YOU MAY NOT ALWAYS HAVE CONTROL OVER WHERE YOUR DOLLARS ARE SPENT BUT YOU CAN MINIMIZE THE IMPACT BY KNOWING YOUR OPTIONS.
Why would anyone want to know about the most expensive Canadian grocery stores to shop at? Well, it has been a hot topic on Canadian Budget Binder for a while now so I decided to talk about my experiences over the years.
You may be saying, don’t shop there if it’s too expensive but how do you know if it is and what if there were no other options? Opinions will vary from person to person ranges from person but most likely because it’s easier to avoid them rather than waste your time going to them. The second reason is money is tight for almost all Canadians who are looking for ways to stretch their food dollars.
Sometimes people suffer in silence financially when they’re stuck and others do what they have to do to earn some money just to live. This morning I read an article about how people are pan-handling on the streets of Toronto just to make ends meet since moving to Canada. It’s heart-breaking to read but poverty is out there whether you are Canadian or not, visible on the streets or hiding behind closed doors.
It’s a dilemma no one wants to be in which is why those of you who follow Canadian Budget Binder and watch their dollars really have a sense of where you want to be and where you’d rather not be. It’s a rat race all around us and certainly plenty of cracks anyone can fall into whether you have a high earning job, minimum wage job or no job at all.
Who cares what it costs
The rare people who don’t care about the amount they spend or what they spend it on are those people I’d love to follow and chat to because I’ve never let loose like that at the grocery store before. What motivates them not to care about the prices? Sounds odd but I’ve always had an intrigue about people who just blow money whether they can afford it or not.
Moving to Canada from another country can be tough especially when you speak a different language and you’re trying to settle in. Not only are you unpacking but you may also be looking for a job and a greater understanding of your new way of life in Canada.
I had no idea about food costs in Canada when I moved here and it took me a few years to get into a spot where I felt confident about prices. The number one thing I did was start couponing, reading flyers and visiting the grocery stores to explore and compare prices. Sounds daft however it was my way of saving our family money and it worked.
It has been two years ago this past week in March when I was thinking about some of the best Canadian grocery stores that I’ve been to over the past 10 years since moving here. Not much has changed my views about saving money on groceries and where the best deals are typically found.
On Sunday while we were out doing some running around we stopped off at the bank to pay some bills for my mother-in-law we decided to take a run through Metro. Metro is one of those grocery stores that doesn’t automatically jump to the top of the flyer pile when they arrive in our mailbox.
Metro is considered one of the most expensive Canadian grocery stores along with a few others that we will talk about later in this post. It had been months since we had last stepped foot in the store and I believe the last time was to cash in a rain check for paper towel and to rent the carpet cleaner.
Then I considered whether price-matching really was a perk when it came to shopping at these expensive Canadian grocery stores and thought perhaps the savings would balance out the extra-costs.
Such as, If you shop at a pricey grocery store and price-match for savings and then purchase other products even if on sale but more expensive than the frugal frills type grocery stores are you really saving that much?
The answer obviously depends on what you purchase and whether it is on sale for the best price of all grocery stores and the amount of price-matching you do. Walmart grocery continues to be one of the top frugal grocery stores for price-matching and being a one stop shop. This is the big deal, price matching and convenience shopping.
Most expensive Canadian Grocery Stores vs. Frugal Grocery Stores
- 1 x Bag of Potatoes $5.99 price-match Food Basics $3.99 Savings $2.00 Yay!
- 1 x Bicks Dill Pickles $4.99 BUT if you bought them at No Frills, Walmart or even Food Basics regular price of the pickles may only be $2.99. This means you are spending $2.00 more than you should be had you bought them at another shop.
This means the savings from the potatoes and the extra costs of the pickles even themselves out in terms of savings dollars. I suppose if your grocery store options are limited then you’re still on board but you’re not gaining or losing anything.
Grocery shopping can become tense for those of you who want to save as much as you can but realize that you can’t depending on where you live and the shops around you. If you live in a small town you may have to shop at the local grocery store which could be one of the most expensive Canadian grocery stores but that’s your only option.
Not everyone drives and getting to grocery stores out-of-town can be challenging even if the savings will be greater.
Consider impulse grocery shopping at the wrong store
Getting back to our quick trip into Metro it was all about Mrs. CBB looking for Halloumi cheese (yes I had to Google that because I had no idea what it was) for her Keto diet. Apparently this cheese is the bomb for frying or baking in the oven and a must-try. We found it once at Zehrs and the price was a not must-try so we were on the hunt for a better deal.
Halloumi is a Cypriot semi-hard, unripened, brined cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk, and sometimes also cow’s milk. It has a high melting point and so can easily be fried or grilled. Rennet is used to curdle the milk in Halloumi production although no acid-producing bacteria are used in its preparation.
