5 Ways To Spend Less Time Grocery Shopping And More Time Saving : The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #2 Aug 8-14

spend less time grocery shopping and more time saving



It may sound silly to some of you to time your grocery shopping trip but this is something Mrs. CBB and I have done the past few weeks only to be shocked at the results. It was time for a grocery shopping experiment to test just how well we were utilizing our time in the grocery store.

It’s so easy to get lost in the grocery store world especially when tuning out what’s happening in your life outside of the auto-sliding doors which is almost instantaneous when food is involved. No one wants to be stuck in a grocery store longer than they have to be but like surfing the web can be addicting so can grocery shopping.

The time spent on your grocery shopping trip should start the moment you get into your car or step out the front door to complete what most people either love or hate as a task that keeps us nourished.

It’s a food love or hate relationship that can be costly or for some strategic where savings and structured goals become more of a marked challenge than a need. This means that for those of you who would rather spend your time doing something else you divide task time on other important responsibilities that are priority.

You see the less time you waste at the grocery store the more money you will save because you spend less and you gain time to do what you love or what actually earns you money. Trust me when I say that your lingering ways at the grocery store will cost you big bucks.

The only way you’ll see it is if you break-down your shopping trip to evaluate it like we do or you run out of money. If you keep putting your groceries on a credit card without tracking expenses you’ll miss issues that should be worked on. The same goes with paying cash for groceries however it’s easier to control overspending because you only have x amount of dollars to spend.

There’s no need to wave good-bye to the traditional “bricks and mortar” grocery shopping experience if time is not on your side but time wasted may rest on the customers shoulders too. That means you may be the reason you are spending too much time at the grocery store and inviting your grocery budget to burst at the seams.

Talking about how valuable time really is

Today I’m going to share with you how to slash time at the grocery store and alternatives to making the trip to buy your weekly groceries that will help balance your budget.

I’m also going to briefly discuss how grocery stores put forward convenience services for customers to reduce overhead costs in order to increase profit while offering competitive pricing.

Are you willing to pay more just to save more? Time that is.

What is your time worth?

How much are you paying yourself to spend time doing the things that are considered life chores? Whether you believe it or not time costs money and it’s coming from your bank account.

When I was younger living back in the UK most small villages had a local grocer where we could pick up pantry staples but these days even my sister is using a delivery service. This helps her to spend less time out of the home travelling to the grocery store even if it costs a bit more for convenience.

PC plus points and using our rewards PC MasterCard Elite for example coupled with flyer specials and reduced deals is what makes us loyal customers at Loblaws stores. What we do find challenging is the size of the grocery store and the time we spend grocery shopping especially with a toddler with zero patience.

Most Loblaws grocery stores are massive all-in-one type shops with all services offered under one roof. Great for saving time travelling but you spend more time wandering around as if you were window shopping at the mall.


Catering to the customers


Those small locally run grocery shops are far and few these days since big box grocery stores have invaded Canada because convenience and bulk savings is what customers want. Grocery stores are very competitive and will come up with any marketing plan they can to keep the valued customers they do have.

As time goes on we’ve seen personalized experiences at the grocery store diminish with the advent of online grocery shopping, click and collect as well as self-scanners.

Related: Checking out with the self-scanner

It’s easy to see how far grocery stores have evolved with customer and employee interaction which has greatly diminished. Although profit margin is key what’s more important is keeping the customers coming back. Without them no grocery store will survive.

For many time is more important than having a conversation with the staff at the local grocery store so they get to know you as a customer. The personal experience of having front door grocery delivery service or trunk service has become something fashionable that will only trend higher as more consumers see how much time they can save with less hassle added to their day.


Time to Shop and Time To Stop


For the last 4 weeks the Mrs. and I have timed our grocery shops from start to finish. The results were about what we expected but there were times which surprised us based solely on a few key factors. Most of our grocery shopping happens on a Monday but if that’s not possible we try to sneak it in on Tuesday evening after soccer practice for our son. Big mistake!

  • Shop 1

Monday shop in the mid-afternoon at 2pm where the grocery store was less than busy. We managed to visit Food Basics and Zehrs with a total grocery shopping time of less than 30 minutes per store.

  • Shop 2

This shop was done after soccer practice when we were hungry, exhausted and our son was tired. It was not an ideal time to go but shopping later in the evening was relaxing. The store was not a busy at 8pm and we find more deals at that time of night. Most grocery stores will start to reduce product around 7pm finishing at around 9pm and then overnight.

