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Luxury Food Products Eating Your Budget

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Believe it or not but luxury food products might be the grocery thief eating up your budget.

Find out what gourmet means and why you should consider removing luxury food products taking up valuable shopping cart real estate.

Today, I want to explore what luxury food products can soak up cash and other options that may work better.

buying luxury food products
Are you spending too much money on luxury food products?

Gourmet Vs. Luxury Products Are Partners In Crime

The most expensive food is the food that you can’t afford to buy.

Your grocery budget should be important to you, especially if finance is something that you want to challenge and control.

The food budget is the number one category for most consumers.

The reason is that we can change how we shop and what we eat.

Product prices differ all over Canada; for this reason, depending on where you live, the struggle to keep on budget may be near impossible or at least seem to be.

One way you can help your grocery budget> is>Investigate your habits.

Find out what gourmet means and why you should consider chopping luxury food products that take up too much real estate in your shopping cart.

There’s nothing wrong with indulging in your favorite luxury food products, but when it becomes a habit, you may bite off more than you can afford.

Stop making excuses about why you need a bag of chips every time you watch television or pop in a DVD movie.

How about swapping that out for fresh-cut veggies instead?

You might only get cucumbers and carrots for the price of a bag of chips but consider the health factor along with the Cost.

Can You Afford Luxury Food Products?

Grocery shopping is not for everyone but for those who must endure it, you should know what you can and cannot afford.

The problem is that not everyone understands how luxury food purchases will affect the overall shop.

No one grocery budget fits all because we all have different tastes, leading us to make the purchases we do.

What I find interesting is how consumers define luxury food products.

We recently chatted on Facebook in the What’s For Dinner feed, and we all considered luxury food products differently.

Last week on our road trip, we made a pit stop at the grocery store to buy some snacks.

While shopping, Mrs. CBB’s sister mentioned that eating clean is part of her new diet.

As they walked through the produce section, she pointed to a container of spiralized zucchini.

“Oh, I’ve bought that to make zucchini pasta with,” she says.

The Cost is $5.99 a tub, which would equal between 3-4 small zucchini or one medium-large zucchini.

Consumers are paying the extra $3 or so for the employee to do the work and for the plastic container and labeling.

Now we know what to buy her for Christmas, a spiralizer to encourage her to do it herself.

Something that we never reasonably thought of before was that consumers might purchase products because they don’t have the tools to do it at home.

Another reason may be that they want to try it out in small quantities before buying a larger version.

It’s Not About Being Lazy

Being the frugal family, we’d only buy something like that if it were half-price and cost less than buying them whole.

Nine times out of ten, buying a product untouched will cost you less than if it were processed.

Any time we pull out our wallets to spend money on food products handled by someone to create ease of use, we will pay the price.

Mrs. CBB always tries to help her sister understand finance fundamentals since it hasn’t been her best subject.

Her worst habit is buying whatever she wants, although she’s been getting better and looking at prices.

Living pay to pay is hard, but no matter your grocery budget, you must understand what you can and cannot afford.

What Are Luxury Food Products?

Luxury and gourmet are hand-made products or foods optimized to save the buyer time.

They may also be products that are unique and rare with expensive ingredients.

However, luxury may also be the staple many of us take for granted, such as milk, bread, eggs, Pasta, etc.

Luxury food products are friendly because they may cut time from the cooking process but will also suck up a chunk of your grocery budget.

I watched this video yesterday, and although it was created in America, I’m sure the same rings true for us in Canada.

Update: The video is no longer available, sorry.

The stats will be different, but what I found interesting was how the cashier made these customers stop and think about what was going on and why.

Too often, we are in such a rush with life that we forget to take a step back and think about how blessed we are.

The name of the game when grocery shopping with a frugal mindset is to get as much as you can for as little as possible without compromising quality.

That sounds like a tough challenge, and sometimes it is, but the more you keep with that mindset, the easier it gets.

Saving Money And Money Lessons

While perusing the grocery store with her, we chatted about different foods, prices, and tips to help her save money.

Although she seemed shocked at some of the things she missed or possibly spent more than needed, the lesson amazed her the most.

She didn’t get this guidance growing up, and although you might think it’s common sense, I bet many people could benefit from a grocery shopping 101 class.

Trust me when I say we would have been hands up first if someone offered back five years ago.

  • Lesson 1– How much is your grocery budget?
  • Lesson 2– What foods do you enjoy eating?
  • Lesson 3– How to create a menu plan?
  • Lesson 4– How to stock your pantry?
  • Lesson 5– Where are the best places to grocery shop?
  • Lesson 6– How to avoid mass marketing ploys at the grocery store?
  • Lesson 7– Well, you get the picture, and I’ve written posts on all the above topics.

