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5 Supermarket Annoyances That Cost You More To Buy Groceries : The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #3 Oct 17-23

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This week I wanted to focus on changes that grocery stores could embrace that would make grocery shopping easier so I’ve broken down some of the most common annoyances that customers face.

Today when we buy groceries it has gone from something simple to a bit overwhelming at times now that we are parents. Over the past nine years of grocery shopping in Canada I’ve noticed a trend at every grocery store that I go to and that is marketing differs across the board. It becomes a tug of war between the shops and the customers and in the end all I ever see is a packed parking lot at Costco.

We’re a country driven by convenience and it shows.

No grocery store is alike even though they may offer similar rewards programs and the same products. Every grocery store needs to have a face and by that I mean they must stand out whether it’s in a big way or by multiple smaller reasons to herd the customers in week after week.

That’s how they make their money or in part.

You might not want to shop at a lower-end grocery store however they may offer price matching and rain checks where the mid-high range grocery stores do not.  These days shoppers go where the savings are even if there is an inconvenience to get them.  Overall, there is no consistency between grocery stores that fall under the same company and for this reason it can be frustrating for customers who simply want a stress-free shopping experience.


It does matter where you buy groceries


Your grocery budget may or may not dictate where you grocery shop but if you had to choose between mid-range to high-end or cheap like Freshco I’m sure we’d all have different opinions on the better option. That means that not all grocery stores will offer perks that you have come to expect and love.

Related: How much should my grocery budget be?

If shopping at Zehrs is your grocery store of choice you’ll notice that they don’t offer price matching and that’s because they have to pay for all the glam the store offers. The same goes for Metro who often has high-end displays, in-store pharmacy, health food department, convenience hot food counter, deli and bakery which also means, higher prices.

I’ve only scratched the surface of conveniences that some of these higher-end grocery stores offer. You may even find a beer store, coffee shop, florist, butcher, fish market just to name a few experiences that you’re paying just to look at even if you don’t use them. All in all you’re paying to shop in beauty because that’s what you want.

Do we really need all of that though?

That’s up to you but if you’re a fan of one-stop shopping you might not care about paying more for what you love to give up what you’d like to have. Let’s stop and think about the success Costco has had and they offer nothing more than free food samples and supposed lower prices. You even have to pay to shop there! We’re members now as we are testing it out for a year so we can blog about our experience but so far the only excitement we hear is about the cheap hotdogs after shopping and free food samples.

I had to really think about what grocery stores should all offer to help make our shopping experience easier. You might think grocery shopping is the getaway of a life-time where others treat it as a trip to hell. They have no desire to grocery shop however they still want to enjoy simple pleasures that help ease the pain.

What I’ve concluded:

  1. User Friendly Shopping Carts
  2. Part-time 24-hour grocery stores
  3. Competition consistency
  4. Grocery Packer
  5. Supervised play centre

Listen to what I have to say, what the fans have said and then let me know what changes would make your shopping experience easier. Speak up Canada! Grocery Stores are reading this blog post just like you are.


User-friendly shopping carts


We had a chat about shopping carts the other day on my Facebook page during the What’s For Dinner nightly post. I asked my readers what they would like to see changed with shopping carts that would make their shopping experience painless. Shopping carts are forever falling apart and have so many flaws that some shoppers opt to get a basket when they buy groceries.

One of the top comments that turned up was for grocery stores to ensure that they had grocery carts that were serviced or inspected daily. The amount of times we’ve gotten a wobbly cart that has caused us stress about five minutes into shopping is unforgettable.

This is why we take the time to test the shopping cart now before we buy groceries so we’re not faced with increased pressure. This becomes a bit time-consuming though when you are paying to use the shopping cart and have to let the store staff know you’ve got a defective cart. Many people don’t and just put it back, take their money and pop out another grocery cart. This is why the broken carts get lost in the mix.

I’m not a huge fan of paying to use a shopping cart because I often forget to bring change with me and have to waste time changing a $5 bill just to get a quarter. I understand why grocery stores have gone this route and now we’re even seeing Walmart introduce the loonie shopping cart. If you thought finding quarters in shopping carts that were left by lazy or forgetful shoppers was fun just wait until you score free money, loonie style.

One thing I liked about the Target grocery cart was that they had a drink holder attached. My wife always brings water with us because she gets a dry mouth from her medications or the baby has his drink so the holder is perfect. This avoids losing the bottle or it getting lost in the bottom of the shopping cart.

