The Ultimate Canadian Grocery Savings Guide

Grocery Budget Basics: 5 Must-Read Tips About Your Food Expenses

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5 must read tips about your food expenses canadian budget binder



For anyone considering tackling their food expenses I encourage you to read my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide along your journey starting with the critical budget basics I’ve detailed below.

If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2018 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

With the minimum wage increase to $14 in Canada many shoppers will start to notice food cost increases across the board. Notices are already popping up at fast food restaurants letting customers know that prices are on the rise.

That’s not really any concern to you unless eating out is your thing but certainly means consumers are going to see price hikes everywhere. I’m assuming since you are here to grab hold of your food expenses that eating out is not a top priority on your list. If eating out is the problem then you’ve come to the right place.

Related: Ontario restaurant owner earning less than his employees with minimum wage hike

That being said, your food expenses are still on the rise as Mrs. CBB and I have both noticed more so near the end of 2017. A pack of hotdogs that were $1.99 in the summer are knocking $6 which makes Costco prices seem appealing. Many consumers revel in using any savings platform available but then there are some of you who don’t. -This is part of the problem.

Some business owners are saying that they will be looking for multi-skilled employees that can do more to make up for the minimum wage hike. This means there will be more competition for those jobs you once thought were easy to get hired at. If you have more skills you are now valuable more than ever to employers.

Dan Phillips said a minimum wage hike is forcing him to look at multi-skilled hires that can do more than one job in order to make up for increasing costs.- source

Related: Checklist to Bullet-Proof Your 2018 Grocery Budget

Unfortunately if we want to see our food expenses balance out the manufacturers and grocery stores want us to work for those savings. If you don’t want to put effort into saving money then you pay the ultimate price- more than you should. For those of you who value time income then saving money on food expenses likely won’t be your first priority.

By this I mean if you can be at work or work from home and make $100 an hour you’d rather spend time earning then saving because the earning outweighs the savings. Time is money after all BUT if in your time you’re not earning money then you best be getting to work saving.

In all honesty the only way to really know is to track your earned income time versus the time spent planning your grocery shopping and budget duties to compare. Was it really worth spending your time earning money doing whatever you do vs. spending time to save money at the grocery store.


Living Expenses must be covered first


Food expenses are what I like to call part of your living expenses which means that budgeting for food is not a want it’s a must-have. Creating any budget starts with basic needs such as housing, grocery, utilities, clothing and so on. These are expenses you can’t skip over but you can find ways to save.

For those of you who simply have no money or are very limited in your budget for food there are support systems in place for each community that you can reach out to for help. Talk to your local food bank or community services or even churches who offer programs to help those in need. Even if they don’t help with food but offer free clothing or other necessities this may help you save in one area to have more in another. The key to a good budget is knowing your options.


Grocery shopping sounds like one of the easiest chores to complete on the planet but that’s not what the big problem is for consumers in Canada- it’s the prices. No one I know has ever struggled to find foods that they love at the grocery store. In order to maximize on what you have in your shopping cart in comparison to your grocery budget there are some grocery basics you need to know about.

  1. You Need A Realistic Grocery Budget
  2. You Need A Meal Plan or Simple Grocery List
  3. You Need To Plan For Food Savings
  4. You Need To Know how a grocery store works
  5. You Need To Make Time To Track Everything

Canadian coupon apps for groceries are still popular as are using coupons but besides those grocery savings tools you must consider what you can control if you want to put a stop to over-spending. As you probably already know food waste is a huge problem in Canada and might be harmful to your budget.

If you really want to know how much food is thrown out at your house then track what you toss for a month or two. You might be shocked especially if you have kids. The amount of food we wasted in 2017 on our son saddened us which is why we are making significant changes to the way we feed our child.

I’m curious if this will continue to be a problem when or if consumers realize they can’t afford to let food rot. expire or sit uneaten. If you find that you are throwing out too much food then you need to seriously have a look at your strategy. You may find you aren’t planning meals properly, food habits have changed, diets have changed but your grocery list hasn’t.


The Grocery Basics explained


A realistic grocery budget is a must. If you justify your food expenses by the amount of food people eat in the house then you should consider whether you’re eating too much food. In all honesty most of us do eat more than we need which increases our food costs exponentially.

If for example you have kids who like to tackle a bag of large chips every couple of days and a case of pop a week perhaps setting limits on what you buy and how much they eat is in order. Snacks are one of the top reasons a grocery budget will fail. We simply don’t need them but opt to have them on our grocery list. The better option would be to aim more towards fruits, nuts and vegetables to satisfy snack needs. Consider the nutrient comparison as well. Junk food vs. Healthy food.

Related: How much should my grocery budget be?

I often say track your grocery shopping for 2 months so you get a better idea just how much you are spending. From there you can pick away what you don’t really need and create a realistic food budget. Even if for those first two months you budget too much or too little it’s important to understand the goals of this exercise. You do not by any means need to spend your entire grocery allowance if you don’t need to.

Just because you have $5 left doesn’t mean you should splash out on more food. Put that money to good use whether it be in a savings account or move it to the next month of grocery shopping where money might be tight or you have larger purchases to make.


