Grocery Shopping Tips | The Ultimate Canadian Grocery Savings Guide

10 Everyday Products You Should Sniff Test Before Buying

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product sniff test
Sniff everyday products before you buy them at the grocery store.
Sniff everyday products before you buy them at the grocery store.

Never Underestimate The Power Of Quality

To smell is a gift, and most often, we shop with our eyes and nose because trying products first isn’t always an option.

For this reason, you’ll see customers hovering around the sample booth on the weekends when the aroma of food permeates the air.

Even displays of household products become attractive if customers can see products work.

Costco is another store that offers samples to customers, and the smell hits you the moment you walk into the store.

Scent Markers Throughout A Store

It’s not uncommon to find out that a grocery store has artificial aroma sensors strategically placed around the store to motivate shoppers to buy more.

These scent machines are far less expensive than hiring a sample company, and they work.

At Staples Canada, a couple of years back, we could smell the aroma of delicious coffee throughout the store as it caught us off guard.

As coffee lovers, it hit us hard, and we wanted a coffee.

When we were checking out at the cash, we asked the cashier if they sold coffee, and she said yes but that there was an aroma sensor on one of the main beams in the store.

She pointed over to it, and we felt like we had just got Punked. (that means tricked into believing we smelled and wanted coffee)

Sniffing and smelling both have the same meaning, and when it comes to product purchases, we should be using our nose smells to guide our wallets.

Let’s forget about all the genius ways the stores are marketing the air sniff to capture customer attention and focus on our nose for a moment.

Smell or Price

What’s more important?

I asked this question last night on CBB Facebook;

Question: What is the main reason that you buy a product? Is it the smell or the price that Is most important?

If both are a MUST for you, are you willing to pay more money for the product?

Judy Finch Conte replied;

Both is a must. I will wait for a sale to stock up and I will even stock up if I’m already stocked up from the last sale.

CanadianBudgetBinder Judy Finch Conte stock up the stock up, lol.

So if you find a brand that smells good, you’ll wait until a sale comes around and then stock up; otherwise, no, you won’t buy it at the regular price.

Exactly except I need unscented products or stuff that smells like a pure citrus.

You wouldn’t believe how many “unscented” products still have a light perfume scent to them.

CanadianBudgetBinder: Judy Finch Conte, is that false advertising in your eyes?

Judy Finch Conte: Not really. It may not have perfume added but the other ingredients combined kind of make its own scent or it could be the smell of plastic.

Fair enough, I thought and all the better reason to sniff what you buy IF you can without opening a sealed or boxed product.

Many other fans chimed in with their reaction to the sniff test, and surprisingly many of them do smell before they buy.

Others are hesitant or feel awkward as it’s not a practice you often see people do. Although if a person does sniff test a product, it’s done quickly.

So what are some products you should do the sniff test on before you buy? I came up with 10 or so products with the help of my fans and Mrs. CBB.

Sniff Produce

I don’t know about you, but adding sniff time to grocery shopping might cut into my lunch hour, but if you fail to take a moment to do so, you’ll likely end up with items you don’t want.

Every good chef who buys produce at the market or grocery store smells everything they purchase.

Why? It’s the difference between a ripe and sweet product to a hard and bland product.

If you’ve ever grown a garden before or purchased organic fruits and vegetables right from the farm, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Smelling what you will be eating is a good sign of what the fruit or vegetable will taste. 

A pineapple, when ripe, will be golden brown, and you should have a sweet smell from the bottom of the fruit.

If you don’t smell your fruit, it is either not ripe or will lack flavour.

The same goes for strawberries.

What you smell is what you will taste in your mouth. Can we do that?

Taste what we smell? In many cases, yes, which is why we drool when intoxicating smells permeate the store we love.

Sniff Coffee

To sniff coffee is a must for us, especially if we buy coffee beans, so we sniff the bag.

The aroma of coffee and coffee beans is so potent that your nose can smell it from a mile away unless it’s in a tin or vacuum-sealed package.

We do this because it gives us a sense of smell the coffee will produce as well as possible flavour.

