The Ultimate Canadian Grocery Savings Guide

One Million Ways To Help Reduce Stress About Grocery Shopping : The Grocery Game Challenge 2017 #2 June 12-18

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reduce stress while grocery shopping



We all cope with stress from a million different directions and for some people grocery shopping may be a chore that they would rather not do. A million seems to be either a blessing or a stress when people refer to situations.

  • I told him a million times he can’t have Oreo’s.
  • A million different directions…look up!
  • She tells me a million times a day not to spend money.
  • A million ways to win a million dollars.
  • There’s a million reasons why I won’t….

What this means is that we tend to over-exaggerate what a million really means when we use it as a descriptive word. When I hear someone use this to describe their situation I know that there likely is only one big reason and possibly plenty of  little one’s many of which can be fixed. Never a million but it certainly is an attention grabber for someone who is seeking it. I was! Did it work?

You either love grocery shopping or you don’t, full-stop.


New to Canada and Grocery shopping


Back in the UK I did all my grocery shopping without any issue only because I grew up around it and I needed to eat. When I first moved to Canada I was nervous to go grocery shopping because I had no idea what I was doing. Being in a new country is not as easy as it seems and comparable to learning a new language. You know some words but you still need to learn how to communicate.

That’s sort of what I felt like but over the past 10 years I’ve gone from the guy with the bag on his head to the shopping guru. Now I help others learn the art of grocery shopping (yes it’s a skill to save money and eat well) especially newcomers to Canada who have questions about their new homeland. Once people hear my accent that’s it, they know I’m not from Canada and conversations start.


Giving back feels good


Just two weeks ago or so I ran into a gentlemen who was from India but lived in the UK with his parents. He turned to me and asked me questions about grocery shopping while I was looking over some apples. He was in Canada to study at University and although it has overwhelmed him he’s finding grocery shopping to be the most stressful. He has no roommates and rents a room from an older lady whom he rarely sees.

In a way I knew what he was going through but I couldn’t relate to him coming from a wealthy family who had the grocery shopping and cooking done for them. He’s never really went grocery shopping before and needed help. Although the University showered him with plenty of inspiring words about Canada they forgot to explain our grocery shopping system.

I sprung into action like any good CBB fan would and offered him any help I could. This got me thinking that there are likely others out there that find grocery shopping stressful who could use a bit of motivation and direction.

I was fortunate to have my wife with me especially to teach me about Canadian currency (I was the worst with the coins). It’s almost laughable now and I’m sure the cashiers had a laugh watching me hold up 10 cent pieces asking them what they were. Stressful, yes but the more you practice the easier it gets.

There are many ways to reduce stress about everything Grocery shopping related and the first way is to start with education. I think what the young man did was spontaneous yet smart because he wanted to learn about food shopping in Canada.

I was NOT like him at first. Then it started to get easier the more I went with Mrs. CBB and eventually on my own. There were no shortage of questions coming from my lips that’s for sure.


Grocery shopping stress triggers


You might not want anything to do with grocery shopping because you buy too much, spend too much or buy stuff that you should avoid but sneak it in anyways. My mother-in-law has a bad rep for doing this with her diabetes even though she says it’s under control.

She loves chocolate but it causes her stress not to buy it. What does she do? She sneaks chocolate bars into the shopping cart and convinces herself that it’s fine. This makes her happy and reduces stress for her while grocery shopping and being exposed to it all. Not the best way but that’s what she does.

I’ve heard many reasons why people hate grocery shopping but I know that for many of them it’s more than just hating it. Would your grocery shopping experience change if you were able to reduce stress about the process? If yes maybe it’s time to learn more about how you can reduce stress to make it a pleasurable experience.

What are your stress triggers?

  • Kids in tow stress
  • Relationship/Family Food stress – Not knowing what to cook, picky eaters etc.
  • Limited funds stress or Not having enough money to pay stress
  • Disability stress
  • Lack of Cooking Skills
  • Not being able to eat what you love stress or diet/lifestyle stress/health issues
  • Crowd stress
  • Limited Product and price knowledge stress
  • Newcomers to Canada stress

I’m sure we can keep adding to the above list but just to give you a few main examples about grocery shopping stress triggers.

So, how do you reduce stress before you go grocery shopping?  You release stress and set it free!

You can also read my blog!

Well it’s a great starting point as I do my best to incorporate all topics about grocery shopping, diets and lifestyle to The Grocery Game posts.

Remember the coupon craze that rippled throughout Canada and the USA a few years back? Although couponing is still semi-popular today back then once shoppers understood how to shop for free or near free with coupons nothing would stop them. We were on that bandwagon too and to be honest it started with me learning about grocery shopping and ways to save money since we were a single-income newlywed couple.


