Grocery Shopping Tips | The Ultimate Canadian Grocery Savings Guide

5 Costly Couples Grocery Shopping Mistakes To Avoid : The GGC 2018 #5 Aug 27-Sept 2

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Couples grocery shopping almost sounds like a romantic date and for some of us, it is which can prove a costly one if you’re not careful. Today more than ever we are seeing more and more couples heading to the grocery store because shoppers are taking interest in what they are putting on their plate and how much it is costing them.

Food purchased from stores 5,564 5,718 5,880 6,126 6,176

The above Stats Canada food purchased from stores numbers are per year, per household beginning in 2012 to 2016 where $514 a month is average in 2016 and likely even more in 2018 given increases in food prices across the board in Canada. Take the number and and divide it by the number of people in your household and that’s how much is being spent per person, per year.

Let’s do the math…

(2016) 6176/number of people in the household (let’s say 2) = $3088 per person, per year or $257 per month per person. Obviously this will vary based on your family size but this is the run down on average grocery prices in Canada.

For our family food fuels our soul and it is a vacation away from life if even for an hour or two once a week. Grocery shopping as a couple is one of the chores Mrs. CBB and I love to do because it is a time where get to bond and talk about food which we are both passionate about.

For some couples it’s important to grocery shop together and for others it’s the only option especially if the driver is not the passionate grocery shopper or for other health-related reasons. This is us and since what we can do together is limited these days grocery shopping is something that we feel has strengthened our marriage and our budget.

Let’s be honest though, spending time in the kitchen when you are a couple can and will be inspiring and bring on a bond like no other. We’ve had our fair share of flour fights and laughs and the odd cuts and bruises but cooking is a passion we share from start to finish which includes keeping our meals budget-friendly.

Not all couples are foodies but for those who take part together in the process you know that cooking and eating together is very important.  In some ways we find grocery shopping relaxing depending on the mood of our son, atmosphere, time of day and of course how we are feeling but generally it’s an adventure.

Our grocery budget before our son was born was fairly low in and around the $250 a month mark and it recently increased this year to $300 only because we have a Costco membership and our little guy eats here and there. He is not a big eater so his impact to our grocery budget has been fairly small.

Now that he is starting school we may see another increase in `2019 but the increase may also be because Mrs. CBB and I are shopping and eating differently than we used to. One of the hardest parts about couples grocery shopping is sticking to the grocery list. We are hands down in the naughty corner for this one because of deals and only deals. If you go to a grocery store without a list you’re doomed the moment you step foot inside. Thankfully, we do bring a list.

The only time I’ve ever walked out of the grocery store without a list and with the items I needed was when I was in a rush because I was late for some sort of event, meeting or work. Any other time, I walk in with no list, I walk out with the grocery store and a massive grocery bill. Sadly, the same thing happens with couples who shop the same way and we’ve been experiencing grocery budget ups and downs since the beginning of this blog in 2012.

Although we’ve managed to keep a tight budget it has been very difficult to stick to our plan at times and we have learned costly lessons along the way. The name of the grocery game is not to battle your budget but to take control of it because you can’t make excuses. You either have the money or you don’t but you can’t expect every shop to be the perfect shop. Even if you do have the money it’s easy to blow through what should be your savings if you’re not careful.

Dear Mr.CBB,

I’ve been reading your Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide this past month because I’m working on lowering our grocery budget. The money we put into our savings each month should be around $1500 but after grocery shopping that numbers dwindles based on how much we end up spending.

I don’t see any articles that pertain to grocery shopping with a spouse that wants nothing to do with grocery budgets, lists or meal planning. We have no kids and it seems that every time we grocery shop we end up with more than we bargained for. I also think that we prepare meals that are too extravagant for the income we net each month.

The main issue I’m running into is that my husband loves to eat and eat good food which can get costly especially since he loves his meat and fish dishes. We don’t go out to eat often so that helps keep that part of our budget in check but there must be something we are doing wrong when we are grocery shopping. By the way, we always go grocery shopping together which often turns into a food fiasco for us because we tend to plan meals we want based around what we find at the grocery store.

Sometimes I find we just give in when the other wants something based on our mood that day or how busy we are. We do create a we’re-out-of list but it’s vague only because we never know what we will find until we get there and my husband is not list guy. I don’t think telling him to stay home will solve the problem as we both love grocery shopping as we are passionate about food and hosting our friends.

We’d like to keep our grocery budget at around $500 a month but right now we are averaging $1000.



Costly Couples Grocery Shopping Mistakes To Avoid-1

Hi Carol,

All I can do is offer you advice about grocery shopping mistakes that Mrs. CBB and I have been working on over the years because this is how we learn, from our mistakes. I often say that I don’t give advice especially about money but when it comes to grocery shopping it is what it is. There’s no right or wrong way to grocery shop however if money is the concern than most certainly there are plenty of ways to make changes that will help monitor and balance what you have to spend each month.

