The Grocery Game | Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide

15 Main Sources For Grocery Savings 2017 You Should Know About : The Grocery Game Challenge 2016 #4 Dec 26-Jan 1




Grocery Savings 2017-The Grocery Game Challenge starts next Monday January 2 for returning players and for those of you who want to join but aren’t sure about how much money you spend but need to know. There really are many ways to scoop up grocery savings 2017 other than waiting for the paper boy/girl to show up with your weekly grocery flyers.

This is one post I look forward to at the end of the year along with our final budget and net worth updates because these are the numbers we’ve worked so hard for all year. Saving money no matter who you are is challenging and it’s not until you start tracking your money when you really get the answer to that burning question, How much am I really spending on groceries?

When you track your expenses whether it be only your food expenses or you use a budget spreadsheet those numbers at the end of December will either make you very happy or sad. If you’re not happy perhaps you’ll need to consider a new approach to your grocery savings 2017 goals.

Related: How much should my grocery budget be?

Mrs. CBB and I are happy to report that 2016 was a tough year as all of you know with food prices going up and down like petrol prices. Our biggest win wasn’t using coupons which would have easily been our win in 2012 as we saved thousands every year stockpiling.

In 2016 we were blessed with finding in-store reduced product savings that offered us the best deals saving us a whopping $511.24. When your yearly grocery budget for 2 adults and 1 toddler is just under $3000 that $500 savings is enormous.

The best part is that we didn’t have to work hard because there is little to no planning when it involves pop-up deals. The hard part is juggling the budget especially if the item wasn’t something on the grocery list. There are times when you have to make a judgement call about something you find on sale.

You can see all of our final results below in our grocery game chart.

Coupons have changed and we’ll likely never see that happening again. Our diets have changed as well the products we use in our house have changed slightly. Right now we struggle with feeding our son and he might come running in the kitchen asking for an apple but we bought bananas. It’s always something we don’t have so we will try to stock up on a couple of fruits and various other bits that we know he will eat.

I am going to experiment more often. Less meat. Use coupons. Watch the sales- keep my pantry and freezer full. Use leftovers wisely.-Christine H.

The problem is I’m the one left to eat any leftovers because the wife won’t. I can’t wait until things level out in the food department when we all eat what is cooked and that’s it. This parenting role has been a huge transition for us and even though we don’t have it down we’re working on ways to improve our skills as we do our sons.


 Grocery Game Challenge 2017


There are so many reasons why your grocery budget will go up or down but you’ll never know unless you track them. This year we had the pleasure of playing the grocery game with many lovely fans all of whom beat the Grocery Game Challenge 2016 posting from January thru to the end of December.

They stuck to their monthly budget, had hiccups like we did but got back on track. That’s how it’s done here when you become part of our savings team. We motivate each other, offer suggestions and continue to stick to our grocery plans each time we shop.

Congratulations to the GGC 2016 savings team: Mary, Christine, Colleen, Kathleen, Angela, Della, Birgit, Juanita, Lori-Lynn, Mimsie, Anne, Leona  and another Christine. I know not all of you completed the grocery game challenge from start to finish but I hope to see you back for another shot at it in 2017.

The new 2017 Grocery Game Challenge Schedule is now posted so please print it and review the rules. If you are stuck ask me and I’ll help guide you. I will update everything by next grocery game to 2017 data.


Understanding Grocery Savings 2017


I always want to pick at your brains when it comes to how you spend your money so I did just that yesterday on Facebook. I asked the readers about how they would tackle grocery savings 2017.

I only use coupons on things I regularly buy. If I can find a lot of store coupons I will stock up on things I need.– Thad T.

Has anything changed? Not too much but for those of you who are new to grocery savings understanding the basics about grocery shopping is a must. The Ultimate Grocery Guide is an excellent starting place to read for those of you who are just joining us. I’ll talk more about the 2017 Grocery Game in next weeks blog post but today I wanted to focus on the future.

So, I asked what seems to be the yearly questions to see what frugal info I could squeeze out of all my money saving fans. Mrs. CBB and I also answered these question so we understand our grocery savings path for the new year and how to approach it together.

I used some coupons but my main source of savings was either flyers or price matching. I saved close to $300 this year by price matching against other stores.- Della F.

Take 5 minutes out of your day and answer these questions and if you really want to get to the bottom of your grocery expenses join The Grocery Game Challenge for 12 months and I guarantee you’ll have something to talk about next December.

Have you considered any new grocery goals for 2017?

For instance we’ve decided to increase our grocery budget due to needs and the addition of one little boy in the family. Prices weren’t a major factor in the increase as much as having the ability to buy stuff the wife and I don’t normally buy but our son enjoys. For instance he likes cheese slices but we rarely buy them and they can get pricey at $3.99 an up. Peanut butter is also big on the list so we will be stocking up when it goes on sale.

What will you do more of?

We will certainly keep looking for reduced deals and making use of them in our meal plan as much as possible.

Grocery shopping really drove me up the wall this month! For 2017 my main goal is to get back to meal planning for the week. If I see coupons I’ll use them but most stuff I buy doesn’t have coupons. I think if I’m careful that our grocery budget will go down as there’s quite a few things we can cut out.-Judy F

What will you do less of?

We will probably work harder in 2017 to stop going to the grocery store more than once a week. This can be tough on any grocery budget as willpower comes in to play. If you’re short on it you might see an increase in your food costs.

Will your budget go up or down?

Our grocery budget will go and I’ll talk more about that next week where I share our new 2017 Grocery Budget for 3.

How will you track your expenses?

We will continue to play the grocery game challenge and use our weekly budget spreadsheet which is available to all subscribers of the blog absolutely FREE.