Keep food shopping simple


Don’t try and complicate grocery shopping, grocery lists, meal plans and the entire budgeting process or you will get overwhelmed and quit. I’ve seen it happen many times over the past 5 years the grocery game has run. If life gets in the way you still need to budget your money. Make budgeting a priority even if it is only a food budget that you are able to manage consistently.

Simple grocery shopping includes a meal plan based around food sales for the week or coupled with sales to bring you the best quality foods to the table. Save in one are to spend more in another is a great way to look at your food shopping expenses.

Have a sit down and write all the staples you use in your house, must-have’s and nice-to-have foods which will become your simple shopping list. You either need to stock-up on these items or keep an eye out for rock-bottom prices so you can stock up.

Adding a new recipe to your meal plan is a great way to change-up the meals or snacks you make but not deviating too much from your grocery list. For example, if you like grilled chicken breasts but really want to try chicken parmigiano you may only need a few extra ingredients to make that happen.

If expensive cuts of meat, seafood or products that you could do without aren’t part of your every day meal plan or included in your budget you risk spending too much. Remember: Save in one area to spend more in another. You don’t have to give up your favourite organic coconut oil but if you can’t afford it cutting back on something else or finding a deal is your ticket to getting what you want.


Food Savings = Planning


Not everyone can walk into a grocery store and walk out richer than they went in, at least not in Canada. We’ve tried and on occasion have managed to get lots of free food using SCOP, rewards points or free product coupons. This just doesn’t happen all the time which makes planning your food savings important.

Starting in February 2018 Shoppers Optimum Points and PC Points will be combined to become PC Plus which will leave us with near 2 million rewards points to spend. Almost all of those points were obtained via sales, loading coupons and points coupons via the computer.

If you truly want to exercise all the areas of saving at the grocery store you might want to invest in couponing, sales flyers, bulk shopping, rewards points and other programs available in your community. A grocery store can easily break your finances if you’re not careful and before you know it you have a house full of food and you’re struggling to pay for other debts.


Know your grocery store


Whether you live in a small community or in a moderate to large city it’s critical you understand the savings options available to you. Not all grocery stores price match for example so if you live in a small town with one or two grocery stores this option may not be part of your savings plan.

Getting to know who works at your favourite grocery stores help when it comes to asking for deals or looking to buy in bulk. You may also know the days and times of the week they mark-down products including pricey cuts of meat. Just after and  before any holiday in Canada we can visit the grocery store at night or early morning and find loads of reduced products. Shh…our little secret.

You can use websites to view every major grocery store in Canada which will give you all the details you need to know about each store. If you don’t find what you are looking for ring them up or ask the next time you are in shopping.


Tracking will give you results


Any time you set goals it’s important to track the success and failures of your journey. Grocery shopping or budgeting in general is no different. If you want solid results with your money then YOU must put in the effort as I explained earlier in this post.

Whether you think you need to track where your food money is going is the difference between paying your mortgage monthly or making extra payments. You do the math and figure out whether it’s worth it to you.

In conclusion:

Don’t overwhelm yourself with budgeting and your food expenses with too many goals this year especially if you are new to using a budget. Rather keep it simple and most of all Plan, Track and Save.

Keep it simple and eventually it will become part of the process that is the norm in your life. After you reach that point you can start adding in more metrics to help you get to the next point of saving even more money.

Discussion: What worries you the most about tracking your food expenses in 2018?


January Grocery Game Challenge


Join in the 2018 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) but before you do you must read The Grocery Game Challenge Rules and Print the 2018 Schedule. In this section I will post each weeks grocery game challenge blog posts for the month.

New Prize Schedule : See the Grocery Game Rules


Free Money Saving Tools 2018


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 2018


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 6 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.


2018 Grocery Shop Results


Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2018: $3600 or $300/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 or that you would like to track on your own)

  • Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $300
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $300
  • 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 -$0.
  • Checkout51- $0


Our Grocery Shop This Week



  • 2 x Sealtest Milk $4.27 each
  • 2 x large eggs $2.27 each
  • 6 x PC apple Juice Not from Concentrate $10.00
  • 6 x 10% cream $1.99
  • 3x Cream Cheese $2.99

Total Out-of-Pocket $44.10

Note: All totals below already have tax factored into them.

  • Total to spend this month : $300
  • Stockpile budget 2018 : $25.00/month
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $0
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $0
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $0
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $0
  • Total spent this week: $44.10
  • Total spent so far this month: $44.10
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: under
  • Total left to spend for the month: $255.90
  • Total Spent To Date 2018: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $+Feb $+March $ + April $+ May $ + June $+July $+August $+September $+ October $+ November $ + December $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

Since we came home with more food than we brought to the in-laws for the holidays we will stay out of the grocery store as much as possible in January. This will also give us a chance to start eating down our freezer and pantry to get ready for important upcoming sales. This month the focus is grocery basics- nothing more, nothing less. As you can see the few basics in accordance with our lifestyle we did buy cost us close to $50.

Happy Shopping everyone.



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 2018?

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
  • 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 2018 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 2018 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 prize payout?- I’ve changed the prize to yearly so I’ll be tracking everyone’s shop and draw accordingly for larger prize payouts.
  • When does the Grocery Game close each month? Ideally you would want to have all your shops in by the end of the month so you can review your month so you make improvements for the next.
  • 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 2014-2017 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.

