WITH FOOD PRICE INCREASES ON THE HORIZON IT’S IMPORTANT TO TAKE ACTION NOW SO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW YOU PLAN TO TACKLE YOUR GROCERY EXPENSES.
When consumers distress about money the first two things that pop up are groceries and utilities followed by rent/mortgage, taxes and insurance. These are not always fixed costs which means they can fluctuate thus causing potential problems with budgeting.
You are in charge of the outcome.
If you have a budgeted amount to spend you must stick to it or cause potential losses to other budget categories even in the face of food price increases. Just because food prices go up that doesn’t mean your budget should increase as well. Most people just don’t have the spare cash to do so. It’s already a struggle for manyCanadians who can’t keep up with current food prices and balancing the budget.
Mary, a financially savvy woman who has been a part of this blog since 2012 and participates in the Grocery Game Challenge understands the struggles. I agree with what she had to say on the topic of looming food price increases.
Increasing your grocery budget assumes you have the extra cash to do so. I’m having enough trouble keeping up with the annual increases on the heat, hydro, cable, telephone, internet, insurance and taxes. We simply don’t have the extra… so I’ll just keep stretching the grocery dollars as far as I can make them go. I keep working at finding healthy budget friendly one pot/casserole type meals- Mary.
Have you changed the way you grocery shop over the past year?
If not and you’re one of the many Canadians who are trying to figure out how they are going to balance putting food on the table or paying bills it’s only about to get worse. Even those consumers who don’t feel the pinch will have to keep an eye on how much they are spending because ultimately if you spend more you aren’t saving more unless your investing your money.
At the end of each year Mrs. CBB and I review our accumulated grocery expenses and it seems that we may finally have to increase our grocery budget for 2017. We knew our $235 monthly grocery budget would inevitably rise and not in regards to food price increases so much but because we have a toddler and he likes to eat too. We haven’t made any changes since he came along and we will see a slight increase for this reason.
In the past we’ve had other shoppers chuckle about products we’d stock up on heavily joking that we must be having a big party. As we laugh along with them we know that the only reason we are stocking up is to save money on our groceries.
What we say: Oh, no just stocking up on some cheese while we can.
What we would like to say: This is the way we can afford to feed our family cheese.
I know some customers may just be nosey but remember you don’t know what someone is going through. The food you see might be enough to feed their family for the next couple of months. I tend to mind my business however there’s no harm when asking about a certain product you may have never tried or whether there is a sale you might have missed.
Most shoppers who work with a tight budget struggle to put healthy foods in their shopping cart because it’s just too expensive although not impossible. It’s more important to stock the pantry with foods that can be stretched a few meals. It’s not uncommon to stock up on staples such as potatoes, rice, pasta and beans because they go further when meal planning.
They key to savings is to create homemade meals and stay away from pre-packaged, frozen or canned goods which will always cost far more than if you made it yourself. For some this may mean learning how to cook or improving on their cooking skills. Either way it’s worth the time investment that you put into it.
There are times where you will find a deal that is too good to pass up and if you can justify the expense as the best price you can get even compared to homemade then get it if it fits in your budget. There is no right and wrong here it’s more about what fits your lifestyle. Not everyone has time to be cooking homemade meals every day although we see more people doing the weekend food prep as part of their weekly meal plan.
Food price increases affect everyone
Fruits and vegetables are scarce in many grocery carts because they are simply too expensive. More shoppers seem to hover around the reduced rack because that’s where some of the savings are at.
You can still buy seasonal fruits and vegetables for reasonable prices when on sale but in 2017 they are slated to go up even further. Trade policies and climate are the main factors pushing the price of groceries up but the recent elected president may also have a helping hand in this.
With Trump in power and his views on the over 2 million agricultural workers who are illegal immigrants things may start to change. That is the way it goes though when someone new is elected and with change comes uncertainty. This will affect work-load and staff which means that prices go up when importing products into Canada.
The Canadian dollar which goes up and down like the gas prices always causes worry with just about all business and will contribute in part to our food price increases in 2017.
A newly released Canada Food Price Report by Dalhousie University projects that in 2017 that families will spend $420 more on groceries next year. This number is “expected to rise above the expected inflation rate” which is scary because as prices go up many Canadians find that their pay cheques stay stagnant.
Brace Yourselves for Cauliflower price explosion part 2!
Don’t start hoarding cauliflower just yet though because it could be another product or all of them. We need to be vigilant with our shopping powers so we aren’t left in the dark.
According to the Food Price Report:
- Meat and Fish to rise 4-6%
- Vegetables 4-6% Now is a great time to start thinking about your Spring and summer garden
- Fruits and Nuts up 3-5%
- Dairy, Eggs, Cereal, Baking 2% with the lowest increase of them all.
