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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
  • 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, 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 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 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.
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  1. Week 2 – July 10 – 16

    • Grocery budget to work with in July: $240 (averaging approx. $60 week)
    • Total coupons used this week: $8.42
    • Total coupons used to date: $32.04
    • Total RCSS gas coupons used this week: $2.32
    • Total RCSS gas coupons used to date: $11.28
    • Total Giant Tiger Enviro bag credit this week: $0
    • Total Giant Tiger Enviro bag credit to date: $0.09
    • Total value PC Plus points redeemed this week: $20
    • Total value PC Plus points redeemed to date: $90
    • Total gift cards/certificates/gifts used this week: $0
    • Total gift cards/certificates/gifts used to date: $80
    • Total Neilsen Homescan Visa rebate cards used this week: $0
    • Total Neilsen Homescan Visa rebate cards used to date: $105
    • Total Checkout 51 rebate cheque used this week: $0
    • Total Checkout 51 rebate cheques used to date: $20.25
    • Total student discounts this week: $5.35
    • Total student discounts to date: $77.59
    • Total tax savings RCSS this week: $0
    • Total tax savings RCSS to date: $0
    • Total spent this week: $98.45
    • Total spent so far this month: $141.50
    • Total left to spend for the month: $98.50
    • Carry over: $0
    • Total in carry over jar: $0
    • Total overspent: $18.30
    • Total Spent To Date 2015: $1,454.80

    Metro: Ground beef 17.12: Total Paid 17.10 rounded down 2 cent

    RCSS: Betty crocker cake 1.97 return: Refund 1.95 rounded down 2 cents

    RCSS: Goldfish crackers 6 x 1.97 less coupons 2 x 1.97, Juice boxes 2 x 1.98, Twistos 2 x 1.99 (PM), Peanut butter 4 x 2.98 (Rain check), Armstrong large block 6.98, milk 2.48 less coupon 2.48, Chapmans 3 x 1.77 (PM), bananas 1.57, broccoli .97 (PM), celery 1.27 (PM), roma tomato .10, less student discount 4.84, plus tax .47: Total Paid 39.55 rounded down 2 cents

    RCSS: Juice box 1.98, NN chips 4 x .97, Cheerios 2.98, Nature valley granola bars 2 x 1.88, Mozzarella large block 6.98, Black diamond cheese slices 3.48, grapes 2.56 (PM), Herbal Essences shampoo 2.78, less superbucks .99 .93 and .40, less student discount 2.87, less PC Plus redemption 20.00, plus tax 1.22: Total Paid 4.45 rounded up 2 cents

    Dollar Tree: Garlic powder 1.25, chili powder 1.25, black pepper 1.25: Total Paid 3.75

    Walmart: Greenworks dish soap 2.00, great value mop cleaner 2.00, tide 4.47 less 2.00 coupon, cucumber .88, Milk 2 go 1.00, Armstrong cheese 4 x 3.87, tax 1.23: Total Paid 25.05 rounded down 1 cent

    Dollarama: Old El Paso taco sauce 2.00, Old El Paso tortillas 3 x 2.00, bread 1.50: Total Paid 10.50

    Expensive week, some redemptions from PC Plus to stock things up at the house. Cheese was a great find. The super size blocks were great and then Walmart had the smaller ones on sale too. We need a lot of portable stuff right now for swim meets and my son’s birthday is this month. We had to return one of the cake mixes that we bought the previous week because it was on recall. We had baked the other, but lucky it wasn’t a recalled one. We consider ourselves fortunate. We are still on an overspend from June, but we will look at that at the end of July and see how it goes. It is an expensive month for us, but we always get back on track.

    1. Oh Hi Angela again hehe!
      Some weeks I feel like I have a full hour of conversation with you reading your posts lol. When you buy the smaller products do you compute the math to see if it’s still a better bargain than purchasing the bigger product? Oh, what was the recall about? I love your optimism now compared to when you first started. It’s nice to hear that you have confidence that you WILL get back on track. What has changed for you? Well done. You get ballot #10. Mr.CBB Happy Shopping.

