Costly Grocery Store Distractions You Should Avoid : The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #2 July 11-17

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Once the prep work is completed to go grocery shopping, your next challenge is bypassing in-store costly distractions but it’s not that easy to defend yourself against.

Consumers are complaining about costs at the grocery store because like everything else prices keep going up and pay cheques are stagnant.

Who is to blame for this though?

The customer wants better deals and the store wants their major suppliers to lower prices so they can roll them out to the customer. It’s a battle against each other and the emptied pockets will come from the customer in the end.

Related: Loblaws sends strongly worded letter to major suppliers, asks group to lower costs

Loblaw’s missive comes as the price war escalates between Canada’s biggest grocery retailers and as consumers increasingly seek out discount food options after two years of rising food prices.

The moment you enter any grocery store you are now on their territory which means they can easily take control of your wallet, mind and appetite with the right marketing tactics. Odds are you won’t see a clock around and if you do it’s likely hidden so only the employees can see it so they are not late coming back from a break.


Grocery Shopping is becoming challenging


Canadian Budget Binder fan Lynn emailed me for some advice on how she can save time IN the grocery store because she wastes too much time with all the bells and whistles. She says that she plans in advance everything she needs to do but most often she never follows through because of distracted grocery shopping.

Well Lynn, grocery store giants don’t want you to rush through the grocery store because they want you to take your time, read labels, enjoy the smells and cash out your personals on the way out. You know they practically know your grocery list inside out because they track everything these days once you scan your rewards cards.

Oh it’s full on war between the manufacturer, the grocery store and the customer here and now to get the best prices on quality products but even more to keep you in the store longer. Convenience has long been used as a way to capture customers who don’t have time, ability or the wish to do things on their own.

Related: The Frugal Basics- Convenience Costs

Convenience easily translates into dollar signs so it’s no shock that grocery stores are revamping their venue to include more than just food service departments. The once simple stomping ground for food shopping has become a mind game of war against your budget.


Grocery shopping has become on a par with the mall


What once used to be a simple household chore to complete is now a tedious task like window shopping in the mall but the only difference is the mall is not an open-concept shopping centre.

As you trail in and out of shops at the shopping mall the grocery store sways you over the threshold between you and the check-outs to capture your attention. This is why you will see more SALE marketing on the windows of mall shops because they aren’t there to hold your hand to guide you in like a grocery store does.

The following services are competing for your attention at the grocery store and the list is sure to grow as time goes on. These types of added services may become distractions, time wasters and budget busters. Beware.

  • Coffee shops
  • Televisions and relaxation centers
  • Restaurants
  • Beer and Wine
  • Banking Solutions
  • Insurance Centre
  • Cosmetics Department
  • Health Food Department
  • Health and Wellness Centres
  • Florist shops
  • Pharmacy
  • Clothing Department
  • Optical Lab
  • Photo Lab
  • Gardening Centre
  • Mobile phones
  • Household appliances
  • Indoor and Outdoor furniture
  • Lottery Centre
  • Coin-sorting Machine
  • BBQ Propane Tank Refills
  • Gas Station
  • Toys

The list is steadily increasing since a huge competitor of the industry is none other than Costco where you can drive by any time of day and the parking lot is jam-packed. Move over Walmart the competition is squeezing its way into the market.

Related: Is a Costco Membership really worth it?

Are we really spending less money and less time with these all-in-one serviced grocery stores? Maybe, Maybe-not. Eventually we may lose face of small shops because they will be all tangled into the grocery store. Our children won’t have to to go the hardware store for a two-by-four as it’s likely going to be in lane 4 at the grocery store.

Grocery stores are playing with our time and if we let them control it we can easily spend more money than needed because added product variety means more customer seduction. Out of sight, Out of mind surfaces when I think about grocery shopping distractions.

With the marketing mousetrap there also comes other distractions that can slow your grocery trip down or even to a halt unless you keep your intentions on-point when you enter into one of the costliest adventures for your budget.

How do we go about turning off so we aren’t distracted by these grocery store extras?