Related: Is a Costco membership worth the money?

I also have to admit that Costco has a pretty cool shopping cart where you can fit two kids in the child seats and you don’t have items falling through to the floor because everything is in bulk packaging. If you’re thirsty just hang on until your done shopping and sit down to enjoy some food if you’re still hungry after all the free samples and a beverage. No need for cup holders. Solves a few problems but using a different marketing technique, free stuff.

It’s clear that customers want to taste the food they are buying and Costco is servicing this need on a daily basis not just weekends like some grocery stores who have in-store sample booths most often put on by third-party companies to showcase a new product.

Here’s what a few of my readers suggested:

A grocery cart with a cup holder and four wheels that worked together would be nice.Susan D

I have Arthritis so using the carts at Walmart is lovely as they turn on a dime.The grocery scooters at Zehrs are horrible. You have to get someone to drag one of the two out for you because there’s no room to move out safely. They rattle and shake and when I stand up the cart actually moves. Walmart price-matches and has great carts.Colleen K.

My biggest peeve with shopping carts is the child seat. You would thing they could make them so that small items I like to put in the child seat part would fall into the bottom or onto the floor and be lost in the maze of shopping aisles.Colleen Kn.

I have no issues with shopping carts, but I agree with Colleen that there should be a part in the cart that could hold small things so they don’t drop out of it. Things like makeup, etc.Mona M.


Competition consistency


I wish, I wish, I wish that price matching was available at all grocery stores even though I know I’m just holding my breath for it to happen. It becomes a pain in the butt to travel from store to store especially when the deals are good. I enjoy buying produce from Zehrs or Metro especially when they are on sale because they always seem to have such nice product. The problem is they don’t price match so we end up making a special trip to get what we consider the better produce in our city at grocery store level.

Related: Price Matching Saves Shoppers Big Bucks

Even various Walmart stores are stepping up and proving they can join the ranks of Sobey’s, Fortino’s, RCSS and so on with top-notch marketing plans. They want your business and being the top retailer in Canada I’d say they’re doing something right.

I remember there was a time when RCSS didn’t price match but apparently they do today. It would be nice to see Food Basics join in with price-matching since No Frills also a Loblaws store which I would consider their direct competition allows it.

With Shoppers Drug Mart now introducing more President’s Choice products to their grocery section after the purchase from Loblaws it would be nice also see them climb on board. I’m surprised since Walmart offers price matching as does many other shops that this hasn’t been revised policy and added to the plan. I’m sure there’s a method to their madness but it would make grocery shopping easier for everyone.


Open 24 hours part-time


Most grocery stores close at 10pm or earlier depending on how much business they get at night. I can appreciate a business doing what’s right for the company especially if they are not driving the customers in that they would like to sustain being open 24 hours.

Related: Would you shop at a 24 hour Grocery Store?

It would be nice to have more grocery stores open 24 hours for those times when you want to sneak out when the kids are sleeping, late night shops after work or just to avoid the mass crowds of shoppers during the day. Even if a grocery store was open 24 hours 2 or 3 times a week on partial load that might do the trick because the option to grocery shop will be available for shoppers. Partial load means little to no departments would be staffed throughout the night. It would be a great opportunity for someone who just wants part-time hours or a couple of shifts a week.


Supervised play centre


I know what you’re thinking, leave the kids at home. Not everyone has the luxury of owning a vehicle to click and collect, can afford home delivery or to pay for a babysitter every time they need to go grocery shopping. This means when it comes time to shop the kids are coming along.

I’m sure most parents would agree that when their kids are very young between the ages of 1-4 that it would be nice to have an in-store supervised play centre to drop the kids off at before you shop. Charging a couple of dollars seems reasonable or even offer it as a free service for parents.

This would enable the parents to focus more on grocery shopping so they aren’t missing out on deals or buying stuff they were supposed to get but forgot because of distractions from the kids. Many times parents will agree that they super shop as fast as they can just to avoid screaming or tantrums in the grocery store. Easing the stress of the customers is a great way to drive customers into the store.


Price Scanning stations


Everyone should know about the Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) by now but if you don’t I encourage you to click the link and become an informed consumer.  Understanding SCOP will help you save money not only at grocery stores but many stores across Canada.