Grocery Shopping Challenge

If you think walking into a grocery store without prep work is the best way to save money on groceries, then go for it.

Over the past five years of investigating grocery stores and customer shopping habits, including our own, we know that you must shop with a plan.

Here’s a scenario

You have $21 to spend on food.

Are any items in either shop below considered luxury food products for you?

In either case, there may be luxury food products you can’t afford; however, remember that we don’t have all view luxury in the same light.

Luxury food products for our family are items we can do without, make for less, or wait until the product is on sale, reduced, or lowered with coupons.

Shopper 1 Luxury Food Products

  • Bag of chips $2.99
  • Bag of Milk 4L $4.27
  • Eggs dozen 1 $2.27
  • Pop Tarts $2.99
  • Frozen Pizza Pops $5.99
  • Case of Pop $3.99

Total Cost: $20.23

Shopper 2

  • Dry Pasta $0.99
  • Lettuce $1.99
  • Pork Sausages $3.99
  • Canned Tomatoes $1.99
  • Oatmeal $2.29
  • Milk 4L $4.27
  • Eggs dozen $1.99

Total Cost: $20.40

Challenge Your Grocery Shopping Skills

Challenge yourself next time you grocery shop to see how far you can stretch $21.

We would be shopper 2, but there is no wrong or correct answer here.

It’s about choice and how you handle your grocery budget.

Mrs. CBB and I were chatting while her sister was off doing her thing, and we discussed these so-called luxury food products.

We started to point out different products we considered fitting the bill.

We learned that we had done well controlling our urge to spend more than we should on products we could afford but would eat into our overall shopping budget.

The Weakest Link Is The Shopper

It’s not easy being frugal, and we screw up from time to time, but we’re not superhero grocery shoppers.

We’re human just like you and get suckered in at our weakest moments which is why I love my interaction with all of my readers.

Our weakest link is our son, who can somewhat distract us at the grocery store. Our solution we split up.

It may seem easier to leave him at home, but grocery shopping is a part of life and a lesson we hope to keep teaching him as he grows.

Remember, what you consider luxury food products will differ from the next person.

The critical thing to remember is whether you need it and what foods you could replace that product with to offer you more bang for your buck.

Would you rather eat a bag of chips for a week or drink 4 liters of milk?

The choice is yours.

Luxury Food Products To Reconsider

  1. Select pre-made and frozen products
  2. Deli meats and cheeses (from the deli)
  3. In-store Bakery products
  4. Chopped garlic in a jar – convenience
  5. Solid White Tuna vs. Chunk light tuna
  6. Select seafood products
  7. Junk food- chips, chocolate, cookies
  8. Pasta sauce in a pot or can
  9. Shredded or grated cheeses
  10. Single serve products

This took time and is hard to keep up with, and we fail sometimes, but the awareness is there, which is most important.

Like Mrs.CBB’s sister said, “I wouldn’t have known any better about coupons and savings if you didn’t help me.” 

Don’t be afraid to share your grocery shopping tips with those who would appreciate the help.

If you could help in the grocery shopping department, you’ve dropped by the right blog.

Take a break, take deep breaths and look at your grocery budget, shopping plan, and what you hope to achieve from it all.

If your goal is to tighten up your overall monthly budget and your main target is food shopping, then your homework.

You may be pleasantly surprised by what you will learn about money spent vs. money saved by applying simple grocery shopping concepts.

Thanks for stopping by,

Mr. CBB

Discussion: What would you consider luxury food products that don’t typically make it into your shopping cart?

Please leave me your comments below.

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17 Comments

  1. Week 20 – May 19 – 25, 2017
    Name Your Store: Food Basics
    Total Coupons Used: $
    Total Points =
    Total Out Of Pocket: $30.67

    Human
    4 Cans Mushrooms = $3.96
    720 g Honey Nut Cheerios = $4.99
    2 Frozen Pizzas = $7.98
    2 Black Diamond Cheese = $8.88
    WW Tortillas = $1.88
    2 WW Bread = $2.98

    Cats
    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: $30.67
    Left for the Month: $39.33
    Total Human (Adults) to Date: $576.82 (minus Debt pymt & Gift Cards) = $479.15

    Total Grocery Budget for the 3 Cats ($364, for the pay period – $14.00)
    Total Cats this Week Period: $
    Total Cats to Date: $128.35

    Total Grocery Budget for Stockpile ($507.69)
    Total Stockpile this Week Period: $
    Total Stockpile to Date: $145.08

    Total Grocery Budget for the Personal Hygiene ($182)
    Total Personal Hygiene this Week Period: $
    Total Personal Hygiene to Date: $99.67

    Total Grocery Budget for Meat ($499.98)
    Total Meat this Week Period: $
    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: $63.65

    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: 12,838

    Overview: This will probably be one of the last weeks where I can just get a little bit of things to stretch what we have in the house already. This is also one of the first times where we didn’t have to purchase milk as there was enough in the house from the previous week. Well to end this posting on a good note, I’ve done some very rough calculations and it appears that I should be able to have the consolidated debt paid off within the next year and the vehicle about 3 months earlier than anticipated.