  2. 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: $140
    Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
    Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
    PC Points Plus Earned to date: 40760
    Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
    Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
    Zweet to cash out : $9.75
    Checkout51 to cash out : $20.25

    Our Grocery Shop This Week

    Foodland #1
    1 jug water -5.49
    2 yogurt @2.99
    2 Chhez Whiz @2.99
    1 Compliaments whipped dressing -2.98
    3 Powerade @3/5.00, instant savings on one -15%/.37
    1 jar relish -1.99
    2 4l milk @4.99
    3 blocks cheese @3.99
    1-18 count large eggs -2.99
    10lb bag potatoes -3.99
    Bananas -1.37
    1 lb ground turkey -4.49
    1 raisin bread -3.99
    2 W/W bread @2/6.00
    Tax -.60
    Total OOP -$80.39, .37 discount, Air Miles
    Foodland #2
    1 jug water -5.49
    1 jar Miracle Whip -4.99
    2- 12dr Cashmere TP @4.44
    1 sunflower oil -3.99
    1 Zcheerios -3.99
    1 cranberry cocktail -2.98
    3 Powerade @3/5.00
    3 Temptations cat treats @3/6.00
    2 cans pineapple tidbits @1.19
    1 block cheese -5.99
    2 4l milk @4.99
    3lbs butter @2.99
    1 green pepper -1.59
    1 bunch celery -2.49
    1 pack Johnsonville sausage -5.99, 30% discount,1.80
    2 Apple onion sausage -4.42+4.24
    1 raisin bread -3.99
    Tax -2.58
    Total OOP -$93.86, $1.80 discount
    Farmers Market
    1/2 pt cherries -2.00
    1 bunch organic beets, candy stripe -3.00
    Total to spend this month : $650.00
    Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00
    Stockpile budget used this month: $27.96
    Total coupons used this week: $0
    Total coupons used to date: $96.12
    Total in-store discounts this week:$2.07
    Total in-store discounts to date: $123.50
    Total spent this week: $179.25
    Total spent so far this month: $320.36
    Total over/Under spend this shop: under
    Total over/Under spend for the month: $0
    Total left to spend for the month: $329.64
    Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $579.69+ Feb $628.96+ March $605.28+ April $584.23+ May $475.36+ June $747.58+ July $
    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
    I got a couple of little things at the farmers market. I’m looking forward to trying those candy stripe beets! According to the woman that grew them, they won’t bleed when cooked, taste mild and are pale when cooked. The bunch is just enough to give us each a taste.
    I’m over for the week but still good for the month. There were a couple of good sales, the TP was good to get, not something you want to run out of, lol!! The cheese and butter were nice too. Might get more of those sales later in the ad. I still have a nice amount of room to make the budget for the month….

    1. Hi Christine,
      What are candy stripe beets? or is that what you call beets? Ah ok so they won’t bleed. I love beets any way I can get them. You can eat the greens as well. Isn’t it nice to say over for the week but under for the month? That’s our situation almost every week. Grocery shopping is an ongoing battle for everyone with a budget. We need to stock up on cheese and butter as soon as we can find it. Let me know how the beets are! 🙂 You get ballot #6. Mr.CBB

  3. Good write-up! Sometimes, I wish a grocery store was just a grocery store. It really makes for a long trip in having to walk around the perimeter of the store for basic food items while avoiding the housewares, pharmacy, clothing, etc.

    One thing that I find seems to work best for me in a handwritten note. If I used the phone, it’s too distracting and I sometimes randomly pick up a junk food item.

    I hardly use coupons as they’re for items that I don’t need and I do agree with you about using the same store. Sometimes, it’s more expensive than other stores but at least my grocery bill is consistent and I still have my high quality food! 🙂

    1. I don’t even own a smartphone so it’s all handwritten for me. Sometimes I just circle the sales in the flyers and make little notes on them. It depends on how much of a rush we are in. Typically it’s a proper grocery list though. I get what you mean. Using the same store helps us to get to know where everything is, understand the prices, familiarize ourselves with the staff and management which works well.

      There was a time when a grocery store was just a grocery store. You’re right it does make for a long trip. What would you like to see in a grocery store?

  4. The standard method of grocery shopping has always been to stick to the perimeters and avoid the inside aisles. Of course, this can’t be done all the time, but the premise is that the basics like produce, meat and bakery are along the outside walls almost everywhere. The other aisles are where the processed foods are, which tend to be the least nutricious and carrying the greatest markups, meaning your value is less there. Of course tou can’t always avoid those aisles, but having a list, made with knowledge of sales, and making use of coupons, can maximise your time there.

    1. Hey Barrie,
      Yes that’s very true. We do our best to avoid the aisles but when we need olive oil, spices and other products we must venture in armed! We use coupons and coupon apps if we can but they are dying a slow death. They aren’t near what they used to be in Canada although any savings is better than nothing. Thanks for your comment.

  5. I make the grocery list each week and divide it by sections in the store so my husband can quickly get everything. It is very helpful to shop at No Frills because they don’t have all the extra departments/temptations that Zehrs has (plus prices are better). My sister cannot help herself from getting things off-list so she now pre-orders at Loblaws and they bring the groceries right to her car.