Since we were all on borrowed time we spent less time grocery shopping as it becomes more of a super shop. We don’t tend to look at as many products like we do when we are leisurely grocery shopping. This grocery shop had us in and out in 20 minutes with a crying toddler.

  • Shop 3

This shop was done after dinner around 6 pm and was a nightmare because Zehrs and Food Basics were both busy. We spent far too much time bumping into people we knew. The line-ups were longer and less cashiers were available when we went to Zehrs. We also spent more money because we felt rushed by other customers to get out-of-the-way. Even the music wasn’t enough to settle our shopping trip.

The self-scanners are great to use but there are still line-ups for them plus if you have reduced product you still need to deal one on one with a customer service cashier to manually input the deals.  These grocery shops took us 1 hour 10 minutes but our son was in a good mood. Parenting win!! Free cookies and bananas help from Zehrs too.

Related: How to grocery shop with kids in tow

  • Shop 4

We used the fourth week of grocery shopping to tackle a time we don’t normally choose and that is grocery shopping during the morning hours. Before I was working my second job almost all of our grocery shops were done during the day or we’d shop without a baby as our son wasn’t born yet.

This grocery shop is where we spent the most money but came out happy as pie. We had a good sleep, nice breakfast and ready to take on the day. Our son was in a good mood and the grocery store was busy but nothing like you’d see in the evening or on the weekends. We spent a total of 45 minutes from start to finish and came in under budget. Yes!

Just about every shop had pros and cons. You may not find the perfect time to grocery shop to save money and time but what an exercise like this will provide you is insight into your shopping habits.


You never get time back once it’s spent


The time you choose to grocery shop and the day WILL play a huge role in how much time it will take you to grocery shop. In our expert opinions the worst time to grocery shop is any time on the weekends day or night. It’s a zoo and will always be a zoo filled with people you probably know and will want to stop and chat.

There are also the sample food employees whose aim is to feed you food with smells, coupons and freebies. This time you spend gobbling up free food cost you money especially if you buy a product you hadn’t intended to first. Stop at your own risk!

You are also likely to run into more empty shelves and having to ask for rain check. Finding staff to help you might be challenging wasting more time and be ready to hang out in a line-up.

Service quality and service along with prices keep us coming back for more and lately this has seen us become loyal to Loblaws grocery stores and markets during the summer months.


Shopping list


I mean this is a given and for anyone who thinks a shopping list is useless well you keep on doing what you’re doing. I’m sure if you’re here reading this post you want to learn about grocery shopping savings tips which means…you need a shopping list.

This is the 101 of grocery shopping that everyone should make time for whether you grocery shop online, click and collect or visit the store.

Related: You must use a grocery shopping list


Design a grocery shopping route


Mrs. CBB and I have over the years mastered the grocery stores we frequent so we know were all the products we buy are located. Don’t get me wrong we still know where almost everything is until the store decides to change their layout which means more work for us, but manageable.

The key here is to plan your route. We almost always circle the perimeter first, then hit the organic and healthy food section, reduced sections and if we need to go down an aisle we bust down it grab what we need and get out.

Don’t mess with your budget by looking around. It WILL get you like the Gremlins of the grocery store. That would be our on who sees just about anything sweet or salty and wants it. Chocolate-check, Cookies- Check, Chips-Check…uh! Avoid grocery aisles at all costs with a toddler in tow.

You may ask why we bring him and the answer is simple. We like to get him involved with grocery shopping (he likes to push the conveyor belt button and arrange groceries in the cart) and to get my wife and son out of the house. Since they don’t have a vehicle grocery shopping is somewhat of an adventure for them both.


Grocery Shopping Alternatives


Although there is a convenience fee for these comfy services customers would rather spend the extra dollars instead of wear and tear on their car, gas expenses and time spent in the grocery store.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

One of the downfalls of online grocery shopping is that the customer may not have the opportunity to pick and choose the grocery store they are most loyal too. Not all grocery stores offer delivery or click and collect. You also don’t get to hand-pick your produce and vegetables but any smart grocer would only offer the best to such loyal customers.

Click and Collect or grocery delivery services are becoming popular among businesses, parents with kids, physical constraints and shoppers who don’t have the time or want to grocery shop. Paying for a personal shopper these days is not necessary as it was a few years back since the boom of grocery delivery and now grocery collecting.

Related: Click and Collect Your Groceries with Loblaws

If you live in a busy city like Toronto or don’t own a vehicle grocery delivery services are a blessing. You will spend even more time if you have to take the bus, walk, bike or sit in traffic waiting to get from point A to point B.

