DON’T BE CONVINCED THAT YOU’LL SAVE MONEY ON EVERYTHING AT THE GROCERY STORE.
It’s not often that we go grocery shopping and consider buying a BBQ for the steaks we just bought on sale from the meat department. Some people do buy electronics, outdoor gear, toys and just about anything else that can get stuffed into a grocery store most often because it’s there.
Quite often the buyer is giving in to an overpriced product that can be bought for less somewhere else which is not an emergency to purchase. If you grocery shop when you’re hungry they say you will spend more money. These days if you let your mind wander and start to think about anything while you grocery shop you’re bound to spend more money unless you handcuff yourself to your grocery list. Most grocery stores stock everything and anything they can to bring in profits.
This is where it’s probably a good idea to stick to the perimeter but be warned even this area is getting plastered with marketing ploys to get us to spend more on stuff we don’t likely want but they try to convince us we do. I remember a Super Bowl display that offered buns placed in the meat department. On the bunkers were aluminum grilling pans, aprons, BBQ utensils, ketchup, mustard, relish and a BBQ with a price tag. Fall into that trap and you’ll see your budget soar.
The one-stop shopping has become a big deal for shoppers who don’t mind if the products are over-priced because they don’t have the time to shop around or go direct to the source. It’s easier for someone to convince themselves to pay a few bucks extra for a product just because they are already shopping in the store.
Some grocery stores in Ontario are already stocking beer and ramping up their wine shops to keep the customers shopping. Again, these are filler products to draw customers in the door. I’ll stick to the LCBO and Beer store to buy my beer unless the beer store begins to sell meat and produce. ha!
Not all customers want to buy it all in one store. There are plenty of smaller businesses that offer great deals as well as store specific which means you’ll find better deals because they specialize in buying in bulk. You wouldn’t wander into Sobey’s looking for cedar planks to finish your deck would you? Not likely and just as mind-boggling it would be if Home Depot were to add an in-store bakery to lure customers. Oh wait, almost all Home Depot stores have Subway… see there is a marketing ploy everywhere!
Overpriced yet convenient
Grocery stores that I will be talking about today are actual grocery stores and not stores such as Walmart which I consider a department store that added in a grocery section. Do you remember when Zellers was around and they started to add aisle after aisle of grocery products and a refrigerated section? They were becoming the smaller version of Walmart to keep up with the competition even though they didn’t offer fresh foods.
It was a store filler or way to make money from over-priced products to balance out the deals that they offer in the weekly flyers or on products they must reduce just to move them out of the store. In essence it really is a balancing game to keep the store budget level.
Have you fallen prey to buying over-priced products at the grocery store? Probably, we all have. The key to avoiding spending more money than you should be while grocery shopping is to stick to the list. If it’s not on your grocery list then don’t buy it. If you needed it that bad you would have put it on your grocery list but most likely you didn’t think about it because the grocery store isn’t the place you planned on buying it from.
In the event you do find a smashing deal at the grocery store and you know that you will be saving far more than any other store and you need the item then it’s worth considering. Don’t just buy stuff because you think about it when you see it and then toss it in the grocery cart. You’re setting yourself up for some heavier grocery bills.
Once in a while when we are at Zehrs we have a look around in the Joe Fresh clothing section for our son to see if there is anything reduced to 75% off that we could use for him to wear. On the odd occasion we’ve found hats, seasonal wear and footwear but don’t expect it to last forever.
I’m not a fan of cheaply made clothing because it just doesn’t feel comfortable on me which is why my wife no longer buys me clothes for gifts. I’d rather save up to buy a few nice pieces then to buy lots of clothing that will fall apart easily. If you plan to resell any George or Joe Fresh type clothing you buy at Walmart or Loblaws stores be prepared to practically give it away. You might as well just donate it to a family who could get a bit more use out of it until it’s ready for dish cloths.
If your aim is higher-quality clothing you’re likely better off going to a second-hand shop, Winners, online shopping or even Facebook auctions to score some great deals on name brand clothing that you’ll get good wear from with higher resale value.
I don’t often suggest to shop at the mall however you can still find some great deals on clothing that will give you years of mixing and matching if you shop the deals, end of season and special occasions.
Everyone knows that if you buy anything that is pre-made for you that you’re paying for the extra labour whether it be to slice something, bake something, catch something and so on. Baked goods from the grocery store bakery such as most often can be made at home for a fraction of the cost.
A container of 6 large bakery style muffins at the grocery store will run you anywhere from $5.99-$6.99 full-price but you could make them for far less at home. If you’re looking for baked goods where you can’t recognize the ingredients or there are additives and preservatives to extend shelf life you may pay less but it won’t compare to homemade.
Another example is buying a whole ham and slicing it yourself at home or you can buy overpriced pre-packaged deli meats and get far less product. If you can use a knife or own a deli slicer you can save some money if you do the work yourself. The same goes for cheese and pre-made salads.
