SELF-CONTROL IS THE HARDEST PART ABOUT SAVING
I think just about everyone has had their fair share of binge shopping at the grocery store which attributed to spending more money than anticipated. We shop with our eyes and nose and at the grocery store so we have to be on high-alert because it’s simple to buy what you probably could have done without.
What does the word binge really mean?
It means you do something excessively in a short period. I don’t know about you but I don’t plan to hang out at the grocery store all day. Binge shopping happens when we let the grocery store do the shopping for us and not the grocery list. Major budget buster!
Guilt shopping is right up there with placing food in a shopping cart with no plan in place. What is guilt shopping? You know when you leave the house and the kids or your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend beg you to bring them home chocolate, chips or make you feel guilty when you say, “No, we can’t afford it this week”? Well, if you give into their demands that’s guilt shopping. Try not to do this if you can help it because you may end up forming a habit every time you go grocery shopping. Major budget buster!
Marketing is the biggest culprit of binge shopping because the marketing team knows what customers want. If a customer does not come armed with a shopping list it’s easy to fall into the marketing trap. The sights and smells alone will capture your wallet not to mention free samples and in-store deals that you weren’t aware of. Major Budget Buster!
In our earlier days my wife and I needed to give ourselves the compulsive shopping treatment because we were literally going to different grocery stores a few days a week. Our aim was to scoop up as many deals as we could with coupons without a grocery budget or plan in mind.
Sure, we had and still have a massive stockpile which has helped to keep our overall budget down these past few years but not everyone has the cash to do so. We can easily look back and find products we could have done without and this is why it’s important to slash the binge shopping for products you don’t need now before you look back at wasted money.
While renting a room we were mindful of our budget but we knew that we weren’t tied to it because we didn’t have any huge responsibilities in our life. It wasn’t until we bought our house that we buckled down and got busy with the grocery budget and cut the binge shopping out of our lives.
I’d like to say that we are free and clear of temptation but I don’t think it ever goes away. We just learn to live with shopping less and realizing that we can’t just pick stuff up whenever we want. We created our stockpile budget of $25 back in 2015 to help combat our binge shopping craziness mostly in the form of reduced products and coupons.
Finding reduced products, especially by 50% or more in the grocery store are the silent grocery budget killers for our family. It’s so tempting to resist such amazing prices on products you know you will use at some point. I think most people do the same and justify the expense so they can purchase it. This is not always a bad idea depending on how you can manage your money moving forward. For some they carry over budget overspends and tackle it but for those of you that can’t, stay away.
The resulting conversation goes something like this, “We will use it and it’s so cheap”. Then we rhyme off what the regular price is and do some quick math in our heads to see if it’s worth it. Sounds like a bit of a pain in the back-side but it saves us when binge shopping tries to takes over. This can be triggered by something that captures your attention at the grocery store. Most times it’s price for us but for someone else it may be smell.
Some people go wild when the sample food booths are offering snacks and coupons to buy a product (so you do), free kids cookies that prompt you to buy more or just the smells and advertising boards sucker you into making a purchase. Costco isn’t the giant bulk store that it is on prices alone…the food samples are what makes that place the money. Smart marketing if you ask me. It works! This can drive your expenses up especially if you give in because impulsive spending can be just as elusive as binge eating when you get home because you want everything on the spot.
Plan to combat binge shopping
So, in 2016 the wife and I are working VERY hard to make sure we slash the binge shopping from our grocery budget and we have a bit of a plan to go along with it. It’s not going to be easy because we love our frugal deals but it’s important for us to stay on track.
- Stick to the grocery list
- Only spend our Stockpile Budget
- Eat before we go grocery shopping (we are horrible sometimes)
- Price-match and use coupons “as needed”
- Avoid walking down the aisles unless needed (Major budget buster)
The first goal is the toughest part because we want to achieve our weekly grocery shopping goals but there are weeks we go over because of something we bought. Now, if the deal is outrageous and too good to be true as we’ll never likely see it again, consider how it may affect your grocery budget in the long-term. This is where I talk about being able to handle a possible overspend to get the “big deal” now to save in the future.
Canadian Budget Binder fan Angela is going to school and her grocery budget is super tight for her family. If you’ve ever read her weekly grocery game challenge posts you would know that they don’t always get the fruits, veg and dairy they need because their budget can’t carry the expense. She’s working hard to have a brighter future for her career and family but along the way there are sacrifices and financial decisions they need to make.
She is fortunate to have a student discount card available to her which helps with some grocery savings but it’s so important for her to stash deals when she can. Not everyone can afford to spend more money every month if they find an excellent deal but Angela did just that when she found out her local Valu-Mart grocery store was closing down.
Here is what Angela had to say and I’ll warn you it’s a bit long but worth the read because every once in a while we have to make financial decisions that aren’t easy to do.