As I mentioned we struggle with our grocery shopping but not so much with the amount we have budgeted but by the way we grocery shop especially as a couple. Since having our son we don’t often get many opportunities to do family things with work and such so grocery shopping has always been that fun hour or two out of the house even for out little guy.

I find the winter to be the worst time of year for grocery shopping as a couple because it’s cold outside and lots of people make their way to the grocery store just to get out of the house. Seasons change and so does the way we grocery shop which means you may spend more in the winter than in the summer based on price increase and drops.

I’m not one to push anything specific with grocery shopping as it’s an area we need to improve but I can tell you a grocery list and meal plan really do help. Now, saying that our main struggle is not so much sticking to that meal plan/grocery list most certainly has to be finding the deals that we weren’t expecting.

You mention that your husband doesn’t like lists or meal planning so perhaps if you educate him on the benefits and see if he will try it out for a month to see how it goes. I know so many people who buy too much and end up throwing it away because they can’t eat it in time before it expires or becomes freezer burnt.

My in-laws were the worst for that and it ended up being hundreds of dollars of food that went into the garbage after my father-in-law passed away. They NEVER used a grocery list and just shopped once a week buying whatever they wanted or needed based on memory. This is the worst kind of grocery shopping couples can do.

So, talk to your husband and perhaps explain how much grocery shopping is eating into your savings and how you’d like to see the both of you stay with-in a budgeted amount. Explain to him the process of meal planning for two and preparing a grocery list. Perhaps after a month he might enjoy keeping that extra money for other financial needs.

Let us know how it goes or if it goes at all.


5 Costly Couples Grocery Shopping Mistakes To Avoid


There are no rules to grocery shopping only the rules that you set out for yourself. You either want to budget or you don’t and if the plan is to save money and you want to do it together couples grocery shopping must be on the same page. Couples grocery shopping can either increase your food costs or improve them provided you’re not making these common grocery shopping mistakes.


You Don’t Talk About Your Grocery Budget


This is vital especially if a grocery budget is important to you or you find that you don’t have enough money to pay for groceries or you’re spending far too much. Most often couples who don’t budget have no idea how much they are spending and when they do track their receipts they are in shock at the monthly tally. It can add up quickly so take some time once a month to discuss your grocery budget and spending habits and set some goals. Perhaps that money you are spending can go towards something else.


You Don’t Plan Meals As A Couple


Even if you don’t care to meal plan together it’s nice to talk about the meals you love to eat and perhaps plan even one special meal each week. Take that special meal and turn it into a romantic date at home where you both cook together and appreciate the time you get because many couples don’t often spend enough time with each other.


You Don’t Shop Together In The Grocery Store


Couples grocery shopping should be fun together which means having some laughs should not be out of the question. One problem we noticed when we do our couples grocery shopping trips is that we would go in different directions. One of us would take the shopping cart with our son and the other would walk off to grab other products.

I can’t count how many times either Mrs. CBB or I would walk back to the cart with handfuls of “look what I found” and we both justify why we need it because neither of us wants to put it back. Lazy shopping at it’s finest but costly at the same time. We aren’t perfect and still venture off at times depending on the situation and it’s a battle we will continue to take control over.

We did initially think that it would save us time but it took away from the experience we were passionate about and our son loves grocery shopping too. We love to teach him about products and we play games with him together. Going our separate ways put a dent in this fun. Even if you don’t have a child sticking together and going through the list is key to keeping your budget in line with your goals.


You Both Get Distracted Easily


Grocery shopping can be the pits when one spouse loves to chat and the other has to wait around or takes off doing their own thing. Not only can this take away from the couples grocery shopping experience it may add extra to your grocery shop including time. Stop wasting time looking for things you don’t need and avoid sample booths if you aren’t into buying what they are selling. Most likely the product isn’t on your list anyways.


You Don’t Set Time Aside To Grocery Shop


If you make grocery shopping one of those rush jobs you’ll never enjoy the process of creating a meal from start to finish. You have to enjoy what you eat and not just eat crappy food because it’s there. Make food that appeals to you both that is healthy to your degree and savour the experience.

If it all sounds too much to you than you probably don’t like cooking, could care less about food or your spouse has no interest in grocery shopping. If that’s the name of your shopping game then you have a bit more work cut out for you but it’s not impossible to still tend to your grocery budget with importance.

Treat Yourself

Lastly, one thing we like to do is choose something we like to eat even if the other doesn’t. It’s important to treat yourself when you are married because being a couple is important but not forgetting to be yourself and love yourself is also vital. Do what makes you happy with-in reason even if it means buying that Snickers bar when she loves Kit Kat.


Discussion: What other couples grocery shopping tips can we add to this post? Share your experiences good and bad below in the comment section.


