YOUR GROCERY SHOPPING EXPENSES AREN’T GOING TO BALANCE WITHOUT A MASTER BEHIND THE PLAN
Easing into the grocery budget process by testing the waters for a few months with a Master Food List might just be YOUR ticket to food shopping success.
If you’re anything like me when I was single I would tend to create the same recipes over and over only because it was easy, saved time and kept me from lingering around the grocery store.
Once I got married we decided to become a lingering grocery shopping couple who had a frugal mindset yet we were and still are working on cutting back on roaming. This got me thinking the other day how easy it is to overspend when grocery shopping even if you have a meal plan and a shopping list.
Besides having a focused mindset when in the grocery store it’s important that you stick to a food list that offers your meal plan all the staples. In the UK my list would have been small, certain vegetables, milk, eggs, cheese, pasta sauce, tortellini, sardines, bread, butter. I was and still am a simple guy but once I got married, EVERYTHING CHANGED!
Our diet has been all over the place the past 11 years as has our grocery shopping. We’ve learned how to grocery shop, failed at many aspects of it and then learned from those mistakes. When one feat is conquered another always seems to take its place. Price increases on food come to mind.
Welcome to 2018 another year of working magic around a grocery budget, meal planning and getting the best bang for our buck. For grocery budget newbies who are frustrated about spending too much at the grocery store a master food list may be the perfect starting point.
Think Master Food List for a diet but this isn’t a diet- it’s a food lifestyle.
Grocery list vs. Food List
What’s the difference between a grocery list and a food list?
Well for starters a grocery list can always be modified and easily distracted without personal limits. Not everyone who grocery shops with a list uses a budget and not everyone who uses a budget grocery shops with a list. As you progress on your quest to grocery shopping and stretching the budget a grocery list is ideal.
A food list is a master document of products you need in your kitchen on a regular basis to create the meals and snacks that you enjoy. This type of shopping helps create a budget-friendly mindset for those starting out learning how to budget for food. You might even be that boring food lover like I was in the UK and prefer a food list not to over-complicate your shopping experience.
How to create a master food list for your budget
It has been years now that Mrs. CBB and I have run the grocery game challenge and we have tackled SO MANY ways to save money on food.
In fact, there are over 200 published articles on this blog dedicated to saving money on groceries that it can be overwhelming for someone new to food budgets.
What is easy for some is terrifying for others. Think about your child and the first time they attempted to do something on their own.
Most likely they were nervous but with parental guidance they did it! Treat adding new skills to your life starting from the most basic form and move on up.
This way it assures you that you learn as much as you can along the way without skipping valuable lessons.
Ways to ease into the grocery budget process
Since I announced the grocery game challenge would go ahead for 2018 I’ve had a few emails from concerned readers.
They were wanting to know how they can jump into the grocery savings game without having to fuss over the extremities.
Consider this post an option for those of you who want to keep your food budget simple and grocery shop on tunnel vision alone. The photo above of a Master List is just an example of something you can put together but on a larger scale to include all the foods on your food list.
You could easily use the above as a weekly food list as well. If you’d like a printable version, just let me know and I’ll add it to my list of printable money saving tools.
Sounds boring BUT this type of grocery shopping with a master food list if you think about it can keep costs down. I’m sure by now you might be wondering what a master food list is or what it looks like. Don’t worry it’s not complicated and perfect for new food budget fans who want to simplify grocery shopping while learning along the way.
- Create a food budget whether it be daily, weekly, monthly etc.
- Decide on the most popular recipes or foods that are essential to you each month and document them on a spreadsheet or if you’re like us using old-school pen and paper brainstorm foods you enjoy and those that you need on a daily basis.
- Write them all down and separate by department
- Print your list and put it on the refrigerator and use this list as a master food list
- Create a meal plan for your shopping trip using those ingredients
- Shop for ONLY those ingredients nothing more
This food list idea is comparable to a meal plan and in most cases it sure is however the difference is this an introductory guide for those who aren’t keen on meal plans or learning to shop frugally.
The idea behind having a master food list is that it keeps you accountable to only the foods that are a must-have in your household without deviating from your budget. One of the easiest things that can happen at the grocery store it that you become consumer lured by marketing baits planted in your face and under your nose.
Getting used to a grocery budget
Once you get a grip on using a grocery budget for the first time you can expand your food list to include other ingredients that might help create a new meal or snack.
You see, we are creatures of habit so a food list which is simple to follow makes grocery shopping simple, budget-friendly and efficient.
Some of you may have already done this or believe that having a master list at all stages of learning how to grocery shop with a budget is beneficial.