Just because a bag of coffee beans sounds exotic doesn’t mean it tastes the same way.

Sniff Hygiene Products

I’m a picky person when it comes to the smell on my body, whether it’s deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, bar soap, shaving cream, etc.

Although I cannot smell everything, I will check for testers or take the lid off to see if the product offers a scent, even if the product is unscented.

Sniff Fresh Bread

Fresh bread will smell like fresh bread, but day-old bread will smell like day-old bread.

The yeast in bread offers such a fantastic smell when baked that it’s hard not to imagine melted butter on a bun or stuffing bread with deli meats.

Try it next time you go to a bakery, and you’ll see what I mean, especially if you buy specialty bread with herbs and spices or sun-dried tomatoes.

Unfortunately, if you buy pre-packaged bread, you get what you get.

Sniff Smelly Stuff

sniff test air freshener
Sniff The Smelly Stuff such as Air Fresheners

Any shoppers out there who love scented candles, air fresheners, and incense likely can recall going in for the sniff test.

It’s almost inevitable that every shopper sniffs a candle before buying it, so you will notice scratch and sniff labels or openings on the jar or lid.

Product smell is also a marketing ploy, so the product’s scent hits you as you stroll by.

You know the same way you stop and glance into Bath and Body Works with a lust for a sniff.

Photo source: Bob Loblaw Law Blog

Sniff Perfume and Cologne Testers

Please smell the perfume you are buying, and if you can’t, leave it for someone else to buy.

Mrs. CBB used to sniff Beautiful perfume by Este Lauder every time we went into Sears with a spray or two.

The perfume was horrific smelling to me, and I was hoping she would never buy it. I was honest with her.

We do the sniff test on each other. If we aren’t both attracted to the smell, why buy it?

I don’t want to scare my wife away from coming close to me.

Have you ever noticed an influx of brand new perfume and cologne bottles on Kijiji after Christmas?

Now you know why. Just because you like it, someone else might not.

Sniff Bulk Spices and Herbs

I will sniff spices when I can because if the aroma is intense, I’ll know whether it’s fresh or not.

You can’t always tell depending on what you buy, or if it’s pre-packaged, you might struggle.

Some spices are very strong-smelling even in a package, so don’t be afraid to wave them in your face for a sniff.

The bulk spice section at the grocery store or bulk store is a great place to do the sniff test.

Old spices lack flavour and alter the expected taste a recipe should have.

Sniff Cleaning Products

I read online that a lady bought laundry soap that ended up smelling like melons, and so did she for a month.

It may sound funny, but it can be depressing for someone when you only have limited funds and buying another jug is not an option.

Most stores, though, will take opened products if you explain how horrible the taste or smell was as long as you provide a receipt within 30 days.

We purchased dish soap because we had a coupon only to find out it was not very pleasant smelling, but we used it because we had already bought it.

These days we do the sniff test. Some mixed chemicals often change the smell of the product, or what you think a flower scent shouldn’t often end well with some products.

When Mrs. CBB was in the UK, she passed the sniff test walking down the cleaning products aisle at Tesco.

Our liquid fabric softener tends to be far more robust in the UK than in Canada.

Mrs. CBB was swept away by the smell of one of the softeners and bought 2 bottles to stuff in her suitcase and brought them home.

We always laugh at some of the stuff she flew back to Canada and what the customer’s officers must have thought.

Keep in mind that some people may be sensitive to smell, so they need to know what they are buying first.

Apart from scratch and sniff, opening bottles, and sniffing packaging, some manufacturers will offer a sample sniff stand attached to the shelf.

It would be equal to what you’d find in the beauty boutique at Shoppers Drug Mart when testing perfume and cologne.

The photo above depicts air freshener sniff testers at a grocery store.

Sniff Cheese

You either hate smelly cheese, or you love it.

If you’re not a fan of stinky cheese, you should probably buy your cheese somewhere that you can taste and smell.

Many local deli shops will do just that for their customers by offering a taste but don’t expect them to hand over an entire brick of cheese for you to sniff.

That would be against health and safety standards.

