The Grocery Game

5 Simple Grocery Savings Tips For The Busy Shopper : The Grocery Game Challenge 2017 #4 Apr 24-30




If you’re consistently seeing that you’re spending more money on groceries then you’d like to perhaps you’re a busy shopper who needs to back up a step before moving forward.

Like a harmless day of retail therapy after work grocery shopping therapy is just as exciting for those who love food. Both of which come with a high price tag if not careful.

Do we put enough time and effort into what food we put into our bodies?

For the most part I think we buy what we can afford and often go without so we can have something that’s a bit pricey. Those that follow this routine are in-tune with their food expenses and understand the idea behind stretching the food budget.

If you have $100 to spend it depends on how many people you are feeding with the $100 and for how long. Those who are shopping for one or even two people at $100 a week every week may be able to afford less for more money.

Not everyone wants to get value from their grocery expenses as missed opportunities to save their money are by-passed. As long as they stay with-in their budget and get the items needed they are happy.

Why would shoppers want to spend more for less? The only answer I can come up with is, because they can or think they can. A family on the same budget might not have that opportunity to buy less for more.

Priorities are different for everyone however I’ve always been the type of guy who likes balance in my life. Saving on groceries to help fund our retirement seems logical for us but maybe not for someone else.

Yesterday while picking up some bits for a work function I started to pay close attention to the customers and staff like I always do. Monday mania is what it felt like at the grocery store compared to a relatively peaceful weekday shopping excursion that I’m used to.

As a people-watcher it was hard to miss how many people looked like zombies with batteries who were working on caffeine overtime. If you can picture that then you see me most of the time however I do realize that it can cost me more to shop this way.

Do I want to? No, but sometimes I don’t have time to surf the grocery store like I would want to. I’d rather just get it over with and move on to what’s more meaningful in my life such as sleep.

It seemed like everywhere I turned someone was doing something out of the ordinary and I captured it and sometimes hung around to learn about it.

I’ve even questioned if I have done something out of the ordinary that another shopper has noticed. Probably. I’m likely the guy who will answer your questions and won’t tell you that I have to go even though I have other chores to get done.

When I grocery shop I’m always thinking about the grocery game challenge and exploring different aspects of the grocery store. I suppose you could call it deconstructing the shopping industry one grocery shop at a time.


I find that if I take the time to think about product placement, prices, layout, customers, service and so on that I’m able to see beyond our grocery budget. Essentially it’s my brain education for the food shopping industry. I want to save as much money as possible for our family and bring the readers of this blog any tips I’ve learned along the way.

There are at least 2 things that I’ve learned over the years about grocery shopping that will contribute to a pricey food bill. These types of shoppers turn on the “whatever mode” (been there done that). Hardly a savings plan to help you spend less and save more.

  1. Rushing, Tired or Lack of focus
  2. Lack of Prep Work

Related: Why you should always read your grocery receipt


The Busy Shopper vs. The Detailed Shopper


For instance, the young guy who was in the produce section talking on his cell-phone, pushing the cart with his right arm and tossing items in the cart. It seemed as if he was having a heated conversation by the look on his face.- Busy Shopper

Then there was the lady in a blue dress who was more interested in putting on lipstick down aisle 4 while her arm reaches out to grab a box of Cheerios. It’s been said that many relationships have blossomed from grocery store meetings while buying groceries.- Busy Shopper

Sounds of happy children drew my attention to the bakery where 3 happy kids were getting free cookies. Their care-givers were smiling and talking about meal prep but that’s all the conversation I caught as my little guys cookie didn’t take long to get. Most importantly I noticed they were calm and not in any rush.- Detailed Shopper

In the International aisle a lady asked if the price of pumpkin seeds was a good price to her friend across the other side of the aisle. After a brief discussion she puts the seeds back on the shelf.- Detailed Shopper.

Then there was the young lady who was in a rush to cash out at the self-checkout because she was going to be late picking up her kids. Her debit card wouldn’t work and it was her panic that caught just about everyone’s attention who was around her.- Busy Shopper

Another couple who stopped to chat with us about the price of ham spent 5 minutes going through the best sale prices and when we should buy it. He took the time to pick out some PC spiral ham and tell us about how much he paid for one at No Frills the week before. He was smiling and after I thanked him for his help they both went on their way. –Detailed Shopper

There were a mixture of busy shoppers and helpful shoppers who didn’t mind stopping to chat about “food” and saving money. Most people I talk to at the grocery store talk about food costs especially the savers who know how to cut costs. I enjoy hearing their savings tips especially from the seniors who have had more time to practice.


Food Radar


You know that feeling when you’re pushing the cart as fast you can without mowing anyone to the ground, well that heart-thumping high is a recipe for a grocery savings disaster.