Once I became a dad I realized that batteries were needed for just about everything. Any toy that walks, talks, dances, poops and droops will need batteries. Any time we are at the grocery store I keep my eye open for battery deals however it’s very rare.
Buying batteries at the Dollar Store has been a huge savings for us because we get far more life from them or even equal to when compared to name brand batteries that are overpriced at the grocery store. Buying batteries at the grocery store are one of those grocery store filler products that someone might run in to get late at night because they need it for whatever reason.
We have also had many rounds of rechargeable batteries but honestly it’s a pain in the rear-end to charge them especially when you need as many as most parents do with young children. Try telling your crying child that they will have to wait 4 hours for a battery charge. You’d rather tear your hair out.
Office and school supplies
There is a huge mark-up on office supplies at the grocery store because these are products that are meant to be purchased in the event of an emergency. You know when your dog actually ate your entire pencil-case and you have no other option but to stock up at the grocery store.
No one says, oh let’s run to Zehrs to grab pencil crayons and lined paper for school. You will see the Back to School marketing where they offer lined paper for $0.35 a pack but beyond that you’ll pay. Save your money and go to the Dollar store or Staples where office supplies are sold. Even then Staples can be pricey at times unless you stick with the deals. In all my years of education the Dollar store hasn’t let me down.
Books and magazines
I recently wrote a post about buying children’s books at Value Village, garage sales, Facebook auctions and free sites blah blah blah, because it’s MUCH CHEAPER. If the name of the game for you is “New Release” and “Brand New” be prepared to pay the money for them.
A simple trip to Chapters, Shoppers Drug Mart, Walmart and any grocery store that sells books or novels will show an astounding price tag on the back or inner cover. You’re better waiting and buying used or possibly joining a book club or hit up the library where it will cost you nothing for new releases.
I recently watched a video online that showed how many articles were in a magazine compared to advertisements. I remember being shocked but not really because a magazine is simply another tool to advertise to the masses with filler crap articles on how to lose 10 pounds in two days.
Save your overpriced book expenses by having a bit of patience.
Seasonal and holiday decorations
A grocery store was meant to sell food but these days you’ll find bits and bobs of products that are there to reel you in to spend more money than you anticipated. When a grocery store offers amazing deals on grocery products they often take a loss on the product hence the name loss leaders.
They use this opportunity once you are in the grocery store to bombard you with tonnes of products that are overpriced and in your face, especially seasonal decor and holiday decorations. These grocery stores know that life gets hectic for just about everyone so if they can fill their store with items that fill in the blanks for shoppers then they might buy them even if they are overpriced.
Just tonight we found Halloween decor that we’ve found at Value Village for $0.99 costing $11.99 at Zehrs. Come next week when Halloween is over you’ll see the prices of these products drop so low you must question just how much the product was overpriced to begin with.
If decorations and seasonal is what you are after go to the Dollar Store, Second-hand shops, buy used online or attempt to look at big box stores like Walmart, Home Depot or Canadian Tire. Odds are someone is selling something they no longer need for rock bottom prices.
Call me frugal or whatever else you want but you won’t catch me spending $5.99 on a greeting card at the grocery store nor at Carlton or Hallmark Cards, no way. I’m a Dollar Store guy all the way for greeting cards. You can always write what you want to say in them anyways. Besides most people toss them in the garbage a week after any special occasion some even the day after. It’s not worth it so stick to the Dollar store for greeting cards or even have a look at second-hand shops. Even better, make a card yourself.
If you must stock up on kitchen utensils at the grocery store please consider spending your money at the Dollar store. You will find the same type of quality products at the Dollar Store as you will at the grocery store. You can stock up on baking supplies, spatulas, rolling pins and all sorts of stuff for your kitchen for a buck or even two or three but still less than the grocery store.
My wife got a multi-purpose Jamie Oliver peeler for Christmas and it was great to begin with but it has soon busted. The plastic pieces that held the blades in broke and down the drain that expensive gift went. Our Dollar Store peeler is still going strong and doesn’t come with any headaches.
Alternatively any second-hand shop is loaded with utensils and you can even find some high-end products if that’s what you’re looking for. Canadian Tire and Bed Bath and Beyond often have some great deals on kitchen products such as cutting boards, knives and high-end utensils. Shop specific for products you want to last for a long time or that will not waste your time.
Household and car accessories
We’ve all made our way down the grocery store aisle that sells air-freshener, motor oil, car wax, masking tape, paint, light bulbs, tools of all sorts and items you’d typically find at a hardware store. I can tell you right now that you will pay more at the grocery store for these products and I’ve rarely seen them go on sale. The reason for this is because these aren’t products that are bought in bulk because you and I don’t add these to our grocery list, they are fillers and costly at that.
Unless of course you live in a small town with 1 grocery store and nothing for miles then you might actually buy any and these items at the grocery store and you’ll pay for them alright.