Leave distractions at home


If it’s tough for you to focus on grocery shopping then leave the kids at home if you can, your husband and turn off your cell phone unless you need it specifically for the trip. Just about all grocery stores offer rewards points that you can load on your mobile phone which inadvertently pushes customers to be a slave to the internet while shopping. Safety distractions while operating a grocery cart is a valid concern for many customers too.

Personal distractions cause people to go blurry in the head and buy things they don’t need and slow shoppers down. These customers also miss great deals because they are too worried about loading coupon apps and reading mobile flyers as they push their grocery cart. Reading distractions count so pull over and be aware of your surroundings because you might be holding up another customer behind you who values time more than you do.

When you become aggravated at the grocery store you’re apt to give in to temptation whether it be from family, mobile defeat or someone trying to sell you something you don’t need. This could be in the form of face to face on-point selling or plain old marketing displays. Your focus is imperative so shop alert with your budget in mind at all times.


Stay away from services you don’t need


If you start wandering into the different departments or service stores that are now included at the grocery store you are destined for budget trouble. Chances are that you will find something that catches your eye with potential for marketing ploys to get into your wallet.

If you don’t need to be in the electronics shop, stay out of it. Same goes for any other store, including stopping for a sample of free wine if you are a big wine fan. Kill temptation.


Organize savings


Don’t wait until you get up to the cashier to start sorting your coupons and flyers do that ahead of time or as you grocery shop. It not only slows you down at the cash but the cashier can get flustered and you bring other shoppers to an impasse. Time may not be important to you but the people in line behind you may be checking their watch and tapping their toes for you to get a move on.


Know your store


Familiarize yourself with the grocery stores that you frequent so you can target certain grocery aisles and sections which you know have the products you need. When people say to avoid going down particular aisles, that’s not always as easy as it sounds. Take note as you scan products on the shelves and of the product signs above each aisle to guide you. The less time you spend wandering the better it is for your wallet.


Avoid chatting


I’m the worst for this but most often I do it for research reasons unless I’m helping someone in need. Don’t turn your back on someone who genuinely needs assistance if no one else is around but try to avoid unnecessary conversations or meeting up with pals for a middle of the aisle pow-wow that holds people back, including yourself.


Personal Shopper


If you have a few extra bucks hanging around your grocery budget you can either hire a personal shopper who will ONLY get what is on your shopping list or take advantage of services like click and collect at select Loblaws stores. When someone else is doing the work for you that $5 convenience cost may be worth it, especially if you struggle with overspending.

What other distractions bother you at the grocery store or cause you to spend more money than you would have?


July 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.

Congratulations to our June Winner- #4 Kathryn!!! Message me for your gift card.

July Grocery Game 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.

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-$52.57=$182.43
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $182.43
  • 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: 243,000
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
  • Shoppers Optimum: Just under 800,000 Optimum 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


Our Grocery Shop This Week


Food Basics

  • 2 x 2% Milk $4.27ea
  • Bananas $1.85
  • Avocado bag $3.99
  • Sugar Free Syrup E.D Smith $2.99
  • Coconut Flour $8.99
  • Minced Beef $3.79
  • Tumeric $1.25
  • Romaine lettuce $0.99
  • Broccoli $0.99
  • Tortillas $1.29
  • Apple Juice $0.99
  • Astro Yogurt Coconut $1.99
  • Lactancia Whipping cream $2.49
  • Lactancia 10% cream 1L $2.49

Total Out-of-pocket $42.63

  • Total to spend this month : $203.57
  • Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $0
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $15.36
  • Total in-store discounts this week:$0
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $335.30
  • Total spent this week: $61.44+$42.63
  • Total spent so far this month: $104.07
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: under
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: $0
  • Total left to spend for the month: $99.50
  • 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+June $231.96+July $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

There wasn’t too much on sale this week again so we stocked up on a few basics that we needed. We found one decent priced pack of minced beef. The wife needed some coconut flour which is costly but goes a long way. Now that we have the waffle iron we’re going to make low-carb magic in the kitchen. We’re waiting for bulk barn to have a sale on almonds and offer their coupon so we can make some almond flour.



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!!

Where can I find Canadian Coupons 2016?

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 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.


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Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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