I often find that we spend more time hunting down someone to price a product for us or are wasting time at the customer service desk for something avoidable such as a price check. Some grocery stores have price scanning stations throughout the store and others do not. Even if a grocery store invested in just one price scanning station it would make grocery shopping easier.

The amount of times I’ve said, “ah forget it” and walked away from a product when I couldn’t be bothered to find help is countless. Grocery stores are losing money because customers will buy the products somewhere else. We are all impulse shoppers by nature unless we learn to control the urge. One thing most people don’t have when grocery shopping is patience so convenience is key.

There are many people who want to know if they’ve found a product that’s been priced wrong because they are mindful of pricing standards and know their prices. By this I mean they will likely get the product free so having the opportunity to run a product through a pricing scanner is ideal.

Ultimately it would be very cool to see price scanners on all shopping carts or available by using a smart phone that can read bar codes using a special app. Walmart has already introduced scanning codes to learn more about a product with your smart phone so I bet this idea is already in the making.

If you thought distracted grocery shopping was a pain get ready to battle even more shoppers with phones in their hands. Maybe the stores will come up with a stop-only smart phone policy where you can only use your phone if you’re not pushing your cart. Sounds funny but many accidents have happened because customers are not paying attention.


Outdoor grocery packer


Click and collect is the new way to buy groceries for many Loblaws customers where you order what you want to buy online and pick it up at a designated time and spot at the grocery store. You pay a fee for this convenience but not everyone wants to give up grocery shopping.

What would be nice is if the stores brought back the grocery packer similar to what was available back in the 70’s and 80’s at  grocery stores like A&P and Miracle Food Mart. The idea is once you buy groceries you are given numbers for the grocery bins that contain your groceries. When you drive up to the front of the store you have the clerk confirm your numbers and he/she will pack the groceries in your car for you and away you go.

This service would be great in the winter when you’re busy cleaning the snow from your vehicle, trying to start your cold car or have kids in tow, seniors, pregnant or disabled. Even though many stores have designated parking spots sometimes there’s not always enough available.

There were times when we struggled to find expectant mother parking for my wife when she was nearing the end of her pregnancy. I’m sure if you remember this brilliant service you’ll recall a time you used it and thought it was useful.


Change is good but don’t go overboard


Like any other business grocery stores must keep up with the times which means scoping out the competition, listening to customers and investing in updating their stores to keep customers coming back. The next time you head out to buy groceries take some time to look around the grocery store. Examine how they place products, what departments are next to each other and how sale signs are posted.

Investigate why the store might put a product display in the middle aisle or why the lighting is so bright in some areas and dim in others. You might even notice wider aisles, in-store conveniences such as coffee shops, fast-food or a relaxation centre like you find in most Zehrs stores.

Grocery stores want to know what makes customers happy so the next time you think of something that would make your shopping experience easier let the store know and share your insights. You’re the one who has to buy groceries so you might as well make the most of the experience by helping to improve the shopping environment.

Although some of the ideas above might be far-fetched they certainly would make life easier at the grocery store. Yo never know when an idea will be brought to life!

Discussion Question:

What changes would you like to see introduced or returned at the grocery store to make your trip easier?


October 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.

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.

September GGC WINNER goes to Ballot #8 Christine W. Congrats Christine.

October Grocery Game Posts


Free Money Saving Tools 2016


You WILL want to check this out!

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: $65
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
  • PC Points Plus Earned to date: 340,000
  • 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


Food Basics

  • 3 x Lactancia cream cheese $1.99 each
  • 2 x Schneiders Red Hots 2/$5
  • 2 x whipping cream 35% $1.99 each
  • Bananas $1.45

Total Out-of-pocket $15.40

Bulk Barn

  • 2lbs Almond Flour $23.00 (that’s on sale)
  • Chocolate Chimp Cereal Non-GMO, Organic $4.69-50%
  • minus flyer coupon $3.00
  • minus gift card $5.00

Total Out-of-Pocket $17.35

Shoppers Drug Mart

  • 2 x Sealtest Milk 2% $4.27 each plus 20x the points
  • 2 x bags of Doritos 2/$5 (darn it I was hungry)

Total Out-of-Pocket $13.54

  • Total to spend this month : $235.00-$8.38 overage from September= $226.62
  • Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $25.00
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $15.36
  • Total in-store discounts this week:$2.35
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $488.84
  • Total spent this week: $46.29
  • Total spent so far this month: $201.23
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: over
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: $ over
  • Total left to spend for the month: $25.39
  • 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 $201.30+ Sept $238.12+ October $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

We didn’t need much at all this week as we are pretty much stocked up. At the Bulk Barn we realized that after we bought the almond flour that we might have been able to print a second coupon for $3 off which would have been smarter. I could have bought a pound of almond flour and so could Mrs. CBB and we saved $6 instead of the $3. Ah well,  live and learn for next time.

