I’m sure that you’ve met someone who thinks they are a clever clogs when it comes to knowing everything about anything there is to know in life. Some may profess to be an expert only to lack the skills needed to complete a task such as being the household food shopper.
If you’re tired of always having to do the food shopping because your spouse doesn’t want to take the time to follow your frugal lead then it’s time to get them on-board with a bit of Grocery-101.
What is a clever clogs?
A bit of humour in this post to get your attention but serious stuff if you are struggling to meet your grocery budget needs because you or your spouse is not participating in the process.
The word clever clogs originates in the UK so it’s certainly a term I’m familiar with and now you are. If you’re child is a fan of the television cartoon Peppa Pig you’ll have heard that Edmond Elephant is a bit of a clever clogs. This means a clever clogs is someone who is too clever or commonly called a smart-alek. Edmond is very smart and knows everything about anything. The adult TV version of a clever clogs would be Sheldon Cooper played by Jim Parsons on The Big Bang Theory.
You get the idea now.
The idea is to train your spouse so temptations and food prices are understood and most certainly how they add up over the course of the year. You may have your work cut out for you if your spouse has no intention of participating.
Some people just don’t have a clue, they really don’t when it comes to understanding the makings of a grocery store and how it’s marketed to the consumer.
I was that guy once but I had a legit reason, I was a new resident to Canada and while my wife worked I was home twiddling my thumbs until school started. I needed something to do so she suggested I go to the grocery store so we could have more time to spend together when she was home. I was up for it but I quickly learned I needed some help to understand the Canadian grocery shopping system.
Equally there are households where…
- Both partners love to grocery shop
- One partner hates grocery shopping
- Both partners hate grocery shopping
- Both partners are smart shoppers
- One part is a smart food shopper
- One partner blows money as a food shopper
- One partner saves money
It’s a wonderful thing when a couple can grocery shop without worrying about whether one or the other will go hog-wild buying food they shouldn’t be. If your spouse is not cooperating in the food budget department I’m going to share with you tips on how to train your spouse to be a frugal food shopper. Plus, I received this email a month or so ago about this very topic which I hope to shed some light on today.
If you have a question you’d like to ask me please send me an email.
My husband is a horrible food shopper and although I create a weekly grocery list for him I swear he doesn’t read it because he comes home with products, not on the list. No matter how many times I’ve told him that we can’t afford the extras he continues to dance around the excuses and seems to think there’s nothing wrong with buying more food than we need.
These little money confrontations do take its toll on our relationship as I don’t think he takes me seriously. As a nurse I’m concerned with his overall health and wellness and I know he needs to cut back on the junk and start eating healthier foods. I’m the one who takes care of the finances because if we left it up to him we’d clearly be broke.
Our monthly grocery expenses are currently hovering around $850 for the two of us and a toddler BUT should only be $600. If he spends an extra $50-$75 every week you can see how easily we can overspend. My husband does the grocery shopping because I work long 12 hour shifts and he’s home in the evening which makes it easier on us if he goes with our daughter. Oh, and he blames our daughter for stuff he buys because he says, “she wanted it”, which is not an excuse in my opinion.
What can I do to seriously get him on board with food shopping?
A wife who cares.
A food shopper is born
When I moved to Canada I was frugal-minded but I had no idea what the costs of any products were across the board at all stores. My wife would send me to the grocery store and there were times I’d come home with stuff that was too expensive, the wrong product or I forgot to use our coupons. It was overwhelming for me to grocery shop in a new country let alone trying to be the frugal food shopper that my wife was hoping for. She sent me off alone to help me become independent in my new country and to be honest, it worked. I was forced to ask questions, something I don’t often do if I don’t have to. I’ve since changed my ways.
Before things got out of hand the wife and I sat down and I explained to her that I needed her help. This is the first step in accepting that you could use some guidance. Although she knew I was struggling with food prices she didn’t realize how much of a fight it can be for someone to enter a grocery store with a savings mindset yet everything is foreign territory.
In a way she knew what I meant because while in the UK I would bring her grocery shopping and she claimed that it was overwhelming for her to see so many new products. Combine that with learning a new currency that made for a challenging grocery shop. I wanted to get in and get out and the wife was taking her time reading just about anything she could get her hands on.
You would think that both men and women who were born in Canada would have the upper-hand on the grocery store game however that’s not the case. I’ve spoken to young adults who say that they had never been grocery shopping on their own before. Yes, this does happen when the kids stay home and the parents do all the shopping from an age where they should be learning grocery shopping basics.
