THERE ARE WAYS YOU CAN GET WHAT YOU WANT AT THE GROCERY STORE EVEN ON A TIGHT BUDGET
Weekly specials listed in your grocery store flyers are the number one way the shop gets consumers through the door to spend money. Once you’re inside be prepared for all sorts of well thought-out distractions that could cost you more money than you anticipated on spending.
I’ve run the grocery game challenge for 6 years now and price has and always will be the biggest concern for shoppers followed by quality, quantity and ingredients. From there shoppers might care about the layout of the shop, customer service, types of products, services and so on.
Although having a store that does it all in Canada sounds like a dream come true each grocery store offers unique services and savings for their customers. Some of our favourite grocery stores in Canada to shop at are Food Basics for the low prices, Zehrs for reduced prices and PC Optimum points and finally No Frills for price-matching and PC Optimum Points.
Over the past year we’ve been going to Costco as well which has worked out great for us since we also fill up with the cheapest petrol in town.
Not everyone will have the luxury of having a multitude of grocery stores in their city or town available to shop at so it’s important to be able to take weekly specials and turn them into what I like to say, food gold. This is when you can buy weekly specials and stretch them to fit multiple meals over the course of the month or longer.
For example: If the weekly specials in your local grocery store flyer says that 10lbs of potatoes are on sale for $1.47 instead of grabbing the one typical bag for $5.99 to feed your family buy 3 bags! Potatoes can last long and can easily be frozen with some prep work if need be.
Potatoes Expiration Date
How long do potatoes last?
Potatoes last about 3-5 weeks in the pantry and 3-4 months in the refrigerator. The shelf life of potatoes depends on a variety of factors such as the sell by date, the preparation method, the type of potato, how the potatoes were stored and the humidity of your climate.
|Past Date||Past Date||Past Date|
|Russet or White Potatoes last for||3-5 Weeks||3-4 Months||—|
|Yukon Gold Potatoes last for||2-3 Weeks||2-3 Months||—|
|Red or New Potatoes last for||2-3 Weeks||2-3 Months||—|
|Fingerlings last for||2-3 Weeks||2-3 Months||—|
|Sweet Potatoes lasts for||3-5 Weeks||2-3 Months||—|
|Sliced Potatoes or French Fries last||—||1-2 Days||6-8 Months|
|Cooked Potatoes last for||—||5-7 Days||6-8 Months|
|Baked Potatoes last for||—||5-7 Days||6-8 Months|
|Mashed Potatoes last for||—||4-6 Days||6-8 Months|
|Instant Dry Potato Packages last for||1 Year||4-5 Days|
If 3 bags seems a bit much for you buy 2 and use that extra money that you would have spent towards other weekly specials. Compare it to the round-about-effect where money keeps going round and round until it’s all gone. So, you have a grocery budget, use it until it’s gone or save what’s left for the next month. Choice is yours.
Stretching your food dollars
Whether you went walking, running or sailing into the start of the new year many of you still might have concerns about the costs of groceries and how it will affect your budget this year.
Thanks for your wonderful blog especially your grocery savings tips and budgeting tools which have helped us save money and get back on track financially. One of the questions I have had swirling around in my head is how we can use weekly specials at the supermarket to earn the most benefits.
Currently, we’ve started to meal plan but then notice that there are so many weekly specials that we could use as well but don’t have the money left over for them. We are a family of 4 with 2 adults and 2 teenage boys who love to eat and a budget of $600 a month.
Thanks everyone for any tips.
Take your grocery shopping to the next level
Thanks for a great question. Weekly specials and in-store specials or reduced product seem to be the pain of it all for Mrs. CBB and I. It can be tough to limit or walk away from weekly specials or other deals that you didn’t find out about until you stepped foot into the grocery store.
Although we have fallen more times than we care to admit we’ve succeeded far more than we had ever anticipated with our grocery budget. What we’ve learned in the past 6 years of intense grocery shopping and scrutinizing the system to help us save money is that the only person who can win the game, is you.
What I mean by this is that you have to figure out what you can and can’t afford and how you can add and take away from your grocery cart and meal plan IF you decide to buy something that is not on your list. Weekly specials are easy to spot because they are typically in your supermarket flyer.
The weekly specials should be a big focus for anyone who cares about how much money they are spending. Not all weekly specials will appeal to each customer obviously because of diet. Depending on what you can and cannot eat you may find limited amounts of weekly specials in the food categories you shop in. Sometimes specialty stores are your best bet for those types of weekly specials.
An example of this might be for those who enjoy purchasing organic products. A typical grocery store will have a health food/organic section and depending on the market for the product it could be a small section or a large array of products. The weekly specials may or may not reflect any deals for those shoppers however if you have a local organic grocery store you likely would find better weekly specials there instead.
It’s about knowing the market of food you are interested in buying and watching for the best deals.
Take it a step further you want to know how you can cash in on those weekly specials so they can last you longer and save you money. Well, there are a few ways Mrs. CBB and I do this and although it may not be ideal for everyone hopefully we can all share our secrets when it comes to weekly specials to help Carol and other readers.
Cashing in on weekly specials
Some of you may be reading this and plan your entire grocery shop around weekly specials and a few bits and bobs that aren’t on sale. Sometimes you get lucky and find out that the product that you expected to be full-price is in fact on sale as a manager’s special which means you might have more money to toss into those weekly specials.