If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2018 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!  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 2018!


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  1. Grocery Game Challenge Jan. 1-7

    Jan. 5, 2018

    • Atlantic Superstore
    • Total Coupons Used: $4.00
    • Total PC Plus Points Redeemed: 20,000
    • Total Out Of Pocket: $29.50

    4x Quaker Oatmeal $2 – $1 coupon x4
    Primo Pizza Sauce $2.59
    2x Campbell’s Tomato Soup $0.50
    6x Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup $0.50
    Baxter’s Sour Cream $1.00
    Baxter’s 2L Homogenized Milk $3.49
    Green Giant Frozen Mixed Veggies $2.49
    Almond Breeze $2.94
    10LB Potatoes $2.00
    Old Mill Bread $1.99
    Amazon Gift Card $25.00

    Jan. 6, 2018

    • Walmart
    • Total Coupons Used: 0
    • Total Out of Pocket: $9.04

    Great Value Canned Corn $0.87
    Eat Smart Veggie Medley $2.97
    2x Cheestrings $1.88
    Crispy Minis $1.25

    • Shopper’s Drug Mart
    • Total Coupons Used: 0
    • Total Shoppers Optimum Points Earned: 10
    • Total Out of Pocket: $1.88

    Eggs $1.88

    • Sobeys
    • Total Coupons Used: 0
    • Total Fast Fuel Coupons Used: $4.82
    • Total Out of Pocket: $13.85

    Kraft Peanut Butter $3.00
    Baby Turnip Sticks $1.99
    Butterball Turkey Bacon $4.00
    Pork Roast $$3.96
    4X Grab N Snack Lunchables $1.33

    Points Overview
    • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $475
    • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $475
    • Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
    • Total PC Plus Points used in 2018 to date: 20,000
    • Total PC Points Plus Earned in 2018 to date: 400
    • Shopper’s Optimum Points Earned in 2018 to date: 10
    • Shopper’s Optimum Points used in 2018: 0
    • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP)to date $0

    Coupon Apps
    • Zweet to date: $24.00
    • Checkout51 to date: $247.25
    • to date: $5.00
    • Caddle to date: $22.60

    GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK (add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)
    • Stockpile budget 2017 ($25.00): $25.00
    • Stockpile budget used to date: $0
    • Total coupons used this week: $
    • Total coupons used to date: $4
    • Total Fast Fuel Coupons used to date: $4.82
    • Total in-store discounts this week: $0
    • Total in-store discounts to date: $0
    • Total spent this week: $54.27
    • Total over/Under spend for the month: $Under
    • Total left to spend for the month: $420.73
    • Total Spent To Date 2018: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $54.27

    Weekly Overview:
    I’m late posting but I’m afraid if I don’t start now anyway I’ll not bother keeping up with tracking for the year. I’m hoping to be able to stick with it to be able to see how much we actually spend (and earn/save through loyalty programs) and to be able to show that to my husband to encourage him to stay on board. I’ve decided that this is the year we pay off a lot of our debt and in order to make that happen we need to get serious about our budget including better tracking our groceries and unaccounted for spending.
    I’m really happy with the minimal amount that I’ve spent this past week (it would often be twice that amount on extra food that often would go to waste) and I still have plenty of meal options for this week so I should hopefully only have to stock up on some basics and keep my grocery budget remaining small for January. I’m also working through my cupboards and freezer to help clear out some things that have been there for a while and then plan on replacing those items with only healthy-ish items and no junk food. My husband is on board this year with making some healthier food choices and with trying to stick to a budget so I’m trying to set us up for success from the get go and using January to help prove we can easily (and painlessly) cut costs and slowly incorporate healthier options into our meals.

  2. Shop 2:
    Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $200
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $200
    Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
    PC Plus Points Earned to date: 2250
    Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0

    Checkout51- $6.85

    Total Out Of Pocket: $2.98
    -1L Lucerne Chocolate Milk $1.00
    -2 x Italpasta Elbows (@0.99 each) $1.98

    Total Out Of Pocket: $5.00
    -3 Dragonfruit $5.00

    STORE: T&T
    Total Out of Pocket: $25.69
    -T&T Bread $2.30
    -Frozen Rosemary Garlic Lamb Rack $15.88
    -Carrot (0.59/lb) $0.33
    -Spinach $1.00
    -Bananas (0.59/lb) $1.18
    -2 pkgs Frozen Udon $5.00

    Total to spend this month : $200
    Total coupons used this week: $0
    Total coupons used to date: $0
    Total in-store discounts this week: $0
    Total in-store discounts to date: $0
    Total spent this week: $64.44
    Total spent so far this month: $64.44
    Total over/Under spend this month:
    Total left to spend for the month: $135.56
    Total Spent To Date 2018: Jan $64.44+Feb $+March $ + April $+ May $ + June $+July $+August $+September $+ October $+ November $ + December $

    My second shop! I do a lot of little shops throughout the week because I walk or take transit and there’s only so much I can carry at once. I think next week, I’ll wait until the week is almost over and post it all at once. Otherwise you’ll have 3 or 4 posts every week from me!