If you thought eating out was a big expense you can count on that to increase about 2-4% which makes sense as price affects us all. When the price of food goes up it goes up everywhere including restaurants. University and College students should take note of these increases and make sure to have a student budget in place so they’re cooking more at home rather than eating out. I suspect meal plans will also go up.
The highest increases will be seen in Ontario and British Columbia, according to the report.
Trust me when I say that we’ve made many improvements over the past almost 5 years of tracking our grocery expenses and it doesn’t get any easier. You can’t just learn about ways to save on food and then just hope that it works. There is more to the savings process if you truly want to get more for your money.
One comment I read on the newly released Food Price Study was how are low-income earners supposed to be able to eat with price increases. This was a valid question and clearly she’s not alone because the struggle between paying hydro and putting food on the table is already crushing Canadians.
When the carbon tax comes into effect we’ll see even more increases as manufacturers whose products rely on fossil fuels will have to pass these added expenses on to someone else. Guess who that will be?
I like to think of myself as a professional grocery shopper but I’m no expert. I’m constantly learning and if I had more time I’d likely learn as much as I could about the industry especially about importing processes of fruits and vegetables.
What I do know is prices and since I’ve been in Canada I’ve taken the time to analyze aisle after aisle, product after product looking for the best deals. I read just about everything I can when I’m at the store whether it be the doors, the walls, flyers, cash register notes. I want to make sure I’m not missing out. My wife and I both have this thing about talking to each other while we grocery shop. We rarely look at each other when we talk but we know we’re not being rude we’re just mult-tasking.
Unless you want to be in the store longer than you need focus on your grocery list and all things related to the grocery store. If you can leave your kids at home, do so as it will save you money. If not then find some fun games for the kids to do while you shop. For instance our son comes grocery shopping with us and one of us takes him and looks around the store for deals and plays alphabet games with him.
The other fulfills the grocery list and looks for deals. We meet up and discuss any finds that aren’t on our grocery list but are spectacular deals (I caution this though as it can cause a dent in your budget) or we alert each other to a better deal than the flyer.
Due to so many financial pressures where grocery shopping might have been considered a stress relief after work just to get away from the house shoppers are fumbling their way in with sad looks on their faces. Not only that but more and more shoppers are grabbing the in-store deals because I watch what is going into grocery carts when I shop.
Consequently, that’s not enough so if you don’t already have a grocery budget it’s crucial to understand how much your grocery budget should be. Since many Canadians are struggling to pay for groceries with the increase in costs for just about everything a budget is the only way to make sure you are financially on track.
Don’t make the same mistake Mrs. CBB and I did when we thought we were the King and Queen of saving money and grocery shopping like pros. We managed our finances in our head. That doesn’t work and if you don’t agree I bet you’d save even more money if you knew the exact numbers.
Don’t panic if you don’t have a budget because I’ve got a free budget you can download and I created 10 budgeting steps to help you along the way. This is the same budget the Mrs and I use and have used since day 1 of our budgeting journey.
In the meantime it’s also important to make sure you invest some of your time fishing through the many grocery shopping articles in my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide. As a CBB fan you get an exclusive look at all the ways you can cut, slice or slash your food budget or stretch it so it goes further.
Before you rush off to do that for those CBB readers who have already read them all and are now pro grocery shoppers I want to bring a few tips to your attention that I’ve learned more about this past year.
Read marketing info on flyers carefully
Some of the mistakes we’ve made in the past is not reading the flyers correctly. We would create a shopping list only to find out we missed out on a deal because we failed to read the fine print. Sometimes it’s not even fine print but our eyes tend to look at prices and photos of food rather than the marketing of the deals.
For instance keep an eye out for these flyer terms:
- Limited Offer
- No Rain Checks
- While Supplies Last
- Fri-Sunday 3 Day Sale
- Blowout Sale
- Buy 2 $x amount Buy 1 for higher price
- Product Limits
- One Day Only
- Only 20 Available
- Only Available at certain stores
- Hot Special
- Daily Deal
- Weekday Special
- No Price-Matching
You get the hint. My point is that you have to keep an eye out for these powerful words because they can make or break the grocery list you took the time to set up. The last thing you want to be doing is hiding in a corner of the grocery store trying to re-work your budget to make sure you get everything you need for the week. Been there, done that and it’s not fun.
Search new recipes
You don’t have to stick to the same recipes week after week because that will only make you miserable. Even if you are working with a tight budget explore your options to test new recipes. You may find it awakens some of your taste buds and motivate you to try new foods. If you haven’t signed up for Pinterest yet you’re missing out. Another option is to follow your favourite food bloggers and experiment with their recipes.
I find if certain people aren’t brought up on a type of food they may be reluctant to try anything else. A friend of my wife who grew up with a mother who collected social assistance says she hates vegetables and most fruits. When my wife asked her why she said because her mother rarely had them in the kitchen when she was growing up.
