FOOD IS ONE OF THE HARDEST OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENSES TO CONTROL ESPECIALLY IF YOU SHOP WITHOUT A PLAN
It’s budget time again, but how much is your monthly grocery bill going to cost you in the new year? Find out how to fine-tune your 2018 Grocery Budget and control food expenses to take a bit of the stress off your shoulders.
Typical grocery costs per month will differ from person to person depending on many factors such as size of the family, income level, health and special diets and so on. Although our food budget for 2017 looks to be on track, it was no easy feat.
Since beginning the keto diet after pregnancy Mrs. CBB and I have both made significant changes to the way we eat. We’ve learned so much the past 2 years of keto-living and healthy clean eating that we would like to pursue this again with our 2018 grocery budget.
What does that mean for the CBB 2018 Grocery Budget?
Ultimately it means our 2018 grocery budget will need to go up slightly even though we’d like to believe we can still make ends meet with our current budget of $265 each month. The little bit extra will help fund food increases but offer a few extra options which we found increased our monthly expenses.
We’re aiming for the $280-300 a month mark in 2018 coupled with our rewards program points and stockpile budget of $25 a month. More to come on this in an exciting upcoming blog post in 2018.
Bulk buying and gas savings
Costco has been a great source of savings for our family in 2017 especially for many of the keto-diet staples such as cream, salami, cheese, almond flour, olive oil, nuts and so on. The biggest savings is with the gas which makes the small membership cost well worth it for us. That, and we have a toddler who will likely start to eat more in 2018 until he moves out which could be a long time from now.
What does this mean for us? It means we will continue to utilize the over 200 grocery shopping blog posts with tonnes of savings tips to keep our grocery budget on track. The best part about having these informative posts at our fingertips is that they serve as a reminder and in some cases a boost of motivation.
We all fall off the food wagon at some point. It happens.
What to expect in 2018 at the grocery store?
Like every other year our 2018 grocery budget will see prices rise up particularly in the produce department.
This may be a great year to consider starting that vegetable garden you’ve always wanted. Planing fruit trees on your property if space permits is another great way to have fresh organic fruit during the summer. This will also allow you to keep any that don’t get used up for use over the colder months of the year.
Related: How to spot grocery store discounts?
Creating your 2018 Grocery Budget
Without a doubt the MOST popular search and questions asked on Canadian Budget Binder venture back to the grocery budget. Why? We love to eat and with that we tend to spend far more money on food than we can actually afford. Our biggest hit for 2018 will be in the produce department according to a recent Food Study by the University of Guelph and Dalhousie University.
Canadians will spend more money than ever before in restaurants and on convenience foods in 2018, and pay higher prices for vegetables and fruits in grocery stores, according to a new report from the University of Guelph and Dalhousie University. Source– University of Guelph
Related: Canada’s Food Price Report 2018
In 2018, food prices in Canada are expected to rise 1% –3%. Annual food expenditure for a family of 4 is expected to rise by $348 to a total of $11,948 in 2018.
Eating away from the home in 2018 is expected to rise 8% which means either you accept the increase or start eating more at home and preparing food while you are on the go.
Anyone who eats out does it simply because they don’t want to cook, don’t know how to cook or wants to try something new and exciting. We’re the same as everyone else but having an allowance and entertainment budget certainly helps us control the urge to stay out of the kitchen.
You might be that one person who likes to have company or be around people when they eat but you have to understand how much this will affect your overall finances for the year.
The average family is expected to spend $208 more when eating out.
Expected Price Increases
Restaurants 4% to 6% Dairy 0% to 2% Fruits 1% to 3% Bakery 0% to 2% Meats 0% to 2% Vegetables 4% to 6% Seafood 0% to 2% Food 1% to +3%
Source: Canada Food Price Report 2018.
Minimum Wage Increase and Food Costs
In the new year we will see the anticipated 2018 minimum wage increase from $11.60/hr to $14/hr which has already had retailers small and large scrambling to but a plan in place. By this I mean, how this will affect their bottom-line and who will pay the price for this increase.
Likely we won’t see too high of a food price increase but be prepared to pay more and find that shops are having to take a different approach to serving customers. By January 2019 the $14 minimum wage will be bumped to $15 where it will stay, for now.
A great example of this will be the joining of the Shoppers Optimum Points and the PC Plus Points beginning February 01, 2018. The new program name will be the PC Optimum. This will open up the program for Loblaws and customers which will allow them even further reach with their points, thus potentially more customers. With almost 2 million points combined Mrs. CBB and I both know that this will be a BIG deal for our family especially since we love collecting points.