    1. Hi Jenny,
      Welcome to the GGC!!!
      I was going to mention that you can post all at once which would be far easier. 🙂 When I was living in the UK and on my own I would often do as you and shop many times a week. I only had a beer fridge size refrigerator but mini shops also helped me with planning my meals for the week. too. Mind you I’m a bit of a boring eater at times. If it wasn’t for my wife I’d eat tortellini every day, haha! I’ve never had a dragon fruit before. What does it taste like? Mr.CBB

      1. Dragon fruit is pretty mild tasting. A lot of people say bland. But I like the mild taste. Sort of like white peaches are milder than yellow peaches, or asian pears are milder than regular pears.

  3. First Time Posting yay!

    Week 1: January 1-7 2018
    Monthly Budget: 500 (family of 4 and a dog)

    Independent Grocer
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $59.05
    3x Koolaid Squirt juice @3.33ea
    12 pack Brisk Ice tea @3.69
    Lactose free milk 2% @ 4.99
    2x Amooza Twists @ 4.99 ea
    Almond Milk @ 3.79
    5lb Clemintine @ 5.99
    2xLunchables @ 2.49ea
    Wonder Bread thin @ 2.89
    2x kids magazines @ 4.99ea
    3 pastic bags @ 0.05 ea

    Food Basics
    Total Coupons Used: $0
    Total Out Of Pocket: $29.98
    O.E Paso Salsa @3.99
    Selection brand elbow noodles @ 1.00
    2x Selection brand Canned Tomatos @0.99
    tomato soup @ 1.19
    2 plastic bags @ 0.05

    Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $500
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $0
    Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
    Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
    Total Rewards Points used to date: $300
    PC Points Plus Earned to date:124590
    Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP)to date $0
    Coupon Apps
    Used none (will need to download them)

    • Stockpile budget 2018 ($25.00):$0
    • Stockpile budget used to date: $0
    • Total coupons used this week: $0
    • Total coupons used to date: $0
    • Total in-store discounts this week:$0
    • Total in-store discounts to date: $0
    • Total spent this week: $89.03
    • Total over/Under spend for the month: $under
    • Total left to spend for the month: $410.97
    • Grocery carry over (to next week): $25.97
    • Total Spent To Date 2018: Jan $89.03
    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts): after looking at the mint app graphics to see where most money was spent, Groceries was up there. Some months was $1000! I use to do couponing and use the apps then fell off the bandwagon. Now that we are once again, single income, it is time for a money overhaul! First week down and was under budget. I don’t even know if 500$ is a good amount for a budget so that is just my guess for this month and will adjust lower if need be (but not higher). I am happy to be accountable for this, and I even meal planned for this week to try and stay under budget (and go to two stores just to save money). I am hoping in the future I can make a trip to Superstore in town once a week so I can price match and get all my PC points. Thank you CBB!

    1. Good Morning Patricia,
      We used to use coupons and the apps as well and we do for the most part still but not anything near what we did years ago. Like I mentioned to Lisa below a starting grocery budget is great and over the next couple of months you will know whether you need to add or take away. Most often I find once we have a set number we stick with it. Considering you were spending upwards of $1000 a month I’d say you’re at a great starting point. I wish all PC stores offered price matching… we often go to Zehrs since it is close to us but they won’t PM. Our biggest challenge was becoming parents and shopping with our son. It’s not like it used to be AT all which is why I think we fell off the coupon network a bit. Our main savings in 2017 came from discount products in-store or unplanned. Is using a meal plan something new for your family? Mr.CBB

    2. Yes a meal plan is new. I tried before and failed. And now trying again just to stay on a budget and not scrambling. I still use some coupons but for most it was stuff we never used and not many good ones. However I do like the hanging ones in the isles for food so I do collect those.

      1. That’s what happened to us. We had stocked up SO MUCH on health and beauty and laundry items etc that we stopped. We had no more space for toilet paper…thousands of rolls many we got free or near free. These days we don’t stockpile food like back then.

  4. Week 1 – January 1 to January 7th

    Yearly grocery budget for 2 adults- $5100 plus $300 for a stockpile ($25 month)
    • Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $ 425
    • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $
    • Total Gift Cards used to date: $ 5
    • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $
    • Total Rewards Points used to date: $
    • PC Points Plus Earned to date:
    • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP)to date $

    Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
    • Checkout51 to date: $

    GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK (add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)

    Local Health Food Store
    Chicken Bone Broth $9.99
    Local Lettuce $3
    Total spent: 7.99 (used $5 gift card)

    Total Spent: $11.78

    Cauliflower, lunchables (3), lunch meat ($5), pistachios ($12)
    Total Spent: $34.84

    Local Vegetable Store
    Celery, mint, red onion, local fresh green juice ($9),
    Total Spent: $18.19

    • Stockpile budget 2018 ($25.00 per month):$
    • Stockpile budget used to date: $
    • Total coupons used this week: $
    • Total coupons used to date: $
    • Total spent this week: $ 72.80
    • Total over/Under spend for the month: $
    • Total left to spend for the month: $
    • Total Spent To Date 2018:

    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts):

    Hi Everyone! I am new to the game! I’ve been following along the last few years on the Facebook page and finally decided to join in (last minute). I must say I’m a bit intimated but here goes nothing! Last year in 2017 I spent almost $7000 in groceries alone for two people! Eeek! So this year I am committing to a monthly budget of $425 for two people. I debated about this number and this is a more realistic number that I know I can achieve success with. I did not write down all items on my purchases this week, I find that overwhelming so starting with an overview instead.