Food Basics had hot dogs on sale and since that is one food our son will eat along with sausages we grabbed a couple of packs. Just recently he tried cereal so we picked up the box of cereal at Bulk Barn to see if he will eat that. If not I’m eating it. Food waste and children is horrible. If anyone has any tips please let me know because I’m working on a post. I’m sure I’ll post this question in the What’s for dinner thread on Facebook next week.

I caved and bought chips… at least they were on sale.


How was your week of grocery shopping?


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)
  • Danone Coupons Get up to $25 in coupons
  • 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 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.


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  1. Yearly grocery budget for 4 adults and 2 cats -$7800.
    (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
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $650
    Total Gift Cards used to date: $165
    Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
    Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
    PC Points Plus Earned to date: 49310
    Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
    Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
    Zweet to cash out : $12.50
    Checkout51 to cash out : $29.25

    Our Grocery Shop This Week
    Foodland #1
    1 jug water -5.49
    1 Cheerios -4.99
    1 case ginger ale -4.99
    1 10count tetra juice -2.98
    1 can kidney beans -1.15
    2 cans baked beans @1.00
    2 4l milk @4.99
    12 extra large eggs -2.99
    10lb bag potatoes -3.99, 1.20 AM discount
    Bananas -.78
    1 pack pork chops -5.44
    1 pack apple pie bagels -2.49
    2 bagels @2/5.00
    2 W/W bread @2.49
    Tax -.65
    Total OOP -$56.70, 1.20 discount
    Foodland #2
    1 jug water -5.49
    1 Cheerios -4.99
    1 6pack Royale tissues -4.44
    2-12dr Royale TP @4.44
    2 cans tomatoes @2/3.00
    1 yogurt -2.99
    4 Hunts tomato sauce @-.49
    2 blocks cheese @5.99
    2 4l milk @4.99
    2 dozen large eggs @1.99, .30 AM discount on one doz.
    4 Swanson meat pies @4/5.00
    Bananas -.52
    1 pack B/S chicken breasts -12.92
    Tax -1.99
    Total OOP -$83.81

    Total to spend this month : $650
    Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00
    Stockpile budget used this month: $6.64
    Total coupons used this week: $0
    Total coupons used to date: $111.12
    Total in-store discounts this week:$1.50
    Total in-store discounts to date: $158.75
    Total spent this week: $140.51
    Total spent so far this month: $402.75
    Total over/Under spend this shop: over
    Total over/Under spend for the month: $ under
    Total left to spend for the month: $247.25
    Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include stockpil budget) Jan $579.69+ Feb $628.96+ March $605.28+ April $584.23+ May $475.36+ June $747.58+ July $631.00+ Aug $683.19+ Sept $568.28+ October $
    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
    Slightly over for the week again but there is still room in the budget. Really, if it had been a 4 week month I’d be under every week but it isn’t so I have some work to do. The Royale was a nice deal, down to a couple of the packs of tissues in reserve but TP is always needed. Watching for a sale on Whiskas as Stuart and Molly are on the last bag. It’s a big bag but still.
    The cans of beans were for the chili I made for hubby and the boys as I knew I wouldn’t be around due to an out of town wedding shower for my niece. Wedding is Nov 5. My SIL asked me to bring a couple of kinds of squares to the shower but I had everything I needed here already so no big deal for the budget. Two more weeks to go…I can do this!!

    1. Hi Christine,
      WHATTTT They make apple pie bagels now? What company is this? Are they good? They sound delicious. Now I really want a bagel after moderating Mary’s GGC and her cheese stuffed onion bagels and now these. You’re all teasing me with bagels this morning I think. Great deal on the eggs to stock up on. These 5 week months are killers but they also teach us how important it is to balance our budget and spread out our expenses OR suffer in the end, similar to what’s happening with us this month. What kind of squares will you be bringing? Happy Halloween Christine.. You get ballot #16. MR.CBB

      1. The apple pie bag also were the ones made is-store. Raymond said they were good but smelled a little funky. They did have a different smell to them….
        I made and took my cranberry squares and regular Ninaimo squares. The leftovers are in the freezer right now. We can nibble away at them as Halloween is over. I’ll be starting some baking for Christmas soon. We have an appointment in town next week so I can get to Country Bulk for my candied fruit.

