Unhealthy Food Choices Are Silent Budget Killers : The Grocery Game Challenge 2017 #2 Nov 6-12

unhealthy food choices are silent budget killers



Do you have an unhealthy food list? Discretionary foods also known as empty calories or junk food are those you ponder buying because you know they aren’t the best for your health and budget. The reason they are silent killers is because 9 times out of 10 they are cheaper to buy however it’s not really as inexpensive as you really think. Convenient yes, frugal not so much.

Unhealthy food is not only saturated in the fast-food  and restaurant market but highly advertised at the grocery store. The only way to get around it is to avoid it. You almost need to pretend it doesn’t exist. Many shoppers are opting for click and collect, food delivery and online grocery shopping simply to avoid the temptation of buying foods they don’t need or aren’t necessarily healthy for them.

Keep in mind what is healthy to one person is not to another but for simplicity we’ll stick to junk food and pre-made meals.

What’s your motivation?- Ask yourself that and answer it.

Smart shopping, saves money and they buy only what they need without extra motivations. The only down-fall is you miss out on any of the in-store savings. Perhaps if we didn’t buy those either we’d still be ahead in the grocery budget category too. You probably know this is our silent killer which we’ve been working on for almost 6 years now.

Most grocery shoppers have an excuse each time they come face-to-face with these silent budget killers. It happens to everyone, even us but it takes more than just not putting these foods on your grocery list to eliminate them from your grocery shopping.

Chocolate doesn’t ask silly questions chocolate understands – Britney Spears

Related: Health benefits of dark chocolate

If you’re the type of grocery shopper who has no interest in making changes to your grocery budget and the types of foods you purchase, stop reading this post now. It’s not for you. I’m always on the hunt to learn more about the habits of grocery shoppers who want to make changes to their grocery budget.


Managing your time


Cooking takes time and effort BUT consider how important using that time to make healthy food would be rather than watching television, surfing the web, random shopping trips for nothing but ending up buying something.

I get it that plenty of people have a limited budget but that doesn’t mean we eat unhealthy food just because we believe it’s all we can afford. There is always a way to create healthy meals without those foods that add extra expenses with no added nutritional value.

For example: Making a pot of soup is not only healthier but inexpensive compared to buying cans of soup. This isn’t a hard-core type of unhealthy food but more of a convenience.

One of my readers on the blog who participates in What’s For Dinner on my Facebook page always amazes me with the foods she eats. She is on a tight budget for one BUT she’s always cooking homemade meals. On occasion she splurges with a trip to the local restaurant or out with her mates otherwise she’s a true home cook.

Another friend of ours is a running fanatic who just turned vegan and can’t say enough good things about her new lifestyle choice citing that grocery costs are lower because she doesn’t buy meat and uses that money to splurge on vegan products. You won’t catch her eating anything sugar-filled or unhealthy either. This is her choice BUT she’s doing it.

Some people can’t fathom the Keto diet that Mrs. CBB has been on for 2 years but it has allowed her to drop and maintain weight after child-birth, her cholesterol is perfect and blood pressure unremarkable. All of her meals are homemade and if she wants a sweet treat we create it as sugar-free and enjoy. One of her favourite treats is Chocolate Avocado Pudding.


Junk Food Problems


On occasion we buy cookies or pre-made treats for our son as we hope to rid of unhealthy food in our house and replace it with nutritious foods that are satisfying. So far we have no issues feeding him a bowl of steamed broccoli as he thinks it’s the best thing ever. We struggle to get much else into him apart from fruits, pizza, hotdogs, sausage and yogurt. Sometimes he gets toast but not often as we don’t care for bread in our family like we once did.

We’ve learned that if we buy it and it’s in the house we’ll eat it. Don’t buy it and you’ll have to figure out another way to get the tummy good feeling without the guilt. This means you also stay away from ordering out or hoping down to the corner shop to pick something up. Those types of unhealthy food options are obstacles in our lives and although moderation is perfectly find most of us struggle with it.


Grocery Shopping Spy


I’m a grocery shopper observer solely for the purposes of this blog because it helps me to understand a bit more about the shopping habits of shoppers while in the grocery store.