Most of what she ate came from a box or a can and there were lots of cheese and peanut butter sandwiches. Her mother was never inclined to cook which she contributes to her lack of enthusiasm in the product department. She doesn’t want her son to grow up that way so Mrs. CBB is going to work with her to teach her how to cook along with grocery shopping tips and trips.
Once you know what is on sale in the flyers you can then do recipe research online which I believe will be the quickest. You can then base your selections around the weekly sales trying new recipes. This will help with any food price increases if you are open-minded about selection.
Take advantage of 360 degree savings
You probably already know this but always keep your saving radar on so you don’t get distracted. Just recently we missed a Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) and when we called they told us to bring our receipt in the next time we shopped.
The cashier paid us the money for the over-priced product but also mentioned that we take time to read our receipt before we leave the grocery store. Typically we do this but with our son at times it can be hard so we forget as our aim is to get him into his car-seat and get out of there.
- Coupons– Flyer Coupons, Printable Coupons, Mailed Coupons
- Coupon Apps
- Surveys- Join the Harris Poll Online
- Nielsen Home Scan
- Flyer deals and specials
- Reduced Products
- Rain Check
- Price Adjustments
- Rewards Cards
Shop at more than one store
Although you may be selective about where you grocery shop if your budget gets squeezed to the max you may not have the option to shop where you want. In this case I’d suggest price-matching but not all stores do this which means taking trips to various grocery stores in your area to grab the deals.
I know this may seem time-consuming but most grocery stores are fairly close and let’s be honest, you’ll be saving money and that’s the name of the game. You may lose time and it may cost extra petrol but your food savings will trump both. No not TRUMP, just trump.
For instance, some grocery store may offer exclusive deals or bonus offers that you can’t price match. If you typically stock up on peanut butter that costs $7.99 and it’s on sale as a flash sale for 2 hours you may not be able to price-match that. That means taking a trip to the store to load up on your $2.88 peanut butter is worth the shop and possibly some other deals while you’re there.
Spend your money wisely even if that means giving up the stuff you love.
Although you may feel a bit of panic about food price increases don’t let it get to you. Stay focused on all the positive ways you can make changes to your budget and shopping habits. If all else fails look to your community for support through local food banks, churches and community centres.
Most of all, say yes to your grocery receipt and read it carefully because lots of money disappears from your pocket from simple store errors.
How will you cope with the rising costs of food in Canada for 2017?
December 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 goes out to Ballot 11 Kathryn for winning the November Grocery Game Challenge!!
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.
December Grocery Game Posts
- Top 5 Christmas Cookies for the Budget Baker (Last shop for November)
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: $233.25
- Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $233.25
- 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: 390,000
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $5.00
- 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
- Salerno Mozzarella $19.99
- Genoa Hot Salami $15.99
- Baking Cocoa $9.99
- Hellman’s Mayo $6.99
Total Out-Of-Pocket $52.95
- 2x Avocado 5pk sale $1.99 ($3.98)
- 12 x Gold Seal Tuna sale $0.99 ($11.88)
- Sifto Salt sale $0.99
- Pita Bread $0.99
- Oakrun Crumpets sale $0.99
- 2 x 2% milk $4.27 each ($8.54)
- 2 x 10% cream $2.99 ($5.98)
- Tomatoes $1.95
- Bananas $1.85
- Cucumber $1.00
- Lettuce $1.88
- Radish $1.99
Total Out-Of-Pocket $42.02
- 4x Philadelphia Cream Cheese PM No Frills $2.47 ea ($9.88)
- 4 x Armstrong Cheese Cheddar sale $3.87 450g each ($15.48)
- Blackberries $1.47
- Mushrooms $1.77
- Old-Fashioned Schneiders Ham sale $7.97
Total Out-Of-Pocket $36.57
- Total to spend this month : $235.00-$1.75 overage from November= $233.25
- Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00
- Stockpile budget used this month: $0
- Total coupons used this week: $0
- Total coupons used to date: $15.36
- Total in-store discounts this week:$0
- Total in-store discounts to date: $507.24
- Total spent this week: $131.55
- Total spent so far this month: $131.55
- Total over/Under spend this shop: over
- Total over/Under spend for the month: –
- Total left to spend for the month: $101.71
- 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 $236.77+ November $227.30+December $
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
We did a bit of stocking up again at Costco which will last us into the new year. Since we will be heading out for the holidays we should easily make the budget work for us this month. With just over $100 left to spend and our stockpile budget we will work to stock up as much as we can for the rest of 2016. Get it while it’s hot!!
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?
If you notice I’m missing a valuable link please message me and I’ll get it added to the savings list below.
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!
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