There is no sense in bringing home expensive cheese that you won’t eat because of the smell.

Pass the sniff test first, and you’ll be safe in the cheese department.

Sniff Fish

You’re in good hands if it smells like the Lake or Ocean.

If not, leave it alone. If you can’t smell the fish, you are buying. I wouldn’t purchase it either.

Any fish in a can or pre-packaged is at your discretion of purchase. Sniff if you can sniff. Walk away if you can’t unless it doesn’t matter to you. Some shoppers could care-less.

Sniff Test Etiquette

Save yourself the financial loss of food waste or buying products you don’t like by taking a moment to sniff what you put in your shopping cart.

Please don’t put the product so close to your nose that it touches it or stick your fingers to taste or try unless you’re buying it.

Most beauty shops offer sample bottles that you can sniff and test before buying, including perfume.

Remember, customers will be eating what you touch.

Another good reason we should always WASH everything we purchase in the produce department or have picked by someone else. 

A good vinegar and water spray or bath is a great way to keep fresh, crisp, and clean produce.

10 Products you should sniff test before buying

Grocery Sniff Test Chart
Ten Products that are worth sniffing before you purchase them.
  1. Fresh Produce
  2. Coffee
  3. Hygiene products
  4. Fresh Bread
  5. Candles, Air Freshener etc.
  6. Perfume
  7. Bulk Spices
  8. Cleaning Products
  9. Cheese
  10. Fish

Discussion Question: What products do you sniff before you buy?

What else is missing from my list that I should add?

Please share your comments below in the comment section.

Thanks, Mr.CBB

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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.

March 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 Tools

Don’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 cbb

Everything 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 Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.

2017 Grocery Shop Results

Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2017: $3180 or $265/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: $265
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $265
  • 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 : $24.50

Our Grocery Shop This Week

All totals below already have tax factored into them.


  • Pillars Salami Whips 2/$6- 50% = $1.50 each
  • Coil Garlic Kolbassa – $3.69 (was 50% off)
  • Pork Tenderloin $3.50-50%
  • Pork Tenderloin $6.57-50%
  • Beatrice Sour Cream $1.44
  • 2 x Bakers Chocolate Squares Sale $2.49
  • Cheerios $3.99

Total Out-of-Pocket $22.12

Food Basics

  • Bananas $1.59
  • Milk $4.27
  • 2 x Cream $1.95
  • Astro Coconut Yogurt $2

Total Out-Of-Pocket $9.45

  • Total to spend this month : $265
  • Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $10.99
  • 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: $31.57
  • Total spent so far this month: $263.60
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: over
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: n/a
  • Total left to spend for the month: $1.40
  • Total Spent To Date 2017: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $231.06+Feb $255.16+March ($5 budget increase) $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

WOW, cutting it close this month especially with one week left to go as there are 5 weeks of grocery shopping in March. It was hard to pass up the 50% off meat at Zehrs even though that’s not why I went in there. I know it’s so hard BUT meat is so expensive. The good news is we have $1.40 plus our stockpile budget of $14.00 in case of emergency shopping next week. Next month we’ll be doing some stocking up.

That’s our food shopping 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 fewer and less coupons in the stores these days. What are your thoughts?

Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons?

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?

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 as many people do. This is why The Grocery Game Challenge is one of the most popular hangout 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!


Are You New To Canadian Budget Binder?

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  1. #4 – Mar 20 – 26
    Yearly Grocery Budget for 2 Adults – $3300 or $275/mth (Includes Stockpile Budget)

    • Store: Walmart
    • Total Coupons Used: $ 0
    • Total Out Of Pocket: $ 93.38
    • Bananas – $0.56/lb – $3.63
    • Dasani Water Drops $2.97 x 3 = $8.91
    • Milk 4L – $4.27
    • Evaporated Milk – 6 x $1.00 = $6.00
    • Tortilla Chips – 2/$5.00
    • Jello Pudding – 2 x $1.26 = $2.52
    • Betty Crocker Cake Mix – 2/$3.00
    • Betty Crocker Icing – 2/$3.00 – (Hubby’s Birthday Cake)
    • Armstrong Cheese – 3 x $3.97= $11.91
    • Soya Sauce – $1.88
    • Spinach – $2.27
    • Eggs – 6 x $1.97 = $11.82
    • 2% Milk – $4.27
    • Margarine – $3.77
    • Walmart All Purpose Flour – $6.97
    • Ground Beef – $2.97/lb = $13.13
    • Mini Donuts – $0.50 (50% off instore discount)-lunches
    • Coffee Cake – $3.00 (50% off instore discount) – divided into 20 servings for Hubby’s lunches