        1. Oh the C word… I have so much to do. I have your N-bar recipe do I not? I think I needed better photos of them though. Do you have any done or plan to make more? If you do put some on a pure white plate and sit it on the top of your stove in the middle and turn the light on above the stove and in the kitchen. During the day is best and then take photos. You’ll get beautiful photos. 🙂

  2. Yes it’s what Dee says, I’m saving for a new PC this year and the challenge really makes it easier for me, however I am switching the amounts out to when I feel like it (meaning when I have enough left in the bank account after all I need to pay), for example according to the challenge I would put most of the savings in later in the year but with Christmas and other stuff I have to pay for later in the year that’s not feasible so I changed it, I read about others who did the same. So I add really low amount in December (10,11,12,13€) but will still hit 1378€; can’t wait to see my savings account filled up. I have printed the challenge out and every time I add money that matches up with the week I colour it out with pencil and write the date below, very motivational!

  3. Total grocery budget for 1 adult
    12×190 = 2280
    Total stockpile budget
    12×50 = 600 (my stockpile counts anything that lasts me more than a week) my freezer is tiny so I can only stock up my pantry.

    October week #3 /17-23
    Calculated budget 43 €
    Total OOP 3.79

    Name Your store Billa
    Whole Grain sandwich 1,89
    Olive bread 1,90
    Total OOP 3,79

    Total budget for bulk 50
    This week 0
    Left to spend (same as last week) 38,65
    Bulk to date August 72.42, September 70
    Total groceries this week 3,79
    Calculated 43
    This week UNDER
    Total left to spend this month 106,30
    Total spent to date July 235, August 170.34, September 148.94

    Meal plan
    Roasted garlic, zucchini and potato soup
    Ham lettuce and tomato sandwich
    Egg salad sandwich
    Fish fingers
    Porridge w apples and raisins
    Raspberry nicecream

    Final thoughts
    I didn’t manage a no shop week but I am still proud of myself that the only expenses were for bread. I was happy to transfer my leftover this week to my 52 week saving challenge account, yeah me! I hope the best for the last week.

    1. Hi Christine,
      What is the 52 week savings challenge all about? I’d love to hear more. Sounds like what you don’t spend in your GGC every month goes to your 52 week challenge stash. I love the meal plan!!! Do you add any spices or sugar to porridge or even milk? The soup sounds amazing! I love roasted garlic. How do you make yours? Well done. You’re doing great!!! You get ballot #14.

      1. I don’t know if Christine’s is like what I’ve heard about. The one that I’ve heard about is you take the dollar value of what week it is (if it’s week 23, you set aside $23.00 into another account) so it can be used for an event such as Christmas or vacation, etc.

      2. I have my porridge with 50/50 water and plant milk, either rice milk or vanilla soy, as both milks are sweet I don’t have to add sugar, also the topping of apple and raisins is sweet and I love anything Cinnamon when it’s autumn /winter.
        I buy a bunch of garlic a month and roast it together with olive oil and salt for 40m in. I have then enough for anything I want with garlic, roasted garlic butter bread , roasted garlic white bean spread and I throw it in all my soups. If I roast it with lots of oil I use the flavored oil for other stuff too. For the soup I just did a veggie cube because I was lazy this week, 2 zucchini, 600 potatoes, Roasted garlic cooked on the stove and pureed, kept me warm and cozy all week.

