00

    Total Coupons Used this Week Period: $
    Total Coupons Used To Date: $0.00

    Total Discounts/SCOP this Week Period: $
    Total Discounts/SCOP to Date: $0.59

    Total Checkout 51 rebates this Week Period: $0
    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: $10.08
    Total Price Match to Date: $37.96

    Total PC Points Received this Week Period: 1400
    Total PC Rewards Points Used this Week Period: 0
    Total PC Rewards To Date: 23405

    Overview: Well you won’t need a cuppa of anything for this shop review, since there’s nothing new for this week. We picked up some more items for our stock pile storage closet. This will help with adhoc meals when we don’t feel like what’s on the meal list. We are still going thru the freezer and cupboards to make our suppers this week so this shop is small. I want to be able to keep this going because I know that once the freezers and cupboards are down, the meals will be creative but functional still so that it can stay within my budget.

    1. Haha.. I was just thinking the same thing! That was short. 🙂 What do you use all that Garlic powder on? Is it a specific brand that you buy? The prie of peppers are still pretty high.. It makes me miss our peppers that we grew 2 years ago in the garden. Now we have no space as I landscaped it all unless I stash pepper and tomato plants in between our bushes. Well done with the PM’s!! You get ballot 29. Mr.CBB

      1. I mainly use Garlic Powder on ground meat but I could use it on just anything. Actually this purchase was package instead off the bottles and no I don’t buy specific brands. The only reason for peppers is that sloppy Joe’s and cheeseburger cups are on the supper list this week. I have been considering growing something on our balcony but we have to keep our cats in mind as I’m sure they won’t stay out of the pots.

      1. DEE along with many GGC players have done SO WELL over the years. We’ve all went from big-time grocery spenders to controlling our shopping because we post here. I know if we stop we’d make a right mess of the budget. It’s nice to be accountable and have like-minded people to chat to every week.

        1. It does feel good but due to when I am paid, my month isn’t over just yet. I have one more pay in January, which is carried over to February so all works out. This year (and for how I can complete it), after my shop at the end of my two pay, I’m calculating the leftover amount from that pay budget and dropping the rest onto one of my debts. This is a double whammy….extra money is spent to reduce my debt and helps keep the food budget in line.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.