    1. Hi Lisa,
      Welcome!! You know I always love to hear about fans who have been following from behind the scenes and then step forward. Congratulations! Getting a budget under control is no easy feat and can be intimidating, you’re right. Don’t let that intimidation stop you though, you’ve got this and an army of GGC players here new and older experienced players that are more than happy to help you along. I am too. Starting with a realistic budget is the name of the game. You may find as the year goes on you don’t need to spend that much or that you need to spend more. Either way I find that once you have a budget set it’s far easier to stick with-in those limits. It’s sort of like the more you have the more you spend philosophy. Mr.CBB

  5. Week 1 January 1-7

    January Monthly budget $300 ($60 per week)
    January Costco budget $100 ($20 per week)

    Total Spent Grocery: $58.95
    Total Spent Costco: $0
    Grocery left to spend: $241.05
    Costco left to spend: $100
    Coupons used: $0
    Coupons to date: $0
    PC Plus Redemption: $0
    PC Plus Redemption to date: $0
    Checkout 51 Opening Balance 2018: $133.95
    Checkout 51 weekly offers redeemed: $0
    Checkout 51 Current balance: $133.95
    Checkout 51 Cheque Redemption: $0
    Checkout 51 Cheque Redeemed to date: $0
    Grocery carry over (previous months): $0
    Costco carry over (previous months): $0

    Real Canadian Superstore:
    Eggs 2.27
    Milk 4.27
    Carrots 2.49
    Bananas .72
    Roma tomato .59
    Frozen Chicken Wings 8.99
    Frozen Angus Meatballs 10.00
    Whole Wheat Bread 1.68
    Hot Dog Buns 2.59

    Total: 33.60

    Giant Tiger
    Frozen Chicken Pies 3 x 2.48
    4 pk peppers 1.98
    Whole Wheat Bread 2 x 1.68
    Condensed Cr. of Mushroom soup 5 x .38

    Total 14.70

    Chef Boyardee 5 x .97
    Puritan Stew 2 x .97
    Tuna 4 x .97

    Total 10.65

    A good start to the year. We did some canned food stock up with great prices on things that will be used up pretty quickly. Most of the cost seemed to go to the basics. Milk, bread, eggs, veggies and fruit. Chicken wings were on clearance, a great deal and can’t make them that cheap from scratch. The meatballs were a request from my son who is cooking spaghetti next week and wanted to make it spaghetti and meatballs. The meatballs were on sale, a leftover sale from the holidays. Much of what we will be buying is geared toward menu plan, which I have done for the next two weeks, and stock up for school and work lunches. My son and hubby prefer hot lunches and the canned stuff makes it really quick and easy each morning. I used to use leftovers, but we don’t have a lot of those these days.

    1. Hi Angela,
      I am the same as your guys… I like hot lunches and have brought one to work for the past 11 years in Canada. Most often it was tortellini with sauce.. something filling. I think you’ve inspired me to make meatballs soon as we haven’t had them in ages. We made a thai almond coleslaw the other day and it was amazing.The chicken wings are always expensive and Mrs. CBB loves them as part of the keto lifestyle. I’m not a fan really and could do without. Sounds like you are off to a great start for the year. Leftover holiday sales are the best!! I want to learn more about using condensed soups in recipes this year. I often read people using cans of soup to make meals. Mr.CBB

      1. We do some cooking with condensed soups, but we actually have them just as soup as well. Cream of mushroom usually ends up a quick and easy soup for my boy’s lunch. I do love to use condensed soups for casseroles though!

  6. JANUARY 1-7
    Yearly Budget for 1 Adult $2400 or $200/mo

    Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $200
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $200
    Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
    PC Plus Points Earned to date: 11278
    Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0

    Checkout51- $6.85

    Total Coupons Used:
    Total Out Of Pocket: $28.38
    -NN Tomato Paste $0.59
    -PC Salsa $2.47
    -PC Diced Tomatoes $1.29
    -Tostitos Tortilla Chips $2.59
    -Pringles $2.38
    -3 Garlic $0.97
    -Green Leaf Lettuce $1.77
    -Ginger (@1.67/lb) $0.37
    -2 pkgs Pepperoni @7.97 each = $15.94
    PC Plus Earned this week: 2250

    Total Coupons Used:
    Total Out Of Pocket: $0.40
    -1 lime $0.40

    Total Out Of Pocket: $1.99
    -1 bunch basil $1.99 (the holidays really did the grocers in. Had to visit 5 stores to find basil!)