    1. Hi Dee,
      I love how you do these shops where you only buy minimal amounts to stretch what you already have in the house. I bet this really helps with the savings. OMG… this is exciting news DEE. A celebration is on the horizon and you WILL deserve it. What are the best frozen or store-made pizzas on the market these days? Our son loves pizza. I’m thinking about making him a keto waffle pizza in the press this week to see if he eats it. Picky eaters are so hard. Happy shopping Dee. You get ballot #8. Mr.CBB

  2. Week 19 – May 12 – 18, 2017
    Name Your Store: RCSS
    Total Coupons Used: $
    Total Points =
    Total Out Of Pocket: $26.28

    Human
    4 L 2% Milk = $4.27
    890 mL Hellmans Mayo = $3.98

    Cats
    2 – 18 Kg NN Cat Litter = $18.03

    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: $8.25
    Left for the Month: $70.00
    Total Human (Adults) to Date: $546.15 (minus Debt pymt & Gift Cards) = $448.48

    Total Grocery Budget for the 3 Cats ($364, for the pay period – $14.00)
    Total Cats this Week Period: $18.03
    Total Cats to Date: $128.35

    Total Grocery Budget for Stockpile ($507.69)
    Total Stockpile this Week Period: $8.16
    Total Stockpile to Date: $145.08

    Total Grocery Budget for the Personal Hygiene ($182)
    Total Personal Hygiene this Week Period: $5.65
    Total Personal Hygiene to Date: $99.67

    Total Grocery Budget for Meat ($499.98)
    Total Meat this Week Period: $
    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: $13.85
    Total Grocery Savings to Date: $63.65

    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: 12,838

    Overview: Well the gift cards were a welcome sight considering last week was a little reckless. The cats really appreciated getting some litter, even though we didn’t need much.

    1. Hey DEE
      That’s great I’m glad you were able to put them to good use!! Still $50 up for grabs. Seems most players are MIA… always happens in the summer. Glad to see both yourself and Mary still holding strong. I can clearly see how important budgeting and food expenses are to both of you as it is for our family. Keep at it DEE…. You get ballot #7. Mr.CBB

  3. Oh, if it were only me! I’ve compromised quite a bit, learned how to make some of our favourite prepackaged foods (ie. lasagna), etc.
    Still battling the soda battle though with the family. Dear husband works on the road, and water just doesn’t cut it most times. The children act like it’s heaven when they have a can of pop. Then I dump half of it down the drain (that has gone flat because they can’t finish it.) The SodaStream is ready to go, but it lacks something for them (maybe the can!)
    I bought lots of frozen juice this week, at 50 cents a can. Maybe if I hide the pop…the juice will disappear faster.
    Seriously though, I stock up on items in the sales cycle, look to save and make a substitute when I can. I have a pretty close substitute for Leadbetters Cowboy steaks and the marinade. The key is finding something that can be substituted….then not offering the more expensive option.

    1. Good for you Anne
      When I was reading your comment my first thought was to get the soda stream. You’re right it’s probably the can. Compare that to people who don’t make coffee at home but go to a coffee shop. It’s the cup I bet for most people. Let me know how the juice goes down, lol. Oh and is your marinade top-secret?

      1. Not really top secret at all! It’s called “Best Steak Marinade in Existence” by Kookie on allrecipes.com. I buy the big sirloin roast in cyropak from No Frills when it comes up on special and slice it up 3/4″ thick. Then I make the marinade and marinate the “steaks” for a bit. I always end up portioning it out (pop a couple in a freezer bag with some marinade and repeat) and freeze it for another few meals. In the summer, I occasionally have my older kids pop over, so we are good to go for a steak barbeque.
        As for the juice, we’ll see. The kids are pretty crafty and may find the pop “stash”.

  4. Great points Mr CBB! Ever since following your blog, I’ve been much more mindful of our purchases. Avocados continue to rise in price and are a luxury, I’m thinking they may have to go on the chopping block.