  4. Week 42 – Oct 14 – 20, 2016
    Name Your Store: No Frills
    Total Coupons Used: $1.00
    Total Points =
    Total Out Of Pocket: $21.99 (including Stockpile)

    2 – Kraft Dinner Cases = $11.76 (included in Stockpile)
    4 L – 2% Milk = $4.27
    Hot Dogs – $4.69 (used $1.00 coupon) = $3.69
    Wonder WW Loaf = $2.27

    No shop

    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: $16.11
    Left for the Month: $68.09
    Total Human (Adults) to Date: $1181.49

    Total Grocery Budget for the 3 Cats ($364, for the pay period – $14.00)
    Total Cats this Week Period: $
    Total Cats to Date: $236.40

    Total Grocery Budget for Stockpile ($520)
    Total Stockpile this Week Period: $5.88
    Total Stockpile to Date: $204.31

    Total Grocery Budget for the Personal Hygiene ($182)
    Total Personal Hygiene this Week Period: $
    Total Personal Hygiene to Date: $230.16

    Total Grocery Budget for Meat ($500.00)
    Total Meat this Week Period: $
    Total Meat to Date: $344.80

    Total Coupons Used this Week Period: $1.00
    Total Coupons Used To Date: $27.96

    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: $
    Total Price Match to Date: $273.67

    Total PC Points Received this Week Period:
    Total PC Rewards Points Used this Week Period:
    Total PC Rewards To Date: 25808

    Overview: This week, we were not home much so there wasn’t much that was needed. I couldn’t pass up on the case of KD as that’s our fall-back quick and easy meal when we don’t want to cook.

    1. Hi Dee,
      I think KD is most people’s fall back when they don’t want to cook. I can’t stand the stuff myself but when my wife ate pasta she didn’t mind it at all. I can’t even get my boy to eat it yet but I’m sure he will eventually. He does love hotdogs though. Where did you get the $1.00 hotdog coupon? What is your all time fav boxed cheese macaroni dinner? You get ballot #13 Mr.CBB

      1. The coupons are part of the save and pay-it-forward campaign thru Loblaws. You save with a coupon and then take the other part and put it in one of the charity bins so that the store will donate to that charity the value in the bins. My favourite boxed M&C is original but it has to be Kraft. We have tried no name brands and they taste like soap….yuck.

          1. It is tear pad of coupons at specific products. I’ve seen the ad on the RCSS and Zehrs flyers.

  5. Week 3 – Oct 16 – 22

    • Grocery budget to work with in September: $320
    • Total coupons used this week: $3.00
    • Total coupons used to date: $55.16
    • Total RCSS gas coupons used to date: $16.00 (total – Superbucks program done)
    • Total Giant Tiger Enviro bag credit this week: $0
    • Total Giant Tiger Enviro bag credit to date: $0.24
    • Total value PC Plus points redeemed this week: $0
    • Total value PC Plus points redeemed to date: $110
    • Total gift cards/certificates/gifts used this week: $0
    • Total gift cards/certificates/gifts used to date: $165
    • Total Neilsen Homescan Visa rebate cards used this week: $0
    • Total Neilsen Homescan Visa rebate cards used to date: $170
    • Total Checkout 51 rebate cheque used this week: $0
    • Total Checkout 51 rebate cheques used to date: $20.25
    • Total student discounts to date: $139.37 (total – Student discount done)
    • Total spent this week: $35.40
    • Total spent so far this month: $171.90
    • Total left to spend for the month: $218.95
    • Carry over: $0
    • Total in carry over jar: $0
    • Total overspent: $44.80
    • Total Spent To Date 2016: $2,513.65

    Walmart: Poptarts 3 x 1.88 less 1.50 in coupons (3 @.50), Milk 1.93 2L clearance, eggs 1.97, YOP .75, tax .10: Total Paid 8.90 rounded up 1 cent

    RCSS: Old El Paso cheese sauce 3 x 1.33, brown sugar 1.97, NN tortilla ships 2 x 3.50, Bulls-eye BBQ sauce clearance 2 x .94, pomegranate 1.50, apple croissants clearance 1.00, bread 1.59, tax .91: Total Paid 19.85 rounded up 1 cent

    Walmart: Poptarts 3 x 1.88 less 1.50 in coupons (3 @.50), croissants clearance 2.50: Total Paid 6.65

    A small week. Stocked up on pop tarts since my kiddo actually asked for them. We sometimes have as an evening treat. So at least we have some for a while at an acceptable price. We didn’t need a lot this week. And, we are now almost at the end of the month and I have some over spend to catch up from that carried over from September. We are definitely on track for that to be gone and we may even have enough to start our carry over jar again. We are getting used to the new grocery budget still and haven’t quite worked out exactly how much is perfect for us. We may have too much available right now, we will see once December comes along. Not too bad so far and we are still eating produce out of our garden which helps. No super great deals this week though. A couple clearance items with BBQ sauce and bread products.