    Total to spend this month : $200
    Total coupons used this week: $0
    Total coupons used to date: $0
    Total in-store discounts this week: $0
    Total in-store discounts to date: $0
    Total spent this week: $30.77
    Total spent so far this month: $30.77
    Total over/Under spend this month:
    Total left to spend for the month: $169.23
    Total Spent To Date 2018: Jan $30.77+Feb $+March $ + April $+ May $ + June $+July $+August $+September $+ October $+ November $ + December $

    This is my first time doing such an in-depth review of my purchases. This month I will be eating down my (very small) fridge and freezer, supplemented by fresh vegetables if needed. I’ve also been meaning to organize the kitchen and doing an inventory of my fridge/freezer/pantry. I live in a small space so I am not able to stockpile a lot or buy in bulk, which is why I don’t have a separate stockpile budget. I think a lot of savings will be had if I cut off my tendency to roam the aisles of the stores (especially No Frills which I live close to). I go out to buy 4 things (ginger, garlic, lime and basil) and I end up buying a lot of non-essentials (except for the lettuce). Here’s hoping for a successful year of staying within budget! It will be challenge!

    1. Hi Jenny,
      Welcome to The Grocery Game. What did you think about your first in-depth review? The inventory will be a HUGE help and savings for you when it comes to managing your food budget. You bring up a good point about roaming the aisles. We try to avoid them at all costs but there are times we make a mad dash to get a specific item. You are not alone when it comes to buying more than you need. We go through this and still struggle at times, mainly when we find deals or 50% off price tags. I hope to see you stay on board for the duration of the year. If you need any help or motivation at all please leave comments here as the rest of the gang is knowledgeable and full of great tips. You can also email me directly. Mr.CBB

      1. Thanks for the welcome Mr. CBB! I think this will make me think about my food purchases a lot more so I hope I can keep the momentum to keep at it for the year.
        And yes, those sale stickers are tempting aren’t they, especially meat because they are generally expensive. Most of the time, I have to think if I have room in my fridge/freezer ( usually the answer is no) and I pass them up.

        1. Hi Jenny,
          It will amaze you just how much you spend and purchase. What we’ve learned along the way is that we buy TOO MUCH STUFF. Although it’s not easy to cut-back we have certainly managed to cut our over-spending and get back on track. We have good and bad months but we don’t give up trying. This is the challenge we face in Canada. If we don’t go the extra mile then the mile will overlap us. We have to be in control and boy does it ever feel food to know where our money is going. P.S yes the meat is hard to pass up but since Mrs. CBB enjoys a keto-lifestyle meat, fish and eggs are a big part of her diet. Sometimes I have to wrestle her to the ground when she is in the meat department lol. Jk. 🙂 She’s gets happy when she sees those stickers. The problem is trying to balance the meal plan grocery list and the extra super-duper finds.

  7. Yearly grocery budget for 4 adults- $7800 plus $300 for a stockpile($25 month)

    Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $650
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $650
    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: 95260
    Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
    Shoppers Optimum: 48123
    Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

    Zweet -$13.25
    Checkout51- $7.50

    Our Grocery Shop This Week
    Canadian Tire
    9.1 kg bag of Whiskas cat food- 26.99
    1-Purex laundry detergent- 4.88
    Total out of pocket- $31.87

    Foodland #1
    1 jug water- 5.49
    2 packs sandwich bags, 100count @ 2/5.00
    1 block swiss cheese- 5.59
    1-4l bag milk -4.27
    bananas- 1.24
    1 pack mild Italian sausage- 4.82- 30% sticker saved 1.45
    Total out of pocket- $24.96
    Foodland #2
    1 pack Ziploc containers- 5.49
    1 Ziploc freezer bags- 5.49, $2.00 coupon when you buy 2
    1 can pineapple tidbits- 1.49
    1 4l milk -4.27
    Bananas – 1.24
    1 pack lean ground beef- 5.39
    1 bagels -2.99
    Total out of pocket- $32.44
    Foodland #3
    1 jug water- 5.49
    1 can crushed pineapple- 1.49
    2 cans cat food @.79
    1 4l bag milk -4.27
    1 container grated parmesan cheese- 6.26
    Total out of pocket- $19.30

    Note: All totals below already have tax factored into them.

    Total to spend this month : $650
    Stockpile budget 2018 : $25.00/month
    Stockpile budget used this month: $0
    Total coupons used this week: $2
    Total coupons used to date: $2
    Total in-store discounts this week: $1.45
    Total in-store discounts to date: $1.45
    Total spent this week: $109.22
    Total spent so far this month: $109.22
    Total over/Under spend this shop: under
    Total left to spend for the month: $540.78
    Total Spent To Date 2018: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $+Feb $+March $ + April $+ May $ + June $+July $+August $+September $+ October $+ November $ + December $
    Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
    A number of small trips to get things for the holiday meals. My freezer is in good shape to carry me for a few weeks with just getting the basics. I want to keep that up and eat my way down enough to defrost both freezers in the next while. I had the ham we had for New Years from a few weeks back and I grabbed another one right before Christmas as the price was a good one…$1.88lb. In a month or so I will take that one out for us to eat. Things have settled down a little now that I’m not trying to get guardianship for Dad, got that set up and things are good there. Still need to clear out the house for sale and sell the truck but things are settling down to a dull roar.
    I had thought early last year I’d have lots of chances to go to No Frills as I was in visiting Dad but that wasn’t happening. By the time I saw him, checked the house and checked up on my uncle and got him some things at the nearby Shoppers Drug Mart, I was heading home so we could have dinner at a reasonable time. Those shops wouldn’t have been posted as it was his groceries and his money paying for them…but I did use my Optimum card for the points and he found it funny how many things I found on sale for him. He learned fast to look over the flyer as he was making the list for me!!
    It’s a new year and a new start here, I found I really need this posting to keep me on the straight and narrow!!!