How to reduce stress at the grocery store


Below are some of the ways I’ve battled through grocery shopping to reduce stress and finish the chore before Mrs. CBB got home from work. She was my rock, my motivation and sort of dumped me into the situation so I would fend for myself. I’m thankful for that because it helped me out of my shell and now people can’t shut me up. I’m confident and when I’m not I ask questions.

Money is always the biggest concern but if you can find ways around stretching your food budget this may reduce stress and encourage frugal living habits. Below are some ways you can reduce stress while grocery shopping whether you are from Canada, new to Canada or visiting Canada for extended periods for work or education.

I first want to point out that understanding why you have stress in the first place is also important. Once you have a clear idea about why you can then incorporate ways to reduce stress to enjoy the shopping experience.

In no particular order.

  • You need a grocery budget
  • Get a good nights sleep before you grocery shop. Being alert will help your confidence and reduce stress.
  • Do something that helps calm you down before grocery shopping. (have a cup of tea, read a book, go for a walk etc. )
  • Learn how to grocery shop if you haven’t done it before or need a confidence boost.
  • Find out where your local food bank and other free food offerings are in your community. If you know where they are and what they offer you can then focus on what your budget can be used for while grocery shopping. This may reduce stress for many people with a very limited or tight budget.
  • Create a meal plan with yourself or family or write foods you love. You can pretty much find foods from all over the world in Canada.
  • Tour the grocery stores and have a look around (Mrs. CBB loves to do this when we go to the UK)
  • Get to know the staff at your favourite grocery stores
  • Learn how to cook if you’re unable to or not confident enough (Cooking classes, You Tube, Food Network, Cookbooks etc.)
  • Read shopping flyers for deals and comparison.
  • Review your receipt to learn about how your transactions and prices.
  • Understand the Scanning Code of Practice System
  • Understand how sales tax is applied to certain items at the grocery store
  • Set up coupon saving apps on your smartphone or computer
  • Find a frugal friend who loves grocery shopping to show you the ropes including couponing 101.
  • Read about grocery shopping in Canada on Canadian Budget Binder 🙂
  • Leave the kids at home or with a babysitter
  • Engage your kids with grocery shopping activities if you must bring them
  • Grocery shop when it’s not busy
  • Relax and leave yourself enough time to familiarize yourself with the store.
  • Practice communication skills (talk to staff, ask for deals or reduced product etc.)
  • Find ways to grocery shop with a disability whether it’s obvious or invisible that works for you. It’s not easy as we have worked on this for years with Mrs. CBB. Another post for another day I presume.
  • Talk to a dietician to see what foods you can and cannot choose and alternatives to some of your favourite foods so you can still enjoy them. If you cut out sugar for example find sugar-free recipes to guide you.
  • Laugh, smile and enjoy


Alternatives to the Grocery Store experience


If going to the grocery store and applying ways to help reduce stress of the experience just isn’t working or you don’t care to improve you can always order groceries online, click and collect, hire a personal shopper or eat out (I’m not encouraging it rather offering it as an option).

Alternatively talk to your family doctor or seek help about ways you can reduce the stress you are feeling and possibly any other underlying issues that might be leading to it. No shame, just fame.

I’ve still got certain stresses about living in Canada because I’m far from understanding how everything works. What keeps me motivated is that I know the more I work at not caring about what others think the more I grow. Being shy when you’re not shy sucks but when you’re somewhere unfamiliar it’s amazing how fast you can hide under a shell.

Nothing a cup of tea won’t solve though. That’s the way I relax and reduce stress everyday! The simple things in life.

Discussion Question: Do you or did you have to find ways to reduce stress while grocery shopping? What worked or didn’t work for you? Share your comments below.


June 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.

Please Note: We are going on holidays for 3 weeks. I will attempt to get the GGC posts up as scheduled BUT if not just save your shop and double post the next time I post. You will still get your ballots and it will keep you on track as well.

New monthly prize: See the Grocery Game Rules

June 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: 577,000
  • 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


We had a no-shop week this week and likely for the rest of the month as we are going on holidays.


All totals below already have tax factored into them.

  • Total to spend this month : $265
  • Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00/month
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $
  • 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: $579.54
  • Total spent this week: $0
  • Total spent so far this month: $65.43
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: over
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: under
  • Total left to spend for the month: $199.57
  • 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 $257.15 + June $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

Sometimes the best shops are no-shops as it forces you to eat what you have on hand. This is our week.

How was your 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 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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