    • Store: Zehrs
    • Total Coupons Used: $ 0
    • Total Out of Pocket: $30.11
    • Russet Potatoes – 10lb for $2.50 = $5.00
    • Apples – NN imperfects – 6 lbs for $5.99 = $5.99
    • Lantic Sugar – 4 x $1.77 = $7.08
    • “Free From” Sausages – Italian & Bangers – 500g x 4 x $2.99 = $11.96 (50% off instore discount)

    • Store: Valumart
    • Total Coupons Used: $0
    • Total Out of Pocket: $26.37
    • Store Made Pizza – $9.99
    • Eggs – 4 x $1.97 = $7.88
    • Bananas – .$0.79/lb = $4.62
    • NN Potato Chips – 4 x $0.97 = $3.88

    • Points Overview
    • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $ 275.00
    • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $ 275.00
    • Total Gift Cards used to date: $ 0
    • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $ 0
    • Total Rewards Points used to date: $ 0
    • Total PC Points year to date: 140,516
    • PC Points Plus Earned to date: 1,006,126
    • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP)to date $ 2.37

    Coupon Apps
    • Checkout51 to date: $12.25

    • Total coupons used this week: $0
    • Total coupons used to date: $0
    • Total in-store discounts this week:$15.50
    • Total in-store discounts to date: $26.48
    • Total spent this week: $149.86
    • Total spent month to date: $265.21
    • Total over/Under spend this shop: $
    • Total over/Under spend for the month: under
    • Total left to spend for the month: $9.79
    • Total reserve: Jan $103.53 + Feb $53.99 + Mar $9.79
    • Total Spent To Date 2017: (Includes stockpile budget) Jan $171.47 + Feb $221.01 + Mar $265.21
    • Savings to the end of March 2017 over same period 2016: $846.62

    Weekly Overview:
    Our March goal was to limit ourselves to one more shop for perishables only, but we ran short on a few things. We also took advantage of sales and came across some too-good-to-pass-up instore discounts. Only $9.97 left for March but we should be fine until April. The sugar is stockpile. The meats and potatoes are cooked, divided and in the freezer so the portions should last well into April.
    We are on track to save $1000 over last year’s grocery bill by the end of April. I’ve been putting the savings aside to put down on our mortgage as soon as we reach that milestone. I’m including this goal with our grocery shop post to help hold us accountable. I’m a little worried we’ll find something we’ll convince ourselves we absolutely “need” to spend that money on before it makes it to the mortgage.

    1. Hi Libby,
      What an awesome goal!! You’re gonna do it. I hope you let me share your story on the blog after. I love when I read personal challenges like this. I know what you feel like when there’s not much left in the monthly budget but then all these amazing deals pop up. It has always been a tough call for us an in part why were are continuing the grocery game challenge.
      You mentioned that you cooked the meat and potatoes and they are in the freezer now. Do you always prep meals and freeze? I’m sure it saves time. If you want to pay your mortgage down faster don’t let anything get in the way. I don’t know if you read our story but we paid our mortgage in 5 years… lots of sacrifice but 3 years mortgage and debt free is still amazing. You can do it!!! Do you both eat lots of eggs? We buy lots too so I’m just wondering.
      Is this what you currently have in PC Points or what you’ve earned since you started collecting them? PC Points Plus Earned to date: 1,006,126 >> nice!!
      Keep it up!!
      You get ballot #15.