Therefore you might continue this way of thinking when it comes to food shopping and creating meals but expanding your options.
My parents come to mind now that I think about it.
They grocery shop weekly and buy the same foods and extras week after week. Cooking was not a huge deal in our house even though I hung around to learn from my mom. British recipes are traditional at best as our cuisine is slim compared to other cultures.
Anyhow, creating a repetitive food list that you can to choose from every time you shop helps keep life simple, if that’s what you’re looking for.
My parents are frugal however they aren’t limited by what they can and can’t buy but they still tend to stick to classics over and over. Roast Beef, mashed potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, carrots, salad.
A meal like this happened just about every Sunday in our house. A meal plan, sure that happened on Sunday but nothing more, nothing less. There was no, ‘Oh look Brussel sprouts are on sale let’s add a bag of them to the shopping cart’.
This is where a master food list comes in handy. Keep a copy in your purse or wallet for reference if that helps. If you are smartphone savvy create a memo or document on your phone.
Brussel sprouts may well be on your master food list but consider foods outside of that list where you might get tempted but shy away because it’s not supposed to be on your radar. Selective choices come to mind. Some of you may have heard about sticking to the perimeter of the grocery store if you want to save money however we know that’s easier said then done.
There are times you MUST go down the aisles and if you aren’t stern with your grocery shopping goals you can easily get side-tracked. A food list will help rid of the food drool attack when products are staring you in the face. You know when you start creating meals and ideas in your head while shopping and decide to buy something based on ideals and what your tummy is feeling at the same time.
Never shop hungry and turn your recipe brain off.
There would always be a British cake in a tin on the counter every week in our house but the same kinds. The kettle sits in the same spot with the same tins of tea bags and a coffee tin filled with grounds. It was still this way when we visited after 10 years of living in Canada this past June. You wouldn’t catch my mom recipe book surfing much because cooking and shopping was not and still isn’t her favourite chore.
Benefits of a master food list
For those expert budget shoppers this may still come in handy for you especially when you find you are slacking off from your budget duties. Getting back to budget basics is always a way to reset your frugal mindset.
You still shop the flyer sales, use coupons and do all the same things you’ve done before to save money while grocery shopping but now you will have a master food list to hold you up to your end of the bargain.
- No more looking where you shouldn’t
- No more questioning whether you need to buy something or not
- Less time spent wandering around the store
- More time learning how to use simple ingredients different ways
- Creating a stress-free shopping experience
- Routine and standardization
Whether grocery shopping on a budget is a breeze for you or you’ve taught yourself how to over-come shopping obstacles you may well have conquered one of the toughest budget categories of the lot. Saving money on areas in your monthly budget that you can control contributes to money you can use for other categories.
Passing the buck, but in a good way. If you’re able to invest any extra savings, you know you’ve slayed the budget! Don’t be shy be informed and arm yourself with all the tools necessary to control what you can and let go of what you can’t.
Discussion: What other newbie grocery budget/food shopping with a list tips can you offer for readers of this blog post?
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
- Grocery Budget Basics-5 Must-Read Tips About Your Food Expenses GGC#1
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.
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 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- $1.50
Our Grocery Shop This Week
- 2 x Sealtest Milk $4.05 each
- 2 x Jumbo eggs $4.99 each
- 4 x Natrel Whipping Cream 1L $4.95 each
- 6 x Natrel1L10% cream $1.95 each
- Bananas $1.57
Total Out-of-Pocket $51.15
- 10 x jalapeno cheddar cheese reduced Cracker Barrel 400gram brick $1.95 each $19.50 stockpile budget
- 1 x green cabbage $2.50
- 2 x strawberries $1.88 each
Total Out-of-Pocket $25.76- $19.50 stockpile budget = $6.26
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: $19.50
- Christmas Reserve Fund : $35/month Jan $35 Saved
- 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: $57.41
- Total spent so far this month: $101.51
- Total over/Under spend this shop: under
- Total left to spend for the month: $198.48
- 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)
With another winter storm approaching I was instructed by the Mrs. to stock up on a few bits so I don’t have to make a mad dash in a sloppy mess on the roads this next week. You may notice that we now have a Christmas reserve fund as I’m following suit with Mary.
The reason is that we spent hundreds more this Christmas on food at my in-laws having to cook everything since they are unable. We couldn’t ask them to buy food so we did it. Just to be prepared for this upcoming holiday we want to make sure we have the money set aside so there are no surprises.
I’d like to do a GGC post on reserves soon once I get all the in’s and out’s sorted because I really believe it will help others break down their grocery budget savings plan even further.
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!!
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 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 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.
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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