The perks with click and collect from Loblaws or using a delivery service is that you aren’t spending valuable time roaming around the grocery store. The only time you spend is the time it takes you to place the order. Your time savings are just as important as your dollar savings.

This may prove as a downfall for the grocery store as less money may be spent in-store from shoppers who shop with their stomach instead of a grocery list. However offering less personalized services like self-scanners, grocery delivery and trunk service with a fee may boost overall profits for the company. Less staff needed = more money to improve on customer service alternatives to retain customers.

Grocery delivery businesses like Grocerymarket.ca that services the Toronto Area is booming with customers who would rather spend their time doing other things. I’ve never used the service but judging from the comments they’re doing a great job.

Businesses are cashing in on the time savings and convenience because they can keep a staff member at work paying them to do their job as opposed to grocery shopping to fill the office pantry or kitchen.

We decided in our office to locate a food delivery service to save us time. I did a lot of searching online and found GroceryMarket.ca. The produce is always so fresh, and if there is anything that they cannot get they will substitute it for something else. The men that make the deliveries are all so very nice and on time. On the website when ordering, you can pick the time for the delivery to arrive at your office. So convenient. The products that they have keeps growing and the website is user-friendly. I will definitely recommend GroceryMarket.ca to other companies.

Raquel Figueira,


Time to stop shopping


How much time should you spend grocery shopping? Well that depends on you. If you have the option to use alternatives that may be something to consider or time your grocery shops so you aren’t spending more time eyeballing the products and more time focusing on your shopping list.

We’ve learned that if you plan to save time than working on being loyal to one grocery store because that limits travel time and more time spent at other grocery stores. If price-matching is your focus find a grocery store that will fill your needs. The more running around from store to store you do you’ll see an increase in expenses and time.

I’d say a relatively safe grocery shopping trip will take Mrs.CBB and I under 1 hour and for best results to stick to our grocery plan under 30 minutes is key. We live close to the grocery stores so factor in about 5 minutes travel time back and forth and we’re looking at 40 minutes for a successful grocery shopping experience either during the morning or later at night during the weekdays only.

The next time you go grocery shopping make sure you know your time limits and if you must time your grocery shop then do so. If you’re not sure how much time you spend grocery shopping do what we did and track it for a few weeks. You may unravel the answers to your budget problems and time concerns.

Just make sure to turn your phone alarm on high volume so that you don’t miss the “Stop Shopping Alarm”  otherwise you’ll keep on trucking with your grocery cart in hand.

How long do you spend grocery shopping every time you enter the store? Share your tips for a faster grocery shop that not only gets you in and out  but keeps your grocery budget in check.


August Grocery Game Challenge


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.

Congratulations to Ballot #8 belonging to Angela M for winning the July Grocery Game Challenge! Please email me your address so I can send you your PC Financial Gift Card. Well done!

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.

August 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-$40.93=$194.07
      • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $194.07
      • Total Gift Cards used to date: $60
      • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
      • Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
      • PC Points Plus Earned to date: 248,000
      • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
      • Shoppers Optimum: Just under 850,000 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 : $22.00


Our Grocery Shop This Week


Ironically we did not shop at our beloved Zehrs this week!


  • 2 x Cauliflower $1.44 each
  • Blackberries $1.88
  • Romaine Hearts $2.50 3pk
  • Hot Dogs 3/$5
  • 2 x mild Sausages reduced $2.50 reg $5.00

Total Out-of-pocket $17.26

Food Basics

  • 6 x dozen Omega Eggs Sale $2.44 ea
  • 2 x 10% Lactancia Cream 1L $2.49
  • 1 x Broccoli $0.88 ea
  • Seedless cucumber $0.88
  • 2 x 2% Milk Sealtest $4.27 each
  • Bananas $1.57

Total Out-of-pocket $31.49

  • Total to spend this month : $194.07 $235.00-$40.93 overage from July
  • Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $23.88
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $15.36
  • Total in-store discounts this week:$5.00
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $407.65
  • Total spent this week: $48.75
  • Total spent so far this month: $88.44
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: under
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: under
  • Total left to spend for the month: $105.63
  • 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 $244.40 + Aug $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

Boring shop this week but again we didn’t need much. With the inlaws dropping by with veg from the garden we have had more than enough produce lately. I’m hoping we can get back to my inlaws house soon so we can load up on organic garlic and other garden goodies. 🙂 We will be putting a new roof on their house so it’s a win-win.. free labour, free food! I like it.


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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