    Did you recently come across this article on The Star? The comments blow me away. I live downtown and shop at the No Frills weekly. What a relief when it opened five years ago – it actually put the Sobeys across the street out of business after a couple years.

    https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/05/12/grocery-store-snobbery-provides-food-for-thought-keenan.html

    1. Hi RB,
      Thanks for sharing that post. I gave it a read and it reminded me of this post I wrote in 2012…. http://bit.ly/2qTkU74 about grocery store snobs. You’re right avocados are getting pricey. We always look on the reduced rack and if we find them we grab them. I’ll pay 2/1.00 or $3.99 for a bag of 5 or 6 but that’s it. I know what you mean about the chopping block. I should start a chopping block list. Thanks for your comment. 🙂 Mr.CBB I shared the post on FB too.

      1. Thanks for sharing the 2012 article. Ugh it’s so spot on and I can completely relate to that snobbery,I come across it regularly. People try to say they simply do not like the fresh vegetables and fruits as much, but they can’t get enough of our cooking when we host (HA). I’ll continue to hold on to and invest the money I save. Speaking of investing, do you have an article on investing in Canada and what your portfolio looks like?
        Thanks again! RB

        1. Hi RB,
          No we haven’t done a investing portfolio post yet but possibly something we could look at for sure. Where do you invest your money?

          1. Thanks Mr CBB, an investing post would be great!
            I’m new to the finance blogging world, monthly budgeting/expense tracking (I started in January and love it!) and I’m looking to improve my knowledge on investing and updating my investments. Many American bloggers speak to Vanguard and low cost index funds. I’m wondering if you have a similar portfolio. I currently have bank stock, Ishares (XIT), and Monthly Income Mutual Funds. I’m not satisfied with my MF returns and would like to make some changes but feel a bit lost. Curious to see what Canadian finance bloggers invest in 🙂
            Thanks again!

  5. You raise a good point. Some foods do add up and they’re not even necessary, from a nutritional point of view.

    We’ve reduced our grocery shopping significantly after giving up on buying chips and frozen pizzas or even cartons of soda! The interesting part was, we didn’t stop buying junk food because of a tight budget, we actually did it because I needed to lose some weight and decided to cut off junk food cold turkey and replace it with healthy veggies &whatnot. After a while we realized how much these “luxury foods” were actually costing us 😀

  6. MAY – Week #3 of 5- May 15-21, 2017

    2016 GROCERY BUDGET / STOCKPILE BUDGET AND US RESERVE:

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

    ==============================================================================================

    REMARKS FOR THE MONTH:

    I had planned for hubby to be on vacation for 3 weeks this month but I am not feeling terribly well. I cancelled our trip & shifted our plans around so that we have lots of even better plans later in the year.

    I did however keep a nice 4-day getaway for this month and the best part is that both breakfast and evening snacks are included with the room.

    REMARKS FOR THE WEEK:

    Once again, this is a NO SHOP WEEK but hubby did a freezer dive and came up with 2 family packs of chicken so we are eating mighty well despite not shopping!

    ==============================================================================================

    OUR “CANADIAN” SHOPPING:

    OUR NEXT SHOP IS SCHEDULED FOR JUNE 6th

    ==============================================================================================

    OUR “US RESERVE” SHOPPING:

    OUR NEXT USA SHOP IS SCHEDULED FOR MAY 29th

    ==============================================================================================

    2016 Y-T-D GROCERY SAVINGS:

    •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

    ==============================================================================================

    • SUMMARY OF FUNDS Y-T-D:

    $ 950.00 Grocery Budget JAN-MAY

    ($195.86) NET RESERVE SAVINGS

    ($752.27) Actual CASH SPENT

    $ 1.87 AVAILABLE Y-T-D GGC SPENDING NOT INCL RESERVES

    • RESERVES Y-T-D:

    $ 202.44 Re-Stocking Fund
    $ 95.70 Holiday Season Fund + $170 RCSS POINTS + $10 Dream Air Miles.
    $ 653.54 Summer Season Fund
    $ 518.62 US Shopping Reserve
    $ 0.00 Points Redeemed Reserve

    OUR CURRENT TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES ARE $1,470.30. This means the $1,274.44 that we carried forward from 2016 PLUS AN ADDITIONAL $571.89 that we have added in 2017, LESS $376.03 that we have drawn out for use in 2017.