  6. I find it helpful to arrange my list in the order I find the items in the store and to almost always shop at the same store so I learn where everything is. This prevents backtracking and walking through unnecessary aisles. The list is a Google Drive document that my husband and I can both access, so he can add to the list too. Since I can access the doc on my phone, I can’t forget it on the fridge at home. Then, I only buy what’s on the list and get out of the store before impulse purchases can tempt me.

  7. I almost always get caught up talking to people in the grocery store. It seems that everyone I know shops at the same time! I try and go shopping in the early morning or later at night so I don’t “run into” as many people. Sometimes it turns into a social gathering!!

    1. Haha it really does stretch the grocery shopping trip when we stop and chat. We have dodged people we know especially the one’s who talk forever.

  8. JULY – Week #2 of 4- July 11-17, 2016


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



    Found some decent prices this week…and best of all, we are still in the black for the month! Have I mentioned that my favorite color is black? lol No, really! 🙂



    MERIDIAN FARM MARKET – Maple Ridge –

    1 lb Strawberries $2.50
    1 lb Strawberries $2.50
    4 Black Plums @ $0.98/lb = $1.40
    1 Bunch Kale $0.98

    • Summer Reserve Budget OOP: $7.38

    Save On Foods – Maple Ridge –

    Regular Groceries:

    1 Dairyland Whipping Cream $1.99
    1 Johnsonville Italian Sausage $4.99
    1 x 5lb Russet Potatoes $3.49
    1 GF Bread $5.29
    Re-Stocking Budget:

    1 WF Sandwich Bags $3.00
    6 Old Fashioned Reduced Sodium Hams (BOGO) = $40.47
    2 Sockeye Fillets $14.08
    GST $0.15
    PST $0.21

    • Grocery Budget OOP: $15.76
    • Re-Stocking Budget OOP: $57.55

    ** Earned 573 MORE Points on this shop **
    ** USED $0.00 in Rain Check Coupons **
    ** SAVED $19.50 Loyalty Savings on this shop **



    OUR NEXT USA SHOP WILL BE IN SEPT. 2016…there have been lots of little teasers in my email lately to entice me across the border but we promised ourselves “no more shops” until after we renew our passports. We’re using that little trick to give us time to save up again & keep the grocery budget in good order.



    •Total Loyalty Card Price Reductions This Year:

    Jan $36.76 + Feb $160.96 + Mar $27.00+ Apr $117.96 +May $55.61+June $8.50+ July $39.00 = $445.79

    •Total Coupons/Rain Checks Used This Year:

    Jan $0.00 + Feb $20.46+ Mar $1.00 +Apr $5.23 + May $10.68 + June $0.00+ July $0.00 = $37.37

    •Total Price Match Savings Used This Year:

    Jan $0.00 + Feb $0.00 + Mar $0.00 + Apr $0.00 + May $0.00 + June $0.00+ July $0.00 = $0.00

    •Total More Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 10 + Feb 182 + Mar 3 +April 48 + May 96 + June 0+ July 573 = 912 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year:

    Jan 6 + Feb 43 +Mar 182 + April 32 + May 24 + June 3+ July 0 = 268 Air Miles

    •Total PC PLUS Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 1800 + Feb 5000 +Mar 5200= April 3,100 + May 0 + June 2,600+ July 0 = 17,700 Points

    •Total Optimum Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 0 + Feb 0 +Mar 0 + April 0 + May 0 + June 40+ July 0 = 40 Points



    •Total OOP Year-To-Date:
    Jan $196.78 + Feb $193.74 + Mar $182.77 + April $255.43 + May $143.05 +June $182.79 +July ($15.74+15.00+$15.00+$45.00+$5.65+$19.47+$2.94+5.49 +$7.38-$7.38 Trf from Summer Reserve+$15.76+$57.55-$57.55 from re-stocking reserve= $140.05) = $1,294.31

    •Total Year-To-Date Grocery Budget:
    Jan $190.00+ Feb $190.00 + Mar $190.00 + April $190.00 +May $190.00 + June $190.00+July $190.00= $1,330.00

    •Total Over/Under on Year-To-Date Grocery Budget: $35.69 AVAILABLE



    2015 Fwd $0.00+Jan $4.69+ Feb $5.19+ Mar $0.00+ Apr $0.00 + May $4.69 + June $0.00= $14.57



    2015 Fwd $0.00+Jan $45.00+Feb $45.00+ Mar -$59.58+ Apr $45.00+ May -$22.79 + June -$48.42 + July $45.00= $49.21



    2015 Fwd $217.50+Jan -$49.65 + Feb -$140.69 + Mar $25.48 + Apr +
    -$5.29+May -$9.70 +$15.00+($15.74-57.55=-$41.81)= $10.84