  2. little late posting my shop…

    March – 2nd week

    Name Your Store ie: Superstore
    Total Out Of Pocket: $225.30
    Jasmine Rice, bag – $8.99
    Whiskas Cat Treats 2@2.99 – $5.98
    NN Peanut Butter 2@3.49 – $6.98
    PC Smoked Oysters 2@1.99 – $3.98
    NN Chips 2 for – $3.00
    Tostitos – $2.99
    Aylmer Tomatoe Soup 4@.49 – $1.96
    Cashmere TP 12dr – $4.99
    Royal tissues, – $9.99
    Hellmans May 2@3.49 – $6.98
    Farmers Mil 2L x2- $11.58
    NN Fries – $3.99
    Silk Coconut Milk – $3.99
    NN Potatoe 15lb – $2.77
    Raw Dog Food – $17.10
    Snack Food – chicken wings – $11.49  hubby grabbed this. I didn’t look at the price 
    Sugar – $2.99
    Pancake Syrup – $2.19
    NN Frozen Waffles – $3.99
    Cumin (spice) – $1.99
    Sushi Pack – $3.99
    NN Ceasar Salad Dressing – $1.50
    NN French Dressing – $1.50
    Goldfish Crackers 4@1.99 – $7.96
    NN Luncheon Meats – $2.29
    PC Condensed Milk – $2.99
    NN Kethcup – $0.99 (should have bought a few of these!!)
    NN Tuna 3 for – $3.99
    Miniwheats, family pack – $8.98
    Ritz Bits 2 for – $5.00
    PC Keefir 2@3.79 – $7.58
    Protein Powder – $23.99
    Oranges – $5.73
    Mushrooms – $2.86
    Peppers – $2.18
    Ground Beef – $5.05

    Total Spent $77.93
    NN Canned Beans 4 for – $5.00
    NN Parmesan Cheese – $4.99
    NN Tomatoe Paste – $1.99
    NN Oregano – $2.79
    NN Pasta Sauce x2- $4.18
    PC Oysters – $2.00
    PC Mussels – $2.00
    NN Chips – 2@1.79 – $3.58
    Gluten Free Lasagna Noodles – $3.99
    PC Tortillas – 2 for – $5.00
    Graves Apple Juice 4 for – $5.40
    Glad Freezer Bags – $2.99
    Post Shreddies – $3.49
    NN Fires – $4.00
    Ginger Root – $0.70
    PC Cheese Blocks x2 – $10.98
    Friskies Can Cat Food x 4 – $3.16
    PC Salsa – $2.49
    4L Milk – $6.99  yikes, this is what happens when I run out and go to the local store vs superstore, +1.50 

    Total Spent $17.87
    Chicken Legs pk 4 – $3.66
    Carrots – $1.97
    Bag Spinach – $2.27
    Fudge Cake – $5.00 (daughter’s request ugh!)
    Sweet Potatoe – $2.26
    Tomatoe – $.88
    Banannas – $1.16
    Onion – $0.57

    Fresh Cut Meats
    Total Spent – $83.69
    Pork($5.49/kg) – $9.22
    Ground Beef (6.55/kg) – $40.;32
    Dog Food ($7.49 kg)- $6.32
    Beef Stir fry strips ($16.99 kg)- $5.15 ,– yikes, note to self, buy steak and cut up if cheaper
    Blade Roast ($13.21 kg) – 9.14
    Carvers Choice Bacon 3@1.97 (375kg) – $5.91
    Bananna – $2.27
    Cherry Tomatoes – $0.97
    Wraps – $4.39

    Bulk Barb
    Total spent – $14.68
    Arrowroot Powder – $2.88
    GF baking flour – $6.81
    Parsle7 – $0.47
    Rosemary – $1.40
    Thyne – $1.25
    Eucalytus Mint Tea – $1.83  impulse buy!
    Mini grater – $1.99  impulse buy!