    1. Hey,
      I love that… stocked up on Pop Tarts and you only paid $0.50 each. My wife loves them but I’ve never had one before. What is the best kind to get? Wow you still have stuff in the garden, that’s great. I like that you plan to review your budget,that’s so important to being successful financially in my opinion. Well done. You get ballot 12. Mr.CBB

  6. Food waste and kids. Ah yes…. you will become the eater of the brown bananas, bruised apples and slightly smushed bread – because they won’t touch it!

    1. The only problem with that is the wife doesn’t eat any of that so I’m the one who has to eat it or it gets wasted. I really need to get some tips on this topic. I may post it on my What’s For Dinner feed to see what the fans come up with so it can motivate my next post. Do you have any tips?

      1. Brown bananas go in the freezer until I have enough to make banana bread. Fruit like apples, plums, pears etc. I will slice up for filling in turnovers. I buy frozen puff pastry that I pull out of the freezer a couple hours before I need it, fill with fruit, seasonings, and sweetener/butter (optional), fold and brush with egg wash and bake. It’s an easy dessert and cheaper than what you will find at the store, and it uses up whatever fruit has become unappealing!

  7. We normally go between Walmart and Sams Club. I think we save more than one thousand dollars a year vs. going to our local grocery store. It seems like everything there is nearly 5% – 15% higher.

    1. We will see how our Costco membership pairs with our grocery budget now that we are signed up. There are a few items we’ve noticed that are cheaper to buy at Costco such as a huge block of mozzarella, almonds and a huge cured hot salami. We can also buy our milk, cream and eggs there. The only thing is we get reduced products at the grocery store that saves us quite a bit as well which we wouldn’t get at Costco. Does your Walmart have a reduced rack?

  8. I’d like to see the grocery stores have a couple of benches for people to sit down if they need to. Most stores in my area have nothing… so I take my walker, set the brakes & sit down right in the middle of the darned grocery aisle blocking traffic for those trying to shop & ultimately costing the store money when those shoppers get frustrated and skip getting a few purchases because I am blocking them.

    We have an aging society folks…nowhere to sit and rest temporarily clearly sends the message to our seniors, post-surgical and otherwise physically challenged part of society that you simply do not value their business. I want to walk the store! I have no interest in zooming up and down the grocery aisles on a scooter. For those of us committed to getting as much exercise as our bodies will allow…can we please have a bench or two somewhere out of the way where we can catch our breath before we finish our shopping?

    When I have no way to complete my shopping, I drop my unfinished shopping in it’s entirety at the cashier. What does it cost you to put everything back on the shelves and in the freezers? With enough of us unable to complete a shop, and the number increasing exponentially with the boomers, is my requested bench looking more and more like the cost effective approach?

  9. OCTOBER – Week #3 of 5- Oct 17-23, 2016


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



    This week we did just enough shopping to round out our supplies that we had on hand.



    Walmart – Port Coquitlam –

    1 x 8-pack Maple Leaf Prime Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
    = $18.00

    Total OOP: $18.00






    •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 $46.99+ Aug $13.85+Sept $0.60+Oct $0.00 = $468.23

    •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 + Aug $0.00+ Sept $0.00 Oct $6.32 = $43.69

    •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 + Aug $0.00 + Sept $0.00 Oct $0.00 = $0.00

    •Total More Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 10 + Feb 182 + Mar 3 +April 48 + May 96 + June 0+ July 573 + Aug 208 + Sept 11 + Oct 23 = 1,154 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year:

    Jan 6 + Feb 43 +Mar 182 + April 32 + May 24 + June 3+ July 0 + Aug 0 + Sept 0 + Oct 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 + Aug 6,600 + Sept 0 + Oct 0 = 24,300 Points

    •Total Optimum Points Earned This Year:

    Jan 0 + Feb 0 +Mar 0 + April 0 + May 0 + June 40+ July 0 + Aug 40 + Sept 20 + Oct 30 = 130 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 $188.72+ Aug $171.07+ Sept $195.65 + Oct ($30.00+$70.00+$2.94+$1.00+$7.69+3.98+2.29 +$18.00= $135.90) = $1,845.90

    •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+Aug $190.00 +Sept $190.00 + Oct $190.00= $1,900.00