    2015 Fwd $81.51+Jan $15.00 + Feb $11.61 +$15.00+ Apr $15.00 +May $20.00 + June $15.00+ July $15.00= $188.12



    2015 Fwd $100.00+ $537.50 Trf from Borscht Fund+Jan $15.00 + Feb $11.61+ Mar $0.00+Apr $15.00 + May -$51.21+ June $3.23 +July ($15.00-$7.38=$7.62)= $638.75



    $ 1,330.00 Grocery Budget JAN-JULY

    $ 14.57 Redeemed Points to Purchase Groceries

    ($ 290.66) ADDITION TO: Misc Reserves (Re-Stocking, Xmas & Summer)

    $ 389.46 REDUCTION TO: Misc Reserves (Re-Stocking, Xmas & Summer)

    ($ 49.21) Trf to US Grocery Reserve Net of 2016 Spending

    ($ 14.57) Set in reserve to offset Redeemed Points

    ($ 1,343.90) Actual CASH SPENT



    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – JAN
    $ 5.19 Whole Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – FEB
    $ 4.69 Skim Milk- 3,100 MORE Pts – MAY

    $ 14.57 Total $ Value of Points Redeemed

    THE VALUE will be added in December to our Holiday Reserve for Christmas.

    So far $1,330.00 has been budgeted Y-T-D for 2016 and we have recorded $595.54 of these funds as “spent” and in fact they have been “saved”:

    $ 10.84 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $ 188.12 Holiday Season Fund
    $ 638.75 Summer Season Fund
    $ 49.21 US Shopping Reserve
    $ 14.37 Points Redeemed Reserve

    OUR CURRENT TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES ARE $901.29. This means the $936.51 that we carried forward from 2015 PLUS AN ADDITIONAL $595.54 that we have added in 2016, LESS $630.76 that we have drawn out for use in 2016.


    The valid rain checks I hold are as follows:

    Thrifty Foods:

    2 x 1 LB Strawberries @ $2.88 each – Good until July 19/16


    6 x Compliments Garden Salad 340g @ $0.99 ea – Good until Aug 11/16


    This week’s BREAKFAST menu plan:

    HUBBY: Earl Grey Tea with Lemon Juice + Bagels/English Muffins with fat free cream cheese spread, peanut butter or Cheez Whiz, toaster waffles, hot cross buns OR Rice Krispies cereal with skim milk

    MYSELF: Tetley Tea with Skim Milk & Equal + yogurt, apples, bananas or hard boiled eggs


    This week’s LUNCH menu plan:

    MON: Sliced Chicken on buns, Raw Veggies and Dip & thermos of Iced Tea

    TUES: Ham & Chili Gouda cheese sandwiches, Cottage Cheese with a thermos Pink Lemonade

    WED: Imitation Crab Wraps, blueberries+ thermos orange juice

    THURS: Chicken Caesar Salad with Garlic Buttered Buns, strawberries & a thermos of iced tea

    FRI: Tuna Salad Sandwiches, Blueberries & a thermos of Pink Lemonade

    SAT: Lunch in North Vancouver with MIL & SIL

    SUN: PB&J Sandwiches with a side of cottage cheese


    This week’s DINNER menu plan:

    MON: Banana-Cinnamon Waffles

    TUES: Hot Dogs with Meat Sauce on them

    WED: Garlic Parmesan Hasselback Zucchini with scrambled eggs

    THURS: Spaghetti Bolognese

    FRI: Habitant Pea Soup

    SAT: Tuna Zucchini cakes on Hamburger buns with homemade tartar sauce

    SUN: Zuppa Toscana with Honey Muffins


    1. Hi Mary,
      I love the idea of banana cinnamon waffles. Do you just mix that into the batter? Hotdogs with meat sauce have Larry’s name all over them. Have you ever mixed yogurt and cottage cheese together? It’s delicious! I’m so envious of your selection of meals throughout the week. Even though we put together our meal plan it’s not as appealing as yours. When I was home more I would make so much. Now that I am home a bit more I’m catching up on what I’ve let slide the past 8 months. Ah… the life. Were those the little half hams you picked up? Great deal!! So, you’re favourite colour is black is it? You know how to make us smile. Well done and yes some great stocking up deals this week. You get ballot #5. Mr.CBB

      1. Yes Mr CBB, the banana is mashed and added to the batter as a wet ingredient. Here is the recipe link:

        No I have never mixed yogurt & cottage cheese. I love them both as stand alone products. I also keep my cottage cheese intake to a dull roar because it is high in salt. I do like cottage cheese in pancakes or lasagna though.