Some of the things I watch for include:

  • Does the shopper have a grocery list
  • Does the shopper carry a mobile phone/use one
  • Does the shopper read product labels
  • Does the shopper get easily influenced by free food/samples
  • Does the shopper get influenced by other shoppers
  • Does the shopper inspect the produce they purchase
  • Does the shopper have any potential distractions
  • What types of food the shopper purchases

I could keep this going but for the sake of keeping you awake just know that I’m no longer just a grocery shopper I’m an undercover grocery shopping explorer. Since starting Canadian Budget Binder the grocery budget has been by far the biggest topic that Canadians and those from overseas come to CBB for.

I often wondered why so many people were worried about the cost of groceries in Canada and with over 5 years of exploration I’ve come to the conclusion that we just can’t say no to junk food. It doesn’t matter whether your grocery list has junk food on it or not there’s some driving force that pushes us to buy something naughty that either increases our grocery budget or takes away from nutritious foods that should be purchased.

For example: Someone says they can’t afford to eat healthy fruits and vegetables because they are too expensive BUT a quick look at their grocery shopping and it’s clear in part why this is happening. Junk Food is empty calories, high carbs, high in sodium.. tastes great but generally crap for our health and well-being.

The reason we buy unhealthy food is because it’s a good-feeling food, inexpensive and in most cases pre-cooked. No one jumps for joy because they get to eat a plate of broccoli while watching a movie . No, they want popcorn and whether it’s smothered in salty butter or seasonings it’s still junk food. It’s not the butter either, it’s the sodium and carbs that keep consumers coming back for more. Even our son likes plain popcorn now and then but would rather drink a large bucket (no joke) of water instead.

Replacing movie snacks with fresh-cut vegetables, variety of nuts along with a small bowl of popcorn is far better than just popcorn. There’s nothing wrong with splurging to buy junk food once in a while or even once a week. What matters is how often you are eating it and how many types of junk food you are putting into your body on a daily basis. If we compliment our snack-time with more healthy food and a small portion of junk food you will find more money is available for healthier foods on your grocery list.

Consider the last paragraph comparable to those who opt for a smaller plate rather than a larger one because they know they will eat less on the smaller one. It’s all about perspective when eating foods in moderation. Moderation though has become daily moderation and if you truly want to kick the habit of eating too much junk food you’ll either get rid of it or limit it to once a week as a splurge.

There is no reason we need to eat junk food but the next time you are grocery shopping have a look in grocery carts going up and down the aisles. Pretend you’re looking at something else while you’re being a cart snoop just to see what types of junk foods Canadians are loading up on.

Going to Costco is one of the worst places for consumers to stock up on junk food. Over the past year we’ve enjoyed a Costco membership but from our experiences junk food comes in mass quantity which ends up in your kitchen pantry if you buy it. Some consumers buy so much junk food in bulk they run out of room in their grocery cart. From monster bags of chips to cases of pop we are consuming junk food on an alarming level and when you pair that with convenience type foods that’s a grocery budget disaster waiting to happen.


Healthy food vs. Unhealthy Food


What is considered healthy food and junk food?

I’ve heard it all before and to be honest, it’s not my problem, it’s yours. No one will ever push you to spend your money so you shouldn’t take offense when others choose to eat differently. I don’t. I just blog about ways you can make changes that might help. You know your game, play it wisely.

  • We’re all going to die anyways
  • Prove that unhealthy food is no good
  • There’s more chemicals in other types of foods we eat
  • Who cares I’ll eat what I want
  • I can’t afford to eat healthy food
  • Unhealthy food tastes so good though
  • It’s cheaper to buy and that’s all I can afford

You might be asking yourself what unhealthy food is and I wish I could tell you exactly but I can’t. I consider whole food to be natural and easy to understand. Our bodies and health rely on us to make informed decisions. If I were constructing a list of unhealthy food that I wouldn’t want to eat purely based on processing and ingredients I’d have a pretty big list. I’m one of those guys who tries to stay away from unhealthy food because it tastes so good or it’s convenient. I’m not angel but the importance of this blog post is mindfulness.

