The Grocery Game

Our Weekly Menu Plan Based On A Monthly $265 Budget: The Grocery Game Challenge 2017 #1 Feb 27-March 5

our weekly menu plan cbb



If you are the family meal planner don’t get discouraged if you can’t make the same menu plan your friends or family make because their grocery budget may be different. Not only that but their savings skills and ability to use coupons, price-matching, rewards points and so on all aid in savings. Also, keep in mind that not everyone has grocery stores on every other street corner. Some of you who live in rural areas may have a small grocer in town but must drive into a bigger city to see further grocery savings.

Related: How a small town family saves money on groceries


Look to others for inspiration


Two of my home cook inspirations…

Canadian Budget Binder fan Mary has posted her grocery shop in The Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) for the past 5 years. Not only does she try different recipes she finds online to her menu plan but her monthly $190 grocery budget for 2 has remained unchanged for many years. You can follow her journey every week by reading the comment section of the Grocery Game Posts along with many other GGC players.

Mary makes the family menu plan work along with her husband who is as smart of a grocery shopper as she is. Her excitement when he finds a deal is contagious. When they eat out they might see if there are any available coupons or deals as would Mrs. CBB and I. They also stock up their pantry, fill the spice rack and create homemade meals that keep them excited for meal time.

I’m sure Mary has lots of other ways to save money and still eat delicious meals which attributes to her static grocery budget. They also buy foods that some might consider convenient such as sliced apples and that’s fine because she knows that it still works with-in her budget.

Another wonderful CBB fan Beth loves to forage for food which saves her money and offers her options for menu planning. Head over to Aunt B on a Budget and you’ll find plenty of delicious meals she’s created with her years of experience in the kitchen.

Related: How living on a limited income has helped me go Green (ish) Aunt B on A Budget

Unless I’m putting it by for future use, I don’t buy more food than I can eat. I try to use every edible bit of the food I do buy, including peels, cores, tops, leaves, skin, bones, shells, and fish heads. It saves me money, makes respectful use of the energy required to grow/catch, transport, and package what I eat, and it produces some wonderfully flavourful stocks and sauces.- Aunt B on A Budget


Variety in your diet plan


There are meal planning ideas all over the web so creating a menu plan for the week based on what you have on hand and what’s on sale is relatively easy to do. A well designed menu plan should challenge you to try different foods, create new meals and learn how to enjoy more for less.

In the CBB house we choose to stick with easy meal plans because we’re always on the go and don’t have the time like we used to before our little guy came into the world. One of the key aspects of our weekly menu plan is keeping it healthy although we do splurge from time to time. A healthy meal plan consists of the foods that are right for your body and lifestyle. Mrs. CBB as you may now follows a high fat low carb diet similar to a Paleo diet or the Keto diet.

Most of our meal planning ideas come from improving our recipes or creating new recipes from simple ingredients that we typically keep on hand in our stockpile. A pantry filled with spices, condiments and other food products that help build a  meal is essential to every kitchen.

Related: How I reduced our $1100 Grocery Budget to $600 in 6 months

For example: If you want to make a pot of chili it’s nice to have homemade jars of tomatoes, canned tomatoes, tomato paste and tomato juice on hand in the pantry. So we always keep a can or three. Spices are a must so our spice cabinet is always stocked up with the most common spices.


Evaluate your cooking needs


Once you have your basic pantry staples in place and on a rotation according to weekly flyer specials and recipes you like to make then you’re all set to start a meal plan. From time to time you will obviously need to buy products to complete a recipe or recipe idea which makes grocery shopping far easier.

Related: How to keep an organized pantry

Making your own spice mixes also helps to cut down on costs when grocery shopping. For example: We no longer buy packaged taco seasoning. Why bother when we have all the necessary spices in our cabinet to make it homemade taco seasoning and for far less.

I will always support homemade meals over store-bought meals because you can’t get the quality of homemade in a box, bag or carton.

For example: Frozen pizza may be on sale for $5.99 which we used to buy before we made homemade pizza. You don’t always have to enjoy a meat pizza that can drive the price up a bit and you can stock up on ham, bacon, pepperoni when it goes on sale.

Furthermore there is a science to menu planning based on personal tastes, food knowledge and a desire to cook and prepare homemade meals. You don’t have to be rich to cook homemade food. Mrs. CBB has a friend who has debt and struggles to get by yet she always cooks and bakes. She brags about her homemade bread, soups, crock-pot recipes on Facebook and I would be proud too.

Related: Homemade vs. Store-bought – Is it worth it?