    ==============================================================================================

    ==============================================================================================

    MAY – Week #4 of 5- May 22-28, 2017

    2016 GROCERY BUDGET / STOCKPILE BUDGET AND US RESERVE:

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

    ==============================================================================================

    REMARKS FOR THE MONTH:

    We will use our vacation budget for an 4 day get-away weekend but since breakfast & afternoon snacks are included with the room, we’ve planned some lovely lunches…Ivar’s (love their clam chowder), Cali Burger (PNW version of In N Out) and our beloved Goldberg’s Deli (cold beet soup here I come!).

    REMARKS FOR THE WEEK:

    Once again, this is a NO SHOP WEEK because we are using up the produce we have in the fridge.Remember the rib eyes I got on the “Twelve Days of Christmas” sale at Meridian Meats? Well, tonight’s the night we get to enjoy them. 🙂 We are breaking out the barbecue and having steak, baked potatoes and 2 foil packs of vegetables…green beans with dots of butter and mushrooms done in a light sprinkling of soya sauce.

    ==============================================================================================

    OUR “CANADIAN” SHOPPING:

    OUR NEXT SHOP IS SCHEDULED FOR JUNE 6th

    ==============================================================================================

    OUR “US RESERVE” SHOPPING:

    OUR NEXT USA SHOP IS SCHEDULED FOR MAY 29th AND WILL BE REPORTED IN MY GGC #5 POST

    ==============================================================================================

    2016 Y-T-D GROCERY SAVINGS:

    •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

    ==============================================================================================

    • SUMMARY OF FUNDS Y-T-D:

    $ 950.00 Grocery Budget JAN-MAY

    ($195.86) NET RESERVE SAVINGS

    ($752.27) Actual CASH SPENT

    $ 1.87 AVAILABLE Y-T-D GGC SPENDING NOT INCL RESERVES

    • RESERVES Y-T-D:

    $ 202.44 Re-Stocking Fund
    $ 95.70 Holiday Season Fund + $170 RCSS POINTS + $10 Dream Air Miles.
    $ 653.54 Summer Season Fund
    $ 518.62 US Shopping Reserve
    $ 0.00 Points Redeemed Reserve

    OUR CURRENT TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES ARE $1,470.30. This means the $1,274.44 that we carried forward from 2016 PLUS AN ADDITIONAL $571.89 that we have added in 2017, LESS $376.03 that we have drawn out for use in 2017.

    ==============================================================================================

    1. Hi Mary,
      Sorry to hear you haven’t been feeling so well. That’s great that you had a getaway for 4 days. Outside of your accommodations are there any attractions you go to while on holiday? Finding two family packs of chicken is a great freezer dive score… lots of soups, salads and sandwiches would be in my menu plan.
      You get ballot #6.
      Mr.CBB

      1. It all depends on where we are going Mr CBB and when it is. This last weekend we decided to stay in air conditioned comfort because we went from 65 F to 86 F overnight…literally. The med’s. that I am on don’t play nice with heat and direct sunlight so we tend to be out and about either early morning or late after the sun sets. This was also our annual “post-income tax get-away” as I had just paid the corporate taxes.

        Basically, this is the vacation each year where I am totally exhausted after completing the year-end, personal & corporate taxes, making the TFSA and RRSP contributions and paying the RRSP & TFSA fees for another year and just NEED a re-charge for my batteries because I don’t seem to know how to do that when I am at home and there’s work to be done. So, we just hung out at the hotel and our outings were for nice lunches, in AC comfort. Sometimes we shop in Bellevue or attend Apple computer FREE seminars & at Christmas time we do the holiday lights sight seeing. This year we have a long trip to Portland OR scheduled they have no sales tax in the state – so we’ll shop when we are there. 🙂 Every little bit of savings counts!

        Our next little get-away will involve more roaming around because we’ll be up in Whistler and there’s lots of walking paths that are shaded. I am planning to hit Cowz (ice cream parlor) and Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt for a treat each day after we “earn” them with some exercise. Of course the hotel has a gym and an outdoor pool and hot tub so we’re planning an evening swim in the midst of all the mountains. We’re staying at a Westin and each have suites with full kitchens. I am taking a cooler of food with us to cover our breakfasts, lunches and evening snacks because you don’t want to grocery shop in Whistler because it’s crazy expensive! I’d estimate everything is 3 times the price!! We will go to The Spaghetti Factory for supper on the Saturday night as a treat and then wander the village when it’s all lit up. I can get a gluten free seafood pasta and salad combo there for a decent price…so no breaking the budget on that trip either. 🙂

        We cooked up the chicken but only used half before we went away and I froze the remaining chicken into serving sized packages. I defrosted a single breast for this evening as we our making Chicken Yakisoba with Grilled Peppers-Mushrooms-Onions for dinner. Yum!

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