I’m sure it’s safe to say that all of us have at one point made a mad dash into the grocery store to get something. The heat is on when you walk through those doors as you begin your mission to get in and get out without a plan or list. That is the best way to spend more money especially if you see something you want but don’t have time to be critical about the item and toss it in the shopping cart.

There aren’t many people who I’ve chatted to over my blogging years that have told me that they have no food budget and can spend as much as they need. The majority of Canadian grocery shoppers are interested in the best price because of a tight or limited budget. Even then those that can afford to spend more may opt not too because their budget says so. That’s life.

Does a busy shopper want to save money? Likely. Would you open your wallet and toss away $20 bills into the air for fun? Probably not. This is what the busy shopper does when they aren’t prepared for the grocery store. Don’t let this be you.

The busy shopper can do a few things to get ahead of their grocery expenses especially if their life is hectic Monday-Friday and they don’t want to weekend shop.

  • Take 10 minutes to read the grocery flyers and make a food list
  • Always load your coupons to your grocery apps
  • Don’t grocery shop when you are upset, mad or hungry
  • Avoid doing anything but grocery shopping
  • Order online groceries for pick-up or delivery

Just because your life is always on the go doesn’t mean you have to be the busy shopper who can’t take the time to become the busy shopper who saves.

Be proactive about what you REALLY want especially when it comes to your finances, family and friends since they may influence the way you spend and save money.

Slow down and take your time when grocery shopping and you will find much value not only for your sanity but the savings.

Discussion Question: If you’re a busy shopper who still saves a bundle of money at the grocery store share some of your secrets in the comment section below.


April 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.

Post your shop and you can be next.

New monthly prize: See the Grocery Game Rules

April 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: $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: 486,000
  • 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


NO Shop Week for us.

All totals below already have tax factored into them.

  • Total to spend this month : $265
  • Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $23.24 $1.76 left
  • 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: $432.50
  • Total spent this week: $0
  • Total spent so far this month: $273.83
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: lots
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: over budget
  • Total left to spend for the month: -$8.83
  • Total Spent To Date 2017: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $231.06+Feb $255.16+March ($5 budget increase) $263.60 + April $273.83

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

We have more then enough food and drink to carry us over into the next month’s grocery game challenge thankfully as we’re over budget already. Now we have to make up $8.83 in May.


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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  • Follow Me on Social media by clicking any of the buttons below on the blog.
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Images courtesy of nenetus  and stock images at








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    1. Brilliant.
      I just checked out your blog and subscribed! If you want in on the Making A Difference Series I’d be happy to have you in the spotlight. We can chat about it when you get back. 🙂

  1. I’ve been both a “Busy Shopper” and a :Detailed Shopeer” and I agree. Rushing in without a plan, or more often for me it’s getting that call on the way home that we need “that one item” and grabbing many other while I am in the store, costs you more money.

    I keep various lists utilzing my apps. I always have a list of urgent “we need them now/or very soon” items on Notes in my iphone and another list using Flipp where I tick off what I have, leaving a short list of what I need. I then use the flyer part of the app to get the best deals and make short lists of what stores I need to visit and when (based on my work schedule and proximity to each store). I tend to a lot of shops on different days.

    I’ve tried meal planning, that doesn’t always work the best for me as my husband does most of the cooking and isn’t much of a planner. I tend to ensure we have the basics at home (meat, rice, pasta, veggies) so he can whip together whatever he feels like that day. I always take leftovers to work for lunches. Kids lunches are more of a challenge, mostly because they can’t take peanut butter to school (Lord! I miss those days), and they are still a tad picky on what they eat.

    Love your posts Mr. CBB. They keep me focuses on looking for ways to save. Thank you!

    1. Hi Mary Ann,
      That’s interesting as you do the shopping and he does the cooking. He’s not a meal planner but you would meal plan if you were cooking. I’m sure many couple’s go through the same thing. Meal planning gets tough at our house especially when I’m not home until late most days but we attempt it every week. It’s better than nothing and we can plan around the flyer specials too which helps. Ah, life…get out of the way right? 🙂 Thanks for the kind words. 🙂 Mr.CBB

  2. Week 16 – Apr 21 – 27, 2017
    Name Your Store: Wal-Mart
    Total Coupons Used: $
    Total Points =
    Total Out Of Pocket: $50.86

    2 – 685 g Activa Yogurt = $8.91
    Tub of ICBINB Margarine = $1.47
    3 Cans Mushrooms = $3.00
    5 Cans Clover Leaf Tuna = $4.85
    Ham = $5.00
    1 pkg 24 Hot Dogs = $5.00
    Honey Nut Cheerios = $4.88
    Diana Sauce = $2.97
    2 jars Ragu = $2.64
    WW Tortilla = $2.87
    2 jars Classico = $5.00
    4L 2% Milk = $4.27