    Points Overview
    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $700.00
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $ 683.06 (overspent last month)
    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: 62,125 (added 33,175 since last report)
    Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $ <– not sure yet, can’t get logged in to my account 
    Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
    Checkout51 to date: $15.75 (no change) to date: $1.39
    Caddle to date: $11.35 (+2.75)
    Lyoness to date: $12.94

    GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK (add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)
    Stockpile budget 2017 ($25.00):$0
    Stockpile budget used to date: $0
    Total coupons used this week: $0
    Total coupons used to date: $3.67
    Total in-store discounts this week:$44.34
    Total in-store discounts to date: $70.59
    Total spent this week: $419.47
    Total over/Under spend this shop: $7.53 (that’s what I have left to the end of the month…yeah…will be over )
    Total over/Under spend for the month: $7.53
    Total left to spend for the month: $7.53
    Total Spent To Date 2017: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $1409.41
    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts): Went completely off track the second part of the month…just got whatever was needed, wasn’t paying close attention, ran out of money, had to use other money. Blah!

    1. Hi MaryAnn,
      Sorry about the late moderation but I’ve been ill the past few days and still am.
      I have some questions and I apologize if you’ve already told me or mentioned about it before.
      How many people are you feeding in the family? Adults, Kids?
      Is anyone on a special diet?
      So, your monthly budget for food is $700 and you over-spent by $683.06 in February? Hm, we’ve got some work to do, hehe!!
      Yes always look at the prices of beef especially pre-cut meat. You already knew that though. 🙂 The little grater we have as well and keep it in a jar with nutmeg and have used it many times.
      What would you say is your BIGGEST downfall when it comes to sticking to your monthly grocery budget?
      It’s great that you are working to get it under control. All the extra money you can keep back can go towards other areas of your budget, savings or investments.
      You get ballot #14.
      Mr.CBB 🙂 We’ll get there.
      Should this be updated? Total Spent To Date 2017: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $1409.41
      What is this as I’ve never heard of it? Lyoness to date: $12.94
      What account are you talking about for The Scanning Code Of Practice?

  3. Week 11 – Mar 17 – 23, 2017
    Name Your Store: Wholesale Club
    Total Coupons Used: $
    Total Points =
    Total Out Of Pocket: $85.75

    500 mL PC Parmesan = $9.77
    NN Butter Popcorm = $1.49
    2 NN Salted Butter = $5.94
    4 L 2% Milk = $4.25
    2 Kg NN Frozen Corn = $4.37
    2 Kg NN Frozen Peas & Carrots = $4.37
    Bananas – 1.195 Kg = $1.47
    4 pack Chicken Breasts – 7.64 (30% pink sticker) = 5.35
    4 pack Chicken Breasts – 7.64 (30% pink sticker) = 5.56
    4.54 Kg Box diced chicken = $38.97
    Butter Tarts – 4.47 (50% pink sticker) = $2.23
    Carrot Muffins – 3.97 (50% pink sticker) = $1.98

    Name Your Store: No Frills
    Total Coupons Used: $
    Total Points = 200
    Total Out Of Pocket: $38.98

    Quaker Instant Oatmeal = $1.97
    4 Unico Pasta = $4.00
    4 – 450 g NN Marble Cheese – $4.97 (PM Valu-mart @ $3.99) = $15.96
    2 Crescent Rolls = $2.00
    2 Frozen Pizza = $6.00
    Bananas – 1.260 Kg = $1.55
    2 Schneider Weiners = $4.00
    Old Mill Raisin Bread – $3.00 (50% pink sticker) = $1.50
    Thomas Cinnamon Raisin Bread = $2.00

    Name Your Store: Food Basics
    Total Coupons Used: $
    Total Points =
    Total Out Of Pocket: $21.61

    Life Cereal = $1.97
    2 Kg Sugar = $1.97
    Honeycomb Cereal = $1.97
    2 Honey Bunches of Oats = $3.94
    2 Cases of Kraft Dinner = $11.76

    No Shop

    Grocery Game Challenge Results
    Total Grocery Budget for the 2 Adults ($1820.00, for the pay period – $70.00)
    Total Human (Adults) this Week Period: $64.74
    Left for the Month: $63.49
    Total Human (Adults) to Date: $2295.83

    Total Grocery Budget for the 3 Cats ($364, for the pay period – $14.00)
    Total Cats this Week Period: $
    Total Cats to Date: $54.16