While we were there we thought we might as well buy peanut butter for our son since we had already had an active morning at an Easter hunt. We knew it was potentially going to cost us more than had we went to another shop.
Perhaps we were being lazy and should have went to Costco to buy a monster 2 kg jar of Kraft Peanut Butter for $5.99 but we didn’t. You all know as good as I that there would be no walking out of Costco with just a jar of peanut butter. Then again I have seen people walk out with a simple BBQ chicken and that’s all. Oh, the will-power.
We didn’t find the Halloumi cheese, surprise-surprise but we did find the peanut butter and thankfully Mrs. CBB had a $1.00 coupon to bring the pricey down a bit. We paid $4.99 instead of $5.99 for JIF peanut butter which we found at Food Basic the day before doing our grocery shop for the week.
Our first coupon for 2018… 🙂
That’s where we picked up the coupon but not the peanut butter that was on sale for $4.99 which would have made it $3.99. The reason was because we had convinced ourselves that were making the mad dash to Costco to grab it for a better deal but took a coupon just in case.
Grocery shopping truly is a game of savings and in a flash you can spend more money than anticipated whether you shop at the best Canadian grocery stores or the most expensive Canadian grocery stores. Understanding prices is far more important than what’s on sale, especially when you are on a food budget.
You may think it was only an extra dollar we spent on the peanut butter but it was also the time we spent looking for the cheese when Mrs. CBB could have just made a phone call. We then could have drove up the road one minute to Food Basics and picked up a jar of peanut butter or even cringe, Costco our best savings deal.
Truthfully, had we just purchased the peanut butter while we were at Food Basics that would have been our best option as we were already there. Shopping at Costco is not an every week affair for us so that option like I mentioned could have been deadly to our grocery budget but the best option for price.
What are the most expensive Canadian Grocery Stores?
Over the years I’ve been to every major grocery store in Ontario, Canada to experience everything from marketing, layout, prices, services and so on to compare and write for all of you. Pretty much every major city in Ontario has all the top grocery stores from corner to corner. The small villages not so much but if they are lucky they get a small variety to choose from.
Those grocery stores outside of Ontario, I haven’t been to as I have yet to travel to these places but have had feedback and researched over the years for price comparison. I’m certainly not an expert but I do know that grocery shopping has to be meticulous IF you want the best savings.
I’ve learned that no matter if you have only the most expensive grocery store or not the best way to attack your grocery shopping and meal planning is to base it around what’s on sale and the best price. If you can do without buying something until it does go on sale, even better.
This may not be the best option but when you are working with a limited amount of money it will be your best option outside of driving to a frugal frills store. Consider the gas and time as well which come out of your wallet too. It has to be worth it!
The higher-end grocery stores cost more because you are paying for more services which include bakeries, butcher and a larger variety of products from around the world. They also make sure everything looks and feels meticulous from the lighting, seating, to the music. As well, offering fresh and of top quality products is critical to their overall success.
You pay for this luxury and some people are willing to do that just because they are grocery snobs and truth is, they are out there. Most of these are umbrella grocery stores under the Loblaws name however placement of these grocery stores in a community is typically strategic as would be any business. Will the business profit?
I haven’t seen too many grocery stores close their doors due to a dying food industry. People need to eat and many will pay what they have to just to get food in their belly even if it is costly. Sad but true however we can add ways to lower the costs involved with food shopping.
Top 10 Expensive Grocery Stores In Canada
My top picks for Ontario is Metro, Foodland and Longos for most expensive Canadian Grocery stores. The other 7 Canadian grocery stores listed below are tops on my high-end list as well.
