The Ultimate Canadian Grocery Savings Guide

6 Grocery Budget Sacrifices Of A Frugal Shopper : The Grocery Game Challenge 2017 #2 Feb 6-12

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6 Grocery Budget Sacrifices of a Frugal Shopper



Grocery shopping should not be difficult but without unlimited funds walking into a grocery store and putting whatever you fancy into a shopping cart can be costly.

Some shoppers don’t care about saving money but complain that grocery prices are too high. Then there is the frugal shopper who will pull out all the strings to save money but not without sacrifices.

Which shopper are you?

Frugal doesn’t mean you are cheap it means you are smart with your money. Don’t get me wrong there are still plenty of smart shoppers who aren’t frugal shoppers but just happen to land on deals wherever they go.

Lucky maybe?

We’re not in the CBB house so we opt for the frugal lifestyle so we can concentrate on paying our debts, increasing our retirement savings and enjoying life without the added worry of more bills. Why? We pay everything in full.

Related: Why are you being frugal when you don’t have to be?

Arriving at the point where money stress wasn’t getting in the way of our reasoning when grocery shopping has made us stronger consumers. We know what we want, how much we want to pay and reasons why being a frugal shopper is important to us.

If you’re someone who has tried to slash their grocery budget but is still struggling then either your amount is not enough for the people you are feeding or you’re buying the wrong stuff. By that I mean you probably shouldn’t be buying a $20 steak if your budget for 4 is $100 a week. You could but stretching your dollar is one of the trademarks of the frugal shopper. Opt for the roast that will go further for the same price.

Related: Are you eating too much?

If you want to follow the frugal shopper footsteps it’s time to ditch the expensive, regular priced food products and put on your bargain glasses. Start the hunt for deals that will jive with your family meal plan and save you money. It won’t happen on its own either so if you’re not ready to make sacrifices then you’re not ready to be a frugal shopper.

Everyone wants to save money but are you really making enough sacrifices each time you shop for a lower grocery bill? Sometimes a simple grocery list is best when it comes to cutting costs and eating healthy foods in your diet.

There is no reasonable grocery budget because everyone has different needs and bank accounts. Just because your neighbour with 2 kids spends $500 a month on groceries and you can only spend $300 doesn’t mean a thing.

Related: How much should my grocery budget be?

You can read all the grocery store shopping tips you want until you are blue in the face but if you don’t commit to change and sacrifice you’ll always spend more money.

Let’s dispel the myth that buying cheap groceries only happens if you shop at the Dollar Store, Food Basics, Freshco, No Frills or any other grocery store considered “Low-end” “Cheap Prices”.

Even Walmart grocery shopping has been coined one of the best places to grocery shop and price-match but not always offering the best prices. Just about every food store will generate grocery store prices that are competitive which means there are bargains everywhere, every day, every week, every month.


Sacrifices of the Frugal Shopper


Your monthly grocery expenses should be based from a grocery budget built into your monthly budget. In other words the only way to know how much your grocery budget will be is if you have a monthly budget.

You can’t just pick a number out of thin air and hope that it will leave you enough money for the month. Stop telling yourself that you know your money and how much you can spend. You can do better, way better than that.

If you aren’t using a grocery budget that is the first mistake you are making.


Grocery budget


You need a budget if you want to save MORE money when you grocery shop. Sure, you can save money if you shop the flyer specials every week however that still doesn’t tell you whether you are overspending. Most often those people who find themselves deep in debt have no idea how it happened.

A few dollars here, a night out here all adds up and before you know it you’ve got money you owe to a credit card company or an empty bank account. I’m the first to admit that budgeting sucks however it is very rewarding. No one wants to live on a budget but let’s be real here, we all don’t have personal chefs and live in a mansion. Even then the rich folk still need to know what’s coming in and going out because they are not above building debt.

Budgeting is a must though for any serious frugal shopper who wants to tackle lowering their grocery budget and finding out how much money they are spending. Most often it’s an eye opener once someone tracks their food shopping for the first month or two because numbers can be shocking. Not only that but having a look at the amount of food we buy can help us put the brakes on buying too much food.


Compare grocery prices


The cost of food per month spent in each household is increasing for many Canadians which means that becoming a frugal shopper is a must. Food price comparison using a Grocery price book (download yours free) is a great way to learn your prices and know when you find the best deals.

We’ve been using ours for a while now and although some of the products we typically purchase have gone up some have gone down. Cream which we use everyday in our coffee used to be $3.99 for 1L but over the past year we’ve seen that price decrease as have a dozen eggs holding steady at $1.97.


Organic grocery/Specialty stores


You don’t have to sacrifice what you really want if you become a frugal shopper but that means you must take charge of your grocery budget. There’s no guessing games if you plan to tighten the budget and save money this year. Frugal shoppers don’t just hang out at the local big box grocery stores to buy their food.

Be open to new experiences, local small shops, markets and other places that sell food products in your area and explore the sales. You’ll probably wonder why you’ve bought meat at the grocery store for so long when the butcher will give you a better deal. Find out.

Organic grocery stores are known for having higher prices for obvious reasons but  there are savings to be had. If you take the time to read the flyers don’t toss local grocery stores that sell strictly organic foods. I’ve read the produce section many times and noticed prices on fruits and vegetables that were cheaper than your typical grocery store.

