THE WORD GOURMET AND LUXURY ARE PARTNERS IN CRIME AND IF YOU MEET WITH THEM BE PREPARED TO PAY THE PRICE.
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.
For most consumers, the number one budget category to tackle is the food budget.
The reason is that we can change how we shop and what we eat.
Product prices differ all over Canada and for this reason depending on where you live the struggle to keep on budget may be near to impossible or at least seem to be.
One way you can help your grocery budget>>Investigate your habits.
Find out what gourmet really 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 favourite luxury food products but when it becomes a habit you may be biting off more budget than you can chew.
Stop making excuses as to 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.
What Can You Afford?
Grocery shopping is not for everyone but for those of you 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.
There is no one grocery budget that fits all because we all have different tastes which lead us to make the purchases we do.
What I find interesting is how consumers define what luxury food products to be.
We had a chat on Facebook in the What’s For Dinner feed recently and all of us 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 regime.
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 $5.99 a tub which would likely equal between 3-4 small zucchini or 1 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 quite thought of before was that consumers may 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 a small quantity before buying a larger version.
It’s not about being lazy.
Being the frugal family that we are the only way we’d buy something like that is 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 wallet 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 the fundamentals of finance since it hasn’t been her best subject to date.
Her worst habit is just buying whatever she wants although she’s been getting better and looking at prices.
Living pay to pay is hard but no matter what your grocery budget is you MUST understand what you can and cannot afford.
What Are Luxury Food Products?
Luxury and Gourmet are hand-made products or foods that have been 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 staples that many of us take for granted such as milk, bread, eggs, and pasta, etc.
Luxury food products are nice to have because they may cut time from the cooking process but they will also suck up a chunk of your grocery budget.
I watched this video yesterday and although it created in America I’m sure the same rings true for us in Canada.
Update: Video no longer available, sorry.
Obviously 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 really 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 we were perusing the grocery store with her we took the time to chat about different foods, prices, and tips to help her save money.
Although she seemed a bit shocked at some of the things she’s missed or possibly spent more than needed what amazed her the most was the lesson.
She didn’t get this guidance growing up and although you might think it’s common sense I bet there are lots of people who could benefit from a grocery shopping 101 class.
Trust me when I say, we would have been hands up first if someone were to offer back 5 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 that walking into a grocery store without any prior prep work is the best way to save money on groceries then go for it.
Over the past 5 years of investigating grocery stores and customer shopping habits including our own, we stand firm that you must shop with a plan.
Here’s a scenario
You have $21 to spend on food.
Which would you rather have for the week? Are any of the items in either shop considered luxury food products for you?
In either case, there may be luxury food products that you just can’t afford however keep in mind that we don’t all view luxury in the same light.
Luxury food products for our family are items that we can do without, can make for less or wait until the product is on sale, reduced or lowered with coupons.
- 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
- 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 yourself next time you grocery shop to see how far you can stretch $21.
Clearly we would be the shopper 2 but there is no wrong or right 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 that we considered to fit the bill.
What we learned is that we have done well controlling our urge to spend more than we should on products we can afford but would eat into our overall shopping budget.
Your Weakest Link Is You
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 the interaction I have with all of my readers.
Right now 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. Catch 22, I suppose.
Just remember what you consider luxury food products will differ from the next person.
The important thing to remember is whether you really need it and what foods could you replace that product with to offer you more bang for your buck.
Would you rather have a bag of chips to eat for a week or 4 litres of milk? The choice is yours.
- Select pre-made and frozen products
- Deli meats and cheeses (from deli)
- Bakery products
- Chopped garlic in a jar – convenience
- Solid White Tuna vs. Chunk light tuna
- Select seafood products
- Junk food- chips, chocolate, cookies (tough one though)
- Pasta sauce
- Shredded or grated cheeses
- 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 you feel would appreciate the help.
If you feel you could use some help in the grocery shopping department you’ve dropped by the right blog.
Give yourself a break, take deep breaths and look at your grocery budget, your 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.
Discussion Question: What would you consider luxury food products that don’t typically make it into your shopping cart?
May 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
May 2017 Blog Posts:
- 5 Simple Grocery Savings Tips For The Busy Shopper– Last Shop in April
- How To Tell If Your Grocery Expenses are Too High or Too Low– GGC 1 May
- Grocery Store Etiquette and How You Can Participate For Free– GGC 2 May
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.
Don’t pay someone for these services, I’ve done the work for you along with some help from other amazing bloggers.
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
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: 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
- Banana $1.59
- 2 x extra-large eggs $4.99
- Baby romaine lettuce $3.79
- 4 x 10% cream $2.09 eac
- Asiago Cheese $20.59
- Brie Cheese $5.49
- Green Beans $4.99
- Sun-maid Raisin Bread $6.99 extra-large packs
Total out-of-pocket $ 56.79
- Royal Gala Apples $0.88lb 3lbs $2.65
- 4 x selection bacon $3.47 each
- Rapini $1.99
- Astro Yogurt $1.99
- Nano Yogurt $2.99
- Planters Cashews $2.99
- Apple juice NFC $0.99 each x 2
- Schneiders pepperettes mild $10
- Chocolate chip muffins $1.99 6 small
- 2 x cucumbers $0.88
Total Out-of-pocket $39.35
All totals below already have tax factored into them.
- Total to spend this month : $265-$8.83= $256.17 to spend in May.
- Stockpile budget 2016: $25.00/month
- Stockpile budget used this month: $20.00
- Total coupons used this week: $0
- Total coupons used to date: $1
- Total in-store discounts this week: $0
- Total in-store discounts to date: $529.07
- Total spent this week: $96.14 (two weeks)
- Total spent so far this month: $210.13
- Total over/Under spend this shop: over
- Total over/Under spend for the month: under
- Total left to spend for the month: $46.04
- 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+ May $
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
You probably know we attended a funeral this past week which is why there was no GGC post last Tuesday.
I’ve combined the two weeks in this post so go ahead and post both your shops in the comments below and moderated as normal. Thanks.
Most of the food we bought the past week was for our road trip which was sudden so there was no time to pre-bake or make foods for the 10-hour trip.
What we did stock up on helped save us money from purchasing snacks at expensive pit-stops along the way.
While away we ate at our relative’s house, a luncheon after the funeral and a dinner reception for the entire family at a fine dining restaurant which was all paid for.
Coupons and Coupon Apps
We’re finding fewer and fewer coupons in the stores these days. What are your thoughts?
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!!
You can find all Canadian Savings, Online Codes, Coupons, and Deals on my Free Downloads page.
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.
- When does the Grocery Game close each month?: The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month but you will still get a ballot when you post your shops even if they are late but I encourage you to stay on schedule. If you choose to post monthly or bi-weekly you will only get 1 ballot for that shop. It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it altogether. Don’t let that be you! You can post your shops all month-long.
- Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014-2015 we no longer include such items in our grocery budget so we can see actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly our budget.
- Do you stockpile food? We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
- Canadian Coupons: Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
- Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site Save.ca that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile Save.ca app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
- What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our iPhone so if you want 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?
- Follow Me on Social media by clicking any of the buttons below on the blog.
- Check out my new Free Recipe Index
- If you like FREE then click this link for my FREE Excel Budget Spreadsheet and all my Free Money Saving List
- Don’t forget to Subscribe to Canadian Budget Binder by Email to get my daily email.
- Once you subscribe you MUST VERIFY your email account so check your spam folder and inbox for that email!