- Your Independent Grocer
- Save On Foods
What the CBB fans are saying about the most expensive Canadian Grocery Stores…
We only have 2 grocery stores in our town, Zehrs and Freshco. We shop primarily at Freshco, which is cheaper, and they price match which is nice.- Susan Drouillard
Loblaws is the most expensive in my area. I will price match their specials at Freshco or No Frills. Metro is a close second for top prices– Richard Bradley
Foodland is the most expensive. I only buy their specials and sale items. However, it is also the smallest supermarket in the area which means you do not have to walk ten miles to buy the basics.– Thad Thudpucker
I guess our expensive stores would be Sobey’s, Metro, Longo’s, Fortinos and Dennigers. Lately I shop at Lococo, Walmart and Food Basics. I tend to find premium price doesn’t mean premium quality or excellent service or cleanliness.– Judy Finch Conte
We have 2 higher end stores here, Foodland and Your independent Grocer. I’ve checked prices as have others I know. Your Independent Grocer is the most expensive of the two. I can manage with Foodland buying mostly sale items and stocking up when things we eat or use are on sale, plus I can walk there as it is across the street. I need to drive to get to YIG to pay higher prices and they have a lot more selection including the Joe Fresh brand clothes as they are a part of the Loblaws chain. I’d rather have lower prices. – Christine Weadick
Here I only have Price Chopper, Shop Rite and Walmart. I shop at Walmart as the prices are quite a bit higher at the other 2. I like Price Chopper’s bakery and their meat counter…but not every day items and regular grocery shopping. I don’t like anything about Shop Rite. – Maureen Herman
Your Independent Grocer is our local store, but expensive. It now has a seniors day on Tuesday, 10% off which helps.10 minutes away is a Foodland, still expensive but they carry your bags to your car, which is nice. For restocking, though, I drive to No Frills 20 min away. – Bonnie Brown
Coop and Safeway/Sobey’s are expensive! I do all my shopping at Giant Tiger and for things they don’t have I go to No Frills. Sometimes I will go to bulk Barn if I need a small amount of something like different spice for a recipe. – Pat Ciulka
I find metro is so expensive. Independent isn’t far behind. We also have food basics which is lower priced. I usually check both independent and food basics for sales since they are across from each other. Sometimes if I get time I’ll drive 30 minutes to Walmart or superstore to price match (usually superstore for point) – Patricia Legault
Safeway, Sobey’s and Coop stores are all a lot more expensive than Giant Tiger, Walmart, Superstore in the city where I shop….here in town…we only have one small Coop and it is really expensive. – Colleen Knudsen
Metro would be the most expensive in our area. We did go to Starsky yesterday and they cost a lot too. – Teresa Hodgins
The most expensive store here is Save-On Foods, followed closely by Sobey’s/Safeway. I cringe every time I have to go in any of them looking for an item I can’t find elsewhere. That money seems to go to displays and pretty shelving and arrangements in the different departments (produce, meat, seafood).
I personally prefer No Frills and Superstore not only for the prices but also because it’s less sensory overload, and no matter how ‘pretty’ something looks I’m not going to buy it if it’s too expensive. – Tracey Reisch
Discussion: What are some of the most expensive grocery stores in your area or which do you consider expensive? Leave your comments below. I love to hear what my readers have to say!
March 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 which includes new prizes!
- Last shop February – How To Create An Organized Grocery List
- 13 Food Items That Do not Need Refrigeration Shop #1 March
- First-Class Grocery Receipt Pricing Errors You Might Be Missing #2 March
- Free Printable Checklist Of Common Spices For Your Kitchen #3 March
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 Optimum Points to Spend: 2,900,000
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
- Zweet -$0.
- Checkout51- $1.50
Our Grocery Shop This Week
- Strawberries $2.00 sale1lb
- Blackberries $2.00
- Sour Cream $1.99 sale
- Pears $3.95
- Bakenetes Pork Rinds $1.99
- Bear Paws Cookies sale $1.88
- 2 x Shreddies cereal sale $2.99 each $5.98
- White mushrooms sale $1.67- 50% = $0.84
- Grape Tomatoes $1.67
- 2 x green onion $0.96 each $1.96
- Green Cabbage $2.47
- 2 x bags of avocado sale $2.98 each $5.96
- Romaine Lettuce $2.48
- Smoked Ham Sausage $4.99-30% = $3.50
- 2% Milk Sealtest $4.27
- 6 x Lactancia Cream sale $1.99 each $11.94
- 6 x Lactancia Whipping Cream 35% sale $1.99 each $11.94
- 4 x Black Diamond Old Cheddar Cheese sale $3.88 $15.50 *stockpile budget
Total Out-of-Pocket $66.83
- JIF Peanut Butter $5.99-$1.00 coupon = $4.99
Total Out-of-Pocket $4.99
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: $15.50
- Christmas Reserve Fund : $35/month Jan,Feb, Mar $105 Saved
- Total coupons used this week: $1
- Total coupons used to date: $1
- Total in-store discounts this week: $2.35
- Total in-store discounts to date: $67.25
- Total spent this week: $71.82
- Total spent so far this month: $228.70
- Total over/Under spend this shop: under
- Total left to spend for the month: $71.30
- Total Spent To Date 2018: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $323.04+Feb $169.42+March $228.70 + April $+ May $ + June $+July $+August $+September $+ October $+ November $ + December $
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
Not too shabby of a month but we did do some travelling and probably spent more on eating out then we should since my MIL doesn’t cook much at all so we don’t bother her. We are going to our family Easter this Saturday and we’re making a cheesecake and some sort of salad for the occasion. Mostly all we did pick up this week was on sale or reduced which worked out fine.
How was your week?
2018 Coupons and Coupon Apps
If you notice I’m missing a valuable link please message me and I’ll add it 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
- 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
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 does not include such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014 we no longer included such items in our grocery budget so we could see our actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly.
- 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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