The key here to remember is that when you go grocery shopping it’s important to shut your mind off to whatever else is running in the background and focus on the shop. One of the worst ways to lose money, waste money or miss out is by not putting your mind in the right place.
Trust me we know because our son has caused us to miss coupons, in-store deals, SCOP and other receipt errors because we were in a rush or he was ready to rumble. There’s something about a screaming baby and wanting to rush out of the grocery store. It’s a true thing, it is for parents.These days we’ve come up with a system for grocery shopping with our son that has helped us keep tabs on our shop far better than we had in the past.
Thank-you grocery stores for free fruit, cookies and entertainment for kids!! This helps.
Below are four ways we’ve come to scoop up weekly specials that work with our grocery budget and our meal plan.
Meal Plan Around Weekly Specials
I’m sure a majority of people who are budget savvy plan meals around weekly specials. This is ideal because you are saving money which enables you to keep money in your shopping budget. So, if you go to the shop with a $100 budget and shop and meal plan the weekly specials you can stretch that $100 further.
You might find you can get more by shopping the weekly specials which also allows you to buy regular priced items as needed. Most often waiting for weekly specials or other sales is the best way to build a pantry to help with further savings.
Weekly Specials+ Coupons and Rewards Points
If there is any way you can combine weekly specials with coupon or rewards points do it. This is a super easy way to save more money on top of weekly specials. Who wouldn’t? The concern for most people in this category is finding the time to do the homework. This means finding out what products offer you rewards points if any and sourcing coupons. This also means you will want to grab a few coupons here and there for products you WILL use but aren’t on special yet.
Stock Up On Weekly Specials
Check the front and back page of any grocery flyer and you will find the best weekly specials the store has to offer. Not always the case. We find the inner pages of a flyer to be filler pages with little to no discount but there are deals especially ones you can match up with coupons and rewards points.
You may even find an inner flap with great deals and that’s only to entice you to open the flyer. We just doe it anyways because missing a deal assuming that they will always be on the outside or inner flap might bite us in the butt one day.
Take advantage of overstock prices which are prices given to products where they ordered too much or the expiry dates are coming due. You might not find these as weekly specials rather in-store specials that you might find on occasion. If your budget allows you to stock up on these deals this is another great way to stretch and save your money.
Another great way to shop the weekly specials is to do it all in one spot if possible. This means price matching at local grocery stores that allow it. This is great for the person who doesn’t care to drive to multiple shops, has few in the area or doesn’t have the time or transportation available.
The only downfall is the shop that price-matches might not have the best produce which typically is a deal-breaker for some people. This may push consumers to do half-shops where they price match as much as possible at one store and buy produce elsewhere. Seems counter-productive but important for those who value quality for their money. Understandable.
Take your grocery shopping experience to the next level by allowing yourself to make changes to your meal plan as you shop or add and drop products from your grocery list as you see fit.
In essence you can shop weekly specials every week and that becomes your meal plan. Compare it to the clean out the fridge dinner menu. Grocery shopping this way may be a great way to stock up one month and save for the next to buy those other bits at full-price.
Discussion: What can you add to this post to help carol save by shopping weekly specials?
January Grocery Game Challenge
Join 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
January GGC Posts
- Grocery Budget Basics-5 Must-Read Tips About Your Food Expenses GGC#1
- How to Create a Master Food List- GGC#2
- Grocery Shopping Tips without A Vehicle– GGC#3
- 5 Low-Cost Tasty Recipes You Should Make– GGC #4
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: 815,000
- 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
- 4 x PC Apple Juice not from concentrate $1.49 each $6.00
- 24 x Cloverleaf Tuna Sale $0.77 $18.48
- 2 x large eggs $2.27 $4.54
- 4 x salted butter Sale $2.99 each $12.00
- 3 x Nielsen Milk $12.81
- English cucumber $1.79
- Spaghetti Squash $4.58
- Mann’s Sugar Snap Peas $5.99-50% $3.00
- 2 x PC Bacon $3.99 $8.00
- 2 x Double Brie Wheels $10 on sale for $6.00 -50% = $6 for 2 big wheels.
- Astro Yogurt Cherry $2.64-50% $1.32
- Bananas $2.00
- Romaine lettuce $2.69
- Mushrooms $1.99
Total Out-of-Pocket $85.20
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: $10.32
- Total in-store discounts to date: $0
- Total spent this week: $85.20
- Total spent so far this month: $323.04
- Total over/Under spend this shop: under
- Total left to spend for the month: -$23.05
- Total Spent To Date 2018: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $323.04+Feb $+March $ + April $+ May $ + June $+July $+August $+September $+ October $+ November $ + December $
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
So, we went over this month by $23.05 which we will carry to February grocery game challenge in hopes of making up for it. This week we stocked up on butter and got lucky with the brie we set out to buy when we found some with pink stickers.
Our meal plan this week includes spaghetti squash which was on sale but still came out a bit pricey but the Mrs. requested it. We both love it though. Keep in mind it’s not in season either. Overall, we are happy with our shops this month.
As you may have read we are dealing with a very ill family member which has taken up a huge chunk of our time at the moment. Although I’m absent I do check in and read your posts. It has been terrible for us and we haven’t scratched the surface yet. Keep us in your prayers please.
Bring on February!!!
2018 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 for review in order to 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 2014-2018 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. Some of these coupons have an expiry date and others no expiry date so be sure to check.
- 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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