    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: $36.01
    Left for the Month: $33.99
    Total Human (Adults) to Date: $382.47

    Total Grocery Budget for the 3 Cats ($364, for the pay period – $14.00)
    Total Cats this Week Period: $
    Total Cats to Date: $106.93

    Total Grocery Budget for Stockpile ($507.69)
    Total Stockpile this Week Period: $4.85
    Total Stockpile to Date: $132.07

    Total Grocery Budget for the Personal Hygiene ($182)
    Total Personal Hygiene this Week Period: $
    Total Personal Hygiene to Date: $90.02

    Total Grocery Budget for Meat ($499.98)
    Total Meat this Week Period: $10.00
    Total Meat to Date: $252.56

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

    Total Grocery Savings for this Week Period: $
    Total Grocery Savings to Date: $49.80

    Total Price Match for this Week Period: $
    Total Price Match to Date: $16.35

    Total PC Points Received this Week Period:
    Total PC Rewards Points Used this Week Period:
    Total PC Rewards To Date: 11,442

    Overview: Picked up a few items to replenish our supplies but nothing impressive.

    1. Hey Dee,
      Looks like you stocked up on some staples this week, good for you. The tuna was a good price. I try to find it around $1.00 max. Do you drive to the grocery store or is there one close to you? I miss those $2 off BBQ sauce for Baby Rays… we got so many free back in the day. Well done. You get ballot #11. Mr.CBB.

      1. Yeah, they were mainly staples. I drive to any grocery store that I go to. Wal-Mart was close to the market so it was close and easy to go on my way home after I was done.

        1. Ah ok… I thought for some reason you were in walking distance to the grocery stores as well. I’d be broke if I were Christine living across the street lol..

          1. RCSS (or as I call it…stupid store) is within walking distance but I don’t want to lug my groceries all the way home. You would get use it if that was your reality

  3. APRIL – Week #4 of 4- Apr 24-30, 2017


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



    I have a few bucks left this month, $2.57 to be precise, so I am doing a happy dance as I once again transfer those leftover funds into our US Reserve.


    This is a NO SHOP WEEK on the both sides of the border, for the second week in a row!

    This week we’re eating up three pots of soup, making some homemade oriental dishes (Egg Foo Yung and an Asian Coleslaw Stir Fry with vermicelli noodles) and since we have a celebration lunch for my MIL to attend…it’s a perfect excuse to pick up our favorite Szechuan Green Beans while we are in North Vancouver.

    I had planned a little shop in the US but it was pouring rain. Who wants to be loading groceries into the car in pouring rain? Not me, that’s for sure!









    •Total Loyalty Card Price Reductions This Year: $54.64

    •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: 22 Air Miles

    •Total PC PLUS Points Earned This Year: 4,600 Points

    •Total Optimum Points Earned This Year: 4,100 Points



    $ 760.00 Grocery Budget JAN-APRIL


    ($694.14) Actual CASH SPENT



    $ 202.44 Re-Stocking Fund
    $ 95.70 Holiday Season Fund + $170 RCSS POINTS + $10 Dream Air Miles.
    $ 653.54 Summer Season Fund
    $ 388.62 US Shopping Reserve
    $ 0.00 Points Redeemed Reserve

    OUR CURRENT TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES ARE $1,340.30. This means the $1,274.44 that we carried forward from 2016 PLUS AN ADDITIONAL $441.89 that we have added in 2017, LESS $376.03 that we have drawn out for use in 2017.


    1. Hi Mary,
      That Grocery Game Happy Dance.. ya! I love the dishes you were making this week. Did all go as planned? I’d love to create a new coleslaw this summer. What are some of your go-to slaws? Here’s to another fabulous month of shopping. Can you believe half the year is around the corner? You get ballot #10. Mr.CBB Happy Shopping!

      1. I had to wait until this week to make my slaws…we still had too many leftovers to work our way thru. Nice problem right?

        I have a jazzy stainless steel mandoline so any vegetable or fruit are fair game when it comes to making slaws. I am actually making a Macaroni Coleslaw this week as well.

        Funny you mention the half year coming up…I was just thinking about that last night. It feels good to be on track with our budget but I sure am not tucking as much aside this year as I have in years gone by…it’s less than $200 net of “new money” at the end of May. I know that because I have finished shopping for next month…we’ll be shifting over to using gift cards, the entertainment budget and vacation funds depending on where we are and what we are doing. I guess I shouldn’t complain though…at least I am still able to set aside funds. I have been holding steady with the same budget for the last six years and assuming a 2% food cost increase per year, that means I have trimmed about 12% from our costs just to stay even! 🙂

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