    Total Grocery Budget for Stockpile ($507.69)
    Total Stockpile this Week Period: $27.72
    Total Stockpile to Date: $103.84

    Total Grocery Budget for the Personal Hygiene ($182)
    Total Personal Hygiene this Week Period: $5.64
    Total Personal Hygiene to Date: $73.92

    Total Grocery Budget for Meat ($499.98)
    Total Meat this Week Period: $53.88
    Total Meat to Date: $188.47

    Total Coupons Used this Week Period: $
    Total Coupons Used To Date: $11.99

    Total Grocery Savings for this Week Period: $10.40
    Total Grocery Savings to Date: $45.46

    Total Price Match for this Week Period: $3.92
    Total Price Match to Date: $13.35

    Total PC Points Received this Week Period: 200
    Total PC Rewards Points Used this Week Period:
    Total PC Rewards To Date: 4,333

    Overview: The pink stickers got me this week. There was extras that was not part of the grocery list that ended up in the cart but even with those extra purchases, I went over budget slightly. The difference won’t be hard to make up in my next pay

    1. Hey Dee,
      The pink stickers attacked you this week haha… I know how that feels. You didn’t do too bad though. I see they offer 50% off bread at your store and 30% off everything else. It’s still a deal I wouldn’t pass by especially the meat. You’ll easily make this up considering most of your shops haven’t been big at all the past months. What do you make with the crescent rolls? Keep at it. You’re doing SO well. You get ballot #11. Mr.CBB

      1. The last thing that my daughter made with crescent rolls was mini pigs in a blanket but we have used them when making cheeseburger cups as well. Neither are not on the menu this coming week but could well end up the following week. I’m doing okay with my grocery budget but definitely not like last year. I’m definitely looking at the pink stickers this year and that seems to be offsetting the price matching so I think it will all come out the same by the time the year is over.

          1. If your son likes sloppy joes and cheese, then he should like Cheeseburger Cups. You can play with the ingredients for the sloppy joes, cheese and even the “cup” to make it fun for him.

            Not sure if it’s the bargains that’s harder to find or if my tastes are changing. You gave me the idea of tracking my grocery savings which include pink stickers. I’m finding more pink stickers this year than in the past but then I’m also looking for them, where I really wasn’t before.

            This year, I’m finding that I’m spending most of my grocery budget whereas last year, I had a few weeks where I had leftover $ and therefore could put that on my debt.

  4. MARCH – Week #3 of 4- Mar 20-26, 2017


    •Total Grocery Budgeted For Year: $190.00 x 12 = $2,280.00 for 2 adults



    After a hefty $$ shop last Sunday in the US, that I am posting this week, we are just coasting along and eating from our pantry, fridge and freezers. We really don’t have any choice…I have everything fully loaded!

    We have to have at least one NO SHOP WEEK on the Canadian side of the border in a month to make our budget work…this however is our second in a row! Yay us!

    FYI, hubby had just left for the US when it started to snow here again. Is there actually going to be a spring this year? All the wet and miserable weather has us still in the mood for all things hot and my body is just aching. 🙁


    I have a real burning desire for some fresh salads BUT I am keeping myself in check by telling myself…next week. LOL

    In the interim we have a couple of pounds of grape tomatoes, English cucumbers, iceberg lettuce, green cabbage, onions, potatoes, celery, shallots, green onions, red & yellow onions, carrots, assorted apples, lemons & limes in the fridge to work our way thru not to mention frozen spinach, peas, mixed vegetables and broccoli. I think we’ll survive the week, don’t you?