Stop and consider what you are putting into your shopping cart and body before you spend the money. I’m betting you could cut a few products from your grocery list to free up money to splurge on something else such as those peaches you’ve been eyeing for the past two grocery shops.

I’m certainly not here to argue with anyone about unhealthy food because we all know what junk food looks and tastes like. It is your choice whether you eat it often or limit yourself as a reward once or twice a week in small portions. Perhaps a simple reminder once in a while is all we need to keep our grocery budget and healthy motivations on track because we all know how easy it is to fall off the food train.

Your budget Your choice so don’t assume you can’t do it, give it a shot and make positive changes for a healthier you.

Discussion: Question: What types of unhealthy foods do you enjoy that you could do without or replace with something else?


November 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


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 created to get us on track working 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 over 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/month (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: 750,000
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
  • Shoppers Optimum: 995,000 points

Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

  • Zweet to cash out : $18.25… no idea where the money went but it seems we have $0.
  • Checkout51 to cash out : $24.50 we cashed out so we’re back at O.


Our Grocery Shop This Week



  • Double Pack Extra Large eggs $4.99
  • Milk 2% $4.27
  • 6 x 10% Cream $2.05
  • Bananas $1.49
  • Almond flour $17.99

Total Out-of-Pocket $30.79


  • Organic purple cauliflower $4.99-50% ($2.50)
  • Organic Portobello Mushrooms 50% off $6.21 ($3.11)
  • Organic Mixed Greens 50% off $6.99 ($3.50)
  • Celery $1.99
  • Orange and Yellow Peppers 50% $5.85 ($2.93)
  • 4 x Philadelphia Cream Cheese $2.99 ($11.96)
  • Fennel $2.99
  • 4 lbs bacon $10
  • Strawberries $3.99
  • Organic green beans $3.99-50% ($2.00)

Total Out-of-Pocket $44.97

Note: 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: $0
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $1
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $14.04
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $749.90
  • Total spent this week: $75.76
  • Total spent so far this month: $148.96
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: over
  • Total over/Under spend for the month: n/a
  • Total left to spend for the month: $116.04
  • 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 $257.15 + June $65.43+July $226.84+August $283.51+September $208.69+ October $226.58+ November $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

We picked up a few bits and bobs but had to alter our produce list since we found some lovely 50% off organic products.

Note: November is a 5 week grocery shop.


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 the links below don’t open properly please report them to my email address or use comment form.

  • 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
  • MySavings.com 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 Save.ca, 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 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 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!


Are You New To Canadian Budget Binder?

  • Follow Me on Social media by clicking any of the buttons below on the blog.
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  • If you like FREE then click this link for my FREE Excel Budget Spreadsheet and all my Free Money Saving List
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  1. NOVEMBER – Nov 6-12, 2017


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



    I am not in the mood to shop in pouring rain! This sure helps the budget!!! Our entire budget for the month is being added to our reserves.


    This is a no shop week!









    •Total Loyalty Card Price Reductions This Year: $308.47

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

    •Total Price Match Savings Used This Year: $0.00

    •Total More Points Earned This Year: 324 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year: 58 Air Miles

    •Total PC PLUS Points Earned This Year: 20,000 Points

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



    $ 2,090.00 Grocery Budget JAN-NOV

    ($ 414.57) NET RESERVE SAVINGS

    ($1,675.43) Actual CASH SPENT



    $ 405.69 Re-Stocking Fund
    $ 170.70 Holiday Season Fund + $210 RCSS POINTS + $10 Dream Air Miles + $10 RCSS Gift Card (TOTAL $400.70)
    $ 649.59 Summer Season Fund
    $ 421.87 US Shopping Reserve
    $ 41.56 GGC Savings Reserve
    $ 0.00 Points Redeemed Reserve

    OUR CURRENT TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES ARE $1,689.41. This means the $1,274.44 that we carried forward from 2016 PLUS AN ADDITIONAL $1,445.94 that we have added in 2017, LESS $1,030.97 that we have drawn out for use in 2017.