        Yes, those were the Schneider’s Old Fashioned half hams. I love when they go on BOGO. It’s stock up time for us. Hubby loves his ham sandwiches, Denver omelettes or Chef Salads so there’s never a shortage of ham at our house.

        Funny you like the meal plan. I feel like we are slacking off with our cooking over the summer. My pre-requisites when the weather is nice are fast, simple and portable with a capital “P”. An awful lot of our meals are at a local park/lake. Hot items go in a couple stainless steel thermoses and I have snap on top containers for the cold meals that we can be kept on ice until they are needed. This week we’ve got dinner sitting in the bandstand at the local track after we earn our supper walking the beastie, lunch in the city square killing time before my blood work on my way back from my 90 minute exercise class, a picnic supper on Pitt Lake on the way to hubby’s chiropractic appointment, dinner at Rolley Lake after we have a nice stroll around the area, dinner at the Water Park where we’ll build up an appetite on the swings and teeter totters plus snacks on the beach in Harrison Hot Springs with lunch that day at the golf course in Harrison Mills. I do love this area – there’s so much natural beauty! 🙂

  9. Week 28 – July 8 – 14, 2016
    Name Your Store: Superstore
    Total Coupons Used: $1
    Total Points = 800
    Total Out Of Pocket: $50.16 (Including Stockpile)

    2 NN Cream of Mushroom Soup = $1.50
    1 Kg NN Smooth Peanut Butter = $3.48
    4 L 2% Milk = $4.27
    3 Minute Maid Frozen Punch – $0.99 (PM Food Basics @ 3/$0.99) = $0.99
    1.5 L Chapman’s Blue Knight Ice Cream – $3.99 (PM Zehrs @ $2.99) +$1.00 Coupon = $1.99
    Delissio Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza = $4.98
    2 lb Clementine – $3.99 (PM No Frills @ $2.97) = $2.97
    Bananas – 1.230 kg = $1.55
    Cherries – $6.57/kg (800 PC Points) (PM No Frills @ $3.86/kg) = $4.07
    Peaches – $3.95/kg (PM Food Basics @ $1.94/kg) = $1.74
    NN Bologna – $5.49 (PM No Frills @ $2.97) = $2.97
    Ground Turkey = $7.18

    2 Kg Whiskas Cat Food – 7.89

    Grocery Game Challenge Results
    Total Grocery Budget for the 2 Adults ($1890.00, for the pay period – $70.00)
    Total Human (Adults) this Week Period: $38.79
    Over/Under this week: Over
    Left for the Month: $140.00
    Total Human (Adults) to Date: $824.60

    Total Grocery Budget for the 3 Cats ($364, for the pay period – $14.00)
    Total Cats this Week Period: $7.89
    Over/Under this week: Under
    Left for the Month: $26.76
    Total Cats to Date: $170.47

    Total Grocery Budget for Stockpile ($520)
    Total Stockpile this Week Period: $3.48
    Total Stockpile to Date: $143.71

    Total Grocery Budget for the Personal Hygiene ($182)
    Total Personal Hygiene this Week Period: $
    Total Personal Hygiene to Date: $132.75

    Total Grocery Budget for Wholesale Meat ($500.00)
    Total Wholesale Meat this Week Period: $
    Total Wholesale Meat to Date: $204.46

    Total Grocery Budget for Canning Produce ($400.00)
    Total Canning Produce this Week Period: $
    Total Canning Produce to Date: $0.00

    Total Coupons Used this Week Period: $1.00
    Total Coupons Used To Date: $8.00

    Total Discounts/SCOP this Week Period: $
    Total Discounts/SCOP to Date: $4.09

    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: $11.88
    Total Price Match to Date: $234.52

    Total PC Points Received this Week Period: 800
    Total PC Rewards Points Used this Week Period:
    Total PC Rewards To Date: 13081

    Overview: Nothing very exciting with this week’s shopping trip.

    1. Hi Dee,
      I have to ask what Blue Knight ice-cream is or tastes like? Great deal on the fruit. Sometimes shoppers forget that they can price-match fruit, vegetables, seafood, deli meats, bakery items and meat. Small shop but great deals good for you. Keep at it. Hopefully we’ll see some great deals leading up to Back to School. You get ballot #4. MR.CBB

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