Why would you make a special trip to an organic grocery store?

Well, if organic is what you really want but can’t afford you might want to make that trip to scoop up the deals. Do the benefits outweigh the negatives? That means are the potential savings worth your time and travel expense. If yes then go.

You could also try price-matching to save time and transportation costs too. If you do end up making the trip have a look around to see if there are any other bargains while you are there. Budget sacrifices are a great way to save money but don’t brush what you really want under the rug if you can squeeze it in your budget. Even better if it’s on sale.


Master grocery list


Grocery shopping would be fun if we didn’t have to worry about money but this is not the reality many people face. Every frugal shopper has a master grocery list which they keep in their heads. By this I mean there are certain products that they will buy because they’ve done their homework and it’s the best price for their budget.

A master list might also contain only the products a shopper is willing to purchase unless a better brand is on sale. You basically have a back up for every product you might be sacrificing.

For example: If you love Heinz Ketchup but it’s out of your price range you will sacrifice what you want for what you need and that might be a no-name brand ketchup. Most likely the ketchup is the same, possibly came from the same production plant but just under a yellow or generic product label. The frugal shopper has the no-name brand on the master list but keeps Heinz on their radar.

Related: No Name vs. Name Brand

It’s a matter of knowing what you want, what you can afford and how you plan to get what you want provided you get everything else you need. Wow, that makes total sense to me so I hope you can work your way around what I’m trying to say here.


They track the cost of food per year


The frugal shopper always knows how much money they are spending every week, every month and every year on groceries. You might include food, health and beauty and cleaning supplies in your food budget but you must know how much you are spending on food.

Tracking your food is doing more than simply budgeting it’s having the ability to see what products you’ve bought, how much they cost you and where you are able to make improvements in the future. The Grocery Game Challenge has been going strong for five years now and every player who has been by my side will tell you how important it has been to their grocery success.

Know what you have to spend, Know what you are buying, Know where you can cut-back.

It’s that easy.


Make the time to save money


We’d all love to watch a movie at night, chat to friends or have fun with the family. Family night is important however so is money in respect to basic needs. I’ve heard myself say I don’t have time to do something but later realize that I could have better managed my times.

Time management is without a doubt the biggest reason that a frugal shopper can save so much money. They find the time to figure out the deals, order coupons, use coupon apps, grocery surveys, price-match etc. Essentially they plan their grocery shop and execute it almost meticulously.

The frugal shopper is not safe from the grocery store whispers either which means, we screw up too. Being mindful of your time management and incorporating time each week may be a sacrifice away from family or hobbies but it’s important.

Don’t be lazy about your money or it will conquer you- Mr.CBB

If you’re reading this then you probably want to become a frugal shopper and save money. Good for you and welcome to CBB.  A frugal shopper is a smart shopper and with that comes rewards. You choose them.

Discussion Question:

If you are a frugal shopper what are some sacrifices you’ve had to make so your food budget balances?


February Grocery Game Challenge


Join in the 2017 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each GGC blog post. Here are The Grocery Game Challenge rules to get you started and where you’ll also find a link for the 2017 GGC schedule. Please feel free to download, save and even print the schedule.

New monthly prize: See the Grocery Game Rules

February 2017 Blog Posts:


Free Money Saving Tools 2017


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 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 2017


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 5 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.


2017 Grocery Shop Results


Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2017: $3120 or $260/mth

(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: $260
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $260
  • Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
  • PC Points Plus Earned to date: 431,000
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
  • Shoppers Optimum: Just under 850,000 Optimum points  (I will update this twice a year) $1500 worth of free stuff.

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 Cream $2.05 each

Kirkland Apple Smoked Ham $14.99

Total Out-Of-Pocket $19.10

Had to run in and pick-up a birthday cake so I grabbed cream too while I was there.


  • 2 x 4L 2% Milk Sealtest $4.27
  • Romaine Lettuce $1.99
  • Bag of Radishes $1.99

Total Out-Of-Pocket $12.52

  • Total to spend this month : $260
  • Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $23.95
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $0
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $0
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $49.66
  • Total spent this week: $31.62
  • Total spent so far this month: $138.37
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: under
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: over
  • Total left to spend for the month: $121.63
  • Total Spent To Date 2017: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $231.06+Feb $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

Hey everyone,

We didn’t need much this week after last weeks grocery shop plus we had dinner out again this weekend for a birthday party. I got the leftovers though, ha! A quick run into Costco to pick up the birthday cake meant I could quickly grab a box of wipes which were on sale. It was great because we typically buy Kirkland brand but the Huggies was on sale and it came with the refill bucket and travel case which we’ve always wanted.

Other than a zip in for milk and a few other bits at Zehrs we took a break from the food shopping this week.
How was your shop?



Coupons and Coupon Apps 2017


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 2017?

Plus check out these other hidden areas online to get more coupons!!

If any of these links are broken please report them to me.

  • 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 2017 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 to reflect changes for the 2017 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-$20-$50 PC Loblaws Gift Card and for our out of country friends it’s $CDN via PayPal.  Please see GGC rules.
  • 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 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 is one of the most popular hang out spots for people who want to save money on groceries.

If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2017 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 2017!


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