Pick a budget that works for you
A smart budget starts with a basic budget that covers all of your monthly essentials. An even smarter budget will go a step further just to make sure everything you need makes the budget list cut-off. Some of you reading this might say that even having a grocery budget is a waste of time but we beg to differ.
Over the past 5 years of running the grocery game challenge we’ve had plenty of ups and downs circling our grocery budget BUT we’ve always come out ahead. The reason, because we cared enough to make sure we had a handle on our budget. The worst mistake people do is wait until it’s too late or feel like tracking expenses is a waste of time.
In 2018 the only prices I predict we will see at a particularly competitive price are the loss leaders that we’ve all come to love. This is your milk, eggs, butter, flour, bread and anything you see on those big banners on the wall of your favourite grocery store (won’t be undersold) or on the front and back pages of your grocery flyers.
Loss leaders are those products that grocers bank on to get customers through the doors. Everything else just sort of falls into place for them especially if the customer doesn’t put focus or enough focus on their financial expenditures week after week. They love you.
What do I mean? This means that in 2018 we are going to see food price increases although many price watchers have already seen and felt the increase happening the past few months.
Mrs. CBB and I have been collectively watching prices on food go up and it’s affecting our food bill to the point where we will see an increase in our grocery budget for 2018 as mentioned above.
Check Off The Food Budget Check-List for 2018
Every year around this time I like to do a bit of housekeeping with our grocery budget. This also means we are nearing the end of our grocery game journey which will give us numbers to work with for the new year. For those of you who are new to grocery shopping savings and want to fine-tune the way you shop start by going through a few simple checklist items to start the year off right.
Some people spend FAR MORE money on groceries than they need to like one CBB fan who chopped her $1100 grocery shopping budget to a manageable $600 a month in less than 6 months.
- Know your Grocery Budget
If you are on a tight budget or simply want to pull in the strings when it comes to your food expenses in 2018 you will want to know how much your grocery budget should be. By this I mean sitting down and doing some financial calculations that will change your overall monthly budget dramatically, especially if you’ve never used a food budget before.
Typical grocery costs per month will differ from person to person depending on many factors such as size of the family, income level, health and special diets and so on.
We all enjoy a bit of luxury once in a while especially when it involves our taste-buds however these expenses can eat into the grocery budget.
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.
We created a weekly menu plan in 2017 and although we didn’t always stick to it we managed to make it work for us. Just because you skip a meal or change your mind doesn’t mean that menu planning is not worth the effort. In 2018 do yourself a favour and see if a menu plan makes your shopping and cooking experiences a little less stressful.
One of your best resources besides having a grocery budget and reading this blog happens in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Wherever you stash food or stockpile food you should keep an inventory list. You can get find all sorts of free printable lists in my free guide and trust me you’ll save even more money once you track what you’ve got.
No more freezer burnt food and food waste will become a thing of the past. Get used to knowing more about the way you eat and what goes in your mouth when designing your 2018 grocery budget.
Overall, like every year we will see price increases at the grocery store but if you apply many of the grocery shopping tips I’ve given to you that works for our family I hope you too will see better results for your budget.
Discussion Question: CONTEST- What are some grocery store or food topics you’d like to see covered on Canadian Budget Binder in 2018? Submit your questions below in the comment section to be entered to win a PC gift card by January 8. I will review all responses that are detailed questions. By this I mean not one or two words.
Get an EXTRA ballot for commenting and Sharing the Facebook post! If you do let me know who you are so I add the extra ballot to your name.
Check out our full Free Recipe Index on CBB for tonnes of recipes including Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Low-carb/keto-friendly.
December 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.
Note: I missed last weeks GGC post as I was away so post both last weeks shop and this weeks shop in the comment section of this post please. Thanks.
New monthly prize: See the Grocery Game Rules
- How to ask your cashier to apply SCOP
- The Ultimate Guide for Holiday Christmas Desserts
- The Ultimate Guide of Economical Christmas Drinks
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.
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 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 0.
Our Grocery Shop This Week
- 2 x Sealtest Milk $4.27 each
- Pack of Smarties $1.00
Total Out-of-Pocket $9.67
Note: All totals below already have tax factored into them.
- Total to spend this month : $265-$2.25=$262.75
- 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: $0
- Total in-store discounts to date: $775.65
- Total spent this week: $9.67
- Total spent so far this month: $262.56
- Total over/Under spend this shop: over
- Total over/Under spend for the month: n/a
- Total left to spend for the month: $0.19
- 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 $267.24 + December $0
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
This will be our last shop for 2017 (that we know of) as we are heading home for the holidays. A new year is upon us!! Next week will be the last grocery game challenge post for 2017. I’m excited!! I will do a full over-view of our 2017 for the last GGC post of the year.
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!!
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!
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