Goals for 2017 are to cook more meatless dishes and to keep my budget lean. I am using an excel spreadsheet and hope to submit weekly posting for the Grocery Game Challenge.- Birgit N.

What did you learn about grocery shopping in 2016?

Not much more than I already knew in 2015 however what I understand for our family is that we don’t need to go overboard buying sales items as there will always be another sale. Unless of course the products are reduced to amazing prices then we’d consider a larger purchase. In the past we’d load up on toilet paper when it went on sale only to find that it was on sale a few weeks later. Hopefully we can talk more about grocery cycles in 2017 as I hope to track them every month.

I also have got better at the sale cycles and stretching or doing without until I find the sale – hopefully will be a bit stricter with the budget this year.- Nicole J.

Are coupons a big part of your grocery shop?

They weren’t in 2016 as we only used the grand total of $15.36 in coupons. We’ll see if we can increase that amount by putting in time to check the grocery coupon apps a bit more. We kind of fell off that wagon this year and want to improve especially if we’ve missed grocery savings.

If no what else will you use to get grocery savings 2017 ?

New grocery goals for 2017 are to figure out cost per serving and suitable substitutions using less “specialty” ingredients and buying to try to budget the same (which actually means down if you consider inflation) expenses are getting tracked to the penny so this works. During 2016 I learned my family will adjust to food choice changes (brand switch) coupons, apps, price matching are huge in my weekly schedule. One week I forgot my grocery list and phone and spent $40 more!- Anne R.


Grocery Savings 2017 Ideas


This is a list I compiled of all the ways our family plans to incorporate grocery savings 2017 into our budget to help stay on track. I didn’t add this to the list but certainly finding one or two frugal websites that you can follow will help you spend less time looking for flyer deals and coupon specials. Many Canadian coupon websites do all the work for you so utilize these free grocery savings services.

One of my all-time inspirations comes from a fan named Beth who blogs at Aunt B on a Budget. A wonderful lady who knows how to tame her grocery savings using many of the same methods we do in our household.

  • Lots of questions! I’m going to try to keep my budget the same as it is for as long as possible but with big increases in grocery prices anticipated, who know how long that will be? It’s already pretty challenging to feed myself for $150/month. I see my number of meatless days – currently on average 3 per week – increasing in order to help keep costs in check. I don’t often use coupons because they’re rarely offered on the sort of items I buy. I save money by buying my food as unprocessed as possible, cooking from scratch, eating seasonal fresh produce (usually less expensive), doing small batch canning of soups made with leftover produce and otherwise seeking to waste as little food as possible, and by foraging.- Beth Ann
  1. Meal Planning
  2. Bulk Splitting where you buy in bulk and split with a friend or family member.
  3. Coupons/Coupon Apps
  4. Price Matching
  5. Scanning Code of Practice
  6. Flyer Specials
  7. Deal Sites and Grocery Scanning
  8. Reduced Products
  9. Managers Specials that pop up while you are shopping
  10. Non-Advertised Specials that weren’t in the flyers
  11. Gardening
  12. Homemade foods
  13. Rewards Points
  14. Dollar Store
  15. Grocery Budget

Lastly your grocery budget depends upon YOU and your family.

Don’t panic, don’t get frustrated and most of stay focused and motivated. You might tell me to bugger off that I don’t understand what you’re going through and you’re right, I don’t. What I do want you to know is that we’re here to help you the best we can, no judgements.

So if you’re ready to understand more about where your money is going every month please join The Grocery Game 2017. There will be more info to come in next weeks blog post. The grocery game is posted every Tuesday.

For the new year I hope to budget better and food shop more effectively specially buying fresh fruits and vegetables.-Elaine G

You bet I use coupons….and I have learned pretty well the sale cycles for stocking up when those hit. During 2017 will be no different compared to 2016 if we stock up on sale cycles we can maintain a decent pantry. It was a battle to get to this point.- Colleen K.

I have a few new goals for 2017. I would like to price match more though. I would like to waste less food.
I would like to maintain our budget at what it is now. But as the year goes on I might have to adjust it.
I have really slacked off this year not keeping track of my weekly/monthly totals but am hoping for a better time in 2017! Coupons are a huge part of my grocery shopping! Enabling me to give gifts and donate lots this year!!-Juanita P.

What to do to save? Well I’ll continue to cook from scratch, eat out less, plan to shop around sales…. I love to use price matching at the stores. I don’t use a lot of coupons because most of what I buy don’t get coupons. I noticed coupons are for processed foods and I don’t buy a lot of that.– Mona

Discussion Question:

What other grocery savings 2017 ideas can you think of?


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.

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


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 spent $2799.01

(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 $6.00
  • 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


Food Basics

  • 2 x 4L 2% Milk Sealtest $4.27
  • 4 x 10% Cream $1.99

Total Out-Of-Pocket $16.50

  • Total to spend this month : $235.00-$1.75 overage from November= $233.25
  • Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $26.19 over $1.19
  • 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: $511.24
  • Total spent this week: $16.50
  • Total spent so far this month: $212.26
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: under
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: under $20.99
  • Total left to spend for the month: $21.98 (made an error last month) $37-49-$16.50=$20.99
  • 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 $212.26

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

It was nice to see that we have money leftover at the end of the Grocery Game 2016 however we know that in 2017 we will boost that amount up to account for the extra foods we buy for junior now. This year has been tough and I’m sure 2017 will be no different. Thanks for playing along with us everyone it has been so much fun!! Let’s do it again. I’m thrilled with our savings and I hope you’re excited about yours. Makes a big difference when you track everything doesn’t it?
Your online savings partner,



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!!

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!


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