Most often I have readers coming to the blog complaining that their spouse spends too much money and are looking for advice. It’s not just the women either… it’s both men and the ladies. I often find it entertaining to read what people search to find my blog. Just knowing that there are men and women who take to the internet looking for help on this topic meant I needed to do my part and share what worked for us.
Watch how people grocery shop
All you have to do is look around the grocery store next time you visit and watch how people grocery shop as their body language can tell you lots about their shopping knowledge. Just the other day we saw a guy walk up to the cheese counter at Metro where cheese bars were on sale for $4.44. I don’t find one lick of difference between Cracker Barrel and Black Diamond Cheese likely because I don’t view it as proper cheese comparable to what I’m used to in the UK grocery stores. It’s a cheese that fits the budget and doesn’t taste that bad.
There are far better cheeses out there that will cost you much more but for the average grocery shopper these are affordable go-to brands when on sale. The gentleman proceeds to grab a mozzarella Cracker Barrel cheese bar for $8.99 ignoring the Black Diamond Cheese Bar Sale Sign for $4.44.
My wife speaks up and says, sir the other cheese is on sale and points to it. As he rushes off he shrugs and says, “ah well that’s fine”. Really? So he paid about $4 more for a block of cheese which is practically the same in taste as the one on sale.
He either didn’t care, was particular about his cheese (no idea why) or simply has no clue how to be a frugal food shopper. It happens. Look in grocery carts and you’ll see what I mean.
Another example was the guy who picked up a case of 24 bottles of no-name water for $3.99 when a name-brand was on sale for $1.88. Haha.. right next to each other. He threw 2 cases on the bottom of his cart and strolled away. That was a head-scratching moment.
Prices really do matter
Saving money on groceries is becoming harder and harder as prices continue to rise even with the competitive nature of most grocery stores. You may have noticed banana prices come back to a reasonable price but that’s just to get you in the door.Prices on bacon for example have shot through the roof and even a pack of hotdogs that typically goes on sale for $1.88 costs $5.99. WOW!
Those dash and grab shopping trips like Mr. Cheese Man all add up over the course of a month or year. That means buckling down in the food department sticking to flyer sales, reduced foods and lowered prices with coupons and rewards points. This also means finding recipes that are nutritious that still fit your budgeting needs.
Just about every finance blogger who talks about finance has covered grocery shopping but I’ve taken it a bit further with my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide because it’s a huge expense for the monthly budget. Just about everything and anything you need to know about Canadian grocery stores is in my guide, free to you and I’m always adding more topics on a weekly basis.
It’s great to have all of these food shopping tips easily available to consumers online but if you have a spouse who is not on-board with your frugal mind-set and sticking to a family grocery budget you’re in for some work especially if they are the main food shopper like I used to be.
It’s not easy dealing with a shopper who doesn’t see the validity in overspending on food as some of these types of shoppers view food as a necessity that shouldn’t be scrimped on. Although I agree that eating good food is important we all have our financial limits that MUST be met.
How did my wife train me to be a clever clogs from start to finish?
Well, I’ll tell you there never is a finish-line with learning about the food industry as it’s diverse and marketing and pricing is always changing. Much of what I learned was applicable to most grocery stores so it wasn’t too much of a hassle to get educated.
- Set a time aside to review the grocery budget with your spouse.
- Remind them how much money they have to spend and if they spend more than they should what the consequences will be for the both of you financially.
- Review what a grocery list is and how to use it along with teachings of how to master a meal plan around your pantry inventory, freezer inventory and flyer sales.
- Review the grocery store flyers so they understand sales and prices
- Run down store policies such as returns, rain checks, price-matching and the Scanning Code of Practice
- Teach your spouse about how to use coupons and where to find Canadian coupons online and at the grocery store.
- Take a tour of the grocery store and explain each section and different products (this should take about an hour)
- Show your spouse where the grocery store typically stocks reduced items and how to read product labels and stickers to spot amazing marked down deals or blow-out prices.
- Send your spouse grocery shopping with cash only until they get it right.
- Remind them the importance of the rewards card and why it needs to be swiped.
- Show them how to load deals on the computer of with the aid of a smartphone app or email. Plus have them set time aside to read the latest coupon app deals of the week so they can plan around them if need be. More savings.
- Explain how bringing re-usable grocery bags is overall cheaper than buying them at the store.
- Remind your spouse to always get receipts and to read them before they leave the shop.
- Most of all motivate them to ask questions to the staff at the grocery store and to make a phone call if need be to sort out any issues. No question is a silly question, male or female.