    •Total Over/Under on Year-To-Date Grocery Budget: $54.10 AVAILABLE



    2015 Fwd $0.00+Jan $4.69+ Feb $5.19+ Mar $0.00+ Apr $0.00 + May $4.69 + June $0.00+ July $0.00 + Aug $0.00+Sept $0.00 + Oct $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 + Aug $45.00+Sept $112.62 + Oct ($70.00-$26.12=$43.88)= $168.12



    2015 Fwd $217.50+Jan -$49.65 + Feb -$140.69 + Mar $25.48 + Apr +
    -$5.29+May -$9.70 +June $15.00+July -$41.81 + Aug $17.93+Sept $15.00 + Oct $30.00= $73.77



    2015 Fwd $81.51+Jan $15.00 + Feb $11.61 +$15.00+ Apr $15.00 +May $20.00 + June $15.00+ July $15.00+ Aug $15.00+Sept $15.00 +
    Oct $-15.19= $202.93



    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 $7.62 +Aug (15.00-30.21=-$15.21)+ Sept $15.00= $638.54



    $ 1,900.00 Grocery Budget JAN-OCT

    $ 14.57 Redeemed Points to Purchase Groceries

    ($ 413.59) ADDITION TO: Misc Reserves (Re-Stocking, Xmas & Summer)

    $ 434.86 REDUCTION TO: Misc Reserves (Re-Stocking, Xmas & Summer)

    ($ 250.71) Trf to US Grocery Reserve Net of 2016 Spending

    ($ 14.57) Set in reserve to offset Redeemed Points

    ($ 1,616.46) 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 POINTS REDEEMED will be added to our Holiday Reserve next Christmas.

    So far $1,900.00 has been budgeted Y-T-D for 2016 and we have recorded $888.47 of these funds as “spent” and in fact they have been “saved”:

    $ 73.77 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $ 202.93 Holiday Season Fund + $130 PC Plus Avail.
    $ 638.54 Summer Season Fund
    $ 168.12 US Shopping Reserve
    $ 14.37 Points Redeemed Reserve

    OUR CURRENT TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES ARE $1,097.73. This means the $936.51 that we carried forward from 2015 PLUS AN ADDITIONAL $888.47 that we have added in 2016, LESS $727.25 that we have drawn out for use in 2016.


    The valid rain checks I hold are as follows:



    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: Peanut Butter Sandwiches with Carrot & Celery Sticks with dip for hubby / Carrot-Celery-Apple-Walnut Salad for me

    TUES: Ham & Cheese Submarine with Cheesy Cup of Soup for hubby / just ham & a slice of cheese for me

    WED: Roast Chicken Sandwiches with All Dressed Chips for hubby / chicken-apple-celery salad for me

    THURS: Leftover Red Lentil and Garbanzo Bean Soup with Egg Salad Sandwiches for hubby / soup only for me

    FRI: Tuna Subs with Cheesy Apple Soup & Icing Sugar Mini Donuts for hubby / just the soup for me

    SAT: Rowena’s in Harrison Mills (weather permitting)

    SUN: Pumpkin Pie French Toast


    This week’s DINNER menu plan:

    MON: Cheese Omelette with Roasted Potato, Onion, Celery, Carrot & Peppers

    TUES: Cheesy Apple Soup with Fall Spiced Cornbread

    WED: Red Lentil & Garbanzo Bean Soup

    THURS: Leftover Cheesy Apple Soup with Fall Spiced Cornbread

    FRI: Rich French Onion Soup

    SAT: Tuscan Lentil Soup

    SUN: Crockpot Chili with Grandma’s Honey Muffins & Amish Raisin Cookies


    1. Hi Mary,
      Well that was a fairly simple read hehe!! Do you put the raw walnut on your salad or do you toast it first? I’ve never heard of a cheesy apple soup. How was it? Is it sweet? I really want to make a French Onion Soup with lots of mozzarella cheese baked on the top of it.. mmm You know your menu is always full of flavour but not too complex. The best part is what you make always goes together nicely or easily swaps out for another meal for the following day. Well done… I’m starving now!! You get ballot #8 Mr.CBB

      1. The write up really was short and sweet when it came to the shopping. 🙂 I used raw walnuts this time Mr CBB but I also enjoy candied walnuts in my salads. The Cheesy Apple Soup was made with Granny Smith apples this time so no….it was not sweet.

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