    Walmart – Burlington

    2 Ham Slices $5.98 ea
    2 Turkey Slices $5.98 ea
    2 – Hebrew kosher gluten free all beef hot dogs $10.98 ea
    3 Corned Beef ($11.80+$11.52+$11.97) << Our annual Stock Up! 🙂
    3 x 2-pack canned Chicken $3.98 ea
    6 x 48 oz Campbell’s Tomato Juice $2.98 ea

    • US Grocery OOP: $110.99

    Costco – Burlington

    2 cases black olives (12 pack) @ $9.79 ea
    1 case butter (4lbs) $10.49
    2 x 2-pack Real Lemon Juice $5.49 ea
    1 Tillamook cheese slices $9.69
    1 x 2lb Pepper Jack Cheese $7.99
    1 x 5lb Medium Cheese Block $15.99

    • US Grocery OOP: $74.72

    Fred Meyers – Burlington

    2 pkg onion buns (8) @ $1.25 ea
    2 Peppermint Mocha Coffeemate Creamer @ $1.99 ea

    • US Grocery OOP: $6.48

    Franz Bakery Outlet – Bellingham

    4 large loaves 100% WW Bread $5
    1 pkg Hoagie Rolls(6) – ** FREE **
    6 pkgs English Muffins (6) @ $0.88 ea
    Less 10% Senior’s Discount

    • US Grocery OOP: $9.25



    •Total Loyalty Card Price Reductions This Year: $30.52

    •Total Coupons/Rain Checks Used This Year: $0.00

    •Total Price Match Savings Used This Year: $0.00

    •Total More Points Earned This Year: 58 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year: 21 Air Miles

    •Total PC PLUS Points Earned This Year: 2,600 Points

    •Total Optimum Points Earned This Year: 4,040 Points



    $ 570.00 Grocery Budget JAN-MAR


    ($602.66) Actual Y-T-D CASH SPENT



    $ 177.44 Re-Stocking Fund
    $ 95.70 Holiday Season Fund + $160 RCSS POINTS + $10 Dream Air Miles.
    $ 653.54 Summer Season Fund
    $ 265.02 US Shopping Reserve
    $ 0.00 Points Redeemed Reserve

    OUR CURRENT TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES ARE $1,191.70. This means the $1,274.44 that we carried forward from 2016 PLUS AN ADDITIONAL $293.29 that we have added in 2017, LESS $376.03 that we have drawn out for use in 2017.


    1. Hi Mary,
      I don’t know about now but Spring is officially in Ontario, finally. We’ve been wanting more salads lately as well and probably will do for the rest of the Spring and Summer months. WOW that’s lots of veggies to get though but you both love them so that shouldn’t be too hard.
      Great deals on the bread PLUS free PLUS senior’s discount… awesome shop!
      When you say ham slices how big are they? What does Pepper Jack taste like? Next time we go to Costco I’m going to see if they have this. I know you were in the USA but you never know.
      The medium cheese block is a great price. What brand is it? I want to see if I can find this too.
      Do they sell the Peppermint Mocha in Canada?
      Well, that’s some fine shopping and I bet a long day for the two of you. I don’t mind grocery shopping though. You spent just over a typical month of your grocery budget in Canada in 1 shop. Ha! Good thing you save up for it. I always love reading your US shops. 🙂 You get ballot #10

      1. Mr CBB…we had pea sized hail today! It’s supposed to be raining all the rest of the week too so it’s not nice weather here yet.

        The ham slices are 28 oz or 794 g. The Pepper Jack is a Monterey Jack cheese (mild) with hot pepper bits in it…kind of like the Habanero mix we have here at home. The blocks of cheese we buy are all made by Tillamook…an Oregon cheese company. No, they don’t sell the Peppermint Mocha creamer in Canada. Did you like the price of the 5-6 lb corned beef briskets? We pay twice as much for half the amount here at home! 🙂

        Yes we spent a lot on the US shop but it has been 4 months since we shopped south of the border. We’ll shop again in April & May but then not again until September, November and December.

        1. Hi Mary,
          Those are some decent sized ham slices. Yes I did like the price of the corned beef. I’ve always wanted to try one here. Mrs. CBB says she loves corned beef. Do you just put it in the crockpot?

          1. There are lots of different ways to make it. Usually we just boil it with the seasoning packet but I plan to make a Slow Cooker Maple and Mustard version later in the week.

          2. That’s what I was thinking about doing. I love using the crockpot although I’m not the best at it as I’m still learning. I love the idea of maple and mustard to. That would go nicely with the corned beef. I just need to find a good sale on one now.

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