    1. Hey there Christine,
      It was a pleasure visiting your neck of the woods this holiday! I also got the opportunity to go into FoodLand across the way to see what the shop was all about. A quaint supermarket that seems like it has been unchanged for years. I could be wrong. How big are your freezers? We need to eat ours down as well as we plan to replace it with a stand-up to save space in our basement. Not only that once I finish the basement I don’t want to bring anything monster-like up and down the stairs. lol
      Is your dads house in the same village? I don’t envy you as you know we are going through lots as well with the inlaws on our end here. It’s not easy at all. We’re happy you are back with an optimistic outlook moving forward into 2018!
      Here we go..

  8. Week 1 – Dec 29, 2017 – Jan 4, 2018
    Name Your Store: Frescho
    Total Coupons Used: $
    Total Points =
    Total Out Of Pocket: $49.49

    4 L 2% Milk = $4.27
    2 – 1.89L Ice Cream = $7.98
    5 Primo Pasta = $4.95
    2 – 10 pkg Instant Oatmeal = $3.98
    2 – 650 g Astro Yogurt = $3.98
    890 g Hellman’s Mayo = $3.99
    2 – WW Bread = $3.36
    Raisin Bran Cereal = $2.99
    Lunch Charm Chocolate Cereal = $2.49
    Chex Honey Nut Cereal = $3.99
    Cheerios Honey Nut Cereal = $2.49

    No Shop

    Grocery Game Challenge Results
    Total Grocery Budget for the 2 Adults ($1820.00)
    Total Human (Adults) this Week Period: $44.47
    Total Human (Adults) to Date: $44.47 (minus Debt pymt & Gift Cards) = $44.47

    Total Grocery Budget for the 3 Cats ($390)
    Total Cats this Week Period: $
    Total Cats to Date: $

    Total Grocery Budget for the Personal Hygiene ($390)
    Total Personal Hygiene this Week Period: $5.02
    Total Personal Hygiene to Date: $5.02

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

    Total Grocery Savings for this Week Period: $11.76
    Total Grocery Savings to Date: $11.76

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

    Total PC Points Received this Week Period:
    Total PC Rewards Points Used this Week Period:
    Total PC Rewards To Date: 40,428

    Overview: This is the start of Year 4 of me keeping track of my groceries. Little stocking up before I go back to work 🙁 This year is the yeat to really buckle down and get my finances back on track.

    1. Hey Dee,
      YEAR 4 wow… we’re on a roll. Same with us. Our biggest concerns are food price increases, our son eating more and Christmas. Like I mentioned to Mary below I think we will look into the Reserves for the year as well starting now. We already have a stockpile budget for the month so why not plan ahead a bit more if we can. We spent more than anticipated at Christmas for food at the inlaws which wasn’t expected. They are just not doing well so all the kids cooked and bought food. Happy New Years!
      Lunch Charm Cereal haha.

  9. This is excellent! I’ve found that meal planning really contributes to lowering our overall grocery expenses too – it’s been a game changer!

    Unfortunately, I roll up house products and medication (like Advil) into our grocery budget and, of course, my husband is sick. So this week’s grocery budget was more expensive than usual ($80 vs. 60) because of Nyquil, cough drops, etc.

    I guess I could have let him tough it out…. 😉

    1. It really does simply because we aren’t stocking up on too much that for most sits around. You can add whatever you like into your grocery budget as it is for you to track however you wish. We used to but wanted to break our budget down further to see what food was costing. Will you be playing along this year?

  10. Keep up the good Work. I am following along and starting to keep track of my receipts for january. Mr. & Mrs CBB, I appreciate your blog. Thank you!

  11. JANUARY – Week #1 of 5- Jan 2-7, 2018


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



    Before we start our JANUARY shopping off though, I am going to make my usual monthly “reserve” transfers:


    $ 190.00 for the month
    ($ 15.00) trf to re-stocking – normally $15.00
    ($ 65.00) trf to holiday reserve–normally 15.00
    ($ 15.00) trf to summer reserve–normally 15.00
    ($ 45.00) trf to US Reserve –normally $45.00

    CANADIAN Grocery Balance $50.00

    I have decided to make JANUARY a no spend month…meaning that I will only purchase NEEDS in January. There will be no WANTS purchased…the spending splurge ended at midnight on Dec. 31st! LOL 🙂

    It’s up to me to meal plan with what I have on hand as much as humanly possible…not really a hardship with all the lovely holiday leftovers.

    Our grocery budget will remain unchanged again in 2018 at the $190 per month level – for the 7th year in a row! I figure it will work, despite projected food inflation, as I managed to increase our reserves by $486.86 in 2017 meaning we are obviously still able to cope nicely at this dollar level. My plan is that I will not increase our budget until I can no longer have a surplus in the kitty at year-end.


    This week there’s no way I could possibly shop this week…both of our fridges are fully loaded with holiday leftovers! I couldn’t squeeze in one more item if I tried. 🙂 I do plan to shop next week though because I am in soup withdrawal and can’t wait to get out the soup pot!