We aren’t over budget yet, but it’s coming. In January Valu-Mart started to put on sales that can’t compete with many things. The local Valu-Mart store closes permanently at the end of the month and things are gradually being decreased in price. For the last two weeks, I have gone every few days. As a family we agreed to blow this months budget to help us reduce the need later in the year.
We can stock our freezer and pantry again, both of which were looking very sad. We don’t really have a total to spend in mind, but we are looking at what we can make up realistically. So, it will be interesting to see what the final tally for the month will be.
We aren’t too bad at this point, but we do have common sense and won’t go too crazy. It has to be something we will use, want and can’t usually afford, or is a fantastic stock-up price. I am happy to say the shelves are looking better already and the freezers look healthier in our house. I am still aiming to have one freezer empty by March to clean it out.
We have had very little meat in our diet so we can afford some meat this week. Thanks to great prices at Valu-Mart and RCSS having ground beef on sale where we could use PC Plus points. And, great timing to use my gift card from Christmas.
Time to calculate the last week.
So the verdict is we’ve doubled our January grocery budget. Anyone who knows me will know that we did this with thought and full awareness and not taken lightly at all. I am someone who was near tears for the month of October 2015 while grocery shopping. We are looking at short-term loss with a long-term gain.
Because we had an extra pay in December and had a little extra cash 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.
Since the price of lettuce has been awful we have really appreciated the little amount that we have spent the last couple of weeks on it. Frankly, we hadn’t been buying lettuce and we’ve missed enjoying salads in our diet. 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 the great price on mandarins.
By the time I got to Valu-Mart on the last day there wasn’t much left for produce but I managed to find a few things to help us. A sad week for our city as another place closes permanently down. Valu-Mart is now gone, but I did capitalize on their sales.
They were selling it out and someone had to buy it 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 but if you didn’t check you didn’t get.
The staff was super nice in there and I wish them all the best as they are the happiest 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 Valu-Mart was the massive can of mandarins for $5.00 which I will use to prep fruit parfait and salads.
Other great deals were 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 sell 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.
What I love about Angela is that she is a tough cookie with the shopping cart and so motivated to do the best she can for her family with limited funds. It’s so important to hang with like-minded people as you can be each others support system because giving something up or stopping a habit is never easy to do. This is what the Grocery Game Challenge Family is all about. We help and motivate each other to the finish line, the end of the year.
How do you control binge shopping?
February 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.
Congratulations to ballot #12 Birgit for winning the January 2016 Grocery Game Challenge!! You could be next!! Post your shop today!! I want to congratulate all the GGC players that are joining me in 2016. This is the biggest year yet for GGC players and I hope to see this grow. The savings will come. Welcome Aboard.
If you missed any grocery game posts for the month I will post the line-up each week below for you so you don’t have to go looking for past GGC posts for the month. Alternatively, just click on the “Grocery Game Challenge” tab on the blog side-bar to see past posts.
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.
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 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 $217.05
- 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: 58570
- 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: $0 (Cashed out $45.00)
- Zweet to cash out : $18.25
- Checkout51 to cash out : $7.00
Grocery Shop This Week
Shoppers Drug Mart
- 2 x dozen eggs $2.49 each
- Neilson Cream 2/$5
Total Out-of-Pocket: $ 10.00
- Broccoli Sale $1.28
- Selection Ranch Dressing $1.79
- Sunshine Bread Sale $1.88
Total Out-of-Pocket: $6.23
- 1 x 2% Sealtest Milk $3.97
- 1 x Homo 3.25% Milk $4.97
- Planters Peanuts Sale $2.99 500g
- 2 x Old No Name Cheese Sale $3.99
Total Out-of-Pocket: $19.91
- 2 x Hellmans Olive Oil Mayo Sale $3.47
- 2 x Astro Coconut Yogurt $1.99 ea
- Bananas $2.15
Total Out-of-Pocket: $13.07
- Romaine Hearts 3 pk Sale $2.99
- 2 x Cauliflower Sale $1.99
Total Out-of-Pocket: $6.97
- Total to spend this month $235.00-$17.95 over Jan = $217.05
- Stockpile budget 2016 ($25.00):$25.00
- Stockpile budget used this month: $0
- 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: $56.18
- Total spent so far this month: $56.18
- Total over/Under spend this shop: under
- Total over/Under spend for the month:- $n/a
- Total left to spend for the month: $160.87
- Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $252.95+ Feb $
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
We didn’t need to buy that much since we are stocked up from last month. The goal the next few months is to try and eat down the freezer as there is lots of meat to get eaten up. We will be freezing the broccoli and using it as needed as well the cauliflower. I can’t believe they are $1.99… shocked but happy because %7.99 is a bit much. Overall a decent start to the month. The wife is still going strong on her diet and everyone has noticed a huge change, including myself.
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 Save.ca that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile Save.ca 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 Know what stores accept coupons?: If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
- How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.
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!
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