There are no fast and steady rules about learning how to be a smart shopper apart from practice builds confidence like it did for me. My wife no longer has to worry about the way I grocery shop because after one year of doing it on my own after I was done school taught me the value of learning how to be an expert in a field I already thought I had conquered.
I hope that helps you out a bit Mel. You can email me if you have any other questions about this post. Mr.CBB
Has your spouse gone from a spender to a clever clogs food shopper?
Share your comments below as I’d love to hear what you have to say.
May 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.
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 $10 Canadian. 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 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.
May Grocery Game Posts
- 10 Affordable Meatless Meals To Help You Shrink Your Budget
- How We Deal With Rude People At The Grocery Store
- How to Chop your Grocery Costs in Half
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-$8.50=$226.50
- Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $226.50
- 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: 191000
- 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)
- Zweet to cash out : $18.25
- Checkout51 to cash out : $17.00
Grocery Shop This Week
- 2lbs of bananas $1.59
- 2 x 18pk Large Eggs Sale $2.99 = $5.98
- Bucket of Boston lettuce $0.99
- 1 x 2% Milk Neilson $4.27
- 6 x Schneiders Bacon Sale $3.88 – Buy 2 get 1 free $11.64
- Pork Tenderloin $10.02-50%= $5.00
- Boneless stewing beef Angus $10.88-50%= $5.44
- Pork Chops Boneless $8.69-50%=$4.34
- PC buffalo wings uncooked $12.08-50%= $6.04
- Fresh Ground Lamb $6.63-50% plus PC points earned $3.31
- Fresh Ground Lamb $6.51-50% plus PC points earned $3.25
- 3 x PC Mild Chorizo $2.99-50%= $4.50
- Salerno Romano Cheese $10.00-50%= $5.00
- 4 x Farmers Market Quiche $7.49-50% = $14.98
Total Out-of-pocket $76.33
- Total to spend this month : $226.50
- Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00
- Stockpile budget used this month: $22.35
- Total coupons used this week: $7.76
- Total coupons used to date: $15.36
- Total in-store discounts this week:$57.30
- Total in-store discounts to date: $284.23
- Total spent this week: $76.33
- Total spent so far this month: $279.07
- Total over/Under spend this shop: over
- Total over/Under spend for the month:- $52.57
- Total left to spend for the month: -$52.57 over
- Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $252.95+ Feb $249.46+March $211.11+April $248.11+May $279.07
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
We spent over our budget this month however we had a bit of an experiment going on. The wife and I suggested that since it was going to be the Victoria Long Weekend that we should go to Zehrs just before closing to see if there were any meat sales. SCORE!! This weeks i-store discounts totalled a whopping $57.30 with no coupons used.
We just happened to pop in when the butcher was applying 50% off stickers. I also don’t normally buy pre-made food but it was hard to pass up Market Fresh Quiche for half-price especially since I can’t make it for that much. I will use them for my lunch or dinner along with a garden salad.
We also bought boxes of diapers and used coupons to bring our total to $150 so we’d get 15,000 PC Points back along with the in-store PC Points we picked up.
Our freezer was getting low so this was the perfect opportunity to stock up outside of our traditional meal plan and grocery list which we don’t do often. We also found out that we can give our boy 2% milk now which means no more expensive Homo milk. Overall, we’re happy with this shop and will kick-butt next month as we are left with $182.43 plus stockpile budget.
Do you find deals just before a holiday?
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?
Sign up for the Nielsen Canada Home Scan Program and you can earn rewards points fast to redeem for awesome products or gift cards. I did this in the UK and loved it!!
Plus check out these other hidden areas online to get more coupons!!
- Healthy Essentials Printable Coupons (Johnson and Johnson)
- Clorox Coupons Sign up to print coupons in the Clorox family which include Greenworks, Glad etc.
- Kraft Canada Sign up and receive recipes and coupons by email
- MySavings.com Printable Smart Source Coupons
- Walmart Canada Printable Coupons
- Proctor and Gamble PandG Sign up for printable coupons
- Hidden Coupon Portals You Should know about – I found this over at Save a Loonie and you’ll want to sign up for notifications and check out the site so you get notified every time a hidden coupon is available from Save.ca, Brandsaver, Smart Source etc.
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 look at 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!
Please Note: Some of the links in the body of the blog post are affiliate links which means I may get paid if you buy something from Amazon. The items I’ve chosen are products we use at home or similar to.
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
- Don’t forget to Subscribe to Canadian Budget Binder by Email to get my daily email. Once you subscribe you MUST VERIFY your email account so check your spam folder and inbox for that email! By Subscribing you get all the inside scoops first plus any new finance tools and tips!