    For now, we’ll be eating our way thru the goodies before I start cooking anything new. We’ve got leftover appetizers, ham, turkey, balsamic beef, cabbage rolls, cottage cheese, dozens of eggs, oodles of raw veggies and lots of lovely cold meats and cheeses. What in the world could I possibly shop for? I know bread and milk right? Trust me, they are on the list for next week! 🙂









    •Total Loyalty Card Price Reductions This Year: $0.00

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

    •Total Price Match Savings Used This Year: $0.00

    •Total More Points Earned This Year: 0 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year: 0 Air Miles

    •Total PC PLUS Points Earned This Year: 0 Points

    •Total Optimum Points Earned This Year: 0 Points



    $ 190.00 Grocery Budget JAN


    ($ 0.00) Actual CASH SPENT



    $ 520.69 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $ 117.59 Holiday Season Fund + $210 RCSS POINTS + $10 Dream Air Miles + $10 RCSS Gift Card +
    $50 RCSS Gift Card due to arrive any day = $397.59
    $ 664.59 Summer Season Fund
    $ 556.87 US Shopping Reserve
    $ 41.56 GGC Savings Reserve
    $ 0.00 Points Redeemed Reserve

    OUR CURRENT TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES ARE $1,901.30. This means the 1,761.30 that we carried forward from 2017 PLUS AN ADDITIONAL $140.00 that we have added in 2018, LESS $0.00 that we have drawn out for use in 2018.


    1. Hey Mary! How far are you from the border? What do you buy or stock up on when you grocery shop in the us, and how often do you go? We are about an hour and a half from the Sarnia crossing and I have thought about going, but didn’t know if it would be worth the 3 hour round trip. TIA!!

      1. I am about an hour from the border but we tend to go about 4 times a year. I incorporate my shops with vacation stays and gasing up the car so it’s a multipurpose trip. Vitamins & many medications are much cheaper south of the border as is gluten free bread that we buy directly from a US bakery outlet. Mostly what we pick up though are dairy products and items that are not available in Canada. I find that our late March trip nets us some huge and inexpensive corned beef briskets compared to the prices we see locally.

    2. Hi Mary!!!
      Here we go!
      Congrats on starting a no-shop month. How would one prepare for such a month?
      You know I think you’ve inspired us to start up reserves for the year similar to our projected expenses. The reason for this is that we found Christmas hammered us this year in the food department while at the inlaws and we want to add that to our grocery budget and not Christmas budget. I will write a blog post about the reserves so if you have any info for the fans to share I’d be more than happy to pass it along. 🙂

      1. Mr CBB…I didn’t prepare for the no shop month. LOL Beth Anne is running a No Spend Challenge on her page and I just jumped in head first! You know me…I love to save a buck any which way that I can. ?

        Hubby and I are still eating our way threw all the leftovers from the holidays (ham, turkey, cabbage rolls, appetizers, raw vegetables, mandarin oranges, a few dozen eggs, garlic sausage, honey garlic pepperoni, seafood and lots of cheeses) so it has not been difficult to simply avoid shopping. The holidays come around and I think I am feeding an army when really it’s just the 2 of us and we end up re-working all the leftovers for weeks. ?

        My post on Tuesday will show that we’ve spent $10.75 so far this month on groceries…bread, milk & a discount pizza for hubby. It’s all about NEEDS for me this month…not wants but I don’t begrudge hubby a pizza when he got it on discount for $3.50.

  12. We are reworking our entire budget this year. So many changes. Our biggest grocery fail last year was not tracking the spending. I know how much I wanted to spend, but I really have no idea if it actually happened. Lesson learned. Back to tracking our weekly spending, it is worth the extra time and hopefully save us a few dollars this year too!

    1. Exactly and you are not alone at all. Tracking your grocery expenses will blow your mind!! You will see savings!! Good luck on your journey. I hope to see you join us Angela.

      1. I plan on being back to GCC for 2018. 2015 and 2016 went so much better when I could hold myself accountable. This forum was the best way to do that. Besides, I love the tips everyone shared with me then ?. Granted my grocery budget isn’t $40-50 a week for 3 of us. Food costs are up too much for that anymore.

        1. You did an amazing job when you played, in fact I was quite impressed at how you were able to stretch your dollars given the situation you were in at the time. What is your new grocery budget?

          1. We are going to be $60 week in the grocery store and $20 week for Costco. Not as tight as it used to be, but still fairly slim. Carryover for each month will still apply/accumulate and will likely be added to Costco trips. We don’t live in the same town as Costco, so it is a big trip when it happens. We are hoping that setting a bit each week aside will help combat that. We are still working on stretching our dollar again this year because the new wage increase has hit our bottom line which is another big reason we need to pay attention now that a lot of other costs will go up. I didn’t make minimum before, I got a new job – permanent full-time last summer (school paid off!!!), but now it is now closer than I would like. First task this year is to start cleaning out the freezer and hopefully starting fresh. We have plenty in the pantry and will only shop amazing stock up sales and snacks for school lunches. Hockey for my son is still a factor and we have a few very tight work to game timelines where we have added a cheap takeout meal here and there.

          2. That’s awesome with paying off school, the job and increased grocery budget. I’m impressed with your Costco $20 a week budget. I pretty much can spend 20 just parking the truck. lol.

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