The point is the more ways you can find to lower the onset of grocery expenses the easier it is to meal plan, include luxury foods from time to time and eat well. No matter where you grocery shop there will always be store deals that aren’t advertised, reduced products and ways to earn free food with a reward system. These perks allow us to menu plan for less.

Consequently engaging in ways that help lower your grocery budget also opens up your menu plan. The idea of a grocery budget is not to copy what other families do rather focus on ways to improve your own. Comparing what is in someone’s grocery cart is perhaps making assumptions based on products.


Twitter Question


I received a tweet from a fan whose husband doubted our grocery list and wanted to know what our weekly menu plan might look like. We’ve been asked before about our menu plan so today I’ll share with you what we will be eating this week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. To see our recipes please visit our Free Recipe Index.

The word “Plan” is never concrete


A grocery cart of food does not dictate what meals a family will eat during the week since they may be stocked up on certain products.

For example: You might have been sick last week and all you survived on was chicken noodle soup and lots of water. The food that you had in your refrigerator and freezer didn’t get touched which means you won’t need much shopping unless it’s fresh produce the following week.

Another thing to consider is that food prices differ all over Canada and the world for that matter. Different cultures enjoy cuisines that may include simple ingredients or more complex foods that range in price. Also if you follow a diet plan or lifestyle that doesn’t include meat, vegetables, dairy or processed foods you’ll also see fluctuations in a meal plan and grocery budget.


Grow your food


I’ve always maintained that starting a garden from seed is the best way to eat healthy, can food and freeze organic fruits and vegetables to use throughout the year. Our garden typically would consist or tomatoes, green peppers, green onions and a variety of spices.

Related: Too much Basil? Here’s what you can do with it.

These days we only grow spices and stock up on fresh veggies, cherries, plums and apples from my in-laws once or twice during the summer. This does help lower our grocery budget which is a blessing but without it we’d still be eating just as well because it’s all about knowing your prices, getting lucky with in-store deals and knowing how to cook. Just because you are grocery shopping on a tight budget doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy delicious meals like the shopper who has more money to spend.

Related: Meal Planning For The Budget

You may not get the best cuts of meats but it’s all about the way you prepare the food you eat. That means you might have to marinate your meat over-night to tenderize it or opt for the no-name or lesser known name brand products instead of name brand. Even then if you read carefully you’ll notice that some products come from the same home just different quality control specs.

Related: How to Marinate MeatCooking Light

There are just so many variables that determine how much your grocery budget should be and what you can make with the food that you purchase. Does your meal plan include a new recipe every week? It’s nice if you can switch things up to keep meals interesting.


Our Weekly Menu Plan


Therefore to Susan, her husband and all the other readers of this blog below is our meal plan for this week based on food on hand and current purchases. When I work my long shifts at work I bring a lunch/dinner which is one meal for me and a fruit snack. I do drink coffee made free at work. When I work at my second job I don’t take a lunch or snack and just eat when I get home.

roasted tomato basil soup

I’m just going to type this in but we use our menu planning sheets which are free to download and keep it on our peg board in the kitchen so we know what we are cooking. This helps if we need to take food from the freezer to defrost the night before as well.


Breakfast- Coffee and Bullet-proof coffee (Mrs. CBB)

Bacon, 2 eggs, sautéed mushrooms and onions in butter half avocado (both)

Lunch- Pita stuffed with lettuce, homemade burgers and condiments

Dinner- Tomato Basil Soup with egg salad wraps and egg salad lettuce wraps for Mrs. CBB

Bedtime treat- glass of milk


Breakfast- Coffee and Bullet-proof coffee (Mrs. CBB)

2 egg Cheese omelet with mushrooms and a side of tomatoes and cucumber (both)

Lunch-Tomato Basil Soup with egg salad wraps and egg salad lettuce wraps for Mrs. CBB

Dinner- Roasted chicken drumsticks with garden salad, apple slices and walnuts

Bedtime treat- glass of milk (me)


Breakfast- Coffee and Bullet-proof coffee (Mrs. CBB)

Yogurt (me) Banana, Oatmeal

Scrambled eggs, ham and cheese- Mrs. CBB

Lunch- Tomato Basil Soup with tuna salad wraps and tuna salad lettuce wraps for Mrs. CBB

Dinner- Mashed potatoes, Sausages, Broccoli and homemade gravy

Bedtime treat- glass of milk (me)


Breakfast- Coffee and Bullet-proof coffee (Mrs. CBB)

