You might be asking yourself the same questions everyone else is when it comes to food prices. When is this grocery shopping battle ever going to end? The answer is never because we have no control over price points or the state of the economy. What we do have is the ability to fight back by finding ways to slash our grocery budget with smart shopping choices. Ugh, I know that sounds like fun to some of you. Most often it’s not for the rest.
The biggest savings high for us is finding those unadvertised awesome deals or using enough coupons to get a product free or near free. Is that even possible to do with coupons today? Meh, some say yes and others say no. It depends on what you buy, but I can say with certainty that stockpiling and the lucrative deals are far and few these days.
You won’t believe how much money you are spending on empty foods that don’t add value to your meal plans or snack box. By adding value I mean, nutrition, cost and taste. Everyone wants to know how to save money on food because as motivated as we may be there’s one part of your brain that keeps winning the food fight.
Cooking food and coming up with food ideas for the week can be boring for the unhappy home chef but lots of fun for the inspired home chef who thrives on putting on the chef’s jacket. That’s me although no aprons or jackets I’m afraid.
Who are you talking to over there? Yes, you!
How many of you talk to yourselves when you are grocery shopping? Not everyone does and for those that don’t they possibly spend a bit more money. For those that do question their shopping choices it’s just as easy to overspend especially when you should already know the answers. It’s important to know your grocery goals and aisles to avoid unless you need to go down them.
Being alert at the grocery store means a world of difference when it comes to savings. That means, turn off your cell phone, stop chatting to people (not including yourself) and pay attention to what you are buying and whether it’s worth it.
If you’re armed with a grocery list the only real question should be, “What foods can I remove to add this awesome deal I just found?” Sounds easy enough but trust me we struggle with this question all the time.
We’re always on the hunt for money saving ideas in the CBB household especially when it comes to our grocery budget, the heart of our monthly budget. Over the years we’ve made many improvements when it comes to knowing prices and what foods we are putting into our grocery cart.
Both Mrs. CBB and I are partial to foods that are higher in quality and lower in price. Typically we only splurge on luxury foods if there is a 50% off sticker or a good weekly flyer deal.
Don’t let product marketing fool you
We’ve come to learn that we had a hidden talent to save money that was masked by our senses and our ability to say no. It’s amazing how the small stuff adds up and the foods you thought were saving you money was hidden under flashy grocery store marketing plans. Buy 1 Get 1 Free comes to mind. Are you really saving more?
For example: In the Metro Flyer they have Buy 1 Get 1 Free Flamingo frozen chicken products. So, this means your chicken nuggets, chicken strips, chicken burgers etc. The regular price stated in the grocery flyer is $11.99 a box. What? Wait a minute? Each time we go to No Frills, Zehrs or Food Basics we see the exact product for $4.99, $7.99 max. We also had a Save $5.00 off a box coupon costing minimum $1.99 a box or less if on sale and there were no shortage of coupons to be had.
You do the math and come back and tell me if this would be a smart purchase or a huge fail on the part of the consumer. No, if you have other grocery stores in proximity and yes if you only have one grocery store to frequent and you want this convenience food.
Can I make homemade chicken nuggets for less with fewer preservatives and freeze them? <<< Answer that question and then return to, “Should I buy the frozen chicken nuggets?”
Choice is yours. No wrong or right answer here because we all enjoy varied eating habits and have different grocery budgets. Just remember the savings. It should always mean something to you rather than just a convenience.
Find a way to conquer these powers
We’re no different from the average family who visits the grocery store to stock up on deals but we often struggle with time and willpower. Do you want to know how to save money effectively so you don’t make the same mistakes over and over? Then strengthen your mind and fight the urge to let food control how much money you are spending.
Time is always on the back of our minds when creating a meal plan followed by a grocery list. Why? Because most people don’t have time to cook homemade meals every.single.night. of the week. Unless of course you are free to do so with limited interruption.
As a stay at home mom Mrs. CBB struggles to do this which is why we have to plan our meals accordingly even if there is a change in plans for the day. If you let the convenience of time beat you to the checkout be prepared to pay more for less which sometimes includes less nutrition.
Willpower is trying to avoid those short-term temptations that will only satisfy you in the moment but comes with an expensive price tag. Personal improvement while grocery shopping happens over time if you really want it to since control of one’s impulses can really make a difference.