August 2018 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!


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-$13.63=$286.37
  • 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: 3400,000
  • 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



  • Romaine Lettuce $1.99
  • Eggs $2.47
  • 3 x seedless cucumbers $2.99
  • Bananas $1.55
  • Pillers Salami $5.99
  • Cheddar Cheese $5.99
  • Mozzarella $5.99

Total Out-of-Pocket $26.97- $25 GC $1.97

Shoppers Drug Mart

  • 4 x 4L Sealtest Milk $4.27 each

Total Out-of-Pocket $17.08

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

  • Total to spend this month : $300.00
  • Stockpile budget 2018 : $25.00/month
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $25.00
  • Christmas Reserve Fund : $35/month $245 Saved
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $1
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $59.75
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $174.94
  • Total spent this week: $19.05
  • Total spent so far this month: $342.74
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: -$42.74
  • Total left to spend for the month: -$42.74
  • Total Spent To Date 2018: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $323.04+Feb $169.42+March $228.70 + April $337.84+ May $275.79 + June $271.88 +July $257.76 +August $342.74 + September $+ October $+ November $ + December $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

With 5 weeks of grocery shopping this month we went a bit over which was expected even though we technically budget for the extra weeks throughout the year. We did use our Loblaws Gift Card for $25 to help with this last week but certainly we will have to look at our numbers for 2019 or scale back on what we buy.

Again, we struggle with those extra deals we find because we know they are super amazing and will help us save in the long run even though we don’t see immediate savings. The other thing to consider is that even though we may be saving in the long run we aren’t saving the overage in the long-run if we spend it so we have to always cut back which can be tough at times. Like always we do our best and try to be mindful of what we purchase.



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.

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


Everything 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 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 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.

Related: Find all the latest coupon apps in Canada right here>>  Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons

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 portals 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.


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 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. 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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  1. Hubby and I have developed a system that works for us:

    1. I am the keeper of the grocery list…both for Canada and our next US shop. I have it on my computer.

    2. I check all the online flyers every week and figure out where I can get the items that I NEED at the cheapest price and either pick them up there or price match them.

    3. I prepare the meal plans for the week since I also collect new recipes for us to try. I work hard at making sure there is lots of variety and that hubby’s lunches for the office are varied and tasty with semi-regular little extra treats.

    4. Hubby informs me when he takes the last of an item i.e. if he fills the pepper mill and finishes the last of our peppercorns, he mentions it to me and I add it to the list.

    5. I set money aside in “Reserves” for times when I know we’ll need extra grocery money such as holidays and celebrations.

    6. We set a monthly budget for our groceries BUT, big BUT, we don’t have to shop every week nor do we have to spend it all. In the fall and winter I make a lot of homemade soups, stews and chilis and we certainly can’t nor should we eat an entire pot in one sitting so a lot of times we only cook 2-3 times a week and re-heat the other days. Summers are huge salad days and although more labor intensive, generally enough for a dinner and part of the following day’s lunches if dressing them is done at the time of eating.

    7. I ask hubby if he has a burning desire for anything in particular so that I can watch for a sale and include his wish in my meal plan.

    8. I shop my pantry first. If I have something on hand, use it before I buy more.

    Unlike Mr CBB, I am not a big lover of shopping so I put the blinders on and if it’s not on the list, it’s not in my cart unless hubby adds an item because he spots a good deal. I keep my budget on track though by removing a similar value to put back. If you want this…you give up that. I am a little terror when it comes to budget enforcement! LOL 🙂

  2. AUG – Week #5 of 5- Aug 27-Sept 2, 2018


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



    We’ve got a lot nicer temperatures this week…and a little rain over the weekend has helped improve our air quality.


    This is a NO SHOP WEEK for us. Since we have $16.08 left available, I will add it to our re-stocking reserve.









    •Total Loyalty Card Price Reductions This Year: $264.06

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

    •Total Price Match Savings Used This Year: $0.00

    •Total More Points Earned This Year: 11,074 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year: 398 Air Miles

    •Total PC Optimum Points Earned This Year: 12,900 Points



    $ 1,520.00 Grocery Budget JAN-AUG


    ($ 1,716.51) Actual CASH SPENT



    $ 136.25 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund
    $ 282.59 Holiday Season Fund + $280 PC Optimum Points ($230 Mary + $50 Larry) + $10 Dream Air Miles
    = $572.59
    $ 711.73 Summer Season Fund
    $ 222.42 US Shopping Reserve
    $ 147.92 GGC Savings Reserve
    $ 0.00 Points Redeemed Reserve

    OUR CURRENT TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES ARE $1,500.91. This means the 1,761.30 that we carried forward from 2017 PLUS AN ADDITIONAL $1,138.86 that we have added in 2018, LESS $1,399.25 that we have drawn out for use in 2018.


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