Oatmeal- Me

Asparagus and cheese omelet -Mrs.CBB

Lunch- Cesar Salad with Bacon and Renee’s Cesar dressing

Dinner- Cauliflower Mash Shepard’s Pie

Bedtime treat- glass of milk (me)


Breakfast- Coffee and Bullet-proof coffee (Mrs. CBB)

Bacon, 2 eggs (both)

Oatmeal with toast and homemade crab apple spice jelly (Me)

Lunch- Tortellini, peas, sausage, sauce with Parmesan cheese (when I go to my main job where the hours and days change I batch cook and portion my meals)

Dinner- Homemade chicken noodle soup with radishes, celery and onions, Grilled pita stuffed with cheese, salsa and sour cream (both- Mrs. CBB won’t have the pita)

Bedtime treat- glass of milk (me)


Breakfast- Coffee and Bullet-proof coffee (Mrs. CBB)

Lunch-Tortellini, peas, sausage, sauce with Parmesan cheese

Dinner- Caesar salad topped with hard-boiled eggs

Bedtime treat- glass of milk (me)


Breakfast- Coffee and Bullet-proof coffee (Mrs. CBB)

Lunch- Tortellini, peas, sausage, sauce with Parmesan cheese

Dinner- Slow Cooker Kirkland Ham, Mashed Cauliflower with garlic butter, homemade gravy, garden salad with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice vinaigrette.

Bedtime treat- glass of milk (me)

Snacks: We don’t eat snacks often but I like to have bananas and apples on hand, yogurt, popcorn, almonds, walnuts, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, homemade treats from time to time.


 Stretch your money


Even our grocery budget needs a workout and as a result helps keep our budget trim and fit. Most of all no matter what your food budget is ask yourself if what you are buying is worth it.

Quality, Quantity and Price go a long way in the food industry.

Discussion Question:

What advice would you offer to someone who is struggling to create a menu plan based on their grocery budget allowance?


March 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.

Congrats to Ballot #4  Christine for winning the February Grocery Game Challenge! Post your shop and you can be next.

New monthly prize: See the Grocery Game Rules

Congratulations to Ballot #

March 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


Food Basics

  • 2 x 4L 2% Milk Sealtest $4.27  ($8.57)
  • 3 x dozen large eggs $1.97 each ($5.91)
  • Seedless Cucumber $0.99
  • Bananas $2.25
  • Avocados $2.97 bag of 5
  • Roma Tomatoes $2.10
  • Ground Mustard Sale $0.99
  • Ground Onion Powder Sale $0.99
  • White Mushrooms $1.99
  • 2 x Lactancia Cream 1L $2.49  ($4.98)
  • Flour Tortillas 12 inch Sale $1.99 (or I make homemade when I have time)
  • Astro Coconut Yogurt $2.49 (Sale)
  • Fuji Apples $3.65
  • Can of diced tomatoes $0.99 Selection Brand
  • Asparagus $3.75 2 bunches Sale
  • Baby spinach container $3.97 Sale
  • Oatmeal sale $1.99 bag
  • Shreddies cereal Sale $2.99
  • Selection flour $3.49
  • Celery $1.99
  • Romaine lettuce $1.99
  • Radish $1.99

Total Out-Of-Pocket $63.02


  • Large Hellman’s Mayo $5.99
  • Kirkland Almonds $16.99
  • 2 kg Lean ground beef $15.99

Total Out-Of-Pocket $38.97

  • Total to spend this month : $260
  • Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $0
  • 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: $67.91
  • Total spent this week: $101.99
  • Total spent so far this month: $101.99
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: over
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: n/a
  • Total left to spend for the month: $163.01
  • Total Spent To Date 2017: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $231.06+Feb $255.16+March$

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

It always seems at the beginning of the month we do a stock up of foods we’ve run out of stock. Luckily there were some deals this week on spices, oatmeal and cereal. The meal plan above doesn’t include our son because he’s not really eating at all right now. A bite here and there or a part of a banana, cucumbers and apples. We’re working on transitioning him away from milk but the kid loves the stuff.

We made a pit-stop at Costco to get gas so we ran in to pick up a few bits espeically the almonds which we love to roast and snack on. It’s far cheaper to do it this way. I bought a small bag of white flour as no one uses it but me in the house and I don’t bake like I used to. The tortillas were on sale for $1.99 instead of $3.79 so I picked up a pack for some wraps. Typically I would make a batch homemade which would last me a few days but until I cut some of my hours I won’t be doing much of that. You can’t beat fresh though.

March is a 5 week month for grocery shopping so we’re going to fit in a no-shop week.


Coupons and Coupon Apps


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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Photo credit: Menu Plan








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