  2. Week 42 – Nov 3 – 9, 2017
    Name Your Store: No Frills
    Total Coupons Used: $
    Total Points =
    Total Out Of Pocket: $4.35

    2 Classico Spaghetti Sauce – (400 PC Points) = $4.00
    2 Kg Sugar = $1.88
    2 NN Mushrooms – (400 PC Points) = $2.00
    Vector Mixed Nut Bars = $3.47
    1.89 L Fruite Punch = $1.00
    4 L 2% Milk = $4.27
    2 Astro Yogurt = $4.00
    4 L NN Butterscotch Ice Milk = $5.00
    Bananas – 0.875 Kg (200 PC Points) = $1.08

    2 Baking Soda = $2.58

    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: $27.28
    Total Human (Adults) to Date: $1,304.05 (minus Debt pymt & Gift Cards) = $1,147.66

    Total Grocery Budget for the 3 Cats ($364, for the pay period – $14.00)
    Total Cats this Week Period: $2.58
    Total Cats to Date: $318.91

    Total Grocery Budget for Stockpile ($507.69)
    Total Stockpile this Week Period: $
    Total Stockpile to Date: $163.05

    Total Grocery Budget for the Personal Hygiene ($182)
    Total Personal Hygiene this Week Period: $4.49
    Total Personal Hygiene to Date: $227.40

    Total Grocery Budget for Meat ($499.98)
    Total Meat this Week Period: $
    Total Meat to Date: $407.10

    Total Coupons Used this Week Period: $
    Total Coupons Used To Date: $22.48

    Total Grocery Savings for this Week Period: $
    Total Grocery Savings to Date: $89.64

    Total Price Match for this Week Period: $
    Total Price Match to Date: $54.49

    Total PC Points Received this Week Period: 1,000
    Total PC Rewards Points Used this Week Period: 20,000
    Total PC Rewards To Date: 7,028

    Overview: Didn’t need much this week.

    1. Hi Dee,
      What is the Butterscotch Ice-Milk? Ice-cream?
      Vector Nut Bars…. I’ve never been one into the bars. When my parents came here they fell in love with the Sweet and Salty Bars. Couldn’t keep their hands off them. lol.
      You get ballot #4.

  3. Week 41 – Oct 27 – Nov 2, 2017
    Name Your Store: Superstore
    Total Coupons Used: $
    Total Points =
    Total Out Of Pocket: $0.00

    No Shop

    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: $
    Total Human (Adults) to Date: $1,276.77 (minus Debt pymt & Gift Cards) = $1,130.38

    Total Grocery Budget for the 3 Cats ($364, for the pay period – $14.00)
    Total Cats this Week Period: $
    Total Cats to Date: $316.33

    Total Grocery Budget for Stockpile ($507.69)
    Total Stockpile this Week Period: $
    Total Stockpile to Date: $163.05

    Total Grocery Budget for the Personal Hygiene ($182)
    Total Personal Hygiene this Week Period: $
    Total Personal Hygiene to Date: $222.91

    Total Grocery Budget for Meat ($499.98)
    Total Meat this Week Period: $
    Total Meat to Date: $407.10

    Total Coupons Used this Week Period: $
    Total Coupons Used To Date: $22.48

    Total Grocery Savings for this Week Period: $
    Total Grocery Savings to Date: $89.64

    Total Price Match for this Week Period: $
    Total Price Match to Date: $54.49

    Total PC Points Received this Week Period:
    Total PC Rewards Points Used this Week Period:
    Total PC Rewards To Date: 25,688

    Overview: No Shop week

  4. I love potato chips! And dip. Or tortilla chips and salsa and cheese.
    My family love snacks and pop.
    I know I could save a ton by getting rid of these things but I would straight up have a mutiny on my hands.
    So I limit my intake and that of my adult daughter. They actually make me sick now so my body is carrying on it’s own revolt.

    1. Nothing is bad in moderation. So far our son is not a big junk food eater but does like chocolate. I never got anything special growing up myself. I just ate what my parents bought. If we had treats we did if not no big deal. Thanks Anne for stopping by. 🙂

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