When I posed this question to my Facebook fans many of them said they would not buy, alcohol, clothing, electronics and pre-made cookies just to name a few from the grocery store for their own reasons.
I’m sure there are tonnes of other over-priced grocery store fillers that are for motivating the shopper to spend money they hadn’t anticipated spending but that’s where determination to succeed with your grocery budget should kick in. Don’t be swayed by the convenience, be lured by the best price.
What products can you think of that are likely overpriced at the grocery store?
Leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear what you won’t buy at a grocery store because you can find it cheaper somewhere else.
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.
October Grocery Game Posts
- 12 Practical Ways To Afford Expensive Food For Less– Last shop for September
- Celebrate Crocktoberfest with Cheap Crockpot Recipes
- 15 Valuable Grocery Store Services For Customer Retention
- 5 Supermarket Annoyances That Cause You to Spend More Money
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.
You can download the FREE Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel…Grab it while you can… It’s FREE! We use it to budget and in large part a reason we could pay our mortgage off in 5 years, check it out!
Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.
Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE.
CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet. So many free resources at your fingertips.
Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2016
The Ultimate Grocery Shopping guide is ongoing with new informative money-saving posts added every month.
Even if you don’t live in Canada there are some amazing budget saving tips that will help put you on the path to more savings at the supermarket.
Share this guide with your friends and tell them about Canadian Budget Binder especially if they are struggling with their grocery budget.
The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the many money-saving posts in the The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.
2016 Grocery Shop Results
Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2016: $2820
(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.
Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)
- Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $226.62
- 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: 365,000
- 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
- 2 x Sealtest Milk 2% $4.27
- 2 x Granulated Sugar Sale $1.50 each
- Beatrice Sour Cream $2.99-50%
- Olympic Coconut Yogurt Sale $3.99-50%
- Cauliflower $2.50
- Hot House Tomatoes $0.98
- Tre Stelle Pearl Bocconcini $7.00-50%
- Ricotta Cheese $6.79-50%
- Procuitto and Parmesan Tortellini $8.99-50%
- Bananas $1.35
Total Out-of-Pocket $31.27
- 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:$14.90
- Total in-store discounts to date: $503.74
- Total spent this week: $31.27
- Total spent so far this month: $232.50
- Total over/Under spend this shop: over
- Total over/Under spend for the month: -$5.88
- Total left to spend for the month: $25.39-$31.27= -$5.88 over
- Total Spent To Date 2016: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $252.95 + Feb $249.46 + March $211.11 + April $248.11 + May $279.07 + June $231.96 + July $244.40 + Aug $201.30+ Sept $238.12+ October $
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
We’re already over by $5.88 this month so a no-shop week is a must next week which is the 5th and final week of the October GGC. It looks like we may end up dipping into our PC points and possibly some Shoppers Optimum points unless we can pull off a no-shop week next week. The most we would need is milk so fingers crossed that we can do this. I’m sure there is more than enough food around the house to be eaten up.
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!!
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
- MySavings.com Printable Smart Source Coupons
- Walmart Canada Printable Coupons
- Proctor and Gamble PandG Sign up for printable coupons
- Hidden Coupon Portals You Should know about – I found this over at Save a Loonie and you’ll want to sign up for notifications and check out the site so you get notified every time a hidden coupon is available from Save.ca, Brandsaver, Smart Source etc.
Grocery Game Challenge 2016 FAQ’s
- Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible. The rules have been updated for the 2016 challenge year.
- Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
- What is the monthly prize and who can claim it?- The monthly prize is a $10 PC Loblaws Gift Card and for our out of country friends it’s $10 CDN via Paypal if they win. As more people join I will add more money to the gift card or I will split it up and offer 2 prizes every month.
- When does the Grocery Game close each month?: The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month but you will still get a ballot when you post your shops even if they are late but I encourage you to stay on schedule. If you choose to post monthly or bi-weekly you will only get 1 ballot for that shop. It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something that is scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it altogether. Don’t let that be you! You can post your shops all month-long.
- Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014-2015 we no longer include such items in our grocery budget so we can see actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly our budget.
- Do you stockpile food? We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
- Canadian Coupons:Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
- Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site Save.ca that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile Save.ca app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
- What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our Iphone so if you wan to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
- What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.
- What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
- How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?: If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
- How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.
Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget like many people do. This is why the grocery game challenge was created back in 2012 and is one of the most popular hang out spots for people who want to save money on groceries in Canada.
If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 get ready to look at your grocery budget by learning…
- Where you are spending money
- How much money you are spending
- How much money you are saving every month
If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! It’s FREE!
If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email. If I use your topic I will put your name in a draw for a prize at the end of the year.
You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!
Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2016!
Please Note: Some of the links in the body of the blog post are affiliate links which means I may get paid if you buy something from Amazon. The items I’ve chosen are products we use at home or similar to.
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