For example: If your decision is to go into the grocery store and buy milk and butter you need the strength to carry out that decision especially if you struggle to say no.
25 foods we stopped buying over the years
We all have our reasons why we buy one product which means just because it’s not right for you doesn’t mean it’s not right for someone else. If making bread is a must and you can make enough for the week or month to freeze that’s a huge savings. Not to mention tastier.
Any time we question having enough time to make homemade instead of buying it we need to understand why we aren’t making the time. Is that television program adding value to your life? No? Add savings and bake some bread if homemade is what you want but struggle to find time to make.
We are certainly entitled to rest after a long work-day or work-week but busting our butts at work to make money only to spend it with less effort makes little sense to me.
That being said our list is personal which means we found these foods to bulk out our grocery budget so we chopped them!! Ah-ya, like Ninja Food warriors we sliced and diced until we were in a happy place with our food shopping trends.
I might be missing some foods (list is always building) and there are times we screw up or just don’t care because we have a low-motivation day while shopping, forget our shopping list or aren’t prepared. It happens to everyone, just don’t let it happen often. As you can see from our list many of the products add no value such as pop, frozen pizza, pancake mix either because we don’t need it or it’s simple to make at home.
Obviously you might be a whiz at making homemade foods such as ketchup, BBQ sauce, Nut Butters and Salad Dressing etc. The savings will be huge when you think about removing preservatives and ingredients you can’t even understand from your diet.
- Frozen Pizza
- Soda Pop
- Pasta Sauce
- Bread Crumbs
- Pancake Mix
- Pita Chips
- Basil Pesto
- Spice Mixes
- Salad Kits
- Cheap Grated Cheese ( The good stuff although pricey goes a LONG way and tastes far better)
- Frozen Fruit Bars (Make your own with fruit from the reduced rack or on sale)
- Quick Rice or Side Dishes (Simply a huge waste of money)
- Anything Snack-Size or pre-portioned (Another waste of money)
- Frozen Burgers
- Apple Sauce
- Granola Bars
To find more amazing homemade recipes that might help you chop foods from your grocery budget can be found in our Free Recipe Index.
Discussion Question: Think about the foods that might be on your chopped list or even better write them down and share them in the comments section below. Any other tips please feel free to share.
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:
- 25 Popular Hotel Food Ideas To Save You Money #4
- 7 Money Smart Shopping Trip Essentials You Need #1 February
- 6 Grocery Budget Sacrifices Of A Frugal Shopper #2 February
- How To Spot Grocery Store Discounts (Saved us $511 last year) February
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.
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 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
- Buy 1 get 1 free Chicken Nuggets
- Garlic Hummus
- Mild Salsa
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- BBQ burgers
- Delissio Pizza
- Frozen fries
- Canned gravy
- Salt and Vinegar Chips
- Chocolate Chip granola bars
- Butterscotch Pudding Cups
- Flavoured Milk
Total Out-Of-Pocket $ Too Much. This might be your grocery shop. Think about ways you can improve it.
- 2 x 4L 2% Milk Sealtest $4.27 ($8.57)
- 4 x dozen large eggs $1.97 each ($7.88)
- Seedless Cucumber $0.99
- Bananas $1.72
- Avocados $2.97 bag of 5
- Cumin $1.97
Total Out-Of-Pocket $31.80
- 11 x Pounds of No Name Bacon $2.99-50% pink stickers $1.50 each ($16.50)
- 2 x Schneiders Pepperettes 2/$11 – 50% off pink sticker ($11.00)
- Real Lemon Juice $2.79
- Celery $2.79
- No Name Mushrooms $1.29
- Romaine Lettuce $2.69
- Flax Bread $3.49-50% pink sticker ($1.75)
Total Out-Of-Pocket $38.81
- 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: $18.25
- Total in-store discounts to date: $67.91
- Total spent this week: $70.61
- Total spent so far this month: $255.16
- Total over/Under spend this shop: under
- Total over/Under spend for the month: under
- Total left to spend for the month: $4.84
- Total Spent To Date 2017: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $231.06+Feb $255.16
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
Well we were cutting it close this month but we’re happy with our choices this month and ours savings. There was no way I was going to pass up pounds of bacon for $1.50. Mrs. CBB and her low carb diet means she’s best friends with bacon. Our son also loves bacon. (who wouldn’t?) On to March to see what deals we can find.
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!!
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
- 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 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 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 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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